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Cristo300Brasulista #91

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #91
September 3, 2007

Bom dia!  Tudo azul? 

Attached:  A photo of Brother and Sister Jovino Martins of Erechim, 1969, with the greatest futebol player of all time. (Furnished by Michael Vehawn)

In this issue:

Construction of the Curitiba Temple – photos at link
Reunions coming up
Brazilian member is 119 years old
Called to Serve
The Pikel family of Araraquara
Stories I Hear
Gordon and Kay Peters at the MTC Provo
Gary and Rose Neeleman’s new cookbook, “A Taste of Brazil”
History of the work in South America synopsized in Church News headlines


Due to a cancellation for medical reasons, two seats have opened up for our Brazil tour, November 6-16, 2007, including the Foz do Iguaçu and Rio at no extra cost.  Call Christine Garcia at Morris Murdock Travel, 800-445-6005 ext 6470 or 801-483-6470 if you would like to join us for this unbeatable trip.  See this site:
then add two mission president firesides, a tour of the Curitiba Temple site, and a session at the Porto Alegre Temple.  Puxa!



Many of us are looking forward with our fellow saints in Brazil to the completion of the Curitiba Temple in the city that is dear to our hearts.  I don’t know yet when it will be dedicated,  but have heard April 2008 mentioned as a possible date.  I plan to visit the temple in months or years after it is dedicated, but know that it can be difficult to plan ahead for the actual dedication.  Also, there are thousands of saints in Brazil who will deserve to be first in line to attend the dedication, so am not personally aiming for that.  But there is a very nice collection of photos of the temple under construction on the Church website.  Enjoy this:,11437,1940-1-29-0,00.html


Note:  Anybody organizing reunions of early Brazilian missions, please send the information to me as soon as possible and I will include announcements in upcoming issues of the Brasulista.

Joint Missionary Reunion --  Jensen, Howells, and Rex
The Rulon Howells group (46-50), Harold Rex group (50-53) and Tom Jensen group (66-69) will meet at the Grant Stake Pavillion, 3401 S. 1100 East in Salt Lake on Thursday, October 4th from noon to 4 pm.  There will be Guaraná, Feijoada, and fun.  Bring yourselves, memories and stories of your mission and what has happened since your mission. Also $4/person to defray expenses.  Contact Lloyd Stevens, 801-266-1962, Tom Jensen, 801-487-4037, Tal Huber, 801-765-0343 or   Val Carter

Alf’s note: I like this combined reunion.  The Howells and Rex missionaries had been talking about a reunion for some time and when one of them, President Tom Jensen, invited them to join his group to get reunions going again they accepted his invitation.  Pres. Rex presided over the Brazilian mission from after WWII to 1949.  Pres. Howells took his place and presided until November 1953.


I don’t have the greatest email service.  It only allows me to send to 50 persons at a time, so as to not appear to be spamming.  So when I send out a Brasulista to over 2,000 of you I send to groups of 50 with a 1-hour break between mailings.  It takes me three days at a minimum.  So you can understand, I am sure, why I have this policy:  “I send the newsletter to missionaries who served before 1975 or so.  You may forward this to any "younger" missionaries, but for the sake of manageability, please don't ask me to send to them, unless they are Brazilians or mission presidents or some special case.”  What I suggest is that when you meet younger returned missionaries, you add them to your own email address book and forward Brasulistas to them.  Of course, I welcome notes from any and all about the Church in Brazil, the history, the missionary work there, etc.

Also, thanks for advising me of any changes of email address.


Sister Monti Jones, a welfare missionary in the Brazil Area, notes that “According to our sampling of a recent Welfare Department survey of Brazilian members only about one in seven adults surveyed was raised in the church--of 189 respondents only 26 were baptized when eight years old.”  (


Item:  When the first mission in Brazil was formed in 1935, Amelia Costa dos Santos was already 47 years old.  When I went on my mission, she was 74.  An article in the Church News of August 18, 2007, reports that Sister Amelia joined the Church at age 111, and now at 119 she is the oldest member of the Ajuricaba Ward (okay, and perhaps the oldest living person in the world), Manaus Brazil Ponta Negra Stake.  The mother of 15, she was baptized by her grandson Nilzomar Souza.  The family hopes “Vovozinha,” as she is known, will live a little longer to witness the Manaus Brazil Temple dedication.  Her secret to long life?  Drink lots of milk and always be very obedient to your parents.  Pois é.  


Richard N. Christensen (BSM 64-66) and wife Pam, after having served as a counselor/assistant matron for 1 1/2 years in the Columbus Ohio Temple Presidency and then as a counselor/assistant matron  for 3 years to another temple president there, have been called as the President and Matron of the Columbus Ohio Temple.  They will start Nov 1, 2007.  President and Sister Christensen previously presided over the São Paulo Interlagos Mission from 1999 to 2002.   Hence their email.  (  Congratulations and best wishes to the Christensen’s!  We have such wonderful people in our group.


Sister Susan Merrill Garber, (71-73) of Provo, UT writes:  “Alf, Thank you for keeping us up to date on the mission.  I really do like the correspondence.  I’m going to South Brazil next month for 3 weeks.  First time back since the mission.  I'm going to stay with "the gente" and they have asked me to speak in church!  I"ll let you know the highlights of my trip.  My little connection -- I was President Earnshaw and President Hutchison's teacher in the LTM.  They were both in the first district I taught after my mission.  It was amazing to me that they both were later Mission Presidents.  I hope I did a good job!  Sincerely,  Susan "Sister Merrill" Garber (”   (Sounds like she did.)


“Hi, my name is Mirtes Pikel Rodrigues and I always enjoy reading your emails. I'm from Brasil, cidade de Araraquara.  President Bangerter was the mission president when we were baptized and we became very good friends.  My father Romeu Pikel was one of the first Branch Presidents and the first District President in that area, around 1960 and he was the construction supervisor in the first chapel built in the same area.  He and my mother, Clara Pikel, are now deceased.  My husband is Moacyr Rodrigues, and his parents were Manoel and Eletra Dall’acqua Rodrigues, also deceased now.  Both families were baptized in 1960 by Elders Gordon Peters, Robert Newman and Edward Moss.  So, I'm looking for some "entries" from missionaries journals about my father and things that happened during that time about the "Pikel family.”  I really appreciate your help regarding this. Thank you so much!! Mirtes Pikel Rodrigues, 8224 South 5390 West, West Jordan, UT 84088” (

Stories I Hear
The above note from Sister Rodrigues prompted me to locate Edward Moss (BM 59-62) in Richfield, UT, who recalled the Pikel family.  He says that he and his companion were sent to Araraquara in 1960 by President Bangerter.  It was a difficult city, where even sisters who had been sent there had had rocks thrown at them.  Elder Moss and his companion Gordon Peters tracted out the city without success down to the last 200 homes, and it was anticipated that the city would be closed to the work when they completed.  Things were so slow that they were working two days a week in San Carlos.  Elder Moss always wanted to teach the Book of Mormon lesson to families who admitted them, but his senior companions said, "First lesson first.”  When he and Elder Parks came to the Pikel home they were invited in and Elder Moss saw a copy of the Book of Mormon on a bookshelf.  He told the family, “We’re here to tell you about that book.”  The family had bought the book ten years earlier.  The family’s conversion became the genesis for the Church’s growth in Araraquara.

By the way, the day that his mission call letter had come to his home, Elder Moss was at work at a factory and a lady co-worker asked him where he was going on his mission.  He replied, “Brazil.”  He went home and saw the envelope, and his sister asked him, “Where do you think you are going on your mission?”  “Brazil,” he said.  He opened the letter and confirmed it.

After Clara Pikel died, her daughter Mirtes found a photo and note asking that if she ever went to the United States she try to find Elder Moss to thank him for bringing the restored gospel to their home.  He believes the family allowed them to teach because he was humble—because he did not speak the language well at that time.  

Years after the Pikel family’s conversion, Elder Moss met a brother whose mission in Brazil ten years before his consisted of selling copies of the Book of Mormon in various cities.  He recalled he had sold one in Araraquara.  (Elder Moss is at


Here is a note from Sister Kay Peters of Provo, UT:  “Dear Brother Gunn:  Your Brasulista newsletter means so much to my husband and me and to our daughters who practically "grew up" in Brasil.  My husband Gordon Peters served in the Brasil Mission under President Bangerter in about 1959-1961.  He served as President of the Portugal Lisbon North Mission from 1993-96.  He was recently called to serve in the Portuguese Branch Presidency at the Provo MTC, and I was called as his companion.  We love this calling and love being with missionaries again.  

“We just sent quite a large district of missionaries to Mozambique which made me very interested in reading about that mission and seeing the pictures sent by Elder and Sister John Dow.  I will also try their email address and hope to send a message to "our missionaries" and hear how the work is going in Mozambique and Angola.

 “We enjoyed so much the last edition of the Brasulista with the letters from the Bangerter children.  We lived quite close to them in São Paulo starting in 1978.  We had just arrived in São Paulo in May, and in June took our little girls to the meetinghouse by the temple for Primary where we rejoiced with the Brazilian Saints in the Vila Sonia Ward (maybe it was still a branch) with the news that the priesthood would be available to all worthy males.  And by October of that year, we were serving in the São Paulo Temple as families came for sealings who couldn't have entered the temple prior to that revelation of June 1978.  My husband was serving as a counselor to President Harry Maxwell of the São Paulo North Mission at that time, and they shortly received Elder Marcus Martins (son of Helvecio Martins) as a missionary.  He had cancelled his wedding to serve a mission because he could then receive the priesthood and go to the temple.  Our children were in school with Layne and Duella Bangerter and Howard and Peggy were there at that time also as I recall.  We met in the same building, but we were in Vila Sonia Ward, and they were in Ala Cinco.  Our children all attended Escola Graduada de São Paulo together, and we had many memorable occasions in each other's homes.

We were able to send an Elder to the Brasil MTC last week, and we have one other still in our branch awaiting his visa.  He will be going to João Pessoa.  I taught them to say "Tudo azul?" to surprise their colleagues in the Brasil MTC (CTM).  This phrase isn't used in Portugal which is too bad.  The balance of our missionaries just now are going to Portugal.  We receive some new Elders tonight, and we are anxious to meet them and minister to them while they are in the MTC.

I find it difficult to talk about Brasil and Portugal in few words, so apologize for writing so much.  I do hope you can help us in our desire to learn more about Mozambique and Angola.

Keep up the good work with the Brasulista.  Gordon and Kay Peters (

p.s.  We have found a small take-out place near us which sells authentic Brazilian food.  My daughter and I had pão de queijo yesterday that melted in our mouths.  We are looking forward to bringing home a full feijoada very soon.  They also have quindin, pudim de caramelo, croquettes and much more.  It is “Brasil/Brazil” located at 1605 South State Street, Orem, Utah, 84097, phone number, 801-434-7011.

Alf’s notes:  I believe the term “tudo azul,” came from the German colonies in southern Brazil, as a translation of a German expression that was “alles blau” or some such.  I recall hearing “Alles blau em Blumenau.”

President Harry John Maxwell (BM 47-50), mentioned above as former president of the SP North Mission (78-81), was from Rigby, ID.  He died at age 58, a few years after his mission presidency.  He was acting president of Ricks College. 


The following news release comes to us from São Paulo, Brazil, and Sandy, UT, announcing a new cookbook you may find to be the perfect Christmas gift for the person who cooks for you.  Our alumnus Gary Neeleman served his first mission in Brazil from 54-57.

“Brazilian Cuisine is growing in popularity across the United States, and Gary and Rose Neeleman, in their new book entitled, “A Taste of Brazil”, will be exposing thousands more Americans to the wonder of Brazilian cooking and culture.

“For over 40 years, Rose has been collecting Brazilian recipes from friends and associates and now, for the first time, an array of these amazing recipes will be published in English and made available to the general public.  Over the years Rose translated these recipes into English and has carefully adapted them to US measurements and available ingredients.  The cookbook is published by the University of São Marcos Press in São Paulo.  The book also includes a narrative of her exposure to Brazil in the early 1960’s when she lived in São Paulo with her husband, Gary, and 4 young children.  Gary was an international correspondent for United Press International and in the 10 years the couple lived in this country, Brazil became their home away from home.  They have not missed visiting Brazil at least once a year since 1958.  Three of their children carry dual citizenship.  In fact, 19 of their 32 grandchildren are also dual citizens through their parents.

“A Taste of Brazil” was officially launched on May 31st at the Tordesilhas Restaurant and Gary and Rose were available to meet with representatives of Brazilian Media and many of their close friends.  

“Most of the major cities in the US and other parts of the world have Brazilian restaurants where a wide variety of Brazilian dishes are available from the typical churrasco rodizios to more refined dining.  These restaurants are responsible for the increased interest in Brazilian food in the United States.

“Rose says the introduction of her collection into her native US is the realization of a long-time dream—a labor of love.  ‘With thousands of Mexican, Italian, Asian, Indian and other ethnic cookbooks being sold each year in the USA, American cooking aficionados deserve at least one good Brazilian cookbook,’ she said.

“A Taste of Brazil” will be distributed and marketed in the USA through various retail bookstores, web sites, and the many Brazilian/US Chambers of Commerce, and Brazilian American associations.”

Alf’s note:  But you heard it here first.  The book sells for $24.99.  Brother Neeleman is currently the Honorary Brazil consul in the State of Utah.  See their websites at (don’t forget to write “the” ahead of Brazilian Cookbook or (be sure to spell Brazil with an “s” as they do in Brazil.   For more information call Neeleman International 801-363-4936.  And yes, Rose and Gary are the parents of David Neeleman, founder and executive of Jet Blue airlines.


I stumbled across an index of Church News articles about the Church in Latin America and Brazil 1931 to 1990), which was compiled by Dr. Mark Grover (BM c66-69), Latin American Studies Biographer of BYU.  Just reading the headlines and Mark’s brief description was educational.  If you want to see it go to
I believe the articles themselves are only available on microfilm.

Forte abraços,                                                               

Alf Gunn of Gig Harbor, WA - USA * 253-307-3338 *  * BSM 62-65

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