Cristo300Alf Gunn BadgeBrasulista #228

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #228
October 8, 2020

Bom dia!

In this issue:

  • Passing of pioneer member Paulo Puerta on September 29, 2020
  • More comments on Hélio da Rocha Camargo, now 94
  • Dick Jones and the Brazil Agricultural Reserve Mission
  • Trivia question: Hotel at Curitiba where missionaries stayed
  • Recalling driving in Curitiba 1964
  • Growth of the Church in Passo Fundo, RS

Passing of pioneer member Paulo Puerta on September 29, 2020

Sister Rita and President Paulo PuertaOn September 29, Elder Jairo Mazzagardi, advised us of the passing on pioneer member Paulo Puerta on that date: Caro Alfred, O irmão Paulo Puerta faleceu na madrugada de hoje em São Paulo aos 73 anos de idade. Ele serviu como Presidente da Missão Recife no começo dos anos 80, tambem foi Presidente do CTM de São Paulo serviu como Setenta de Área e tambem como Presidente do Templo de São Paulo . Um abraço, Elder Jairo Mazzagardi

More comments on Hélio da Rocha Camargo, now 94

Brother Puerta was the second President of the Brazil Recife Mission 1982-1985. In 2014 he and his wife Rita were presiding in the São Paulo Temple when I visited. He was 17 when his father José Benjamin Puerta and mother Diva joined the Church in 1964. Rita Cundari was baptized at age 13 in 1963. They had six children and 16 grandchildren as of 2014. Paulo's sister Sandra married Homero Amato. Dear Alf, Continuing with thoughts about Hélio da Rocha Camargo. Either in late 1962 or in 1963, Elder Hugh B. Brown passed through the Brazilian Mission. He held a missionary conference in the Pinheiros Chapel. As he was speaking he made the following prophetic statement, "In this room there are future General Authorities." Needless to say, it caused a tingle among us missionaries. But in the room was our Mission President, William Grant Bangerter who later became one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy, and his mission counselor, Hélio da Rocha Camargo. When Elder Camargo was announced in conference as a new General Authority [in 1985], it brought back that memory! Jerry Johnson BM 62-65. (

From Wikipedia: After leaving the military, Camargo moved to São Paulo where he became a banker and also entered a Methodist seminary. Camargo was ordained a Methodist minister but was later expelled from the seminary because he opposed infant baptism. He was one of three ministers expelled at that point, the other two were Saul Messias de Oliveira and Walter Guedes de Queiroz, who also later joined the LDS Church. Camargo read the literature he had previously received from LDS Church missionaries and then started attending meetings of the church. His conversion was helped by hearing the testimony of a young lady on the power of the law of chastity. He was baptized in 1957. Camargo served as the first president of the São Paulo East Stake when it was organized in November 1968. Camargo also served as a bishop, counselor to a mission president, and as president of the Rio de Janeiro mission, which then covered all of Brazil north and northwest of Rio de Janeiro. Among the missionaries who served under Camargo when he was mission president was Ulisses Soares, who would later become an apostle in the LDS Church. Camargo's son, Milton R. Camargo, was called as 1st counselor in the LDS Church's Sunday School Presidency in 2019

Dick Jones and the Brazil Agricultural Reserve Mission

Alf, Thanks for the Brasulista. It brings back many memories. My wife and I were able to serve two missions to the Church farm east of the capital city of Brasilia, (the Brazil Agricultural reserve Mission ) in 2004 to 2006 and again in 2011 to 2012. They were not proselyting missions; however, we did much service with the members in Cabeceiras and Formosa. Unfortunately when the proselyting missionaries were transferred from Cabeceiras only one family remained active. The church farm raised soybeans and beans - similar to the American bean used for chili. In addition, the farm had a herd of 2,500 mother cows and a 100-acre orange grove. Today the cattle operation has been discontinued as has the orange grove. Today the farm concentrates only on raising dry eligible beans and soybeans. The farm consists of 90,000 acres of land of which 21,000 are set aside as a wildlife preserve. Javelina pigs and tapirs, along with two species of deer inhabit the preserve. Sincerely, Dick Jones of Lewisville, ID (

Item: Alf, Brother Max Resler was the man who did the wood inlays. One of his inlays was on display in the church history library east of Temple Square in Salt Lake City. I have not been there for some time, so I do not know whether or not it is still displayed. Gary Bishop (BSM 64-67) of Pleasant Grove, UT ( )

Trivia question: Hotel at Curitiba where missionaries stayed

Question: What was the name of the hotel where missionaries arriving in Curitiba were put up for the first night?

Alf, I'm almost certain (but don't bet the farm on it!) that the "temporary hotel" was the Hotel San Juan Johnscher, Rua Barao do Rio Branco, 354. The facade seems familiar, but I'm sure they've updated the interior since our era. In my mind, I can see Elder Wilson Lima there with us for some reason. I stayed there in March 1962 with our incoming group. Ron Broce (BSM 62-64)

Recalling driving in Curitiba 1964

My buddy Glen Weeks of Salt Lake City tells me "Alf, It was the Mariluz Hotel when you picked us up at the airport in 1964 and drove to Curitiba like a bat outa Blumenau." Glen Weeks (BSM 64-66)

And from George Leavitt of Passo Robles, CA: Here is the first entry from my missionary dairy after arriving in Brazil...I hope this solves the mystery of the hotel used in Curitiba. Wed 28 Oct 1964 We arrived in Curitiba, Brazil at 4:30 pm by a small plane. Met Elder Gunn and zoom we were off. Down here the people drive like they are crazy. The pedestrians have to look out for themselves. We were fingerprinted, photographed and then taken to the mission home where I met President and Sister Turner. What wonderful people they are, almost like parents away from home. The Mission Home is beautiful. We ate dinner, and then got 5 cc of Gama globulin. We had a testimony meeting and afterwards were taken to the hotel Miraluz, room 203 where I spent my first night in Brazil. (

Alf's note: Since my driving has been mentioned I will say that every missionary who arrived at the mission in Curitiba, myself included, remembers that ride the 17 kilometers from the airport to downtown. And yes, it was always an eye-opener. During the 8 months that I served as mission secretary at the end of my mission, I had great companions, each an assistant to the president in turn. The Turner family was a big influence on me for good forever. At the time Curitiba was a good-sized city but only had six stoplights in the whole city and not even six stop sign intersections. We just tapped the horn twice when approaching an intersection then drove through. The joke was that a typical Brazilian accident was "beep beep, beep beep, crash!" On two occasions I drove the mission car, a 1959 4-door Mercury, the biggest car in Brazil that I ever saw, from Curitiba to São Paulo, over 400 k each way, on mission assignments. Alone. One was to pick up a copy machine and once was for three days to replace the rear window of the Mercury. I served under President Wayne Beck for those three days. Looking back, I am amazed that I could do that trip to the big city, though I don't recall worrying at the time.

Growth of the Church in Passo Fundo, RS

Roland Ruegner (BPAM 77-78) of Riverton, UT writes: Hi Alf, I really appreciate all you do to help us Brazilian missionaries with remembering the great country of Brazil and especially her people. Janice and I have been on two of your tours and enjoyed them thoroughly. The last one we went on we visited Iguacu, Curitiba and Porto Alegre. At that point, we left you and the rest of the tour with Marcio Texeira as a guide and went to a couple of the cities where I served. The rest of the tour went on to São Paulo. We went to Passo Fundo, RS first, and tracked down a couple of the members I remembered. Marcia Texeira (no relation to Marcio) was one of them. She filled in a little history of the area for us. When I was there with Onivaldo Covo (Covo velho), Ricardo Sale, Victor Fillipof we had about 35 active members, most were young adults. Of those young adults, 5 were called on missions while we were there. Four went on missions. Marcia stated "We went on our missions, came home and got married, sent our kids on missions, they came home and got married. Now we have two stakes in Passo Fundo with six wards each and a couple of branches." She then said, "And our goal now is to get a temple in our area." You can't describe how much that made the visit so worthwhile! Roland Ruegner (

Brother, some miracles 'come to pass' and some you make happen! What great and faithful members there are in Brazil. Three Brazilian general authorities spoke today in General Conference.

That's all for now. More to come. Stay well and pray.

Um abraço, Alf Gunn BSM 62-65 Gig Harbor, WA 253-307-3338


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