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Cristo300Brasulista #194

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #194
May 14, 2016

Bom dia, gente! 

In this issue:

Brazil celebrates 50 years since first stake
History of the Church in Brazil – link
Fruits of the labor:  Elder Ulisses Soares
New counselor in the Brazil Area Presidency
Lessons learned in Brazil:  2-minute testimonies
Travels in Bra


On Sunday, May 1, 2016, the saints of Brazil celebrated exactly 50 years since the first stake was formed in that country.  Some of you were there when that happened.  Read about it at



Elder Mark Grover (BM 66-68) of Orem, UT, writes from Campinas where he and his wife are serving a temple mission:  “Next time you come to Brazil come to Campinas and we will show you a great time.  It is wonderful here in the interior.  It is very emotional for me to be here to celebrate the organization of the first stake. I love all those leaders, particularly President Spat and President Camargo. The bishops were also amazing, particularly for me Jose Lombardi. What great examples they have been to Brazil since then.  I have not seen such leaders in any stake I have ever seen. The Lord definitely had a hand in preparing these men for that time.”  (Elder Mark Grover and Sister Ivelisse Grover, Campinas Temple, Brazil,


Item:  For a marvelous short essay about the Church in Brazil, see this 2014 Ensign article in case you missed it, penned by former missionary Mark L. Grover, retired Professor of Latin American Studies at BYU:


FRUITS OF THE LABOR - Elder Ulisses Soares

In 1966, Elder James E. Sullenger (BM 64-66) now of Boise, ID, on a split with a member in São Paulo, tracted out, the family of 7-year-old Ulisses Soares.  Elder Sullenger and Elder John W. Buckles (BM 65-66) now of Cedar Hills, UT, taught and baptized the family.  That boy, Ulisses Soares, would serve a mission in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission and in a few years later would marry Rosana Fernandes Morgado, who had also served a mission in Rio.  He received a BA in Economics and an MBA from the National Institute of Post Graduate Study. His professional career has included the positions of accountant and auditor for a multinational corporation in Brazil and director for temporal affairs in the Church area office in São Paulo. He would serve as a stake president before presiding at the Portugal Porto Mission (00-03) and being called to the 1st Quorum of the Seventy in 2005.  He served as a counselor in the Africa Southeast Area, President of the Brazil Area, and as a counselor in the Brazil South Area.  He speaks fluent Portuguese, English and French. In January 2013 Elder Soares was called to the Presidency of the Seventy where he serves today.

Elders Sullenger and Buckles have gone on to lives of faithful service in the kingdom, including senior missions with their wives.  No surprise that they have followed the service of Elder Soares with particular interest.  (Sullenger; Buckles


The Brazil Area Presidency members are President Claudio R. M. Costa, First Counselor Jairo Mazzagardi, and Second Counselor Marcos A. Aidukaitis.  In August, Elder Aidukaitis becomes the First Counselor and Elder W. Mark Bassett becomes the Second Counselor.

Effective August 1, the newly announced Second Counselor in the Brazil Area Presidency will be Elder W. Mark Bassett, 49, who was serving as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in the North America West Area when he was called to be a General Authority Seventy at the recent April 2016 general conference.  A 1991 BYU grad, Elder Bassett served his first mission in the Guatemala Guatemala City Mission and later presided in the Arizona Mesa Mission (07-10).  He has also served as a bishop and stake president.  He and his wife, Angela Brasher Bassett, are parents of five children.  My guess is that they are studying Portuguese just now in anticipation of the assignment to São Paulo.  Congratulations and best wishes to Elder and Sister Bassett. 

President Jairo Mazzagardi, 69, has served in numerous Church callings, including counselor in a bishopric, high councilor, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president, regional representative, president of the Brazil Salvador Mission (1990–1993), Area Seventy, presidency of the Campinas Temple, and president of the São Paulo Brazil Temple.  He is married to Elizabeth Ienne and they are the parents of three children.  See his talk at the recent April General Conference.


During the month of April, I was in South America touring with groups of former missionaries.  See their names at the bottom of this Brasulista. What wonderful experiences we shared. 

On April 13-15 I was in the beautiful São Paulo Temple, with the goal to serve there while waiting for the second group of travelers to arrive, thanks to my old mission associate, Elder Mark and Sister Carolyn Zaugg, who allowed me to be their houseguest for those three days.  It was a joy to me to see a sweet missionary couple serving together in the field in a dedicated manner.  Temple President Fernando Silva was gracious and welcoming. I met my friends Gelson and Mirian Pizzirani, former President of the Brazil Brasilia Mission and recently of the Recife Temple, who were also serving at the temple as patrons one day during my visit.  (He is mentioned in Mark Grover’s article, linked above.) I met many of the senior couples serving at the Area Headquarters in various capacities and had a visit with President Jairo Mazzagardi of the Area Presidency.


I always learn from the Brazilian saints.  One lesson learned, or re-learned, this time was during fast and testimony meeting at Santos after we disembarked from our cruise ship, when I witnessed 23 members of the small Embaré Ward bear their testimonies in the allotted time, and actually bear testimonies!  These were the kinds of testimonies you would hope a visiting investigator would hear, one after another, each in less than two minutes, testifying of the love of a Heavenly Father, the love and atonement of the Living Christ, the restoration of the Lord’s true Church through the prophet Joseph Smith, and the revelation of another volume of sacred scripture, the Book of Mormon.  It was uplifting, inspiring, and empowering.  I couldn’t help but feel that the members were strengthening each other and themselves in the bearing of testimonies in this manner.

In the Enseada Ward in Guarujá, Brazil, my brother’s ward where I attend church when I visit there, the chapel is much smaller than my home meetinghouse in Gig Harbor.  With tile floor, plastic chairs, and a simple stand with two rows of seats behind the pulpit, if the doors behind the keyboard organist are open, a little breeze cools the chapel.  Their attendance is probably one-fifth of my home ward attendance, if that.  I have dusted the metal frames of those plastic seats before a meeting, with a brother I recognized as the stake patriarch bending down to do the same.  I love these humble saints.  

And I love Bishop Christiano Pereira, who is a big pleasant man and who always smiles as he makes all feel welcome at church.  At the beginning of a fast and testimony meeting I attended there two years ago, he invited the members to bear testimonies, saying it could be done in one minute, or two at the most.  As he finished, ten people came forward and filled the second row on the stand and so began the parade of members bearing testimonies, with others taking their place on the stand as they vacated.  All but two bore testimonies in less than two minutes.  The two took less than four minutes.  My brother tells me that at the end of a recent testimony meeting Bishop Pereira was pleased to announce that 30 members had taken the opportunity to bear testimony.  My goodness; that must have been almost half the congregation!  Can you imagine?

Now, I wonder.  Do we have fewer testimonies among the brothers and sisters in my big ward?  Are the padded pews too comfortable to allow us to rise and go forward?  We have silent pauses sometimes while we wait for someone to come forward.  If two arise at the same time, one typically takes a seat in the front pew as if in the “batter’s box” to wait for the stand to be vacated before going up to take their turn.

No, I think the problem is that we form habits in our meetings, and they seem to be passed down from generation to generation.  And one habit is to give a bit of a talk when bearing testimony.  I know I have been guilty of some of that.  That does take some time, but is allowed because nobody else appears to be waiting to bear testimony.  I hope that nobody out in the congregation is reluctant to bear their testimony because they feel inelegant or not articulate enough, or feel they have to form a talk.

Frankly, I like the way they do it in Santos and Guarujá.  I think it is good for the bearer and the hearers.

After our meeting in Santos, former Santos Stake President Givaldo do Nascimento and his wife took 20 minutes to share with our travelers the inspiring story of his conversion and how they met during her mission. 


There is a place on earth where you cannot receive General Conference.  It is on board a cruise ship sailing around the bottom of South America.  So now I am back in Internet land and enjoying that wonderful conference.

Former Brazil missionaries among the travelers on our recent Chile to Brazil cruise, April 2016:

  • Bliss and Marolyn Mehr from Bountiful, UT
  • Robert Wilson from Bountiful, UT
  • Steve and Carol Petrie from Tempe, AZ
  • Doug and Janice Schmidt from West Jordan, UT
  • Ron Madsen from Orem, Utah
  • Alf Gunn from Gig Harbor, WA

On the Brazil Special Tour of South Brazil, April 2016

  • Kraig and Roberta Fox and daughter Julie Fox of Sandy, UT
  • Jeff Waldram and daughter JoryAnn Waldram of Murray, Utah.
  • Jim and Pam Saley of Salt Lake City, UT
  • Bob and Becky Wessel of El Cajon, CA
  • Dave and Regina Adams of Alpine, UT
  • Steve and Kristy Belnap of South Jordan, UT
  • John and Lorraine White of Salt Lake City, UT
  • John Ball of Orem, UT
  • Alf Gunn of Gig Harbor, WA 

Forte abraço,  

Alf Gunn of Gig Harbor, WA - USA * 253-307-3338 *  * BSM 62-65

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