#170*02/02/14

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Brasulista #170


Brasulista
Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #170
February 2, 2014

In this issue:

  • Listening to Brazilian radio stations
    Called to Serve - Vietnam
    Campinas Temple
    Interesting information about service missions
      Coordinating Service Missions in the mission field
      Serving at the Conference Center
      Serving at the MTC Provo
      Serving in Brasilia

BrasulistaThis and past issues of the Brasulista may be found on www.brasulista.com, a service provided as a service by Michael Leavitt of Orem, UT.


ANY GOOD WEB SITES FOR PORTUGUESE?

One former missionary, David Brathwaite, is going to visit a daughter in Rio later this year and asks, “Alf, Do you know of a good Portuguese web site to bone up on Portuguese after 44 years?  A web site that speaks a lot of common phrases would be great.”

Any tips from you folks?


LISTENING TO BRAZIL NEWS

I did receive this, from Elder Neal Shirley (BSM 67-69) of Anthony, ID, and currently serving in the Brazil Porto Alegre South Mission:  “Bom dia, Alf.  Sister Shirley and I enjoy reading the Brasulista.  Keep up the great work.  You asked for suggestions on keeping up with news in Brazil.  While waiting and waiting for our visas, we used the internet to listen to the radio stations that are streamed.  We use an app called TuneIn Radio, where a person can select the country and even the city.  In Brazil, we listen to a radio network called ‘Band News FM' (found under “Brazilian Talk”).  They repeat the top news items every 20 minutes.  This station is in many cities in Brazil, so if the streaming quality of one drops off a lot, just pick another station in another city with the name ‘Band News FM'. There are many other stations which stream music and whatever.  It allows us to hear the sotaque of different parts of Brazil.  We are in Cachoeira do Sul, RG, and loving this calling in member and leader support.  Tchau for now,  Elder Neal and Sister Cathie Shirley.” (shirleyn@byui.edu)

Alf’s note:  Okay, I put the TuneIn Radio app on my iPhone and found Band News FM (pr. “banjee-news-efee emee”)—their motto is “Em 20 Minutos. Tudo Pode Mudar.”—and I selected the one at São Paulo.  They cover traffic and weather, sports, fashion, food, family, issue interviews, and talk radio in general.  I recognize the names of many of the cities and highways in greater São Paulo and the Baixada Santista, places where my brother lives, so it is a good listen for me. I am hearing things like “cinco quilometros de lentidão” and “pancadas de chuva.”  I also listened to CBN (Central Brasileira de Notícias) of Riberão Preto, another news station.  For persons who already speak Portuguese, these stations are excellent for hearing the pronunciation, and becoming accustomed to rapid speech.  I consider this an excellent tip and listen in to SP radio many mornings now.  Another marvel of the tech world.


CAMPINAS TEMPLE

Did you know that the Campinas Temple is the largest temple in Brazil?  Here is a note from Elder Ed Archibald (BSM 63-65) who is serving there:  “Hi Alf, My wife Karen and I are nearing the end of our year and a half mission in the Campinas Brazil Temple and it has been a wonderful experience for us.  We love the people and the work here and will miss them when we leave next week.  However, there is currently a shortage of missionaries here to carry on the work in the temple.  Because of visa problems at home a lot of the senior couples have been re-assigned to other places and others who continue to wait continue to be postponed.  For this reason we now have six missionary couples and in the past we have had at least eight.  When we leave, along with another Brazilian couple, there will be four couples plus an American couple (John and Rebecca Hawkins*) who arrived a couple of weeks ago bringing the total to five couples.  The need for additional couples is great here and this location is ideal with mild winters and pleasant summers.  If anyone is thinking of serving a mission this is an ideal place to be and the need is great.  We hope and pray that the visa problem will soon be resolved and couples will again be permitted to come to this choice place and be of service to these wonderful people.  Alf, we appreciate all that you do to encourage couples to serve and we pray that others will arrive here soon to help.  Um grande abraço, Elder and Sister Archibald, Campinas Brazil temple missionaries)

*Elder John H. Hawkins (BM 61-64) and Sister Rebecca Hawkins, of Glendora, CA, previously presided over the Brazil São Paulo South Mission (81-84).  Now serving at the Campinas Temple, what a fine example they are setting for the missionaries who served under them 30 years ago.  (john.hawkins@mac.com)


SERVICE MISSIONS

I asked Richard Mitchell (BSM 60-63) of Des Moines, WA, about missions he has served since release as stake president, to learn more about service missions.  “My wife and I have completed two Church-Service Missions as follows: Four years as the Housing Coordinators for the Washington Seattle Mission and five years as Church-Service Missionary Coordinators for Western Washington, British Columbia and Alaska, which included 50 Stakes, 5 full time missions., and 20 operations. We worked with a yearly average of 350 Church-Service Missionaries and 50 Long-term Volunteers in our area. We were just released from this mission on December 22, 2013. Because of health reasons, I cannot serve a full-time mission out of the area. However, it is important to emphasize that for those like me, there are still many Church-Service Mission opportunities.” (richmit@juno.com)

From Ken Nielson (BSM 60-62) of Danville, CA:  “The article about service missionaries was very interesting.  I happen to serve as a service missionary/tour guide/host at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.  My call was for three years.  The service time now is six months to two years.  We have approximately 500 currently serving there and tours are available from 9 to 9 seven days per week with a few days being closed for events and Conferences.  Several former Brazilian missionaries serve there: Richard Stayner, Gary Kay, and Martin Lindgren to name the ones I know.  We have over 265,000 annual visitors from all over the world, including, of course Brazil.  I have had several opportunities to tour Brazilians and have witnessed the Spirit touching them as they see the grandeur of that building and feel the spirit that is there.  Sometimes I am unaware that Brazilians are "in the house" and have learned to keep a listening ear on other guests for a word in the "lingua dos anjos", o próprio portugues.  At least two times it paid off with folks from Novo Hamburgo, RS, (a city opened by Lennis Clark and me in November 1960). (NielsonKA@gmail.com)

Sister Nancy Denhalter Cropper (BM 66-68): “I enjoyed the article about coordinating Church service missions (Brasulista #169).  We LOVED our time as tour guides at the Conference Center.  Our call was for three years (now it would be for two) but there were several people there who had been there since the building opened.  From our ward there about 10 couples or single people serving various service missions. Two couples are on inner-city missions and we have a couple working at the large hospital nearby, family history missionaries, and even directors of the Family History Center at the Utah State prison (who knew?). Leigh and I left a couple of months early to prepare for our full-time mission. The time is finally here! We enter the MTC on January 20th, heading for a CES mission in the Fort Worth Mission, but serving in Denton, Texas, near the University of North Texas. Our call came four months before our MTC date. You would think we were going to Brazil and had to wait for Visas! We hope to return to the Conference Center after we get home from our mission, or if not, to serve some other type of Church service mission.  It's a great experience!  (Lncropper@juno.com)


CALLED TO SERVE

Dear Alf, I have read your news letter for many years and have appreciated the updates and information about the Brazilian missions.  Elder Dawn Gatherum (BM 64-66) and Sister Eloise Gatherum have received a mission call to serve in the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission with the assignment of working in the Hanoi Welfare Office.  We are thrilled to be able to serve the good people of Vietnam.  We will enter the MTC in Provo on April 21, 2014. Tchau,  Elder Gatherum, Roy, UT.   (dgatherum@yahoo.com)


NEWS FROM THE PROVO MTC

This is from Susanne Hagberg of Orem, UT,  “Dear Alf,  I returned last Fall to serve at the Provo MTC after a break of a couple of years with knee surgery (and also not able to face it alone after Robin died).  Robin (BSM 59-62) stayed at that post and served from November 2004 until 2 months before his death, 20 Feb 2011. I think those 6 years were some of the happiest times since his mission.  It brought back such fond memories and he loved using his Portuguese and Spanish in church service.  The Elders and Sisters were always delighted to hear him speak to them in their language, often the only one with whom they could speak on their first day here.

We served together in the International Church Support Department. (Back then every week 15-20 missionaries came.) They are fresh off the airplane and come to our department, where 8-10 volunteers serve, to be outfitted.  They are often without even the basics like toothbrushes, garments, winter coats, "white" shirts, suits (where the coat matched the pants) and even shoes and socks (rubber flip-flops.)  Some arrive in their grandfather's suit, missionaries’ old white shirts and carrying a battered suitcase with not much in it.  We interview them to see what they brought and what they need then retire to our "store" to fill their "bin."

It is such a delight to see the looks on their faces and the tears in their (and our) eyes as we measure them for Mr. Mac suits, bring out the dresses and skirts and blouses in beautiful styles and colors for them to try on, help them fit shoes and snow boots (or sandals), show them snowy white shirts, and all the while talking to them, encouraging them and accepting their humble thanks.

Since the change in age requirements we have been flooded with missionaries each week and see several sibling "sets".  These missionaries qualify to be outfitted because their parent’s ward or stake is unable to support them.  If they have the desire they are called and we, through the General Missionary Fund, totally fill their requirements from their call letter list with anything they need.

We had 50-plus missionaries last week and that is just foreign Church Support.  That seems like "just a drop in the bucket" to all of the other missionaries arriving each week.  The MTC is so packed that they have opened a West MTC down at Raintree Apartments where they have taken over that complex and Wymount Village across the street.  They moved several portables onto the parking lots (who has a car?) hooked them together and made a cafeteria, bookstore, offices and classrooms.  We still see the missionaries there as they come to upper campus for devotionals and medical.

I'm sorry...  I get started and get so involved in my story.  I just wanted you to know the great missionary "explosion" from our viewpoint.  We have just started getting Elders and Sisters from China—not Hong Kong but mainland China . . . Beijing!  I'm not sure I understand just how it works but they say they were baptized there at 8 or were converted there.  They say they are able to meet in groups in homes up to 20 people then must break up and start another group.  Not allowed to proselyte or hand out books or pamphlets and cannot mingle with expats or Americans.  I am going to ask more questions next week.  OK... I'll stop.  Thanks for all you do to keep us informed.  I cry at each letter and hear Robin's voice saying amen to all the news.

Sincerely, Susanne White Hagberg (hagbergs@gmail.com)


IF YE HAVE DESIRES TO SERVE, YE ARE CALLED

Lex de Azevedo (BM 63-65) shares this experience:  “Dear Alf,  I am sharing our "couple missionary" story in the hopes that it might be of meaning to some other couples.  At the minimum it is an example of how God literally answers prayers.

“Six and a half years ago I married Roseangela Fernandes Cruz, a woman with a 4 year-old son, from Brasilia, whom I had met on the internet.  She was an employee of the federal congress and was given an indefinite leave of absence to live in the United States and allowed to keep her extremely "handsome" retirement on the condition that we paid into her fund monthly. The question, "Lord, how can we help build thy kingdom?" has always been first and foremost in our prayers.  About 3 years ago, we started to think about serving a mission.  Over the months, the thought of serving a mission turned into a strong desire.  There appeared to be, however, two insurmountable obstacles to serving that mission.  First, was our young son, Vitor. I would be 80 by the time he left home. Hmm? Second, we were seriously upside down in our historical Victorian home in the Avenues of Salt Lake.  We began to pray in earnest for a way to get out of debt, meaning the mortgage on our home. Last July my wife received an order from the Brazilian federal government to return to work by September, or forfeit her retirement.  We decided that she should comply with the order, return to work and fight the order legally and politically from within the system.  We decided to roll the dice, list our home at a very high price, being prepared to do a short-sale, thereby ruining our credit.  Miraculously, the 3rd person that looked at the home bought it at close to the asking price.  The agent cut his commission in half and we walked away mortgage and debt-free without having to go through a short-sale.  We gave away, or loaned out everything we owned to the older, married children and rented an apartment in Brasilia. 

“The week before we were to leave, Rose received word from the Brazilian government that they had reconsidered and granted her request to extend her leave of absence. What? At first we thought that we were the brunt of some cruel cosmic joke!  In all of the chaos of sudden move to another country, we had not yet clearly recognized the hand of the Lord in our lives. Having little choice except to move forward, we landed in Brazil in September.  We were immediately called to be ward missionaries, I was also called to be the ward mission leader and my wife was also called to be the ward visiting teaching supervisor.  We became aware that there were about 30-50 inactive members living in the Vila Planalto, a village close to where we lived, but far from the ward meetinghouse.  Most were inactive because the cost and schedule for transportation to the ward was prohibitive.  I asked the Bishop and the Stake President if we could organize a group in the Vila, providing them with the sacrament and a Sunday School lesson.  Their response was an enthusiastic "Yes!"  On our first Sunday we had 23 members and 2 investigators and on the second, 43 persons, including eight investigators.  The original projection that we would become a branch in 6 months is now revised to 3 months.  Within a few weeks we may have a serious meeting space problem—a great problem to have.  The Lord, however, will provide. Even though we do not wear missionary badges, we love teaching with the missionaries and visiting the members on our own.  

"All things are possible to them that believe." We are out of debt and we are serving a mission.  Thank you, Dear God, for your tender mercies and miracles.”

Roseangela and Lex de Azevedo  (lexdeazevedo@gmail.com and Brazilianrose2@gmail.com)

That’s all for now, folks.  I am pleased to report all of the exciting missionary efforts.  What wonderful folks you are!

Forte abraço, Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65) - Gig Harbor, WA  alf.gunn@gmail.com  253-851-1099

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  • Alf: Just a note for those not hankering for long visa delays to serve missions in Brazil, there is no waiting for Portuguese-speaking Africa. Well, maybe that is a little strong but it is mostly true and sure beats the indefinite waits for Brazilian visas. Plus Africans are incredibly loving, kind, courteous and patient, especially with white missionaries. I knew a fair number of wonderful Polynesians at BYU and even after serving in southern Brazil for 2 years (BSM 68-70), I was unprepared for the warmth of Africans in general, not just church members. We only served in Angola, Malawi (English), Mozambique and Zambia (English) ("Africa A to Z") with visits to Johannesburg, South Africa, but were impressed by missionaries and other folks from the surrounding countries that the cultures of those 5 nations are no fluke. Forget the "safety" problems you can find on-line, most are written from a cover-your-behind (that's "CYA" in bureaucracy-speak but in this case could be spelled "CIA") viewpoint. Ordinary Africans are appalled at all the American gun violence and well-off ones wonder if they should visit here! Yes, there are some jerks and criminals (mostly stories, not personally experienced; hmmm), and you don't go walking around large cities after dark, as you would not in the US.

    Once Africans find out that we are volunteers who pay our own way, their amazement and gratitude knows no bounds. As a public affairs missionary, I was encouraged to continue membership in Rotary and interacted with lots of other non-members also. I found them open, community-minded, family-oriented more than we are -- just altogether fantastic, Christian people, interested in discussing religion. What a change from worldly, touristy Moab, Utah where we live! We have friends on their 5th mission and Africa is the first place they have requested--fought hard-- to return to. Actually everyone we know who served there would love to go back. Yes, you can see the animals-- usually several times. And there are lembranças aplenty of unique African style. But it is the people and their desire to progress that amaze (like Brazil 40 years ago). Despite often crushing poverty, they are optimistic, happy and generous.

    In Angola and Mozambique we encountered some great Brazilian couples serving missions in CES, MLS, and office staff as well as some great American and Canadian couples. And the climate is pretty mild in both, influenced by oceanside locations. Plus most couple quarters have AC if needed. You can tell we are not biased. But seriously, it is a fantastic experience and one where Portuguese is a perk to the mission experience in general.

    Much love and appreciation for your efforts with the Brasulista,
    Bruce and Vonda Louthan
    (453) 260-0936
    bdlouthan@gmail.com

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  • Are there any Brazilian reunions planned for April conference? bdl

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