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Cristo300Brasulista #210

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #210
March 9, 2018

Bom dia!

In this issue:

President C. Elmo Turner—a life well lived
Do you remember the Mormon Melodaires?
Serving in Place: Serving stay-at-home full-time senior missions
From the Field:  Portugal, São Paulo, Detroit and Angola
Recalling Brazil in a letter to President Hicken on his 100th birthday
How the Brazilian South Mission home, the “Castelo Branco” was acquired

President C. Elmo Turner—a life well lived

President-TurnerPresident C. Elmo Turner - Jim Shore (BSM 67-69) was one of a number of missionaries who wrote to me about President Turner’s funeral service.  Alf, I read of President Turner’s passing in the Deseret News on the Friday preceding his funeral last Saturday. Even though his presidency lasted only a little over a month after I arrived in June of 1967, I was profoundly affected by his spiritual and personal leadership. In fact, the first missionary-only testimony meeting I attended was in the mission home in Curitiba; it remains one of the most memorable and profound experiences of my life.  I was able to attend the funeral and was impressed by President Turner’s influence on everyone he met – including his service as the group leader of an LDS servicemen’s group as a 17 year old while serving in the Navy during WWII, his leadership as a Bishop, a Stake President’s counselor a Stake President and Stake Patriarch, as a school principal, twice as a mission president - over us as well as the Brazilian MTC, and especially as a brother, father, grand-father and great grand-father.   Though I didn’t recognize any of his missionaries who might have been there alongside me, I know that his direct influence on hundreds of individuals has led to an expanded influence for good for many thousands and maybe even millions of individuals not only in Brazil and the USA, but in many other countries where his example and influence have been and are currently felt. (

Do you remember the Mormon Melodaires?


The Mormon Melodaires

Dear Alf,  Thanks so much for the great work you with the Brasulista.  I just wanted to give you a little update on the Mormon Melodaires.  Two of our quartet have passed away in the past two years:  Doug Curran and Gordon Ridd. (They are the two on the right in the pictures from our last gathering in 2015.)  That leaves Ken Nielson and me.  Ken lives in Farmington, Utah and I live in Alpine, Utah.  There is also a picture of us in 1962 outside the first chapel in Curitiba.


One of the pictures has an interesting story.  When Linda and I served at the Brazil MTC, 2006-2008, we met Vicente Martinez, who was a church employee and the manager of the physical plant of the building.  I sang at some event with my guitar.  The next day he called me into his office and showed me a copy of the album the Mormon Melodaires had recorded in São Paulo at RCA Studios in 1962.  He said his parents heard us in concert way back then and later bought an album, which was sold for church fundraising.   It had been in his family for all those years.  He recognized me from the album cover and asked if I would autograph the album, which I did. A blast from the past.


Ken and I are striving to write a history of our experiences as we toured three missions with the Melodaires representing the Church.  I would appreciate it if you could put a plug in the Brasulista asking anyone who has journal entries or other stories about how the missionary work was impacted in their city by the quartet to please contact me.  My email is:  Jim Smith

Serving in Place: Serving stay-at-home full-time senior missions

Serving in Place

Elder Clifford Rice (BSM 72-74) of Spanish Fork, UT writes:

A year ago I retired. We planned to put in our mission papers in November or December this year.  We moved to Spanish Fork, UT to be near two of our three children.  The stake president asked my wife Pamela and I meet with him for a get-acquainted chat.  After a few minutes he called us on a full-time in-place mission in our own stake.  We had never heard of such a thing.  We are now full-time missionaries doing an MLS mission just like we would have if we had put in our papers and gone to Kentucky or Florida or Brazil.  We went to the MTC at the end of October and about a 1/3 of the senior missionaries were like us - serving in place, from their own homes in their own stakes.  As far as we understand it, this program of in-place senior missionary service is still in the pilot testing mode.  Most all are in Utah, Idaho, and CA. One such couple was from Connecticut.  Were you aware of this new approach to senior missionary service?  We were not.  My thoughts of another mission to Brazil will have to wait for a few years as we respond to a call received from the prophet.  You should have seen the look on our children's faces when we opened the envelope from Salt Lake.  They were totally perplexed,  It was really humorous.  Thank you for producing the Brasulista.  It is a blessing to us.  Elder Rice  (

Alf’s note:  Cliff, My sister Gaye and husband Dick Beeson of Orem were one of the first couples called on this kind of Member and Leader Support live-at-home mission in 2014, and then called to an office mission when the Orem Mission first opened.  My sister is so awesome that she basically continues her own MLS in-place mission.  It is a wonderful thing.  They previously served in the Brazil Belo Horizonte East Mission (00-01) and then she sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for 5 years.

From the Field:  Portugal, São Paulo, Detroit and Angola

Craig (BCentM 71-73) and Cora Stewart of Tooele, UT:

My wife Cora and I are currently serving an 18 month mission in the Lisbon Portugal Mission, starting last November. Our call is to work with the Stake Young Single Adult program in all of Portugal, in conjunction with the Europe Area Office. We have taught some Institute classes & one of our students who was a non-member got baptized and asked me to baptize her. We have been in the Algarve in southern Portugal, but we recently moved to Almada, which is across the Rio Tejo from Lisbon. In July, the Lisbon & Porto Missions are going to be combined into one mission. After that we will be going up north also to the Coimbrã, Porto, & Porto North stakes. We also help the young Elders & Sisters in the work that they are doing. Senior couples are needed here, especially after the missions are combined. The weather is generally good here & the members are very nice and good to work with. (

From William and Rhonda Loveless -- Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission

My wife, Rhonda, and I just recently returned from serving a full-time mission in the mission office of the Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission.  We were the executive secretaries of the mission.  We lived in a comfortable apartment that was four minutes in walking distance from the mission office.  Our apartment was right across the street from the chapel where we went to Church. Ironically, we have never lived closer to a Church building, even though we are from Salt Lake!

What a fantastic experience it has been serving a full-time mission as a senior couple!  We were there for 21 months. We loved the 18 months we served with President Loren (BSPN 81-83) and Sister Annette Dalton and the 3 months we served with President Kenneth (BSPN 86-88) and Sister Robin (Spain Msn) Cordner.  In addition to our many duties in the mission office, we were given an assignment to write the history of a branch of the Church that was established in São Paulo 34 years before.  There’s now a high concentration of members of the Church in five stakes in São Paulo who can trace their Church roots back to that branch. President Dalton organized a very nice reunion for those members. At that reunion, we were able to give many of those members a copy of that written history of the branch for which they were very grateful.

I must mention that President Dalton and I served as missionary companions in the Brazil São Paulo South Mission when we were young.  Several miracles occurred to make it possible for us to serve together again all these years later.  My wife picked up Portuguese pretty well. She was successful in communicating with Brazilians in the office, at Church, and with the general public.

It was an unparalleled opportunity to work with the hundreds of energetic, enthusiastic, dedicated, and hard-working young missionaries.  Most were native Brazilians with fascinating stories about their membership in the Church. They were all so kind to us.  We were there to help them, but is so many ways they gave back to us so much more.  Now as they are returning home from their missions we have the privilege of watching them (on Facebook) becoming engaged, married, and having children.

We highly recommend serving a mission to anyone who is even slightly thinking about going on a senior mission.  Don't worry about it!  Just go!

The last year of our mission, we were worried there wouldn’t be another senior couple to replace us. Senior couples serving full-time missions is still such a rarity in Brazil. But in the last few months of our mission we learned that the Church had called Elder Derrel Clarke and Sister Eileen Clarke from Logan, Utah!  We all considered it a great miracle that they were called to our mission.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to train them, because our mission ended a month and a half before they arrived in Brazil.  This just underscores the extreme need for senior couples to serve in Brazil.  
  After our mission, we took a tour of our grandchildren (and children) who live in various parts of the country.  It was wonderful getting reacquainted after nearly two years.  We also met the two granddaughters that were born while we were gone.  We’ve settled back here in the Salt Lake Valley.  We absolutely loved our mission! We now have a photo album full of pictures, a Facebook account full of new friends, and we have a scrap book full of rich memories which forever will ring in our hearts!  (

Kenneth and Janene Dunn write: Hi Alf, I have enjoyed reading the Brasulista for many years.  Thank you for keeping us all up to date with the miracles that have happened and are happening in Brazil and with the former and current Brazilian missionaries.  You must really be “tuned in” if you heard about our little adventure.  My wife Janene and I are managing the Bishops’ Storehouse in Farmington Hills Michigan.  We also serve in a local branch and in the Detroit Temple.  We served a mission in 2013-14 in the Manhattan Temple as well as in a Spanish speaking branch in Flushing NY.  (I am afraid that my Spanish is much better than my Portuguese these days.  I traveled often to Latin America during my career, but sadly, rarely to Brazil.)  We have enjoyed both of our missions.  Perhaps aside from playing with grandchildren, we can’t imagine a better way to spend retirement!  (

Laird and Gloria Swensen in Angola write:  Thanks, Alf.  Our home is in Salt Lake City.  I’m from  northern California and Laird is from Provo.  We met at San Francisco General Hospital during his internship. We served in Recife, Brazil for two years, then an inner-city mission with a Portuguese branch in Salt Lake City for two years.  Next we were called to the Europe Area living in Frankfurt, and then back to Brazil, serving in São Paulo.  Your Brasulista has been instrumental in two of our missions when we answered the call to return to Brazil when a Portuguese speaking Area Medical Advisor was needed, and again for this mission when President Stan Ellis wrote once again, that Portuguese speaking seniors were needed in Angola.  So you can see the value of what you are doing.  Our mission president is Denelson Silva, who coincidentally was our stake president in São Paulo.  He and his wife Regina are both from Recife, so we feel we had some previous connections with them.  President Silva is so enthusiastic.  I think he could accomplish anything he sets his mind to do. There is so much to be done. Help is needed in every area.  For those considering a senior mission, there is nowhere that you would be so appreciated. Portuguese language would be helpful for at least one of you, but an English speaker would also be valuable to mentor the missionaries and members who are striving to learn English, which is an important part of this mission. Sister Swensen ( (

Recalling Brazil in a letter to President Hicken on his 100th birthday

Item:  Some things are just fun to read, like the following note to President Hicken on the upcoming celebration of his 100th birthday.

President Hicken:  I arrived at the mission home in São Paulo in December of 1966 and served under you until December 14, 1968.  I currently live in Fresno, CA and am not able to attend your birthday reunion on March 29th.  However, I do want to take time to tell you how much I appreciated your guidance and the time I spent in Brazil.  I am including information that your family might find interesting.  When I first met you I learned that you had known my father when you served in the military during WWII.  My father was an airplane mechanic and probably worked on some of the planes you flew.  I assume you met when he was stationed in northern Australia during that war.  My father told me the two of you had very interesting religious conversations.  When my mother died at an early age, my father remarried.  He told me that his decision to seek out an LDS woman who had not been married before was partially based upon conversations he had with you.

One of the highlights of my time in Brazil was the visit by Spencer W. Kimball.  I was in the city of Araraquara, in what was then the interior of the State of São Paulo.  You brought Apostle Kimball to the chapel in Araraquara, where he met with all of the missionaries in that area.  I remember two things he talked about that have helped me over the years.  First, he said he took a 20 minute nap afternoon at 1:00.  He then laid on the floor to show us how he did it.  He said that 20 minutes was enough to rejuvenate him.  Much longer naps waste time an make people tired.  Next, he talked about fasting.  He counseled us to never fast more than once per week, and to confine fasts to two meals (24 hours).  Longer fasting he said was not good for our health.  He then told us to drink water while fasting.  We rode bicycles in the hot and humid climate and he said we needed to drink lots of water - which would not break our fast.  He also told lots of jokes.  For example, he said that there was a popular song in the United States that we should listen to.  Our ears perked up waiting to hear the name of the song.  It was, "Go Away, Little Girl."

Your wife told a story at one of the missionary training sessions that I have always remembered - and shared with others.  The story was about J. Golden Kimball, when he was a return missionary in the 1880s.  According to her, J. Golden was dating a girl he wanted to marry, but she was also dating another return missionary.  He wasn't sure what to do, so he went to Church headquarters to talk to an uncle who was a general authority.  The uncle asked, "have you tried fasting and prayer?"  J. Golden said, "no," and went home to fast and pray.  Three days later J. Golden was angry when he went to visit his uncle.  "Uncle," he said, "while I was home fasting and praying, my girl got engaged to someone else.  You give bad advice."   "No," replied the uncle, "you forgot that faith, without works, is dead!"

A few months before I arrived in Brazil, the first stake in that nation was organized (the second in South America).  Before I went home I attended the organization of the 2nd stake in Brazil.  I remember the remarks of the new Brazilian Stake President.  He talked about slavery.  He gave examples of physical slavery, but then changed the subject to spiritual slavery.  He talked about how alcohol and other things can make us unable to make wise choices.  He told how Satan turns us into slaves by taking away our free agency.  When we must have a drink, or drugs, no matter what else, we are slaves.  He then explained how church standards make us free.  I was very impressed by the message of this new Stake President.

As my two years was ending, I prayed about what to do next.  The answer I kept getting was "join the army."  I got home on December 15, 1968, and enlisted in the army on December 28th.  After basic training I was assigned to be a Chaplain's Assistant (clerk and driver) for a Protestant chaplain.  I was assigned to the chapel at Fort Gordon, Georgia where LDS servicemen met.  I ran the Protestant Sunday School, but also was able to devote many hours to helping LDS soldiers who trained at Fort Gordon.  I did missionary work for most of my time in the army.

While in Brazil I began saying my personal prayers in Portuguese.  I have continued to do this the rest of my life.  It makes my prayers special, and has helped me retain much of the Portuguese language, which I love.

Thank you for the help you gave me in Brazil.  My mission has benefited me in many ways the rest of my life.  Don Riding  (

How the Brazilian South Mission home, the “Castelo Branco” was acquired

Finding the Brazilian South Mission home in Curitiba

This from Sister Jeanne Sorensen Willard of Show Low, AZ:  You had asked me to send you a brief summary of how the beautiful Mission Home in Curitiba was acquired back in 1959.  My sister Ellen (now serving with her husband Don Holsinger in Switzerland for the Church) helped me put it together via email.  We took most of the story from Dad's own history, and we assume that you will describe the home itself and explain that Dad (Asael T. Sorensen) had been released as President of the Brazilian Mission in December 1958 (after 5 years) and replaced by President Bangerter.  The following summer, Dad was asked to return and organize a new mission with headquarters in Curitiba.

According to the history:

The Sorensens, accompanied by Elder Harold B. and Sister Fern Tanner Lee, traveled back to Brazil in 1959 by ship. On the final Sunday, September 6, while still on board, President Sorensen wrote, "We held a memorable fast and testimony meeting in our cabin . . . (after which) Elder Lee offered a prayer petitioning our Eternal Father that 'in a most remarkable manner' we might find a home quickly that would be 'suitable to our needs.'"  

President William Grant Bangerter, then president of the entire Brazilian mission, had tentatively selected a possible home, but after arriving in Curitiba and visiting the site, President Sorensen felt impressed to wait.

"As it turned out, the very next day Sr. Waldemiro Valeixo, a real estate broker and husband of one of our members, showed me a property that had just come on the market, located at 490 Rua General Carneiro. It was a beautiful home situated on a hill that overlooked the city. Referred to as the 'Castelo Branco,' I felt that it was well suited for a mission home. Not only was it adequate for our family, but it had a large area for the mission offices as well. We met with Sr. Joaquim Braz, the owner, and signed a one-year lease at 30,000 cruzeiros a month with an option to purchase."

Within the next ten days, while the Lees were traveling with the Bangerters throughout the mission to the north, the Castelo Branco was fully furnished, staffed and transformed into the home and offices for the newly created Brazilian South Mission in Curitiba, Parana. When the Lees arrived to inspect the site, President Sorensen told Elder Lee that "indeed it was 'in a most remarkable manner' that a lovely home was found in a very good neighborhood, very adequate for all our needs, a direct answer to Elder Lee's beautiful prayer." A few weeks later, the Church bought the property for nine million cruzeiros or 45,000 US dollars.

So, there you have it - in brief form.  After two years, Dad was replaced by President Finn B. Paulsen so we left just before you arrived!  I feel blessed by your newsletters, Alf - almost like I know you because of them - and am grateful for all the time and effort you've put into this work.  Thank you!  Jeanne (

That’s all for now, folks!  Fiquem firme, forte, fiel e feliz!  

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


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