Alf Gunn Badge

Cristo300Brasulista #181

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #181
March 24, 2015

Bom dia!

In this issue:

  • October Super Reunion scheduled
  • First stake organized in Mozambique – link
  • Brazil Trivia Quiz – Cruzeiros
  • Called to Serve
  • New Portuguese Language App by Ron Dennis
  • Facebook site for history of the Church in Brazil
  • YouTube video takes you to Rio – by Luis Martins
  • Recalling Elder Spencer W. Kimball in Brazil


Dear missionaries,  Every three years or so we hold a “super reunion,” inviting all who receive the Brasulista, no matter which mission you served in or when (1935 to c1985). We have scheduled the next super reunion for Thursday, October 1, 2015, at the Orem Utah Cascade Stake center in Orem, Utah.

We typically begin at 1 pm and serve great Brazilian food prepared by Brazilian sisters (wonderful volunteers) during the afternoon and visit throughout the afternoon. We have break-out sessions for the groups of particular presidents. We have an evening meeting at 7 pm in a chapel, with a few speakers sometimes including even Church leaders who are kind enough to attend.  We honor our various mission presidents and their wives. 

This is a call for volunteers in the area who would like to help bring this reunion to pass.  Please respond by email if you would like to help.  Everybody, calendar the event and plan to attend. We have a reunion fund which should cover most expenses.  Brazil missions lapel pins will be sold at the reunion, as a fund raiser.  Former Brazil mission presidents are invited to coordinate your other reunions to enable you to attend this event where possible.


Item:  The first stake in the Portuguese-speaking country of Mozambique was organized on February 15, 2015 under the direction of Elder Stanley G. Ellis (BM 66-68) of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

“There will be here and there a Stake [of Zion] for the gathering of the Saints. . . . There your children shall be blessed, and you in the midst of friends where you may be blessed.  The Gospel net gathers of every kind.”     --Joseph Smith, July 1839

The first branch in Mozambique was created in 1996 and missionaries first arrived in 1999. Ongoing civil war stalled active missionary work, but the country is now seeing increased economic and social growth.





The old Brazilian Cruzeiro currency (c. 1965) displayed, in beautiful engraving, faces of famous and notable Brazilians.  Can you match them with the denominations on which they appeared?   Cr$2, Cr$5, Cr$10, Cr$20, Cr$50, Cr$100, Cr$200, Cr$1000.     (Answers at the bottom)

  • Dom Pedro I
  • Pedro Alvares Cabral
  • Dom Pedro II
  • Duque de Caxias
  • Getulio Vargas
  • Barão do Rio Branco
  • Marechal Deodoro da Fonseca
  • Princesa Isabel 

Alf’s note:  When my group arrived in Brazil in October 1962, the exchange rate for the Brazilian cruzeiro was Cr$600 to the dollar.  When we left in June 1965 it was Cr$1800 to the dollar.  Almost all of the missionaries at that time were Americans. We missionaries referred to cruzeiros as “beans,” but we were frugal with them and rarely thought in terms of dollars. Can you share your recollection of the currency of Brazil during your mission and any interesting anecdotes?


Gale Roberts (BSM 64-66) of Shoshone, ID, writes: Brother Gunn, My wife Kathleen and I have been called to serve in the Portugal Lisbon Mission. I served in southern Brazil 1964-66. We are excited to serve and my wife is working diligently to learn Portuguese. We enter the MTC on June 8.  Gale Roberts (

Bob (BM 54-56) and Carla Little of Sacramento, CA have been called to serve in Salt Lake City in the Family and Church History Church Headquarters Mission effective 27 April 2015 for one year.  “We are very excited to go.” (  Alf notes:  They previously served in the Puerto Rico Mission (94-95) a Church Service Mission in Sacramento (95-96) then one in the Porto Alegre South Mission (96-98) then in The Madrid Temple (04-05) and have been serving in the Sacramento Temple since 2005. “I'm now eighty-one and still kicking,” Bob reports.

Hi Alf... Have you reported anywhere in your letters the fact that Randy and Mary Jane Swalberg (BSM 71-72) are serving in the Brazil Recife mission as office missionaries?  They are working very hard.  Bruce Mortensen

Alf:  Can’t report it if nobody tells me.

Layne Rio Bangerter (Portugal Lisbon Msn 81-82) writes:  Alf, My brother Glen Paulo Bangerter and his wife Jaylayne have been called to preside over the Brazil Salvador South Mission beginning in July.  We are sons of William Grant Bangerter and it is an honor to all of us that he can return to the land of our birth.  Three of us were born in Brazil (Peggy Brazilia Bangerter Porter, Glen Paulo and me (Layne Rio).  When Paulo was 17 years old he was serving in Londrina and I spent a week with him, I was 15.  We walked as fast as we could and taught many discussions with all we had!  When dad came to pick me up he spotted us hustling throughout the streets with a missionary focus and he got a kick out of that.  I hope to re-enact this we him sometime within the next 3 years.  The hallmark of Paulo and Jalayne will be the love they have for the missionaries and the people. Layne Rio Bangerter  (


As always, Alf, thank you for this great newsletter. It is true that visas are taking about a year, but they do get issued. Senior couples are in such great need in Brazil and we are very, very grateful that we waited patiently for our visa. We know we were called specifically to serve in Cuiabá by the Lord. It has been a wonderful mission and very much worth waiting for. So for those senior couples who really would like to serve in Brazil, just be patient, visas do get issued. Elder Dennis Davis


Hi Alf, Recently I posted a free app on the Apple store. It is designed for missionaries who have received their calls to Brazil and would like to get started learning what they can of the language before entering the MTC. The app consists of six short videos. The first three have what I call sidebar commentaries that explain words and concepts associated with the three dialogs. In the fourth video the user can hear phrases in English that are then translated verbally into Portuguese by a native Brazilian. The last half of video #4 has phrases in Portuguese that are then translated verbally into English. The fifth video has the missionary purpose in Portuguese, and the sixth has the lines from the First Vision in Portuguese. All the videos have subtitles to help the learner.

The app can be downloaded by going to

I know that missionaries are excited to get started on their assigned languages the minute they get their calls. Unfortunately, however, the materials now available on the Internet are not specifically designed for missionaries. I am trying to fill this gap with apps. Many who receive the "Brasulista" will know of missionaries who have received their calls to Brazil and could let them know of the app so they can get started learning Portuguese and be able to hit the ground running when they enter the MTC. Thanks for all you do to keep us informed and provide us with "saudades" of our missions to Brazil.
Um grande abraço,  Ron Dennis (


Olá, irmão Alf. Gostaria de convidar todos os seus contatos que se interessem por trocar experiências sobre história da Igreja no Brasil para participar de um grupo no Facebook, o grupo chama-se História dos Santos dos Últimos Dias no Brasil.

Lá, diversas pessoas que participaram da história da Igreja no Brasil estão postando fotos e textos, trocando experiências sobre a Igreja no Brasil. Por favor, gostaria de convidar os seus contatos. O criador da página chama-se Fernando Filho, pesquisador em Alagoas. Um abraço,  Ludmila Galvão (



Item:  Dear missionaries,  I am passing on this delightful song and video that will take you to Rio de Janeiro and make you wish you were young again.  Enjoy.  Alf
“Dear Alfred,   My name is Luis Martins and I have been receiving your newsletters ever since you started sending them out.  I greatly appreciate receiving them. I have wanted to send you a link to a song about Rio that I have co-written and produced, but unfortunately never got to do it. I think that every missionary that has served in Brazil would enjoy listening to it. I served in São Paulo South in 1981 - 1982 under Presidents Cardon and Hawkins.  When it came time to record the song 1.5 years ago I went after one of my best missionary friends, Elder Brian Merrill, to see if he would be interested in recording it for me. He gracefully and gladly accepted the invitation. I am glad he did.
The song was produced to be used as a teaching tool for English as a Second Language at the Wizard language school in Brazil. My brother Carlos had asked me to produce a song that would be somewhat similar to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. Well, here is Brian Merrill singing ‘Today is the Day.’    Enjoy it!  Luis Martins, Orlando FL” (



SpencerWKimballSpencer W. KimballThe following entries are shared by David Mills (BM 66-68) of Idaho, arrived in Brazil on April 26, 1966 and on May 1, 1966 Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Twelve organized the São Paulo stake which was the first in all of South America.

From his mission journal months later:  “On Sunday November 13th, President Kimball challenged the members to attend the temples when they were built in South America. Two days earlier, he dedicated a chapel in São Vicente and spoke of "millions of members" of the Church in South America.  Both seemed like prophecies that could not be fulfilled until the Millennium. How little we knew.  Both prophecies fully and completely fulfilled.  David Mills (

“November 13, 1966  Sunday  (São Paulo Stake Conference with Spencer W. Kimball)  Another tremendous day.  Stake conference was absolutely wonderful.  The chapel and cultural hall were both filled to capacity for today's two sessions. Brother Kimball's talks were wonderful.  In the morning he called everyone to repentance and told them to come to sacrament meeting every week without fail.  In the afternoon he spoke about the necessity of good family life and how vital that both of the parents be active members in the Church.  Among other things he said, ‘When the temples are built in South America...I want you to all go and do your work there.’  The prospect of not one, but several temples here in South America seems remote at the present time, but he also said at the São Vicente dedication that he looks forward to the day when we'll have millions of members on this continent." Both prophecies fully and completely fulfilled.  David Mills (

Another item of interest from his journal.

"November 14, 1966 – Monday.  "President and Sister Hicken and Elder and Sister [Franklin D.] Richards [1900-1988, of the Quorum of the Seventy] left for the interior to put on several Elders' Conferences for the brethren there.  This left Elder and Sister Kimball here in the MO with us. During lunch we heard of the Kimball's early married life (49 years this week), about Elder Kimball's first mission (without purse or script) and about Sister Kimball's experiences when Jehovah's Witness missionaries tracted them out at their home in Salt Lake.  (She had invited them in and they spent the afternoon trying to convert her, not knowing they were in the Kimball home. Finally she said, 'We are fairly strong in our own religion, and my husband is coming home for dinner.  You'll have to excuse me.')

At the MO:  "We had finished lunch by several minutes and finally Elder Kimball said, 'Well, we haven't got anything more to eat so I guess we'd better clear the table.'

"We assumed our treat was over, but then managed to corner him in the kitchen for about ten minutes longer.  He then told us we were getting in the maid's way and had better leave.  As we filed out he said, 'I didn't mean to run you off.  If you've got some questions, let's sit and talk for a while.'

"So we sat there on the sofa while we asked questions to our hearts' content.  After we ran out of questions we listened to him give us advice on what our future activities should be like. He prescribed marriage within a year or two (while still in school) and let the babies come as they may.

"When he let us ask questions, I was the first to speak.  I asked him if the blacks had rejected the priesthood while in the pre-earth life, thus being ineligible to hold it here on earth.  He said, 'I don't know.  Furthermore, I would never promise them that they'll have it anytime in this life.  I know some of the other brethren have said they will, but I wouldn't be the one to make that statement.'”

This has always been a testimony to me, says David Mills today, for an obvious reason:  In 1978, as the revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy males was given, it was President Spencer W. Kimball who received that manifestation.  It teaches me that the Lord is at the head of the Church and directs its affairs.

Also present that day were Merrill Warthen (currently a temple president in Brazil, and a former mission president), Ronald Sharp, and Richard Tidwell.  There may have been one or two others there as well.  Best wishes, David Mills (

From Merrill WarthenAlf, I was present at that same little meeting in the Mission Office. More than specific statements, I remember the overpowering feelings that coursed though me as I felt the witness that I was having a wondrous, intimate conversation with an Apostle.   I wish I had access to my journal but it's thousands of miles away.   I remember Elder Mills, but I remember Elder Tidwell even more as he and I were companions and to this day still have contact.  He's the type who is exact.  I do remember Elder Kimball speaking of many temples in South America, but it seems to me he also mentioned several names of cities where they would be built, although that statement may have originated in another meeting with Elder Kimball during that time rather than in our little M.O. meeting.

From Richard TidwellAlf, It happened just as Elder Mills related. I often think of that occasion and of the feelings of the Spirit while listening to an Apostle counsel us. I have located my journal entry from that date and I have a few things to add as a follow-up when I return from Arizona in about a week. Richard Tidwell BM 65-67.

Alf’s note: Elder Kimball’s statements regarding race and the priesthood, as reported by Elder Mills, is consistent with what President Kimball would later say in his account of the June 1, 1978 meeting of the Twelve. “I asked the Twelve not to go home when the time came. I said, ‘Now would you be willing to remain in the temple with us?’ And they were. I offered the final prayer and I told the Lord if it wasn’t right, if He didn’t want this change to come in the Church that I would be true to it all the rest of my life and I’d fight the world against it if that’s what He wanted. We had this special prayer circle, then I knew that the time had come. I had a great deal to fight, of course, myself largely, because I had grown up with this thought that Negroes should not have the priesthood and I was prepared to go all the rest of my life till my death and fight for it and defend it as it was. But this revelation and assurance came to me so clearly that there was no question about it.” (In Church News, 6 Jan. 1979, p. 4.)

Keep in touch brothers, um abraço do irmão,

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


Cr$2                                     Duque de Caxias
Cr$5                                     Barão do Rio Branco
Cr$10                                  Getulio Vargas
Cr$20                                  Marechal Deodoro da Fonseca
Cr$50                                  Princesa Isabel    
Cr$100                               Dom Pedro II
Cr$200                               Dom Pedro I
Cr$1000                            Pedro Alvares Cabral   

Comments (1)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
0 Characters
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location