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Cristo300Brasulista #211

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #211
April 25, 2018

Bom dia!

In this issue:

Elder Ulisses Soares called to the Twelve
Were you a Sister who served for 27 months?
Serving the Venezuelan refugees in the north of Brazil
Missionary couples sought for Curitiba
Learning the language.  Again.

Elder Ulisses Soares called to the Twelve

We had a wonderful General Conference, and were thrilled to hear of the calling of Elder Ulisses Soares of São Paulo to the Quorum of the Twelve.  Both he and his wife Rosana Fernandes Morgado had served in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission in about 1977.  Read of their years of service and his biography at


Were you a Sister who served for 27 months?

Nancy Denhalter Cropper (BM 66-68) asks:  “I have a question for an issue.  How many sisters out there served for 2 years and 3 months as I did?  In the early days of the LTM, they weren't quite sure what to do with sisters.  For a short period of time (maybe a couple of years?) we were called for 27 months just like the Elders were.  After our three months in the LTM, we served two years in the country.  I would be interested to know when they changed that.”  (

Alf:  Yes, so would I.  Language Training Mission training in Portuguese began some time in 1963 as I recall.  We had a 3-month gap in missionary arrivals, then missionaries showed up speaking Portuguese.  My friend Lee Radebaugh was among the first group to arrive as I recall.

Serving the Venezuelan refugees in the north of Brazil

From Roger and Linda Ketcheson (BSM 73-75) of Orem, Utah:  Hello Alf,  Thank you for sending the Brasulista.  We very much enjoy it and appreciate your diligence in providing this wonderful forum for Brazilian missionaries.  My wife and I served missions to Brazil in 1973-75.  We became engaged in 1972 and were waiting to marry until after I had been a member of the Church for a year, and then decided (6 weeks before the wedding date) to postpone our wedding and serve missions, then be sealed in the Temple 2 years later.  We were both called to serve in the Brazil South Mission.

We have always planned to serve a senior mission together. We are now in Brazil in fulfillment of that goal serving as Family Services Missionaries for the Brazil Area. After our first week in Brazil, we were asked to go to Boa Vista, Roraima, to work with the Venezuelan refugees who are members of the church.  We have a daughter-in-law from Venezuela so we feel it is a great blessing to work with these amazing Venezuelan and Brazilian people. Their stories of being forced to leave their homes to seek a place where they can feed their children are overwhelming and inspiring. These people have very strong testimonies and every young man or young woman, when I ask if they want to serve a mission, can hardly contain their excitement. They have testimonies, know the scriptures, are completely prepared, and enthusiasm spills out of them.

There is a Brazilian senior mission couple working here and in Pacaraima on the border, Elder and Sister Rodriques.  I knew Elder Rodriques 43 years ago; he served in the Brazil South Mission! They are a most amazing couple. Pacaraima is ground zero for the humanitarian crisis on the Brazilian border.  It is just about as ugly a situation as can exist on earth, and the Rodrigues couple are doing so very much to relieve the suffering there. They came to Boa Vista this week and met with several organizations to press for more food, better means of getting the food distributed, arrange for blankets, and to inform the Brazilian army engineering corp about the failed septic systems in the camps in Pacaraima.  There is already a measles epidemic there and with the failed septic systems, there is the potential for other serious diseases to occur. The Brazilian government, army, Roraima state, Pacaraima and Boa Vista city governments are all carrying a very heavy load and are eager and willing to do more, even though all resources are overwhelmed. It is a very humbling experience to be here.

While the temperature in Boa Vista is in the upper 90´s, Pacaraima is at 4000 feet elevation, 220 kilometers north from here. People are sleeping on the bare ground, with little clothing and the temperature at night is uncomfortably cold. Many are sick, especially the children.

Linda and I are working with the Venezuelan members teaching them Portuguese, how to find a job and how to start and grow a business.  We are called as Family Service missionaries to strengthen families, marriages and help set up the addiction recovery program in as many stakes as possible in Brazil.  Um abraço, Élder e Síster Kétchesôn  (

An update (April 21, 2018)  For non-members, the church provides clean water, showers, laundry, cooking facilities, home furnishings for UN supplied tents and buildings, and tons of food.  One day last week the Brazilian army brought truck load of food to a refugee camp.  The refugees were thanking the military for feeding them.  The Jesuits, who were handing the food to them said, “No, this food is provided by the Mormons from their tithing money. It’s not from the Brazilian military.  The Brazilian military provided the transportation only.” The people here love the LDS church and know that it is doing a huge amount of the heavy lifting to help the refugees in general, not just members. There are many groups working here and they work well together – Catholic, Baptist, Jesuits, and Fraternidade Sem Fronteiras are the main ones and most visible to us with the LDS providing much of the materials and resources for all these groups.
The measles epidemic has been contained with an aggressive vaccination program.  It was announced this week that additional refugee camps are being constructed to relieve the stress on existing, over-crowded facilities.  The influx of Venezuelans coming into Roraima State, Brazil, is estimated at 1,000 per day.

The Portuguese classes grow in size each week.  We are currently teaching 90+ Venezuelan members of the church. We expect the numbers to continue to grow even though it is very difficult for them to attend.  Some have to walk a long distance after working hard labor jobs all , and inside the classroom, the temperature often exceeds 100 degrees with ample humidity.  
The video below shows scenes in Boa Vista where we work.  In Pacaraima, where the Rodriguez couple work, conditions are far more primitive.  

Um abraço, Élder e Síster Kétchesôn  (

Link to refugee video:


Mission Opportunities - Missionary couples sought for Curitiba

Alf: On our upcoming Brazilian South Reunion Tour we will meet with President Corey Cuvelier of the Brazil Curitiba South Mission in the Portão Stake Center in that beautiful city.  He writes, “Also, I am looking for a couple who would be interested and capable of serving as a branch president or to care for our missionary homes from our mission office.  Ideally, they would rent a car during their service, since the Church does not provide vehicles for senior missionaries here.”  (

Learning the language.  Again.

Alf’s note: Some wise instruction in Preach My Gospel says, “Strive to master the language throughout your mission and after you return.  The Lord has invested much in you, and He may have uses for your language abilities later in your life.”    This is so true in the lives of mission presidents and senior missionaries called to return to Brazil or go to one of the Portuguese speaking countries where the Church is growing so much.

For those for whom the senior mission is their first mission, such as a spouse, the Lord blesses them to learn the language to the fulfillment of their calling, and some wives learn it better than their ex-missionary husbands I am told.  How courageous are these couples!

In 1962, I arrived in Brazil speaking no Portuguese, a year before language training was offered in that language.  At the mission home in Curitiba we spent an hour learning how to say, “Bom dia.  Somos da Igreja.  Viemos visitar.  Podemos entrar?”  (I still think that is a fine door approach.)  That night I was on an overnight bus traveling two states south to Porto Alegre and Canoas, and trying to remember what came after “Bom dia.”  The Lord was kind to me, one of “the weak and the simple,” and I learned to speak comfortably, although not counted among the most capable language speakers in the mission.
  After the mission and college, I passed the Army Language Proficiency Exam in Portuguese in 1968, to begin a 30-year career with the FBI—another blessing of the mission service.

Some 20 years ago, when preparing to return to Brazil for the first time to visit my brother, I read A Liahona out loud for two weeks before the trip, to see if the tongue still functioned.  On arrival I found the Lord had blessed me once again to be able to converse comfortably.  Since that time, with many visits, my Portuguese has improved considerably, making changes for the better in the pronunciation over the years.  With correspondence to members in Brazil, thanks to the Brasulista, I have learned to write in Portuguese too, to some degree. Today a person can read Brazilian news and watch TV news broadcasts there via apps on the smart phone. That is a humbling experience.  

While unable to return to serve a mission, I enjoy visits to Brazil and have made a number of “golden contacts,” sharing the gospel with Brazilians I meet there, and even some here in Washington where I live.  Perhaps in these settings, in a small way, the Lord has used the language ability He blessed me with.

Today I also work a few hours a day as an interpreter in Portuguese, at clinics and over the phone, and have increased the vocabulary into areas beyond the religious.  There is still so much to learn.

That’s all for now, folks.  I am soon off to Brazil with a fine group of former missionaries! 

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

“My brothers and sisters, the first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength--that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone of eternity, and it should be the foundation stone of our daily life.” --Elder Jeffrey R. Holland


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