Alf Gunn BadgeBrasulista #109


Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #109

March 9, 2009


Bom dia, Élders e Sisters! This newsletter is VERY LONG, but please forgive that. I am trying to announce a lot before our upcoming reunion.


In this issue:

Come to the Super Reunion on April 2nd !

New Brazilian Missions lapel pin to go on sale at the reunion – a fundraiser

“Terra da Felicidade” Cruise Tour of Brazil next January

Called to Serve—Fowkes and Leavitts to Recife; Halls to Moscow

Information about the little-known General Temple Patron Assistance Fund

Early members in São Paulo and Campinas recalled by Claudio Martins dos Santos

Links: ‘Brazil photos’ and ‘What I do in my spare time’



Elder Homero Amato of The Seventy will be a featured speaker at a multi-mission reunion on Thursday, April 2, 2009, at a stake center in Bountiful, where we will honor many mission presidents. We will have some incredible guests and lots of time to visit, especially for those who can arrive when things kick off in the Bountiful Central Stake Center at 3 p.m. All Brazilians are also invited, especially from the earlier years. Please bring your pot luck food (assigned below) and there will also be some Brazilian dishes.


Be there for sure for the 6:30 p.m. chapel program—come early. After, there will be “break out” sessions for the various presidencies. There will be some other great surprises. Here is the official scoop from the Deseret News:




All Presidents Pre-1980


Thursday, Apr. 2, 2009, 3:00 p.m.
Event ends at 9:00 PM.


Bountiful Central Stake Center
640 S. 750 East
Bountiful, UT
United States

  1. phone:
     Work phone:

Denis Hawkins
801 641-5022
801 240-6429

  1. phone:
     Work phone:

Alan Hill
801 292-7369
801 309-1737


Brazilian and pot-luck meal from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (we will furnish rice, feijoada, rolls, and guaraná. Attendees A-H bring casseroles, I-Q bring salads, R-Z bring desserts, all for 10 people). Evening program at 6:30 p.m. conducted by David Beck. Individual mission break-out sessions at 7:30 p.m.

Evening program at 6:30 p.m. conducted by David Beck. Individual mission break-out sessions at 7:30 p.m.


For more information about other reunions, see the Deseret News mission reunion announcements.



I have commissioned the creation of a new lapel pin for alumni of the Brazilian missions—all of them—which I hope will be wildly popular so I don’t have a garage full of cute little lapel pins. The design features the Cristo Redentor statue, the gold plates and the words in English “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Brazilian Missions.” The pins will make their debut at the mission reunion, where for a contribution of $5 each you can own one. Or a bunch of them. Proceeds will help pay for future reunions and the miniscule costs of producing the Brasulista. See a picture of the pin attached to this newsletter. The actual pin is even nicer than the artwork.  




What were you going to be doing next January? Making snow angels?


I have to admit I got a little excited when Dick Jensen (Brazil SP South Mission 78-80) came up with a new super trip for our missionary alumni—very different from the past trips we have enjoyed, and very classy. Calendar 15 days beginning January 8, 2010 for this incredible adventure! Here’s it is:


Beginning Friday January 8, 2010, we catch an evening flight to São Paulo, arriving the morning of Saturday the 9th and then travel by scenic motor coach from SP down to Santos to board one of the Costa Cruise Lines elegant cruise ships. The ship will be our accommodations for the next week. It sails for Rio Saturday evening, which is bed time for our weary travelers.  


The Italian cruise line that Dick has booked us on guarantees great Brazilian and Italian cuisine during this cruise, all included in our travel package.


On Sunday, January 10, a motor coach takes us to church in Rio de Janeiro, and afterwards we will do some motor coach touring of Rio de Janeiro, the “Cidade Maravilhosa.”


Next day we are relaxing at sea and will hold a Family Home Evening fireside on board our cruise ship.


Tuesday January 12 we are at Salvador, Bahia, (“Bahia, terra da felicidade” as the song says*) where we will tour this historic port city by guided motor coach.


Wednesday, January 13 we visit the colonial seaport of Ilhéus, tucked in a hidden bay in southern Bahia.


Thursday January 14 we are at sea and will have another fireside.


On the 15th we visit, relax and play at Ilhabela, the largest Brazilian oceanic island and one of the main ecological reserves of the Rain Forest.


The next day is Saturday, January 16, and back on land we will go from Santos to São Paulo and visit the beautiful São Paulo Temple.


Sunday the 17th is church and a fireside with the members at São Paulo.


On Monday the 18th we motor coach to Curitiba, Paraná, one of Brazil’s best organized cities and home to many faithful saints.


On Tuesday the 19th we have the opportunity to attend the newly dedicated Curitiba Temple.


On Wednesday the 20th we motor coach from Curitiba to São Paulo where we will catch our night flight back to the USA.


I don’t know how he does it, but Dick is a magician when it comes to finding great accommodations at very reasonable prices. Dick got incredibly good deals with the cruise line (usually very expensive) because we are going to have a good sized group.


The price is expected to be $2199 per person (inside cabin) plus air taxes and visa fee (plus customary tips). The price is good from many US cities. To make reservations, call Dick Jensen at 801-505-3495.  


Any single sisters who would like to plan to take this trip please let me know so that I may be able to match you with other single sisters to get the dual occupancy room rate (quoted above). We have done this before.


And, as always, you are going to love the people your travel with. Hey, we’re Mormons! And we know how to have fun.


This trip is open to your fellow ward members and relatives who may have not served a mission in Brazil but would love to be traveling with you and doing these kinds of things. Talk to your family and friends about going with you, and make your reservations.

(* The name 'Terra da Felicidad' is my name for this tour for advertising purposes and not one that Dick furnished. It is taken from lyrics of the Ary Barroso song "Na Baixa do Sapateiro," as sung by Caetano Veloso.)  


Called to Serve

Sister Nancy Hale Hall (BSM 63-66) writes: “Alf, The end of October 2008 Elder Larry Gibbons of the 70 called to see if we would consider serving in the Europe East Area Presidency office in Moscow, Russia for 18 months starting March 15. We said yes and received our call January 28. Hyrum will be the executive secretary to the area presidency and I will be his assistant. We are excited for another opportunity to serve. We returned from the Mexico Hermosillo Office/Temple Missions October 2007 and just finished a local one-year service mission at the Lindon Home Storage Center this January. Nancy & Hyrum Hall, Pleasant Grove, Utah (


Note: Sister Hall, one of my favorite Sisters of the BSM, once officially escorted the President of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, during a visit he made to the University of Notre Dame when she worked there.  


Jay Fowkes (BSM 59-62) and his wife Ione, of Coalinga, CA, are called to a Recife Brazil Temple mission, leaving after General Conference in April. He was a branch president at Bagé when Paulo Grahl’s family joined the church. (



Elder George and Annete Leavitt (BSM 64-66) of Madera, CA, are also about to embark on a temple mission to the Recife Brazil Temple. ( George is a retired agricultural professor at the University of California Davis. He has been researching and shares the following interesting information for those of us who are in a position to help others. George writes:


“I was greatly touched after reading Elder Claudio R. M. Costa's article in the Dec 08 Ensign (“Gather to the Temple”) in which he describes members of the church in Brazil who sell homes, cars, work tools or anything of value to raise money to go to the temple.” 


[Note: Another brother who was recently serving in the Recife Temple, wrote:‘I believe there already exists some Church funding at the stake level that helps members attend the temple. The members pay a fixed fee that includes transportation, food and lodging. When the caravans arrive they usually eat in the cafeteria but don't pay, their names are checked off a list. Also, the members on the buses that are robbed on the way to the temple still eat as if they still had sufficient funds.’]


Elder Leavitt continues, “I have come to the conclusion that we in the USA have very little knowledge of the sacrifice of the Saints in some foreign lands who wish to attend the temple. I have researched and found that there is a little known Temple Assistance Patron Fund.” 


Elder Leavitt found this information from LDS Philanthropies: "As the population of the Church continues to expand in the world, there are more and more dedicated saints who live in remote and impoverished locales and lack the means to attend a temple even once in their lifetimes. Therefore, the Church has established the General Temple Patron Assistance Fund to provide financial assistance to those who otherwise could not afford the travel expenses associated with attending a temple and participating in the sacred blessings available only in the House of the Lord.

Although the temples now in operation and those under construction will serve an ever-growing Church membership, many of these sacred edifices are still beyond the reach for thousands of faithful Latter-day Saints. Too many still lack the financial resources to attend the temple, even once in their lifetimes. The General Temple Patron Assistance Fund is designed to help these individuals and families receive their eternal ordinances and blessings.

Having the means to attend the temple—if only once in a lifetime—brings hope and joy to countless saints. Living prohibitive distances from the nearest temple need not prevent worthy members and families from receiving the eternal blessings of salvation that can be received only in the temple."  Source - LDS Philanthropies

Elder Leavitt notes, “I keep asking all I come into contact with if they have ever heard of this fund and absolutely no one has. It is practically unknown, compared to the well known and well-funded Perpetual Education Fund. Even bishops and branch presidents who are in positions to initiate requests may not be aware of its existence. They would make application to the Stake President who then forwards it to the Area Presidency for final approval.  As we come in contact with church leaders who preside over saints in the remote areas of Brazil, we should inform them of this fund, its use and then we need to make sure that there are funds there to assist the saints to attend the temple.


Elder Leavitt learned that members can contribute to the fund on the donation slip by writing ‘Temple Patron Assistance’ in the ‘other’ category. There is no way to designate a particular country, so when you contribute it blesses saints all over the world.


Brothers and Sisters,

Whatever I share here in the way of historical notes will be too little, but I am unable to capture the scope of the lives of the pioneer members and missionaries of Brazil in this newsletter. I hope you will enjoy vignettes that I share in this newsletter. I encourage you to write your own histories and recollections, and be aware that you can submit them to the Church Archives where they will be indexed and available to future generations.  

Historic item: Claudio Martins dos Santos (, was the first Brazilian to be a branch president at São Paulo. Claudio sent me the following very historical account of events of that era, an account which he had written for his children. It mentions many of the early members at São Paulo and Campinas. See the Brasulista blog for photos associated with this item.



By Claudio Martins dos Santos (written for his children)


“With only one-week membership experience in the Church, I could not realize what was happening and what was in store for me to do. Writing this segment of my memoirs, I realize that God knows what He is doing when He selects a person to do His work here on Earth.

In his speech, Mission President Seegmiller asked for help at the Mission Office. He said that the last missionary that was helping him had gone back home due to the Second World War and no more missionaries would be coming to Brazil.

Answering his call for help, I began helping him every night with the mission office work after my regular work at the Light & Power Co. I had to take care of all matters concerning the São Paulo Branch including doing the cleaning of the hall used for the Church activities, on Dos Seminarios Street because there were no others available to help. It was very hard to take care of everything but I was happy to carry on the work.

Before Elder Robert Scott left the Mission he gave me my first music lesson; he wrote on a piece of paper the lines and notes of a complete musical scale, with their respective names. With that lesson I self-learned to play twenty hymns from the hymnbook.

Therefore, furnishing the music during the services was one more way I contributed, besides preparing, blessing and passing the sacrament to the congregation. I treasure that lesson from Elder Scott and still keep that piece of paper until this day.

In my job with Durex at Campinas we worked from seven o'clock in the morning to ten o'clock at night every day including many Sundays and holidays, supervising the installation of the equipment as well as maintenance and security. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed every minute of my work.

As a result, I could not devote as much time to the church in Campinas as I had in São Paulo. However, I concentrated on the music department to organize the Campinas Branch Choir, which was a lot of fun. With exception of Maria Augusta, the pianist, none of us could read music, although our small choir sounded very good.

On several occasions, we received invitations to furnish the music for other branches of the Church. Twice, we furnished the music for posthumous celebrations for our good friends, the Masons in Campinas and Amparo. The climax of the choir was to sing at the Conference when Church President David O. McKay visited Brazil in 1954. The Campinas Choir recorded a Long Play album with singing in Portuguese and in English as a gift to President McKay. When I delivered the LP to him I said: ‘I am sure you have many special recordings in your home but one like this I am also sure you do not have.’ He had a broad smile.

The associations with the Church enriched our lives with tremendous opportunities. It gave us the opportunity to make many excellent friends and some of them were and still are our best ones. To name just a few dear ones, I mention Oscar and Flavia Erbolato. It is difficult finding words that can express exactly their wonderful qualities. They are like honey to ants, always with someone around them. Anyone that had the opportunity to meet the Erbolator’s understands what I am saying.

Antonio Carlos and Maria Amelia de Camargo are the role models of persistence. Only those that had the privilege to associate with them during the years they spent with their scholastic education in this United States can evaluate their great personalities.

Many thoughts flash in my memory, some happy, some sad and some funny, like this one with Antonio Carlos. When I was testing the candidates to sing with our Campinas choir, Antonio Carlos, as usual always ready to cooperate, offered his talents to the choir. After finding out that he could not carry the tune, I asked him, do you really want to help the choir? He said surely. I told him the best he could do to help was to be a good listener.

Alfredo and Clarice Lima Vaz: we admired Alfredinho, as everybody called him, for his brilliant oratory. It was and still is lots of fun to be around him because of his natural ways. Always full of life, he puts his soul into every thing he does. I remember the incident between him and me at the choir practice when we were rehearsing the program for President McKay. I used to be very strict with the discipline during choir rehearsing and perhaps I exaggerated at times. That night I think Alfredinho came already upset with something. As usual, we had the prayer before starting the practice. If I remember it right, immediately after the prayer and before I said anything, Alfredinho said, very harshly, that he did not want to hear any recriminations.

Alfredinho really hit on the right spot of my ego. I told him if he repeats that "insult" I would throw him through the window. Quickly half the choir members grabbed him and the other half took a hold of me. Obviously, the rehearsing was over, at least for that day. Fred, we call him for short, quit the choir. It was sad. I do not think it was only the devils’ work; I take responsibility and acknowledge my faults. Fred and I kept a distance for some time, until the day we were at President's McKay conference. When I entered the conference hall I saw where Fred was sitting. I took a seat at his side. The spirit of the occasion touched us. Without looking at him, I took his hand. It did work, we forgave each other, but neither he nor I ever brought up the subject, and we are forever friends. When I recollect that incident I have a good laugh.

Remo Roselli: I could not forgive him for taking Welster for a ride on his bicycle, because Welster hurt his foot on the wheel. Poor Remo, he was shook-up.

I remember how I enjoyed hearing Remo singing, “Don’t fence me in.” He was an inspiration. He amazed all of us with his ability and efficiency to do simultaneous translation from English to Portuguese.

Rubens Pellegrine: how could I forget him? He was my first Counselor at the São Paulo Branch Presidency. He was and still is a humble man. It was a privilege to associate with him, not only at Church but also at work with the 3M Company.

Everbody enjoyed the Carmona family, and especially Dona Maria. She was a real missionary and a pioneer in her own way. All of us considered her as the foundation of the Campinas Branch. I remember those New Year’s celebrations with delicious dinners prepared by the Church sisters. I can almost see Dona Maria Carmona all around, busy back and forth, very energetic, always encouraging everybody. She was an admirable person.

Of course, I remember Maria Augusta very well. I had just moved to Campinas to start working for Durex but Mary and the children were still in São Paulo. The first time I saw Maria Augusta was at Mutual. Before the program had started, I was sitting all alone in the room; no one had arrived yet. Maria Augusta entered and sat right at my side. Alfredinho, peeping from behind the stage curtain, saw us. He came to the open and loudly told Maria Augusta --seemingly as a warning – who I was -- adding that I was Mary’s husband. The incident was funny and gratifying to me…

Clodomiro and his wife and family were precious. I remember helping them when they came for their temple work in the Salt Lake City Temple. 

Another I remember well is Laurindo; the personification of simplicity is one of his virtues. When we were leaving Brazil to move to the States, he cried when we told him good-bye. He asked me to write him a letter, and added, that no one ever wrote him a letter. Yes, I wrote him a letter. 

Irmão Martins is another example of humility, service, and dedication.

How could I forget Orlando Caverni, he was a member of the Campinas Branch Choir. Cheering is one of his characteristics. He seems to be always happy. We enjoyed having him with us for a while when he first came to the States. He did enjoy going with us on a trip to Yellowstone Park.

One remarkable family was the Angelo Buzanelly family with Dona Maria and their gorgeous daughter Mariluci. It is always in my memory the happy days we enjoyed with their company in the States. Years later Mariluci with husband Fel Nery and their boys Andre and Marcus, now a medical doctor lived with us for a while.

There were other families and single members of the Church. I remember their faces but not their names, because my association was mostly with the choir members. The Church in Brazil then had only around five hundred members. Today we, the Brazilian pioneers are lost among the crowd; at least this is the way I feel when I am at Church in Brazil.”


Brother Martins mentioned Oscar and Flavia Erbolato who attracted friends like ants to honey. Oscar passed away just last June at Provo, UT. If you wish, read his eulogy at


His wife, Flavia, who passed away in 1998, was one of the first six converts in Campinas, baptized by Elder Norton Dean Nixon (BM 36-39) who passed away in 2000. Elder Nixon was one of the pre-WWII missionaries who served in the Army in Europe and Japan after his mission and later served a senior couple mission with his wife Julia. President Faust lauded Elder Nixon for bringing the gospel to Flavia’s Garcia Erbolato’s family, noting the fruits of that labor.


Brother Martins mentioned Elder Robert Scott (BM 41-43), who gave him his first music lesson before leaving the mission. Elder Scott, together with Lee R. Anderson of Pasco, WA and Finn B. Paulsen (deceased) opened Campinas, SP, to the work before WWII. Elder Scott lives in Salt Lake today. He and his wife Lillian served a mission together in Lisbon Portugal in 85-87. She passed away last August. Elder Scott still enjoys doing some Portuguese translation work for the Church, keeps in touch with Elder Anderson and enjoys reading the Brasulista. (


Item: For a really fine collection of photos of Brazil, see this site:


What I do in my spare time:




Alf Gunn  Gig Harbor, WA 253-851-1099


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