Newsletter of the early Brazilian Missions, #153
November 22, 2012
Bom dia and Happy Thanksgiving! Read these articles and look for little surprises! Enjoy.
In this issue:
Reminiscing: Arriving in Brazil in 1961.
Fruits of the Labor—a reunion and an abraços
Finding My Missionary
Called to Serve—Mexico City Temple Visitor’s Center; Dominican Republic MTC; Porto Alegre North Mission; São Paulo Interlagos Mission
Senior service in Lisbon, Portugal
Last month or so we were recalling Brazil missions of 50 years ago. Elder Devirl “Ed” Barfuss (BSM 61-63) of Highland, UT, had some interesting recollections: “Alf, I preceded you by 15 months but the experience was a little different. I think there were 13 in our group but half went to the north mission. The luggage for two of them got sent to Hawaii, so they were in a tough spot for about a week.
I think we had two sisters in our group. I entered the mission home on 19 June 1961 and was interviewed by President Sorenson when I arrived in Curitiba on 29 June. I asked if my release date would be 19 December 1963. He said, "No Elder, your mission starts when I enter your name in this book. You will not be released until after 29 December 1963. So much for being home for Christmas. As it turned out I was Branch President in my last city and I stayed to close out the books for the year and got home around 5 January 1964. I smile because the missionary experience is so different today.
My first city was Porto Alegre and sure enough they put me and one of the new sisters on the bus to PA with the names and addresses of our first companions. Thirteen hours later we arrived in PA. I helped get the sister in a taxi but delayed a little because I had to go to the bathroom really bad. I managed to get a ride in a jeep with a Brazilian who spoke about 90 words of English. He dropped me at the address and I walked up to the second floor, knocked on the door and was greeted by Elder Sims with a look of dismay. He asked who was being transferred. I told him I thought it was Elder Tobler (they had sent five transfer slips with me). Elder Sims said, "Oh no." He turned, went to his desk and started writing a letter to his mom telling her that he had just gone senior and his new companion was a greenie.
Elder Tobler welcomed me and of course wanted to know where he was being transferred. After a few minutes, while I was sitting on a very lumpy straw mattress, they showed me a 3/4 inch long white worm that they had just dug out of Elder Tobler's leg. At that moment I thought, "I was okay with serving a mission but I certainly didn't want to die doing it." As it turned out I was only sick about three days in nearly 31 months.
It was a great adventure. I had a lot of fun, did some good work and the mission changed the course of my life and my family's life. My dad was inactive when I left but was ready to take his family to the temple upon my return. And as they say, the rest is history." (Devirl Barfuss email@example.com)
Fruits of the Labor
Cam Anderson of Kaysville, UT, shares this experience. “I served in the Rio de Janeiro mission from 1980 to 1982. I recently had a very rewarding experience when someone that taught 30 years ago (who was baptized in February of 1982), contacted me because he was coming to the October General Conference. We met at the new City Creek mall in Salt Lake City a few days after conference. When I saw him, I instantly recognized him even though it had been 30 years since I had seen him. He reached out to shake my hand but I smiled and said that wouldn't do, and gave him a great big abraço. It was great to visit with him about him and his family. He served a mission in Brazil, and has a 17 year old son that is getting his papers ready for his mission. He is currently serving as the 2nd counselor in his stake presidency. What a great blessing it was to see someone that I had had the privilege to teach remain faithful for 30 years, and to have him be in such an position that he could also use his influence for good. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Find My Missionary
Okay, finding the living is hard enough. But recently I got a call from an elder who had been listed as dead! Last month Paulo Oliveira of Campinas, Brazil, asked me if I could find Elder Patrick Lynn Hart, the Elder who taught his father at Juiz de Fora a in 1967. Unfortunately the list I had been given of missionaries who served in that mission at that time listed Elder Hart as deceased. Well, I thought perhaps I could get some information for Irmão Oliveira, so I Googled Patrick Lynn Hart, looking for an obituary. I found a fellow with the same name online as a chiropractor in Oregon. Called the office fully expecting this was not the right guy, and left a message. I got a call back from him the next afternoon. He sounded quite alive and even gave me his email address. (email@example.com) Yes, he served in Brazil 65-67. Now I am trying to connect him with Paulo Oliveira. Don’t you think I should get extra credit for that one?!
Called to Serve
Duane Zobrist (BSM 60-63) with his wife Sharon, of Crozet, VA, is called to be Director of the Mexico City Temple Visitor’s Center. They previously presided over the Brazil Santa Maria Mission (98-01) and so they speak Portuguese. The Church News notes that Sister Zobrist has been president of every stake auxiliary . . . you know, Primary, Young Women, Relief Society, so you can see what a fine person she is. One of her first thoughts on receiving the call was at least she wouldn’t have to speak Spanish at conferences. Turns out that there are five missions in their area and they will be at the visitor’s center about 3 days a week and the rest of the time will be speaking at the 51 stakes served by the temple. So they won’t just be standing in the visitor’s center greeting visitors. She says Duane speaks good Spanish but when she is asked a question in Spanish she just answers in Portuguese. ¡Buena suerte, Hermana! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dean (BNM 69-71) and Claudia Cleverly of Bountiful, UT, will be Director of the Winter Quarters Visitor’s Center beginning in January 2013. That just sounds cold! Have a great experience, folks. (email@example.com)
The Church News announced the calling of Phil Freestone (BSM 65-67) and his wife Elizabeth, of Orem, UT, to preside over the Dominican Republic Missionary Training Center, where they will be teaching Spanish and French speaking missionaries, beginning early in 2013. They formerly presided over the Mexico Puebla Mission (05-08). ¡Felicitaciones! to the Freestones on this new adventure. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is from Elder Floyd Jennings and Sister Susan Jennings,
Dear Alf Gunn, What a joy it is to receive the Brasulista!! My wife and I have been called again to Brazil to serve in the Porto Alegre North Mission. I served in the Brazil South Mission from October l968 to January 1970 and returned 5 years later, with my wife, and helped in building construction from 1975 to 1978. We built a chapel in Petropolis, State of Rio de Janeiro; a chapel at Ponta da Praia in Santos and worked on the São Paulo Brazil Temple project. My responsibilities there were as supervisor on the Stake Center and Visitor's Center next to the temple and also to fabricate block for the Temple and Visitor's Center and translate for and assist Jim Magleby from Buehner Block and Company who was responsible to fabricate the marble for the temple. What joyous experiences these were!!! In the South, on my first mission, I served in Porto Alegre, Novo Hamburgo, Caxias do Sul, Criciuma, Tuburão, and Itajaí. The name of our oldest daughter is Itajaí. Two of our eight children were born in Brazil. We will again be serving in Novo Hamburgo. We were to fly to Porto Alegre on the 1st of October; however, our Visas have not arrived yet so we are temporarily assigned to Nauvoo. We will be driving there today as soon as I finish this letter. Muito obrigado!! Elder Floyd Jennings and Sister Susan Lee Tucker Jennings (email@example.com)
Elder Mark (BM 64-66) and Kathy Haslam of San Diego, CA are currently serving an 18 month mission in São Paulo Interlagos Mission under President Pinho and have been assigned to the branch in the town of Registro, SP. They previously serve a senior couples mission in Minas Gerias (09-11). “This time,” he writes, “they hope we will ‘get it right.’” Mark’s brother is Don Haslam (BSM 62-64) and his sister is Barbara Brinton who served in the Rio de Janeiro Mission when her husband Milton presided there in 05-08 and then at Area HQ in São Paulo when he was Medical Advisor. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here is a note from Elder Michael Henry (BSM 59-62) of Corning, CA, now in Lisbon, Portugal, who wrote to tell us about it. He and his wife Francie previously served a senior couple mission in the Brazil Florianôpolis Mission (07-09): Dear Alf: Sister Henry and I are working in the Service Center for the Perpetual Education Fund that is located in Lisbon, Portugal. Actually, we are across the river in a town named Miratejo. We work in the Church’s Service Center and have established a service center for all the Perpetual Education Fund participants who moved to Europe from South and Central America, South Africa, the Philippines, and other locations where loans are approved. Spain has now started offering loans and I have the privilege of interviewing all of the prospective participants as their final step before receiving a loan. We have about 350 participants in 15 different countries with whom we strive to communicate regularly. Fortunately, since they received their loans in Spanish or Portuguese countries, we only have to use those two languages in our communications. We do have to prepare instructions and communications with bishops and stake presidents and banking people in all of the languages. That is a challenge that we find a way to overcome.
When we arrived in the mission, the Mission President (for about 4 days) was Moroni Torgan. I had the pleasure of sharing with him the things I had written in my journal and remembered from the experience of teaching his father and helping with his baptism and confirmation. He was baptized by President Sorensen. Moroni was very young at the time and did not know all of the details concerning the miracles that made the baptism possible. He was very emotional as he was able to go through the experience with someone who had been right there. I was very grateful for having the opportunity to share what I had in my journal and what Elder Maashoff had in his journal with him. I wished that Elder Matlock, Elder Halls, and Elder Maashoff could have been there to share the experience. An interesting side note was that President Torgan’s son, Jared, was a tutor at the MTC that helped us renew our Portuguese. I shared journal notes of the experience with Jared also. By the way, we are even getting used to the strange pronunciation used by the natives here.
We love Portugal, but Brazil is still our “other” country. We still communicate regularly with the people with whom we worked in Chapecó. They are dear to our hearts and I believe we will return to see them when we have a chance.
If there is anything I can do to help your tour group when they arrive in Lisbon, let me know. We would enjoy greeting them and even help them in whatever way we could. It is a wonderful city to visit, but you really need at least a week to get a good feeling for all that is here. Thanks for all you do for us, Alf. Elder Michael Henry (email@example.com)
Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65)
Gig Harbor, WA firstname.lastname@example.org
"A gratidão é a memória do coração." (Antístenes)