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Brasulista #177

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #177
October 14, 2014

Olá amigos!  I am just back from a great trip to Portugal and Spain.  Read about it near the bottom of this newsletter.

In this issue:

  • Remembering 9/11 at the MTC, São Paulo
    Called to Serve
    Modern senior missionary life in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso
    Fruits of the labor—members connecting with their missionary
    Portuguese language training tips
    Interesting historic photos of Brazil - link
    Have you seen this?  Wing suiters in Rio – link
    Travels in Portugal and Spain
    Recipe for Caldo Verde

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Thank you for reading the Brasulista newsletters, and for contributing items when appropriate.  One of the joys for me has been when a need is brought to our attention—such as a special mission need—and then I learn that it was filled by a couple who read about it in the newsletter.  Thank you for your lives of service wherever you are, and for your willingness to go into the mission field when you are able.  

Remembering 9/11 at the MTC, São Paulo

This note about September 11 came to us from Elder Wayne Hale (BM 66-68) of Chubbuck, ID, who is serving as the executive secretary at the CTM, São Paulo:
WishYouWereHere“May I share a special moment with y'all?  Here in the CTM Brazil, we occasionally sing the Brazil National Anthem which, compared to the American anthem, is very long, complex, and very hard to accompany, let alone sing.  Very few know it well, but everyone tries, with vigor, especially during World Cup and other games, etc.

“Last Sunday evening, 7 de Setembro, during our evening Devotional, we sang the anthem, accompanied by Sister Swensen, a trained musician, and it was nice.  We followed the words on large screens, and most had to just guess at the tune. I should mention that in the last few weeks, we have received large numbers of American visa-waiters, with the backlog in most consulates finally starting to clear.  We also have received at least one district (4-12 missionaries) straight from home each week. The number of Hispanics has slowed some, and the number of Brazilians (plus a few from Cabo Verde, Moçambique, Angola and Portugal) has gone up and down.  So, currently, we have more Americans than in the recent past.  I need to mention also that many of the bedrooms and ALL of the shower rooms in the CTM have windows that open onto the central court/atrium, with acoustics you wouldn't believe, as any sound reverberates easily and loudly.

“At about 10 p.m. the other evening, on 9-11, after the last study period of the day ended and everyone was up in the dorm area preparing for bed (more or less!), someone started singing the Star Spangled Banner, and very quickly, many more joined in.  It was actually quite musically correct, and energetic, as well as very moving, patriotically.  We listened, enjoyed, and sang along, more quietly.  A few minutes later, they sang it again.

“I assume someone had thought about the 9-11 connection and decided to commemorate.  I was touched by their gesture. I am glad that many if not most of our young US citizens, especially our missionaries, appreciate the blessings of their nation, and not only as a source of pride and competition with other nations and peoples.

“I remembered the time in 1968, toward the end of my time in Brazil, when I was serving in São Vicente, right next door to the large Port of Santos.  We learned that an American warship was in the harbor, heading home from a tour of duty in the Vietnam area.  We went to the docks, were allowed on board for a quick tour and visit with several of the sailors, and watched Old Glory flying above the ship, a special piece of America, right there in our own temporary backyard.

“These things help us count our blessings and appreciate America, in spite of her imperfections.  God Bless America!”  Elder Wayne and Sister Alane Hale, CTM Brazil, 2014

Carlos Martins' Missionary

Item:  Brother Gunn,  I was happy to see the article on Carlos Martins (LAST ISSUE). I was the missionary who baptized his family in Curitiba. What a great family they are. There's a great story about their conversion to the gospel.  Steve Fitzer (

Called to Serve

This is from Ken (BSM 66-68) and Heidi Copa of San Francisco:

GramadoGramadoDear Alf, We wanted to let you know that we received our Brazilian Visas this week for our mission.  We remembered your advice from when we were on the tour with you last year that we should start early on the process.  We found out from church headquarters that we could turn our mission papers in 9 months before our availability date.  We knew Ken was retiring June 30 and wanted to have a few months to prepare, so we turned our papers in the first of January with an availability date of October 1.  We received our call at the end of January and started the visa process immediately.  All our papers were notarized and authenticated by the middle of March.  Diane Hansen in Church Travel then had to send all our papers to the Brazilian Consulate in San Francisco to be legalized.  She could only send a few at a time and wait for them to come back, and it took several months for them all to be returned to her.  We had originally set an appointment with the Brazilian Consulate to take them all in on July 3rd, but they were not all back to Church Travel by then.  We had to reschedule the appointment to take them in for August 5th, the next available date.  We did get all the papers back in time for that appointment.  We took the papers in, paid our fees and were told to come back August 19th to pick up the visas, which we did and were just elated when we received them.  So planning to start early worked out well for us and we are now set to enter the Provo MTC on October 6th.  We will be serving in Gramado and Canela, RS, where the Eggberts served.  President and Sister Wright were very happy when we let them know our visas were in.  We really appreciate all you do and look forward to another tour with you after our mission.  Love,  Ken & Heidi Copa (

Dear Alf, Sis. Judi Rowe and Elder Lynn Rowe (BM 66-68) have been called to serve in the office of the Brazil Brasilia Mission. We will report to the Provo MTC on January 5 for training in Preach My Gospel and office procedures / miracles. Reach us at  

That mission is presided over by President Mark Lundgren (BRecifeM 81-83) from Deer Park, WA.

Modern senior missionary life in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso

DennisDavisHere are some insights into modern senior mission life, from a couple serving in Cuiabá, MG, Brazil:  Hi Alf,  President Reber asked me to write you and petition for a replacement for Sister Davis and I. We will pass our year mark (meaning one year left) in the mission field in October 2014. Time is really going by quickly. Since it takes about a year to receive the call and visas, now is the time to begin the process for our replacement. We have been called to serve as MLS Missionaries (Member and Leader Support) and do what is needed by the president.

By default, the president’s wife, Sister Reber, is the mission nurse. Sister Davis is also a Registered Nurse so the two of them work together in helping keep the missionaries healthy. It pretty much boils down to drink filtered/bottled water, be mindful of the source of what you eat and wash your hands every time you shake hands with anyone and/or touch anything within reach of the public. Sister Davis and I have not been ill at all in the several months we have been here.

Sister Davis makes sure all the baptismal papers are filled out properly, organizes the office, and anything the president needs done in the office. She also does inventory on the missionary’s apartments and makes sure they have what is needed. If they don’t, she purchases the items and gets them to the apartments. She speaks no Portuguese, but has had no trouble communicating with all the missionaries or their companions. The majority of them speak English. The Cuiabano accent and very fast rate of speaking is very different than the slower Gaúcho dialect I learned in the South years ago, but it comes with a little time, practice, and studying.

I am the mission chauffeur and have helped save thousands of dollars in taxi fees by transferring missionaries from one place to another, picking up and dropping off at the airport/bus station, making purchases, paying bills, etc. I also have a mission credit card and make the purchases that are necessary for the mission office, missionary’s apartments, medical prescriptions, etc. And, I do some repairs and maintenance on the missionary apartments in the city. I also take pictures and gather pictures and information to go in the weekly mission newsletter, which I also make up and send to the missionaries. I also gather the numbers (like number of baptisms, sacrament meeting attendance, investigators, etc.) and make up the weekly reports for the president which he uses to direct the efforts of the mission.

We both do whatever the president needs to keep the mission moving forward. We are very much needed and feel very loved in the mission. The mission rules for Senior Couples are so different than for the young missionaries. Senior Couples pretty much make up their own rules - times to get up, go to the office, go home, go to bed, days off, etc. We are spending around US$ 1,200-1,300 per month for everything. We are treated like royalty. We have a very nice, air-conditioned apartment with Internet service. We are within walking distance to the office, church building, and many restaurants, stores, malls, bus stop, etc. Cuiabá is a big city of 500,000 and has all services available. It also has some gorgeous malls. We work in an air-conditioned office. The mission is very young here. The members are strong and faithful. We love working with them.

Senior Couples are such an asset and are so needed in the missions around the world. So, if a couple would like to do what we’re doing, in a beautiful region of Brazil very close to the largest wetlands in the world (Pantanal), now is the time to begin by talking with your bishop and stake president, filling out and turning in the papers. It’s has been a wonderful opportunity for us and we’re looking forward to serving another mission. We are grateful for today’s technology where we can e-mail, talk on the phone, and FaceTime with our children any time. We hardly feel separated from them. It has been wonderful and we haven’t missed them nearly as much as we had feared we would. We have been very amazed at how well tailored our mission has been for us - almost like we’ve been preparing all our lives for this event. We have had many, many spiritual experiences that have strengthened our testimonies and our children’s and grandchildren’s testimonies. Our mission has been a great blessing in our lives and theirs. We feel the great love of Our Heavenly Father for us and the work that is being done here in the mission field. We love all the missionaries so much and will miss them dearly when our time here is done.  As always, Alf, thank you for all the work and effort you have done over the years in keeping us all informed and posted on the best years of our lives.  Abraços,  Elder and Sister Dennis Davis  
Elder Dennis Davis (BSM 65-67) from Azusa, CA (  

President Keith Reber (


Fruits of the labor - Members connecting with their missionary

Caro irmão Gunn,  Talvez o irmão não se lembre de mim, mas nos conhecemos nos escritórios administrativos da Igreja, onde trabalhei por mais de 30 anos. Hoje estou aposentado e servindo como 1o. Conselheiro no Templo de Curitiba. Seu irmão Ronald e eu somos velhos amigos. Gostaria de sua ajuda em localizar e me informar o contato do missionário que batizou minha família em Fevereiro de 1964, no Ramo do Bosque em São Paulo. Seu nome é Brent Thomson e serviu na época do Presidente Wayne M. Beck. Eu servi como presidente da Missão Brasil João Pessoa de 1998 a 2001. Agora meu irmão Henrique Gomes Jr. foi chamado para presidir Missão Brasil Maceió, e gostaríamos muito de dar essa notícia ao querido Elder Thomson. Enquanto trabalhava nos escritórios da Igreja eu estava no seu mailing list e, se for possível, gostaria de continuar recebendo nesse meu novo e-mail.  Muito obrigado e abraços, Wilson Gomes.   (


Dear Brother Gunn, you probably do not remember me, but we met in the administrative offices of the Church, where I worked for over 30 years. Today I am retired and serving as 1st Counselor in the Temple of Curitiba. Your brother Ronald and I are old friends. Would like your help in locating the contact and inform me of the missionary who baptized my family in February 1964 in the Forest Branch in São Paulo. His name is Brent Thomson and served at the time of President Wayne M. Beck. I served as president of Brazil Joao Pessoa Mission from 1998 to 2001 Now my brother Henrique Gomes Jr. was called to preside over the Brazil Maceio Mission, and would love to give this news to dear Elder Thomson. While working in the offices of the Church I was on their mailing list and, if possible, would like to continue receiving news. This my new email. Many thanks and hugs, Wilson Gomes.

The Gomes brothers were able to get in contact with Elder Brent Thomson of Sandy, UT, ( who was invited to attend when Henrique was set apart as a mission president by Elder Neil L. Andersen.  

Language tips

From Sister Brenda Bradford who served with her husband when he was mission president in the São Paulo Interlagos Mission (05-08):  “Here are a couple of suggestions for learning or reviving Portuguese.  I suggest both of these to my Portuguese students at Cincilingua, the language academy where I work (in Cincinnati, OH).  This is a free site with a lot of information including audio clips.  There are a lot of basic information and culture tips.  There are recipes and music and even a section for children with a lot of YouTube videos which are good for beginners to watch.  She has a grammar and language course for purchase but the free info is good and authentic.  I've tried some of the recipes and they are good.  It's a good beginning introduction to Portuguese. is a free site offering Portuguese (and other languages). It has audio and visual prompts and is interactive.  It starts with the basics and vocabulary and progresses to more difficult grammar concepts.  There are rewards and ways track your progress.  There are also apps available for download to portable devices.  It's a fun way to learn and has enough repetition that a learner can learn a lot.  Hope these are helpful to some of your readers.  Thanks for the newsletter.  Brenda Bradford (

Have you seen this?  Antique Photos


Sent by Richard Cook: The following web site has interesting photos of Brazil.


Have you seen this?  Wing suiters in Rio

Item: FUNNY VIDEO - Wing suiter meets his maker

Sent by Richard Cook - For fun, some high adventure over Rio de Janeiro


Travels in Portugal and Spain 

santiago-camino-portuguese-wayAlf’s note:  I have just returned from a great vacation trip to Portugal and Spain, 19 days with my brother Ronald, walking the traditional pilgrimage trail “El Camino de Santiago Portuguese.” Well, okay, he was walking and I was riding a mountain bike with saddlebags—still, a pretty good workout.  Ronald pre-planned the whole trip.  We went from Tomar, Portugal, north to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.  Oh, it was beautiful and interesting!  The Santiago trail takes pilgrims on little back lanes of towns and villages and through agricultural countryside, sometimes crossing Roman and medieval bridges.  Olive orchards, vineyards, cornfields and eucalyptus forests.  We stayed in every kind of interesting hotel or lodging and met some nice folks along the way.  I was able to attend church in Tomar and Porto, Portugal, and then in Madrid.  I give Ronald major kudos for walking the whole 475 km at a steady pace, and then 45 km more as he went out to hike the Spanish coastline to Finisterre.  After the pilgrimage, I had the opportunity to serve as a patron three days in the beautiful Madrid Temple with some fine couples serving there who utilize the languages Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and English. Even my little visit was appreciated by them. 


Recipe for Caldo Verde 

CaldoVerdeSo far I have not been able to make this traditional Portuguese soup as tasty as the one we had when Dona Fernanda picked the kale leaves from her own garden at Casa da Fernanda at Lugar do Corgo, Vitorino de Piães, Portugal, but I am coming close and it is good.  Here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS: Ingredients: 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided; 1 onion, minced; 1 clove garlic, minced; 6 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced; 2 quarts cold water; 10 ounces linguiça sausage, thinly sliced; 2 1/2 teaspoons salt; ground black pepper to taste; 1 pound kale, rinsed and julienned.

PREPARATION: In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil for 3 minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes more. Pour in water, bring to a boil, and let boil gently for 20 minutes, until potatoes are mushy.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook sausage until it has released most of its fat, 10 minutes. Drain.
Mash potatoes or puree the potato mixture with a blender or food processor. Stir the sausage, salt and pepper into the soup and return to medium heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.

SERVING: Just before serving, stir kale into soup and simmer, 5 minutes, until kale is tender and jade green. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and serve at once.  Serves 6.


Your brother, 

 Alf Gunn of Gig Harbor, WA - USA* 253-851-1099 *  * BSM 62-65

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