Alf Gunn BadgeBrasulista #118


Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #118

October 23, 2009


In this issue:

New temple for Fortaleza, Ceará

Olympics 2016 for Rio de Janeiro

Serving in Maceió, Alagoas

“You baptized my grandmother!”

Tips for keeping up the language and love of Brazil

Called to Serve

Two book reviews

Finding missionaries for members



We were happy to hear President Thomas S. Monson announce that Fortaleza, Brazil, will be one of five cities where new temples will be built.


From what I saw, the whole country of Brazil was overjoyed at the announcement that Rio will host the 2016 Olympic Games. How will this impact you, brothers and sisters? You may be feeling happy for the people of Brazil as I am, particularly the saints. I expect this will be a blessing for the Church. I hope it eases up the issuing of visas.


“Tudo se transforma em alvorada nesta cidade que se abre para o Amanã.”

           --Juscelino Kubitschek, ex-president of Brazil and founder of Brasília.

This year and next, I figure, Brasília will be celebrating 50 years since it was founded in 1960. Who can share with me what observations and celebrations are happening?


Mission blog is full of smiles

Here is a note and link to a great mission blog from Elder Lamar Hansen (BSM 60-63) from Centerville, UT, currently serving with his wife Elaine in Maceió, Alagoas, up under the hump on Brazil’s coast. “Dear Alf, Just a quick note from Marvelous Maceió!! My companion and I hate to even think about having to leave, but our mission will end in January, 2010. Our experience here has been wonderful. Every day brings something new and exciting. We wish we could tell you all about the people, places and growth of the Church here – but there is not enough time to do that. We have albums full of pictures and journals full of commentary for our lembranças. But our Mission President, Gary Beynon and his wife, Robyn, have been working with our great office missionaries in developing a mission blog. It is now operational and this will capture some of the excitement that happens daily here in the mission. For those interested in following the events of the mission, you can view it at:

                                 for Portuguese     and

                       for English.

The mission president would love to have another couple to work here in the mission office when we leave. We have been treated like royalty here by President and Sister Beynon and by all the missionaries – who have become like our sons and daughters. Anyone interested in the possibility of serving here in the office please drop us an e-mail for more details.

Um Abraço para todos. Elder and Sister Hansen (


Note: The Brasulista encourages senior service and will be pleased to publicize any other current mission blogs from Portuguese-speaking countries and missions.


Tender Mercies

A personal note from Alf: Marci and I drove to Orem to visit my elderly father and my sister, Gaye and Dick Beeson, and to attend General Conference. I love attending General Conference, in part for the opportunity to meet many Brazilians who are visiting. When we arrived at Orem, Gaye and Dick had just been given two tickets to the next-day’s Utah State at BYU football game by their stake president as a thank-you gift, which they gave to us, knowing that I am true blue and was really hoping to go to the game.


On game day Marci and I were walking down University Parkway to Lavell Edwards Stadium when we passed two Sister missionaries walking up the sidewalk with an investigator. I said, “Hi, Sisters,” and one turned to me and said, “I know you, don’t I! You are Elder Gunn aren’t you?!” I said yes and looked at her name tag: “Sister Küster” and knew immediately who she was and almost gave her an abraço on the spot, before remembering she was a Sister. “You baptized my grandmother!” she said. This was Sister Barbara Küster from Londrina, PR, speaking perfect English.


When Elder Douglas Marker and I baptized Teodozia Blanski and her family in Apucarana, PR, in 1963, Sister Küster’s mother, little blonde Eva Blanski, was about five years old. I had visited the Küster family in 2004 while spending an Easter weekend visiting Sister Blanski, by then a widow and pillar of the church, in Apucarana. Hundreds of missionaries were fed by this wonderful sister. Eva and her sister Dora, of Curitiba at that time, both spoke excellent English as a result of their faithful membership in the Church.


Sister Barbara Küster, a beautiful young woman, is serving in the Utah Provo Mission at BYU and I was amazed that she could recognize my old face in a crowd in Provo. She said that her brother Leonardo is currently serving in the João Pessoa Mission too. (An older brother, Guilherme, served some years ago.) She declared to her companion and the investigator that I had baptized her grandmother, and she expressed her gratitude and told me that I was the reason she was here (because Elder Marker and I had taught her family). I told her that made me very happy. She produced a camera and her companion took a picture of her with Marci and me. As any of you can imagine, I recognized one more tender mercy of the Lord and one more blessing of a mission served long ago.


Before leaving Utah I was able to meet with Carlos and Vivian Blanski at Midvale and Dora Blanski Collins, who was visiting from Illinois, so this was quite a nice reunion for me.


(Request: Does anyone know the whereabouts of Joseph Brent White, who was known as “Elder Zé Branco” in the Brazilian South Mission c.1967 and who baptized Eva Blanski? I can’t find him.)


A few tips previously mentioned on these pages, but worth mentioning again:


Do you enjoy keeping your ability to read and speak Portuguese, as I do? For $10 per year you can receive A Liahona magazine in Portuguese. I am trying to improve my Spanish too (which really makes me appreciate Portuguese) so I also subscribe to Liahona in Spanish. I receive the Liahonas a week to ten days before the Ensign and New Era arrive in my mailbox, except the General Conference issues, which come about the same time. May and November issues are a page-by-page exact replica of the Ensign issue, which helps my study. Subscribe by contacting Church Magazines.


Would you like to listen to Bossa Nova and other Brazilian music while sitting at your computer? Go to and click on the play icon called “The Sounds of Brazil” webcast channel. In a minute you will be streaming samba sounds with an English speaking announcer. Explore the site for other possibilities. For this it helps to have external speakers connected to your computer.


Would you like to read today's headlines in various Brazilian cities?  Go to Newseum or then click on South America and point the cursor to your favorite city.  Incredible! Then you can look up more by Googling the name of the paper.


Called to Serve

“Alf- My wife and I have been called to serve in the Lubbock Texas Family Records Preservation Mission.  We are "filming" records at the Eastland Texas County Courthouse using digital cameras.  I served in the Brazilian Mission from Sept 1961 to March 1964, in Rio Claro, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Jay & Marlene Omerza of Mesa AZ”


Bryce Jeppsen (BM 65-67) writes: “My wife and I have been called to serve in the São Paulo North Mission. We will be working with the Fundo Perpétuo do Educação. We are quite excited about this opportunity and are working hard to learn

Portuguese. In my case it is re-learn because I served in the Brazilian Mission from 1965 to 1967. That is about 44 years ago and it is a struggle to relearn this beautiful language. Could you include us in your Brasulista newsletter. Thanks,

Bryce Jeppsen (


“Hello Alf, If you find this newsworthy, you may want to report that I, Richard Armstrong, along with my wife, Kate, are now serving in Beijing. It is not technically a mission, but it is very similar. We will be teaching English at the China Women's University, for meager pay. We are not part of the BYU Kennedy Center China Teacher Program, but the application we gave to BYU was forwarded upon request to this university in China, which then chose to hire us. We will stay one or two years with them. If we didn't come here, we were seriously considering seeking to serve a mission in Mozambique-Angola, as I worked before in Angola on contract in 2001, and there I rejuvenated my rusty Portuguese back up to fluency. But instead we came to China to serve. If any readers want to be included in our reports that share our China adventure and learning experience, they merely need to email me at to say so. Thanks for keeping us informed about our Brasil mission interests. Richard Armstrong (BSM 68-70) recently of Taylorsville, UT”

Two Book Reviews

I am reading Carma Sirrine’s great little book called "10 Secrets For A Happy Marriage," and it is so good. Besides being good counsel for me, it would make a fine gift to couples who are engaged to marry as it is full of tips that would be good to know while planning an eternal marriage. I give this book two thumbs up. Here is a note from the author:


“Thank you for the e-mails we receive periodically about Brazil. My husband Gordon G. Sirrine was on a mission to Brazil from 1954 to 1956 under President Sorensen.  We attend their reunion every time—for fifty some years now. I have a great request to make of you if it is possible. I have a book out at Deseret Book, Seagull Book and many other small bookstores around the country.  I am not well known with no PhD or other great credentials but do have a book needed by all people to improve their marriage or relationships with other people. I contacted many friends and received about ninety stories about how they achieved a happy marriage. These are divided into ten chapters each having to do with a different aspect of marriage. Several Brazilian missionaries contributed to this book as well as ones from our Philippine mission and people from all walks of life. The name of the book is "10 Secrets For A Happy Marriage."  It is 111 pages long, costs $9.99 plus tax at the bookstores. It is affordable and each story can be read at a separate reading or as some have said, they read it all in one sitting it was so good. David Richardson (BM 53-56) is a great fan of the book and you know him well. Carma B. Sirrine”  (


Here’s another: I read the fascinating book, Hearts of Courage, which is a first rate adventure of the true kind, written by John Tippets, the son of the Mormon man who lived through the adventure and saved others. “January 1943, Southeast Alaska, a small plane with six passengers goes down in extreme weather. This book recounts the story from the perspective of one of the passengers, Joseph Tippets, an employee of the Civil Aeronautics Administration and the first LDS branch president in Anchorage, and tells of his wife’s tremendous faith.” Look for it at Deseret Book and other such outlets.


Finding missionaries for members

Brother R. Alan Mayfield (BM 67-69), Food Scientist with Welfare Services QA at Salt Lake City, wrote: “Alf, A Brazilian member of the Church that lives in our ward would like to know about the missionaries that baptized him and his wife in October 1969 at São Paulo. He remembered their names as Elder Rodney Dean from Granger, UT and Elder Stevenson from Sacramento, CA. Do you have any information on either Elder? Brother Roberto Ribeiro da Silva would kindly like to contact them if they would not mind. Thanks, Alan (


Alan, I love to help with these requests. The following missionaries served at the right time. I don't seem to have a Stevenson, but these are probably the right ones:


Dean, Rodney and Sally 67-69 SLC, UT 

Michael B. Stephenson and Penny BM 68-70 Provo, UT


I am sending copies of your inquiry to them. Feel free to call them. Tchau,  Alf Gunn


Elders Dean and Stephenson were pleased to be able to speak to each other for the first time in 40 years or so and to make contact with Brother Silva.


Note: If you would like to contact a former companion or mission associate, please feel free to inquire of me if I have located them.



Larry Stamps had occasion to look up some interesting youtube articles and links about Curitiba, Paraná, a city dear to the heart of many of us who served there. He shared them with me and I share them with you:


City Of Dreams - Brazil


Curitiba: Ready for the FIFA World Cup 2014


Forte abraços,


Alf Gunn

Gig Harbor, WA






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