A Letter from Brazil from Louise Best

I’ve written before about Louise Best, a South Carolina Methodist who worked as a missionary in the southernmost part of Brazil for over thirty years.  I came across this letter in the Advocate from August 1951 recently and thought it worth sharing.   This was my column in the June 2018 SC United Methodist Advocate

My dear friends, July 28 was a wonderful day for me. It marked the 30th anniversary of my arrival in Brazil.  That night I gave a dinner for the members of the faculty, members of the board of trustees, our pastor and his wife, the doctors whom we call, and the school inspector. July is the month of winter school holidays in Brazil. Some of the teachers were at home but most of them were in the city.

Brazil is indeed a country of surprises! One of the greatest was an invitation to have lunch at the Rotary Club on August 1. When I arrived, I found that it was a special luncheon in honor of my thirty years in Brazil, and during that time, with the exception of six months near Rio, in Santa Maria.

Once a month our pastor leads chapel at the school. Last Thursday was the first assembly since the holidays and he was present. Before he began his talk he said that one of the teachers had a story to tell. At the beginning I did not recognize the person about whom she was talking. When Dona Maria finished, I arose and thanked her for her kind words and assured them of my joy in being here. Imagine my surprise when girls from the primary and high school as well as one of the teachers made speeches and gave lovely flowers.  All those demonstrations of love and appreciation make me humbly grateful for these years of service in Brazil and especially at Colegio Centenario.

We are all rejoicing over the money for our primary building. We plan to break ground on September 7. I shall write you again after the ceremony.

In July I attended Central Council in São Paulo. Another good trip by air. It takes four hours by plane and four days by train.

The annual meeting of the laymen of the South Brazil Conference was held in Santa Maria in July. The delegates were entertained at the Methodist Home but the college offered a special dinner in their honor. There were 50 present.  Also in July we had the privilege of entertaining the district meeting of young people and juveniles. it was a very good conference.

August is brotherhood month among the Protestant youth of this conference. In Santa Maria each Saturday evening they have had a special meeting at the different churches in the city; on Sunday afternoons open air meetings. Last night the final service was held in the Lutheran Church. The Episcopal Bishop delivered a masterful sermon which was put on the air by our local station.  It does one’s heart good to see the enthusiasm of these young people.

After the celebration of patriotic week I shall write you again. Thanks for all you have done for us during these years and what do you mean to me today. Love, Louise Best.

By Phillip Stone

I've been the archivist of Wofford College and the South Carolina United Methodist since 1999. I'll be sharing college, Methodist, and local history, documents, photographs, and other interesting stories on this blog, which I've been keeping since December 2007.