Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #154
December 20, 2012
Boas Festas, tudo de bom e um Ano Novo iluminado e promissor para você e os seus.
Com amor, Alf e Marcia Gunn
In this issue:
Report on the Cruise from Spain to Portugal to Brazil
Fruits of the labor
Thoughts on the Recife Temple and history of Recife
Called to Serve: Recife and Porto Alegre temples
Humanitarian service in Africa
Finding missionaries for Brazilian members
Here is an article about the family of one victim of the tragic Connecticut school massacre, whose father served a mission in Brazil.
Cruising from Spain to Brazil
We have just completed the Spain to Portugal to Brazil Cruise and we can report it was a fine success. We hiked the fortress at Montjuïc with its views of the colorful rooftops of Barcelona. We saw the monument to Columbus, walked around Gaudí designed Sagrada Familia church and strolled the La Rambla in sunny Barcelona, before boarding the Splendour of the Seas cruise ship. In Cádiz, Spain, we strolled narrow streets and for one Euro rode the number 2 bus all around the perimeter of the historic old town—the oldest in the Western World. Another Fortaleza and The Cadiz Cathedral and lunch of paella were fun. Almost all the cars parked on the narrow streets show scrapes and dents. In Lisbon our dear Sister Elisa Monteiro took us on a fine tour, first to the huge flag of Portugal overlooking the descending Parque Eduardo II to the Praca do Marquês de Pombal, in tribute to the leader who rebuilt the city after the 1755 earthquake. Then we boarded the #28 eléctrico—really an old bonde and the best tram ride in Europe, and traveled across town and through colorful narrow streets. A highlight was the castle of São Jorge where we scrambled all around the grounds and walls and cannons. Elder and Sister Michael and Francie Henry and Elder and Sister Jerry and Mary Johnson joined us for the day. We took a modern tram to Belem where we ate lunch at the Pasteleria Pastéis de Belém, then visited the impressive nave of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and walked across the street to the beautiful monument to the explorers, O Padrão dos Descobrimentos. I asked dear Sister Monteiro which explorers had left from there and she replied “Tudsh!” “What?” “Tudsh!” Which, it turns out, is Portuguese for “Todos!”
We cruised two days to our next stop at San Juan de Tenerife, The Canary Islands, where we were hosted by Elder John and Sister and Rebecca Aultman who are serving a YSA mission there out of the Spain Madrid Mission, and 21 year old Alejandro Enrique Gil Ayube. His parents joined the Church 23 years ago, just two years after the missionaries arrived in Tenerife.
On the high seas our group attended lectures by musicologist Professor Welson Temura of the University of Florida who was a friend to all of us, and samba lessons by Brazilian samba dancers Amanda and Denis.
See Professor Temura at
My favorite show was samba singer Fábia Bittencourt. See her at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSsNrM_e0e8&list=PLF2F66D20D3A9D542&index=5
We held church services on the Mediterranean Sea and while crossing the Atlantic, and on arriving in Santos went right to the Santos Stake Center thanks to Givaldo do Nascimento and two other brothers with cars. We enjoyed some firesides of our own devise. Dinners were always fine dining and enjoying our company together, and we met a lot of interesting folks. I guess 88% of the passengers were Brazilians, and when we approached the Equator the sun warmed up and the ship was full of samba and beach wear.
What can we say about Salvador da Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Guarujá, Brazil? Legal!
We saw it all and loved it. I’ll keep it short and say . . . “Valeu!” I don’t take many photos, but Ted Whitaker took a lot. See them, if you wish, at "twhitaker.smugmug.com".
Fruits of the Labor
Cam Anderson (BRdeJM 80-82) of Kaysville, UT, shares this experience. “I served in the Rio de Janeiro mission from 1980 to 1982. I recently had a very rewarding experience when someone that we taught 30 years ago contacted me because he was coming to the October General Conference. Carlos Henrique S. Saboia currently lives in Vila Velha, Espírito Santo. He lived in the Cidade de Deus in Rio de Janeiro when we baptized him and his father and mother in 1982. I also baptized his cousin and uncle who lived in Andaraí, RJ, about a year before that. They were the ones that gave me the Saboia family's name. We met at the new City Creek Mall in Salt Lake City a few days after conference. When I saw him, I instantly recognized him even though it had been 30 years since I had seen him. He reached out to shake my hand but I smiled and said that wouldn't do, and gave him a great big abraço. It was great to visit with him about his family. He served a mission in Brazil, and has a 17 year old son that is getting his papers ready for his mission. He is currently serving as the 2nd counselor in his stake presidency. What a great blessing it was to see someone that I had had the privilege to teach remain faithful for 30 years, and to have him be in such a position that he could also use his influence for good.” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thoughts on the Recife Temple
Elder Keith Morgan (BSM 64-66), serving in the Brazil Salvador South Mission, wrote this a couple months ago: “My wife and I just got back from a trip with our branch from Jequié, Bahia to the Recife Temple. Since our calling is in Member and Leader Support, our previous mission president (Helton Vecchi) and our current mission President (Marcelo Andrezzo) agreed that it would be okay for us to participate in the excursion. After not having been to the temple in some time, it was good to be able to once again enjoy the blessings of the temple. It was an even bigger treat for us to be able to participate with our members and see them realize the results of their family history efforts, assist some in receiving their own endowments and in being sealed together along and all of the other ordinances of the temple.
For many, it was a very big expense to take their whole family, but well worth it in the long run. After a 20-hour bus ride each way, they cheered as the temple came into view. We all stayed in the temple housing facilities. It was a packed week from terça to sexta and they made the most of it. We had a number of youth who went and did two to three sessions per day of baptisms for the dead. The church is so world-wide now that it was fun to listen to the Brazilian doing the baptizing try to pronounce the European names from places like Hungary, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, England, Norway, along with the American names and some other countries. For some, it also included the excitement of going to the "big city—the chance to spend a few minutes before departing with a visit to a mall and to see an actual theater, have some French fries at McDonalds, etc.
Sister Morgan and I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting and visiting with President Frederick G. Williams as well as Elder and Sister Hadley and Elder and Sister Baird and to visit their housing. All of them are doing such a wonderful job. They were very helpful and cordial to us during our stay.
I like President Williams' description of the Recife Temple as follows and I trust he will not mind my passing on this information: "Ours is a relatively large temple; 95 of the operating temples are smaller than ours. We are a caravan temple; that is, we serve 72 stakes and 12 districts found throughout eleven northeastern and northern states of Brazil and Cape Verde, Africa. Each Monday evening four caravan buses filled with members arrive at the temple and spend the week in the patron housing while performing their service in the temple. Those caravans leave Friday night or early the next day. On Saturday morning, four more caravans arrive from the neighboring states and spend the day in the temple, but do not stay in the temple apartments."
"The temple gardens are beautiful and well-kept. We have 39 mango trees and many varieties of palm trees (royal, coconut, açaí), plus cashew, jambo, cajá and other varieties of fruit trees. The temple sits on nearly six acres of landscaped gardens with old growth trees. It is a quiet refuge in a busy and noisy city, the third largest in Brazil."
He also described an interesting piece of history about Recife that I had never heard before and thought was most interesting:
"Recife is the site of the first Jewish synagogue in all the Americas. When the Portuguese expelled their Jewish subjects from the Iberian Peninsula, most, who did not convert to Christianity, went to Holland. When Holland took over the northeast of Brazil in 1630, many Portuguese-Dutch Jews came as well (they already knew the language), forming 50% of the white population of the city. They had a vibrant community and took part in the activities of the region as sugarcane planters, architects, doctors, lawyers, and businessmen. The synagogue is still extant and is today a Jewish cultural center; one can see the ruins of the mikvah or purification pool. In 1654, the Portuguese expelled the Dutch. Most returned to Holland. One boat headed for New Amsterdam with 23 Portuguese-Dutch-Brazilian-Jews. These became the first Jews to enter what would later become the U.S. When the British expelled the Dutch they changed the name to New York. The Jewish community again established their synagogue. Three generations later it was from that New York community that the Prophet Joseph Smith contracted Joshua Seixas to teach Hebrew at the School of the Prophets in Kirtland. Seixas is, of course, a Portuguese name."
We hear a lot about "real growth" in the mission field; however, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles added new meaning to that phrase when he said "The temple is the great final measure of real growth. Not just the temple experience, but the making of covenants in the temple and then keeping those covenants." I can see why serving in any of the Brazilian temples would be an especially rewarding experience for a former Brazilian missionary wishing to return to Brazil with his spouse and wishing to continuing serving the Brazilian saints that are striving for this crowning glory. All in all, it was a great week by any measure. Elder Keith Morgan (email@example.com)
Called to Serve
My friends Scott and Carol Hadley (BSM 65-67), with whom we toured the six temples of Brazil last April, have been called will serve as second counselor and assistant matron to Elder Gelson Pizzirani, the new President of the Recife Temple. The Hadley’s were serving at that temple for the last year or so and formerly presided over the Brazil Brasilia Mission (97-00) (as President Pizzirani later did). They began their new service on October 30th. “We probably will serve just a year and then our 23 month visa will expire and we will need to return to the states,” he writes. “We are told that you have to remain out of the county here for at least 90 days before you can apply for another visa, and that would leave President Pizzirani without a counselor for way to long and so he will just call a new one to take our place and we will go on to whatever lies ahead of us. We surely did enjoy being with your tour last April. It was a great experience for us to see all the temples in this beautiful country. Carol and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and many wonderful days in the New Year. Your friend, Scott”
James Denney (BSM 65-68) and his wife Susan are called to serve in the Porto Alegre Brazil Temple beginning in March 2013. They have been serving a Hispanic Initiative mission in Utah for the last three years. “We mostly were just there to bolster and encourage the members. Sometimes the Hispanic Initiative missionaries would go on splits with the full time missionaries to teach discussions to investigators. These were great experiences for Susan and me. We also met with newly converted or less active member families in Family Home Evenings and their social events besides church. For us, it was a great few years and we would go back in a heartbeat. Susan and I have been studying Portuguese as time permits. Since we only live about half an hour from the MTC, we go there a few days per week for a hour to get face to face language training. It is really helping.” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Also heading for the Porto Alegre Temple is Elder George Anthony (BSM 61-64) and his wife Joan of Ramah, NM. They enter the MTC in February 2013. (GEAnthony@msn.com) Congratulations!
“Bro. Gunn, My wife and I are now in the 2nd year of a volunteer stay-at-home Church Service Mission as the Directors of the Northern Virginia Employment Resource Services Center. We serve 20 hours a week and are loving helping people be more effective in getting work to provide for themselves and their family. Thanks for all you do to keep us in contact. Elder Norm Van Dam, Springfield, VA” (email@example.com)
A few years ago my friend John Dow (BM 60-63) of Escondido, CA, retired from a dental practice and started serving Church Humanitarian missions with his wife Marcia. They went to Portuguese-speaking Mozambique (05-07) followed by a Humanitarian Church Service mission assignment to Portuguese-speaking Cape Verde (08-09). They currently serve as Wheelchair Program Specialists assigned to Africa Southeast Area and Cape Verde since 2009. They live at home but spend every other month in Africa assisting the Humanitarian country directors in organizing wheelchair projects in their countries. Most often this means working with the Ministry of Health of a country with a focus on training local physical therapists in the proper skills of evaluating a disabled person and placing them in the appropriate wheelchair, properly fitted and with sufficient instruction to use the wheelchair safely. This is vital because an inappropriate or ill-fitting wheelchair or lack of information on proper use (especially for those with spinal cord injuries) could result in devastating and/or life threatening injuries from wheelchair use. The Church donates thousands of wheelchairs so the local organizations can apply their knowledge. Interestingly, the ultimate goal is to help create a self-reliant situation where in a few years the organizations with which they work will no longer have to rely on the Church for further assistance. I was pleased to learn this and stand in admiration of the Dows and all who selflessly serve in such significant ways. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Finding Missionaries for Members
Dear former missionaries, please keep in touch. Please advise me of any changes in email addresses. I furnish your information only to companions and members seeking you. I enjoy making these connections.
Ted (BCentM 68-70) and Melinda Whitaker of Orem, UT, went to Curitiba after our cruise and had a great experience. “Alf, At our Family Home Evening on Monday in Curitiba, one of the family asked if you could help find the missionary that baptized him. The member’s name is Franco Michelisa email@example.com . The Missionary's name is Elder Scott Keller Mitchell. He served in the Curitiba Area - 1979-1980. Thanks, Ted Whitaker
Dear Ted and Franco, Here is your missionary. cc Elder Mitchell
Scott Keller Mitchell and Lisa BSPS 77-80 firstname.lastname@example.org 2536 West 3600 South, Weston, ID 83286
On Dec 14, 2012, Cezare Malaspina Jr. of São Paulo wrote: “Irmão Gunn, Obrigado por compartilhar essas historias maravilhosas de homens valorosos que serviram no Brasil. Eu tive o privilegio de servir na Missão São Paulo Sul (Elder Malaspina) sob a presidência do Pres. Wilford Cardon. (79-81). Gostaria de pedir sua ajuda para localizar os missionários que batizaram minha família em Novembro de 1971 na ala de Vila Sonia – estaca São Paulo. Seria maravilhoso poder ter contato com esses missionários que mudaram o rumo de nossas vidas, o nome de um deles é Elder Murdock, infelizmente não tenho certeza se é assim que se escreve. Grato por sua dedicação e ajuda. Cézare Malaspina (MalaspinaCJ@ldschurch.org)”
Dear Brother Malaspina, I was able to find Elder Murdock in Utah. It wasn’t easy. He is Dean N. Murdock (BM c71) Eagle Mountain, UT email@example.com 7884 Windhover Road, Eagle Mountain, UT 84005
Gig Harbor, WA
Southern Brazil Mission Reunion Tour next April by air and motor coach
Hey, Southies!! Yes, you, Gaúcho! The “Southern Brazil Mission Reunion Tour” which is scheduled for next April 16-30 has already proved very popular. Dick Jensen has contracted a second motor coach and there are about 10 or 12 seats left on this tour. If you served in the south of Brazil, how many of these cities did you serve in or visit? Porto Alegre, Canoas, São Leopoldo, Gramado and Canela, Florianópolis, Itajai and Balneário Camburiu, Joinville, Curitiba, Ponta Grossa, and Foz do Iguaçu. Join us for a nostalgic return to the beautiful south of Brazil, and invite your favorite companion or family members to come along too. Northies welcomed too! See it at
I am happy to host this event with Dick Jensen (BM 78-80) who designed this tour by popular demand for us who served in the south. Call Dick at 801-917-1131. We are going to have a great time.