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Cristo300Brasulista #209

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #209
February 12, 2018

Bom dia!

In this issue:

Note regarding President C. Elmo Turner
Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk in Portuguese
Bus loads of saints at the Campinas Temple over Christmas week
Growth of the Church in Brazil
From the Field – Guatemala 
Hicken Reunion notice
Recalling mission days – speaking to a strange congregation
Recalling President George Oakes and teaching the Helvécio Martins family

Note regarding President C. Elmo Turner

Alf’s note: Dear Elders and Sisters, I have just learned of the passing of my dear mission president, C. Elmo Turner, on 2/12/17, of causes incident to advanced age. It takes me 10 days to send out any notice such as this, due to limitations on my email server. Please look for details in the Deseret News and alert others who served under President Turner in the Brazilian South Mission, 1964-1967. 

A personal note, from an article about mission presidents to appear in the Peninsula Gateway this month:

“Last June while on vacation in Utah I visited with my former mission president, now 92 years old. Fifty-three years ago C. Elmo Turner, a school administrator then in his late-30’s, took his wife Lois and their five children to Curitiba, Brazil, to preside over that mission area where I was assigned. His daily example to me while I served as mission secretary for eight months and lived in the mission home and headquarters with his family, was an invaluable experience for this young missionary.

“It was not easy for them. Lois and the children would learn a foreign language. President Turner and three of his children would survive an air-taxi small plane crash into a mountain side and be miraculously spared to complete their 3-year mission and return home to Utah. God blessed them for their faith and dedication. Hundreds of us who served with Elmo and his late wife Lois revere them to this day.” Alf Gunn

Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk in Portuguese

Note: On April 29, 2015, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave the keynote address at a Celebration of Religious Freedom event held at a mosque in São Paulo. He delivered the talk in Portuguese. Elder Christofferson, who served his full-time mission in Argentina, now speaks Portuguese, according to his brother who served in Brazil, “better than I do.” Elder Christofferson spoke before an inter-faith audience including Muslims, Catholics, Adventists, Jews, Evangelicals, and native spiritualists—along with people of no faith. Now you can read his remarks in the Liahona (Portuguese) of February 2018, p. 25-29, “Liberdade religiosa: A pedra fundamental da paz”.

Bus loads of saints at the Campinas Temple over Christmas week

From James (BSM 66-68) and Susan Denney of Riverton, UT, sharing very interesting information about the Campinas, SP, Temple: “Alf, My wife Susan and I arrived in Campinas December 16, 2017, and are now working as temple missionaries for the next 18 months. We previously served in the Porto Alegre Temple from August 2013 until July 2015. We are new here but are seeing “caravanas” of faithful members arriving by the bus load from various Brazilian states.

I noted online that "The Campinas Brazil Temple serves members from 80 stakes and 19 districts headquartered in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Tocantins."

It's interesting that the district includes two areas where Brazilian Temples are being built or will be built soon -- Rio and Brasilia. Those two will certainly make the Campinas district smaller.

All that said, between Christmas day and December 30, there were at least six huge buses full of patrons from many areas of the temple district. The patrons from four of those areas stayed the whole week in the patron housing building right on the Temple Grounds. The patrons from those four areas had to be traveling on Christmas day. Many of them traveled for over 16 hours. The preparation meetings on our shifts were full beyond capacity. Many of us missionaries had little to do since the patrons provided most of the workers for the sessions. Right now one of the missionary apartments is empty. At least four Brazilian missionary couples are finishing their missions by April. The only other American missionary couple, Jon and Gloria Hubble, finish in February. I think Jon served 1972-74 in Curitiba and here in Campinas. Regards, Jim Denney (

Growth of the Church in Brazil

Elder Kim Passey (BSM 72-74) of Woodland, UT, currently serving at Area Headquarters São Paulo writes: You talk about the changes here (Brasulista #208), an example would be the city of Viamão, RS. We were the only branch in the newly created Porto Alegre Stake. In October, they created the second stake in the Viamão area. All my areas were tiny branches and now are stakes or several stakes. The Church membership has grown from about 35,000 members in 1973 to over 1.3 million in 2017. It is beyond belief the growth here. Brazil is pretty much second only to the US in all aspects of the Church organization and numbers.

On a side note, sister Passey and I only have six months left and we have not heard of a replacement for us. We are in the Brazil Area Self-Reliance Office and work with seven wonderful interns. We need someone to take over the reins. I promise they will love it. Thanks for the Brasulista, I know that it can be time consuming. I look forward to it every month. Elder Kim Passey (

Elder Paul Thompson (BNM 73-75) and his wife Laurie Thompson of Blackfoot, ID, are called to the Brazil Salvador South Mission to begin in April 2018.

From the Field – Guatemala

From Clifford Jeffers (Brazil Central Mission 68-71): Hi Alf, having served a mission in Portugal (2014-2015), my wife Sandra and I are now serving in Guatemala (2017-2019). 

We are serving at the headquarters of the Central America Area, My assignment is associate area legal counsel, working for the area legal counsel under the direction of the Church’s Office of General Counsel. My wife Sandra works at a dental clinic that is operated by four missionary dentist couples. This mission is very different from our experience in Portugal, where we served as MLS missionaries. There are eight senior couples living in our apartment building. Several others live in a nearby apartment building. We get together often for social activities, such as weekly FHE and dinners. Instead of all of the senior couples attending the same ward on Sunday, we are each assigned to one of the three mission presidents in the Guatemala City area, who then assign each couple to an outlying branch to offer support to the local units. Most of those branches are about one to one and a half hours travel time from our apartment building. We have attended services at two branches with other couples while we wait for our assignment. The members show great appreciation for the senior couples, and the feeling quickly becomes mutual. The Church appears to be doing well here. When I was serving in Brazil many years ago, I heard often that Guatemala and Brazil were two of the highest baptizing areas in the Church at the time. The fruits of that effort can be seen by the number of wards and branches, and now temples. The Church here, like in Portugal and many other places, can always use help from more senior missionary couples. I am working on learning Spanish. As you know, there are many similarities between Portuguese and Spanish, so the Portuguese gives me a good base from which to learn Spanish. I can read it well, but I need practice in speaking and hearing. We are getting better at saying gracias instead of obrigado, and entonces instead of então. It just takes time and practice. Cliff (aka Elder Jeffers)

Hicken Reunion notice

Attention Hicken missionaries! President Lloyd R. Hicken reunion planned for 2018 and his 100th birthday. Elder Hicken served his first mission in Brazil from 1939 to 1942. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor he, like many of his missionary associates, returned to the US and entered the military. He piloted a B-24 Liberator on 27 bombing missions in the Pacific Theater from New Guinea to China. He returned to Brazil in 1966 to preside over the Brazilian Mission for three years. 

EVENT: Hicken Mission Reunion and Birthday 100!

WHEN: Thursday March 29, 2018

WHERE: At President Hicken’s home chapel, 50 W 2633 S, Bountiful (Val Verde area), UT (tentative location, to be confirmed)

TIME: 6:00-9:00 p.m. Visiting, greeting President Hicken and family, program, refreshments

Please contact Wayne Hale with “confirmation of your contact information, your intention to attend, your willingness to help in some way, your help in contacting others of our missionaries (especially your own companions) and informing them and informing us of their current contact info! Even if you can't attend, any help with this stuff would be hugely appreciated! Plan ahead to attend, and involve as many others as you can!!!”
Contact Wayne Hale of Chubbuck ID at

Note: Wayne (BM 66-68) and Alane Hale of Chubbuck, ID, who formerly served in the MTC São Paulo, are currently serving a temple mission in Tijuana, BC, Mexico. (

Recalling mission days – speaking to a strange congregation

From Fred Hansen (BSM 1972) of Fresno, CA:

Mark Durham was the second "greenie" missionary companion that I had. My first "verdinho" was Elder Richard Reading, but Elder Reading and I were companions for only a couple of weeks. I was with Elder Mark Durham for over three months. He was a very large, strapping young man. The youth in the Carazinho (RS, Brazil) Branch called him "Elder Durão." Notwithstanding his nickname, Elder Durham was a very loving, kind and humble missionary. He was a great companion. We had a lot of fun together, but we also did a lot of hard work.

During the first week after Elder Durham arrived in Carazinho, RS, we were teaching an older sister, Sister Martins Farias, and her six youngest children. We challenged her, several times during the course of presenting the "palestras," to be baptized. But, even though she believed what she was hearing, Irmã Martins Farias was reluctant to be baptized, because, as she said, she did not want to offend God. This was a strange declaration to two young LDS missionaries who had "grown up" in the Church. However, Sister Martins Farias explained to us that she had been baptized as a baby, in the Catholic Church, and that at ten or twelve years of age she was baptized again in a charismatic Catholic Church which encouraged those who had been baptized as babies to be baptized again. And, more recently, she had just been baptized into a Pentecostal church in Carazinho. She was afraid that if she were to be baptized a fourth time that she would be insulting Jesus, and would incur the wrath of an angry God. We testified to her that it was just the opposite; that Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ wanted her to be baptized into Jesus' true church by one holding the proper authority of God to perform such a baptism; and that such a baptism would be pleasing to God and our Savior.

Elder Durham and I invited Sister Martins Farias to attend church with her children. (Her children were already attending Church, because they had been invited by some of their young friends to attend Primary, which as you may have experienced, was held on Saturdays.) Sister Martins Farias promised us that she would attend our Church if we attended one of her worship meetings. We accepted her challenge, and went to a mid-week worship meeting in her church. The men sat on one side of the primitive chapel and the women sat on the other side. Prior to the start of the meeting, all of those gathered were instructed by their minister to kneel by their chairs and to pray. There were silent prayers as well as vocal entreaties, and much enthusiasm in the congregation. Many of the members of this particular Pentecostal church were "speaking in tongues." When the preacher went to the pulpit and called the meeting to order, everyone stopped praying and sat in their seats. Within a few seconds of calling the meeting to order, the preacher invited my companion, Elder Durham and me to come sit with him on the stand, and to speak. He invited me to speak first and I basically bore my testimony. Elder Durham was then asked to address the congregation. He was very nervous, and asked me what he should say. I told him to give the "Joseph Smith Story." As Elder Durham addressed those gathered, he spoke with a very strong accent. But he was steady and precise in his delivery of the memorized JS story. The Holy Spirit touched my heart and that of Sister Martins Farias. As I looked out upon the congregation and saw Sister Martins Farias face, I noticed that tears were streaming down her cheeks, while all the other faces around had either a blank or a confused look. After the meeting, Sister Martins Farias told us that when Elder Durham spoke, he spoke with power and force, yet in a very humble way. She further stated that Elder Durham was surrounded by a bright halo and appeared to be an angel. After further fasting and prayer with Elder Durham and me, Sister Martins Farias and four of her children were baptized. Her youngest son, Giovani (his siblings and mother called him "Gordo" or "Gordinho") who was only seven years old was crying and whining to us and to his mother that he, too, wanted to be baptized, and pleaded with his mother to tell us that he was already eight years old. Fred Hansen (

Recalling President George Oakes and teaching the Helvécio Martins family

George A. Oakes (BM 59-61) and his wife Jeannette (Mexico Mission 59-61) presided over the Brazil North Mission (71-74) and the Campinas Temple (10-13) and was Executive Secretary to the Brazil South Area Presidency (02-05). January 2018 marks three years since his passing. He is fondly remembered by all of those who served under his leadership. Here is one tribute paid by one of his missionaries at his passing in 2015, from Elder Michael Speed:

President Oakes influenced my life more than anyone outside of my family. I called President Oakes to get permission for Elder Mcintire and Elder Carver to teach the lessons to the Helvécio Martins family. He asked me to teach them the first two discussions and the last lesson on the Priesthood policy in one meeting and depending on how they accepted it, then to proceed forward. I didn't know it at the time, but President Oakes was setting me up for one of the best experiences of my life.

We taught them the three lessons in one sitting and then I asked each family member over 8 years old if they could accept the Priesthood policy. Brother Martins, who would later become the first black general authority, humbly and firmly said he accepted the policy. His son, Marcus, who would become one of the first black missionaries and who currently is over the religion department at BYU Hawaii and my son's former Bishop, said he accepted the policy. Sister Martins, who currently attends the same ward as my son and daughter in Hawaii said she accepted the policy. I have never seen so much faith and testimony in all my life. I met with Sister Martins a few weeks ago, and she and I have the greatest appreciation for President Oakes' wisdom and inspired leadership regarding this elect family. Love to all, Mike Speed (

Aquele forte abraço, Alf Gunn Gig Harbor, WA

Um abraço, Alf Gunn Brazilian South Mission 62-65 Gig Harbor, WA


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