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Cristo300Brasulista #206

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #206
November 2, 2017

Bom dia!

In this issue:

Locating missionaries for a member
Inquiry: “Did you know my brother?”
Mission Calls 
Recalling Curitiba and Porto Alegre 
Mission Opportunities 


“Alf, This is Paulo Bangerter here in Bahia in the Salvador South Mission. We are working mightily to build the kingdom here and the mission is greatly blessed. We always need more couples and I can tell you they are loved and worth their weight in gold. We have a senior couple serving from Paraná. The sister was baptized in Navegantes, Santa Catarina, in 1961 by Elders Franklin and Gardner. She is loving her mission and has baptized many with her husband. Her name is Maria Lucia da Silva Bento, now last name of Mathias. She would like to know about these missionaries. They changed her life. She was only 10 at the time and they may hardly remember her but she never forgot. She has been a lioness in the kingdom and has five powerful children in the Church and grandchildren. Her world and all around her has never been the same. There were four in the family baptized in September of ‘62. Do you have any info on these two elders? Elder Gardner was tall dark hair and glasses. Franklin was not as large. Gardner was called Jardineiro by the family. Thanks for all you do. I love your newsletters and that we have such a great organization. Paulo Bangerter, Missão Brasil Salvador Sul. Bahia” (

Alf’s notes: President Bangerter was able to send me a photo of the sister’s baptismal certificate signed by the two Elders and Elder Larry Nance. I was able to share information about those two Elders with President Bangerter to pass on the Sister Mathias. When I spoke with Elder Alan Gardner, one of my own senior companions, he recalled the Bento family as the first ones to join the Church in the Itajaí area. Navegantes was the small city across the Rio Itajaí from Itajaí, and generally a poorer neighborhood. As there was no church building there, the baptism was held in the river where it met the sea. As they waded into the river they worried that there might not be enough depth to perform the mother’s baptism, so Elder Gardner told Elder Larkin Franklin, “You say the words and wait and I will tell you when a big wave is coming.” So Elder Franklin did that and here came a big wave and Elder Gardner told him, “Put her under,” and that’s what he did and she came right back up and it was a fine baptism. Elder Gardner would work in Itajaí for seven months and they saw many people baptized and the beginning of a branch there. Elder Gardner remembers little 10-year-old Maria Lucia. He was very pleased to hear about her faithfulness in the Church and her senior mission now.

Elder Larkin Franklin or Vidor, TX passed away in 2012. I had a very nice conversation with his wife Laurie after she was made aware of Sister Bento Mathias. She was pleased to learn of Larkin’s participation in that family’s conversion, and shared Sister Mathias’ note with all of her children. I shared the details of the baptism mentioned by Elder Gardner. Elder and Sister Franklin served a mission in Costa Rica in 2006. (

Alf’s notes: Once during my mission my bus stopped at the waterfront at Itajaí and I remember seeing the small fishing boats at the port of this small town. This evening I Googled Itajaí and saw the high-rise buildings all over the horizon and was amazed. Of course, it has been 54 years or so since I passed there.



Toni Figueira Andrews wrote, “I was so glad to find your site/newsletter. I am the sister of a missionary, Elder Lawrence Figueira, who served in Brazil from 1966-1969, but died before his release. I would like to connect with any missionaries or members that may have known him. I was a young girl (7 years old) at his passing, so any insight to his life during the time he served would be appreciated. If you would be interested in helping me, feel free to email me. Thank you so much! - Toni (


From Ralph Brooks: Thanks for the constant information about Brazil. Please stick our call in the next newsletter. We enter Provo on Oct. 16 for two weeks before serving in the Brazil Area Office Support for Family History. Elder Ralph and Sister Reva Brooks BSM 1960-1962. (

Scott Wright Hadley (BSM 65-67) and his wife Carol are called as the 1st Counselor and matron in the renovated Ogden Temple. The previously presided of the Brazil Brasilia Mission 97-00 and served a temple mission at Recife in about 2011. (


From Dick Silver (BSM 61-63)

Thank you for the online Brasulista! I too have an early mission story. I had studied German in high school, but was unsure about serving in postwar Europe. So, when the letter came after my General Authority interview, I was relieved to see my call was to the Brazilian South Mission! I was dressed warmly for my week in January at the Mission Home on Temple Square. I was the only Elder going to Brazil, and got off the plane in Curitiba in midsummer, sweating in an overcoat. There was nobody from the mission office there to greet me: turned out they expected me a week later! I had the office address in my papers, and fortunately found a German-speaking immigrant police officer who arrange a cab for me. I walked into the office and told the sister at the desk, there was a cab driver outside waiting to be paid!

I was not learning Portuguese at all, until on my first transfer after a month. My new companion asked me on arrival if I was hungry for lunch. Of course! He asked if I could say the blessing in Portuguese: I said no. He said, “when you can say it, we’ll eat!” So I whipped out my grammar book. (This was pre-LTM) From then, I learned well and was fluent in about four months. I have never forgotten the language in 56 years. Later on when we went to Mozambique in 2002, people said I was clearly a Brazilian by my speech. And Brazilians I meet say by my accent that I am obviously from Curitiba!

In Curitiba, we began teaching a member sister’s husband. She harped on him constantly, saying he was no good, because he smoked and drank and was lazy. My companion told her that she needed to stop criticizing him and give him something positive! The very next Sunday he was at church with her, saying “Teach me, I want to get baptized.” Later in private, we asked her what had caused the change. She said she told him to sleep on the couch! “I will not sleep with a non-Mormon!” Ouch, not what we intended!

I too remember the first chapel construction in Porto Alegre! The labor missionaries were stuck, trying to pull heavy electric cables in thru four bends in a conduit cast in concrete. I made lubricating slurry up from water and detergent powder, we squirted it into the conduit with a bicycle pump, and several elders together heaved and pulled the cables into place with the pull-rope.

On return, I met my eternal companion after just three weeks. First date was on a Friday. The third date was a ride to church on Sunday. Afterward, we lunched at my parents’ home and she told me about dreams she had six months before, when praying about whom she should marry. I recognized the dreams and said to myself, “That is the Lord speaking to you.” So I proposed right then! 53 years happy! Together we have eight kids, 21 grandkids and 13 great-grandkids. We have served as a couple in Mozambique, then Angola, and now as church service missionaries in our home stake.


Note: The following info is from March 2017 . . . if interested please email Elder Rueckert at

Alf, This is Elder Thomas Rueckert. I served in the Brazil Central Mission and the South Central Mission in 1972 to 1974. Could you put these missionary opportunities in the next issue of the Brasulista?

My wife and I are currently serving in the Europe Area office in Frankfurt, Germany on a Self-Reliance mission. We have several self-reliance missionary couples serving in the various countries in Europe. These missions have been very rewarding for the missionary couples as they support priesthood leaders throughout the country where they are assigned, often covering two missions as they implement the self-reliance initiative. We are loving our mission. More information about this initiative is available at It started internationally in 2013 and has is currently being implemented in the U.S. and Canada. Right now we need some additional missionary couples.

We have a wonderful couple that is finishing their mission in Portugal in July and do not yet have a replacement. The mission would be based in Lisbon, but would also cover the Porto mission. If anyone would be interested in serving in an almost perfect year round climate with wonderful saints, this is the place to be. Visas are easy to come by with no waiting times. Healthcare is excellent, so health is not a big issue. The new Lisbon Temple is also under construction with all the excitement that comes with that. The Portuguese is slightly different from Brazilian, but you would get by without any problem. We also are looking for a Portuguese speaking couple to serve in the islands of Cape Verde. A more developing area, but in the middle of excellent missionary work and a fast growing Church.

Email address:
U.S. phone number: 801-280-2157

Elder Thomas Rueckert and Sister Deborah Rueckert
Europe Area Self-Reliance Specialists
Mobile: +49 176 1449 2245

Alf’s disclaimer note: I am aware that generally there are ongoing needs for senior couples in almost every mission and temple where Portuguese is spoken, including in Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Angola, and probably Massachusetts and Florida. Senior couples are very much appreciated by mission presidents. If your mission language was Portuguese you may expect to improve it and a spouse may learn to speak it if you serve in these places.

Note: To follow historical developments in Brazil since you served your mission, and current events, one good website in English is the BBC app (select Latin America for “my news”) or online at

The app features country profiles, such as Brazil’s, with a historical timeline (but the online site, like so many online, has bothersome advertisements):

I will be off to Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona and a cruise to Brazil during November and early December, so I hope to get this Brasulista out to all of you before then.

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


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