Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #208
December 28, 2017
In this issue:
Senior couple needed for Cape Verde islands
Merry Christmas from the mission field
Finding missionaries for members
Called to Serve: Angola, São Paulo, Recife
Elder Fowkes recalled by Paulo Grahl
Alf’s note: For former missionaries like me who served before there were any wards or stakes in Brazil, it is hard to comprehend the way the Lord’s kingdom in Brazil has moved forward “boldly, nobly and independent,” over the years, today counting 251 stakes in the country, with strong and faithful leadership, and thousands of young missionaries called from these stakes each year. The Brasulista can only reflect in small measure this dynamic, which occurs as inspired calls are extended and accepted and magnified, one by one. Senior missionary couples still play an important role in missions and temples, and this newsletter is pleased to report callings as they are announced.
I am glad to learn that someone has posted my contact info on a Facebook page for LDS folks in Brazil, indicating that I can locate missionaries who served before 1985. I have enjoyed helping members find “their missionaries” or an Elder or Sister companion with whom they served many years ago. Please keep me updated with your current email and contact information in case I need to find you.
NOTICE: MISSION OPPORTUNITY/ NEED IN CAPE VERDE (December 20, 2017)
Brother Gunn—The Church’s Europe Area desperately needs a couple to serve a mission in Cape Verde. They would serve as both assistant area auditor (AAA) and member and leader support (MLS) missionaries. The assignment will include traveling between eight Islands, performing mini audits in branch and ward units, and training local leaders on how to handle the Lord’s sacred funds. The couple will also assist the mission president as they perform assignments supporting local unit members and leaders. The husband, at least, must speak Portuguese. Cape Verde has the fastest growing Church membership in the Europe Area. The weather is nice year-round. Interested couples can contact me at the numbers below. We appreciate you helping us communicate our need in your newsletter. Thank you, Cal
Calvin H. Simmons
Church Auditing Department
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Office: 801 240-5360 Cell: 801-837-8019 email@example.com
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE MISSION FIELD
In a Christmas note to their Brazilian missionary friends, Elder Charles (BM 63-65) and Sister Dianne Clark of Noblesville, IN, write from their mission:
Feliz Natal de Boston! We greet you this wonderful season from our mission assignment in the Massachusetts-Boston Mission. We are serving as member and leader support missionaries in the Boston 4th Branch (Portuguese-speaking). Our focus is to do all things possible to strengthen this small branch of Cape Verde islanders. Most of the members are poor, under-employed and challenged by lack of transportation and meager English skills. Most of those we have met, however, seem to be cheery and happy with the opportunities in America to progress and improve. Such possibilities are very scarce in their native land so many of them migrate here, or just come for extended visits to work. We have been touched by the faithfulness some demonstrate in face of many obstacles that would be foreign to most of us. The challenges are many and the work humbling.
Boston has already been very interesting. At every turn in the neighborhoods we frequent great ethnic diversity is apparent, and hence languages of all types. Chances to use the Portuguese language surround us at almost every hour of every day. The building maintenance man, the local fast-food clerks, people in the library, stores, restaurants all either speak Portuguese, Spanish, English, Creole or unknown tongues. Just the other day Charles spoke to a group of four men who asked him about his name tag and learned that they were not only Portuguese speakers, but originated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from the very suburb where he had served on his mission 53 years ago. Dianne is studying daily to improve her language skills. Though the streets, traffic, driving and knowing directions are "interesting" aspects of being here, none of that is as intriguing as the people we are meeting.
We are blessed to be here and serve in the midst of many young missionaries, who are so impressive in their faith, devotion, and testimony. Being with them has been very invigorating and pleasing as we strive to serve the Master and bless His children. May you feel His love at this special moment of the year. With great affection & regard, Elder & Sister Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
P.S. An additional opportunity for us has been to become temple workers in the Boston Temple, where starting the first of the year we will work one shift per week.
CALLED TO SERVE - ANGOLA
On December 22 Elder Laird Swensen (BM 64-66) of Salt Lake City write: Hello Alf, I continue to enjoy the Brasulista and want to thank you for making it possible. My wife Gloria and I received a call to serve as member leader support missionaries in Angola. We arrived here a little over a week ago. Our wonderful mission president was our previous stake president when we were in São Paulo - Presidente Denelson Silva. Angola has only has only been a mission since 2013. There are about 40 missionaries. About half are Americans and the rest are from Brazil, Portugal, and Moçambique. All of them are serving in the capitol of Luanda. There are two districts which will eventually be combined into one stake. I was in São Paulo in May of 1966 when the first stake in South America was formed. We hope to be here for the first stake in Angola. There are opportunities for service in Africa using Portuguese and having a sense of adventure. I should add that it is because of President Stan Ellis´s note in the Brasulista requesting Portuguese speaking missionaries to serve in Africa that we are here. All the best, Laird (email@example.com)
Alf’s note: I am pleased to learn that good brothers and sisters respond to needs for senior missionaries mentioned in the Brasulista. Brother and Sister Swensen previously served as area medical advisor in the Brazil North Area at Recife (06-08) and Europe Area at Frankfurt (10-12).
Here is information from the Church News regarding the new President of the São Paulo Missionary Training Center.
João Roberto Costa Martins Silva, 65, and Maria Lúcia Estaca Martins Silva, two children, Cidade Leonor Ward, São Paulo Brazil South Stake: Brazil Missionary Training Center, succeeding President Paulo R. Grahl and Sister Zuleika Grahl. Brother Martins Silva serves as a patriarch and temple sealer and is a former Area Seventy, president of the Brazil Fortaleza Mission, stake presidency counselor and bishop. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Ramiro Martins Silva and Zilma Costa Martins Silva. Sister Martins Silva serves as a Young Women general board member. She previously served with her husband in the Brazil Fortaleza Mission and is a former stake Relief Society president, stake Young Women presidency counselor and ward Young Women president. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to José Estaca and Maria Pais de Figueiredo.
CALLED TO SERVE - BRAZIL
Alf, Thanks for the constant information about Brazil. Please be advised that we enter Provo on Oct. 16 for two weeks training before serving in Area Office Support for Family History at São Paulo. Elder Ralph (BSM 60-62) and Sister Reva Brooks BSM. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Richard (BM 65-67) and Sandy Tidwell of Provo, UT, write: We have been called to serve as Temple missionaries in the Recife Brazil Temple beginning February 13, 2018. We previously enjoyed our mission to Mozambique (2013-2015). Also, I was one of the very early missionaries to serve in Fortaleza. That first branch in Fortaleza was established in January 1967, and I was there from August to November 1967 serving as Branch President. It was a very small branch in those days. Now there are 12 or more stakes in Fortaleza with a temple being built. One of the original families in the branch is still living in Fortaleza, Lino and Maria Cintra. I hope to visit Fortaleza and visit them and perhaps attend the Temple dedication in Fortaleza if it is dedicated while we are in Brazil. Richard and Sandy Tidwell (email@example.com)
My friends Ken and Heidi Copa of California send this news: Hi Alf, We received our mission call for our second senior mission. We expected to go to Mozambique, but because of the primitive medical conditions there we were told by the Missionary Medical department that we could not serve there. So we were pretty anxious to open our call and see where we would be sent. We were called to serve in the Brazil Area to labor in São Paulo, Brazil as area travel office specialists. We are anxious to find out what that entails. We will report to the Provo MTC on February 12th for our 18 month mission. When we get back from this mission we look forward to joining you on another Dick Jensen tour. Abraços, Ken and Heidi Copa BSM 1966-68, Brasil Porto Alegre North Mission 2014-16
MISSIONARY SERVICE RECALLED
Item: Just read your Missionary news letter. My husband, Elliott Jay Fowkes, served in the Brazil South Mission head-quartered in Curitiba 1960 through May 1962. He passed away four months ago with cancer. We had served together in the Recife Brazil Temple Mission April 2009-October 2010. What a blessing to serve a mission with my eternal companion! We loved the people there! Elder and Sister George and Annette Leavitt from Madera, CA were with us in the MTC and served with us in the Recife Temple. Within a few months after we returned home from our mission we found out that my husband had Lymphoma Cancer (NH). We moved from Coalinga, CA, in the Central San Joaquin Valley to be closer to 2 of our 8 children and a hospital. Elliott died without any pain. (Our oldest two sons also served Brazil Missions, Raymond in the Curitiba Mission 1984-86 and Douglas in the São Paulo North 1986-88!) Ione Fowkes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alf’s note: I was aware that Elder Fowkes had been part of the conversion of one of the humble giants of the Church in Brazil, Paulo Grahl, formerly of the Brazil Area Presidency and currently President of the MTC São Paulo. When he learned of Elder Fowkes passing, President Grahl penned the following note to Sister Fowkes:
“Dear Sister Fowkes, Sister Grahl and I send you our heartfelt condolences for the passing of our dear friend Elliott. Among the most treasured memories the Grahl family has is the figure of a true disciple of Jesus Christ, an excellent missionary and leader. We were taking our first steps as new converts in a very small branch in the city of Bagé, and Elder Fowkes was always so kind, so loving, so righteous and so helpful to us. He was greatly influential in our conversion process, and we will be forever grateful. We are sure that he has left a wonderful legacy to your family and to all those who knew him. With sincere love and appreciation, Paulo and Zuleika Grahl, Brazil MTC”
Um abraço, Alf Gunn Brazilian South Mission 62-65 Gig Harbor, WA email@example.com
Three 2018 trips for former Brazilian missionaries and friends!
#1 “Brazil South Mission Reunion Temple Tour – May 1 – 11, 2018” Open to all.
Oh, I love this tour!!! And I will host it. Plan now to be a part of this tour and invite family members or friends to do it with you. It takes place in the beautiful south of Brazil, but of course Northies will love it too. Three temples, a fireside, and Iguaçu! Our travel agent friend, Dick Jensen (BSPSM 78-80), has done it again: Amazingly, this whole trip comes at a price equal to what you or I would pay for the airfare to Brazil and back alone. Former mission presidents who take this tour—as some have in the past—may be able to arrange mini-reunions with “your missionaries” living in Curitiba, Porto Alegre and São Paulo if desired. Go to the website for details and join us if you can. Um abraço, Alf
#2 “A Taste of Portugal and Spain” – July 10-19, 2018 Summertime!!
The little creamy custard pie, called a “Pastel de Nata” is reason enough to visit Portugal. At least that is the way I feel when I am in Lisbon and letting the little pastry put a smile on my face. But this trip, “A Taste of Portugal and Spain,” is so much more than the tasty foods of these two countries. It is castles and monasteries and basilicas in baroque, late gothic manueline and romantic styles, parks and vistas, monuments to world explorations, centuries of history, culture and architecture, and warm and friendly people. Included in our package are excellent English speaking tour guides and motor coaches to pack the most adventure into each day, as we visit unforgettable places. Some of my own favorite memories are simple scenes from the balconies of our lodgings in historic districts and aromas from cafes and restaurants. As your tour host, let me introduce you to all of this and share the sights and sounds of colorful Iberia.
#3 “August 2018 Highlights of Brazil and South Africa Tour!”
Can you believe this? The Falls of Iguaçu! Manaus and the mighty Amazon! And . . . what? . . . a South African safari! Yes, fly to Africa from Brazil and experience its cultures and wildlife—an unforgettable experience in Kruger National Park. How did they put this bucket-list trip together? See it at
There’s more than one way to get to Africa.
Be a part of it, with a host couple (former Brazilian missionaries) that I love and you will too.