Alf Gunn BadgeBrasulista #146


Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #146
June 30, 2012

In this issue:
David Neeleman makes a difference
Cruise from Spain to Portugal to Brazil
Report of the dedication of the Manaus Temple
Calls to serve
Finding missionaries for Brazilian members
The Utah Brazilian Festival September 8, 2012 at Salt Lake City
BYU women storm Brazil and Argentina
Facts (or close to them) about Manaus and the Amazon River

The Brasulista, now in its 11th year, took its name from the original Brasulista, the mission newsletter of the Brazilian South Mission in the 1960’s.  Today it goes out to missionaries who served in all of the missions of Brazil as they existed up until 1985, including many Brazilians.

Former Missionary Cruise

For information concerning the upcoming missionary cruise from Spain and Portugal to Brazil, November 2012, see
or Google “Dick Jensen Tours.


David Neeleman (BRdeJ 78-80), founder of JetBlue Airways in the USA, took his talents to Brazil in 2008 and founded Azul airlines (Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S.A), now the third largest airline in Brazil with 112 airplanes serving 96 cities in country. If my recollection is correct, at its inauguration, Azul flew relief supplies to flood-ravaged areas of Brazil. Today Azul’s fares are low enough that they enable many members in Brazil who used to have to travel many days by boat and bus to reach temples to now afford to fly to temples.
David has dual citizenship since he was born in São Paulo where his father, Gary Neeleman (BM 54-57), was working for a major news service. He attended high school in Utah. His dual citizenship made for an interesting mission experience when he was called to the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission. Because of his Brazilian military obligation, while serving in Espirito Santo he was required to present himself to the quartel in São Paulo. He did so, meanwhile serving in the São Paulo South Mission for about three weeks under President Wilford Cardon until the obligation was met. After that he was transferred to Campina Grande, Paraíba, in the Northeast and served under President Harry Klein of the new Recife Mission.


Here is a note regarding the dedication of the Manaus Temple from Elder Scott and Sister Carol Hadley who are serving a temple mission at Recife. The Hadleys traveled with us on the six-temple tour in April while the Recife Temple was closed.
Bom Dia to all of our fellow travelers.  We wanted to share with you our experience of the Manaus Temple Dedication.  We were able to attend the Temple dedication as it was broadcast to all of the Stake Centers in Brazil.  What a marvelous opportunity to be able to watch the live broadcast from the beautiful Celestial Room in the Manaus Temple.  President Uchtdorf and Elder Cook were in attendance along with the Brazil Area Presidency.  Elder Cook conducted the session and gave a wonderful talk on the significance of Temples and of the history of Temples dating back to Bible days. Presidente Claudio Costa also spoke and told about the sacrifice of the Saints in Manaus as they traveled long distances at great sacrifice to attend the São Paulo Temple.  Presidente Costa was the first mission president of the Manaus Mission, so he was the first to see the members go to the Temple.  The Manaus Temple President and his wife also spoke.  Then President Uchtdorf spoke also about the significance of Temples and in particular the blessing of having this Temple deep in the Amazon.  He then gave a beautiful dedicatory prayer.  It was especially enjoyable for me as President Uchtdorf and Elder Cook both spoke in English and had a translator.  The translator had a little difficulty with President Uchtdorf as he would start his new sentence almost before the translator had finished his translation.  We hope that the Brazilians were able to get all of the message.  Elder Cook then lead the audience in the Hosanna Shout!!  We attended the first session of the dedication which also included the sealing of the Corner Stone ceremony.  It was delightful to see President Uchtdorf interact with the members during this ceremony.  He invited four beautiful children, the future of the Church, to help with the mortar.  What an experience for these children that they will never forget.  There were two very good choirs who sang during the dedication - one choir inside the Celestial Room and another choir on bleachers outside the temple during the sealing of the corner stone.  It was a very special experience for us to be able to attend this dedication and to feel the great spirit and love that the Lord has for the Saints in Manaus.  This new Temple is such a blessing for them as they have made great sacrifices for many years to be able to attend the Temple.  Now they have a beautiful Temple in their own city, which we were able to see!!!  It was a most memorable experience for us.
We were also able to watch the Cultural Celebration on Saturday Evening as it was broadcast over BYU TV.  It was a very nice production and the youth had such a wonderful time dancing and singing and enjoying being together for this significant event.  Before the celebration, they showed some scenes from Manaus and the meeting of the waters.  It was fun for us to see these places and to be able to say - "We were just there!!"  President Uchtdorf and Elder Cook were able to go on a boat to see the same things that we saw and commented on how wonderful it was to see some of the beautiful areas of Manaus.  It was a very memorable weekend for all and a historical event for us to be able to participate in a small way.  We were very grateful for this experience.  Com amor,  Scott and Carol Hadley
Alf’s note:  The Hadleys and the Robert and Vonnie Baird gave us a tour of their missionary apartments on the Recife Temple grounds and we were impressed that they live so well, if simply, and so inexpensively during these temple missions. There continue to be opportunities for couples to serve missions at temples in Brazil.  Elder and Sister Hadley previously presided over the Brazil Brasilia Mission.  If you would like to see photos of the interior of the Manaus Temple, go to
Read more about the Amazon River and Manaus below.


From Robert K. Bills of Lone Tree, Colorado:  Alf.  Thanks for your continued effort to keep us apprised of all that is going on na terra adorada.   Just to let you know. Susan and I have been called as President and Matron of the Denver Colorado Temple. We are humbled and excited.  Maybe you could expand your temple tour to include the Denver Temple?  We do have Spanish Sessions.  Tchau,  Bob Bills BSM 63-65  (
Elder Frank Ramsey (BM 63-64) and his wife Darlene of Richmond, VA, are serving as a counselor in the Virginia Richmond Mission. (


Reed Lords (BM 54-55) of Idaho Falls, ID, writes:   My wife, Shirlene, and I were so happy to hear of the stake in Cabo Verde. We served 18 months there in 1996-97, under Presidents Coleman and Brinkerhoff (Portugal Lisbon South Mission). At that time President Uchtdorf was the area president. In conferences and other meetings I encouraged the people to be faithful and one day they would be made into a stake. There were about 3,000 members in the islands at that time. The growth has been amazing. I would, also, assure those members that one day they will have a temple in the islands. This is surely a great start. We keep hoping for that day. It makes us feel so good to know that we had a small part of it.   Reed Lords (


Elder Alan Craig, serving a temple mission at Porto Alegre, wrote about a temple worker who would like to locate a missionary who taught him: “Alf, Estava falando com Valdir Carneiro da Silva, um dos oficiantes no templo aqui, e éle notou que gostaria encontrar-se com o missionário que o ensinou.  Na sua lista tem um Élder Thomas que estava em Viamão, RS, em 1970? Obrigado pela ajuda. Alan Craig (
Bom dia, Elder Craig e Irmâo Valdir,   cc Elder Dan Thomas
Este é o seu missionario:   
Thomas, Dan Eldon and Allyson BSM 69-71 Provo, UT  801-373-7535  Abracos,   Alf Gunn
As of this newsletter Dan and Valmir have exchanged family photos and stories and have contacted Dan’s junior companion, Edward D. Brown, now of Ogden, who actually baptized Valdir da Silva.
Information maintained by me for each former missionary includes name, spouse name, years of service, name of mission, city of residence, email, telephones and address. It may also include information about other missions served. It is maintained to be shared with companions and members seeking the missionaries who taught them.


September 8, 2012
The Utah Brazilian Festival is celebrating its 8th year in 2012. The Festival began in 2005 with a small group of friends eager to celebrate their heritage and share it with the community that embraced them and has since become a greatly anticipated tradition. There are no precise estimates of how many Brazilians and descendents live nowadays in Utah, but joining this number are a significant number of Utah residents who speak Portuguese and because they lived in Brazil or do business in Brazil, are very fond of the Brazilian culture, people and language and
are an integral part of the festivities. With our event being offered to Salt Lake City residents free of charge, we depend on funding and support from local organizations to bring the Utah Brazilian Festival to the next level. We have shown that we are an established organization that can bring the people of Salt Lake City out. Please support the Utah Brazilian Festival through Viva Brazil Cultural Center and help us continue the tradition of diversity, equality and excitement that it brings.
Contact:  Matilde Teixeira Wosnjuk
Utah Brazilian Festival 2012     Save the Date - September 8, 2012
At the Gallivan Center – SLC    239 South Main Street – SLC


Here is a great report from Craig Earnshaw (BPAM 73-75) of Park City, UT, who presided over the Porto Alegre South Mission from 03-06.  Alf: Colleen and I were privileged to return to Brazil with the BYU Women’s Volleyball team on their 2012 International Tour, May 4-16. We were asked by BYU Athletics to accompany the group and gladly accepted. There were 14 members of the team and 12 coaches, spouses and others on the trip. We spent three days at the Confederação Brasileira de Voleibol training center in Saquarema, a beautiful spot on the beach about an hour north of Rio. There the girls played several matches with the Brazilian Junior National team (and won them all, by the way.) We then went to Rio for three more days for sighting seeing and a match with Clube Fluminense. We attended church in the Arsenal Ward near Niteroi where a couple of our missionaries and their wives met us. One of the missionaries teaches English so I asked him to translate for the members of the team who wanted to bear their testimonies in testimony meeting. It was a rich experience for all of us. We also had an evening activity with the Single Adults of the Andaraí Stake where everyone divided into groups and shared stories about being members of the church in their respective countries. Colleen and I were also able to have a nice reunion Sunday evening with our missionaries who live in Rio and several who came over from São Paulo.
  We spent the next week in Buenos Aires where the girls played several matches with the Argentine Junior National team (they also won all of them) and two clubs, La Boca and Ginástica. We were privileged to spend Sunday with the Aidukaitis family. Marcos was my first Area Seventy when we arrived as mission president in Porto Alegre in 2003. He subsequently served as Mission President in Brasilia (05-08) and is currently in the First Quorum of the Seventy serving as a counselor in the South America South Area Presidency. We were also able to see Elder Mervyn Arnold and his wife, who was our area president during our last year in Brazil and is now the Area President in Buenos Aires.
  It was a great trip to remember our Portuguese and all the great feelings of serving in Brasil. Abracos, Craig & Colleen Earnshaw, Park City, UT (


On our April tour in Manaus, our excellent nature guide was Fabio Santos de Abreu, a bright young man who has never been outside of Amazonas State.  He displayed a great love and knowledge of the area. The following is from rough notes I took and some attempts to verify online.  (But not guaranteed to be completely accurate and some seem to conflict.)  I share them as items of general interest.
1429 the Portuguese saw the Amazon River, but it is not certain that they landed.
Brazil was first seen by Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500, but no indication he saw the Amazon.
In 1515, Spanish navigator Vicente Yáñez Pinzón was the first European to sail into the river.  He called it the "Río Santa María de la Mar Dulce", thus becoming the first explorer to discover an estuary of the Amazon River. Pinzón is considered the discoverer of the Oiapoque River.

The first explorers in the area of Manaus were Spanish, coming from Ecuador: The Amazon River has been claimed to be discovered by many explorers, but, Francisco de Orellana, a Spanish explorer from the 16th century. Francisco de Orellana was a Spanish explorer and conquistador. He completed the first known navigation (a descent) of the length of the Amazon River in 1541, which was originally named for him. He also founded the city of Guayaquil in modern-day Ecuador. He died November 1546 at age 34 or 35, at the delta of the Amazon River.
1669 – The Portuguese arrived and set up the Fort of Barra de San José at Manaus.
The Amazonas River gets its name from the brave women of Greek legend. Amazonas means “no breasts.”  The natives of the Amazon painted themselves with mud, and it was hard to tell women from men.
Nine countries share the International Amazon Rainforest, an area of some eight million square kilometers.  63% of Brazil is in the Amazon Rainforest. It is in ten Brazilian states: Amazonas, Pará, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rondonia, etc, including Brazil’s three largest states.
A new bridge crossing the Rio Negro was completed in 2011.  It is 3.5 miles across.
Above Manaus the river is called the Solimões, from the lemon trees seen there . . . “só limões,” only lemons. The river is 6994k long from Peru (that’s 4336 miles).
The Rio Negro comes from an old geographic area—Columbia—and has a low ph level of 3.2. It averages 31 degrees Centigrade and moves at 3k per hour.
The Solimões comes from the clay soil of Peru and is a muddy river. It averages 28 degrees C and moves at 6k per hour.
There are only about 400 species of fish in the Rio Negro—which is a very large number.  But there are some 2,500 species of fish in the Amazon River.  
At Manaus, in low water season one can buy 100 fish for R$10—very cheap.  Costs quite a bit more in high water season because it is hard to catch the fish in the flooded jungle waters.
Rubber:  1856-1920 was the Rubber Boom, until Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanization.
At the boom, 60,000 tons of rubber were exported per year.  A kilogram of rubber was worth 2 kilograms of gold.  Then an Englishman stole rubber tree seeds, which did not flourish in England or Africa, but did in Malaysia.  From 1950 to 1954 there was no business in Manaus.  In 1954 the government created the “Free Zone” with no taxes.  In 1964 that became a low tax zone.  Industrialization boomed beginning in 1980.
Today Manaus’ economy is built on industry—electronics of all kinds and many motorcycle factories—some 240 factories attracting workers from all over Brazil.  A huge natural gas field has been discovered near Manaus, which will be the next economic boom.  
“Andorinha voou e anunciou
Uma estrela do norte aqui passou
Trazendo alegria, trazendo bonança
E muita esperança pro nosso Brasil
Pra sorrir, pra reflorir... extravasar, cor de anil.”
                      --Lyrics, “Salve Este Mundo, Menino” composed and sung by Zeca Pagodinho
Um abraço,  
Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65)
Gig Harbor, WA
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