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Cristo300Brasulista #201

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #201
February 1, 2017

In this issue:

Passing of President Lynn A. Sorensen
Passing of Walter Guedes de Queiroz and recollections
From the Field:  Campinas Temple and others
Dale Bradford and Gilbert Jennings to direct visitor’s centers at Hill Cumorah and Kirtland
Ted and Melinda Whitaker called to MTC São Paulo
Tip for brushing up on Portuguese
Early Short-Term Mission Program recalled
Early Brazilian leaders at São Paulo recalled
Public Affairs successes in Brazil at
Gary Neeleman receives a prestigious award from the Brazilian Consulate

Administrative:  Your newsletter guy is hoping the Brasulista helps us keep up with the progress of the Church and members in Brazil, even though when you read it you will recognize few names from the time you served your mission.  The newsletter goes by email to missionaries who served from about 1945 to 1985, and to Brazilians who are leaders today in Brazil.  Thanks for your interest.  Um abraço to all readers of this little newsletter.  Keep in touch.

Passing of President Lynn Sorensen

We noted the passing on January 4, 2017, of President Lynn Andrew Sorensen, at age 97.  Brother Sorensen was a pre-WWII missionary in Brazil who returned to serve his country during the war and serve the Lord all of his life, including as President of the Brazilian South Mission (73-76) and first President of the Porto Alegre Temple (00-03).  Please read his obituary:


Paulo R. Grahl, former president of the Brazil Brasilia Mission and counselor in the Brazil Area presidency, and today president of the MTC São Paulo, writes:  “Thanks for the note, Alf, [regarding the passing of Lynn Sorensen]. President Sorensen is one of my heroes in life, a spiritual giant, a man of faith and courage, always so diligent in serving the Lord and people. I had the blessing of serving as his counselor during his term as president of the Brazil South Mission, and will be eternally grateful for all that he taught me during the years of our service together in the kingdom.”  Paulo R. Grahl ( )

Passing of Walter Guedes de Queiroz

Dear Alfred Gunn, this is Neide Queiroz from São Paulo.  As I was reading the latest issue of Brasulista and came across the passing of Roger W. Call, I thought it would be appropriate to let you know of the passing of my husband, Walter Guedes de Queiroz, just a week ago, on December 18th at the age of 86. Walter passed away peacefully surrounded by family.  Walter had been fighting cancer and a serious kidney disease for the past year, and about two months ago it became clear that he wasn't going to make it.  Gladly we had the time to gather the family for one last time so that all of the six children had the opportunity to say their goodbyes.
  Interestingly, just a month and a half prior to his passing, Walter was called, sustained and ordained as a Stake Patriarch, and had the privilege of pronouncing a patriarchal blessing to one of his grandsons, Lukas 12, son of our daughter Eliane.

Walter is survived by me, his wife, 6 children (Izabel Cristina, Walter Jr, Eliane, Luciane, Alexandre and Adriane), 17 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

I find it important to note that the experience related by Dave Richardson of him and Roger W. Call teaching that group of Protestant Students and Ministers had a profound impact on Walter's conversion.  I wish you a Happy New Year. Sincerely, Neide Queiroz (

Note:  Walter Guedes de Queiroz and his wife, Neide Satico Ito de Queiroz, served as president and matron of the Porto Alegre Brazil Temple beginning in 2003, succeeding President Lynn Andrew Sorensen. He formerly served as mission president (BPAM 79-80), regional representative, stake president, high councilor and bishop. He is retired. Sister Queiroz had served as stake and ward Primary president, stake Relief Society president's counselor and ward Relief Society and Young Women president.

From David Richardson, who taught the three Methodist ministers:  “Yes, Alf.  Walter was one of the three Methodist ministers Roger Call and I taught during the special session attended by that large group of students and ministers at the Protestant college in São Paulo.  That is so wonderful that he was ordained a patriarch.  He was always inspired.  

“I interpreted for Walter when he came to Salt Lake for a dinner honoring those whose conversion stories had been published in Harmon and Connie Rector's book "No More Strangers."  In his conversion story, Walter said that we had given him the missionary discussions.  They were the same discussions Roger and I gave to Helio Camargo, another of the three.  Other missionaries gave Saul Messias the discussions.  Saul was the third minister of that college in São Paulo who was converted and baptized.

“Walter recounted at that dinner of a miracle which had helped his family survive after his conversion to the true church and his release from his position as a minister for the Methodist Church.  The miracle was similar to the widow who used  her last bit of meal and oil to make something to eat for Elijah: "And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah"  (1 Kings 17:16).  It was also fun to be at the dinner in Provo for Walter when he came to Salt Lake to visit Neide and other family members.  I'm sure Walter and Roger Call are renewing old acquaintance in the Spirit World.”  Dave Richardson (

From the Field:  Campinas Temple and others

Trivia question: Which is the largest LDS temple in Brazil?  

“My name is Roger Sommers. I served in the Brazilian south mission in 1965 and 1966. My wife and I are temple missionaries in Campinas. We have been here two months and we are loving it. The Brazilian members are coming in great numbers to the temple. Three weeks ago we had 11 busloads of people here at once. We had people lined up at the service counter with their own temple names. Two weeks ago we visited Rio and saw the location where the new Rio temple will be built. This work is certainly alive and well in Brazil. Elder Roger Sommers and Sister Joyce Sommers. (

Note:  Others serving in the Campinas Temple include Elders J Michael McGrew (BSM 67-69), Jon Hubble (BCentM 69-71), and Mark Grover (BCentM 66-68). (,,

Trivia question: Where in the world is Tatuí?

A note from Elder Mark Grover (BM 66-68) Alf, I hope all is going well. I am sending a picture of two old missionary friends from 1966-1968 who are together again in Brazil after 50 years. Alfred Barrus and I came to Brazil and left at the same time. We had parallel missionary assignments but never worked together as companions. We are now again serving in Brazil, not together, but in close cities. My wife Ivelisse and I are in the Campinas Temple and Elder and Sister Kathy Barrus are serving a leadership/missionary support mission in the city of Tatuí, São Paulo, near the city of Sorocaba. It is great to be together again. Elder Mark Grover (

Barrus1600Groversa are seated in the photo. Barrus' are standing.

Dale Bradford and Gilbert Jennings to direct visitor’s centers at Hill Cumorah and Kirtland

Dale Bradford (BSPN 74-76) and his wife Brenda are serving as director couple at the Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center since October 2015.  They presided over the São Paulo Interlagos mission from 2005-2008. “We came in Oct 2015 on an emergency basis.  The previous director had a son who was sick so they had to leave.  I retired in Aug 2015 and we left the next day to Kenya on a safari trip.  Two days after returning we got a phone call asking us the standard questions about whether we could serve.  The last question was, "Can you be there in a week?"  We gulped and said we could.  He called back three days and issued the call and gave us six weeks to get here. So we have a 27 month assignment and have had a great experience despite being slightly disappointed at first that we weren't going back to Brazil. (

Elder Gilbert M. Jennings and Sister Leslie Gurr Jennings of St. George, UT, are happy to have begun their service as directors of the Historic Kirtland Visitors’ Center, a wonderful place to visit, where the Prophet Joseph Smith and his people built the Kirtland Temple and dedicated it to the Lord.  Oh, I wish I could be there again. (See some notes from Brother Jennings below.)

Ted and Melinda Whitaker called to MTC São Paulo

My friend Ted Whitaker (BM 66-68) writes: “Alf, Just wanted you to know that my wife Melinda and I have just been called to serve as missionaries at the Brazil Missionary Training Center (CTM)! We enter the Provo MTC at the end of March! We are excited to go to Brazil. It has been 50 years since my first mission. Do you know of anyone else that has served there that could give us some pointers? Also, any suggestions for my wife to learn the language and for me to brush up on my Portuguese?  Hope all is well with you! We enjoyed our time with you on the transatlantic trip!  Thanks,  Ted Whitaker  (  

Brushing up on the language

Alf’s note:  Here is one tip for brushing up on your Portuguese pronunciation.  On your laptop or tablet, Google “Transparent Language Brazilian Portuguese word of the day” and subscribe.  Every day you will receive a word of the day, used in a sentence.  You can click on it and hear the sentence pronounced by a native while you are reading the sentence.  And you can repeat it back, repeatedly, to polish your pronunciation.  Then you can click on the calendar to review words and sentences from past days, weeks and months.  A good exercise in pronunciation.  A new student can do the same thing, and see the meaning of the sentence in English.

Early Short-Term Mission Program recalled

Item:  I learned that Gilbert Jenning (BCentM c70) had been tasked by his mission president to help establish the short-term mission program for Brazilian young members to serve short missions during their vacations back in 1970.  I inquired and hear this from him: Bro. Gunn, Thanks for your interest in the Short-term Mission Program. The Program was started under President Sherman Hibbert and operated in the year before I was called to participate. I can’t tell you exactly how the approval process occurred but I do know that it was approved by the Missionary Department at the time.  It would have started in 1970 probably in January which is, of course the summer vacation from school in Brazil. They also have about a month off school in July and we used to call young people to serve during this 30 day period also, but the numbers were far less during the July period.

I was called to the Program in December of 1970 and was previously the companion to Elder [Craig R.] Hickman, one of the Assistants to President Hibbert.  Elder Larry Wilson, now of the Seventy, was an assistant to President Hibbert at the time this was initiated and he may have some knowledge of the facts.
  Elder Hickman and I were invited to Thanksgiving dinner in 1970 by President Spat at his home as we were living in the neighborhood just down the hill from his home. President Spat was the only Stake President when I arrived in Brazil.

We called approximately 150 to 200 young people to serve short-term missions in January to March in 1971.  We called both young men and young women to serve. We actually had some that were a little older, perhaps in their twenties, that happened to be available and they were assigned as companionship together for their calls. A couple of them served for a year or more.

Just about every single full time Elder had a Brazilian companion and all of the Sisters had Brazilian companions.  Elder Smith and I arranged all of the calls by working with their bishops or branch presidents and their stake presidents and district presidents.  We encountered some reluctance from leaders but we arranged to cover all costs generally speaking for their service including housing, travel etc. The full-time missionaries obviously helped, as well as members in the areas where they served.  We brought them to São Paulo for training and then sent them out with their companions to serve. It was actually amazing how much they contributed to the missionary efforts.  After about two summers, some of the Brazilian leaders began to finally get a vision of what could happen.  I would mention that during the two years I was involved with the program, the Brazil Central Mission was, I believe, the top baptizing mission in the Church. We also helped Bro. David Christensen start the Seminary and Institute Program in Brazil during that period of time.

Brother Jennings adds: As a side note, there are some of the short-term missionaries that I still have contact with to this day. We had a couple of young sisters that served with us in 1971 that now live in the US and we have had contact with them for well over forty years now. They both continue to refer to the influence the experience they had serving their short-term missions. They remain very active and serving in the Church today.  I am aware of a few others that have had similar experience over the years.

Another side note of interest perhaps.  I came home the end of March 1972. My parents were going to come to Brazil and get me, but my father who was quite involved with some of the Church Leaders in SLC, including President Hinckley, Elder Perry, President Kimball and others, sent me a letter early that year saying that he had received a call from Church headquarters with a request to participate in a new fund to help missionaries from foreign lands with resources to be able to serve missions. He made the decision to make a significant contribution and felt that the money they were to spend coming to Brazil would be better spent helping the missionary program.  So, President Hibbert delivered me to the airport in São Paulo and I came home via New York and then Los Angeles by myself.

I don’t know that this is particularly interesting to you but it is fun for me to reminisce for a few minutes about a great experience that I had in Brazil.  It was a wonderful time to participate in the growth of the Church.  Thanks for the chance to share. Sincerely, Gilbert Jennings

Early Brazilian leaders at São Paulo recalled

From Brasulista #68, this information from João “John” Kemeny, now of Utah:  “When we joined the Church in São Paulo, the mission home was located at Rua Itapeva and the Ramo do Centro met in a downtown office building located at Rua do Seminario - near São Paulo's main post office building.  Walter Spat was our branch president and among the converts of that era were Osiris Cabral, Werner Sporl, Vicente Ardito, Helio Camargo, Walter Guedes de Queiroz, Saul Messias de Oliveira, Leonel Abacherli, Jose Lombardi, Romeo Fusco, Milton Consiglio, Mauro Todeschini, Chislom Cardim, Francisco Maldonado, Eduardo Contieri, Remo Roselli, Irineu Petri, to name a few. And, of course, there were the early German members who sometimes sang the hymns in German, accompanied by an accordion.  I remember Brother Lipelt and Sister Votto, who ran a "pensão" where the missionaries often stayed.”   João (John) Kemeny   (

Alf’s note: One of the joys of my senior years is to read of the incredible, well-organized, and successful public affairs initiatives occurring nationwide in Brazil.  I am involved in Public Affairs efforts of my stake.  I receive emails from the Director of Public Affairs for the Brazil Area, Fabio Nascimento, who is the son of my dear friend Givaldo de Nascimento of Santos, SP, Brazil.  My stake acquaintances here tire of hearing me claim that we should do what they are doing in Brazil. The article below is cited in Newsroom, with a link to the Brazilian

Brazil: Community Leaders Honored for Upholding Family Values

More than a thousand community leaders and organizations in Brazil recently received The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family Values award.  The awards were handed out in several communities celebrating the actions, projects and people credited with the many successes in service to others and values important to families.  The award recipients also received beautiful white statuettes depicting families.  Go to the Brazil Mormon Newsroom website (Portuguese) to read more about the various events and see photos.


Also from the Public Affairs website in Brazil, . . .  in June, 2016, Gary Neeleman received a prestigious award from the Brazilian Consulate recognizing his service to Brazilians in Utah and his love of Brazil for some 60 years since his mission in 1954.  


Gary Neeleman, membro da Igreja, recebe a medalha Ordem de Rio Branco


Gary nasceu em Salt Lake City, Utah, e tem uma história de mais de 60 anos com o Brasil. Neeleman veio pela primeira vez ao Brasil aos 20 anos, em 1954, como missionário mórmon. Depois de formado jornalista, retornou ao Brasil como correspondente internacional da United Press International, tornando-se amigo de várias autoridades, como o ex-presidente Juscelino Kubitschek e viajando o Brasil inteiro, tendo escrito vários livros, principalmente sobre a Amazônia e o ciclo da borracha.  Neeleman recebeu também o título de cidadão paulistano em 2015.  Gary Neeleman e sua esposa Rose consideram-se norte-americanos com coração brasileiro.

Wishing you well.  

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

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