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Cristo300Brasulista #225

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #225
July 28, 2020

“I was always taught to respect my elders but it is getting harder to find any.” –Alf

In this issue:

  • We should waste and wear our . . . pants?
    A family celebrates 50 years of membership thanks to BNM Elders. Video.
    Missionary travel by bus, c.1964, photo.
    Items from Brasulista #224: Pedro Bortoloto, the Mormon Melodaires, Marcus Martins.
    Passing of Sister Nair da Rocha Camargo, widow of Helio da Rocha Camargo
    How the language helped me in my profession, by David Jayme
    An answer from heaven . . . sort of.
    Please help me identify the wood sculptor and the painter from the Brazil South in 1965.

We should waste and wear our . . . pants?

Today I am reminiscing a little.

Item: Does this remind you of something? . . . From my letter home, 1963, Apucarana, Paraná: “Well, the seat of my heavy brown suit went out last week. It got so thin that the threads were just going one way. The others had completely worn out. But I had patches put on inside so I will be able to wear them until I can get to Curitiba or Porto Alegre to buy new ones. All that bike riding I guess.”

If that brings back a memory for you, share it with me please.

For those who never returned to Brazil in recent years as I have had the opportunity to do, I believe you would be absolutely amazed at Brazil’s progress since we served there, and especially amazed at the growth, strength, and leadership of the Church there today! You probably do not know the family or missionaries in this next item, but consider them typical of a story repeated many time—perhaps even as a result of some effort of yours.

A family celebrates 50 years of membership thanks to BNM Elders. Video.

Item: In 2007 Rodrigo de Lima e Myrrha (BSPS 83-85) of Lagoa Santa, MG, Brazil and his wife Alessandra Choairy Coelho Myrrha were called to preside over the Brazil Santa Maria Mission. Apparently I helped Sister Myrrha find some of the missionaries who had taught her family many years before. At that time she wrote me: “Querido Alf, Agora estou na missão Santa Maria, amando estar entre os missionários e amando nossa área e tudo o que nela há. Nosso encontro com Kip Buckner, o missionário que batizou meus pais, justo um dia antes de entrarmos no MTC foi emocionante. Nenhuma experiência espiritual poderia ser mais inspiradora: ver na minha própria vida a diferença que o trabalho desse homem fez depois de quase 40 anos... agora eu mesma prestes a realizar o mesmo tipo de trabalho... Foi fantástico! Muito obrigada por proporcionar isso. E não se esqueça de me reincluir, se for o caso. Abraços, Alessandra Myrrha”

Kip Buckner adds this note: “It was such an honor to meet Alessandra and Rodrigo as they entered the MTC. A few years later they invited me and my wife to the sealing of their son Diogo and wife. What a spiritual highlight! Alessandra was about 5 years old when her parents were baptized.”

Today, Sister Alessandra Myrrha explains that her family has made a video commemorating her parent’s baptism 50 years ago. See the video below, in Portuguese, to understand how seeds planted long ago have borne fruit.

“Querido Alf, Meus pais completaram 50 anos como membros da Igreja em dezembro passado. Para marcar esse momento produzimos um breve video com sua descendência lembrando as maravilhas que Deus tem feito em nossa vida. Uma vez que voce foi ponto essencial para encontrarmos os missionários que os ensinaram e batizaram, aceite nosso convite de partilhar essa alegria.”

Grande abraço, Alessandra Myrrha (

She explained that Elders David V. Thomas, Ken Crocheron, Tom Hathaway, Kip Buckner, and Michael Knight of the Brazil North Mission all were involved in the teaching and baptism of her folks 50 years ago. “Todos ajudaram em algum momento. Uma grande benção pra nos.” Elder Franklin Walker was also involved, who unfortunately died in a motorcycle accident some 18 months after his mission.

So we see the progress; but there is much more to come. As President Russell M. Nelson said during his tour of South America two years ago, "Wait till next year, and then the next year. Eat your vitamin pills. Get some rest. It's going to be exciting."

Missionary travel by bus, c.1964, photo.

Next Item: Traveling on transfers in the Brazilian South Mission in the early 60’s often meant travel in or through the three southern states by bus. See the missionaries near the front of the bus in this photo.


Photo by Elder David Despain (BSM 63-65) who explains, “One missionary is Elder Nile Carlson my companion, two others would be Elder Phil Gray and Elder Chuck Bowler, all of us serving in Bagé traveling to a district meeting in Livramento on the Uruguayan border [some 168 km] after days of rain. On another trip we had an experience with the ferry. Buses and trucks had to ferry across a wide river on a small barge that could carry one truck or bus pulled only by a clothes line steel cable by men on the boat. We had just crossed and were getting ready to board the bus when the cable broke on the returning ferry with a large freight truck 20 yards from shore. The ferry started moving down the river with the trucker blowing his air horn for help. I don’t know how it ended but the river was at flood stage from all the rain.”

Items from Brasulista #224: Pedro Bortoloto, the Mormon Melodaires, Marcus Martins.

Regarding some items that appeared in Brasulista #224:
Nilza Guimaraes Aoto responded, “Eu conheci o irmão Pedro Bortoloto em Porto Alegre e lembro também do quarteto dos missionários e era muito lindo!!”

Alf: “Então, irmã, você é pioneira! Forte abraço de um que muito a estima.”

From Dr. Warner P. Woodworth (BSM 61-63), regarding Marcus Martins: Fun, touching stories, Alf. 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 Curran 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 and 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 Brazil. 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 Brazil now suffering from the pandemic.

Item: Roydon Olsen (BSM 64-66) of Spanish Fork writes:

Hello Alf, I wanted to thank you for your work with the Brasulista and let you know how much I have appreciated it over the years. You would only remember me if you have a photographic memory, but I talked to you a couple of times back when I was teaching Portuguese at the LTM along with Wilson Lima and others.

Thanks for posting the information about Pedro Bortolotto. I met him in 1964 when I served in Porto Alegre. He was the district president at that time and an eloquent, forceful public speaker. Later, in the mid 70's, when I managed a business in Porto Alegre, we lived in the same apartment building as Brother Bortolotto, the Edifício Ada on Avenida Venâncio Aires. He was stake (and mission) patriarch at that time and known lovingly to the members as o Patriarca. In my opinion, he was the only person at that time who could have fulfilled the calling with such devotion and inspiration. He was a surrogate grandfather to our children. He built a prosperous custom furniture business and did very well as a real estate investor.

I reconnected with him in the 80's when I was a partner in a tech-transfer business, again in Porto Alegre. By then, his second wife had converted and became a stalwart in the Church. In the early 90's, I set up Novell of Brazil in São Paulo, which afforded me opportunities to make occasional trips to the "pagos do sul." By that time Pedro's eyesight was deteriorating due to macular degeneration, but he continued to be a force for good among the gaúchos. To maintain his health, Brother Pedro would jog in the early mornings at the Parque da Redenção near to his apartment. In 1999 he was tragically killed in an auto-pedestrian accident on his way to the jogging track.

If ever a monument were to be erected in honor of one of the pioneers of the faith in southern Brazil, my vote would be for Pedro Bortolotto.
Best wishes, Roydon Olsen (

Passing of Sister Nair da Rocha Camargo, widow of Helio da Rocha Camargo

Item: A recent Church News article announced the passing of Sister Nair Belmira da Rocha Camargo, wife of emeritus General Authority Seventy Elder Helio da Rocha Camargo at age 93. (See the link below).

Former members of the Brazilian and Brazilian South missions will recall that Brother Camargo was one of three Methodist Ministers in Brazil who all joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in about 1957. Their stories and lives are legend, but may not be known to younger alumni. I am sure others will help me retell their stories, but for now I will link the Deseret News article and a 1985 article when Elder Camargo was called as the first Brazilian General Authority.

On another note, Helio and Nair’s son Milton Camargo was sustained as First Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency in April 2019. In case you missed the articles in the Church News, see this:

How the language helped me in my profession, by David Jayme

David Jayme (BCentM 70-72) of Las Vegas, NV writes, Alf - Thanks for your efforts in compiling and distributing the Brasulista. I’m responding to your invitation regarding how the ability to speak Portuguese benefitted my career.

When I served my first Brazilian mission (MBC 1970-1972), I thoroughly enjoyed the language and the culture. However, since my career trajectory targeted the sciences, I anticipated turning the page on my mission experiences as I completed my graduate studies and entered the workforce. Twenty-five years ago, I was serving as chief scientific officer for a biotechnology company when our CEO announced an enhanced strategic focus on the Latin American market. He indicated that the ideal candidate to lead this initiative would possess three primary qualifications: (1) Familiarity with the science of our products; (2) The ability to communicate effectively in oral and written form; and (3) Fluency in both Spanish and Portuguese. Virtually everyone in the room turned and looked at me! I enjoyed the final five years prior to my retirement marrying both the languages and cultures that I loved with the science that I had nurtured over the past two decades.

One story is illustrative of many rewarding experiences: I had flown to Mexico City to conduct scientific training seminars for sales personnel. I presented the training in English and responded in Spanish to their questions. The next leg of my trip took me to Rio de Janeiro where I was scheduled to conduct identical training over two days for sales personnel from Brazil and several other South American nations. At the beginning of my remarks on the first day, I advised that in Mexico City I had presented in English, but that I had lived in Brazil previously for two years and, if they would excuse my rustiness and my lack of familiarity with the scientific vocabulary, I might provide the training in Portuguese. My proposal was enthusiastically accepted, even by the Spanish-speaking participants. At dinner that night I had the opportunity to explain the reason for my two years in Brazil, to share my testimony, and to invite them to investigate the gospel truths.

At that time, I remember prayerfully thanking the Lord for the opportunity to leverage my language expertise to further my professional career. In the intervening years, my wife and I have served together as I presided over the Brazil Manaus Mission (2008-2011) and again as we served as missionaries in the Manaus Brazil Temple (2018-2020). I can only imagine that Heavenly Father just chuckled when He heard my earlier prayer, knowing the opportunities that were before us. What marvelous blessings come into our lives and what wonderful opportunities to serve we can receive when we are willing to go and to do what the Lord would have us do! Com amor e grande abraço,
David W. Jayme (

An answer from heaven . . . sort of.

Allen Stewart (BM 61-63) shares this memory: I was present in São Paulo when one of the members bore his testimony of his conversion. He was investigating the church, and wanted some confirmation. He was in the military at the time, and was in a group training to parachute into battle. He went down, his parachute did not open. When he landed, he said it felt like "algodão” (cotton), and he was not hurt. When the commanding officer came by, asking about the fallen soldier, he said, "I am the one that fell." The officer replied, "Don't joke with me, this is a serious matter." So, he joined the Church. Allen Stewart (

Please help me identify the wood sculptor and the painter from the Brazil South in 1965.

Item: Can you help me?

Some of you may have beautiful inlaid wood art work depicting Brazil and church history scenes, done by Máximo (Max) Rezler of Curitiba. I am trying to also remember the name of the artist who carved wood statues and figures and the painter who did spatula paintings of scenes, both in the south of Brazil. Can anyone help me with those names? Alf

Well folks, that will do for now. Be kind to one another and stay safe and well through the pandemic months.

Forte abraço, Alf Gunn BSM 62-65 Gig Harbor, WA

British humor: “People say ‘I’m taking it one day at a time’. You know what? So is everybody. That’s how time works.” Hannibal Buress



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