Fireside to highlight Spanish and Portuguese community

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    By Kathryn Richards

    Voce fala portugues?

    The Spanish and Portuguese department is hosting a fireside Sunday, April 1 for Portuguese speakers in the community.

    Elder Claudio Costa, area president of Northern Brazil, will speak at the fireside.

    “He is a dynamo,” said Casey Law, professor of Portuguese at BYU, who served his mission in Brazil Manaus when Elder Costa was president of that mission. “He is an incredible speaker- very inspiring, very motivational. He”s one of the most exciting speakers that I”ve ever heard.”

    Elder Costa served as president of the Brazil Manaus mission from 1990 until 1993, Law said. He was called as a general authority in 1994.

    Elder Costa has served in area presidencies over South America South, and Brazil North, Law said.

    Returned missionaries enjoy hearing Elder Costa speak, said Vanessa Fitzgibbon, professor of Portuguese and coordinator of the fireside.

    “They love the way he talks and communicates with them,” she said.

    The Portuguese fireside is held two times each year, on conference Sunday.

    It is conducted in Portuguese and is open to all.

    Between 400 and 500 usually attend the fireside, including many returned missionaries who served in Brazil, Fitzgibbon said.

    She said many returned missionaries attend because they love the Brazilian culture.

    “They miss the kind of social environment we have in Brazil,” she said. “They go to the fireside to find the same spirit and atmosphere they had on their missions.”

    Silvia Miranda, 20, a sophomore from Porte Alegre, Brazil, majoring in international political science, said the fireside is a good opportunity for native Portuguese speakers to feel the spirit.

    “For Brazilians, when we listen to a different language, it doesn”t penetrate as much,” she said. “Since we learned the gospel in Portuguese, we”re more prompted to listen when it”s in Portuguese. It means a lot more.”

    According to BYU demographics, 64 Brazilian and seven Portuguese students attend BYU.

    Nearly 1,300 BYU students served missions in Brazil, and about 240 served in Portugal.

    The fireside will be in 151 TNRB at 7 p.m.

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