Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #93
December 4, 2007
Bom dia, Elderes eSisters! This Brasulista is 9 pages long. The attachments and first two pages are exciting news and links to marvelous things in Brazil. The last 7 pages are all about the recent trip to Brazil as shared by participants.
In this issue:
BAND TV in Brazil broadcasts a series of five programs about the Mormons
DON’T MISS THESE! http://br.youtube.com/profile?user=pannun Click on Mormons.
Brazilian Senate honors the Church (See the two attachments)
LDS Home Front Series to air in Brazil
Brazil Porto Alegre Mission Reunion Tour for Brassanini Missionaries and any others
Called to Serve: Calls to Maputo, Mozambique, Santa Maria, RS, and Brooklyn, NY
Experiences of our 2007 Brazil Tour travelers
BAND TV IN BRAZIL
BAND TV in Brazil broadcasts a series of five programs about the Mormons
David L. Beck (BM 72-74), former president of the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission (96-99) shares his excitement about the beautiful portrayal of the Church on Brazilian national TV: “Alf, We had an incredible trip to Brazil last week. We arrived home yesterday. There is a lot to share about the Senate Solemn Session on Thursday that honored 80 years of missionaries in Brazil. I think everyone will be interested in what the six senators that spoke had to say about the church. (See the attachments and note below)
Also, the BAND TV reports are having a huge impact. People are approaching missionaries on the street and asking to join the church. Have you seen the reports?
(DON’T MISS THESE: Go to http://br.youtube.com/profile?user=pannun Click on “Mormons” to bring up the five broadcasts. -- Alf)
“It is an amazing time in Brazil. I never dreamedto see and hear what I saw and heard last week. Um abraço, David”
CHURCH RECOGNIZED IN BRAZILIAN SENATE
Attached is a copy of the Journal do Senado, which is distributed to all National Congressmen and Senators and their offices. See the last page for a report of the honors afforded the Church in the Brazilian Senate Solemn Session on November 22 that honored 80 years of missionaries in Brazil. (Thanks to Fernando Assis, Assuntos Públicos, A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias at São Paulo, for this info. See also www.saladeimprensa-sud.org.br and www.maosqueajudam.org.br)
Also attached, as part of this homage, is a touching audio tribute to the Church by Brazilian Senator Romeu Tuma in the language we love, in which he mentions his LDS collegue,, former Senator Moroni Torgan. It is a very pleasant listen.
This event was also reported at www.lds.com in the Newsroom link.
LDS HOME FRONT SERIES TO AIR IN BRAZIL
Reese Able (BSM 71-73) of American Fork, UT, advises us that the Church's Home Front Series of public service commercials were recently filmed in the São Paulo area for broadcast on Brazilian television beginning next year. One of the Brazilian television networks wanted to have them available in Portuguese, using Brazilian actors and filmed in Brazil. So the Church had a team of individuals who were in Brazil during September for setup and October for filming, working with a Brazilian production company. Think of what that signifies for the growth of the Church in Brazil!! On a personal note, my son went with this group to Brazil to produce the Home Front commercials!! (email@example.com)
BRAZIL PORTO ALEGRE MISSION REUNION TOUR FOR BRASSANINI MISSIONARIES
Alf, Here is an announcement of the upcoming tour to Brazil May 1 through May 9, 2008, for those interested in visiting Porto Alegre (including a day at tourist destinations Gramado & Canela), Rio de Janeiro, and Iguassu Falls.
This should be of special interest to, but not limited to, returned missionaries from 1985-1988 serving under President Pedro Brassanini. The Brassanini’s are currently presiding at the Porto Alegre Temple. Thank you for announcing this in the Brasulista to all your readers. All are welcome. Any questions, contact John Purnell, (208) 283-8788 cell, or
CALLED TO SERVE
From Elder Jack Paradise (BSM 61-64) of Salt Lake City: “Hello Alf, On November 23, my wife Paula and I received our calls to serve. We are going to the Mozambique Maputo Mission. We get to spend one week at the Provo MTC, beginning January 7. Then we are off to Africa. Jack Paradise” (JLParadise@gmail.com) Sister Paradise has been serving a part-time mission in the Family History Library since 2002. Big congratulations to Elder and Sister Paradise!
From Sister Velda Womack Sharp (BM 64-66) and her husband Dean, of Preston, ID, have been called to serve in the Brazil Santa Maria Mission, entering the MTC Provo on February 18. “We are really excited, or at least I am, to be returning to Brazil,” writes Velda. “We are studying the language via tutors by phone and computer program. Each day the language seems to be coming back.” She is excited to share the news with her first MTC companion, Sister Betty Carol (Norris) Brassanini, who is Matron of the Porto Alegre Temple. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Congratulations to the Sharps on their mission call!
Elder Lin (BSM 61-62) and Sister Sharon de Paula (CTM SP 03-06) have received a mission call to serve for one year in the New York, New York South mission. “Our primary assignment is to labor with the Church Education System in Brooklyn, New York. We will report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah on Monday December 31, 2007. We are beyond excited...and grateful to be able to serve another mission!
Love, the de Paulas”(email@example.com)
HIGHLIGHTS - BRAZIL TOUR 2007
Ever wonder what it would be like to go back to Brazil, either as a tourist or as a senior missionary? Well, 70 of us had the opportunity to do that and I am going to share some of the experiences and impressions that I have gleaned from comments of the travelers. One thing I notice when I am in Brazil is that when I speak Portuguese what comes out of my mouth is often the gospel message—it is still a joy to share this with these good people. Many of our group did the same thing. Here is our report:
At Florianópolis, SC, Stake President Adalton Parrela (BPA 78-80) joined the group at breakfast at our hotel and got some of the group to sing the old Brazilian South Mission song (see the attached), and spoke to the group. Elder Cloyd Barton Gatrell (BSM 68-70) of Pennsylvania wrote to Presidente Parrela the following in very good Portuguese, but I share it with you in English:
“Dear President Parrela, when you spoke to us at the Hotel Porto Inglêses on November 10 you related the story of your family since baptism, in relation to the growth of the Church. You thanked us and said, “Each one of you planted those seeds.” Your words touched me but I never imagined that they would soon turn into reality in my life. On November 11 we were in Curitiba, where I served as a missionary in 1968. I attended Sunday meetings in the chapel on Avenida Iguaçu 1460. The bishopric member conducting announced that the opening hymn would be directed by Irmão Antonio Kogiaridis. I was one of the missionaries who baptized him almost 40 years ago. We had a wonderful reunion. My wife and I spent an unforgettable afternoon with the Kogiaridis family. Brother Antonio called his married children and they all came to meet us. He told many stories about his service as bishop (four times) and as a missionary couple in Greece. I learned that his son, Dimitrios, is currently President of the Estaca Curitiba Iguaçu, and the husbands of his two daughters also have served as bishops. As we conversed, I mentioned the name of my last missionary companion, Casemiro Antunes Gomes. Brother Antonio exclaimed that he knew him, and that he had freed him from prison during the dictatorship period. When I was reunited with Brother Gomes on November 12, he bore testimony that it was not “coincidence” that Brother Antonio was building furniture for a colonel in the Judicial Secretariat at that very time. Brother Antonio was able to speak to the colonel. Soon after, Brother Gomes was freed. As you know, he went on to be Stake President and currently serves as Patriarch. All of this I learned only one day after your words of thanks and encouragement. The experience profoundly strengthened my testimony. As my wife said when we listened to your words in Florianópolis, "We have to come back as a missionary couple.” Cloyd Barton Gatrell, MD, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA (ps The Kogiaridis family knew me as Elder Barton.)” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alf’s note: I enjoyed a great week in Brazil before the tour began, visiting my brother in Guarujá and São Paulo, including a number of sessions at the beautiful São Paulo Temple and meetings with many folks at the Area Headquarters. More on that in another Brasulista.
Let me explain that your newsletter guy has a job in retirement that puts me on standby and subject to call out to Latin America. After meeting the tour group and enjoying two days at Porto Alegre, I was called away to help with a matter in Mexico. I had to abandon this great group as they boarded the buses to Florianópolis and fun at the beach. Tour guide Dick Jensen (BSPS 80-82) recruited two second-time travelers, Glen Weeks (BSM 65-67) and Larry Stamps (BSM 66-68), to help him assist the group in my place. As I write this, three weeks later, I am still in Mexico. ‘Ay ay ay ay, canta y no llore.’ Anyway, here are more excerpts:
From Rhonda Norton, wife of Don Norton (BSM 64-66) of Provo, UT: “Dear Alf, we missed you but had a wonderful time. Delivering the newborn kits to the new mothers at the hospital in Porto Alegre was a highlight for us. Getting soaked under Iguaçu Falls was a blast. Walking the streets of Rio, climbing to the Cristo Redentor and Sugarloaf on a clear beautiful day was spectacular. Playing in the waves of Copacabana and enjoying the street vendors, giving out Book of Mormons and pass a long cards. Seeing my husband thrill at attending church where he had his first baptism and hearing about the fruits of his labors 41 years ago. Knowing we will probably get called to Brazil when we put in our mission papers in a year and three months. Thanks so much for all your work in our behalf. We loved our traveling companions and Richard Jensen was wonderful! Rhonda Norton”
Sister Diane Quist, wife of Elder David Quist (BSM 60-63) of Tooele, UT, writes: “I'd like to give my impression of the trip from the point of view of a spouse of someone who served in Brazil - I think the people we traveled with and the people who served on missions in Brazil, are the salt of the earth. It's amazing that Brazil has progressed to this point of 27 missions and the 4 --almost 5-- temples and that all began with the missionaries a long time ago. The temple in Curitiba is very beautiful and impressive and will be an amazing tribute to all. Just think - 2 weeks ago we were attending church in Curitiba. I think it would be easy for an American to live in Curitiba.
It was a wonderful trip and I'm glad Dave and I got to go. On Thanksgiving afternoon one of our sons helped Dave show the pictures of the trip via the laptop and a projector. I think they enjoyed the show. They were amazed to see us in the boat at Iguaçu Falls and they were amazed to see how immense the falls are.
From my little perspective of the Brazilian people - I think they are very genuine people. They are not pretentious, but very accommodating and wanting to please. Most of them, even the taxi drivers seemed interested when Dave or anyone else said we were Mormons and that they had been there on missions years ago. No wonder Dave Richardson and his wife gave out so many of the Church's "pass along" cards. People seemed receptive.
I liked our guides very much and once again they seemed very genuine people. If nothing else - they were very nationalistic and gave us a lot of facts about Brazil.
The buses were comfortable (more comfortable than the airplanes) and I was impressed with the hotels. Everywhere we went the public bathrooms were clean - someone was always cleaning. I especially liked getting off and on the plane at Iguaçu. That was a lot of fun to be greeted by the samba bands and to come down the ramp into the airport.
I guess we now have the memories. I wish we had taken pictures of the breakfast buffets. It is hard to describe how much food was offered and how much fruit is available. Thanks for everything. We had a great time and we're glad we got a little acquainted with so many of you. Diane Quist (email@example.com)
Brother Dave Richardson (BM 53-56) enjoyed passing out pass along cards during the whole trip and even on his way home, when he had a long conversation with a retired Presbyterian minister and missionary in Brazil. The Richardson’s stayed over four days with member friends in Campinas, where they were invited to speak at the sacrament meeting they attended. He writes, “I passed out two copies of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese--I gave Dick Jensen’s copy to the father of a family we met in the tram on the way up to Cristo Redentor statue on Corcovado--a Swiss native who married a Brazilian girl, who was traveling in Brazil with their son. I gave Bert Taylor’s copy to the driver of the bus in Rio. It was great seeing David Quist again. He and I served together in the Utah National Guard. It was great fun for all of us seeing his wife, Diane, dance the samba with the lively entertainers on the tram. That had to have taken a lot more courage than passing out Pass Along Cards. We surely love all of our fellow tourists and hope there is someway we can see you all again someday.” Dave and Elva Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alf’s note: Dave, at our last reunion of the early Brazilian Missions the travelers from previous trips found each other and had a mini-reunion of their own. So look forward to the next one.
MORE THAN HIS SHARE OF ADVENTURE
My good friend Glen Weeks (BSM 65-67) went on our 2005 tour with his wife, and returned this time with his son-in-law, J.R. Peterson (Belo Horizonte Msn 98-00). Unfortunately, somehow Glen misplaced his passport at Iguaçu or somewhere. When he tried to fly out of Rio using only his photocopy of his passport he was told he would have to get a new passport before leaving the country. Glen writes to his fellow travelers about his extra four days in Brazil:
“Highlights of Brazil Tour – Being Held Hostage”
To: all those who abandoned me to the authorities in Rio when a groundswell of popular support and a group demonstration should have aroused suspicions that I was worthy to remain with the group.
From: the incarcerated Carioca.
“The yellow bus tour guide was great to take me into the Centro District to the Formula I Hotel (discount hotel at R$96 nightly), located right on Praça Tiradentes and a central hub for city-wide bus service. Friday found me hoofing it to the American Consulate for a new passport and a foot tour of the environs. I was in the heart of musical instrument shopping heaven with a street full of stores featuring DeGeorgio, DeVecico, and Genini guitars that almost tempted me to bring one home (R$220-R$600, depending on Jacaranda or not). I don’t even play the vialão. I did buy a large Xiquere, the hollow gourd shaker with colorful beads all around it that is slapped like a drum and shaken as a rhythm rattle for Carnival beats. That I can play, or just let it look cool in the office. The beach front and shopping express bus (R$2) was 100 yards out the hotel front door, as was the connection bus to the central bus station for out of town travel.
“Saturday I spent the day in Petropolis (R$12 each way). Most don’t know the history of the Portuguese Royal Family of Dom Pedro I that fled to Brazil when Napoleon conquered the Iberian Peninsula. The already established democracy wasn’t about to allow outside politicos anything but exile. In 1807 the royals along with 10,000 Portuguese arrived in Rio only to be dissatisfied with the swampy Babylon, and headed upland to build a tropical Versailles in this small mountain retreat where they built a palace to continue the royal court. Arrive Dom Pedro II, born in Brazil in 1825, to become a beloved statesman. He declared Brazil free of any Portuguese dominion, traveled the world as Brazil’s first real ambassador, even visited SLC to learn of the Mormons and their new religious model and beliefs, and while out of town, had his second wife Princessa Isabella sign away slavery with the stroke of a pen in 1888. The palace and his Brazilian crown jewels are on display for the daily thousands who shuffle from room to room in slippered feet, polishing the floors as they go.
“Up the road a mile from the palace is Quitandinha, equally impressive and a more massive building. I first visited it in 1960 as a tourist when it was a luxury hotel. A civic center today on the ground floor, the 6-7 upper stories are luxury condos. Built outside with the look of a gigantic Swiss chalet of perfect proportions, inside the décor appears to have been done entirely by Wedgewood of England, with pale sky-blue walls adorned through out with white half-relief figures, urns, etc., on walls and ceilings. The marble floor patterns are the best I’ve ever seen in the world. To match in proportion, the reflecting pond in front has to be in excess of 250 acres, with pony and carriage rides around the grounds. “Small garden,” indeed.
“Sunday was filled with one small miracle after another. The church address I had was of the mission home office building, not a chapel. When I ran out of money, the taxi driver dropped me off – exactly one block from the Stake Center where Stake Conference was going on. I spent three hours after the meeting with President and Sister Brinton, getting first hand knowledge of what it’s like running a mission. While dropping off materials to various locations, the President was on the phone while Sis. Brinton took care of Elders suffering a dog bite (Pres. Brinton is a retired MD), and a robbery. An administration to an Elder in the hospital, cash refresher from an ATM for me and return to my hotel in the Centro ended my afternoon of activity with them. I was worn out. I hope their vitamins don’t fail them.
“Oh yes, I did get “the next available Delta flight” after getting my passport. Monday evening brought my excitement to an end. Yes, Alf, I have seen Rio, but would have preferred to be stuck in Curitiba. Great trip.” Glen Weeks (email@example.com)
From Lowell (61-64) and Claudia Johnson: “First, thanks for the e-mails concerning this trip. It has been a marvelous experience, one that we will cherish for a lifetime. Sorry you had to leave so early into the trip, we spoke of you quite often, and wished we could have had some of your insights. Dick was excellent and I think he did remarkably well especially considering the number of people involved and having to deal with 2 busses. The tours of the cities were nice, but the highlights were the firesides and church meetings. Having some of the participants actually be reunited with converts and acquaintances was heartwarming and tearfully exciting.
My wife actually experienced the first "miracle". She has been reunited with a very good friend from 45 years ago through her friend's sister who was on the tour. Thanks for expediting this trip!!!!!!! Lowell and Claudia Johnson” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Frank McCullough (BCentM/BNM 69-71) of Farmington, UT, summarized his highlights this way: “To wrap my arms around Norberto Carlos Lopes and his family, and also the other Lopes family - Maria Graca, Maria Glaucia and Maria Guadalupe (I was only able to visit with three of the five Marias) after 38 years of absence, was heaven on earth. (See the photos) With Heavenly Father’s help, both families were baptized in the coastal town of Santos, Sao Paulo in 1969 and have remained faithful. All have been powerhouses in spreading the gospel throughout Brazil. I love them beyond words. Norberto has served as bishop and was recently released from the São Paulo Temple Presidency. He is also responsible for the landscaping of the São Paulo, Campinas and Curitiba temples. The Marias’ father was a bishop and became the Santos stake president in less than a year of his baptism. The girls have served in many church callings. Guadalupe is married to Sergio Munhoz, the São Paulo Temple recorder for 22 years. And the list goes on.
In another way, nothing was more fun than to once again sit down, after 39 years to-the-month absence, at the same table, in the same little Restaurante Savoy, just off of Praca Tiradentes in Curitiba, on Sunday afternoon with some of you missionaries and your wives. Nothing, I mean nothing, looked any different or tasted any different. It was still the same wonderful Filet Parmegiana that I feasted on most every Sunday afternoon in the spring and early summer of 1968. I had to go back twice that day for the filet to make sure it wasn’t a dream. I even had my shoes shined just outside the door the way I did back then . Thanks to Alf, Dick and others, my wife Marion felt much more relaxed about venturing into the unknown. I suppose I hadn’t done a good enough job of making her feel safe about going. But then the Davis County Health Department, at our little inoculation party, scared her stiff with the big needles, warnings and pictures of bugs and ladrões. That didn’t help. But we finally made it back to the old haunts of Brazil. Thanks to Everyone!
Mike Bradbury (BSM 60-63) of Simi Valley, CA, says, “The food was marvilhosa especially the fruits and breads. Our highlight of the trip was the Porto Alegre Temple session. We look forward to the completion and dedication of the Curitiba Temple. The Church has grown so much since 1963. I also began to think in Portuguese after a week on the tour and still find myself doing the same here at home. We enjoyed our various visits with our tour members. An interesting factoid -- 47 years ago in November 1960 I arrived in Brasil to begin my mission; in November 1961 I was serving in Curitiba, in November 1962 I was serving in Porto Alegre, and in November 2007 Darlene and I visited Porto Alegre and Curitiba. Tchau, Mike and Darlene Bradbury”(email@example.com)
Jeff Pierce (BCentM 68-70) and wife DeAnn Pierce of Glendale, AZ commented: “Attending the temple in Porto Alegre and visiting the new temple site in Curitiba were highlights that touched our hearts and souls. Hard to describe my feelings while attending a temple session with my best friend (and missionary companion) along with his wife (Stu and Joan Hall) who were the witness couple for our morning session. It was an experience we will cherish for the rest of our lives - we "felt" along with you the spirit and growth of the church in Brazil. Thank you all for being there with us.
The Florianopolis fireside with Stake President Adalton Parrella touched our hearts and brought tears to our eyes. The gospel had helped guide him from growing up in a "favela" (slum) to becoming a Stake President and local leader in his community. What a success story on how the restored gospel can have a positive impact in a person's life. As to the Brazilian members, while in Curitiba, a local church member met my wife and volunteered to "translate" for her during Relief Society and Sunday School. They became instant friends, and my wife experienced how loving the Brazilian members are to visitors. DeAnn felt the unity of our faith - even across continents. Sister Arlene Tolson, that same Sunday morning, met with a local family who took her away for the day. The wife, (Arlene Luz Nievola), now a grown woman, was born a year and a half after Sister Tolson was a missionary in Brazil, and had always wanted to meet the missionary after whom she was named. When they met both of them broke down in tears and gave each other huge abraços. It was a very touching moment to witness the love they had for each other, even after the passing of decades.” (JPierce@rmin.riss.net)
Sister Arlene (Albach) Tolson (BM/BSM 57-59) writes, “Dear Alf, I had a great time in Brazil. Barbara Crawley and I got along just fine. Others said we were having too much fun together. She is much more gregarious than I am, and so she was more in the middle of activities and people than I was. The whole trip was wonderful and I have great pictures. Sunday, the 11th, I spent with Marcos Luz' sister, Arlene, and her family. Arlene and I have been writing back and forth on the Internet for 3 years and she and her husband, Sergio Nievola, picked me up at the hotel early before church. Their mother, Edina Luz, met us at the chapel and I was able to visit with them all. After church we went to Arlene's home and had dinner. Then Arlene, Sergio and Edina took me touring. They showed me their old house which had changed very little and took me along the old path I used to walk to visit them. That had been quite rural and now is covered with apartment buildings. It was wonderful to see all of Arlene's family and great to be able to visit with them. Thank you for the opportunity to return to Brazil and visit Edina Luz's family in Curitiba. The whole adventure was great.” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Barbara Crawley boldly came on this tour even though her missionary husband Jim Crawley (BM 51-54) passed away in 1973. This delightful sister has already served a senior mission in Australia (03-05). She writes, “Dear Alf, It was such a pleasure to finally meet you in person and have the opportunity to spend several days with you. The trip was a wonderful experience for me and I found three people in Curitiba who remembered my husband, Jim. One of them lives here in Highland, Utah, and said that he would like a copy of Jim's journal when I finish with the typing and translation of the Portuguese. I feel as if I have made some lifelong friends as a result of the trip. Thanks again for your part in helping me to have such a marvelous experience in Brazil. Barbara Crawley”
“ps While I was in Curitiba, I met Nivea Miranda. She sat by me in sacrament meeting and translated the spoken words so I could understand what was being said. She is a wonderful person. We talked after the meeting and exchanged email addresses. She asked me if I could find the missionary who baptized her in 1972 at Rio. The missionary is Gordon Hall. Do you have him in your database?” (email@example.com)
Answer: Yes, I have Gordon Hall. Last I knew he was a stake president in Tempe, AZ. Give him a call: Hall, Gordon J. and Janis BNM c71-73 Tempe, AZ firstname.lastname@example.org
ps These kinds of connections are happening all the time now. Fun, isn’t it?
Alf Gunn of Gig Harbor, WA - USA * 253-307-3338 * email@example.com * BSM 62-65