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Brasulista #169

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #169
January 1, 2014

2014!  Celebrating our 13th year of encouraging senior missionary service and expressing gratitude for the love and experiences we have shared.  
Bom dia e feliz ano novo!

In this issue:

  • Coordinating Service Missions
    Mission calls to Cabo Verde – the Demke’s and Campbell’s.
    One mission will have hundreds of new senior missionaries!
    Comment on race and the priesthood
    “Brasil” – How to pronounce it
    Christian Science Monitor Brazil quiz (link)
    Tips on keeping up with Brazilian news media – website and apps

BrasulistaThis and past issues of the Brasulista may be found on, a service provided as a service by Michael Leavitt of Orem, UT.

I will admit that it is hard for me to keep up with the exciting things happening church-wide in the area of missionary work, or more broadly, the work of salvation.  Suffice to say, “this is not your father’s Buick”—missionary wise.  Here are some items.


My friend Elder Larry Clark (BSM 62-65) and his wife Lynette, of Federal Way, WA, began serving a two-year mission in October as Group Coordinators of church Service Missionary Group Northwest (Alaska, BC, and Western WA). They previously served a temple mission in São Paulo in 2010.  In their new mission they coordinate with 50 stake presidents to fill various mission and welfare options, including family history centers, employment centers, addiction recovery programs, welfare facilities and mission headquarters. (

The Clarks replaced Elder Dick Mitchell (BSM 60-62) and his wife Gail, of Des Moines, WA, who had served in that position for five years and is credited with doing an outstanding job of establishing the program in the area. (

The Northwest area has about 350 service missionaries currently serving missions typically of six to 24 months.  The Church currently has 14,386 service missionaries serving, including many serving in the Salt Lake and Utah valley area.  We can see that there is an incredible amount of service being rendered by many whose numbers are not included in the count of full-time missionaries currently serving that we read about—more than 82,000 presently.

Elder Dennis Lamb (BSM 62-65) and his wife Susan are serving in the same capacity out of their Gilbert, AZ, residence, since October. They coordinate the North America Southwest Tucson Area, including half of AZ and parts of NM. They previously served as Area Welfare Agent in the Brazil South Area (04-06).  (


We, Elder Neldon and Sister Diana Osborn Demke, are loving our Cape Verde mission experience. I served in the Porto Alegre mission in 1969 to 1971 while my wife served in the Mexico City mission. My Portuguese is slowly returning but the people here are more comfortable in Creole. We are in Member and Leadership Support but do a little of everything. We love working with less actives, with members and leaders. There are about nine islands here but we will principally work on two. I encourage all my fellow Brazilian missionaries to serve senior missions and there are at least three Portuguese-speaking African missions. The field is white and ready to harvest in Cape Verde.  Happy holidays.  Neldon Demke (

Elder David (BM 66-68) and Bonnie Campbell of St. George, UT, who previously presided over the Brazil Manaus Mission (99-02) write:  “Alf, Bonnie and I received a mission call to Porto Alegre North Mission. Because of the visa issue our MTC date was moved twice. Finally in visiting with the Senior Missionary Department and through a series of promptings and tender mercies our mission call has changed. We have now been called to Cabo Verde CES Programs. We enter the MTC on January 20, 2014 and will serve for 18 months. We will still speak Portuguese and will be able to serve and see the church among the pioneer members of Cabo Verde. It was difficult to give up on our dream of returning to Brazil. Our heart is still there, but we know we will be blessed with this experience in Cabo Verde. Thank you for keeping us informed about Brazil and the people and missionaries we have grown to love. David and Bonnie Campbell  (

Alf’s note:  On my one short visit to Portuguese-speaking Cabo Verde, with former missionaries, we met young missionaries serving there who were from Portugal, Brazil and the USA, and we met members from Brazil there.  We spoke Portuguese and got along fine.  We had a wonderful experience attending the baptism of a fine young man about 21 years old and heading for missionary service himself. 


Finally, my sister makes the list of new Sister missionaries!  Again.  Gaye Beeson and her husband Dick, of Orem, UT, are called to serve a full-time mission for two years in the Utah Provo Mission—along with some 272 other senior missionaries who will serve under the president of that mission.  That is one couple for each stake in that mission.  Can you imagine?!  Gaye and Dick previously served a senior mission in the Brazil Belo Horizonte East Mission (00-01), and last week they were released from ward callings as Relief Society president and Ward Mission Leader. “From all indications,” writes Sister Beeson, “this appears to be a pilot project. Our call states: ‘Your primary assignment is to labor as a member and leader support missionary while living at home.’ There are many on our stake membership rolls that we love and miss. So we will rescue, reactivate, get to the temple, retain, and convert! It's full-time, every day, every week. But we do get to sleep in our own bed!”  They enter the Provo MTC on January 20. "We are happy and excited for the new calling." (


Rob Haskins of Murrieta, CA, recalls the announcement on the priesthood:

  I appreciate the section on Blacks and the priesthood mentioned in Brasulista #168.

RacePriesthood  I distinctly remember that time. I served in Brazil São Paulo Sul (78-80), much later than most missionaries you send this letter to. After receiving my call in 1977, I studied about Brazil and remember being concerned due to the mixed racial population. Initially I was sent to Texas to wait for a visa. While there I began reading the biography "Spencer W. Kimball" by Edward Kimball & Andrew Kimball, Jr.  I finished reading the book the first week of June in 1978. That next week, when the revelation was announced at a special zone conference, I received an overwhelming witness that it was true. That was not the case with some of the other missionaries I was serving with, including my zone leaders and my companion. There was much harsh language and attitude, which disturbed my soul. Some missionaries even questioned whether President Kimball was a true prophet.

  I decided to take the matter to the Lord. I fasted all day and then knelt down to pray. I asked the Lord for confirmation on two matters. First, was Spencer W. Kimball a true prophet of God and second, was the revelation on the Priesthood the will of the Lord. I received such a strong spiritual witness of the truthfulness and affirmation of both questions that even writing about it 35 years hence has made me cry. Because of that witness, I was then able to testify of its truth to many, many missionaries and others with power and authority.

  I arrived in Brazil the weekend the São Paulo Brazil temple was dedicated. I know that a large reason for the timing was to allow Brazil to grow as a temple people. I had two companions of African descent, one who went to his bishop on the week of revelation to ask to serve a mission. A few weeks after arriving in Brazil, Helvécio Martins visited our branch in São Paulo with Walter Queiroz. He had been called as a regional representative and would later become the first person of African descent to become a general authority.

  We had great success in sharing the message of the restored gospel to those of mixed race, and for me—I have never once questioned the witness I received.   Rob Haskins (


Item:  Do you know how to pronounce the Portuguese word “Brasil”?  I didn’t really.  But today, here is how I would describe it. 

B sounds like the b in “boy.”  B sounds like B, okay? That part was easy.

The R sounds very sharp, almost like you are saying the letter d.  If your “Bra” sounds like the English word “bra” as in brassier, a woman’s undergarment, it is wrong.  It has to be sharper.  If your r sounds like the r in “America,” then you are a gringo American.  Make it sharp.  As if you were saying “Amedica.”  Sharp. 

Here is another easy one:  “A” sounds like the a in “father.” Brazilian a’s, unless accented or nasalized, always sound like the a in father. 

Now the “S.”  How does it sound?  Like a “z” as in the English word “Brazil.”  When an “s” appears in between two vowels, it sounds like a z.  Not like an s.  

And the “i”.  The Portuguese “i” always sounds like “ee” as in “meet.”   Doesn’t it?  Let’s say yes.  It never sounds like the English “i” as in fit, bit, it, etc.  When Brazilians learn to speak English they have to learn the “it” sound because it is not found in Portuguese. 

And finally the “l” at the end of the word.  It definitely is not like the Spanish “l”.  And not “ill” as in sick. More like “eeew” as in yucky. Better yet, say the “il” at the end of Brasil as a small child attempting to say “hill” or “seal.”  He will often come up with “hiw” and “seaw” like Elmer Fudd.  “I chased the wabbit up the hiw.”  “Braziw.

Put them together and you can pronounce “Brasil” like a Brazilian.


How well do you know Brazil? Take this Christian Science Monitor multiple-choice quiz from early 2013 to find out. It is heavy on developments since most of us served missions. You may have to guess at a number of answers. It takes 15 minutes or more to answer the 33 questions, but it is educational. Boa sorte.



If you like to follow news developments in Brazil, one was is to subscribe to “Just the Facts” (Latin America) found at   You receive email messages a few times per week and can select to read the Brazil articles. 

Another way is with the app “1Tucan” (and select “Jornais do Brasil RSS”) which opens to a variety of Brazilian newspapers online. 

Another app, “English-Portuguese” by BHMedia, is an excellent tool for word recognition and translation.  When reading Brazilian news articles, I “copy” words and phrases that I need to learn and “paste” them on the English-Portuguese app translator.  It does an amazing job, subject to natural limitations of such translation. 

I welcome other tips on keeping up with the news of Brazil. 

Forte abraço, irmãos! 

 Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65) - Gig Harbor, WA  253-851-1099

"May your walls know joy; may every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility." - Mary Anne Radmacher

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