Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #145
May 29, 2012
Bom dia, queridos!
In this issue:
Brazil to dedicate 6th temple, at Manaus, Amazonia
Report on the Six-Temple Tour of Brazil
Called to serve: Manaus, São Paulo, Mexico, Porto Alegre, and Lisbon
A stake in the Cape Verde islands
BRAZIL TO DEDICATE SIXTH TEMPLE
From the Church website: “The First Presidency has announced that the Manaus Brazil Temple will be formally dedicated in three sessions on Sunday, June 10, 2012. . . . A cultural celebration featuring music and dance will be held the evening before. Both the cultural celebration and the dedicatory sessions will be broadcast to all congregations in Brazil.”
Note: There are marvelous stories yet to be recounted of the faith of the Manaus saints who sacrificed so much to receive their own endowments and then return to the Lord’s temples. Now they will have one at Manaus, a thousand miles up the Amazon River.
CALLED TO SERVE
My missionary buddy Michael Dyal (BSM 62-65) and his wife Margaret, who both retired to Springville, UT, are called to serve in the Manaus Temple. Parabens!
SIX TEMPLE TOUR
Here is a report of our recent Six-Temple Tour of Brazil. First, a note from one couple who were there: LaVerl and Carol Wilhelm:
“Alf, It was a wonderful experience that exceeded our expectations in the spiritual uplift that it provided on a daily basis. We often commented on the how heavenly it felt to be in the presence of fellow travelers who all had their minds and interests on heavenly things. The accommodations were superb and there was always time to enjoy where we were. We also immensely enjoyed the (post-tour) trip to Iguaçu Falls with the Storrs. Again we had plenty of time to enjoy that area and our guide was especially attentive to our wishes. We even got to take a tour of Itaipu! And because of the extra rain in Curitiba a few days before, the falls were bigger than expected for this time of year. Thanks for all the effort you made each day to make this such a successful tour.”
Well it was wonderful. There were 26 of us. Four of our couples were former mission presidents (one served in Siberia, the others in Brazil). The Brazilian presidents held mini-reunions in many cities with “their” missionaries. I crashed a couple reunions just to see the great love their missionaries have for them. From Doug and Eleanore Whisenant:
“We really appreciated the flexibility provided at evenings. While Alf always found a good place for the group to eat dinner, we were given the option to participate or not. This not only gave Eleanor and I the ability to “opt out” when we felt too tired and too overfed, but more importantly gave us the flexibility we needed to hold reunions with our missionaries in every city we stopped at. By the way, our reunion attendance varied from 12 in Porto Alegre to 120 in São Paulo and we were able to see over half of our 260 Brazilian missionaries. Dick Jensen, thank you for making the special flight and hotel arrangements for our return to São Paulo for our reunion there... they were perfect! Without a doubt, this tour exceeded our expectations. As expected, the temples were very beautiful and uplifting. The Brazilian people were open and loveable as always. The tour guides and drivers were capable and affable. I was impressed with how everything went off as planned and with few hitches. The visit to the CTM in São Paulo, and the stopover at the old mission home in Curitiba were highlights. Thank you!”
At the beginning of our tour, we enjoyed a jungle tour at the Parque Ecológico de Januari, Amazonas, near Manaus, and cruising on the Rio Negro to the Meeting of the Waters. Our tour guide was a bright young married man who taught us much about the Amazon and Manaus. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPUFWGy7IgM for a film of a jungle tour boat—one just like ours.)
Did you know that there is for the first time a bridge across part of the Amazon—actually across the Rio Negro? The The Manaus-Iranduba Bridge, called the Ponte Rio Negro in Brazil, is a four-lane, cable stay, bridge, 3.5 kilometers long. It opened in October 2011. Here is one article about it promising to open more of the Amazon region to development near Manaus:
My hotel roomie was Kent Williams (BSM 62-64) of Walnut Creek, CA, who had taught members of the Domingo and Eliza Cardozo family in Caixias do Sul, RS, starting with the baptism of their two boys and a daughter. In the last four cities we visited Kent was met at the airport or the temple by members/descendents of that one family, active in the Church with histories of service and beautiful families. There were lots of abraços and tears of joy. It became the Kent Williams reunion tour!
We met with mission and temple presidents—I wish I could share much more—who spoke with us and shared some of their faith-building experiences.
Elder Robert Baird, serving at the Recife Temple with his wife Vonnie, gave us a marvelous presentation about the first missionaries called to Recife. Elder Baird had been the fifth missionary to be sent there, so what a thrill to be back there now serving in the beautiful temple. He told us how the first missionaries, Elder Michael Norton and Stanley Dunn, met and taught the Milton Soares family in 1960, (Milton and wife Irene, Irajá, Irecê, Moema, and Solange). Then we met Irajá who shared with us more stories about the family’s early days with the missionaries. Both Irajá and his brother Mozart (who was born a few years later) have served as Area Seventies in Brazil.
President and Sister Oakes at the Campinas Temple shared so much with us about that temple and also about the remodeling of the São Paulo Temple in 2004. President and Sister Neeleman at the beautiful São Paulo Temple welcomed us. Then we met with many couples currently serving in Area Headquarters there. All inspired us.
Elders Holland and Cook of the Twelve were also touring Brazil—not where we were, so we were fortunate to be able to meet with busy leaders, such as President and Sister Knighton of the Porto Alegre Temple, President and Sister Swenson of the Porto Alegre South Mission and President and Sister Pavan of the Porto Alegre North Mission (who all met with us after taking Elder Holland to the airport.) Everybody was so kind to us. We enjoyed attending Sunday services in both Recife and Porto Alegre. I always learn things from the Brazilian saints: Faith, humility, steadfastness, service and love.
MORE CALLED TO SERVE
From Richard (BM 66-68) and Rhea Miner of Las Vegas, NV: “We are returning to São Paulo again in June to serve in the Temple there. We had so many great experiences in Rio Grande do Sul the last two years, that we cannot wait to get back to Brazil now serve to in the temple. We missed out on the temple in Santiago and São Borja (the Brazil Santa Maria Mission), where the senior couples are asked to stay in their mission boundaries. Abraços. Tchau, Elder and Sister Miner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Got a nice note from Elder John Ball (BSM 64-67). He and his wife Ginny retired in 2010 and went to Qingdao, Shandong, China with the BYU China Teachers Program. “It was a fabulous experience,” he writes. “The people were wonderful, the city and country were amazing, and our students were incredible. I had the same experience on three different occasions, with different classes. I was teaching and all of a sudden was overcome with a feeling of such deep, intense love for all of the students in the room that I had to steady myself on the desk to keep from toppling over, and tears came to my eyes. I just loved them SO much. As I pondered those experiences, I came to realize that Heavenly Father was allowing me to feel a portion of the love that He has for the people in China. It was a glorious, life-changing experience. We have several life-long friends from among our students there. Also, with all the walking and stair-climbing, I lost about 90 pounds in China and all of my health problems disappeared. Now I could qualify medically to go on a mission!”
“We are now in Mexico City, working with the Mexico Area Perpetual Education Fund. It is fantastic! But I can’t believe HOW MANY differences there are between Portuguese and Spanish. I thought that I spoke pretty good Spanish until I got here and have to speak it all day. Other American missionaries have trouble, and speak Spanglish until they really get the language. My problem is not Spanglish, but Portañol. One interesting thing is that Ginny and I replaced one of my mission companions in this calling. Harold Don Norton (BSM 64-66) was my companion in Apucarana, PR, my second city.” Things are great, the Church is true, and our Heavenly Father loves us. (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and
801-224-1713--Vonage line – call this Utah number, and it rings in Mexico. Worked great in China, too.)
Note from Alf: Some have demonstrated that it is possible to learn Portuguese and Spanish and keep them mostly separate. I tell folks that the two languages are very similar; that there are only a million differences. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a Portuguese-speaking mission if you would rather speak Portuguese.
From Elder Neal Shirley (BSM 67-69) and Sister Cathie Shirley of St. Anthony, ID: “Bom dia, Alf. Just a note to let you know that Cathie and I will enter the MTC on October 1, and will be serving a proselyting mission for 18 months in the Porto Alegre South mission. I want to thank you for the contact information that you provided. I believe that it had a significant effect on things that have transpired. We are very excited. So many things have come together at this time, which all seem to indicate that we are doing what we are supposed to do. I can hardly wait to have my wife get to know the wonderful people in the same mission where I served 45 years ago. Keep up the good work. Sincerely, Elder Neal and Sister Cathie Shirley” (email@example.com)
From Elder Michael Henry (BSM 59-62) of Corning, CA: “My wife, Francie, and I are preparing to go to Lisbon, Portugal to assist in introducing the Perpetual Education Fund to Europe. We had been preparing to try to return to Brazil for a second mission when we received a request to accept a call to go to Lisbon to assist in organizing the Church's effort to encourage the youth in Europe to get a better education and better employment. We are scheduled to enter the MTC on June 11th and will get to Lisbon on June 26th.
“The latest Brasulista has information about Moroni Torgan who was called at General Conference to be an Area authority Seventy and is currently the President of the Portugal, Lisbon Mission. We will work under the direct supervision of the Area Presidency of Europe, but our ecclesiastical leader will be President Torgan (for about five days). I am very anxious to spend some time with President Torgan because in 1961, I was blessed with the privilege of teaching Moroni's father, João, and being a part of his baptism and confirmation. Elder Barry Maashoff and I, as traveling Elders, were working with Elder Clint Matlock and Elder Lloyd Halls in Porto Alegre when Elder Matlock challenged João to be baptized (he had been attending church with his member wife for many years). Several miracles occurred during one of the most spiritual weeks of my mission. Some of the events are too personal to share in such a public forum, but they resulted in João's baptism at about 1:00 am in the font in Canoas by President Asael T. Sorensen. President Torgan was very young at the time and I don't know how much he knows about his dad's "miracle" baptism. I hope to be able to share some first-hand information with him of which he might not be aware. I have always considered this experience as one of the highlights of a wonderful missionary venture.
“My wife and I had a wonderful 23-month mission in Brazil that began five years ago. We worked the entire time in Chapecó in western Santa Catarina. We saw tremendous growth which continues today. We continue to have constant contact with many of our beloved friends in Chapecó. One branch has become four in those five years.
“One of the most satisfying experiences was when we were in the new Curitiba temple with three couples who were to be sealed that day. When I was introduced to the man who would act as the sealer, I immediately recognized him as a very close friend from 51 years previously. Nobou Suzuki was baptized by my companion, Elder Richard Jones, shortly after I arrived as a new missionary in December 1959. On our second trip to the Curitiba temple I brought a picture of Brother Suzuki's baptism which I made from an old slide I had brought with us. The joy in Brother Suzuki's face and the tears that came to his eyes were very meaningful. He shared with us that for over 50 years he had not had a picture of his baptism. His joy was evident.
“These are examples of some of the great experiences that can come as senior missionaries. We look forward to having meaningful experiences in Portugal and encourage those who are able to come join the great missionary force and open the door for the Lord's blessings. Michael R. Henry”
Alf’s note: During out temple tour in April we met Brother Nobuo Suzuki, a man whom I greatly respect, at the Curitiba Temple, where he is serving as a sealer. See the attached photo of Brother and Sister Suzuki from 1965, furnished to me by Elder Mark Zaugg. Also see a photo of President and Sister Torgan attached.
A STAKE IN CABO VERDE!
During our missionary cruise of 2010, we visited Mindelo city on one of the islands of this archipelago of ten islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometers off the coast of Western Africa. We attended a baptism of a fine young man, who the Sisters said would serve a mission. And our guide was a Brazilian. Missionaries that we met were from the USA, Brazil and Portugal. Here is the news from a member website:
Já temos a primeira Estaca em Cabo Verde
Está criada a Estaca da Praia! Aconteceu hoje, dia 29 de Abril, no Palácio da Assembleia Nacional, por volta das 10h da manhã, perante uma assistência de cerca de 1000 pessoas, incluindo investigadores, membros e amigos da Igreja.
A Presidência da Estaca da Praia: Rosevelt Teixeira (centro), Adilson Monteiro (esquerda) e José Pires (direita)
O Elder Erich W. Kopischke, membro do Quórum dos Setenta e Presidente da Área da Europa, presidiu ao evento que coincidiu com a sessão de Domingo da última conferência do Distrito da Praia. A partir de hoje, deixa de existir o Distrito da Praia e nasce a Estaca da Praia! No evento, foi apoiada e posteriormente designada a primeira presidência de Estaca de Cabo Verde:
Rosevelt Teixeira, Presidente
Adilson Monteiro, primeiro Conselheiro
José Pires, segundo Conselheiro
Com a criação da Estaca da Praia, o Elder José A. Teixeira, membro do Quórum dos Setenta e Conselheiro na presidência da Área da Europa, pediu o apoio dos membros da Igreja aos primeiros Sumo-Sacerdotes de Cabo Verde, que passaram a fazer parte da Presidência e do Sumo-Conselho da Estaca.
A Estaca da Praia é constituída por 6 Alas (Praia 1, Praia 2, Praia 3, Praia 4, Assomada e Tarrafal) e 2 Ramos (Praia 5 e Ribeirão Manuel). Proximamente, a presidência da Estaca irá propor à Primeira Presidência da Igreja, os nomes dos irmãos que deverão ser chamados como os primeiros Bispos de Cabo Verde, para cada uma das Alas criadas, bem como o nome da pessoa que deverá ser o Patriarca da Estaca.
Era efetivamente grande a Alegria e o entusiamo dos membros da Igreja presentes no evento, em relação à criação da Estaca da Praia! É um trabalho de todos, desde Janeiro de 1989 altura em que chegaram a Cabo Verde os primeiros missionários . Na verdade, o coração dos membros da Igreja em todo Cabo Verde está em grande festa!
We rejoice with the Cabo Verde saints.
Alf Gunn (BSM 62-65)
Gig Harbor, WA firstname.lastname@example.org 253-851-1099