Alf Gunn’s Brasulista
Newsletter of the early LDS Brazilian missions, #163
July 5, 2013
Note: Please join your faith, fasting and prayers in pleading for the timely issuance of missionary visas.
In this issue:
- Recalling Blumenau
- Visa waits
- Called to Serve: Daryl and Ann Hobson; Larry and Kay Brown; Dennis and Alvaretta Thomas; Peter and Betty Brassanini
- From the field: Elder Michael Dyal
- “Noites Gaúchas” and The Brazilian South Mission song
- Stoned in Belo
- New book: “The Construction of the First LDS Chapel in South America: Ipoméia, Brazil”
- David Despain and the FBI
As I assemble this Brasulista it is the 4th of July, exactly 50 years since my first 4th of July in Brazil. Four of us were laboring in Joinville, SC, that year and the eight Elders from our district all traveled by bus from Joinville and Itajaí, to Blumenau, the beautiful German settlement on the Rio Itajaí, where I had been assigned for only one week earlier in the year. “The greatest enthusiasm in the district radiates from Blumenau,” I wrote home, “What a potential that hard-headed city has!” But on that July 4 we were gathering for a holiday dinner at “Mom” Clements home for a meal that would match any Thanksgiving. “Mom” Clements was our member sister from England, now hosting eight Elders for a celebration of the 4th of July! “Dinner at ‘Mom’s’ was fabulous,” I reported. “We had roast beef and pork, mashed potatoes and real American-style gravy. And many other things. Pumpkin pie for dessert—something they don’t eat down here. And cake and brownies.” Sister Clements really went all out for her American missionaries. A very memorable 4th of July, far from home, 1963.
VISA WAITS AND A REASON FOR FAITH, FASTING AND PRAYERS
I understand, though not confirmed, that at the present time there are some 1700 missionaries, young and senior, waiting for visas to enter various countries. There are some 527 missionaries, young and senior, waiting for visas to Brazil. The Missionary Department advises that visas are being processed.
The question I often hear is “Why are visas slow to issue?” I don’t know. There may be multiple reasons. Brazil has been preparing for a visit from Pope Francis later this month to preside at the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth, as well as the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics of 2016, and the country is expecting millions and millions of tourists in the next few years. I am told that the Brazilian consulate at Los Angeles, which covers many of the Western States-- including Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Hawaii, and parts of California--where there are many LDS families, has been very helpful in working with the Church travel department. However, that consulate has not issued a senior missionary visa since August of 2012. There are many people in the US and in Brazil, working toward getting missionary visas issued-- even at the highest level of the Brazilian government and the highest levels of the Church.
The Missionary Department shares this note, “Our recommendation to couples who want to serve a mission in Brazil is to put your papers in and prepare for a long wait. The visas will eventually come. But, if you get a call to Brazil, don’t count on actually reporting to the MTC on your initial report date and, please, don’t sell your home or rent it unless you are prepared to live as homeless vagabonds while waiting for visas.”
A member of the travel department attends the Temple weekly and places this issue on the prayer roll. I will suggest that we former missionaries join our faith, fasting and prayers in pleading for the timely issuance of missionary visas.
As this goes to press: This note from George Anthony (BSM 61-64) on 7/8/13.
Alf: I don't know if you've heard or not, but visas to Brazil recently have been very hard to come by. We first applied last October. There are over 500 missionaries awaiting their visas. About fifteen couples are included. After waiting for 10 months my wife and I just heard from the travel office that my visa has been completed and hers is scheduled for completion tomorrow. We report to the Salt Lake Temple on the 12th of August for three days of training and on the 4th day head for Porto Alegre. We are starting to get excited again. Of the 15 couples I believe we are the first to receive their visas. Luckily our visas were issued through the Houston consulate as we reside in New Mexico. Bro. George Anthony and Sister Joan Anthony of Ramah, NM ( email@example.com)
CALLED TO SERVE
Elder Daryl K. (BM 60-62) and Sister Ann Hobson sent me this in March:
Hi Alf, Thought you might be interested in knowing that our original mission call of August 7, 2012, to serve as temple missionaries in the Recife Brazil Temple was changed March 29, 2013, by the brethren, to the Mozambique Welfare Country Office serving as humanitarian specialists. Continual delays in obtaining our visas played a part in the change, and we were happy to go wherever. We have served in Beira, Mozambique, in 2007 on a short-term assignment from the Church and are very excited to return. This is the same calling your good friend John Dow had and we in fact have heard from him in his capacity with the wheelchair program. In fact he and Marcia may come to Mozambique before the year is out. We are through the first week of our MTC training and entering our second with May 6th as our departure date to the mission field. Elder Daryl K. and Sister Ann Hobson ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Richard and Sandy Tidwell (BM 65-67) Provo, UT, also obtained a change of assignment from Brazil to the Mozambique Maputo Mission as Member Leader Support missionaries to begin on July 22. (email@example.com)
Alf’s note: For more info on Mozambique, read this informative Deseret News article about humanitarian effort in Portuguese-speaking Mozambique. Google “Seeds of Hope: How one American woman is helping Africa help itself”
Larry (BSM 64-66) and Kay Brown of Roy, UT, have received a call to serve in the office of the new Brazil Curitiba South Mission, to begin their mission in October, 2013. The Browns were on our 2012 cruise from Spain to Brazil.
Dennis (BSM 62-64) and Alvaretta Thomas of Salem, UT, were part of the tour of Southern Brazil in April 2013, and will now return to Brazil to serve in the Brazil Curitiba Mission, to report on December 2, 2013. Sister Thomas says Dennis is very excited about this call. Pois é. ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Peter (BM 55-56) and Betty (Norris) (BSM 64-65) Brassanini of Rexburg, ID, who have previously presided over the Brazil Porto Alegre Mission (85-88) and the Porto Alegre Temple (06-09), are called to serve in the Curitiba Temple. “This is the city where we lived for many years and so we are looking forward to going back. We leave for Brazil July 1 and will serve for 23 months.” ( email@example.com)
Alf’s note: I served with Sister Betty Norris in Uruguaiana, RS, in 1964. I don’t recall if I knew that she had a RM waiting for her back in Idaho, but Pedro Brassanini was that RM and they married when she returned from her mission to Brazil and have been serving the Lord together since that time. The Brassanini family of Joinville, SC, had joined the Church in the early 1950’s when contacted on their farm by a young Elder C. Elmo Turner. ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sister Alane and Wayne (BM 66-68) Hale of Chubbuck, ID, received their mission call on July 5. “Here it is, in close to record time, about 12 days from when the Stake President sent our applications in electronically! We have been called to the Brazil MTC in São Paulo, to serve as executive secretary and assistant executive secretary, for 18 months. We are to report to the MTC in Provo on Monday, November 11. Of course, a major question is whether our visas will clear in that time, without additional waiting as is extremely common for those going to Brazil. Brazil is where Wayne served, with over half the time right in São Paulo, a city of only six million or so people then, and only about 21 million now! The new MTC President is Robert Swensen, who I think served in the Brazil South Mission, a bit earlier than when I was in the Brazilian Mission. We are excited, moved even to tears, and hopeful that all our preparations and plans and hopes will play out as needed and anticipated. We are very grateful for expressions of love and support, and faith and prayers in our behalf, thus far as well as during our time away. Love to all, Alane and Wayne (email@example.com)
Robert P. Swensen (BSM 67-69) and Julie Swensen of Salt Lake City, UT, are called to preside over the MTC São Paulo. They previously presided over the Brazil Curitiba Mission (86-89) and Brother Swensen has served as bishop and then President of the Salt lake Canyon Rim Stake since that time. They are very pleased to be able to return to Brazil in this capacity. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
FROM THE FIELD
After sharing 10 recent opportunities taken to share pass along cards and gospel conversations with folks, Elder Michael and Sister Margaret Dyal, serving in the Manaus Temple, recently traveled in Brazil during an annual temple closure. Michael writes:
“I learned in the Army that if I wanted to have more of the Spirit with me, all I needed to do was talk to people about the Church or just attempt to do so. It was wonderful then and is still wonderful now. We know the Church is true and we love doing missionary work. The Lord has blessed us to meet people that seem to be truly interested in His Church and gospel. We feel blessed and humbled to be His servants here in Brazil and in a small way do our best to further his work in these latter days.” ( email@example.com)
FOR THE LOVE OF IPOMÉIA
Brothers Lynn P. Wallace (BM 54-56) and Sheldon R. Murphy (BM 55-58), both PhD’s and former mission presidents in Brazil, have written a book entitled “The Construction of the First LDS Chapel in South America: Ipoméia, Brazil” containing much of the early history of the work in Brazil and featuring many color photos. It may be obtained through Y Mountain Press, 3993 WSCV, Provo, UT 84602, tel. 801-422-4167, with price listed as $19.95. (For those who will point out to me that the first chapel in South America was at Joinville, the book notes that the Church purchased an “existing structure,” a house, in Joinville in 1931 and converted it to a chapel. The authors claim that the Ipoméia building was the first meetinghouse built by Church members as a chapel.)
THE BRAZILIAN SOUTH MISSION SONG
On a request from one of our alumni, Jim Smith (BSM 61-64) of Alpine, UT, formerly a member of the Mormon Melodaires (50 years ago) and retired director of choirs at BYU Hawaii, furnished this information about the original mission song of the Brazilian South Mission, dear to many of us from that era:
Alf and Max, Here are the original lyrics of "Noites Gauchas" as recorded by the Conjunto Farroupilha :
Quanda a noite vem, descendo o luar, com sua luz vai pelo ceu a brilhar,
Sai o gaúcho só cantando a sua toada, segue dolente pensativo pela estrada.
Não tem, não tem noites mais azul, azul, do que as noites do Rio Grande do Sul
Não tem, não tem noites mais azul, azul, do que as noites do Rio Grande do Sul.
Se houve ao longe o folgar do muchirão, a gauchada toda canta uma canção
Desce a garoa como um veu no coração. Todos se appressam pra tomar seu chimarrão.
Não tem, não tem noites mais azul, azul, do que as noites do Rio Grande do Sul
Não tem, não tem noites mais azul, azul, do que as noites do Rio Grande do Sul.
For the Brazilian South Mission Song, verses were added before and in between. Here is the first one. I will send you the others as soon as I find my copy of the mission song.
From the Falls of Iguaçu, to the bay of the Guaiba
We'll remember the crimson sunsets still, down in the south of Brazil.
Also, when the Mormon Melodaires recorded this song in 1962 in São Paulo, we used a version that said, "Não há, não há noites mais azul...." instead of "não tem..." I can't remember why we did that. We modeled our arrangement on the one by the Conjunto Farroupilha.
Thanks Alf for this chance to review old and beloved songs! Jim ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alf’s note: Every version I can find on YouTube uses the “Não há, não há” wording.
MORE ON THE SONG
In our last issue of the Brasulista had a YouTube link to the missionaries of the current Santa Maris Mission singing an upbeat stylized version of the old mission song, which elicited this memory from Roberto Viveiros of Orlando, FL:
Ao escutar essa linda canção ... as saudades aumentaram ... foi em Santa Maria que tive o começo de minha Missão ... os bons momentos voltaram em minha mente ... e pude pelo menos re-ver tudo o que la aconteceu ... e só de pensar que o progresso que tem sido feito é simplesmente deslumbrante ... nosso pequeno ramo era humilde ... e agora está totalmente florecido ... Sim lágrimas cairam, mas não de tristeza, e sim de grande Alegria. Não ha mesmo noite mais azul ...! Elder J.Roberto Viveiros (BSM 66-68) ( email@example.com ) (Roberto and his wife Lucia served a Church history mission at SP, 03-05 and coordinated the Neonatal Reanimation Program in Brazil, and are currently part of a Church history acquisitions project.)
STONED IN BELO
Sister Marilyn Stanley Humpherys (bm 59-61) of Midvale, UT, shares this memory: “Way back in 1959, Sister Audrey Olpin and I were tracking in Belo Horizonte, when all of a sudden a group of small children about six years of age approached us and started throwing rocks at us! When we asked them why, they said that their Priest had told them that we were wicked, and so we were literally being stoned!” ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
ODDS AND ENDS
David Despain (BSM 63-65), my missionary buddy who lives in El Centro, CA, is writing a book of personal memoirs of sorts. He shared this little piece of his long-ago history:
In 1974 when we moved our 12 x 60’ mobile home from San Diego to the vacant lot that became our gas station many people wondered about us. Who we were? Why we had come to El Centro etc.
One day while we were living at and running the gas station, an old missionary friend from the Brazilian South Mission came by. His name was Alf Gunn. He had served in the Mission Home and now he was an FBI agent. We went to lunch at the best little restaurant down the road, called the Valley Café. Their chili size was to die for. Well, it was crowded as usual with farmers, laborers and workmen of all types. Mostly Levis, boots and short sleeve shirts.
Alf was wearing a blue serge suit and white shirt with tie (uniform of the day, I’m sure). We got a lot of stares as we made our way to our booth. I noticed a lot of people glancing at us as we visited and started to eat.
I don’t know what caused it, maybe Alf reached for a napkin from the dispenser on the table, but a shiny silver set of FBI handcuffs slid out of Alf’s pocket onto the slippery plastic booth bench and then crashed to the floor.
The immediate silence was scary as everybody stopped talking/eating and watched Alf bend over, scoop up the cuffs and place them back in his pocket. It was an electric moment. No one commented or said anything and after a moment went back to talking and eating.
For months afterwards I kept hearing local rumors that Sandy and I were here in El Centro hiding out under the government’s Witness Protection Program and that the gas station was just a government front for our cover. ( email@example.com)
Well, enough about me. Um abraço do irmão,
Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65)
Gig Harbor, WA - firstname.lastname@example.org
Um poema modernista:
Erro de português
Quando o português chegou
Debaixo duma bruta chuva
Vestiu o índio
Fosse uma manhã de sol
O índio tinha despido
--Oswald de Andrade (1890-1954)
Note from Alf: Peru!
48 years ago I visited Cusco and Machu Picchu while traveling home from my mission. I loved it and visited the lost city of the Incas twice during one week. As much as I love Brazil, I would admit that if I had to recommend the single most impressive place in South America to visit, it would be Machu Picchu and the mountain people of Peru.
Dick Jensen has given me the opportunity to return and to host a tour to Machu Picchu, Cusco and Lima, and also to the upper Amazon at Iquitos and to Panama. October 23 to November 1, 2013. If you too have dreamed of this kind of Peruvian experience, learn more about this trip at
and then come a join me.