Alf Gunn’s Brasulista
Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #113
April 27, 2009
“Looking back over the years, my life, all of the joys, success, the failure the tears, there is not a single day that passes that I do not have a moment of joy in my heart for having had the privilege of having served with each of you other chosen people who also learned to serve, work and love the work of the Lord in Brazil.”
--Joseph D. Storer, Brazil South and South Central Mission 72-74
In this issue:
Passing of oldest alumnus Horace Kearsley (BM 35-38)
Passing of Vern Taylor, construction supervisor
Elder Ronald J. Dent called to serve
Terra da Felicidade Brazil Cruise and Tour next January
Dubious Historical Distinction Award to Joseph Storer
New Brazilian Missions lapel pin available
ITEM IN PORTUGUESE: Wonderful report of the visit of Consul General Graça Lima to Church Headquarters
Hot links: http://www.newsweek.com/id/194604 Newsweek article about the growing influence of Brazil in the Hemisphere. Note the futbol diplomacy in Haiti.
Passing of Horace Kearsley
Our sympathy to the family of Horace Kearsley (BM 35-38) of Blackfoot, ID, who was honored at the recent reunion as the oldest surviving Brazilian missionary. His daughters have advised us that he was hospitalized with pneumonia and passed away on Easter Sunday, at the age of 93. Horace was interviewed on videotape at the reunion for recollections of his mission, so his family will have that recording. His wife Freda had preceded him in death in 2006. Horace was very pleased to attend the reunion and delighted to receive the recognition. His physician, Richard C. Hill (BNM 69-71) writes: “Brother Kearsley was an active Church member for his entire life and recently enjoyed attending the Idaho Falls Temple regularly. I enjoyed his friendship for many years as his family physician and enjoyed also being a fellow Brazil return missionary. He will be missed by all his family and associates.”
Passing of Vern Taylor
Linda Taylor of Holladay, UT, writes about her father: “Alf, I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that my father, Vern Taylor, passed away on April 8 of cancer after being diagnosed in February. Dad was the construction supervisor for the first District Center in Curitiba from 1963-1966. He worked with many of the missionaries and counted his missionary service in the Brazilian South Mission as one of the crowning achievements of his life.”
This is my opinion: Vern Taylor was like a mission president to the dedicated construction missionaries who served under his supervision.
Sister Nancy Denhalter Cropper (BM 66-68) writes: I add my "Amen" that the reunion was wonderful. I looked at the program and thought, "Oh, no, this is going to go on for hours," but it was well-organized and just the right length. The food was marvelous. I missed a lot of Hicken missionaries who came to our last Hicken-only reunion, but on the other hand, there were some I hadn't seen for years at this one too. President Hicken told us several experiences I had not heard before. We missed Sister Hicken and hope she will feel up to coming next time. Nancy (Denhalter) Cropper, '66 - '68. (email@example.com)
Called to Serve
Elder Ronald J. Dent (BM/BSM 58-61) of Boise, ID, write: Dear Brother Gunn,
My wife Thelma and I have received our third Call to serve as missionaries. We have always said we would serve where the Lord wanted us to serve. The calls for us have been perfect and all three calls have been to Brazil. Our first mission we served in the Florianopolis Mission as proselyting and leadership training missionaries. Our second mission I served as executive secretary to the North Area Presidency and my wife and I served in the Recife Temple as ordinance workers. This next mission, which will start in July, will be mental health advisor in São Paulo. We are convinced that the Lord knows where we are needed and when we are needed if we just trust in him our calls will be perfect for us and those whom we serve. I was called to be a Missionary to the Brazilian mission in 1958 and was released from the Brazil South Mission in 1961. My wife has come to love Brazil and its people as much as I have. The Lord bless you for your efforts. Ronald and Thelma Dent (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks to all who attended the reunion on April 2 and who contributed to the effort with food and money donations, including purchases of lapel pins. See below for how to order the new Brazilian Missions pin.
Dubious Historical Distinction Award
Joseph D Storer, 72-74, of Middleburg, FL, writes from Paris, France, where he spends some of his time:
“Dear Elder Gunn, Reading your newsletter and all of the stories I remember the great joy and happiness I felt while serving a Mission.
I was a junior companion working in Presidente Prudente, SP, andmuch to my surprise I was told to get on a Leito and come directly to São Paulo where I was met at the bus station by an Elder Salisbury who everyone knew as he had been the financial assistant to the Mission President for almost all of his Mission. He said “Elder Storer, great to meet you. President Christensen is tied up and I go home in a month so you need to get busy as you are being called to replace me.” I said, “Huh?” He said, “Yes.” President Christensen had prayed about replacing him and then happened to look at different missionaries backgrounds and saw that I was a business major and had taken two different courses in accounting so I would be getting trained by Elder Salisbury for the next month and then needed to get busy acquiring all of the necessities for a new mission home, office and a Mission President.
“Okay,” I said. Then I was handed a 25-page list of items to acquire like, house, office, cars, etc. Needless to say I was overwhelmed. Elders Salisbury said not to worry as all I had to do was follow the manual. He then handed me the biggest book I had ever seen.
The next day I met with President Christensen to whom I then revealed that the only reason I had taken two classes in accounting was in an effort to get one passing grade. He told me, “Well Elder Storer, the Lord knows what you are capable of doing.”
Little did I know that this experience would be one of the most important tasks for preparing me for what has proven to by my life’s mission.
I was born and raised in a little town called Iona, Idaho, and before my mission had never been east of Jackson Hole Wyoming and never further south than Provo.
I had the privilege of being on the original staff of President Nelson Baker, saw the 4th Mission opened and was involved remotely with the purchase of the ground for the São Paulo Temple.
This of course brings about one of my most notable stories. Like many men, I have never felt it necessary to read the instruction manuals. Well when we serve, the Lord will always find a way to teach us the thing we will need to know for the calling at hand and many times in preparation for our futures.
I had a wonderful experience at the mission home and found I had quite a gift of negotiating the best deals with those precious tithing funds, making certain that the money the Mission spent was spent well. I have always felt this experience was in many ways the beginning of my professional life as I know it.
This is where I earned some real distinction. I forgot to read the part in the finance manual that said anytime you write a check over something like $10K you needed to telex Salt Lake so they could fund your accounts as they never kept large balances.
Well some Brethren from Salt Lake showed up one day in the Mission Office and instructed me to write a check for what I believe was something like $ much larger. No problem.
I wrote the check. Well I will tell you that if you ever want to leave your mark in the annals of the Church just be the dumbbell that writes the check that initially bounces for the purchase of the land for the São Paulo Temple.
Fortunately the Church immediately covered the check but I still get heckled about it at any mission reunion that I attend. Having served in many positions since my mission, that is not a mistake I have ever made again in the Church or in the business world.
This evening I happen to be sitting in a small apartment in Paris with my bride of 33 years and reading your news letter I feel like my mission was only yesterday.
Perhaps the reality is that for me my mission has become my life. How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father for calling me on a mission and for having had the privilege of serving it in Brazil.
My oldest son served in Guatemala City; my second in Spanish New York City; my third was in the Washington Spokane Mission; and my youngest is currently entering his last 90 days of service in the Russia Samara Mission. I can say with joy that any disappointment I may have felt that at least one of my sons was not called to serve in Brazil has been completely overcome by the love I see each of them have for the area in which they served.
It is now my hope that perhaps someday before I am to old and feeble that I will get a chance to perhaps serve another mission working in the Curitiba Temple. As I know we are not supposed to covet Church positions I can be assured that will never happen but one thing for certain that I know will happen is that I will fall in love instantly wherever and whenever I get a chance to serve another full time mission.
Looking back over the years, my life, all of the joys, success, the failure, the tears, there is not a single day that passes that I do not have a moment of joy in my heart for having had the privilege of having served with each of you other chosen people who also learned to serve, work and love the work of the Lord in Brazil.
Funny thing, we attend our Ward here in Paris and the Church is strong and true here as well.
I will always offer a prayer of special thanks for the endless love of my fantastic mission president and his wife, President Nelson Baker and Sister Lucille Baker. Someone who gives me sound advice even today.
The Savior Jesus Christ lives; he has restored his Church and all the keys to his gospel and it is led today by a living Prophet, Elder Thomas S. Monson. Of this I bear my solemn testimony.
God Speed to all of those missionaries now serving wherever they may be.
Your brother, Joseph D Storer” (email@example.com)
Alf’s note: I believe I won’t get in trouble if I say that it is perfectly okay for senior missionaries to express preferences as to the type and even location of the mission they hope to serve. I was in the dressing room of the newly opened Porto Alegre Temple a few years ago and asked an American officiator there a rhetorical question: "How do you get a job like this?" He said it helps to speak the language. I said I did. He said, "You go home and tell your stake president that you speak Portuguese, the language of Brazil, and would like to serve a temple mission, and next July you will be in Campinas." That was when Campinas temple was anticipated to be opened. That brother had already served at São Paulo, Recife and then at Porto Alegre as I recall. Of course, after all your preferences are expressed, you will leave it to the Lord to inspire his servants to extend a call.
Brazilian Missions lapel pins
Shameless commercial plug: Please help us raise funds for the next super reunion by buying the new “Brazilian Missions” lapel pins. Buy one for each of your suits, and for each of your children or grandchildren who served in Brazil. Wear one to church and tell every younger ex-missionary who served in Brazil where they can get these lapel pins for $5 each.
Send your order with a check and return address to “Alf Gunn, 3720 26th Avenue Court NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98335.”
All proceeds go into the future reunions fund. We sold 140 at the reunion and 67 have already been sold by mailed-in orders. Which means we only have 793 left. $5 each. Such a deal. See the attached artist’s rendition.
TERRA DA FELICIDADE BRAZIL CRUISE AND TOUR
JANUARY 8 THRU 21, 2010
Note: I met one senior sister—a delightful person—who is interested in being on this tour and I would like to know of any other single sister who would like to go and share a stateroom/hotel room to take advantage of the "double occupancy" rate.
Finally, this exciting report from Nei Garcia of Brazil Public Affairs:
Embaixador e Cônsul Geral do Brasil em Los Angeles, José Alfredo Graça Lima, visita a sede da Igreja em Salt Lake City
De 1º a 5 de abril, esteve em Salt Lake City e assitiu a Conferência
Geral, o embaixador José Alfedo Graça Lima, após aceitar convite da
Presidência da Área Brasil.
Nomeado cônsul-geral do Brasil em Los Angeles desde o início do ano, Graça
Lima tem prestado cerca de 40 anos de serviço público, tendo servido como
diplomata há muitos anos em várias regiões do mundo. Já serviu como cônsul-geral em Nova York, exerceu importantes funções como embaixador do Brasil em Bruxelas, com importante missão dentro da União Européia. No Governo Federal, é conhecido como o principal negociador do Itamaraty.
O consulado do Brasil em Los Angeles tem sob sua jurisdição os Estados do
Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Hawai e Utah. Ele tem a importante missão de aprovar todas as emissões de vistos dos missionários
americanos que servem no Brasil. Durante sua visita a Salt Lake City, o embaixador conheceu muito sobre a história, fé, crenças e o trabalho que A
Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias desenvolve no mundo e no Brasil. “Foi uma oportunidade maravilhosa. Assim que recebi o convite para passar esses dias aqui, informei ao Itamaraty. Prontamente recebi aprovação oficial do Ministério das Relações Exteriores para essa viagem”, comentou Graça Lima.
Dentro de sua agenda de visitas, ele percorreu o Centro de Ajuda Humanitária e o conheceu o Programa de Bem-estar da Igreja. Lá, observou
toda a estrutura que há como forma de apoio aos necessitados. Também caminhou pela Praça do Templo e conversou com as missionárias, uma delas
brasileira, que o levaram para um tour. Na mesma tarde Graça Lima assistiu
ao filme o “Legado” e ficou impressionado com a fé e coragem dos pioneiros mórmons. “Eles tinham uma missão divina e não desistiram” comentou ao final. Graça Lima conhece bem o valor de não desistir. Ele é maratonista. Já correu algumas vezes a Maratona de Nova York e cerca de cinco vezes a São Silvestre, entre outras.
Outro momento que o deixou bem impressionado foi a visita ao Centro de Históra da Família. “Percebo a importância do valor familiar para vocês. Tudo remete à família. O templo, a luta dos pioneiros. Tudo que vocês fazem. Sem família não somos nada. O interessante é que vamos aprendendo esse valor real com o passar dos tempos, quando ficamos mais velhos. Minha mãe tem 95 anos e é viva. Tenho filhas e netos. Amo minha esposa. Família é tudo.” salientou o embaixador no final dessa visita.
Graça Lima teve a oportunidade de almoçar e estreitar os laços de amizade com os Élderes Charles Didier, Ulisses Soares e Stanley G. Ellis da Presidência da Área Brasil, além do Élder Claudio R. M. Costa, membro da
Presidência dos Setenta. No final do encontro, Élder Didier presenteou Graça Lima com literatura da Igreja, “A Proclamação ao Mundo – A Família”,
e CD do Coro do Tabernáculo. “Embaixador, somos gratos por sua visita e pelo grande e bom trabalho que tens desenvolvido com a Igreja na concessão
dos vistos dos missionários que servem no Brasil”, enfatizou Élder Didier.
“Obrigado por essa visita. Tem sido maravilhoso estar aqui. Quanto aos
vistos, é nosso dever”, respondeu o embaixador.
Em um dos dias, o cônsul-geral foi a Provo e conheceu o Centro de
Treinamento Missionário (CTM). Lá conheceu mais sobre o papel e valor do
trabalho missionário para a Igreja. Um momento marcante da visita
aconteceu quando Graça Lima reuniu-se com um grupo de cerca de 10 jovens
brasileiros que estão indo para missões em diversas regiões do mundo. Por
mais de 30 minutos ele convesou com os missionários. Alguns deles estavam
indo para o Japão, outros Canadá, outros Missão Praça do Templo. Élder Ben
Banks, missionário e um dos responsáveis por receber convidados da Igreja
em Salt Lake City compartilhou: “Embaixador, quando voltam após seu
serviço missionário, esses jovens servem como embaixadores. Eles defendem,
lutam e amam o povo que serviram. Assim acontece com cada jovem americano que serve no Brasil”. “Eu não tenho dúvida disso. Jovens, aproveitem essa oportunidade. Façam o trabalho. Vocês tem aqui vários diplomatas”, finalizou Graça Lima.
Um momento descontraído foi quando ele soube que um dos rapazes estava
indo para Los Angeles. “Eu moro lá. Não deixe de me visitar. Aqui está meu
cartão.”, disse o embaixador. Os outros missionários então exclamaram:
“Nossa! Uma referência”.
Após essa visita ao CTM, o encontro foi na BYU. Recebido por membros da
presidência da universidade, o embaixador discursou para alunos
brasileiros que estudam Relações Exteriores e concedeu entrevista para a
BYU Television. Em seguida, almoçou com professores do Curso de Lingua
Portuguesa. “Estou impressionado. Todos os americanos aqui falam
português. Nunca vi isso em nenhum outro lugar do mundo. Estou honrado com
essa recepção tão calorosa”.
O embaixador também teve um encontro com profissionais do Departamento de Viagens da Igreja. Na reunião, foram tratados assuntos referentes ao
processo de concessão de vistos para os missionários. Um clima de muita
cordialidade e amizade. “Como consulado, nosso dever é ajudar o máximo na
concessão desses vistos. Eu entendo o valor da causa”.
Como conclusão desses dias de visitas e reuniões, Graça Lima assistiu a 1ª
sessão - de domingo - da Conferência Geral. Apaixonado pelo Coro do
Tabernáculo Mórmon, ficou impressionado com a apresentação “The Music and Spoken Word”. “Que coisa linda é esse centro de conferência. Nunca vi algo assim”, comentou. Ele ouviu atentamente aos discursos e comentou sobre o discurso proferido pelo Élder Jeffrey R. Holland, do Quórum dos Doze Apóstolos, que falou sobre Páscoa e Cristo – “Foi tocante e emocionante”, disse ele. Graça Lima deixou a cidade no domingo a tarde. No aeroporto expressou: “Vou embora cheio de gratidão pela recepção de todos e pelo que aprendi e senti”.
Nei Garcia, Assuntos Públicos Brasil, A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias www.maosqueajudam.org.br www.saladeimprensa-sud.org.br
Aquele forte abraço,
Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65)
Gig Harbor, WA