Brasulista #200 -- Anniversary Special
Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #200
December 10, 2016
In this issue:
Thank you, old timers, for serving in Brazil
Called to Serve – Kirtland, Ohio and Porto, Portugal
Anniversary Special – The Work Goes On
The first edition of this newsletter, then called the “BSM News,” issued on December 10, 2002. Thanks to all who have contributed items to it since that date. See The Work Goes On, below.
THANK YOU, OLD-TIMERS, FOR SERVING IN BRAZIL
Hello Alf. Today, I just wanted to thank all the missionaries who have served in Brazil, as my mother (Geny Diniz Pereira) and I were baptized on December 4th, 1954, in Bauru, SP, Brazil; Elder Merrill Frost and John Petersen found us in a very unlikely place in the outskirts of the then small town. The Lord knew where we were and guided them there, as it was not a reputable area. The gospel is the greatest gift I ever received. Thank you elders, for the blessings you gave not only to my family, but for my birth country. Ruth Diniz Hunter, Sandy, UT (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CALLED TO SERVE - KIRTLAND, OHIO & PORTO, PORTUGAL
Gilbert Jennings (BCentM c. 70) and his wife Leslie, of Pine Valley, UT, are called as Directors of the Historic Kirtland Visitors’ Center at Kirtland, OH, to begin service in January, 2017, as noted in the Church News, 20 Nov 16. Congratulations to them.
We now will have former Brazilian Missionaries serving as visitor center directors at Kirtland, OH, and Harmony, PA. Stop in and say “Olá!”
Rick Lamm (BNM 69-71) and his wife Melodie, of McCall, ID, are called to the Portugal Porto Mission, entering the MTC on Christmas Eve and off to beautiful Porto on January 2, 2017. (email@example.com)
I stumbled across this article about Portugal online at BBC and thought you might enjoy it. “The European country that loves being sad” by Eric Weiner
THE WORK GOES ON
In celebration of this, the 14th year and 200th issue of the Brasulista, I am sharing some interesting insights from a current mission website, or blog. The blog invited a few former missionaries from the Brazil Recife Mission to share mission experiences, in a survey, apparently to help newly called missionaries who would soon be coming to that mission in the north of Brazil. The former missionaries, American and Brazilian, had served from 30 years ago to rather recently. Some of their comments may remind you of some of your own mission experiences in Brazil—the good ones, I hope. I have edited out some of the comments to keep this shorter, but I think you will find the rest interesting. Enjoy.
Brazil Recife Missionary Survey
Here are survey responses from Brazil Recife RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.
What were some favorite foods?
• Açaí na Tigela, Arroz e feijão,cuscuz. (Andy)
• Feijoada, lasagna, brigadeiro, coxinha, acaí. (Austin)
• Stroganoff, feijão de coco, pão de queijo, and the plethora of fresh fruits. (Meg)
• Feijoada, mousse de maracujá! All of the fruit juices. (Eric)
• Beans and rice, acai, guaraná da Amazônia, macaxeira (mandioca). (Ryan)
• Feijoada, arroz e feijão preto, pão de queijo, guaraná, suco de lima, suco de acerola, suco de graviola, e quase tudo que os membros cozinharam para nós. (Adam)
• Feijoada, churrasco, all of the many varieties of delicious fruits and fruit juices. (Greg)
• Macarrão, arroz com feijão. (Ari)
• Cuscuz, feijoada, coxinha, carne asada, maracujá, goiaba, pāo doce, camarão. (Ronald)
• Churrascos, guaraná, fruit. (Lyle)
• Cuscuz com charque. Pão Doce. Sucos de graviola e cajá. (Rafael)
Note from the Internet: Cuscuz - Despite having the same origin as the Moroccan couscous, it looks and tastes way different. In São Paulo, where I come from, it is made with corn flour, olives, tomatoes, eggs, peas, sardines and has the look of a decorated cake.
What was a funny experience?
• Riding in a bus with the windows open, enjoying a moment of cool air on my face open when the driver hit a pot hole that sent a tidal wave of a puddle through the window onto my companion and me. We showed up to district meeting looking and smelling like wet rats. Who knows what was in that street water. (Meg)
• Any time one of my American greenies got Montezuma’s Revenge before getting home for the night. (Tom)
• Fitting 21 people in a combi bus. (Ryan)
• When I was at my first meal at a member's house, the missionaries I was with told me that if I was full I should say that I was “cheio,” which means pregnant, not full. (Greg)
• Too many to list. Just know that the people are open and honest and mean no harm by speaking observations. (Lyle)
• Eu e Elder D. fomos convidados a comer buchada de bode. Porem era muito forte e uma hora depois todos os missionarios estavam na casa com dor de barriga. Só que só tinha um banheiro. (Rafael)
Note from the Internet: Buchada - This one is not for the faint of heart. Made with the billy goat's internal organs, that are cooked and used to stuff the animal's stomach. It is typical of the Northeast region.
What was a crazy/dangerous experience?
• I was robbed in an alley towards the end of my mission. (Andy)
• Being locked inside an investigator’s house while their neighbors had a cocaine deal outside the front door. (Meg)
• We were teaching a lesson at night in a favela right in the middle of São João and thought we heard lots of fireworks outside when the investigator told us those were gun shots! He hurried and shut his door. It was scary! We never taught lessons there at night anymore. (Eric)
• My greenie and I got mugged at gunpoint in Igarassu. Those lucky devils got away with all 12 of my reais (about $7 at the time). (Tom)
• I saw a guy thrown out of a taxi and shot less than five feet from us. (Ryan)
• I witnessed a shooting/death on the way to church one Sunday morning (with investigators).
• My companion and I were held at gun point in an alley because we were late getting home by 9:30 pm and took a shortcut home (it ended up being a bad idea). So make sure you are always home on time (I was never late again after that). (Adam)
• Quando uma pessoa nos parou em frente a uma Igreja Universal e falou que eramos anjos….(Ari)
• I was hit by a car going 10-15 mph. Also had a kidney stone while on my mission. (Almost got sent home because of the stone). (Ronald)
What was a spiritual experience?
• Baptizing my first investigator family on the mission. (Andy)
• During the last month of my mission, I was teaching the mother of a part-member family that was being reactivated and that I had grown to love very much. The mother was all that was left to be baptized. She had her doubts though. One night, after our second time teaching the Restoration, I was filled with the Holy Ghost and He was putting words in my mouth and I was speaking them. The moment I began speaking there was a presence in the room that not one soul in the room wasn’t feeling. My bosom burned. It felt like I had a blanket of warmth all around me, different from the hot Brazilian air I was used to. It felt exactly like the description found in Doctrine and Covenants. The mother agreed to baptism without another word of doubt. I burst into tears. I wasn’t sobbing, but the tears had a continual flow as God made possible what I alone could not do. At that moment, she had gained a testimony that stuck with her and motivated her to work for the seven months she had to wait to be baptized after that night (for complex reasons). So no, I didn’t get to see the baptism because I was already home from my mission when she was baptized. However, it was that night I gained an undeniable testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His divinity. (Austin)
• Hearing an investigator try to explain how the Book of Mormon had changed her entire perspective on life. The light that radiated from her was almost palpable. What I felt in my heart, at that moment, will forever be a reminder to me of the power of the Holy Ghost. (Meg)
• My trainee and I were teaching an 18 year old for the first time. The lesson was going very well. He was so ready for the restored gospel! I felt inspired to ask him to be baptized, that night in like 3 hours! I’d never done anything like that before and battled the inspiration in my mind while my companion taught. All of he sudden he tells the guy that he felt the Holy Ghost tell him that he should invite the investigator to be baptized tonight. He said yes! I called the zone leaders and mission president and got the okay. He got baptized that night! He was confirmed the next day and I learned that the Holy Ghost really inspired me and my companion. (Eric)
• An investigator showed up at church on his own accord and said he immediately wanted to be part of the Church. He went on a mission and got sealed in the temple to his wife. (Tom)
• Baptizing and healing the sick. (Ryan)
• I was able to serve 6 months in a city where missionaries had never lived, the church was not present, and we were able to see the church grow from its beginnings of two members to nearly 20 members by the time I left. (So many great experiences, it is hard to choose just one.) (Adam)
• Realizing the reality of the atonement as I helped people to repent and be baptized. There are too many examples to name just one. (Greg)
• Todos os dias de batismos. (Ari)
• A woman that we taught indicated that she had had a vision the night before where two young men had come to her home. It was to us that she had referred. (Ronald)
• Many. After contracting parasites, I had a few days in the hospital. Struggles bring us closer to our Heavenly Father if we are prayerful. (Lyle)
• Eu e Elder W. encontramos uma familia e ensinamos durante 6 meses. Isso foi na minha primeira área porem o marido não queria que a mulher se batizasse. Na minha ultima transferência não sabia o motivo e tinha até ficado chateado. Foi quando encontrei essa familia para batizar. Reencontrei ela quase dois anos depois e foram batizados. (Rafael)
What are some interesting facts about the Recife Mission?
• We have a temple in our mission, and we have our own mission song. (Andy)
• Although everyone there speaks Portuguese, Recife was actually originally settled by German and Dutch settlers. Recife means reef in Portuguese. Off the coast of the city lies a giant reef on the ocean floor. (Austin)
• It is home to one of Brazil’s oldest cities, Olinda. (Meg)
• It was the best mission in the world. FACT! (Eric)
• Led the nation in baptisms, lots of shark attacks. (Ryan)
• During my time, we were one of the most successful missions in Brazil for number of baptisms per month. Several new areas 15+ hours away from the mission home were opened while I served. Missionaries had never been that far into the interior of Pernambuco. (Adam)
• Eu estava lá. (Ari)
• I loved the fruits and the people were very open and friendly. It’s a beautiful country. (Lyle)
What was the weather like?
• It was about 110 degrees all year round. (Andy)*
• There are two temperatures in Recife: hot and very hot. There are two seasons: dry and wet. When it rains, it pours. But it is still hot outside, so don’t bundle up. Just bring an umbrella. (Austin)
• Hot! (Bruno)
• Akin to the surface of the Sun. (Meg)
• Always the same. 75-88 and humid. It would rain a lot at times and we got flooded at times since we were technically below sea level. (Eric)
• The locals would say there were two seasons: verão (summer) and inferno (hell). (Tom)
• Hot always hot. But in the rainy season, we’d get a foot of rain every day. (Ryan)
• Hot and humid or rainy and warm/hot. I was only in one area that actually got cold at night and we had blankets. (Adam)
• You can feel the air. It is heavy and humid, warm and rainy. Perfect! (Lyle)
*Note from the Internet regarding Recife: “Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from 72°F to 89°F and is rarely below 70°F or above 93°F.”
What do you like about the place/people you served?
• I love how humble the people are and how accepting they are to listening to you. (Andy)
• They are the friendliest people anywhere. They are not hard to have a conversation with. They are very willing to hear your message, it’s getting them to commit that’s the trick. They are very polite about it, however. Even if they don’t agree with you, most of them live by their good Christian values and will take care of you, if you need it. They have a great sense of camaraderie. A ward united in the Brazil Recife Mission is a force to be reckoned with and can accomplish mighty works in the Lord’s Kingdom. (Austin)
• They are very warm and receptive, even in the rich areas. (Bruno)
• Pernambucanos know how to do two things exceptionally well: love and have a party. (Meg)
• They always listened and gave me a lot of help when I was sick. (Eric)
• Complete strangers were willing to invite you in and give you food. They were the nicest people ever. (Tom)
• The people were amazing, very kind. (Ryan)
• Brazilians are very laid back and friendly for the most part. Religion is just part of their culture and being. They were easy people to respect and love! (Adam)
• They are so kind and caring. They will invite you into their homes and genuinely want to make you happy. (Greg)
• São pessoas maravilhosas. (Ari)
• Loved the people, language and culture. (Ronald)
• The people are humble. The culture is colorful. They love to talk. (Lyle)
• O local e lindo porem desafiador para ensinar. As pessoas sempre dispostas a abrir as portas para voce entrar porem tinha muitas dificuldades em assumir compromissos devido a cultura, e para guardar alguns mandamentos. (Rafael)
Any packing/clothing advice?
• Pack plenty of shirts and don’t pack many ties. You get a lot on the mission. (Andy)
• You will wear short-sleeve white shirts every day. You will never have to worry about it getting too cold to wear one. It never will be. Bring a sweat rag so that you don’t have to use your tie, because beads of sweat are going to get in your eyes and it will be uncomfortable. Guaranteed. (Austin)
• Cotton garments, not nylon, please… (Bruno)
• The lightest clothes you can find and really comfortable, mold-resistant shoes. (Meg)
• Get luggage with wheels, but be sure they’re really durable wheels. I brought bags that had cheap plastic wheels, which didn’t last long on the cobblestone streets. Also, if the list doesn’t say a fitted sheet, get one anyway. (Tom)
• Short sleeve shirts, good shoes, gold toe socks. (Ryan)
• They have all the things you need there. Just stick to packing list. (Lyle)
What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?
• The two biggest blessings I have received from my mission are wonderful friends I have made that are such a great influence in my life and motivate me to continue to choose the right. The other is the clarity I have of the eternal perspective and because of that, I have trust in the Lord for guidance in things such as career choice. (Austin)
• First of all my wife, then my son, then my job, college, etc. And spiritual blessings and experiences, of course. (Bruno)
• A billion, including: a strong testimony of God’s love for all of His children, including me; a deeper gratitude for Jesus Christ and His role as my Savior; amazing friendships; etc. (Meg)
• I saw miracles that I will never forget that will stay with me to build my testimony. (Eric)
• What blessings DIDN’T I receive? Being there bringing Heavenly Father’s children to the Gospel was enough of a blessing. (Tom)
• A stronger testimony of God’s love for ALL of his children, a greater testimony of the priesthood of God, improved studying skills which applied well to college, improved interpersonal speech skills, improved public speaking skills, improved knowledge of the English language because of learning Portuguese, and all the awesome people I got to meet/associate with/befriend and share that special bond of time with! (Adam)
• Countless. Literally. I feel that all I am blessed with can be traced back to my service as a missionary. Most of all I know that my Savior directs this work. I have a beautiful family and a good job (that even involves translating Portuguese for some Brazilian clients). (Greg)
• Muitas. Das pessoas que pude batizar, 5 foram para missão e tive oportunidades de velos como missionarios. Isso foi a maior benção. (Rafael)
What are some skills you gained on your mission?
• The ability to communicate. I had a hard time carrying conversations before my mission, so just the nature of my calling helped me overcome that. Put having to learn another language on top of that, crippling the little ability I already had in communicating- so it was a humbling experience starting from the ground up, beginning with the basics. (Austin)
• My leadership developed a lot! Patience, comprehension, etc. (Bruno)
• Learned what it means to work hard. (Meg)
• Compassion, listening, and hard work. (Eric)
• Learning Portuguese and budgeting. (Tom)
• Time management, planning, leadership, and a foreign language. (Ryan)
• Speaking, studying, confidence in myself, better understanding of what culture means, learned how to truly love and serve without expecting something in return (other than joy). Knowledge of the gospel. (Adam)
What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?
• I wish I knew how to be able to do contacts at the beginning of my mission. It would have made it a lot easier. (Andy)
• I wish I had made the decision to obey with exactness right off the bat. I was under the impression that following the mission rules would be easy, since I would have a companion with a common goal and the fact that knowing it was my duty would be enough. I was wrong. The adversary will throw everything there is to throw at you in order for you to slip up. You will save yourself so much anguish if you just follow the mission rules, and even more so if you help your companion do the same. If your companion is doing anything out of line, please address it. You never completely know what’s going on in that Elder’s life. If it is serious enough, tell the Mission President. You will feel better about yourself knowing you did the right thing. (Austin)
• I wish I had studied more about Christ’s life and ministry. (Meg)
• Portuguese. (Eric)
• I needed more patience with my companions from day 1. I would have done better if I learned to be more patient. (Tom)
• How to live with someone else. (Ryan)
• Involved the member more in the missionary work (which I did once I was senior companion and it made the mission that much more fun and we experienced greater success). (Adam)
• Just keep going. You will hit a point where you want to quit. Just push through and it will all work out. (Greg)
Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Recife?
• Read the scriptures, and also read Preach My Gospel. (Andy)
• I know that if you will be bold enough to invite people to baptism in the first lesson, you will bring so many more people to Christ. That is the whole purpose of missionary work. When you invite people to baptism in the first lesson, even if they say “no” to the initial invitation, you will increase your investigator’s faith and bring them closer to repentance. Baptism and confirmation will shortly follow. I promise you. Invite to baptism as often as you can!!! (Austin)
• Prepare yourself! Listen to your first companion, help him to train you. Obey, love and trust your Mission President. If you do so, you are obeying, loving and trusting Jesus Christ. Be loyal to them, not to your companions, if they do something wrong. The greatest demonstration of love for the people is to invite them to be baptized, no matter what. (Bruno)
• Missions are incredibly difficult but there is nothing more gratifying in the world than to assist a brother or sister learn more about Jesus Christ. The greatest lesson I took from my mission is that Christ is real, He lives, and His Gospel is all that He promises it is. (Meg)
• Read your scriptures every day, especially The Book of Mormon! It is true and it will help you to get through just about anything! (Eric)
• Study Preach My Gospel as much as you can, it really is a perfect/tested guide of how to be a more effective missionary. Just serve the people and show them that they are important and needed. (Adam)
• Recife é nossa missão! Work as hard as you can, humble yourself, and the lord will sharpen you into an efficient and sharp tool. He will then use you the rest of your life to do his work. (Greg)
• Make sure you have a testimony of Jesus Christ and his role as our Savior and redeemer; also, of the restoration of the gospel, of Joseph Smith and his role in the restoration. Study the scriptures and have a testimony of them. (Ronald)
• You will encounter experiences and challenges specifically designed for you. Have faith and you will overcome them. (Lyle)
What was a funny language mistake your or another missionary made?
• Coconut and feces are very similar words. The only difference is intonation. One time, while at a coconut water stand, I asked for fecal water. Let me tell you, that was embarrassing. My companion calmly corrected me. Luckily, my water tasted like coconut. (Austin)
• I’m Brazilian, so I never made a funny language mistake, but my North American companions did it tons of times…It’s hard to choose one…LOL (Bruno)
• There were many. Have a sense of humor about it and don’t be shy. (Lyle)
Um abraço, Alf Gunn of Gig Harbor, WA - USA * 253-307-3338 * firstname.lastname@example.org * BSM 62-65