Alf Gunn’s Brasulista
The 2014 Brazil Reunion Tour, April 16-30, 2014. Read all about it and see photos at http://alanmckaytours.com/southamerica/april-2014-central-brazil-mission-reunion-tour/ Tel. 801-917-1131 Book soon – prices will increase after special airfare sale ends
Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #166
October 4, 2013
In this issue:
- Pioneer families of the south of Brazil
A missionary account of a visit to Machu Picchu, 1963
Called to Serve
Jim Anderson wanted to learn about the Mormons
The Construction of the First LDS Chapel in South America
Brazilian Mormon on YouTube
PIONEER FAMILIES OF SOUTHERN BRAZIL
“Grande Alf; Tenho acompanhado as tuas narrativas desde o início, talvez até antes de tu numerar e fiquei muito contente em saber que fazemos parte das tuas histórias. Nossa família é pioneira aqui no Brasil, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. Já somos a quinta geração. Tres geraçöes de missionários. A Família Klein, junto com a Família Aidukaitis, nossos primos, são bem conhecidos no Rio Grande do Sul e agora em Manaus por causa do Presidente Moroni Klein, Presidente da Missão. Mas o que me deixou emocionado foi o relato do irmão Gordon Voorhees, quando visitou o Centro de Visitantes em Salt Lake e lá conversou com minha sobrinha, missionária brasileira, sister Klein. Ela faz parte da terceira geração de missionários. Temos um profundo amor por esta obra aqui no Brasil e creio que já prestamos muitos serviços ao crescimento do Reino de Deus nesta parte do mundo. Tenho acompanhado o relato dos muitos missionários retornados desde a Missão Brasileira, Missão Brasileira do Sul e Missão Brasil Porto Alegre. Boas histórias, bons exemplos. Parabéns por esta tua iniciativa em não deixar as memórias destes heróis se perderem no tempo. Também lembro das minhas histórias quando fui missionário de construção e proseletismo junto com missionários americanos, ensinando-lhes as palestras em Português e ensinando-lhes o idioma, pois na minha época não tinha o Centro de Treinamento de Missionários, nem aqui no Brasil e nem nos Estados Unidos.
Um grande abraço, Hugo Ernesto Klein”
Alf’s note: Estimado Irmão Klein, Eu bem reconheço sua familia, junto com a familia Aidukaitis e algumas outras, como verdadeiro pioneiros da obra no Brasil. Seus nomes são preciosos para mim. Parabens pelas gerações de missionários. Obrigado. Um abraço, Alfred Gunn
TRANLATION VIA GOOGLE - DearBrotherKlein, Iwellrecognizehis family, along withhis familyand some otherAidukaitisastruepioneersof the workinBrazil. Their namesare precious tome.Parabensbygenerations ofmissionaries. Thank you.A hug, AlfredGunn
A MISSIONARY ACCOUNT OF A VISIT TO PERU
How many of you had the rare privilege to visit Peru on the way home from your mission? My friend LaVerl Wilhelm (BSM 61-63) of St. Johns, AZ, who traveled with us on our tour of the six temples of Brazil in 2012, is a fascinating and faith-filled person. Obviously he is a better journal writer or historian than I am, judging from his excellent account below of his first visit to Machu Picchu. I am very pleased that he and Carol will be with us on our Peru tour later this month.
“Alf, since we are going to Machu Picchu together, I thought I would give you my little account of the first time I went in Dec 1963. I loved my mission so much that I asked for an extension. Later, as President Paulsen called me into his office to visit with me about it, he apologized that the First Presidency had turned down my request for extension and not only that, but he was going to cut my mission short by one week. I was quite upset until he told me that the Spirit had impressed on his mind to send me to Machu Picchu on my way home and that to do that and still have me arrive home in time for Christmas Eve with my family, he had used up the last week of my mission for the detour. He said he had already communicated with my parents and they had agreed to provide the $100 it would take to pay for the detour (for comparison, my regular mission cost was $45 a month).
I traveled alone (not sure to this day how that was approved) to see São Paulo for a day, Rio de Janeiro for a couple of days (he had arranged for a member family to show me around) and then on to Lima, Peru. From there I flew to Cuzco where a revolution was in progress. Therefore, the taxi to my hotel was a tarpaulin covered army truck with armed communist soldiers (one stood guard outside my hotel room all night).
“At the ancient fort outside Cuzco, I was overwhelmed with the massive size of the granite stones, some that seemed as big as semi truck trailers that the guide said came from quarries thousands of feet down a canyon. They were perfectly stacked on top of one another (one convex, the other concave) to stand up without any mortar and to be able to withstand the rattling of earthquakes. The most amazing thing is that the stones were not square, but sometimes with as many as seven sides. Even today, we do not have the leverage and carving ability to do that with granite stones that big. I thought to myself, “Without some kind of anti-gravity knowledge, how could they have done all this?”
I was also impressed with the fact that in the town of Cuzco they had a temple of the sun, a temple of the moon and a temple of the stars. And in an ante-room there were 12 niches around in the wall. Our guide said they were probably used as storage lockers for the people who came to participate in the temple rites. They also had what looked like a baptismal font with stairs into it. Our guide said it was a ceremonial washing pool. Another point of interest was a place where you could stand and see doorway after unobstructed doorway through the entire complex. Our guide said this was to emphasize the eternal nature of the work in the temple.
“The next day we descended from Cuzco which is at about 15,000 feet [actually 11,152 ft] in elevation to Machu Picchu which is at about 12,000 feet [actually 7,970 ft]. The train stops at the bottom of the mountain on the edge of the Urubamba River which makes a U turn back around Machu Picchu so that the city is built on the side of an extremely steep mountain that is surrounded on three sides by the River.
“There are 17 bus road switchbacks from the bottom to the top, therefore you can see and appreciate the terraced farm land as you travel upward. In 1963, only part of the ruins had been excavated, but what was there was extremely impressive. It was very similar to the construction work in Cuzco, with huge granite stones piled on top of each other without mortar. On the tape for our mission film strips, the narrator said that the stones are so close together that you can’t even get a knife between them, but my observation was not that they were so close together as that they were curved to fit (convex and concave) and unless the knife could easily bend it would seem that the space was more tight than it really was.
“The guide told us that we had 3 hours to explore on our own and then when we heard the bus honk, we had 10 minutes to return and get on. If we missed the bus, we would have to stay overnight without accommodations and wait for the bus the next day. Because the site had many buildings of much the same construction, I was attracted to a path on the far side that led over to and up the side of Huayna Picchu, a monolithic mountain peak that was another 2,000 feet up [actually about 1,000 feet at 8,920 ft]. I was immediately drawn up the path as if by a magnet. There were a lot of granite steps to go up, but at times the path was muddy and slippery. With the help of many ropes and chains at the side of the path, I was able to make good time.
“Just before the top, the path went through a tunnel that had steps inside. It would have not been too difficult to get through if I could have gotten down on my hands and knees, but I had on a white linen suit I had special made just before I left Brazil. As I emerged from the tunnel, I saw an altar made out of big stones. It was flat on top and had a place to kneel. I knelt without even a fleeting thought for my suit. The top of the mountain was covered in mist and so I felt very private and alone and began to pour my heart out to God in gratitude for all He had given me and especially this once in a life-time experience. I ended by committing myself into his hands for the rest of my life for whatever he needed me to do.
“At that very moment the mist parted and I could feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on the back of my neck. I was crying in gratitude for the affirmation when I heard the bus honk. I looked down in panic at the bus that appeared to be less than an inch in size. I hurried back through the tunnel and scurried back down the mountain and all of a sudden, I realized I was in the bus line with more people behind me—and my suit had no mud stains on the knees or backside! To this day, I don’t know how this could happen, since it had taken me more than an hour to climb the mountain and I distinctly remember on the way down having to sit some times to keep from sliding down.
“Another event occurred on the plane from Lima to LA that increased my testimony of how the Lord can use a simple situation to bring about great things. I was sitting by a man from Bolivia who was curious about our missionary system. We had a little trouble communicating because he only spoke Spanish but he was curious as to why we didn’t have any missionaries in his country. I told him that the Church desired to have missionaries in any country that would allow them. He then confided in me that he was the Minister of Religion for his country and that he was going to see that our missionaries were invited to proselytize in his country.
“I don’t remember how long after I returned home, but it seemed that it was within a few months or so later that I read in the Church News that Bolivia had agreed to allow the Church to send missionaries there.”
CALLED TO SERVE
Sister Nancy (Denhalter) Cropper (BM 66-68) and her husband Leigh, of Murray, UT, write: The next tour sounds wonderful, but once again we won't be going. We have received a mission call as CES Specialists to work at the Institute in Denton, Texas (by the University of North Texas) in the Texas Fort Worth Mission. We will be teaching Institute classes and performing a variety of other duties. We don't go in the MTC until January, but are excited about the call. (Lncropper@juno.com)
My friends Bruce (BSM 64-66) and Michelle Thompson of Murray, UT, write: Alf, because of visa problems we have asked to be re-assigned and have received a call to the West Indies Mission with headquarters at Valsayn, Trinidad. We report to the MTC on Oct 14th. The mission consists of nine island nations and three nations on the South American coast, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guyana. They deal in 11 different currencies. The mission is spread out over 1100 miles of the tropics. There are three major languages spoken, English, French, and Dutch. Our call is for an English speaking area. We don't know which island we will be serving on yet. How would you like to be the Mission President over that kind of variety? No wonder they need senior couples! We may try for Brazil again sometime in the future. Thanks for your efforts on keeping us informed on everything Brazilian. Much love, Bruce and Michelle Thompson (email@example.com)
THE LORD IS IN THE WORK
This next item is not about Brazil, but it is about how the Lord knows where he calls and assigns missionaries, and it is about a personal friend of mine.
Jim Anderson wanted to learn about the Mormons. It was late summer of 1994 and Jim Anderson sat in his hot tub and looked at the stars above his Gig Harbor, Washington, home. The crusty 62-year-old retired businessman counted his blessings, including Sharon, his wife and loving companion of 27 years. But he felt something was missing in his life.
“God,” he said out loud, “It’s time for me to get my life in order.”
That was the way Jim prayed, in his straightforward, retired Marine Corps way. “I want to learn more about the Mormons,” he said.
When he was in his early 20’s, Jim had been impressed by the man his mother had married, an Idaho potato farmer and a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When Jim visited the farm they had talked, and Jim was impressed with the way John lived his religion. Still, life beckoned and Jim was off to serve his country in the Marine Corps.
So now in the hot tub Jim looked heavenward and continued, “But I don’t want to learn from those young boys, God, I want to learn from someone my own age.”
A couple days later, using the phone book, Jim reached an LDS member in nearby Tacoma and explained to her how he had talked to God in the hot tub, and how he wanted to learn about the Church but not from those young boys but from someone his own age. She listened and encouraged him to contact the Tacoma Mission, that someone there would help him.
The next day Jim called the mission office, headquarters for some 170 missionaries that serve in southwestern Washington, and spoke with the receptionist, Sister Gay Kaiser. He explained how he had told God he felt it was time to learn about the Church, but not from those boys but from someone his own age.
Sister Kaiser said he might want to talk to her husband, Elder Kaiser, and made an appointment for the following day.
Gay and Beryl Kaiser were empty-nesters who had accepted a Church call to a service mission in the Washington Tacoma Mission, leaving grandkids and their home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to serve the Lord by helping the young missionaries with their fleet of cars and staffing the mission office.
When Jim arrived early at the mission office the next day, Elder Kaiser was tied up, but Jim was greeted by two young sister missionaries. Soon he was telling them how he had sat in the hot tub and said, “God, I want to learn about the Mormon Church,” and how that brought him to the office that day, but no thanks, he didn’t want to learn from the young sisters, but “from someone my own age.”
Soon Elder Kaiser came and the two men found an office and chatted. Jim told Elder Kaiser his story, about telling God how he wanted to get his life in order, and how he had admired the Idaho Mormon potato farmer and now wanted to learn about the church, but from someone his own age. Elder Kaiser asked, “Well how old are you Jim?”
Soon they were both pulling out their driver’s licenses to prove that, sure enough, they had both been born on the very same day, 62 years earlier.
“I must be careful what I pray for,” said Jim, “for God has answered my prayer.”
Then Elder and Sister Kaiser did something the young missionaries, bless their hearts, rarely have time to do. They visited with the Andersons week after week for long, patient, two-hour discussions about the gospel of Jesus Christ and they shared dinners at each others’ homes. They became dear friends over a period of months.
Jim gained a testimony of the truthfulness of the Church, and was baptized in December of 1994. I became his home teacher, and he told me of his prayer and his conversion. His life was in order and he was square with God when, the following May, a heart attack took him home.
Then Sharon, who had been reluctant to be baptized up until then, asked the Kaiser’s to teach her more, and she too was baptized by Elder Kaiser before the couple finished their mission and returned to Iowa.
There’s a lesson in there somewhere, and I think it may be that God is good, and He knows his children and delights to answer their heartfelt prayers.
ALF’S NOTE: This account was written by me, Alfred Gunn, as told to me by Jim Anderson when I was his home teacher in 1995. The Kaiser’s went on to serve another mission in New Zealand and then to serve in temples at Chicago, IL, and Mesa, AZ, as they wintered in the Southwest. As of September 2013 they are in Cedar Rapids, IA.
HISTORY AND CULTURE NOTES
Book published: This book was compiled by two of the great Brazilian Mission missionaries,
Sheldon L. Murphy (BM 55-58) former President of the Brazil Campinas Mission 86-89, and Lynn Wallace (BM 54-56) who has presided over missions in Maputo, Florianopolis, and Philadelphia. Sheldon writes:
“Lynn Wallace and I have completed the book, 'The Construction of the First LDS Chapel in South America - Ipomeia, SC, Brazil.’ It came off the Press recently.
“The concept had been tossed around for almost a year now. Someone needed to document the remarkable events of the building from quarrying the foundation stones to finally painting and putting the steeple up of the completed chapel. Stories about digging the well, stopping the invasion of black 'cutter' ants, shoring up the road 'cut-away' with stones and visits by two Apostles: Henry D. Moyle and Spencer W. Kimball [members of the First Presidency]. The efforts of Irma Lippelt, baptized in Germany, to receive LDS missionaries to southern Brazil. Faith warming events all needed to be captured before any more of us who were part of the Ipomeia story passed away. Some already have and their libraries of insights and experiences have closed.
“All this is contained now in the book of 118 pages, with over 85 colored and B&W photos. It required 58 years of recall and many phone calls and emails to missionary friends here and in Brazil to put it together. The product is quite acceptable. The Church History Department has asked for a copy.
“Your copy is available by calling BYU Press [Kent Minson] at 801-422-4167or leaving a message. There will be a charge of less that $20, plus handling charges.”
(firstname.lastname@example.org ) (email@example.com)
From Elder Ron Young (BSM 61-64) of Bountiful, UT, who happens to be a HAM radio operator:
It is general knowledge that in the 1890s David Edward Hughes sent a Morse Code signal over a distance of 500 yards without wires. Also, we know that in the years of 1901-1909 Guglielmo Marconi achieved the first transatlantic radio communication. But there was also "Roberto Landell de Moura (1861-1928), a Brazilian scientist and priest who conducted wireless telephony transmissions at a distance of 8 kilometers in São Paulo, Brazil in 1900. He was awarded US patents, including one for a ‘wave transmitter,’ which was the forerunner of today's transceiver." (From "Pioneers of Wireless," by Michael W. Marinaro, for the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) magazine, QST, October 2013, pp 68-71.)
THIS BROTHER KEEPS TIGERS
Okay, here is video of a member of the Church, Ari Borges, in Maringá, PR, Brazil, and his “pets.” This is also your Portuguese comprehension test for the day!
That’s it, folks. Enjoy General Conference.
Um abraço, Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65)
Gig Harbor, WA firstname.lastname@example.org 253-851-1099