[During World War II, the missionaries in Brazil were called home. President William W. Seegmiller, President of the Brazilian Mission, was asked to stay in Brazil during this time. In October 1945, after his return, he spoke at General Conference. The following are excerpts from his talk.]
"When President [David O.] McKay told me that I was to evacuate the missionaries from the Brazilian Mission, I said: 'What will we do then?' He said: 'Just do your best.' I said: 'I do not know the Portuguese language.' He said: 'That isn't what we are sending you down there for.' After a few more questions I realized again, as I have many times, that I was expected to assume my own responsibility, as you are, and to do the best I could. Well, of course we profess to do our best.
"The day came when all the missionaries were evacuated and we went with our son and the last missionary to Rio de Janeiro to bid them good-bye. Sunday before they left, they baptized some people, and among them a man named Claudio and his wife Mary. In that last meeting before we took them to Rio de Janeiro, I could hear the members whispering in Portuguese and German, 'Well, it is too bad we cannot hold services any more. President Seegmiller cannot stay here all the time.' So I told them: 'Services will be held as usual every Sunday.' After I had said that I just wondered how, and I had already written to the First Presidency and told them that there was no prospect for presidency in the Brazilian Mission, there was no prospect for priesthood.
"But we came back from Rio the next Sunday and I asked the Saints: 'Will you sustain Brother Claudio, who was baptized last Sunday, to be ordained as an elder?' They did. I said: 'Now, will you sustain him as president of the Sao Paulo Branch?'--the most important branch in the Brazilian Mission. They sustained him.
"I ordained him an elder and set him apart as president of the Sao Paulo Branch and said: 'Now, Claudio, select your counselors; that is your privilege.' He said: 'I select Jorge Vasaliedes for my first counselor,' who had been baptized just a few weeks. And then he said: 'I select Reuben Pellegrene for my second counselor.' He had been baptized longer. So I ordained them elders and set them apart to their respective positions, and the branch was organized.
"We did this throughout the Brazilian Mission. After this was done I felt justly ashamed of myself for having written to the First Presidency and said: 'There is no opportunity for presidency and priesthood in Brazil. We have no men. The few we have are not worthy.' I forgot, as you forget, that God is at the helm, that all things under his direction are possible, and this work has been set up never again to be torn down or given to another people. I hope I shall remember that so that if ever again I shall be called to a position of presidency, I will remember that I am never alone. Sister Seegmiller and I were more than eighteen months alone in the Brazilian Mission--I mean no members of our family and no regular missionaries. But we were not at all alone in the true sense of the word. We would have remained there indefinitely and been happy had we not been called home by the same authority that called us there. But after the shock of reading that letter of release had cooled off, we paraphrased the song of Brother Ballard and said in our hearts: 'We'll come where you want us to come.' ...
"We have only 417 members in that great nation of over forty million people, and that was our mission, all of Brazil."
(William W. Seegmiller, Conference Report, October 1945, p.147-48)