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Cristo300Brasulista #195

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #195
July 17, 2016

Bom dia, gente! 

In this issue:

Passing of Sister Sherma Jensen
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon of the Primary General Presidency
Apucarana, Paraná then and now
Remembering Santos and Guarujá
From the Field:  Senior Couples mission opportunities
“Why do I understand this Angolan speaker?”
Slavery, trade, and commerce between Brazil and Angola


Sister Sherma A. Jensen,beloved wife of President Thomas F. Jensen of the Brazilian South Mission, 1967-1970, passed away peacefully on July 15, 2016.   She is survived by her husband and her legacy includes her 4 children, 13 grandchildren, and19 great-grandchildren.  Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at the LDS ward chapel, 1111 East Charlton (2815 South), Salt Lake City, Utah.  (

Sister Sherma A. Jensen, beloved wife of President Thomas F. Jensen, Brazilian South Mission, 1967-1970, passed away peacefully on July 15, 2016. Sister Jensen is survived by her husband and her legacy includes her 4 children, 13 grandchildren, and19 great-grandchildren. Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at the LDS ward chapel, 1111 East Charlton (2815 South), Salt Lake City, Utah.


Did you notice this?  Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, the Second counselor in the new Primary General Presidency, served with her husband Derek Cordon when he was President of the Brazil Curitiba Mission (2010-13).  She is the daughter of the late Elder Harold G. Hillam (BM 54-57) of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy who was former President of the Portugal Lisbon Mission (81-84) and The Boise Temple.


I was saddened to recently learn of the passing of Richard Arrowsmith Walker (BSM62-64) who died in April of 2015 of a lung disorder.  Dick and his wife Judy had presided over the São Paulo East Mission from 1997 to 2000 and he had been a stake president in Glendora, CA.



Alf’s note re Apucarana, Paraná

1963, Apucarana, Paraná.  My great companion Elder Douglas Marker and I lived on the top floor of a 3-story apartment and commercial building just south of the central plaza where the Catholic Church is.  Our LDS services were held on the same floor as our apartment.  Our Branch President was Brother Stahlke.  Elder Marker was the Primary President in the Apucarana Branch, and I was the chorister for a while.  Elder Marker had already been there for about 4 months and would be in that city for another four or so, with me.  He and Elder Phil Walker had taught the Blanski family, and we would baptize that family at a poorly kept swimming pool belonging to a woman doctor that was located out in the middle of coffee fields that surrounded the city.

The family’s father, Cassimiro Blanski, never joined the Church, but was supportive.  Teodózia Blanski, the mother, would feed a thousand missionaries in coming years.  Children were Daniel, Dora, Carlos, and little Eva, 6. Other members in the Branch were José Marques, Jose and Maria Wefort, Marlene and Doraliza dos Santos, Carlos and Rosa Munich, Barreto Menezes, Lídia Blanski, Ernestina dos Santos, Izabel, Elga Stahlke, and our dear maid, Geraldina.  Eliza was the Japanese almost-adopted daughter of the Stahlkes. We baptized Cesar Marcos Navia, a Spaniard.  

In September the south of Brazil was suffering from a long drought and wildfires.  A freeze in August had devastated the coffee crop and farmers were burning trees.  In October Banks all over Brazil went on strike for four or five days.  President João Goulart threatened to impose martial law.  

One day in November we were stopped on the sidewalk by barbers from a shop downtown who announced excitedly that U.S. President had been shot!  They invited us into the shop to hear the unfolding details of President Kennedy’s assassination on a radio. President John F. Kennedy was very beloved by the Brazilian people, who expressed their condolences to us as if we were relatives of the President. We were saddened by the tragedy and touched by the caring of the Brazilians.

By December Elder Marker and I had a 15-minute spot on the local radio station which we called “Estes São Os Mormons,”—These are the Mormons—with music from the Mormon Melodaires and us telling a little about LDS beliefs.  These were days to remember.

I was able to return to Apucarana about 12 years ago at Easter time on one of my visits to Brazil.  I had a wonderful reunion at Apucarana with Sister Teodozia Blanski and her daughters Dora and Eva and the grandkids, some of whom have since served missions.  We went up on the roof of the apartments there by the plaza and watched clouds of swallows (“andorinhos”) swoop out of the sky down past us, to fill the bare branches of the trees behind the Catholic church.  It was quite glorious.

Apucarana had two meetinghouses by the time I visited, but church attendance was not strong.  Many saints had moved to other places due to economic factors.  The coffee fields were lost to cold weather and converted to soy.  

But the missionaries and members have gone forward with faith, and on June 19, 2016 the Apucarana Stake was created under the direction of President Marcos Aidukaitis of the Brazil Area Presidency.  The Stake President is Cleber Turim Alves, with counselors Claudinei Geraldo and Deivid L. Mota.  The fledgling stake includes the Sarandi Ward, and Alvorada Ward, América Ward, Apucarana Ward, and Eldorado Ward.


Memories:  Santos and Guarujá

Hi Alf, I enjoyed the information in Brasulista #194 talking about Santos and Guarujá. Santos was my first area when I arrived in Brazil in November 1966. Elder Nick Rust was my first companion, followed by Elder John Valentine. There was only one Branch in Santos at that time. My companions and I served in the Ponta da Praia area, which included Guarujá. There was a family of German descent living on the island — the Schmidt family. The dad was a boat builder, the mom and kids blonde and blue-eyed, and they all lived in a humble home that was built upon stilts on the beach facing the shipping channel. When we visited the Schmidt family, we would pay a rowboat operator to row us across the channel and deposit us on the beach, then we'd walk to where Brother Schmidt was building a large boat, by hand, using only the most basic hand tools, because there was no electricity for power tools. Then we would walk across the island to Praia do Tombo where there was another member family to visit. To get back to Ponta da Praia at the end of the day, we walked to the ferry landing. I'm sure it all looks very different now, 50 years later, but my memories of those places are some of my most cherished. I had good companions who taught me well as we walked every dirt road and pathway of Ponta da Praia, and occasionally took a trip across to exotic Guarujá.   Rich Johnson (BM 66-68)

From Duane Hutchings (BSPS 82-84) of Henderson, NV, writes, Dear Alf,   Loved reading about the history of the first stake in Brazil!  Just some 16 to 17 years after that first formation I was lucky enough to serve in many of the wards mentioned including Santo Amaro, Santo André, Ipiranga and Caxingui. I believe, Milton da Camargo, has come to some of our São Paulo South Mission reunions of President John H. Hawkins era, some 30+ years later than when I served.  I don't know if he is related to the dearest sister, Irma Nena da Camargo, with whom we stayed in her home while on our mission in Guarujá.  Irma Nena spoiled us by waking early to walk and buy us pão at a local padaria.  She would then fix us hot chocolate, pão with mantega and fruit jam.  It was Irmã Nena who first made bananas fritas with meals she served us missionaries, and how I learned to love them! Wow, were we spoiled!  We received the blessings of the people and leaders within the São Paulo stakes and wards formed those years before; not to mention all the missionaries and church brethren who paved the way for the tremendous growth in Brazil.  Thanks for the Brasulista!  Duane Hutchings ('82-'84) São Paulo Sul  (

Alf’s note:  My good brother Ronald has lived in Guarujá about 37 years and answers some of the Camargo questions.  “Alf,  Irmã Nena passed away some 10 years ago, I believe at the age of 96.  She was a “mother” to dozens of missionaries who loved and appreciated her attention.  Her son, Milton also passed away about 18 months ago a few months after his wife Marisa.  Milton was the Guarujá Branch President when we first attended services here in 1979.  His son, also Milton de Camargo, served a full time mission and is active and strong in the gospel.  We have less contact with him and family as they moved to Santos about five years ago.  Nena´s daughter, Elisa (74 years), and husband Harry Blatman, are active members of our Enseada Ward, Guarujá Stake.

As for the Milton de Camargo and Brazilian Mission reunions, I believe you are referring to another Milton with the same name who is not related to our Guarujá Camargos.  He is an executive from São Paulo with whom I have had some Church contact over the years.  He served as a mission president and I believe as an Area Seventy. Abraço brother.  Ron”



This from Elder William Loveless and Sister Rhonda Loveless:  We're having the time of our lives down here on a mission in Brazil!  For the past three months my wife and I have been working in the mission office of the São Paulo Interlagos Mission and we couldn't be happier!  Not only do we enjoy a sweet association on a daily basis with President and Sister Dalton, but we get to work with all the young missionaries too.  We love them all and they love us.  Just feeling of their youthful energy and excitement for life and doing the important work to which we are all called, helps us to stay as young as possible ourselves.  At our age, that is important!

We have the internet in our apartment with a desk-top computer that has a large screen.  Skype, e-mail, frequent phone calls to family, and Facebook keep us connected.  Wal-Mart is just minutes away and there are lots of other stores close-by.

Recently, for our anniversary, we were given permission to travel to the city of Santos, which is outside of our mission, and spend a few nights in a beach-front hotel.

If your doctor is worried about you living and working in a place outside of the United States, tell him or her, "Não se preocupe!" São Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world and has excellent medical care.

If you've wondered how you could serve a senior mission, well, wonder no further.  President Ezra Taft Benson made this promise: “Many older couples could serve missions. In so doing, they will find that a mission blesses their children, their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren in a way that could not otherwise be done. It will set a great example for their posterity.” In the months that we have served so far, we have certainly seen how our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren have been blessed and we expect to see many more similar blessings during and after this mission.

We'll be serving until December 2017 and then we'll need to be replaced.  They'll want us to do extensive training with our replacements, too, and with the time it takes to get everything ready, well, now is the time to start thinking about it.  For more information, you can e-mail me at or our Mission President, President Dalton at


Alf’s note:  Why do I understand this Angolan speaker?


I had previously read that for every African slave brought to the USA, twelve were taken to Brazil.  And I knew that Angolans are mentioned in Brazilian songs and lore.  In my work as an over-the-phone interpreter of the Portuguese language, I speak to people from a number of different countries.  My most difficult jobs are usually with persons from Portugal, especially the elderly, due to the European Portuguese accent.  Wow.  But today, after a long call interpreting for a young woman from Angola, I noticed that she spoke just like a Brazilian, thank heavens.  I think of Angola as a former Portuguese colony and expected more European Portuguese in the language.  So I looked up Brazil/Angola relations and found the following interesting insights on Wikipedia:

Angola–Brazil relations refers to the historical and current bilateral relationship between Angola and Brazil. Brazil was the first country to recognize the independence of Angola, in November 1975. Commercial and economic ties dominate the relations of each country. Both countries are former colonies under the Portuguese Empire; Brazil from the early 16th century until its independence in 1822, and Angola until its independence in 1975.

Due to their status as former Portuguese colonies and the transatlantic slave trade, Brazil and Angola have a long and important history of economic ties.

Period of the transatlantic slave trade

In 1646, Jesuit friar Gonçalo João succinctly stated the importance of the economic relationship between Brazil and Angola as "Without Angola, there is no Brazil".  Angola was a major source of slaves to Brazil, which was, out of the several European colonies in the Americas, the largest single importer of slaves during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.   Two-thirds of those slaves in Brazil originated from the Angola-Congo region.  Rio de Janeiro depended on the consistent influx of slaves from Angola to work on sugar cane plantations and for re-exportation to Buenos Aires in exchange for silver. Exports from Brazil to Angola in exchange for these slaves included manioc root meal and cachaça.  During Dutch occupation of Angola in early 17th century, Brazil and Portugal acted as "co-colonizers" together in their efforts to reclaim the territory.  Brazilian historian Luiz Felipe de Alencastro suggests that this critical historical period cemented Brazil's connection to Angola for the duration of the slave trade, and that the construction of Brazil occurred vis-à-vis the destruction of Angola's indigenous kingdoms.

After the fleet of Salvador Correia de Sá e Benevides of Rio de Janeiro successfully expelled the Dutch from Angola in 1648, Angola was essentially under Brazilian rule, thereby "ensuring the continuity of slavery in Brazil for more than two centuries". De Sá similarly understood Brazil's economic dependence on Angola and its consequential importance to Portugal, and is quoted as saying that "without that stronghold [i.e., Angola] Brazil cannot survive, nor can Portugal survive without Brazil".

Contemporary economic relations

Trade relations between Angola and Brazil started to grow in 2000. Angola’s exports to Brazil—primarily crude oil—were worth USD460 million in 2006.

Demographic and historic ties

Economic relations between Angola and Portugal had never been as strong as that of Brazil and Angola, and Portuguese influence was minimal in the early 19th century, having been usurped by Brazilian control of the slave trade. The children of Angolan elite were often sent to be educated in Rio de Janeiro as opposed to Lisbon. After Brazilian independence in 1822, there was a desire among some communities in Luanda and Benguela to also declare independence from Portugal and form a confederacy with Brazil. These plans ultimately failed due to diplomatic pressure from Great Britain who did not want to see the creation of a new south Atlantic empire, and stronger political lobbying on part of Angolans who were aligned with Lisbon. In addition, one of the stipulations of Brazil's independence from Portugal was a clause that Brazil would promise not to accept direct control over any Luso-African territories.
When Angola gained its independence from Portugal in 1975, many of the Portuguese settlers and both black and mestizo residents of the former colony emigrated to Brazil and Portugal.

As former Portuguese colonies, Angola and Brazil share many cultural ties, including language (Portuguese is the official language of each country) and religion (a majority of both countries are Roman Catholics).

Alf’s note:  Yes, we have an LDS mission in Angola now, the Angola Luanda Mission, organized July 1, 2013, with two districts (the Viana Angola District was organized on June 12, 2016) and 10 branches today.  Angola has a population of 18.5 million, slightly less than New York state.

From a mission website:  Since the end of the Angolan Civil War in 2002, Angola has grown economically because of large amounts of diamond and oil production. Like other countries in Africa, many Angolans have large families; however, the country continues to face issues such as low literacy rates and a low life expectancy. The Church in Angola currently has 5 congregations, with a total membership of 1,257. It is anticipated that the missionary work in Angola will grow exponentially, with many church officials comparing its growth to the early days of Brazil. The population is predominantly Christian and they are very warm and open to the missionaries. Because the Church is relatively new in Angola, people are eager to learn more about it.

Um abraço,  

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

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