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Cristo300Brasulista #96

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #96
April 3, 2008

Bom dia, queridos irmãos!

In this issue:

See the attached article with photos of Curitiba Pioneers
The Church in Brazil, 1972 and 2008
Messages of love from the field:  Mozambique; Hartford, CT; Chula Vista, CA.
The Brazilian Embassy Web site at 


Brothers and Sisters, Your newsletter guy counts it a rare pleasure to be able to actually attend General Conference in person, but good circumstances will take me there this week.  I am taking my 14-year-old grandson, Michael, who has never seen Utah.  We will see the marvelous film, “Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration.”  We will stay with Brazil Belo Horizonte East Mission alumni Dick and Gaye Beeson, she being my sister, and my father, Alfred G. Gunn, at Orem.  We will crash the Bangerter Reunion.  We will attend Priesthood Session with my M.O. companion, Elder Lawrence Mellor from Globe, AZ.  We will sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Sunday!  Well, we will.  I am giddy with anticipation. 


This attachment and photos have disappeared. If you have the old archived email, then please send them along to


Hi, Alf!  Always enjoy looking through the newsletter!  My son just came home from his mission, and when I speak next Sunday in Sacrament meeting in support of his return, I wanted to compare the Brazil missions in 1972 with 2008 re:  number of missions and number of members and number of temples.  Can you steer me in the right direction for that kind of info?  Thanks,  Sharlene Maeda Furuto, Brazil South, 1973-74. (Dr. Sharlene B.C.L. Furuto, Chairperson, Social Work Department, BYUH, Laie, HI 96762)

Sharlene,  Alfred asked me to respond to your letter.  In 1972 the total membership in Brazil was 41,776 members.  At the beginning of 2007 the membership was 970,903. Remember these are baptized members.  The activity rate my guess is probably around 20%.  In 1972 there were three missions, The Brazil South in the two southern states, the Central in Paraná and São Paulo and a third, the rest of the country.  There are now 28 missions.  The first stake was organized in 1966.  And by the end of 1972 there were four stakes, 2 in São Paulo, one in Curitiba, and one in Rio de Janeiro.  By the beginning of 2007 there were 214 stakes.  The first temple was dedicated in 1978. There are presently four dedicated temples; São Paulo, Campinas, Porto Alegre, and Recife, with the temple in Curitiba to open this spring and one announced temple in Manaus.  If you need more information feel free to ask.  Mark L. Grover, Latin American Studies Bibliographer, 4522 HBLL, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602  (Mark_Grover@BYU.EDU) (Brazil Central Mission 66-68)

Jerry Sparks writes, "When I went into the MTC on September 2, 1972, there were 4 missions in Brazil as of July 1, 1972:  Brazil South, Brazil South Central, Brazil North Central and the Brazil North.  In 1973 these became Port Alegre, São Paulo South, São Paulo North and Rio de Janeiro."

Also, from Elder Stan Ellis at Brazil Area HQ:  “The 12/31/07 stats are 1,017,502 members in 218 stakes and 50 districts, with some 1,800 wards and branches.  We now have 27 missions.”


Item:  John and Marcia Dow (BM 60-63) are back from their second mission, this one only a few months, to Mozambique as Humanitarian Service Missionaries, and this letter to their family reflects their love of the people they served and served with:

“Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008  We have once again come to the end of a wonderful, lovely experience in Mozambique.  To have been able to return and observe some of the work that has been done, to see where we could have done better and make adjustments has been a rich experience.  It has been common for us to say to each other that another return after this would be even greater.  Who knows?  We keep dropping hints to anyone who will listen.  To all who have shared our experiences by email, we hope that you have, as we have, been able to focus a little more on seeing needs and helping out in meaningful ways that build self confidence and self sufficiency.  We have discovered, to our amazement, that there is an enormous world beyond the USA where happiness exists without Shopping Malls, iPods, asphalt streets, etc.  Even though there is happiness, it is mingled with great distress due to insufficient health facilities, clean water and other basic needs.  Even though we are returning home in a few days, we hope we can retain some of the lessons learned and continue to contribute efforts to help the many who are desperately in need.

“This has been a lovely Easter Sunday, attending church meetings in Magoanine, where we said goodbye, one more time, to our dear friends.  After our meetings, we enjoyed a lovely lunch with our good friend, Shiela Vanda.  Her home is lovely.  In fact, it is beautiful. We had a wonderful visit.  Sheila is a 4th year medical student, so we picked her up at the hospital after she spent the day in the surgical center.  At her home we basked in her love and friendship. There are so many people we wish we could bring home with us!!  

“Now we are in the fast lane trying to finish all the tasks on our long to-do list before leaving Mozambique on Tuesday.  Tomorrow will find us in last-minute meetings with our partners and then it will be time to pack a couple suitcases, clean the apartment, organize the office, finish some reports, say more goodbyes, and lock the doors.  We think we'll make it!  It seems much less stressful this time around.  There is still no official word about another couple coming to assume the reins.  We hope that changes soon.

As a follow-up in the dental hygiene program we observed some classroom activities at the same school where we watched the teachers being taught a few weeks ago.  It was fun. The teachers are making a concerted effort to teach good things and the students are having fun with the song and skit.  Even though they don't have any way to play the  CD to learn the tune, they all sing at the top of their voices and have a great time.  They were very proud to show us their toothbrushes and to respond to the questions of when and how long to brush.  We are humbled by the circumstances of the schools.  They have desks, chairs and a chalkboard, a teacher, AND students who have a tremendous desires to learn.  They are great!  So eager, cheerful, full of enthusiasm and interested in the visitors from the USA.  We had a wonderful time.

“We also report that the chickens continue to lay eggs (about 6,000 a day) and we will tell them goodbye tomorrow as we meet one last time to review their goals and progress (wonder what the chickens will have to say!)  We see change for good each week.  We've been eating lots of eggs and they are very tasty!

“Once again, we have mixed emotions about leaving Mozambique.  The draw to home is strong and our hearts are aching for family and friends.  We will miss many things about this great humanitarian service and the people who make it so rewarding.  We hope that someday we will be able to return and renew friendships.  Sending love,  Marcia & John” (


Item: This comes from Elder Ellis Rail (BM 61-64) and Sister Paula Rail of Fontana, CA, currently serving as “office missionaries” in the Connecticut Hartford Mission.  Ellis speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish, I understand, is a veteran of the US Navy:

“A couple of days ago we had someone from home ask us if we are having success?  To some people it may appear that we are not successful in teaching people and seeing people that we work with be baptized. Each week we report to our District Leader, an Elder with the responsibility of 6-10 missionaries, the activity we have done for the week as far as proselyting goes and our numbers are always low. Many of the things we accomplish do not show up on any report.  Most of the work we do is behind the scenes you might say.  We support the younger missionaries in our area by bringing people to church and activities.  They cannot do that.  We fellowship people they teach and keep in contact with those that have been baptized.  We take recent converts to the temple--the younger missionaries can not do that.  We work with less active members and teach them the gospel again.  In the office we support missionaries by solving some of their problems with phones, financial funds, gas cards, and apartment needs.  We give them referrals to help with the finding of people to teach.  We supply them things to teach with--pamphlets, copies of the Book of Mormon, Bibles, and DVD's in various languages.  We communicate with other missions when a referral comes from another mission or one of our investigator moves to another mission area.  We communicate with parents if we need to if there is a problem we can help with.  We are there if they can not reach the President.  We at times help with medical billing issues.  We train them in areas of our responsibility and help them to be successful in what they are doing. We submit baptismal records and without that a person does not become an official member of the Church if their record has not been transmitted to Salt Lake.  We answer questions to people who call into the office and want to know more about the church.  We have given all our money, time, talents, and skills and left our home to do the work of the Lord and that is what we agreed to do. Are we successful?-Yes,   D&C 123:15 "Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things." or D&C 64 :33  Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.  And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.  Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land...."  We may not know what successes we are having now but, the Lord sees our efforts and that is what really counts.
Love to all Elder and Sister Rail    (”

Item: On Sun, 16 Mar 2008 Elder Eric Scholer (Br Porto Alegre Msn 74-76) writes:  “Hi Alf,This newsletter is a great connection for me to my old mission days in Porto Alegre.  In fact, it had a hand in inspiring me to go back to Brasil last week.  I went to the new beautiful temple at Porto Alegre, was warmly greeted and was in awe that it even existed.  It was a hard mission in 74-76 but look what hard work and not giving up will do!   It was terrific to see the new generation of elders taking hold and making great things happen.  Very inspiring.  Keep up this good work of keeping the newsletter going-it connects us all as a fraternity of sorts.  I think everyone on this distribution should get the word out to formers comps to get on your mailing list.  My business partner and I are now looking at setting up an office in São Paulo.  Even he, a non-member, felt something special. Best Regards, Eric Scholer” (

Thanks for the note, Elder Scholer.  Most ex-missionaries from back then know of the whereabouts of one or two of their old companions--usually that is all.  But I like to get names from persons like you and check them against the master list and then try to find them if not already located.  Best wishes,   Alf

Item: I met Bishop David L. Hunt (Brazil Curitiba Msn 86-88) of Chula Vista, CA, while visiting his ward on a couple of Sundays in February.  He writes:  “Bro. Gunn, Thank you for sending me these e-mails.  They are wonderful.  Even though I don't qualify as being a missionary before 1975, it's thrilling to read and hear stories about the trailblazers of missionary work in Brazil.  I'd love to keep receiving these noticias if it would be alright.  

“On another note, do you recall the Brazilian sister that was at my ward during your last visit?  Ends up that she is not a member, until tomorrow when she gets baptized.  Turns out that she has been going to church on and off with her husband (who is a member) but never felt comfortable at church or the desire to be baptized.  The week you were there was her first week there also.  I guess she felt right at home and had asked the missionaries to come to her home after church and tomorrow night she's being baptized.  Thank you for making her feel at home in the church.  As you know, we have a number of Portuguese speaking members and I'm sure that helped her feel welcome.  Just thought you'd like to know that the missionary work continues with Brazilians, even outside the borders of Brazil. Thanks again for the newsletters and look forward to seeing you again soon.”


Item: Larry Stamps, reporting from our nation’s capital, says “I think you may find this site interesting:”  

“The Brazilian Embassy is proud to announce the launching of its new website (  The website features information regarding Brazil’s culture, economy, education, energy, environment, foreign policy, press, science, trade, and tourism.  In addition, the site will feature a monthly newsletter that will include a list of cultural activities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and other news from Brazil.  In order to receive monthly updates, please make sure to register to be included in our mailing list at: From now on, the Cultural Update will only be released to registered e-mail users.  To make sure that you will receive it, remember to place our e-mail address on your safe list.”



Trying to keep it short, I am your newsletter guy,

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

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