Alf Gunn BadgeBrasulista #125


Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #125

June 29, 2010 World Cup Edition


The Brasulista takes its name from the original mission newsletter of the Brazilian South Mission, hence the “sul” in the middle of the name. This current project started in 2001 with the missionaries of the BSM and has expanded to all who served in whatever mission before 1985; because we figured all you other guys would enjoy it as much as we do.  


In this issue:

Marcus Martins recalls meeting the Mormon missionaries

Passing of Sister María Dittrich Aidukaitis

A visit with President C. Elmo and Lois Turner

Who baptized Laura Maria Camilo (Sporl) at Pinheros Ward in 1966?

Oakes to preside at the Campinas Temple; reunion information

Dows to serve as Development Specialists for wheelchairs in Africa

Mission calls: Ed Ivey, Brian Blackham, Bill Shepard, Ross Gedeborg, James Hansen, and more

Fernando Assis filming missionary-member reunions for TV

Organist James Welch offers concerts and training to stakes

Flying over Cuba during the missile crisis, 1962

“Italy, Spain, Morocco and Brazil—Old to New World Cruise”



Dear Elders and Sisters, Much of what appears in this issue is somewhat dated as I was busy locating and signing on missionaries from the early 1980’s and this took much of the time I dedicate to putting together the Brasulista. Then the screen on my laptop went out and I had to buy a new laptop and recover everybody’s email address. Better late than never . . .


Dr. Marcus H. Martins (SPNM), Associate Professor of Religion and Leadership at BYU Hawaii, son of the late Elder Helvécio Martins of the Seventy, shares this recollection: I still remember the first time I saw missionaries in Rio de Janeiro. I was on the way to elementary school in the early 1960s--perhaps it was 1966. I saw these two foreigners at a shopping mall right next to my school (Colegio Metropolitano) in the Meier neighborhood. They were having lunch at Bob's, the fast food place. I did not know who they were, but they surely caught my attention. At that time I thought they might have belonged to Bob's management team (forgive me for the mix-up; I was about 7 years old). Years later, in 1972, when Elders Thomas McIntire and Steven Richards came to my home, I made the connection, and felt comfortable having the missionaries in my home.

Brazil now has over one million Latter-day Saints, and there are now stakes in cities where the Church had not even arrived when I began my mission in 1978—such as Santarem in the state of Para. Whenever I think about that, I always feel grateful not only for my own opportunity to serve, but to all those who served in Brazil before and after me.

This tremendous growth was the result of the fruits of our labors and sometimes--as it was my case as a boy--it may have been facilitated simply by our presence in a neighborhood, even though we might not have gotten many "palestras."

We should not only rejoice but also continue to somehow nurture those fruits. I don't foresee being able to serve a mission with my wife Mirian (who served in the SP South, 76-78) any time soon, but whenever I travel to Brazil I look for opportunities to speak in firesides around the country (I've done it twice, 2005 & 2006) to tell people how it all came about, and the tremendous perspectives for further growth. May the good Lord bless our successors in the 27 Brazilian missions. All the best, Marcus (


See his Web:


Marcus H. Martins, Ph.D.

Assoc. Professor, Religion & Leadership

Brigham Young University-Hawaii


Cellular: (1-808) 277-2619



In March we were advised by the Office of the Seventy of the passing of

Sister María Dittrich Aidukaitis, mother of Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis of the Seventy and former President of the Brazil Salvador South Mission Nelson Aidukaitis, on in Porto Alegre, Brazil, at the age of 94.


See Brasulista #53 (attached) for the story of the baptism of Antony and Maria Aidukaitis in June of 1940. Also, see Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis’ General Conference talk of October, 2008, about the conversion of his family. (Marcos A. Aidukaitis, “Because My Father Read the Book of Mormon,” Liahona, Nov 2008, 15–17)


Since you asked . . . The Turners

Earlier this month I had a very nice visit with President C. Elmo Turner and Sister Lois Turner in their home on the sunny side of the Jordan River Temple. Their example of positive attitude and gracious kindness is still a blessing to all of us who know them and had the privilege to serve with them in the BSM 64-67. They admit to the health and strength limitations attendant to advancing age, but there is no waning of testimony or faith. They express their love and appreciation to all the missionaries with whom they served. You may send messages to them at


Identify these missionaries, please

On November 10, 1966 at Pinheiros Ward in the new SP Stake, a 22 year old girl named Laura Maria Camilo was baptized after being taught by full time missionaries. She was dating Werner Sporl, who was leaving on a mission to Switzerland. He was the son of Werner Kurt Sporl, who was a well known member of the Ramo do Centro and may have been secretary in the Brazilian Mission at the time. She was baptized by her future father-in-law, Werner Kurt Sporl. After all these years, Laura Maria Camilo Sporl would like to identify the missionaries who taught her in 1966. The inquiry comes from her daughter, Tatiana Grant of SLC, tel. 801-910-3547 and Anybody have a recollection of teaching this young woman?  


Called to serve

Oakes to preside at Campinas Temple

Missionaries who served in the Brazil North Mission with President George A. Oakes (BM 59-61) and Sister Jeannette Oakes (Mexican Msn 59-61) were thrilled and pleased to learn that President and Sister Oakes will preside over the Campinas Temple beginning in November 2010. The Oakes’ presided over the Brazil North Mission mission from 71-74 and President Oakes recently served as the Executive Secretary to the Brazil Area Presidency in São Paulo from 2002 to 2005. He responded to missionary congratulations saying “We are very humbled and thrilled with the opportunity to return to Brazil and serve for three more years. We leave sometime around November 1, 2010. We were interviewed by President Henry B. Eyring and it was a very spiritual experience.” (


Oakes missionaries will hold a special reunion and send-off at 7 pm on Thursday September 30, 2010 at the meetinghouse at 3100 South 2300 East, Salt Lake City. Light refreshments including pasteis or cochinas by Steve Ehat and Guaraná provided by Allen Abraham.

Contact is Pete Grimm 801-277-5719 (


Note: The Brasulista will announce missionary reunions as information is sent to me. Send me the info, okay?


I was pleased to notice in the Church News that the new mission president in the Brazil Curitiba Mission will be a former missionary in the Argentina Cordoba Mission (82-83), Derek L. Cordon. I figure this will give him the opportunity to repent and to appreciate that Pelé is the greatest soccer player of all time, that Bossa Nova is the sweetest music not found in a hymnbook and that Portuguese is the Adamic tongue or pretty close to it. Sister Cordon should hit the ground running, since she herself served a mission in Portugal (82-83). She is the daughter of one of our alumni, Elder Harold G. Hillam (BM 54-57) Emeritus member of the Seventy. The Cordon’s live in Bountiful, UT. Really, our best wishes to them in their service in beautiful Paraná.   (


Elder John Dow (BM 60-63) who previously served a Church Humanitarian mission to Mozambique and Angola writes: Marcia and I have accepted a call to serve a Church Service Mission of two years, serving as the Development Specialists for the wheelchair initiatives in the South East Africa Area.  Although we will live primarily at home, we will make regular trips to Africa to help the Humanitarian Country Directors develop and train strong partners for personalized selection and fitting of wheelchairs, including training the recipients on the safe and proper use of their wheelchair. Our first trip will be May-June of this year, visiting South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania. We are looking forward to an interesting calling. Warmly, John and Marcia Dow (


Tom Steele (BM 65-67) advised in March that “An old friend of mine Ed Ivey (BM 60-62) and his wife Jessie, of Cedar Hills, UT, are on their way to the Recife Mission.” (


Elder Brian (BM 64-66) and Sister Helen Blackham of St. George, UT, left for a temple mission at the Porto Alegre Brazil Temple in March, 2010. They previously serve missions in Portugal Porto (00-02) and Portugal Lisboa at Angra do Heroismo,The Azores (04-05). (  


Elder Bill (BSM 63-65) and Sister Vivian Shepard have been serving full time since last June as Office staff for the Utah Ogden Mission. She is receptionist and membership secretary, which is really full time in itself since there were 2050 new memberships in this mission last year. Bill has the vehicle coordinator job (Car Czar) and he tracks bikes and supplies proselyting materials. (


On a recent visit to Kirtland, Ohio, I met Elder Ross (BCentM 71-73) and Sister LaDonna Gedeborg during a tour of the Kirtland Temple. They are a beautiful couple and had just completed their senior missionary service in the Illinois Chicago South Mission office. They were touring the Church historic sites on their way home to Shoshone, ID. Sounded like they have their papers in for the next adventure in missionary service. (


If you have desires to serve God you are called to the work

Elder James Hansen (BM 63-65) of Richfield, UT, writes: “I was saddened to hear of the passing of Elder Bangerter. His father, William, was the stake patriarch of our stake in Granger, Utah. When I was 16 I received my blessing from him. I have enjoyed so much the reading of the Brasulista and I thank you for your diligence in searching out the returned Brazilian missionaries. I always read each issue the day I receive it. Upon reading one of the issues where there was a pleading by a mission president to have those who are receiving the Brasulista to consider serving again, I had a strong desire to serve again. I so wanted to put in papers at that time, but we weren't in a position to do so. My wife and I have been serving now for over 5 years in the Manti Temple and it has been most rewarding and challenging. My wife Verae and I have received a call to serve in the Campinas Brazil Temple Mission for 18 months and enter the MTC in Provo July 26th. We didn't request any particular mission, but when asked by friends where we would like to serve, I would always tell them that if I could pick any place in the world to serve it would be in the Campinas Brazil Temple. The last 6 months of my mission I served as the Branch President in the Sao Carlos branch about 60 mile North of Campinas.

Sincerely, James and Verae Hansen (


ps “Hello Alf.   Today we were contacted by the couple in the Campinas Temple that we will be replacing. They are Steve and Linda Black of Bountiful, UT.  I believe he said he served in the Brazilian Mission in 1962-1964. They answered many of our questions and I got his email address to correspond with them.  We are very excited to be going. Bro. James Hansen”


Members Who Connect With Their Missionaries

David Beck (BM 72-74), former President of the BRdeJ Mission and current General Young Men President, writes: “Alf, Fernando Assis is working on a project that BYU TV is very interested in.  He will produce short documentaries of former missionaries who seek out, find and then reunite with people that they baptized.   It is anticipated that these documentaries could become a series on BYU TV. 

I believe there are many former missionaries who would love to participate in this.  If I had more time right now, there are some families that I baptized that I would like to reconnect with.  When I was on a training trip in Brazil in February of this year, I met two men that I baptized over 36 years ago and met some of their family members.  These are treasured experiences for me. I know that you share reuniting stories in your monthly email.  Putting these stories on film could inspire many others to reach out to those they helped bring into the church and their descendents. Fernando is looking for ex missionaries who would be willing to participate in June and July.  They would be asked to pay for their travel costs and production costs.  He would handle the filming and production work in Brazil.  The material would be provided to BYU TV at no cost. This is an exciting opportunity.  I know there are some amazing stories waiting to be told.  Fernando will make contact with you to talk more.   David Beck”


Many of you responded to a note I sent out regarding this and Brother Assis appreciated the responses. This is not a one-time thing, but will be ongoing, so feel free to share your experiences with Brother Assis at He wrote:


“Eu li todos os emails que recebi. MUITO obrigado por sua valiosa ajuda. Estou chegando hoje à noite em SLC. Tenho uma reunião com David Beck para discutir como faremos melhor este primeiro programa. Eu mandei uma rápida resposta a todos os que me enviaram um email. Eu entrarei em contato com eles com mais informações tão logo tenha algo decidido. Infelizmente, neste primeiro programa, só poderemos considerar a participação dos que moram em Utah, que estejam dispostos a viajar ao Brasil agora em julho e que ainda falem a lingua de maneira compreensível. Mas no futuro queremos extender a outras partes. I will keep in touch, Fernando Assis (


Organist James Welch offers concerts and training sessions

Some of you may be aware of one of our Brazil South missionaries, James

Welch, who served 1970-72, is now a professional organist in California. He also wrote (together with his companion John Tanner) the music for Hymn #138 in the hymnal, and travels worldwide giving organ concerts. James has even been back to Brazil several times on concert tours and has some interesting tales to tell. I have seen James play in the Tabernacle and in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square and he is the real thing, yet humble enough to play the organ at some of our reunions. James tells me that he's available to give organ concerts and/or training sessions around the Church at no cost except air fare and a housing arrangement. If you think your ward or stake might be interested, you can contact him at or  

Larry Mellor (BSM 62-65) was my companion during our week in the Mission Home at Salt Lake City (pre-LTM). From there we flew to New York City and then to Rio. Larry writes to note that when we entered the Mission Home “our country was right in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis, in which we came as close as we ever did to having a nuclear exchange with Russia. I believe that we flew right over, or very near the area where the US had been blockading Russian ships carrying ICBM's, and our military was taken to DEFCON 2, the highest ever.” The blockade became effective on October 23, 1962, and on October 28 Khrushchev announced that he had agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba. “We flew from New York south on November 1st. I'm glad we were totally unaware of what was going on below us and I'm mostly glad the Heavenly Father was watching over us and protecting us during two major events, the other being a revolution which occurred in Brazil in 1964.  If I am not mistaken, we lived through interesting times but never felt safer, and I was I was never more happy, serving our irmaõs e irmãs brasileiros. Outra vez, abraços, companheiro, Larry Mellor” (

Mini-Brazilian Reunion at sea

Everybody should know about it by now (since at last count some 60 of our alumni and friends have signed on for this trip) but please be aware of a unique trip that Dick Jensen (BSPS 80-82), our travel guru, has designed for our Brazilian missionary alumni (plus family, friends, etc), which he calls “Italy, Spain, Morocco and Brazil—Old to New World Cruise.” Dick’s trip includes a 17-night cruise with elegant meals and everything else a cruise offers, in addition to the flight to Milan for the start and the flight home from São Paulo at the end, all for about $3,000 per person! At last count some 60 of our alumni and friends have signed on for this trip.


If you are interested, act quickly because it takes time to secure visas and if we do not utilize all the reserved flight space Dick has to give them up in coming months.

See Dick’s Web site:


ITINERARY SUMMARY - Nov 18 to Dec 8, 2010.
Milan Italy - Savona Italy - Málaga Spain – Casablanca Morocco - Canary Islands - Cabo Verde Islands – trans-Atlantic crossing to Brazil - Fortaleza - Recife - Maceió - Salvador da Bahia - Rio De Janeiro - Santos – motor coach to São Paulo. Temple excursion opportunities in Recife and São Paulo.

Dick says: “1/3 the original price - The Cruise of a lifetime for the Price of a lifetime - Only $1899 from Los Angeles, $1999 from Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco.

Includes: Airfare to Milan, Italy, 17-night cruise aboard the Costa Fortuna (Inside cabin) Airfare from São Paulo, Brazil to your home city.

Outside cabin $300 more.
Balcony cabin $1000 more.
   In addition to the base price above, figure on the following costs as needed:

Brazilian visa - $215 (passport required first)

Cruise and air taxes - $440

Pre and post cruise package - $350 includes - Milan: airport hotel transfers, one night hotel stay with dinner and breakfast, morning sightseeing, scenic transfer from Milan to the port of Savona to the ship. Santos: Scenic transfer from the ship to São Paulo, sightseeing and temple excursion, transfer to airport for flight back to USA. Some shore excursions will be specially packaged for our group including a temple excursion in Recife, Brazil.


Dick Jensen of Dick Jensen and Alan McKay Tours
127 E 24th Street #4, Ogden, Utah 84401


Forte abraços,


Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65)

Gig Harbor, WA



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