Alf Gunn’s Brasulista
Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #108
January 31, 2009
REUNION -- Mark you calendar and plan on attending the missionary reunion of the early Brazilian missions—all who served before 1980—on Thursday, April 2, starting in the afternoon, at Bountiful. Read all about it in future Brasulistas. This is going to be good!
In this issue:
Musica do Brasil – Connectbrazil.com
President Tuttle recalled
Notes from the mission field
Read this article: “One Convert at a Time,” by Mark L. Grover
Missionary memories of former branch presidents:
Brent Ekins, Bill Cantrell and Val H. Carter
How to order a Brazilian South Mission lapel pin—a fund raiser.
Next Month: The first Brazilian branch president reflects on pioneer members of the Church in Brazil. And the missionary who taught him how play the hymns before leaving the country after Pearl Harbor! Both men are still with us. Don’t miss this!
Musica do Brasil
For those who have the luxury of listening to music while working at your computer, try streaming Connectbrazil.com by going to http://www.connectbrazil.com/tsob-hp.php As I write they are programming “Antonio Carlos Jobim's Birthday Celebration.” Pura Bossa Nova. On my computer, this is one of my “favorites.”
Recalling Elder Theodore A. Tuttle and Sister Sarah B. Paulsen
Bob Rothlisberger (BSM 59-62) of Krum, TX, writes, “Alf, Your request for information about Elder Tuttle caused me to do some research in my journal. In October 1961 I was in Curitiba when Elder and Sister Tuttle toured the Brazilian South Mission. This was shortly after President and Sister Paulsen arrived in the mission. It so happened there was a district conference on that weekend. I was chosen to translate for the Tuttles. It was a nervous experience. I was doing okay until Sister Paulsen came up to speak. I thought to myself, ‘She will speak in English and will have a translator so I won't have to translate’ and so I sat back and relaxed. Sister Paulsen spoke in the most beautiful Portuguese I have ever heard. She so took me by surprise that I did not even think about the Tuttles until she was finished. I quickly leaned forward and apologized to Elder and Sister Tuttle. Elder Tuttle merely said, ‘That's alright. We understood what she said.’ I was relieved. Thanks again, Bob Rothlisberger” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This poignant message comes from Jerry Clayson (BSM 67-69) of Farmington, UT, and I share it with his permission: “Thanks for all the work you do to keep us posted on our missionary memories. I am so very glad for the opportunity I had to serve in Brazil and especially my second mission with my sweetheart. The mission with my sweet wife (in Rio de Janeiro Oct 2001 to April 2003) created some of the sweetest and most precious memories I have of her. Rosemary just lost her four year battle with cancer December 23, 2008. We were so fortunate to have taken our leap of faith and served while we were young (I was 52 and she 48) because now we know that it was the only time we could have served. Jerry Clayson” (email@example.com)
Blooming where planted
Robert G. George (BM 61-64) and his wife Laurel of Danbury, CT write, “We go to church presently in a combination of Spanish and Portuguese. I'm the Portuguese-speaking member of the branch presidency. Danbury, where we live, has a large immigrant population.” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I was pleased to locate Elder Terry J. (BM 59-62) and Sister Karen Aubrey of South Jordan, UT, serving a mission in Laie, HI. How do you get a job like that?
“We are currently serving in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission with the Church Education System at Brigham Young University Hawaii, teaching in the Religion Department. We have been here since August 2007 and will be returning home in April 2009. Mahalo, Elder Aubrey” (email@example.com)
Service above and beyond
I look up missionaries who served in Brazil before 1980 so we can send them this newsletter by email. Some are easy to find. Some are hard to find. Some are dead. I was pleased to find that Scott H. “Hink” Taggart of Prescott, AZ, who had served in the BM 49-52 under President Rulon Howells, was in the second group, not the third. Just hard to find—because he and Lucille have been out of the country a lot. When I asked him, here is what he explained:
Canada Montreal Mission President 1984-1987
Ivory Coast Mission - 1989-1990
Zaire Kinshasa Mission President 1991-1992
Chile Santiago Temple - 1993-1995
Switzerland Zollikoffen Temple 1995-1996
Spain Madrid Temple 1999
Ecuador Guayaquil Temple, First Counselor - 2000
Canada Montreal Temple President 2000-2002
Chile Santiago Area Welfare Specialist 2005-2006
Currently serving at the Spain Madrid Temple 2008-2009
He writes from the Madrid Temple: “I guess this is why we haven't been available. We still have a year here serving a lot of folks from Portugal/Brazil/Angola as well as from France, Italy and Spain which makes an interesting mission. Thanks for your work. Elder Taggart” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Read this Article
“One Convert at a Time,” a BYU Speech given by Mark L. Grover (BM 66-68), BYU’s veteran historian of Latin America, is a very interesting read, and is found at http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=713. In it he mentions some of the notable converts to the Church in Brazil and missionaries who knew them: Flavia Garcia Erbolato and Oscar Erbolato and Elder Norton Nixon; Milton and Irene Soares, Walter Guedes de Queiroz, Hélio da Rocha Camargo, and Saul Messias de Oliveira. Also Elders Charles Allison and Paul Hindmarsh.
Alf’s note: Thanks to all you former branch presidents and district presidents in Brazil who reviewed your mission records and sent emails to Brother Tiago Maia (email@example.com) at Church HQ so he can complete the historical record for early branches. Brother Maia received hundreds—hundreds!—of responses. Some of you took the opportunity to share some history. A couple that caught my attention are noted here. (Next month I will share another one of some historic significance):
Brent Ekins (BSM 68-70) of Clovis, CA, writes an account of his becoming a branch president. Perhaps many of you can relate to his experiences:
“Dear Brother Maia, I served as a branch president for nearly six months in the city of Carazinho, Rio Grande do Sul, while serving as a missionary in Brazil. I entered the MTC in Provo, Utah in June 1968 and spent 3 months learning the language, which included learning the parts of English that I had never heard of (pluperfect verb tenses) then left for Brazil. That put me in Blumenau, Santa Catarina in the rainy season for 5 1/2 months until I was transferred to Carazinho and joined a brand new Elder from the USA, Elder Dennis Layne Wright.
“I was called to be branch president. As far as I remember, I had no counselors and my companion was not designated as such. We had a small branch of about 30-40 members and little active priesthood. I seriously had never much thought about even the order of events of a sacrament meeting. The District President lived in Carazinho and we lived with his mother, Sister Radtke. I guess I also served as the Relief Society President, the Sunday School teacher, and the organist (with the foot pedals and a portable organ). My mother was proud of that, as I had stopped taking lessons and practicing at about age 16. Our church was in a store front on the main street about four blocks from the huge Catholic Church which dominated everything in the city. Did I mention that I had been in the country for 5 1/2 months so my language skills were barely forming. Fortunately we had an investigator who was in jail and was a "captive" audience. Every week, we would visit him, give him the RS lesson, priesthood lesson and the SS lesson. He'd help correct words and pronunciation while getting his portion of the teachings. He was never cleared of charges during the time I was there so I don't know if he ever joined the Church, but his service was pivotal.
“I have such great memories of that service. But I could not figure out why I would have received such a call. Missionaries at that time were not even made a senior companion until they had served for one year. My mission president, when asked years later, had no explanation, except, he felt prompted to make the singularly unusual call given my short time in the mission and the relatively few missionary branch presidents that were called. In retrospect, I found out later. At age 28, while in graduate school, I was called to be a bishop of a SLC ward. My earlier service was the preparatory stepping stone the Lord knew I would need. Thank you for your service to the Church and in your efforts to detail the blessings we all have received to have worked with the Brazilian people.
Brent Ekins” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alf’s note about language skills: Imagine, if you can, how we who arrived in Brazil pre-Language Training Mission days, felt: one hour at the mission home in Brazil learning how to say, "Bom dia! Somos da Igreja. Viemos visitar. Podemos entrar?" and then getting on a bus in the evening, alone, to travel to a first assignment two states away. The good news was that almost all the missionaries were Americans. The bad news was that almost all the missionaries were Americans. Pois é.
And this from Elder Bill Cantrell (BM 62-65) of Lawrenceville, GA:
“Irmão Maia, I served in the Brazilian Mission from 1962 to 1965 under President Bangerter and President Beck. I had the great pleasure to serve in Recife from May through November 1964. I arrived on a Sunday and the branch was having district conference. The Recife District consisted of one branch, the Recife Branch. Milton Soares was the Branch President and, to my surprise I was sustained as District President that night. I think that was the standard course at the time—the senior companion served as District President. Elder David Wiltbank is who I replaced. I cannot remember who my counselors were or even having counselors. It was a special situation and time and the church was very small in that area.
“I remember President Soares telling me during a quick visit to Recife about five years ago how he joined the church. There were in the area one or two inactive members but there was no organized group or branch. The Elders were just opening up Recife. He said he was telling his friend at work about the Elders and the church and how great it was and how excited he was about being baptized and on and on. Then this friend asked him how many members this great church had in Recife. Brother Soares answered his friend with great enthusiasm, "Por enquanto, só eu!" What a great way to open a new area with the baptism of a man like Milton Soares and his family. It was a clear forecast of the future of the Church in Recife.
“Brother Maia, I hope this helps with your task of piecing together church history in Brazil. It has always been a blessing to me to have served there at such a good time. Abraço, Bill Cantrell” (email@example.com)
“My name is Val Carter and I had the privilege and blessing of serving as the Branch President of the Ribeirão Preto Branch from November 1952 to May 1953. I succeeded Elder Orson White, but I don't remember who took my place. While living in Brazil as an employee of the U.S Govt. I served as the Branch President of the Jardim Botanico Branch in Rio de Janeiro from 1965 - 1967 and again from 1969 - 1971. Then I served as a counselor in the Brasilia Alvorado Stake from March 1987 to April 1990. I also presided over the São Paulo MTC from Jan 1994 - Jan 1996 and as interim MTC President in 1999. I have a great love for the Saints in Brazil. Brazil became our family's second home. Abraços de Val” (Val H. Carter, BM 51-54, Morgan, UT, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Brethren, As you can tell we have an incredible alumni. I count it a blessing to be able to share in small part the stories of such interesting lives.
Brazilian South Mission lapel pins available
Dear Brazilian South missionaries, In case you missed it before, we created a new Brazilian South Mission lapel pin using the gaúcho (O Laçador) and gold plates logo of the early BSM. I have 50 left, and we are offering them now at a price of $5.50 for each pin, as a fund-raiser for the upcoming reunion. If the demand is great, we may have more made.
We are selling the BSM pin for more than what they cost, so as to raise a little money to fund this BSM alumni project and cover some future reunion costs. Get ‘em while they last. Thanks for your support. And thanks to those who have contributed above and beyond the $5.50.
Mail CHECK made out to “Alfred Gunn” with your request to:
3720 26th Avenue Court NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
If you need to call, my phone number is 253-851-1099, but please mail me your orders. BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR NAME, MAILING ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBERS. Thanks.
More about the BSM pins:
While this pin is not a re-creation of the original 14-karat gold pins which early BSM missionaries earned, it does incorporate the same design features: The “O Laçador” gaúcho statue which welcomes visitors to Porto Alegre, the gold plates of the Book of Mormon and now a circle with the words “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” As with the original, the letters “LDS” appear in a small circle. The pin is ceramic on gold colored metal, 7/8 inches in size—a nice size for a lapel pin. See the attached photo. These should be appreciated by missionaries who served in Porto Alegre even after the name of the mission changed.
Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65)
3720 26th Avenue Court NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98335