Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #183
May 7, 2015
In this issue:
Video: “Sealed Together: The Manaus Temple Caravan”
Elder Christofferson speaks at São Paulo
Administrative notes about the Brasulista
Did you serve at Santa Maria?
From the field: Portugal, Mato Grosso, Boston, Cabo Verde
Recalling Jose Benjamin Puerta
October Super Reunion
Poetry from Brazil
TRAVEL NOTE: Visit Dick Jensen Tours (http://alanmckaytours.com/) to see two trips to Brazil in October and November of this year. I will host the cruise from Italy to Spain, Morocco, Madeira, Tenerife, and six ports in Brazil. See my note at the bottom of this Brasulista. Alf
A MUST-SEE VIDEO: “SEALED TOGETHER: THE MANAUS TEMPLE CARAVAN”
This 15-minute film found on lds.org is a tribute to the faith of the saints of Manaus and will be a joy to all who served in Brazil. Enjoy!
APOSTLE SPEAKS IN SÃO PAULO
On April 29, as reported on the LDS.org website, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke on principles of religious freedom at Brazil Mosque in São Paulo “during a first-of-its-kind Brazilian religious liberty event celebrating the nation’s strong support of religious freedom.”
I am impressed that many of the brethren continue to speak out in many settings regarding religious liberty. Elder Claudio R. M. Costa of the Seventy, who is the Brazil Area president, also spoke at the event. Read about Elder Christofferson’s excellent remarks at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/apostle-speaks-at-historic-religious-freedom-event-in-brazil
Elder Christofferson paid tribute to Brazil’s record of religious liberty, something for which we who served there can be particularly thankful. Also of interest to me was the fact that Elder Christofferson delivered his speech in Portuguese, a language he has learned since serving his own mission in Argentina as a young man. His brother, Greg Christofferson, who served in Brazil (BM 65-67) has told me in the past that Elder Christofferson speaks Portuguese better than Greg does now.
BRASULISTA ADMINISTRATIVE NOTES
Dear fellow missionaries, Keep in touch, folks. Advise me of any change of email address. Please be aware that you may request of me contact information regarding your former companions or others (1935 to 1985) and I may be able to help you contact them, or I will make an effort to locate them. Please tell me as much of their name as you recall, the years they served, and where they were from. “Elder” is not a first name and is not very helpful. If you can tell me where they were last known to be, that is helpful.
When I began locating former missionaries I was pleased to find that most still lived in the state from which they had left to serve their mission. I also became aware that the average former missionary knew the current whereabouts of 1.7 of their companions, unless they were living in Salt Lake City or Provo and then perhaps a few more.
Also, I have access to BYU Alumni online and can locate folks more readily if they attended BYU. If any of you have access to Ute or Aggie alumni records, I would like to know how I could tap into those.
I don’t publish missionary death notices—there would be too many of them—but I appreciate notifications of them for the records I maintain. Many spouses of deceased missionaries request to continue to receive the Brasulista.
Finally, if you wish to send the Brasulista to younger former missionaries (post 1985), go ahead and forward Brasulistas; but I can’t do that due to the sheer volume. It currently takes me four days to send out a Brasulista.
FIND MY MISSIONARIES
Did you serve in Santa Maria, RG in 1964? “Hi Alf, I met a wonderful young sister missionary tonight, Sister Paz whose grandparents were baptized in Santa Maria in 1964. Their names were Paulo Caetano da Cunha Horwath and Rita Horwath. She is interested in finding out the names of the missionaries who taught and baptized her grandparents so she can contact them and thank them. She finishes her mission in 6 weeks, but I have two email addresses for her so I can pass information to her even after she goes home. Any way for you to find out who would have been in Santa Maria in 1964 and could have baptized this couple? Thanks for your help. Um grande abraço, Elder Mark Zaugg, serving a mission as a Brazil Area Auditor (email@example.com) 801-292-5744 Skype: mmzaugg
Addendum from Alf: When I sent this out on May 7, I received this answer: “In response to the question of who was involved in the baptism of the Horwath family. My journal records that my companion and I taught them and baptized them on May 10, 1964 in Santa Maria, now 51 years ago. I don’t have a record of who actually performed the ordinances, but my companion and I taught them over a period of a few months. They were originally scheduled for baptism on April 19, 1964, but Sister Horwath traveled to Bage and apparently was not back in time for the baptism so it occurred later. That date was originally scheduled because it was the date of a district conference and President Finn B. Paulsen and Gustav Salik appeared at and spoke at the district conference meetings. My companion was Elder Craig Christensen. So fun to hear that their granddaughter is a missionary. Would love to meet and hear from her. It was really enjoyable to go through my missionary journal in search of the details. If you have Craig’s address, forward a copy of this information to him so he gets to relive the moment and the opportunity to “meet” the granddaughter also. Darian B. Andersen, Brazilian South Mission, January 1962 to July, 1964 (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)”
FROM THE FIELD -- PORTUGAL
This note comes from President Joni Koch who will begin presiding in the beautiful Portugal Porto Mission in July of this year. He is offering opportunities to seniors who would like to serve in that mission. “Caro Irmão Alfred Gunn, Obrigado pela menção da nossa missão em Portugal. Fiquei particularmente emocionado quando mencionou que me conheceu com 1 ano de idade no colo de minha mãe. Ela faleceu em agosto do ano passado. Estamos procurando por casais (em que um dos cônjuges fale Português) para servirem conosco lá, tanto no escritório como para fortalecer liderança. O Custo é de U$ 2.230,00 por casal/mês e podem escolher servir por 6, 12, 18 e 23 meses. Se desejar pode mencionar no Brasulista e os interessados podem me procurar neste email. Um forte abraço e parabéns por manter vivo por tantos anos este boletim!!!
Joni Koch (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alf’s note: This inspires me to share my impressions of Portugal and Spain during 19 days I enjoyed last year on a bicycle pedaling north 300 miles from Tomar, Portugal, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, with my brother as he hiked it; and then visiting the Madrid Temple for a few days. “Portugal has the best olives and soups and the worst ice cubes. Spain has excellent ice cubes and they accept the VISA card. Both countries prepare their octopus dishes differently and their salads the same. I preferred the Portuguese octopus dish. The cuisine is great. Portugal's little custard pie, called Pastel de Nata, takes the prize. Portugal has beautiful tiles called azulejos, on many buildings. Spain, nope.
Folks in Portugal don't know the Caminho de Santiago pilgrimage trail exists there. Everyone in Galicia, Spain, knows where the Camino is and how to direct you to it. Few Portuguese walk the pilgrimage. Many Spaniards walk at least a few days of it. Europeans come from all over to do it.
Both countries have the best road surfaces I have ever seen for biking. And no tire debris anywhere. Ever. I saw more backcountry trail maintenance crews in Spain, including many who appeared to be volunteers, all wearing full bright yellow outfits.
Little back roads and some little highways can be amazingly quiet with a car passing only every few minutes. In Portugal some little cars drive little house-lined lanes at 50 mph. Spain, not so much.
Not many busses or folks at bus stops. Lots of small cars including Mercedes and BMWs. I never saw a Chevy pickup truck or any that size. There is no Costco. There are no back yards in the city, no garage sales and no two-car garages. There are happy children on paved playgrounds.
In Portugal folks speak the European Portuguese and recognize me as a Brazilian Portuguese speaker. In Galicia many place names appear to be Portuguese and the Gallegos speak Spanish and claim that they can understand Portuguese. In both countries, stop signs say "stop" instead of “pare” as in Brazil.
On Sundays almost every store is closed. On Mondays big trucks are back on the big highways in force. It is amazing how the marked Camino trail keeps walkers off the highways so much, even when approaching a big city. The historic districts of cities are very historic and amazing to this American's eyes. Hotel floors don't creak, because they are granite or a wonderful hardwood and tile or marble.
Spain has the temple at Madrid. The Portuguese saints are reported to be the most faithful attendees at the Madrid Temple, bringing their own assigned officiators.”
FROM THE FIELD
Sister Lou Ellen and Elder Randall L Romrell (BM 64-66) have been serving in the Sorriso District in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil, as member and leader support (MLS) missionaries since September 2014. "The Sorriso district is a perfect place for a couple that is interested in the work of activation,” they report. “We love the people here and the work. Anyone who is interested in knowing more is welcome to contact us at email@example.com." Their mission ends in February 2016 and they are hoping that a new couple will be called to replace them when they leave. Of course any expression of interest in serving there would need to be coordinated with the new mission president who arrives on July 1 and with the missionary department. Here is a link to a blog the Romrell's have created that gives a good idea about the place, the people, and the work: randyandlouellen.blogspot.com
Item: A few months ago, Elder Robert Walsh (BM65-67) advised: “My wife, Sandy, and I are serving an 18-month MLS mission in the Massachusetts Boston Mission where we arrived last December. We are serving in the Boston 1st Ward Portuguese Group, which has only been meeting for about eight months now. It started with one person and now there are 40-45 attending each Sunday. The Dorchester section of Boston, which is our main area of service, is full of Cape Verdeans. Some Latter-day Saints who moved from Cabo Verde didn't know the Church was in Boston, so they didn't seek it out. Do you know any church leaders in Cabo Verde with whom we could communicate to get membership records as we find the people? Many of those here don't remember what ward or branch they were in or the date they were baptized. Most of the ones the missionaries have found are from the island of Fogo, but some are from Praia. The Group has found a former branch president here named Marcelino Barbosa, who was baptized in about 1993. Unfortunately, he works most Sundays, as many of the men do. We have also found a couple of Cape Verdeans who have served full-time missions in Portugal. If we had a contact in Cabo Verde, it would make it easier to get members' records when we find the people. It is an exciting place to be, except for the massive amounts of snow. The young missionaries in our district—two Brazilian sisters, two Brazilian elders and two Americans speaking Portuguese—are truly awesome and amazing. There are four, I believe, Portuguese-speaking areas of the mission. We hope your trips this year are great -- we still treasure our trip to Brazil with you when the Costa Concordia was still afloat.” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alf’s note: Hello Elder Walsh, What a wonderful mission you are serving! When I visited the Boston area I was speaking Portuguese every day, often. Elder Neldon and Diana Demke are serving a mission in Cabo Verde. Perhaps they can respond to you with contact information for a person that can help you. See her note here:
Dear Alf, Greetings from Cabo Verde. Today, I read the whole Brasulista for the first time and it felt like it was for me as well as my husband. That is what serving a Portuguese speaking mission has accomplished for me. In Cabo Verde the senior couples are former Brazilian missionary men paired with non-Portuguese-speaking wives. I have been richly blessed to be able to learn the language and serve alongside my husband in this amazing land. Please encourage other couples who have this situation to consider serving a senior mission together in a Portuguese speaking country (some are in Africa which desperately needs their service). It isn't impossible for a wife to learn a new language with the help of the Spirit. We hear that many couples automatically decline the opportunity to serve outside of America or the English speaking world for the fear of one partner not speaking the language. We know that this should not be an obstacle. Portuguese is a relatively easy language to learn! Thanks. We may try to make it to that reunion in October.
Sister Diana Demke Cape Verde Praia Mission (email@example.com)
CALLED TO SERVE
Bob Hawkins (BSM 66-68) writes with some interesting news: Hi Alf, My wife Betty and I have been called to serve in the Brasil Ribeirão Preto Mission. We will be serving as mission office specialists. In 1968, Elder Marvin Stuki and I were privileged to teach and baptize the family of Leonido Brum de Oliveira. Their 9 year old son Mauro is the mission president we will be serving under. About 6 years ago, Mauro's daughter Gabriella was visiting the health center at BYU Idaho and met Doctor Judd Miller and asked if there was any way to find the missionaries who baptized her father. He just happened to be in the other companionship serving in Santa Rosa when he was baptized and got us in touch with each other. The rest is history. What are the chances? Thank you Judd. We are excited to serve with Presidente and Sister Brum. Our Provo MTC date is May 25th. Like all other Brazil bound missionaries we are praying for visas. Thanks for all you do. Bob Hawkins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
RECALLING JOSE BENJAMIN PUERTA
On Dec 23, 2014 Alf Gunn wrote: “Dear Sister Larson, I am supposing that your are the wife of the late Norman Larson who served a mission in Brazil. A member there, Paulo Puerta, has written about his father's conversion and mentioned Norman. I would like to share that with you. You may already know of this.”
Dec 23, 2014 – “Brother Gunn, Yes, I am Norman Larson's wife, and am delighted that you contacted me! Thank you for sending Paulo Puerta's remarks (Brasulista #178). I have been trying to find out about President Puerta for a few years, to let him know of my husband's passing . . . but with your email, I am guessing he already knows. Several years ago, before 1988, we were able to have President Puerta in our home for a few hours' visit. I remember him well, and would love to visit with him again. In case you are interested in the story, Norm reconnected with President Puerta a few months before his visit to us because I saw an article in the Church News about Jose Benjamin Puerta becoming the 1st Brazilian Temple President of the Brazilian Temple. Norm checked his missionary journal to confirm that he had baptized "Brother Puerta" and when we wrote to him, he wrote back that he (President Puerta) had been searching for Norman, thinking that he (Norman) had become inactive. Far from it! Norman was faithful and stalwart throughout his life, and I'm sure he is working on the other side of the veil as hard and faithfully as he did here. Needless to say, I miss him more than I could possibly express. An interesting side note: my daughter, while attending BYU, was assigned as visiting teacher to a woman from Brazil. Just "for fun" my daughter asked this woman if she happened to know a "Jose Benjamin Puerta" - much to my daughter's surprise, she said, "He's my grandfather!" The Church has so many interesting connections that occur! I would enjoy receiving the newsletter, if that is okay. Please feel free to keep in contact. And let me know if any of the Puertas get to Utah. Thank you again so much for letting me know about this. With your permission, I would like to forward your email to my children. They would be very interested. Sharon Larson” (email@example.com)
OCTOBER SUPER REUNION NOTICE AND CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
Dear missionaries, Every three years or so we hold a “super reunion,” inviting all who receive the Brasulista, no matter which mission you served in or when (1935 to c1985). We have scheduled the next super reunion for Thursday, October 1, 2015, at the Orem Utah Cascade Stake center in Orem, Utah. We typically begin at 1 pm and serve great Brazilian food prepared by Brazilian sisters (wonderful volunteers) during the afternoon and visit throughout the afternoon. We have break-out sessions for the groups of particular presidents. We have an evening meeting at 7 pm in a chapel, with a few speakers sometimes including even Church leaders who are kind enough to attend. We honor our various mission presidents and their wives.
This is a call for volunteers in the area who would like to help bring this reunion to pass. Please respond by email if you would like to help. Everybody, calendar the event and plan to attend. We have a reunion fund which should cover most expenses. Brazil missions lapel pins will be sold at the reunion, as a fund raiser. Former Brazil mission presidents are invited to coordinate your other reunions to enable you to attend this event where possible.
POETRY FROM BRAZIL
Last October, Elder Kim Barney (BSM 62-65) and Sister Karen Barney, serving a temple mission at Recife, traveled with Elder Ron Broce (BSM 62-64) and Sister Hallie Broce, traveled to Natal and João Pessoa and spent four days in each place during the temple annual closure. Elder Barney is a bit of a poet, so I share one of his poems here:
Finally, here I stand
on the Easternmost piece of land
of all South America,
the closest spot to Africa
on this entire continent.
The sun rises here
sooner than anywhere
else in this country.
You can't see Africa from here
like you can in Southern Spain
but I can feel it pulling me;
the tug is very plain.
Supposed birthplace of mankind
is there across the sea,
but I don't think I'll ever go;
some things aren't meant to be.
Elder Barney spotted an inscription on a lighthouse marking the easternmost point of South America, and provided his translation of it:
Canção do Hidrógrafo
Se marcares, ao largo, o lampejo
De um farol a marcar o caminho
Saberás ser o nosso desejo
Que jamais tu navegues sozinho.
Song of the Hydrographer
If, as you set sail, you take note of the flash
Of a lighthouse to mark the way
You will know it to be our desire
That you never sail alone.
Elder Barney noted last November: “We are the last three American couples (with David and Deirdre Paulsen) at this temple, and we don't know of any more in the ‘pipeline.’ Since we arrived here eight months ago we have lost three American couples. Two finished their missions and the other was called as president and mission ‘mom’ of a mission in São Paulo!”
That’s all folks! Fique firme, forte, fiel e feliz!
Alf Gunn of Gig Harbor, WA - USA* 253-851-1099 * firstname.lastname@example.org * BSM 62-65
Cruise to Brazil
The tours which travel agent Dick Jensen (BSPS 78-80) has designed for us in the last few years have included two tours of the south of Brazil, one tour of the cities of São Paulo and Paraná states, a tour of all of the temples of Brazil, a cruise up and down the coast of Brazil, and two marvelous repositioning cruises from Italy and Spain to visit many ports in Brazil and ending at São Paulo. Most have included guided tours in Rio and many have included the Falls of Iguaçu. They have included temple visits, church attendance, and many visits with local saints, sometimes in large firesides. The thing that ties us together is a love of Brazil and the saints of Brazil, and we often bond with each other during the travels. Many couples have been touched by the love of the Brazilian saints, and a number of these have later received calls to serve senior missions in Brazil.
I have particularly enjoyed the cruises that started in Europe and ended with visits to ports of Brazil, partly because the ships are full of Brazilians! Dick is able to book space on these repositioning cruises and include flights to and from, all at amazing rates. Often he can help former missionaries book additional Brazil travel.
You can see why I am excited to host the upcoming cruise in November and December that will start in Italy and include six ports in Brazil. We will have the opportunity to attend church in Barcelona, once on the high seas, and also in Salvador da Bahia. Also to attend the Recife Temple and still see the tourist sites there. We will have one or two days when we will visit a beach and swim in the warm Atlantic at Brazil. We will hold our own fun firesides, family home evenings, or forums on board the ship during our days at sea, using talents of our own travelers. Of course, the cruise entertainment and cuisine will be memorable too. See details of this trip at
Come be a part of this adventure if you are able.