Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #147
July 23, 2012
In this issue:
Feijoada in Springville
Making connections in Brazil
Brazilian mission presidents visit
Called to Serve
Elder Cox’s Excellent Adventure
Hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain
“Elder Gunn, Thank you for having me on this wonderful email list. I so enjoy this newsletter. It keeps me connected with my dear husband, Elder Ben Pomeroy (58-60 with both Sorensen and Bangerter) who died suddenly in 1975. His love of Brazil and all things Brazilian is monumental to say the least. He worked with Lola Gygi Timmins in the Mission Office in Curitiba after the dividing of the missions. I learned to make a great feijoada and as a family we still honor him every Christmas Eve with a feijoada completa that would surprise you. We have quite a group of Brazilian missionaries in my own ward and it is a comforting feeling to know people who understand our love for the country. Thank you for keeping me in the loop. You've made my day. Lella Pomeroy, Springville, Utah” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks, Sister Pomeroy. And you have made my day. There are many of us who share your continuing love for Brazil and the saints there. Ah, feijoada.
Elder Jimmy Boswell (BM 61-63) of Brigham City, UT, writes: After connecting again to your newsletter, I decided to contact some of my "Brazilian Family", people with whom we lived, people who took care of me while I as in the hospital at São Paulo with hepatitis, people with whom I had had no contact for many years. So, first I found the Bishop of the ward where I served, (back then it was a branch), wrote him a letter asking of this particular family, then nothing. I concluded that it was a bad idea and gave up. A couple of months later I received an e-mail, it seems that the Bishop had lost my letter, but then found it, gave it to the then survivor of the family that I was seeking. You see, it had been 50 years since I was a missionary there. (Pres Bangerter and Pres. Beck were my mission presidents). Long story short, I have reestablished my relationship with Claudio Santiago Pavari, he, was but 9 years old when I left, the only child of this great family. We have had the most enjoyable time to re-acquaint our selves. Claudio’s family remained active and he has also had a son go on a mission. He in turn has told me of some of the people who were baptized by myself and my companions, they are yet active, have sent out missionaries of their own and on and on it goes, such a great blessing to be reconnected with two and a half of the greatest years of my life. Ones mission does not end; it just gets better and better. Thanks for your inspiration in writing this fine newsletter. My wife and I are just now ending our mission in the Texas Houston East mission, our last assignment being in Lake Charles Louisiana, a great place to be. (The weather reminds me of São Paulo weather. ) I think a trip back to Brazil is in order once we finish this mission and reacquaint ourselves with our own families. So, thanks again; your newsletter is appreciated. Elder Jimmy R. Boswell and Sister Birgit Bachmann-Boswell (email@example.com)
Sister Nancy (Denhalter) Cropper (BM 66-68) is a tour guide at the Conference Center. “I had a fun experience a week ago. My husband and I are tour guides at the Conference Center. On a VERY busy Friday, I arrived at the main desk just in time for the tour coordinator to say, "Nancy, we need your Portuguese!" Two Brazilian couples had arrived to take a tour. They turned out to be heading to the MTC the next day for training as mission presidents in Campinas and Porto Alegre Sul. It was a special blessing to show them the building.” Nancy (Denhalter) Cropper (Lncropper@juno.com)
Called to Serve
Clay (BNM 66-68) and Cookie Overson of St. Johns, AZ, are called to be Perpetual Education Fund specialists at Area Headquarters at São Paulo. It is a big job. They take the place of Richard (BM 66-68) and Marie Scadden who have been there for 15 months. The Scaddens were on our January 2010 Brazil tour before their mission and also hosted our April 2012 group with other senior couples when we visited the São Paulo Temple and had a fireside at the stake center there. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I asked Elder and Sister Scadden what their job entails, and here are some insights they shared: “Alf, Over the years, in Brazil, the PEF missionaries have had different assignments depending on when they served and the skills that were needed. In Brazil, PEF is part of the Welfare Department (Humanitarian, Employment and Family Services). Currently, we are the only PEF missionaries, but one of the other missionary couples in Humanitarian Services, who are Brazilian, has traveled with us to Education Fairs all around São Paulo where we have provided an information booth about PEFto give informational presentations about the importance of education.
“As PEF missionaries, primarily, we have office computer assignments to create vouchers for PEF payments to the schools. We also send hundreds of e-mails with the confirmation letter to the students, informing them that the payment to the school has been made. The computer processes are routine and repetitive, but essential for the communication from Brazil PEF headquarters to the thousands of individual students and the many schools all over Brazil. Elder Scadden also helps with reports being sent out to the priesthood leaders informing them of the PEF students living in their wards and stakes. He also helps send out information the students need to confirm the payments have been made to the schools. On some occasions, Elder Scadden has helped with English computer processing of humanitarian projects. We have been happy and content to do whatever we are asked to do. Elder Scadden speaks Portuguese at the office and translates for Sister Scadden who is progressing in speaking and understanding the language. Knowing the Portuguese language is not a necessity for Sister Scadden to do her computer assignment, but is an exciting adventure and worth the time spent in studying. In addition we have had the privilege of serving with other American missionary couples in a branch presidency at the São Paulo MTC working with the American Elders during the 9 weeks they are there. We have enjoyed our mission as PEF missionaries in Brazil. Elder Richard and Sister Marie Scadden” (email@example.com)
“Elder Cox’s Excellent Adventure” (Originally published in Brasulista #20)
Item from Alf: I would like to share an interesting experience from 2001 during a visit to my brother who lives in Brazil.
I was in São Paulo visiting my brother and was waiting at the church to meet two Elders of the Brazil Interlagos Mission and go out with them for the evening (by bus and on foot). I met a member named Luiz Villanueva who was refinishing pews there and learned he had been baptized in 1958 at age 10. He said he regretted he had been less active for many years until 6 years ago, but his family stayed active and he had a son who served a mission. When he learned that I had served in the early ‘60’s he said he wished he could find the Elder who baptized him, an Elder Cox. An Elder Bruce Cox. From Mesa, AZ. I said that it might be possible to locate Elder Cox through the Internet, if he were still alive. Who knows?
Next morning I got on my brother’s computer and found 9 Bruce Cox listings in Arizona, one of them in Mesa. So I emailed my BYU daughter and asked her to call them all on the weekend on that cell phone of hers, starting with the fellow in Mesa.
Well, my brother and I took off on a trip to the south of Brazil by car a couple days later. A week later we were in Porto Alegre visiting with my friends, mission president Lee and Tanny Radebaugh of the Porto Alegre South Mission, and it was transfer day. One set of parents arrived to pick up their American daughter who was completing her mission. I introduced myself as Alf Gunn and the dad said, “I know you! You sent me an email. I am Bruce Cox from Mesa, Arizona!” Ask, I thought, and ye shall receive. They were there to pick up their missionary daughter, Sister Mellissa Cox, the youngest of their eight children and the 8th to serve a mission. Wow!
Let me explain that on his mission Elder Cox had also baptized a great and faithful member of the Church, Osiris Grobel Cabral, who later was president of the Porto Alegre Mission in the early 80’s and now resides in São Paulo and is 1st Counselor at the MTC SP (in 2003). Now, this is Elder Cox’s amazing experience, so I will let him explain more about what happened on the rest of his trip to pick up his daughter:
“We did not actually meet Osiris Cabral until we were on the plane at Dallas, ready to depart to Brazil. He had been in Mesa, AZ about 20 years earlier and he met my father in the Temple, saw his name tag and asked if he knew an Elder Cox who was in Brazil 20 years earlier. My Father sent him to our Printing Company, about a block away, and we had a short reunion at that time. Twenty years later, we had a 2nd miraculous meeting on the plane.”
(Turns out that brother Cabral is in the same ward as Luiz Villanueva--remember, the fellow I met at the church--in SP, which is not a small city. So they arranged to meet Luiz in SP before Elder Cox flew back to the USA.)
Bruce later wrote me: “You may remember that our paths crossed two years ago when my wife and I went to Brazil and we met in Porto Alegre. You had your daughter contact me about a member in SP who wanted to get in touch with the missionary who had baptized him, and it was thought that I was that missionary. Well, the rest of that story would take more time than I have to tell it, but the final result was that I had not baptized him, (I had no record of it in my journal, and wondered what was happening). On our final day in SP, Irmão Osiris Cabral arranged for us to meet that man at the stake center. When we got there and met him, we discussed his baptism and my part in it, and decided that I was indeed there, but Elder Miller, my companion had actually baptized him. As we spoke, an older lady approached the building on foot, and the closer she got, the faster she was walking. When she approached us, she nearly ran and threw her arms around me and said, “O meu Elder! Agora posso morrer!”
“It was Luis’ mother who I had baptized and we spent lots of time in her home following that time. All these years she had wanted to see me again, and must have really prayed hard to arrange that encounter, because lots of things had to happen to make it possible. It was a glorious ending to a wonderful, even magical trip, and one that we will never forget.
Epilog: Bruce Cox served in the Brazilian Mission from 1957-60 at Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Santos & Campinas. Elder and Sister Cox sent all of their eight children on missions! I met them when they were picking up #8. Then they went on some missions of their own. From 2003 to 2004 they served together as Welfare Service Missionaries in the Employment Resource Center in downtown Rio de Janeiro, and learned and recalled their Portuguese. “We're loving our work here in Rio,” they wrote “and we're able to really enjoy it since we're together on this mission. The missions here have great need for Senior Couples, and more and more of us are entering into that stage in our lives where we can be of great assistance again to the Lord. We encourage others to join us.” From 2006 to 2007 they served in the Maputo Mozambique Mission, and again there from 2008 to 2009. In September 2012 they will begin service in the Manaus Temple for 18 months. (Bruce & Linda Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alf’s note: Dear Elder and Sister Cox, Parabens! You know that you guys are my heroes from way back. I hope you have a wonderful mission. Please keep sharing your mission experiences with me. My good missionary buddy Michael Dyal and his wife Margaret will be there too. Forte abraco, Alf
That’s it for now, folks. Thanks for your encouragement.
Gig Harbor, WA
“The acceptance of the reality that we are in the Lord’s loving hands is only a recognition that we have never really been anywhere else.” – Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve