Pre-Brasulista Special

Brothers and Sisters, I have just received these two videos of a personal lecture from Brother Marcus Martins, PhD, Professor and Former Dean of Religious Education at BYU Hawaii. I hold Brother Martins in the highest regard and hope he counts me as a friend. Here he shares insights and testimony from his own life experiences on the timely subject of racism. Don't miss this. I send them that his message may be a sweet blessing to you as it has been to me.

"Aloha, Elder Gunn. Thank you very much for your excellent work in putting together the Brasulista newsletter.

"Due to the recent events in our country and its effects around the world, a few days ago I finally filmed a lecture-my first specifically about racism-in two almost identical versions in English and Portuguese:


“Both are available on my YouTube channel:

“I hope it may be helpful to a few of our brothers and sisters.”

Marcus Martins (

Alf's note: For those who may not be acquainted with Brother Martins, please know that he is the son of the late Helvécio Martins of the Seventy, and Marcus was of missionary age in Brazil when the priesthood was extended to all worthy males, at which time he postponed his scheduled marriage and served a full time mission in São Paulo, in a mission he and his wife Mirian would later preside over.

Alf Gunn Badge

Cristo300Brasulista #224

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #224
June 29, 2020

Bom dia!

Trivia question:  Who offered the dedicatory prayer at the opening of the Missionary Training Center in São Paulo in June 1997? 

Tricky clue:  He did it in Portuguese.   (Answer is found in the text below)

In this issue:

  • Elder Ulisses Soares, the Brazilian apostle
  • Remembering Brother Pedro Bortolotto
  • Passing of Ken Nielson
  • Current missionary opportunities and needs in the Brazil Area Office
  • Called to Serve notes
  • Serve in the Lisbon Portugal Temple
  • John and Susan Tanner complete their service at BYU Hawaii
  • “I never imagined that Portuguese would play any role in my profession.”
  • Recalling Dona Elizabeth Haman
  • "Counting Blessings" by Alf Gunn

 Alf’s note: Yes, this is a newsletter, but most of the news is old news. What isn’t covered is the notable, marvelous, service of the Brazilian apostle—Elder Ulisses Soares and his wife Sister Rosanna Soares. We couldn’t begin to keep up with all that they are accomplishing. We can only express our love and joy at their calling in the service of the Lord. I will link this recent Deseret News article in case you missed it:

Passing of Ken

We are saddened to announce the passing of Kenneth A. Nielson on June 17, 2020, one of the members of the Mormon Melodaires who helped bring the Church out of obscurity in Brazil in the early ‘60’s, as authorized by mission presidents Finn B. Paulsen (Brazilian South Mission), Wm. Grant Bangerter (Brazilian Mission) and Thomas Fyans (Paraguay Mission). From obituary notes: “During his mission, he sang in a quartet called the Mormon Melodaires, a group that performed more than 280 concerts in Brazil and Uruguay, recorded an album, and appeared on Brazilian national television. This effort produced more than 10,000 missionary referrals and significantly raised the profile of the Church in those countries.” Ken was preceded in death by fellow Melodaires Gordon Ridd and Doug Curran, and is survived by Jim Smith of Alpine, UT, all of whom had been called to serve in the Brazilian South Mission. Memories of the quartet and members may be sent to Jim Smith at (

The gospel in action: Remembering Brother Pedro Bortolotto

Bruce King (BPAM 71-73) of Gilbert, AZ shares this history: Alf, Many early missionaries from late 1950s to the 1990s remember brother Pedro Bortolotto, who as a young man had been a illiterate drunk on the streets in Porto Alegre when he saw two Elders walk by. He called out to them and asked if they were from God. The way I heard the story they let him live in a lean-to by their housing and shared food with him while they taught him to read from the Book of Mormon, It was hard because Pedro was extremely cross-eyed. He joined the Church and made great progress in his life. He learned to work with furniture and developed his own business and got married. Fast forward 20 years and Pedro was a much beloved church leader. In 1969 the LDS Church News had an article featuring the miracle of his conversion. When I got to my mission in October of 1971 he spoke at a Porto Alegre district conference and my companion told me his conversion story. I remember the members seemed to hang on his every word. He was a counselor to President Arnold at that time. Pedro was an odd looking guy—was short in stature and had a funny cowlick in the front of his hair and his eyes were completely looking in every direction. A little more than a year later, when the first stake in Porto Alegre was organized by Elder Mark E Petersen, Pedro was sustained as the first Patriarch of the stake. The members were weeping with joy. Pedro passed away in Porto Alegre in 1999. He had received his endowment in 1973, as in those days new stake leaders were flown to the states to get their endowments, but there was no temple in Brazil to seal him to his wife. He was sealed to his wife Clarinda in Porto Alegre in 2015, a year before her death. Now my story... During my mission my companion, the late Jeffrey Lawson (1971-1973) and I were in Porto Alegre walking past a field where a bunch of ragged looking drunks were lying by the side of the road in their stupor. One called out, "Hey are you Mormon missionaries?" We said we were. He said, "Years ago I was laying in the gutter and my buddy Pedro Bortolotto who was a complete drunk like me left the gutter to follow your missionaries. Days later he came back and invited me to come with him and get clean, sober and follow Christ. I refused and now look where he is and where I am today. I was a fool" We told him it’s never too late and offered him and his companions the same deal as Pedro got but they emphatically said no. Miracles do happen; we just need to be ready. Bruce King (BPAM 71-73) of Gilbert, AZ (

Mission opportunities in the Brazil Area Office

Elder Neale Wooters (BNM 71-72) currently serving in Brazil Area Heaquarters furnishes this updated information (June 25, 2020) about needs and opportunities: Alf, A number of months ago, I had sent you a list of openings in the Brazil Area Office. As you can imagine, the pandemic has had an impact on our work here. Early on, we were all given an opportunity to leave if we thought it was right for us. 7 of 10 couples went home with my wife and I remaining here to continue our humanitarian work along with 2 other couples, which has been VERY busy for us with emergency projects in response to COVID-19. Several of the couples that went home are continuing their work and there are some needs on the immediate horizon: - Brazil Area Welfare Specialists - incumbent - Kathy and Neale Wooters - This is our role. We go home in November and this is an immediate priority. One of the two needs to speak Portuguese. The Area Welfare and Self-reliance Manager has it as a high priority to increase the impact in Brazil which means it will be a busy role for the foreseeable future. - Brazil Area Auditor - incumbent - Jan and Teddy Call - They end in September so their replacement should be identified now. They are currently finishing their mission from SLC. One of the two needs to speak Portuguese. - Area Legal - several couples have gone home in the last 10 months and only one position was replaced. - Area Family Services - this role has been open since August 2019 - Area Family History - Couple went home in the first batch in March and have been released. - Area Travel - this is on hold until the end of the pandemic as there is no documentation related work for now

There may be some rumors floating around about suspending calls to Senior Couples. They are not true (we spoke today to the senior couple over assigning humanitarian missionaries in Salt Lake today and they confirmed). It's a matter of timing of when they can come and that is dependent on visas and local conditions with the pandemic. Note there is a new medical adviser couple which started in June, working remotely for now from the US. Thanks, Elder Neale Wooters 713-302-5633 (

Called to Serve Notes

Mission Calls Note: As you can understand, with the calling home of many senior missionaries due to COVID-19 measures some recent senior mission calls will begin “at home” until the pandemic passes. Including . . . “Alf - You could add to the next edition that my wife, Susan Reed, received her mission call to serve as an Area Medical Advisor in Brazil. My mission call is to be her assistant and interpreter. So I guess that makes her the Senior Companion for the 18 months we will serve. (She really likes that part.) Our mission begins June 7, 2020. The process for us started more than a year ago when a note was published in the Brasulista regarding the need in 2020 for an Area Medical Advisor in Brazil... Michael Reed” (BSPSM 73-75) of Houston, TX (

Serve in the Lisbon Temple

Elder Doug Holt (BNM 69-71) of South Jordan, UT, writes: Hello Elders and Sisters. It has been many years since I spoke with most of you, and I hope you are doing well. I recently worked as a church service missionary in the Church History Library where I focus on the history of the Church in Portugal, Cape Verde, and Angola. I was able to help the Lisbon Temple Dedication committee last year find important facts and photos going back to 1974, for the history they were writing in Lisbon. I recently was asked by the Lisbon Temple President Calisto Coelho to solicit Portuguese speaking senior couples to come and help as temple workers in Lisbon. The people, the climate, the food, and the history there are amazing. We served in Lisbon in 1990 when the Portugal Lisbon South Mission was formed. We helped open Cabo Verde to missionary work as well. If you have interest in serving in Lisbon, you could contact President Coelho directly, and he will tell you how to initiate the process. His email – His phone is 00-351-962-878-396 Thank you for your interest. Parenthetically, I have recently wrapped up two years or service in church history and can recommend it as a mission effort. If you have a couple of days a week to give and would enjoy serving in the Church History Library, either focusing on Portugal or Brazil, please let me know. I can then give you additional information. Thanks very much, Elder Doug Holt (

John and Susan Tanner complete their service at BYU Hawaii

Honorable release of John S. Tanner Here is some recent news you may have seen in the LDS Living magazine online. John S. Tanner (BSM 69-71) has been serving as President of BYU Hawaii since 2015 until his honorable release last month, concluding a 40-year career as an educator. “We are grateful for President Tanner’s industry, his loyalty, his religious faith and his academic vision,” Elder Holland said. “We will miss both John and Susan very much.” President Tanner previously presided over the Brazil São Paulo South Mission and Sister Sister Susan Winder Tanner was formerly General Young Women President. The following quotes are from the LDS Living magazine of May 13: “As I come to the end of my journey in the academy, I confess that I disembark with the heart of a teacher and a preacher,” he said. “I feel more alive and more able to give my gifts in the classroom, at the pulpit and on the page than in producing budgets, agendas, policies and memos. I suppose that this is why I write essays and give so many talks. I hope to find a way to leave some of these with you as a record of our journey together and perhaps a comfort and inspiration as you continue the voyage.” Sister (Susan) Tanner said one of her greatest joys in university life has been to witness the growth of students who then “return to nations, islands and states everywhere to build families, communities and the kingdom of God. I am so thankful for this privilege.”

Trivia question answer: Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve

I didn’t know that.

Item: “I never imagined that Portuguese would play any role in my profession.”

Wayne Miller (BNM 73-75), Dean, College of Science, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY writes: Alf – I want to thank you for all the work you put into the Brasulista newsletter. I enjoy finding out what others are doing, and successes they/we continue to have from the roots of our Brazilian/Portuguese heritage. I served in the Brazil North Mission from 73-75. Then, for the next 20+ years I did not have much contact with anyone from Brazil or any Portuguese speaking country. My career has been as a university professor of physiology. In the late 1990s things changed. I had a university professor from Mozambique come and do his sabbatical with me for 6 months. This led me to going to Mozambique twice in a 2-year period. During my second visit I attended a 3-day health conference for all the Portuguese-Speaking countries of the world. My friend was one of the conference organizers. He asked me to give a 60-minute talk on obesity and health – my area of expertise. When I was introduced as a speaker from the U.S. there were actually a few “boos” heard from the audience. I went ahead and gave my talk in Portuguese. The Minister of Health for the entire country of Mozambique, singled me out, and from the pulpit said the following in his closing remarks for the conference – “Dr. Miller, you are not from a Portuguese-speaking country. It is only because of your friend that you were allowed to attend this conference. However, we are so impressed that you gave your talk in our native tongue, that I invite you to attend any future health meetings of our association of Portuguese-speaking countries.” Over the next two years, this brought me two invitations to speak at conferences in Brazil and Portugal. Years ago, I never imagined that Portuguese would play any role in my profession. Fast forward several years…I went through a divorce, and re-married a Brazilian woman (American citizen). Our plans for when I retire are to live six months in Brazil and six months in the U.S. When in Brazil, I plan to pay it forward and volunteer to teach English to less-fortunate Brazilian youth, hoping that the ability to speak English may help them in whatever profession they chose. As retirement is not too many years off, I have written a book that I will use to teach English to Portuguese speakers. The book is available now, for any Portuguese speaker who is learning or struggling with English. If there is anyone out there who might benefit from this resource, whether for themselves, or for someone they are helping, please do. Feel free to share this with anyone who might need its help. If I can assist any of you in helping members, non-members, immigrants, or foreigners with their English, you can contact me. Wayne Miller (

Details about this resource book are found at the bottom of this Brasulista.

Alf’s note: If you have an interesting account of how your mission Portuguese was a blessing in your profession or other contacts, please send it to me. Keep it short, please.

Another item about Portuguese:

Allen Stewart (BM 61-64) of West Valley City, UT, writes: My brother, David Grant Stewart, Sr., who served a mission in Northern Brazil from 1964 to 1966, one of the first group to go through the language training mission, told me that none of the missionaries in Brazil that had not gone through that training spoke correct Portuguese. Today he speaks 72 languages. I served from March 1961 to September 1964, two and a half years, since I did not go through the language training. David is now studying ancient Egyptian. Rosetta Stone was later, more primitive Egyptian. (

Recalling Dona Elizabeth Haman

Note: Brothers and Sisters, As you can understand, there are thousands of stories of faith and fun in Brazil during the missions of our youth, and unfortunately I cannot share but very few in the Brasulista. In our last issue (Brasulista #223) I shared Clint Lindgren’s story of Dona Elizabeth Haman of Santo Amaro, the woman who died the day before her baptism. Now a companion of his, Chuck Carlson, adds his recollection, from a journal entry.

“Clint and Alf, I’ve have been living in Alpine, Utah near the Bangerters for over 25 years. However, my wife and I are now serving a senior couple mission in the Office of General Counsel of the Brazil Area of the Church. I’m an Associate Area Legal Counsel during the day and serve in the São Paulo Temple Wednesday nights. My wife teaches English and serves in the Temple. “I loved reading your account of Dona Elizabeth of Santo Amaro. I hadn’t known about all of her efforts in the Branch before I worked with you those few days in May of 1960. I thought you’d enjoy reading excerpts from my journal. They’re printed below.

Friday, May 13, 1960 – “Friday the 13th” Elder Lingren and I had a tremendous meeting with Dona Elizabeth Haman. She brought up all of her excuses for not being baptized, and I shot down nearly all of them; what I couldn’t, Elder Lingren did. We said, “You’re living on borrowed time without the Lord’s help. Your heart condition could cause your death . . . tomorrow!” She finally decided to be baptized tomorrow at noon. She showed great faith in my pre-baptism interview with her. And she begged us to come home early to celebrate her decision. She’s going into the water for sure! Sister Bangerter came out to congratulate her. She was to be the Bangerter children’s piano teacher starting next month. When we got home, she’d washed all our clothes, and had spent the day in preparing us a cake. She was even sewing up my split pajamas! What a tremendous change has come over her! She played the record of the Tabernacle Choir singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and indicated when they kept changing keys. I was fascinated by her musical perception. She told me tonight, “I’m going to tell you something; and I don’t want you to answer me. I’m not going to be baptized tomorrow!” I thought she was just seeking attention, and I said, “Bobagem (Baloney)!” When she went upstairs and groaned, I called into her room and asked if I could do anything to help her. She said, “Just get that shot, for God’s sake!” As she wasn’t used to using the name of the Lord in this manner, I worried about her; but didn’t go in. Elder Lingren and a man came running upstairs with a syringe; and I followed. She was on the floor. Elder Lingren and I alternated applying artificial respiration for two hours – to no avail. The only phone number we could find in her possession, brought a laboratory assistant to us one-half-hour later; but, he could do nothing except fill her up with shots and syrup while we administered CPR. He even tried heat pads. We anointed her and blessed her right about the same time that she died; so I don’t feel quite so bad about her death. I got only two hours of sleep tonight! Elder Dutson was quite surprised when I called the MO and asked him what to do in case of a death!

Saturday, May 14, 1960 – After visits from all the relatives, and President Bangerter, we hit the MO to baptize Lisbôa’s son. Upon returning, we found many people at Dona Elizabeth’s home, but nothing planned in the way of a meeting prior to leaving for the cemetery. A member of the family asked us to prepare some kind of a meeting. The meeting came together in just five minutes. After a quick prayer for guidance, we went downstairs. Elder Reid prayed; Elder Lingren spoke and I heard a few people say, “He has real spiritual power!” I sang a solo, “Ó Meu Pai (O My Father),” accompanied by Sister Mary Vassel’s mother on Dona Elizabeth’s piano. I never found singing so hard! Elder Richards quickly doused all the candles (from the G&A friends of Lutheran Elizabeth) and prayed. The Spirit couldn’t have been more in evidence! Several people came up to us and asked for visits. After the Lutheran Minister had bored us for fifteen minutes in German at the cemetery, several others came up to us and asked for more visits! The Gospel is still true!!! I’m certainly glad we’ve got the Spirit of the Lord on our side. We’d be pretty mediocre missionaries without it.

Abraço forte to you both. (Elder) Chuck Carlson (BM 58-61) (

That’s it for this Brasulista, folks. Take care of one another and be safe during the pandemic.

Um abraço, Alf Gunn * Brazilian South Mission 62-65 Gig Harbor, WA *   253-307-3338

Learn English from Portuguese – Aprender Inglês de Português is a book written specifically for people who speak Portuguese. The lessons, lectures, instructions, and explanations are all written in Portuguese. So, a great advantage you have with this book is that you will understand exactly what you need to do to learn English. The biggest advantage you have with this book is that it uses a method of teaching that I call reverse learning. In this method, I take what you know in Portuguese and reverse it to English. The result is that you will understand better what you are learning, and you will be able to form conversation in English quicker. You will not memorize phrases, but will learn how to form dialogues. Leave your Portuguese and open your world to speak English.

A video introduction to the book can be seen at the YouTube channel:

The book can be obtained from Amazon, in electronic format (Kindle) or paperback. The Amazon address is:

Learn English from Portuguese – Aprender Inglês de Português é um livro escrito especificamente pelas pessoas que falam Português. As lições, as palestras, as instruções, e as explicações são todas escritas em Português. Então, uma grande vantagem que você tem com este livro é que você vai entender exatamente o que precisa fazer para aprender Inglês. A maior vantagem que você tem com este livro é que ele usa um método de ensinar que eu chamo “aprendizagem reversa”. Neste método, eu tomo o que você sabe em Português e reverto-o para o Inglês. O resultado é que você vai entender melhor o que está aprendendo, e você vai ser capaz de formular conversa em Inglês mais rápido. Você não memorizará frases, mas aprendará formar diálogos. Deixe seu Português e abrir seu mundo para falar Inglês.

Uma introdução em vídeo do livro pode ser vista no canal do YouTube:

O livro pode ser obtido na Amazon, em formato eletrônico (Kindle) ou brochura. O endereço da Amazon é: Portugu%C3%AAs/dp/B08924DF9B/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Aprender+Ingles+de+Portugues&qid=1590759548&sr=8-2


Comments (1)

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Fun, touching stories, folks. I was glad you told of Marcus' latest podcasts. I only met his dad a few times in Brazil and/or in the U.S. But Marcus was a favorite grad student in my classes at the Marriott School seeking a master's degree in...

Fun, touching stories, folks. I was glad you told of Marcus' latest podcasts. I only met his dad a few times in Brazil and/or in the U.S. But Marcus was a favorite grad student in my classes at the Marriott School seeking a master's degree in Organizational Behavior. Then he sought recommendation letters to continue earning a Ph.D. over in the Sociology Department. His family was in our ward for a few years, too. Marcus has had a great career, as well as served the church for decades. His talks about Blacks and priesthood issues, etc., were always appreciated by me & lots of other members. It was fun to visit when I was recently in Hawaii & invited to speak to his religion students. So congrats to you, Marcus!
On a sad note, I mourn the passing of Ken Nielsen. Such a good guy. The Melodaires certainly stirred things up when they visited us in Florianopolis back in 1962. Unfortunately, Doug Curren has been gone too long, and Gordon Ridd, although more recent, still brings a tear to my eye. I'm always glad to occasionally see and talk with Jim Smith.
Alf and friends, thanks also for sharing about my old amigo, Pedro, from back in the 1960s when I was the district president in PA and we were working to help build the first chapel there. Irmão Bortolotto was a wonderful early leader and a fun character to be around.
I'd never heard about Irmã Elizabeth Haman. What a story! It made me recall our branch of only 2 members in Cornelio Procopio when one died, dropping our size by 50 percent. After that, Elder Williams and I recovered by finding & baptizing 15-20 new converts so we were able to continue building the kingdom. But there were many challenging experiences during the early pioneering days in nossa Brasil. I'm grateful to still see old converts when working and speaking throughout Brazil. Heck, recently they even email me here in Provo due to my not traveling for the major commitments set up before COVID-19 hit. Unfortunately, I now get too many messages about friends in Brasil now suffering from the pandemic.

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Dr. Warner P. Woodworth
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