Alf Gunn Badge

Cristo300Brasulista #92

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #92
October 8, 2007

Bom dia, queridos colegas!

In this issue:

Called to Serve – Dean and Ieda Packham; Robert A. and Vonnie Baird
Passing of Sister Roberta McKnight Hunt
The Dow’s baptize in Mozambique
See who’s going on the Brazil Tour 2007


Please see some awe inspiring photos of Rio in the attached slide show—the best I have ever seen, and with Bossa Nova accompaniment by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto.

“See Rio before you die”
Lt. Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, British explorer, after harrowing adventures in the backcountry of Bolivia and Peru and Mato Grosso, writing in 1920: “There’s reason in the old saying, ‘See Rio before you die’.  I know of no other place to compare with Rio de Janeiro, and it is my hope to live thee some day—if such good fortune should be mine.  If financial success rewards this exploration work we shall build a family home on the slopes of the mountains overlooking that glorious harbour, so that the dispersed family can forgather there every year at Christmas, and my wife and I can end our days in what must surely be one of the world’s most beautiful situations.  I like the people, too, and if this dream comes true I shall be grateful to be accepted as one of them.  My present work is in their country, and nothing could please me more than to spend the rest of my life in the service of Brazil.”  

(Five years later he disappeared while exploring in Mato Grosso.)  
From Fawcett, Col. P.H., Exploration Fawcett, Phoenix Press, 2001, p. 208.

ADMINISTRATIVE: Remember, if you ever want to inquire about a companion or fellow missionary, you can always email me and ask and I will send you what information I have to help you connect.  


Dean (BSM 64-66) and Ieda Packham of Draper, UT, sang “Called to Serve” and then opened their white envelope from the Office of the First Presidency, something they have been looking forward to for quite a while.  They are called to serve as Public Affairs missionaries in the Brazil Area headquarters at São Paulo and report to the MTC Provo on January 14, 2008.  They are ecstatic.  “We are so happy!  This is exactly the wish of our hearts!”  Elder and Sister Packham share with us two lines of "promise" from the beautiful letters:  "As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ."  And...."The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life.  Greater blessing and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children.”  Ieda (John) returns to the land of her youth.  She has been working as Supervisor of LDS Missionary Travel & Documents for South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean at Church Headquarters.  Parabens, Elder and Sister Packham!  (

This news comes from Robert A. Baird (BM 58-62)  “Dear Alf, This note is just to let you know that my wife Vonnie and I just arrived here in the Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission. We are thrilled and a little apprehensive.  It has been a long time since I was a Missionary in the Brazilian Mission under Presidents Sorenson and Bangerter.  I never got to see the any of the South. São Vicente was as far south as I ever got so we are looking forward to being in PA.  Since your Newsletter reaches so many of the early missionaries, I hoped you might put a short note in it which might reach some of my former companions and invite them to join us as Senior Missionaries in Brazil (or Portugal, or Mozambique, or any other place the Lord would like them to serve).  Muito obrigado,  Elder and Sister Robert A. Baird (


Roberta McKnight Hunt helped translate the Doctrine and Covenants

”Dear Alf, Perhaps those who knew Roberta McKnight Hunt, would like to know she passed last Saturday. She was in Florida with family and had cancer. She was from Americana, and married Jay B. Hunt after he served a mission to Brazil in 41-43. He and Roberta met for the first time at her baptism on April 10, 1941. He left a letter with his mission president asking her to come to the US and marry him. They served in the São Paulo temple as missionaries then went back to be temple workers for awhile. She loved her country of Brazil. She was dedicated to her family and the Church. She had helped with the translation of the Doctrine and Covenants. Jay passed away in 1995.  She will be missed by all who knew her. Sister Ann Moon (62-66, 87-90) wife of Clarence Moon (49-52, 62-66, 87-90) (


Marcia and John Dow (BM 60-63) in Mozambique and Angola

The Dows complete their incredible mission in less than one month and return to Escondido, CA.  Here is a recent report:
“Sunday evening, August 5, 2007.   Dear Family and Friends:  Well, some weeks are great and others are GREAT!  We've just experienced the latter.  As you all know, our mission assignment is to represent the church in humanitarian work and it has been absolutely wonderful.  We've loved everything we've done.  Humanitarian Services is just one arm of the Church's missionary work.  The other arm is the proselyting and preaching.  In the Mozambique Maputo mission, we are the only two humanitarian services missionaries and the other 62 missionaries are those working every day with sharing the message of our religion in a different way than do we.  Together we present the broad mission of our church--our faith in Jesus Christ and his gospel and our love and faith in mankind, especially those who are less fortunate.  It is an awesome experience to be a part of this great work.

“Even though our role is mostly with those not of our faith, we do get to share what we believe--through our actions.   One day about 18 months ago, when we were driving with our 'water man' and good friend, João Matsinhe, he saw a church magazine, The Liahona, in the backseat of our truck.  He expressed interest in reading it and we assured him we'd have one delivered to his home by some of our young missionaries.  When the missionaries took a magazine to their Machava home, they asked if they could return.  Thus began a long, lovely teaching experience with João and his family.  They quickly embraced what they learned and involved the entire family in reading, study, and church attendance.  They needed to get João's identification papers amended to reflect his correct name before they could have their marriage registered with the civil authorities.  It took many months, but last week it was completed and their marriage is now legal in every Mozambican sense.  John and I were honored to stand in as their witnesses.  What a great day.  Margarida looked absolutely beautiful and stunning in her classy suit and João was handsome and so happy!  Normally the photo-taking at such occasions is very somber, but they had plenty of smiles for us and six of the missionaries who have been involved with their teaching and waiting!

“With the necessary marriage papers, João and Margarida were now (finally) ready for baptism.   He and Margarida invited John to perform their baptisms and he was honored to do so.  Elders Reghin and Abdala baptized the children.  I cried.  João, Margarida, Flavio (16), Angelo (14) and Celestina (11) looked happy and beautiful.  They each expressed their testimonies in the meeting after the baptism.  It was thrilling for us to be a part of it.

“So, how is that for GREAT?  It doesn't get any better than that!!  We can honestly say that we have had the BEST of both missionary worlds! “  Sister Marcia Dow (

Here is another quote from a very interesting book I am reading and recommend.  It is a rather stark true account of explorations in the backcountry of Bolivia, Peru and Brazil between 1906 and 1925:  

“All who have lived in these lands, and learned to know them, fall captive to their irresistible charm.  What have not changed are the silent rivers rolling on through the forests of the interior, for to them the passage of a millennium is but a day, and they still shroud behind their impenetrable veil the mysteries of which I write, and the curtain rolls back on scenes utterly removed from the everyday world.  Come with me now, and see for yourself!”  
    Lt. Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, British explorer of the upper Amazon and Mato Grosso.  From Fawcett, Col. P.H., Exploration Fawcett, Phoenix Press, 2001, p. 17.


I would like to share the names here of the happy adventurers--missionaries and spouses and relatives—who are going on our November tour of southern Brazil, including Porto Alegre, Florianópolis, Curitiba, the Foz do Iguaçu and Rio.  If one of your companions is on this trip, you may want to wish him a ‘boa viagem.’

Tour guides:

Best wishes to all,  

Alf Gunn of Gig Harbor, WA - USA * 253-307-3338 *  * BSM 62-65

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
0 Characters
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location