Newsletter of the early Brazilian Missions, #135
September 19, 2011
In this issue:
Did you ride the “bondes”?
Introduction to the new Brazil Area Presidency
Six Temple Tour of Brazil planned for next April
Called to Serve: Larry Affleck and Don Holsinger families
Manaus – Some history and recollections, and Manaus today as it prepares for a temple dedication
Note from Sister Sherrill Funk: “The Lord must just like us.”
Bondes – Did you ride the “bondes” in Brazil during your mission?
For the next issue, please share your memories of riding “bondes” in Brazil. As far as I can tell, these streetcars were discontinued in 1970 as regular transportation in Porto Alegre. For fun, read about “Os Bondes de Porto Alegre” at http://www.tramz.com/br/pa/pap.html
Did you know? The current Brazil Area Presidency members, since August 1, 2011, are: Cláudio R. M. Costa, President; Carlos A. Godoy, 1st counselor; Jairo Mazzagardi, 2nd counselor.
Read interesting biographical information about Elder Costa of the First Quorum of Seventy at this site: http://www.gapages.com/costacr1.htm He is a marvelous and inspired leader. I had the personal privilege of learning much from him during a 4-hour visit in his home in Utah in 2009 with my brother, who is a long-time friend of Elder Costa.
Read biographical information about Elder Godoy at http://www.gapages.com/godoyca1.htm.
Read about Elder Jairo Mazzagardi at http://lds.org/ensign/2010/05/elder-jairo-mazzagardi?lang=eng
Six Temple Tour of Brazil—April 18-30, 2012
As announced in the last Brasulista, Dick Jensen and I will host a Six Temple Tour of Brazil, including the new Manaus Temple, which may be dedicated early next year. Here is the link for this tour with more details:
We will fly Brazil’s elegant TAM Airlines to visit and attend the temples of Manaus, Recife, Campinas, São Paulo, Curitiba and Porto Alegre, with time to also tour each temple city by motor coach. We will tour the jungle and see the Amazon River and the new Manaus Temple from our boat on the Rio Negro. We will swim off a beach near Recife. We will eat Brazilian food and stay in excellent hotel accommodations, as Dick always arranges. We will attend church with the Brazilian saints in Manaus and in Porto Alegre. We will have some firesides in the missionary spirit. If you are interested, inquire soon as space may be limited and acquiring visas takes time. Contact is Dick Jensen of Dick Jensen and Alan McKay Tours, 127 E 24th Street #4, Ogden, Utah 84401, 801-917-1131.
Called to Serve
Larry Affleck (BM 60-63) and wife Twila Bringhurst of Salt Lake City, Utah, have been called to serve 18 months in the Chicago, Illinois mission. Service will be in the Employment Resource area. They enter the MTC Dec. 5th. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From Don and Ellen (Sorensen) Holsinger:
Ellen and I have been called to serve as Government Relations Missionaries, reporting to the Office of General Counsel, and stationed in Geneva, Switzerland. It is an 18-month assignment. From the standpoint of anyone looking in from outside the Church, we are Government Relations Representatives, specifically, "Representation to the United Nations" of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. We also carry cards from BYU's International Center for Law and Religion Studies or ICLRS. Our mandate is to protect, preserve and where possible enhance Freedom of Religion by working with the Geneva community of United Nations technical organizations where the Kennedy Center is an accredited Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). Accreditation means that we enjoy consultative status within the United Nations giving us access to the grounds and to many meetings and the right to express an opinion about motions, pending resolutions and the other instruments of soft law utilized by the United Nations to influence public opinion. So that's it in a long paragraph. We are in our third week and struggling with French. But it is a great assignment and terribly important in an era in which religious liberties are under attack. Best wishes to all our Brazilian and quasi Brazilian friends, Don and Ellen Holsinger (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
There is a little house about four blocks from the São Paulo Temple and Brazil Area Headquarters, where the office of the Brazil São Paulo North Mission is located. As I recall it was originally purchased by Elder James Faust and later occupied by Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter during their assignments in Brazil. The current mission president there is Marcus H. Martins, former head of the Religion Department at BYU Hawaii. He writes: “The Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission has opportunities for senior couples and/or senior sisters (ages 40+) to serve in the mission office. That means serving from 10am-5pm at the office and engaging in proselyting work in the evenings. Typical functions at the office would involve housing (supervising rental contracts and maintenance), updating the online referral system, and for those Elders or Sisters with financial background, mission finances. Our office is just a few blocks from the São Paulo Brazil Temple. For more detailed information, contact President Martins (email@example.com).
In the last Brasulista I inquired: Can anyone tell me who were the very first missionaries sent to Manaus and when that was, and any history of that time? Alf (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Of course the answer is complicated. There were members in Manaus quite a while before there were full-time missionaries there. I received some interesting replies, shared here:
Dear Alf, The year would have been 1963 because I was asked by President Beck to send missionaries there on an exploratory visit. I cannot recall who was sent or even whether or not they stayed at this point. But as far as I know, or was known by anyone in the Brazilian Mission at that time, this was our first venture. Donald B. Holsinger
Another answer: I can say that in late December of 1964 and early January of 1965 my travelling companion and I, returning home from our missions, were asked by President Wayne Beck (of the Brazilian Mission) to stop in six cities in northern Brazil and send him a report evaluating their potential for missionary work. I was very impressed with Manaus and wrote him a very positive report. Other cities we visited were Salvador, Natal, Maceió, Fortaleza, and Belem. We flew to each city. The original plan was to fly from Manaus to Iquitos in Peru, then on to LA. But the mission secretary didn't make the reservations, so we flew back out to Belem and on to Miami. Greg Jones (Greg.Jones@aggiemail.usu.edu)
Response from Don Holsinger: Well that was a year after the exploratory mission which President Beck, who had just arrived, asked me to organize. I returned home in December 1963. I probably have something about this in my missionary diary at home in Provo but obviously cannot access that from here (Geneva). Pres Beck was interested in expanding missionary operations from beyond the areas that Pres Bangerter had established and where we were having tremendous success. I was the Assistant to Pres Bangerter and Pres Beck kept me in that capacity for the few months remaining in my mission. So Manaus was just one of several potential expansion opportunities. Recife was the lone exception as I recall. We did have missionaries in Recife in 1963. Salvador was periodically considered under Bangerter who, I believe visited there personally, but he was quite adamant that the time was not yet right. Of course what I also do not remember is what the report was from the '63 exploratory mission to Manaus. It must have been negative in tenor if he sent another group for the same purpose a year later. Regards, Don (email@example.com)
Sister Marsh Foster Jay shares this info:
“I served in what was called the Brazil North Mission 72-73, under President George Oaks. Geographically, the mission covered everything from Rio to the north border of Brazil, as I'm sure you know. During my mission, by rumor, I heard that two missionaries were sent on a fact-finding trip to Manaus during that time. Their purpose was to find out if Manaus should be opened to missionary work; specifically, whether or not there were enough people not of the "lineage" to build up a priesthood base. I heard by rumor that the result was that there were not enough people found who might be eligible to hold the priesthood at that time, so no missionaries were assigned to labor there. That's all I remember.
“During the six months that I served in Brasilia, a young white man entered the chapel there one day during a missionary meeting and sat down in the back. The missionaries of course swooped down on him, and learned that his name was Marcos, and that he had just arrived from Manaus, and he wanted to be baptized. He was staying with his sister in our area, so we got to teach him (my comp and I). He told us that four years earlier he had met a Mormon who was working in Manaus who gave him a Book of Mormon. He read it and was converted and wanted to be baptized. The Mormon told him that he did not have authorization to baptize him, but that if he ever got down to Brasilia he could find elders there who could baptize him. So after four years that's what he was doing. A week later he was baptized. My senior companion at that time was Sister Kristine Sorensen, daughter of Asael Sorensen. Maybe Kris could help you find Marcos, and maybe Marcos could tell you more. Or maybe George Oaks could help you, who as I'm sure you know, is currently presiding at the temple in Campinas. Marsha Foster Jay”
From President Oakes: “Dear Alf, First let me thank you for the Brasulista and all of the work you do to keep the lines of communication open to all of the missionaries. For your information, in 1972 I sent two missionaries to Belem to see if we could open that city. They were Elders James Hart and Daniel Frei. They spent a week in the city and decided that the time was not appropriate to open the work there. Both of them have now served as mission presidents. President Frei served in the Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission and President Hart is now serving in the Brazil Salvador Mission. They can fill you in on their trip.
“We never sent anyone to Manaus to labor or open the city. I concentrated on the centers of church activity in the North and tried to build that which was already opened. The only area we opened was Sete Lagoas, which is about an hour outside of Belo Horizonte . It is now a stake. Thank you for all that you do. George Oakes” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Three Elders are identified as the first full-time missionaries to arrive in Manaus, in the history of Manaus, Registro Histórico da Igreja em Manaus, which says (in Portuguese) In April 1979, to the joy of the members, the first full-time missionaries arrived, Elders Bueno (from the interior of São Paulo), Brasher and Rosendo (a Gaúcho).
(I would like to further identify these 1979 Elders. First names please? Oswaldo Bueno de Moura (BRdeJ 75-77) says it was not him but perhaps one of the other two Buenos serving at that time.)
Elder Ted E. Brewerton, who is identified in the document as President of the Brazil Area from 1978 to 1982, related the following in 2008, (translated into Portuguese and summarized back into English by me): In early 1979 the few members of the Church who lived in Manaus, less than 35, asked President H. Shirts of the Rio de Janeiro Mission to send missionaries to Manaus. President Shirts had answered them that the priority was to use missionaries in stronger centers and since Manaus was far away and isolated it would not be possible to satisfy their request. On a third request, missionaries were sent on a temporary four-month assignment with members promising to provide investigators to teach. At the beginning of March, 1979, two missionaries were sent to Manaus, population of about 300,000. By December, 1979, there were 131 members and two branches. The members were so engaged in the work that the missionaries stayed and other companionships were added. By 2008 the Church News reported that there were 44,000 members in Manaus.
More about Manaus
The first branch in Manaus was officially established on October 9, 1977 by Elder Hélio da Rocha Camargo, then President of the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission, accompanied by his wife. On that occasion he declared, “Todos os líderes ordenados e designados neste dia, servirão de instrument nas mãos do Senhor, a fim de que o Reino de Deus cresça em Manaus, para que um dia haja uma estaca de Sião nesta cidade.”
The Manaus Stake, 1700th in the Church, was organized in October, 1988, by Elder David B. Haight of the Twelve, accompanied by Elder Hélio da Rocha Camargo of the Seventy and President Paulo Renato Grahl of the Brazil Brazilia Mission and his wife. There were 1,165 persons present at the conference held in the new Vitória Régia chapel, which was also dedicated that day.
The Brazil Manaus Mission was created in 1990 (from the Brasília Mission and the Fortaleza Mission, and included the states of Pará, Amazonas, Acre, Rondônia, Amapá and Roraima, with a population of some six million persons. The first mission president was Cláudio Roberto Mendes Costa and three years later Aldo Francesconi was called to preside. It included the area of the Belém Mission until its creation in 1994.
Manaus Today: I inquired how many stakes are in greater Manaus, and how many stakes are anticipated to be in the Manaus Temple district? Answer: There are eight stakes in greater Manaus (with year of organization): Manaus (1988), Manaus Rio Negro (1993), Manaus Cidade Nova (1995), Manaus Solimões (1997), Manaus Rio Amazonas (1998), Manaus Samaúma (2005), Manaus Mindú (2006), and Manaus Ponta Negra (2007). It is unknown at this time which stakes will make up the temple district, but at least the above plus the Porto Velho and Rio Branco Stakes will probably be included as they are currently part of the Manaus Mission area. The Boa Vista and Itacoatiara Districts will also be included.
The temple is under construction and members are eagerly awaiting any announcements regarding completion and open house dates.
Finally, I receive a little note from dear Sister Sherill Funk, widow of Herman Funk. Sister Funk is counting some Brazil blessings: “The Funk family has had an amazing affinity with Brasil,” she says. “Herm Funk went to Brasil when it was just one mission back in 1954. Our son Chris Funk went to São Paulo and our other son David Funk went to Manaus. Then we served a senior couple mission to Porto Alegre six years ago and now our grandson Dallin Funk has been called to Curitiba and leaves in December for São Paulo missionary training center. It seems like too much of a coincidence that so many have gone to Brasil so we are thinking the Lord must just like us. Sherill Funk” (email@example.com)
A lot of us think like that, Sister Funk.
Gig Harbor, WA firstname.lastname@example.org (Brazil/mission mail only please)