Alf Gunn BadgeBrasulista #157

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #157
February 3, 1013

Bom dia pessoal!
In this issue:
New PEF Self Reliance Centers to open in Brazil and Latin America
Link:  Rio is embedding QR codes into mosaic sidewalks
Reber brothers take the prize for the longest stay in the MTC
Elder Larry Y. Wilson assigned to Asia Area Presidency, finds Brazilians
Manaus: Amazing Mission facts and faith of the saints at the Manaus Temple
Recalling travel and service in Brazil back in the day
More recent history of opening Mozambique to missionary work

From a missionary opportunities posting, modified by me to reflect Portuguese instead of Spanish and Brazil instead of Central America (where Spanish speakers are also sought):
"There is an urgent need for couples with good [Portuguese] skills to be involved in the roll out and day-to-day management of newly-reformulated PEF Self Reliance Centers in [Brazil].
“Couples with entrepreneurial or business experience can assist in building the long term self-reliance of deserving members, ages 18-60, across a spectrum of needs in their employment; educational (PEF and vocational training); & small business formation and micro-finance development.  
 "This unique missionary opening will provide a wonderful opportunity to combine your 30+ years of business experience with other more traditional missionary endeavors such as reactivation and new member development, as you help the Saints grow both temporally and spiritually.  In addition you will find yourself working with local Church leaders and business and education leaders in the communities to which you are assigned."
The Church is seeking support from senior couples, one per mission, to allow this program to move forward. There are 27 missions in Brazil and senior missionaries are always needed.  It has been taking at least six months to get visas to Brazil and so there is a long lead time.  Any who would consider serving missions in these positions may express an interest by calling or emailing Brother Toby Pingree at 1-800-240-0557 ( or Brother Tom Rueckert, Director of Operations and Control – Perpetual Education Fund, at 1-801-240-7537 ( at the church offices in Salt Lake City.  

Tech news: QRIO  
Okay, did you see this in the news?  Rio is imbedding QR codes into its famous sidewalk mosaic designs, to tell tourists about the various locations.  I read this article and zapped the photo and brought up the info on my smart phone.  Here is the link:

Q:  What is the record for long stays at the MTC?
From Jay Gardner (BPAM 72-74):  “Dear Alf,  The 12 members of my Language Training Mission (LTM) district were there from Sept 22, 1972 until Feb 19, 1973, 3 days short of 5 months.   All 12 of us went to the BSM in Porto Alegre, which at the time was presided over by Orson P. Arnold.  There were many districts all about a week apart that were stuck in the LTM during that fall and winter.  I guess the blessing was that we all learned to speak quite grammatically correct Portuguese and had the proper language structure down really well and had only to fill the in structure with vocabulary.  I am still in the hole regarding my ratio of winters to summers. During those two years we only had one summer to three winters.  As all who served there know, the southern Brazil winters can be very cold. Still looking to get caught up in summers.  Perhaps it will happen when I serve the second time with the fetching Sister (Rachel) Gardner.  Abracos, Jay Gardner, Phoenix, AZ”   (
Q:  What is the record for long stays at the MTC?
Dear Alf, Unfortunately I think that my brother and I will win this one.  
My twin brother (Kelly Reber –Rio De Janeiro mission 72-74) and I (Keith Reber – Porto Alegre mission 72-74) entered the Mission Home together in Salt Lake City in September 1972 and a few days later the MTC, or Language Training Mission as it was called then, in Provo at Allen Hall.  My brother was a member of the Don Pedro 1 district and I was a member of the Don Pedro ll district.  After 4 months in the LTM all the missionaries of Dom Pedro 1 and Don Pedro ll received their visa with the exception of my brother and I.  Not knowing what to do with us they made us companions thinking it would just be short time until we would receive our visas.  We remained companions in the MTC for another 3 months.  We arrived in Brazil on May 1, 1973 after spending just a little over seven months in the MTC. However the time in the MTC will always remain a very special time in my heart.  Many battles were fought while in the MTC.  Many, many spiritual experiences strengthened and changed who I was.  I will always be grateful for the strength of the missionaries in those two wonderful districts who helped my brother and me through a most difficult time with the tragic loss of our father.  
  We were just finishing our 4th month in the MTC when we received word that our father had been electrocuted on a power pole while attempting to restore power to the little farming community of Littlefield, Arizona. It was a tragic loss for our family. My first thought was, I must return home to help take care of our mother who was now left alone on the farm. We then received a phone call from home and the first things my mother said was "You know how much your father always talked and dreamed about his twins serving a mission.  His purpose was to help you get on your mission and he has now completed his mission.  Please complete your mission."  I have always felt that there could never be a more wonderful place than the MTC to be with so many wonderful people when faced with this tremendous unexpected challenge.  I will always love so dearly the missionaries of these two districts.  
  I might mention that my brother and I had the privilege of teaching and baptizing a Brazilian couple while we were companions.  There was a non-member couple from Brazil attending some classes at BYU.  They had expressed a desire to receive the missionaries so a call was placed to the MTC requesting some missionaries to teach them the lessons.  We are able to teach them and witness their baptism.   How many get to teach and baptize in the MTC?
  My challenges and experiences of the MTC have aided me many, many times throughout my life in serving the lord.  I will always be grateful for those challenges placed before me on my mission.  
 One other challenge that my brother and I faced with was that of deciding who was to be the senior companion.  My brother used to say “OK, today let’s trade.  I will be the senior companion and you get to be the good looking one.”   
  Thanks again for all you do, Pres. Keith R. Reber, Missão Brasil Cuiabá    (
ps I would be interested to know if there are any other missionaries who were companions with a sibling for 3 months or any period of time.

From Elder Larry Y. Wilson (BCentM 69-71) of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy:   
  “Dear Alf, I continue to enjoy the Brasulista very much.  Having served a mission in Brazil as a young man, I had always hoped I might get back there as an adult in some capacity. However, the Lord has taken Lynda and me in a different direction.  Last April, we were assigned to serve in the Asia Area Presidency.  So, here we are in Hong Kong.  However, I have run into Brazilians in Taiwan, Singapore and one or two other places, which has been fun.  Recently, I visited Macau where all of the signs are in Chinese and Portuguese.  My kind of place!  Thank you for your ongoing efforts to help us stay in touch and make all the valuable connections that are possible through the Brasulista.  With best wishes for Chinese New Year.  Abraços,  Elder Larry Wilson, Asia Area Presidency, Hong Kong” (

Amazing facts about the Brazil Manaus Mission!
When I was a missionary in the south of Brazil (62-65) I don’t recall hearing anything about Manaus, in the Amazon Rainforest way up north, except that it was there. Lately, I was curious as to how far-flung the Brazil Manaus Mission is in 2013.  Here is a response to my questions from President Moroni Klein of that mission.  You may find it interesting to look up the location of some of these cities on Google Maps.

“Querido irmão Gunn, Atualmente na área da Missão Brasil Manaus temos 1 templo, 11 estacas, 2 distritos, 2 ramos de missão e 5 grupos.  Sim temos missionários em Porto Velho-RO, Boa Vista-RR, Rio Branco-AC.  A cidade mais distante que tem missionários é Cruzeiro do Sul-AC, temos missionários em Tefé-AM, Maués-AM e Parintins-AM.  Um dos distritos fica na cidade de Itacoatiara-AM.  Também temos missionários em Ariquemes-RO que faz parte da Estaca Porto Velho.  Além destas cidades temos missionários em Manacapurú-AM que tem duas alas e faz parte da Estaca Manaus Rio Amazonas e Senador Guiomard-AC onde tem uma Ala e faz parte da Estaca Rio Branco.  Um forte abraço, Presidente Klein, Missão Brasil Manaus” (

Alf’s note:  Heck, I looked up Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, on Google maps, and it is way out on the border with Peru.  It is twice as far from Manaus as it is from Lima, Peru!  It is actually farther west than Cuzco, Peru!  My, oh my!  And from Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, to Boa Vista, Roraima, in the same mission, is a distance equal to the distance from Salt Lake City to Vancouver, British Columbia, as the crow flies.  But I doubt you can fly from one to the other without stops in other cities. Puxa!

Faith of the saints from Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil, January 2013
From Sister Margaret Dyal and Elder Michael Dyal (BSM 62-65):  “This week we had 94 people come to the temple from Porto Velho south of Manaus. They came with one purpose in mind, that of doing the Lord’s work in His House. Most of them flew here—a 1½ hour flight—but a few came by boat which took them 4 days to get here as there is no road from here to there. We added a session at 8 am each morning just for them and they filled every session each day. They brought with them the Spirit of the Lord and a great desire to learn and serve in the Lord’s Temple. It was their first time in the Manaus Temple. About 30 of them were set apart as ordinance workers and they learned the material then helped in doing the work. Five families were sealed together on Tuesday then attended the temple many times each day. We, ourselves felt the joy of serving about eight hours each day in the temple helping them.  The youth came also so do baptisms which they did several times a day. Sister Cox and I had the opportunity to make chocolate chip cookies with some of the beautiful young women. One girl was humming a song quietly to herself and I listened then asked her to sing for all of us which she shyly did very beautifully. Her family was all sealed together in the temple on Tuesday and she was thrilled to be able to be in the temple.  I was touched in helping an 83 year old sister in the work that she did. There were many tears of joy as they did the work they so wanted to accomplish in their 4 days here.”

A few words from Elder Dyal on his experience with the Saints from Porto Velho:  
“All who came were eager to learn and do the work of the temple for their departed ancestors and they brought dozens if not hundreds of names for the work to be done. They were prepared, organized, and focused--and, again, eager. The tallest man in the group wanted to learn how to officiate in an endowment session so I was assigned to be the assistant so I could teach him whatever he needed assistance on. He did well and learned a lot--all week in everything he did. His example inspired others too timid perhaps to try and they did things they didn’t know they were going to do. This man, was extremely grateful to all of us who worked with him and when he said goodbye to a few of us on the men’s side, he cried-he couldn’t keep from shedding tears of joy for all he had done and felt in the temple. He was not the only one to do so. The Spirit of the Lord was with us all in greater abundance all week. Another brother was the most focused individual I have worked with since we arrived--he knew exactly what he needed to learn and what he wanted to accomplish and went about getting it all done by the time he left. If we all had the focused energy he had, what couldn’t we accomplish in life and in the service of the Lord? What a privilege for us to be able to be here and serve such wonderful, humble people who knew their Heavenly Father and desired to serve Him with all their hearts and with tears of sadness to have to leave the Lord’s House.  Elder and Sister Dyal” (

From Chuck Carlston (BM 58-60) “I enjoyed reading Elder Michael Norton's description of flying down to the mission.  My recollection is that from New York City to São Paulo, in November 1958, it took us 26 flying hours.  An exhausting experience.  As we flew over the Andes Mountains, the flight attendants went up and down the aisles making sure that we were all breathing through oxygen tubes that dropped from above our seats!  
  Before those early flights, missionaries would travel from NYC to Santos taking eleven days with stops at Trinidad, Barbados, Salvador (Bahia) and Rio de Janeiro.  I took that same trip to Brazil as a high school student in 1954.  While I was a high school student in Rio, our whole family would meet the Moore McCormick Lines ship every other Saturday, pick up the missionaries and drive them sightseeing around Rio, stop by our apartment for root beer and return them to their ship where they would continue to Santos or Buenos Aires to begin their mission in Brazil, Argentina or Uruguay.  In those days, the entire country was one mission. This summer, I digitized my fountain pen mission journal.  Dictation software couldn't handle all the Portuguese words, so I typed most of it.  Now, that it's digitized, I can search for names of companions, converts, visiting General Authorities, etc.  I searched for all entries about my last companion, Elder Gordon Peters, found several entries and emailed the journal entries to him.  What a blessing from digitizing.  I plan to publish my personal history in a few months so that my children and grandchildren will become more familiar with the details.  
Chuck Carlston”  (

From Sister Marilyn (Hartog) Porter:  “Since no sisters commented about the length of their mission, I will.  I went during a short window when we sisters were called for the same length of time as the elders: 3 months in the MTC and 2 years in-country.  I entered the MTC at the end of October 1966 and returned home the end of January 1969—27 months!  My dad, who wasn't active in the Church, couldn't figure out why he had to pay for a mission nine months longer than my girlfriend's dad did.  She went to Northeastern States Mission. Thanks for all you do!  Marilyn (Sister Hartog) Porter” (

From Richard Silver (BSM 61-63) of Frankfort, KY:   “Alf, When Sister Silver & I were called to serve in Mozambique (then a part of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission) in 2002, we arrived at the Provo MTC on time.  After a couple of weeks, Church Travel sent us our passports and tickets.  There was a problem!  The flight arrived in Maputo two weeks before the initial date of validity of the visa!  Bottom line - we stayed at the MTC extra time, doing more Portuguese lessons until we could match the visa date.  And, all we had were tourist visas valid for 30 days!
  “After arrival in Mozambique, we found that the standard practice of the time was to request tourist visas for initial arrival.  However, within that 30 days we had to exit the country and re-enter with a work visa as church missionaries, using a letter obtained from the Mozambican Department of Religious Affairs.  Since the South African border was just a 120km drive away, that could be done on a same-day basis.  We made several trips to take young Elders across the border and back for their visas.  Later on, under our responsibility to run the satellite Mission Office in Maputo, we got it worked out for entering missionaries to come already with work visas.  At least Mozambique acts on visas with a minimal delay!
  “One of the reasons that we got good cooperation from the Mozambican Department of Religious Affairs was that its director, a wonderful man named Job Chambal, had been sponsored a couple of years before to attend the periodic seminar on legal affairs and religious liberty at BYU.  We had a great working relationship with him.  In fact, as LDS missionaries, we were well-received by clergy of most other churches, be they Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.  They called us "fellow Christians" and greeted us always with friendship.” (

Thanks to all for your input.  Tip:  Receive “A Liahona” in Portuguese for $10 per year delivered to your home, via Church Magazines.  
Às suas ordens, irmãos,
Alf Gunn - Gig Harbor, WA - 253-851-1099 -


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