Alf Gunn BadgeBrasulista #161

Newsletter of the early LDS Brazilian missions, #161

April 13, 2013

Bom dia, gente!  Enjoy this issue.  Vale a pena! -Alf

In this issue:

  • Former missionary David Neeleman of Azul airlines on TV
  • Were you there when Elder Ezra Taft Benson dedicated Brazil to the work?
  • Fred Williams reports on the Recife Temple
  • Were you stoned during your mission?—follow-up comments.
  • Don and Ellen (Sorensen) Holsinger in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Mission calls and service

As announced at General Conference, a temple for the cidade maravilhosa! - Rio De Janeiro

Former missionary David Neeleman of Azul airlines on TV

Some of our alumni take the love we develop for the people of Brazil during our full-time missions into missions of one kind or another later in life.  One of our former missionaries is David Neeleman (BRdJM 78-80), founder of Jet Blue airlines and now founder of the very successful Azul airlines in Brazil.  If you want to learn about him, here are two YouTube videos of his appearance on Brazilian TV with Jô Soares, explaining his life—how he came to be born in Brazil, how he came to speak Portuguese (which he does very well) during a mission there, how he dropped out of college to go into business, and how his business philosophy resounds with the people of Azul.  We may never know the great good that this one man has done for the people of Brazil and will continue to do into the future, but we can begin to appreciate it.  These videos are in Portuguese and about 8 minutes each.  Find them on YouTube entitled:

David Neeleman no Jô – Parte I   and     David Neeleman no Jô – Parte II  


WERE YOU THERE?  Brasilia, October 12, 1980.

In 1925 Apostle Melvin J. Ballard at Argentina dedicated the continent of South America to the preaching of the gospel.  On October 12, 1980, Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was in Brasilia organizing the Brasilia Stake, the first stake in the Planalto.  Afterwards, Elder Benson went to Parque Rogério Piton Farias which he had selected and, acting on assignment from President Spencer W. Kimball, dedicated the country of Brazil individually to the preaching of the gospel.  Also present were President Dirceu Atanásio Pontes, first counselor in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission, and regional representative Elder Hélio da Rocha Camargo.  The Portuguese translation of Elder Benson’s dedicatory prayer was published in the Liahona of December, 1980.  Sister Ludmilla Gagnor Galvão, church historian of Brasilia, is asking if any missionaries or members who receive this Brasulista were present and witness to these events of October 12, 1980, particularly the dedicatory prayer.  Were you there? (


Question:  If you lived in Portuguese-speaking Cabo Verde, the former Portuguese island colony off the west coast of Africa, where would you go to attend a temple? 

Temple President Report

Fred Williams (BM 60-63) and Sister Carol Williams, of Orem, UT, report on their service as they have presided at the Recife Temple, in a letter to family and friends: 

  “Dear folks, Our experience in Recife was, as you might expect, maravilhoso.  It is a caravan temple, meaning we serve 73 stakes in 11 states of the northeast, plus Cape Verde.  Every Monday evening, four buses arrive at the temple carrying members who stay in the patron housing until Saturday morning.  We have 238 beds, a cafeteria and laundry facilities for them.  They work all day every day in the temple, so it is always busy.  Those four buses are replaced by an additional four or five bus-loads of members coming from neighboring states, who spend the day of Saturday in the temple, but don't stay in the patron housing.  The stake that travelled the farthest was Santarem in the middle of the Amazon.  They would travel for three days by boat to Belem, and then three days by bus to Recife; stay the week, then retrace their steps.  Now that the temple in Manaus has been dedicated, they travel there, three days by boat.

  “Originally, the Cape Verdean saints went to the Madrid temple, but they soon learned that the distance to the Recife temple is the same, and it is much easier to get a visa for Brazil than it is to Spain, plus they speak Portuguese.

  “We had 12 temple missionary couples, mostly from Brazil, so we were mission presidents also, besides being temple president and matron.  

  “We are now back teaching at BYU. I'm currently teaching a seminar on Portuguese author Jorge de Sena, the Survey of Brazilian literature, and the introduction to Luso-Brazilian literature, in which I also include Mozambican poets.  I am an instructor in the High Priests; my wife Carol is the ward choir director, and we both teach the Temple Preparation Seminar.  I also serve as a sealer in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. The biography on my ancestor and namesake, The Life of Dr. Frederick G. Williams, Counselor to the Prophet Joseph Smith, submitted several months before we left for Brazil, was published by BYU Studies at the end of April last year, while we were still in Recife, and it has already sold out.  They are converting it to an ebook, and have a partnership with Deseret Book.  The next volume in the bilingual series is at the press, Poets of Portuguese Asia: Goa, Macao, East Timor; I was able to get to East Timor in December and obtained the necessary authorizations from the poets to include their works.  I have begun work on the sixth volume, Poets of Angola-Poetas de Angola.  So life is full.  Um grande abraço, Fred, Frederick G. Williams

Re “Were you stoned on your mission?” (Brasulista #160)

“Great to read the "stoned" story.  I was there!  Thanks.”  Bro. Larry Lythgoe Clark (BSM 62-65) (

Frank Fox (BSM 60-63) of Provo, UT, our district leader at the time of the event, writes:  “I remember that night well, Alf.  And, yes, I think we were in fact "stoned," in the manner of speaking.  The mountains were so lovely.  Gramado was a little slice of heaven, with huge hydrangeas everywhere, everything so neat and clean.  The stars sprinkled the heavens as we sat around our little fire and told stories.  It puts me in mind of that John Denver song Rocky Mountain High: ‘We sit around the campfire and everybody's high . . . Rocky Mountain high!.’  Well, I guess I sort of felt that way that night.  It's always nice to hear from you, Alf.  You do a great job keeping us all in touch and remembering.  Frank Fox. (

Alf’s note:  I will be back there in beautiful Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul, next week on our Southern Brazil Mission Reunion Tour with some 66 of our alumni and family members.  We will hold a fireside at the new Gramado meetinghouse.  I will look for the hydrangeas and eat a chocolate or two for you.

From Jess Jarvis (BSM 59-62)( of Mesa, AZ, from his journal, at Rio do Sul, SC:

“Quarta-feira, 27 abril 1960 ...Elder Gibson and I were called names, hollered at, and stoned!...”

“Sexta-feira, 29 abril 1960:  ...Elder Clay and I were stoned by a few youngsters...”

This from Peter Baumgarten, (BNM 71-73) of Fredericksburg, VA, 

“Dear Alf,  I never felt terribly persecuted as a missionary, but there were two incidents that I recall involving projectiles tossed in our direction.  One occurred during a street meeting in the middle of downtown Rio.  We were preaching near an intersection among high-rise buildings.  Suddenly, a plastic sack of water hit the ground right next to where we were standing, apparently dropped from one of the windows high above.  It burst and spattered on us and the people close by who were standing near to listen.  We had a pretty good crowd gathered around us to hear.  But the crowd dispersed quickly after the water bomb fell. 

  The other incident happened at night as my companion and I were walking on the sidewalk, probably along Avenida Vieira Souto, in Ipanema, with the beach on our left and the road on our right.  As one of the cars passed us by, a passenger threw a raw egg and pegged me in the arm.  Again, no real injury; probably just a harmless prank that turned out to be another unforgettable experience.  Fortunately, we were fairly close to our apartment at the time, so I was able to change out of my wet shirt without much delay.   (

On the first day of General Conference, DeAnn Forbes (BRdeJM 73-74) of Blanding, UT wrote: 

I was very excited to hear President Monson announce a temple for Rio de Janeiro.  I was in Brazil in 1973-74.  I spent most of my Brazil time in Rio. I remember a time we got rotten fruit thrown at us at the end of an open air market.  The elders with their white shirts made great targets.  My companion and I got hit as collateral damage.  Thank you for the newsletters.  DeAnn Forbes    

  ps  I spent three months at the LTM, then two months in Arizona working with Spanish speaking sisters.  Some missionaries ahead of us spent seven months in the LTM.  I remember a story about Elders who spent seven months at the LTM and they thought they knew Portuguese pretty well.  They were on the Varig flight on their way to Brazil and were disappointed when they did not understand the instructions from the flight attendant.  They were relieved to find out the flight originated in Tokyo, and the instructions had been in Japanese. (

John Howarth (BM 59-62) of Clearfield, UY, was one of the missionaries who were attacked by the natives with their bow and arrow (Brasulista #160).  He writes:

“Bro. Gunn: We were the 1st missionaries to bring the gospel to Franca.  We had our pictures put in the paper and the "Spoken Word" on the local radio station during the noon hour.  We rented a home, and purchased chairs for those who came to see who we were.  We made a pulpit, and purchased to black boards to put the words of the hymns on them as we only had one hymn book. We gave talks in that small chapel, and began a primary class.  We baptized in the local city swimming pool.  There was a lot of tracting done and many lessons taught. It would be nice to hear from members of church in Franca, particularly is any of them remember us.  Bro. John Howarth (BM 59-62) (

Alf: re Riberão Preto native attack.  Reminds me of l960 when I got to Brazil, they had been working on the new Brasilia, still very primitive. They found a jeep load of workers massacred, full of arrows.  Elder Wm. Choate (BM 61-63) Seminole, OK  (

Called to Serve—Geneva, Switzerland

Don and Ellen (Sorensen) Holsinger on a mission in Geneva, Switzerland:  March 6, 2013

 “Dearest family,  We are home from our Salt Lake City meetings and back in the thick of things again with the Human Rights Council in full swing. This happens for a month, three times a year: September, February/March and June, more or less. They all have their specific themes, but the February-March session is the one that usually has the most emphasis on Freedom of Religion or Belief. And this year there seems to be more interest, more attention, more energy around this very sensitive issue....  I suspect that Joseph Smith felt somewhat the same when he traveled to Washington DC in 1839 to protest the treatment of his beloved Latter-day Saints at the hands of the Missouri Governor. “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you,” he was told. “If I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri.” So politics trumped honor and the young religious leader received no satisfaction at the hands of the people who should have come to his assistance. Had there been a Human Rights Council in 1839, he might have visited it. Sometimes governments misbehave and the only place in the world to take grievances is to Switzerland to bring a cause before the world’s highest court of last moral appeal...”  (

Gordon Peters (BM 59-61) of Provo, UT, former President of the Portugal Lisbon North Mission, 1993-1996, writes: 

“Brother Gunn,  Please know that your work of love is greatly appreciated and admired. I served in the Brazil Mission from July, 1959 to December 31, 1961 under the amazing leadership of President Wm. Grant Bangerter.  I returned to Brazil with my wife and two daughters, Staci and Wendi, in 1978 as a Corporate Banker, living in São Paulo. I was called by President Bangerter to serve in the São Paulo North Mission Presidency with President Harry James Maxwel and then continued on with President Darwin Christensen. As a family, we had the great blessing to participate in the dedication of the São Paulo Temple.  After seven years, we returned to Los Angeles. Two years later, we were sent back to Brazil for another three years for my work.  We have so many beloved Brazilian and American friends and hundreds of stories that have been told around the world and in the Provo MTC., where we recently served for four years.  Sister Kay Peters and I were blessed to spend three years in Portugal when I presided over the Portugal  Lisbon North Mission (93-96). Brazil has always been a part of our lives and continues to be spoken about every day. Our hearts are filled with "Saudades."  I am sadden to report that my beloved companion of 49 years, passed away on July 5, 2012. Kay's love for Brazil and Portugal cannot be measured in words or time.  Our home is filled with art work and eternal memories that we have enjoyed together from those two great countries.  Thank you once again for your kind service and for the joy that you bring to us all.  Abraços, Gordon C. Peters” (  

Orlando Albuquerque (BSPN 73-75) of São Paulo, SP writes: 

“Caro Irmão Gunn

Sou um dos que fizeram missão antes de 1985 . Tenho tido o privilegio de ter como

 Presidente do Templo de Campinas Nosso amado casal Presidente e Sister George and Janette Oakes.  Há 40 anos entrei no campo missionario com Pres. Oakes nos orientando na Missão Brasil Norte e depois tantos anos vemos como a igreja cresceu.  Cidades como Recife, Fortaleza, Goiânia, Belo Horizonte, Vitoria e outros agora são sede de missao quando eram apenas ramos. O espirito doce dos Oakes permanece e o amor incondicional para com seus missionários com o passar dos anos cresce.  Minha esposa Sister Aguera (BSM 75-76) também fez missão antes de 1985 com Presidente Lynn A. Sorensen.  Desta união tivemos seis filhos sendo que quatro fizeram missão e já terminaram e estamos esperando o chamado de mais uma filha que sentiu o desejo quando Pres Monson anunciou as novas idades para servir missão.  Acompanho seus boletins e fico feliz com os chamados e noticias dos brasileiros do mundo.  Um prazer em receber o Brasulita.  Abraço, Orlando Albuquerque” (


Elder Ashley Fish (BSM 65-67) of Heber City, UT, writes: 

“As you know, there are many "Latinos" living up and down the Wasatch Front and Back.  Much great work being done by the Church here near Church Headquarters!  We've served an 18-month mission, teaching English as a second language to those mostly Spanish-speaking with other students from other parts of the world using the ‘Daily Dose’ program of the Church's Missionary Department - headed by Elder Ballard.  We are just wrapping up this week.  We teach only non-members or part-member families.  There are some 30 other senior couples currently serving with us in this mission language program, not counting the 15-20 other senior couples serving elsewhere within this mission, the Utah Provo Mission.  Elder Ashley and Sister Marie Fish” (

Elder Larry Affleck (BM 60-63) and his wife Twila, of Taylorsville, UT, are nearing completion of a senior mission as employment consultants for the Church in Chicago, IL.  They send their greetings from the cold and windy city.  (

Lynn Henke (BM 63-65) of Ivins, UT writes: 

“While I was Bishop I had a sister move into my ward from Brazil who spoke very little English and I would do my temple recommend interview in Portuguese. A brother also visited my ward who was from Petropolis, my first city.  I didn't know him there but enjoyed visiting with him.  While in the Army I had the opportunity to tour many of the US military bases with a group of Brazilian officers. When briefed at the pentagon before the trip I was told "I know you were a missionary in Brazil for the Mormon Church, but do not preach to these officers."  I found out most of the briefing officer’s staff were returned missionaries because of their language skills. It is impossible to not talk about the Church when it was through the Church you were in Brazil, so we had many conversations over the course of the month we travelled together.  Some had even previously received the missionary discussions.  About six months later my CO called me and said the Brazilian ambassador had requested me by name to accompany another tour.  I was excited to go but the CO said he would do everything in his power to have them send someone else since I was providing the military support to an important project in Yuma and they needed me there.  He prevailed and I was not able to go.  The thing that impressed me most about the whole experience was the high regard these Brazilian Officers and the Ambassador had for the Church and our missionaries. The love that is created for a nation and a people through serving as a missionary is truly a miracle.  Lynn Henke  (

Estevam Romero Neto (BSPS 78-80) writes:  

“Irmão Alf, Minha familia conheceu A Igreja em 1969, e ficamos frequentando até meu pai e irmã se batizarem em 9 de maio de 1970 e eu em 12 de julho de 1970 e me mantive firme até hoje no evangelho, fiz missão na Missão
São Paulo Sul com o presidente Wilford Alan Cardon de 26 de outubro de 1978 a 1 de novembro de 1980 época maravilhosa em minha vida!  Sou muito feliz por ser membro da Igreja do Salvador Jesus Cristo nosso mestre.

  D&C fala que se trouxedes uma só alma, imagina centenas.  Batizei mais de cem na missão.  Muitos fizeram missão:  Tem um oficiante selador do templo de São Paulo, fruto do nosso trabalho.  Ele também é patriarca e já deu mais de 1000 bençãos.  Alf, estou muito voltado agora com minha genealogia, já estou na quinta e sexta e setema geração.  Estou muito feliz com essa obra. A unica foto que tinha do Elder John Gibbs eu enviei para ele, para ver se ele lembrava de mim.  Isso foi depois que eu voltei de missão em 1980, ouvi que ele morava em Jacarta na Indonésia. Alguém me deu um endereço aí. Enviei para ele. Mas como gostaria de abraça-lo e dizer obrigado, obrigado pelo que você  fez por nossa família. 
  Meu pai chamava-se Gotardo ele faleceu em 1986.  Ele era contador e funcionário público no Exercito e também era rádio amador e os missionários sempre iam lá em casa para poder falar com seus familiares aí nos Estados Unidos da América.  Geralmente isso acontecia aos sábados. Me lembro muito bem.  O Ramo de Fortaleza tinha 8 missionários americanos.  Foi uma epoca bem legal.
  É possível que este ano eu vá conhecer Salt Lake City, sempre foi um desejo meu conhecer e passar pelo Templo de Salt Lake e Tabernaculo , conhecer também o bosque sagrado, e tudo o que poder.  Amo esse evangelho , sou muito feliz por ser membro da igreja do Salvador, tenho um testemunho inabalável do Livro de Mormon.  Obrigado pelo endereço do Elder Grover.  Um grande abraço, Estevam Romero Neto, 7º filho da Alda


Brian Snelson (BSPS 76-78) and his wife Kim of Provo, UT, are called the to Mozambique Maputo Mission to begin in June 2013.  Congratulations.  (

From Bill Jensen (BM 63-65) of Sandy, UT: 

“Thank you for your great service in providing ”notícias” about Brazil.  My wife and I have long awaited an opportunity to return to Brazil.  We worked for 3 1/2 years in the Hispanic Initiative in the Salt Lake Valley.  We served in one of the two Portuguese branches in the valley, the Winder 17th, and a Spanish branch, the Buena Vista.  I retired in June of last year and we began to put our house in order to serve a full time mission.  I was surprised when our call came to serve in the Illinois Chicago Mission as Military Relations Specialists at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.  I guess my military service in the Army trumped my missionary service in Brazil 1963 - 1966.  Keep up the good work and I will keep in touch with “Brasil, terra de meu amor” through your excellent newsletter.   

Elder and Sister Jensen, Great Lakes Naval Training Center.”  (

alumpofclayRich Johnson (BM 66-68) ( of Sequim, WA, has written some books sold on Amazon, but his latest is self-published—a little gift book entitled A Lump of Clay.  Written almost as a parable or after the manner of a CS Lewis story, it has with messages hidden within the tale. “This one,” he writes, “is especially for anyone who has wondered why Heavenly Father doesn't give us what we ask for, if He really cares about us. It leads to a powerful conclusion, and was designed so the reader has to turn the final page to discover the final message.  It's a great book for children, because of the story.  It's a great book for adults because of the messages.”

The spiral bound mini-book may be ordered online from, at $6.99.

Well, folks, I’m off to Brazil with some wonderful folks!  A report when I return. 


Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65) - Gig Harbor, WA -

“Quanto mais velho fico, mais valor dou as lembranças que a vida me proporcionou.”

Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great job Alf and great job Mike Leavitt my old mission zone leader, roommate in Novo Hamburgo, friend and all around great guy! I really like this format with the embedded video.

Mike Barker
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