Alf Gunn BadgeBrasulista #123


Newsletter of the early Brazilian Missions, #123

March 12, 2010


In this issue:

Church archives looking for journal histories

Report on the 2010 Brazil Tour

São Paulo MTC article in Mormon Times

Called to Serve -- mission calls

Jim and Joan Stevens, a lifetime of service

Now seeking missionaries who served 1980-1985

Pelé on YouTube

Alaska Cruise with the Asael T. Sorensen missionaries

Former Brazilian Missionaries on Motorcycles

Perhaps the best mission in the Church?

Super-reunion fund grows with lapel pin sales

Ride the Courage Classic Bicycle Tour with Alf Gunn


Let’s face it—we’re history!

The Church History Library in Salt Lake City would like to acquire or copy missionary journals that pertain to how the Church began and grew in Brazil. The Library preserves journals, either donated or loaned to them to copy. Those who would like to participate may contact Elder Ron Young at who is serving an ongoing mission in the archives.


Brazil Tour Commentary

Richard (BM 65-67) and Sandy Tidwell of Provo, UT, were part of our group of 50 adventurers who toured Brazil in January. It was a great bunch of people. We had some fine experiences and the note here from the Tidwells captures much of it. They were kind enough not to mention a tour bus whose air conditioning mostly failed, reminding us that things are not always perfect.


“Dear Alf, We thank you for your part in making it a great trip to Brazil for us in January! When Sandy first heard of the trip, she enthusiastically said we ought to go. We had been looking for a trip to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, and since I returned from my mission in 1967 I had wanted to return to Brazil. I was able to share Brazil with Sandy in a unique way that combined Brazil, beaches, church, temples, mission, cruise, new places to visit for both of us, and much more. We very much enjoyed traveling with a group with whom we had so much in common. After a few days it seemed like we had known those in the group forever. Thanks for your adding so much to the trip by planning the firesides and a number of other activities. You and Dick complemented each other so that the group always felt informed and directed in our activities. Your sharing with us the culture of Brazil was helpful as we found ourselves in new surroundings. We felt safe with the two of you watching out for us.


“While in Brazil, we were able to meet a family that I taught and baptized in 1966. What great joy to have a reunion with them and their extended family after 43 years!--to see what the Gospel has done for their family and see that even to the third generation it is having an impact. Temple work has been done for many ancestors as well. Without you offering this trip and our participation such a reunion would not have been possible. Walter is 88 years old and this may well have been our last opportunity to have such a meeting with him. Thanks again for your help on this trip of a lifetime for us. Sincerely, Richard and Sandy Tidwell”


Deseret News and Mormon Times writer and editor Robert Walsh (BM 65-67, who was in our tour group to Brazil in January, wrote two great articles about some of our experiences, which appeared in Mormon Times. First is a nice article about the Sao Paulo MTC where we visited, which appeared in the issue of 2/20/10. If you missed it see it at


The second is a must-read for anybody who has served in Brazil: “Brazil missionary, convert rejoice together after 45 years,” in the March 9 issue. I was there to see this great reunion and visit the home of Aldo and Francily Francesconi with “their missionary,” Curtis Broadbent (BM 63-65 What fun that was.


I should mention that one of our distinguished Brazilian mission alumni, Orson Scott Card (BCentralM 71-73), who gained early fame and acclaim for his science fiction novels (Ender’s Game series, etc.) is a regular weekly columnist for Mormon Times, which comes to our home with the Church News. In addition to his numerous other accomplishments, Scott proves himself a gifted and insightful columnist and I continue to learn from him and other columnists on the Mormon Times rolls. Vale a pena.


Item: The Asael T. Sorensen mission group is sponsoring an Alaska Inside Passage Cruise out of Seattle for September 11 thru 18, 2010 on Norwegian Cruise Lines with stops at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Prince Rupert. The cruise is open to ANY former missionaries who served in Brazil and their families. If you are interested in getting in on this grand Alaskan adventure, please notify the cruise chairperson, Sarah Ostler ( tel. 801-963-7857), who is the wife of Jay Ostler. Cost for double occupancy is just under $750 per person plus gratuity and any excursion costs, from Seattle.


Called to Serve

Gordon (BNM 71-73) and Janis Hall are called to preside over the Brazil João Pessoa Mission. He has been serving as a stake president in Tempe, AZ. “We are very grateful and humbled by this assignment. Thank you for your support and interest - we will look forward to your updates on ‘all things Brazil!’  Ate a proxima! Gordon & Janis Hall” (


Jim Allen (BM 62-64) and his wife Shirlyn are called to serve a CES mission in Minas Gerais. They follow four of their seven children who served in the Brazil Salvador Mission, Brazil Ribeirão Preto Mission, Brazil Fortaleza Mission and the Brazil Maceió Mission, so by the time they finish their family pretty much will have covered the country. He writes, “I went to Brasil in the group including Alan Call in June, 1962.  We served with President Bangerter and then with President Beck. The last year of our missions we were both Zone Leaders under President Beck and became well acquainted. Our CES mission to Minas Gerais is the result of a call from Alan who is now serving in the CES program and we are scheduled to replace him and his wife Debbie. We enter the MTC in Provo on March 22. My first companion was Carl Jensen in São Jose do Rio Preto.  What a great start to my mission. During the four months we were there, Irma Elinor Sinibaldi was called by President Bangerter as a sister missionary. She asked me to speak at her farewell which experience was my first encounter with the gift of tongues as I had only been there for about 10 weeks. (No language training back then.) I lost track of her and have wondered where life has taken her. Regards, James R. Allen (


Alf’s note: Anybody know the whereabouts of Sister Elinor Aparecida Sinibaldi who was from São Jose do Rio Preto?


From Montie Jones, comes this update: “Dear Alf, Greg (BM 62-64) and I finally got our MTC experience, which we missed out on before we went to serve as Area Welfare Specialists in Brazil, 2006-08. We are now serving as Employment Resource Specialists for 18 months in Madrid, Spain. ( While in the MTC we met Richard (BM 66-68) and Rhea Miner (, who were awaiting their visas to go to the Santa Maria mission.  Richard was also an old Brazilian missionary. Their visas finally arrived, and they began their service in Brazil in early January.
By the way, old mission doctors are like energizer bunnies, they just keep going.  Two of those we knew while serving in Brazil are serving again, along with their wives: Rod and Helga Simonsen in the Europe Area, based in England (, and Ray and Joann Linford ( in Hong Kong.
The Linfords were medical advisors to the missions in Brasil in 2007.


Donald Jones (BM 59-61), and his wife, Sandy, are completing a 2-year mission in the Philippines. They will return in July of 2010.  Don served as a missionary in Brazil from 1959 to 1961, under President Grant Bangerter. (


Item: Some things are too good not to share and too big to capture in a simple newsletter. Owen James “Jim” (BM/BSM 58-61) and Joan Stevens have given a lifetime of service through various assignments in various cities and countries—Jerusalem, Geneva (as mission president 76-79), Ghana (MTC), Québec and recently in Brussels. Jim is a Ph.D and Joan has an M.A. and they are Fellows at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU. In Brussels from 06-09, on Church assignment, they monitored issues in the European Union, became acquainted with policy makers and attended conferences. Jim’s interest turned to religious freedom and church-state relations, bringing the Church into the view of academic circles. Joan’s interests in family and Europe’s falling birth rate is combining with others to influence policy makers to consider impacts on natality and the family. Though their official Church service ended in June, the two have returned to help the World Movement of Mothers draft a platform to inform wise family policy decisions in the future. In short, Jim and Joan are opening doors for others who will follow in areas of significant good cause. They have also seen the fruits of the gospel in the lives of members of a branch they once attended in 1970 in Evry, France, a Paris suburb. They report: ”Returning to Brussels, Jim exclaimed that everything we wish could be enjoyed by all European families had been on display before his eyes in Evry. When men and women grasp the gospel to their hearts and live according to its teachings and serve others in companionship with the Holy Spirit, in process of time they become beautiful and accomplished people and that beauty extends down the generations of their families.” The Stevens’ count these experiences and many others as tender mercies from the Lord. To learn more about their experiences, summarized in a Christmas letter, I share their email address with you below with their permission. “We have been blessed with strength to the measure of our challenges. We have been preserved and sustained in countless ways when in the face of difficulty. We continue to read the scriptures with delight each day, and we sense timely whisperings to guide us when in desperation. We feel our Savior’s love and seek to live in harmony with his Holy Spirit. Jim and Joan” (


Administrative: For your information, we have begun to locate missionaries who served between 1980 and 1985. From Brian Merrill of the Brazil São Paulo South Mission I received excellent lists of missionaries who served under Presidents Wilford Cardon and John Hawkins. I am contacting these missionaries and adding them to our database.


Pelé! I never tire of watching the greatest soccer player of all time captured in these old films.


When I arrived in Brazil in 1962 he had just helped Brazil on their way to winning their second World Cup and was the highest paid athlete in the world, at $1 million.  During my 2 1/2 years as a missionary in Brazil I only left the Lord's work for one game of 'futebol,' when Santos and Pelé came to Porto Alegre to play the local team, Grêmio. He was awesome, at one point running downfield passing back and forth with another teammate from head to head instead of on the ground. Even though he was called ‘O Rei de Futebol,’ Pelé has avoided the foibles of so many highly paid athletes and to this day is a well beloved credit to his sport and to Brazil where he is considered a national treasure. This video captures some of his moves. Enjoy the music and the 'ballet.'


Brazil played Italy in the 1970 World Cup final, with Pelé scoring the opener on a header over defender Tarcisio Burgnich. He then made assists on Jairzinho's and Carlos Alberto's goals, the latter one after an impressive collective play. Brazil won the match 4–1, their third World Cup victory and was awarded the original World Cup trophy indefinitely. Burgnich, who marked Pelé during the match, was quoted saying "I told myself before the game, he's made of skin and bones just like everyone else — but I was wrong."   (


Remember: "Todo mundo tenta, mas só o Brasil penta."

("All the world tries, but only Brazil is five times World Cup champion.")


Former Brazilian Missionaries on Bikes

Item: Work took me to San Diego recently and on a sunny Sunday afternoon I met Jerry Brower (BM 64-66) of Orem, UT, and Kim Passey (BSM 72-74) of Woodland, UT, at the newly renovated Mormon Battalion Historic Site in historic Old Town. Jerry and Kim are members of Temple Riders Association—a motorcycle gang like no other, who ride from temple to temple on their big bikes to attend sessions, and had ridden to San Diego from St. George with about 20 bikes. (See a documentary film at ( and )


Best Mission in the Church?

The new Mormon Battalion Historic Site is awesome, making me wonder if it is the best mission in the Church, being in San Diego with the best weather in the country. Senior couple missionaries, dressed in pioneer garb, greet visitors and help with hands-on events that had me smiling from beginning to end. The Church has created an incredible interactive multi-screen movie tour for visitors who move from room to room accompanied by young Sister missionaries. The film includes scenes from Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration, with the complete film also available for viewing in the two theaters on the site. On a back patio children were panning for gold, and Sister Melissa Evans, wife of Director Timothy S. Evans, put a fiddle into the hands of youngsters and taught them how to play on two strings while she accompanied on another fiddle with real hoedown music, just like they had seen in the tour film. The whole building is fascinating and designed for fun. This place is a must-see for visitors to San Diego. How to get a mission call there? I don’t know, but Elder and Sister Evans recently presided over the Mexico Monterrey West Mission and all of the couples I met were on their third, fourth or sixth mission together. Most had just begun their missions so will not be replaced for 18 or more months, I suppose. They could use some Spanish speakers among the senior couples. See the Church News article at


Administrative: Thanks to those who continue to order Brazilian Missions lapel pins ($5 each) we now have $2,155.00 in our super-reunion bank account. Thanks to those who order multiple pins from me.


Attention bicycle riders: For 16 years I have participated in a charity bicycle ride for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital here in Tacoma, WA, and have not mentioned it in the Brasulista until now. But I know that some of you out there are serious bicycle riders and so I extend an invitation to join me on Courage Classic this year, August 7-9, 2010, to ride over three mountain passes in the Cascade Range. Personally, I modify the ride to attend church on Sunday at beautiful Leavenworth, WA. If you travel from afar I may be able to help with temporary lodging before or after the ride. Let me know if you are interested. Read about it at these links:


Tchauzinho, amigos.


Alf Gunn

3720 26th Avenue Court NW

Gig Harbor, WA 98335




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