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Cristo300Brasulista #203

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #203
March 18, 2017

Bom dia!

In this issue:

Armed robbers pick the wrong Mormon missionary - video gone viral
Ground broken at the Rio de Janeiro Temple site (link to video)
Facebook page for historical LDS articles in Brazil
Brother Merrill Frost back at the temple after FrontRunner crash
Find my Missionary—Pinheiros Branch 1966
“Opening the Letter” - How did you open yours?
President Daniel Puerta Amato to preside in Lima East
Recalling northern Paraná
Recalling Erechim, 1964 and 1972  A moving story.

Armed robbers pick the wrong Mormon missionary - video gone viral 



Alf, I don´t know if you have seen this but I thought you might find this YouTube clip both interesting and funny.  Two armed robbers try to rob two Mormon missionaries in Manaus, Brazil, and things didn´t turn out the way they planned.  This security camera video has gone viral here in Brazil.  Randy Wilkinson

Administrative: Your newsletter man is in touch with some good members of the Church in certain cities in Brazil, people whose families have been in the Church many years, and who help me inquire about other members there from earlier years.  However, I would like to be in touch with more key members and in more cities.  If you have contacts with whom you communicate, and you have their email addresses, would you be so kind as to share those with me so that I can establish contacts in more cities?  Ideally these contacts will read English and enjoy receiving the Brasulista, as many of my Brazilian contacts do.  I am also able to write to them in Portuguese when I make inquiries.


Brother Stephen Kent Ehat, (BNM 71-73) of Lindon, UT, alertly furnishes us this link to the Temple groundbreaking held on March 4, 2017.  “Foi muito inspiradora a Abertura de Terra do Templo do Rio de Janeiro!” The video is over an hour long, but see the site dedication prayer offered by Brazil Area President Elder Claudio R. M. Costa of the Seventy at the 44 minute point.  (

Also, see the location of the temple on Google Maps here:

Facebook page for historical LDS articles in Brazil

Brother Duane Zobrist alerts us to the the Facebook webpage "História dos Santos dos últimos Dias no Brasil" which invites historical submissions to the site regarding the Church in Brazil.  Early missionaries, consider sharing.  

Brother Merrill Frost back at the temple after FrontRunner crash

Apparently you can’t keep a good man down, like 86-year-old Brother Merrill Frost (BM 52-55 and President of the Brazil Recife Mission 85-86) of Provo, UT (  This came to my attention in a notice to the Brazilian Mission A. T. Sorensen group, who will hold their usual reunion on March 31:

“Gordon Taylor reports that Merrill Frost has recovered from being hit in his pickup truck by a FrontRunner train running at full speed and is back working in the temple.”  See an article with photo at

Find my Missionary—Pinheiros Branch 1966

Attention Beck and Hicken missionaries.  Did you teach the family of Laura Maria Camilo (married name became Spörl) in 1966 at the Pinheiros Branch/Ward in São Paulo?  Her daughter, Tatiana Spörl Grant ( of Sandy, UT, inquires in hopes of finding the missionaries who taught her mother:  “What an exciting story! [Brasulista #202] I'm so happy they found at least one of the missionaries. I was hoping to find the ones that taught my mom too.  Laura Maria Camilo (Spörl) was baptized November 1966 in the Capela de Pinheiros São Paulo. My grandfather Werner Kurt Spörl actually baptized her. I don't know who confirmed her. I just wanted to know who were the missionaries that taught my mom.  If we can find them, I would really appreciate any help I can get.  I love reading these stories.  Alf, Thank you also for the updates. Tatiana Spörl Grant  (

“Opening the Letter” - How did you open yours? By Alf Gunn

Missionaries, when your mission call came in the mail, how did you open it?  Nowadays there seems to be a ritual gathering and opening of the envelope, almost rivaling a bar mitzvah or engagement announcement, complete with video for YouTube, and perhaps green jello—or is that another tradition?  Letters come from Church Headquarters in a matter of two or three weeks.  But as I recall, I had to wait longer than that.  It was Bellingham, WA, 1962, and our little ward met in a house for church.  When the letter came I was at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club swimming pool working as a lifeguard and in the middle of a very noisy youth swim meet.  My mother called the payphone at the pool and when I got on the line she told me the envelope had come. She sounded excited, or nervous. “Do you want me to open it?” she asked.  Yes.  She read from the letter, signed by David O. McKay, “You are hereby called to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to labor in the Brazilian South Mission.”  Mother, still nervous, asked me something like was I happy about that, and I said yes and I would see her later, and I went back to the swim meet and only saw my letter and instructions later when I got home from work.

I knew where Brazil was and that they spoke Portuguese, because I had written a paper in high school on the economy of Brazil.  That was about all.  Our missionary “ritual” at the time, you will recall, included a special sacrament meeting recognized as a “Farewell Testimonial” complete with a printed program with a picture of the Salt Lake Temple with the missionary’s picture and a scripture (mine was Mosiah 5:15), with my parents speaking, my sister and her friend singing a duet, my bishop’s talk and my “response” talk. Two weeks after, I was in the Mission Home in Salt Lake City for one week of training before flying to Brazil—but that is a story for another time.

For now, I will invite you--especially you missionaries from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s to share how you received the letter, especially if it is interesting or different. Things were a little different back then, were they not?  I will say that I am forever thankful for the privilege of serving a mission, which has blessed my life forever, and hopefully some others’ too.

Item:  How’s your Spanish?

President Daniel Puerta Amato to preside in Lima East

“Hi Brother Alfred Gunn.  My name is Daniel Puerta Amato and I was called to serve as a mission president in the Lima Perú East Mission, beginning in July.  You might know my Dad (Homero Salvador Amato or my Grandfather Jose Benjamim Puerta - we are from São Paulo Brazil).  I enjoy receiving your emails and would like to ask you if you could also add on your letters that we are in need of missionary couples in Lima Perú East to serve in the mission office. Thanks.  (

Good to see more of Brazil going to the world, especially from one of the finest families in Brazil.  From the Church News:  “Daniel Puerta Amato, 40, and Fernanda Schneider Amato, four children, Windermere Ward, Orlando Florida South Stake: Perú Lima East Mission, . . . . . Brother Amato is a former bishop, stake Young Men president, elders quorum president, stake Sunday School president, ward Young Men president and missionary in the Texas Dallas Mission. Investor and sales leader, VisualCue. Born in Provo, Utah, to Homero Amato and Sandra Amato.” [while his father was a student at BYU, and raised in São Paulo].  Sister Amato is a former stake and ward Primary president, ward Young Women president and ward Young Women presidency counselor. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, to Fernando Schneider and Stella Schneider.”  

Note:  Of course, whenever I mention mission needs in one mission I must note that there are needs for senior missionaries in 34 Brazilian missions, as well as missions in Portugal, Mozambique, Angola, and Cape Verde, etc.   Just to be fair and balanced.

Short Term Missions (continued)

From Cory Bangerter (BSM 66-68 and former President of the RdeJM 84-87) of Alpine, UT:  Alf, About short-term missionaries... I recall my father Wm. Grant Bangerter called several young men and young women who served a short time as missionaries in the Brazilian Mission between 1958-1963.  President Asael Taylor Sorenson may also have done the same, but I am not too familiar with those years. When Dad was President, I do recall David Tuttle, son of Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, coming from Uruguay to spend a month of his vacation time and served I believe with Elder Jeff Matsen in August 1962.  I was also called to serve a short-term mission in Tijuca in June of 1962 serving with Elder Daryl Hobson.  Cory Bangerter  (

Thanks, Cory.  I have to be careful.  Whenever I mention short-term or full-time missions by Brazilian young men, someone will always mention others.  I used to say that your father revolutionized the work through great effort to get young Brazilians called to FT missions, as explained in his essay “Follow the Prophet”—but then I get indignant emails from the missionaries of the 50’s naming those Brazilians—probably called by your father or A. T. Sorenson too.  When I arrived in the south at the end of 1962 my first companion was Wilson Lima—like a brother to me to this day—and there was one other Brazilian serving, out of 160 missionaries.  

Terry K. Steinacker (BCentM 70-72) writes:  Alf, today my nephew leaves for Brazil - his visa problem was of short duration!  He is called to the Brazil Londrina mission.  This touches me deeply because in 1972 when I left Brazil there were two missionaries in Londrina, two in Cornélio Procópio, two in Maringá and two in Apucarana - this was our zone.  Now there is a mission office in Londrina and chapels and stakes everywhere in the western part of Paraná.  Truly the gospel is the stone from the mountain, cut without hands.  Thanks so much for the Brasulista - it brings back strong feelings of joy and love for the people of Brasil.  Thanks for all you do!  Sincerely, Elder Terry K Steinacker - Brasil Central Mission 1970-1972  (

Follow up on Erechim article (Brasulista #202)

Brian Anderson ( writes “Just for the record, in late 1964, Pres. Turner sent my companion and I to Erechim to evaluate whether or not the city seemed ready to be opened.  We spent a couple days visiting with the mayor and some of the other local leaders to get a feeling about how well missionaries would be welcomed.  Our sense after the visit was that Erechim could be a reasonable next place in the mission to be opened, but that it would not be a piece of cake.  It sounds like it took several years before Erechim was eventually opened.”

Recalling Erechim, 1964 and 1972  A moving story.


Brother Brian Anderson (BSM 70-72) sends this information about the family from Erechim, RS, mentioned in Brasulista #202:

Sister Trindade da Cruz is a wonder sister who endured many difficulties and raised a wonderful family.  Here is one incident I recall. A new chapel was being built in Erechim during 1971 and was finished in early 1972, in the mean time church was held on the main floor of the only sky scrapper building in Erechim at the time. Brother Sergio Gomez was in charge of constructing the new meetinghouse.

It was sometime during this time frame that Sister da Cruz was threatened by the city to move her home, since she did not own the ground where the house sat. The city was planning on expanding in that area and the road by their home was being widened, so if the house was not move it would be bulldozed. Sister da Cruz had no money for such a moved. When Elder Pacheco and Elder Scott found out about this situation they promised Sister da Cruz they would talk to President Arnold about it. President Arnold was scheduled to be in Erechim for the new Chapel dedication. Some arrangements were made by President Arnold, the Branch President and the Elders to help Sister da Cruz.

I remember going to the family home with the Elders on Christmas eve 1971 in the back of Sergio Gomez’s pickup truck and delivering the family some food including a large watermelon I carried into the home. Then later just after the new chapel was dedicated and sometime after the new year, all six of us Elders, plus the two construction Elders and Sergio Gomez met at the da Cruz home. A piece of ground had been purchased with fast offering money, for around $300.00 as I remember.  We were there to help the family move their belongings, including their home. There was a certain amount of excitement among the family members, they knew they were moving. Sergio had added some wooden framing to the back of his Chevy Pickup and with the family watching and two Elders on each side of the family home, it was lifted and placed onto the back of Sergio’s truck. Then slowly, slowly the pickup truck moved with the Elders and family walking behind, making sure the home was secure and when the new site was reached the family home was unloaded from the back of the truck and moved to the family’s new property. I know both Jorge and Trindade felt great relief to have their home in a secure place.  It was very rewarding to see the happiness in the faces of the family members, who are today grown with children of their own.  Granddaughter Tais is a wonderful example to her family. Her mother Luirde, grandmother Trindade and her uncle Jorge should be very proud of her. I am very proud of this family and I am honored to remember them and to have had a chance to help them. They are God’s children and He loves and blesses them.  Elder Brian Anderson, Missão Brasil do Sul - November 1970 to November 1972

Alf’s note:  O brasileiro da um jeito, não é?

Brothers and Sister, I love you guys.  Thanks for your sharing and kind words.  
Um abraço,  Alf Gunn    Gig Harbor, WA

Fique firme, forte, fiel, e feliz!

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

“Andorinha voou e anunciou
Uma estrela do norte aqui passou
Trazendo alegria, trazendo bonança
E muita esperança pro nosso Brasil
Pra sorrir, pra reflorir... extravasar, cor de anil.”
                        --Lyrics, “Salve Este Mundo, Menino” composed and sung by Zeca Pagodinho


Dick Jensen travel tours with Alf Gunn

“October 2017 Complete China Tour”

After last year’s incredible tour of China with a group of our former missionaries and other LDS, I am invited to host another highlights of China tour, to enchanting places that will enchant the American tourist, like the Li River and the “gumdrop” mountains, some of the most picturesque scenes in the world!  This is “ancient China” and “very new China”—a fascinating experience if you have never seen it.  Local guides assure that we dine at fine restaurants with excellent food—yes, it is Chinese—and the hotels Dick books in China are the best I have ever visited.

See the “October 2017 Complete China Tour” at this website

Often we can work out roommates for seniors willing to take on another LDS travel companion.  Inquire.   

"Spain to Brazil Cruise"

A good group signed on for this incredible bargain trip, but still accepting travelers.   “Barcelona to Brazil and Everything In Between!”

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