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Brasulista #174

Newsletter of the early Brazilian missions, #174
June 23, 2014

In this issue:

Love of companions lasted for decades
Trivia Quiz:  Brazil’s largest and smallest missions
Race and the Priesthood links
Senior missionaries sought for Brazil missions
Called to Serve
Recalling the 1964 coup
Some Curitiba history

Love of companions lasted for decades

Love is spoken here - We do not announce the passing of missionaries in the Brasulista, since there would be quite a few each month. But I share here a story of the pure Christian love of former Sister companions, one for another, as shared by Sister Mary Etta Parkinson in an announcement to her fellow Sister missionaries on June 19, 2014:

“Those of you who served under President and Sister Bangerter, 1960-1962 as well as those sisters who frequented our sisters reunions will remember Maureen Daines Hodgen and her sweet 90-years-plus-mother, Sarah Daines. Maureen passed this morning after a brief illness from cancer.  She became aware of the cancer the day before our last Brazil Mission Reunion.  She was very forthcoming about her condition and Verna Sorensen Benson and I took lunch to her the next day. Maureen lived alone since the death of her husband in 2002.  As we sat together Verna, a former companion, asked if Maureen would like her to come and stay with her.  

“Yes, they both were using walkers, but Verna still had her capable nursing skills.  Since Mother’s Day, Verna has cared for Maureen, 24-7.  Last weekend I had the opportunity to relieve her for a few days. I saw more of Maureen’s goodness and the wonderful blessing of Verna’s service.

“On Maureen’s mirror where she could see it from her bed was a large-lettered quote from Sister Bangerter, “Enjoy It.”  It had been there for years.  We especially noted it Sunday when Verna returned and we had a mini sisters reunion before I left.  No Guarana, but “Enjoy It,” popcorn for refreshments and a selfie of the three of us qualified it as a sisters reunion.  The Bangerter influence continues.  

“Maureen’s brother, sisters, sister-in-law and step-sons all made a difference for her in numerous ways.  Her neighbors and friends were generous and kind.  

“Perhaps most of us think of Maureen as quiet, efficient and shy.  She was all of that.  What I now treasure of Maureen is her quick smiling response when surprised with any simple thing she enjoyed.  A special memory is her deep appreciation of the opportunity to partake of the sacrament at her bedside and the joy of listening to sacrament meeting services transmitted to her home Sunday.  Closely attached to those memories is Verna’s kind nursing service to her former Brazil mission companion. Brazil continues to bless us.

“Maureen’s obituary was published in the Deseret News.  She will be buried at the side of her husband, Robert Hodgen in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park in Salt Lake City.”  


Trivia Quiz:  Brazil’s largest and smallest missions

Trivia Quiz - Which mission in Brazil covers the smallest geographic area, and which mission covers the largest?  Find my answers below.

Things you may already know . . .
On a visit to Brazil in May, as reported in the June 8 Church News, Elder Russell M. Nelson noted that 27 of the 34 missions in Brazil are presided over by Brazilians. Elder Claudio R. M. Costa was one of the seven presidents of the Seventy recently, and Elder Ulisses Soares is in his second year as one of the seven presidents of the Seventy. There are 17 Area Seventies who are Brazilians, providing strong leadership.

Race and the Priesthood links

Race and the Priesthood - Note, at the beginning of June we celebrated 35 years since the priesthood was extended to men of all races.  The Deseret News that week did a long article noting the 35th anniversary and the Church statement on Race and the Priesthood.  If any wish to read that article—and I recommend it--here is the link and the link to the statement:

Trivia answers.  By my reckoning, the Brazil Manaus Mission is huge, não é?  I figured that the distance from the city of Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, to Boa Vista, Roraima, as the crow flies, is roughly the same distance as Salt Lake City is to Vancouver, British Columbia.  There are missionaries in both of those cities. Of course, I am pretty sure you can’t fly from Cruzeiro do Sul to Boa Vista as the crow flies without making some connections.  Cruzeiro do Sul is quite a bit closer to Lima, Peru, than it is to Manaus. Boa Vista is up there by Venezuela and the only major Brazilian city north of the equator, so its seasons are reversed, but not notably so.  My point?  Manaus is a big mission and mostly jungle!

The smallest mission, geographically, may well be the Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission, one of the five missions basically in São Paulo, or one of the six if you count Santos. Still, there are lots of folks in that one mission—some 6 million residents in the mission area. I am a “southie” but for you old “northies” who served in São Paulo, you may recognize the names of the mission zones there: Cocaia, Grajaú, Cipó, Casa Grande, Embu, Itapecerica, Santo Amaro,  Parque Santo Antônio, Parque Pinheiros, Guarapiranga, Ranieri, Interlagos, and Parque das Nações.  Seven of those names are also stakes today. Did you serve there the first time? Would you like to again?

Senior missionaries sought for Brazil missions

The new mission president who will preside in the Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission starting in July 1 is Loren Dalton (BSPS 81-83). He makes an appeal to those who would like to serve senior couple missions in this dynamic area: “Dear Alf: My wife and I will be entering the MTC for the New Mission Presidents' Seminar on June 21st.  We will be flying to Brazil on June 26th, where we will serve as the Presidents of the Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission.  This mission was in my mission (A Missão Brasil São Paulo Sul) when I served from 1981 through 1983 with Presidents Wilford Cardon and John Hawkins. I have been told that our mission has not had the blessing of a senior couple for more than five years!  We really need some senior couples!  So, who of you out there has a "hankering" to get back to that country you love??  We are ready to put you to work, blessing the lives of a lot of Brazilians. We would LOVE to have someone (husband or wife) with some medical background, but we also need some help in the office (even if you don't speak Portuguese).  However, if you want to be out in the field, we can accommodate that, as well. We would be so blessed to have some senior couples come give so much help to this wonderful mission.  Please prayerfully consider if it is time to serve. We are waiting with open arms.  You can reach me at

Alf’s note:  São Paulo is an impressive and modern city today, with very fine medical resources available. My brother has resided there for over 40 years and I have visited many times. The level of member leadership is high, but there are still great needs for senior couples who can bring experience and who can strengthen the members.

Disclaimer:  I must, in all fairness, say that there are needs for senior missionaries in many or all of the Portuguese-speaking missions, and President Dalton’s appeal would probably be echoed by all of the other mission presidents. Not so with all the temple missions, I understand, as the São Paulo Temple, for example, will try to fill their senior temple missionary needs from the Brazilian members in the 45 stakes they serve. These comments are my own and do not claim to represent Church policy.

 Called to Serve

My dear friend Denis (BSM 64-66) and Jackie Hawkins of Bountiful, UT, write:  “We have been called to the Europe Area, reporting to the Area President at Frankfurt, Germany.  We will be LDS Family Services Specialists, and will report to the Provo MTC on Monday, September 8th, serving for 18 months.  We are excited but overwhelmed with this calling, and thank all of you for your kindness, friendship, and love.  Love, Denis and Jackie Hawkins” (

Recalling the Brazilian military coup of 1964

Dear Alf, I was in São José do Rio Preto, in the interior of São Paulo state when the golpe occurred.  We were unaware that anything had happened until we got to the center of town and saw soldiers with Uzi's standing around.  All of the shops were closed that day.

 We had an investigator, António, who was a college student and student body president there at the local faculdade.  His dad ran a corner bar and we asked where he was.  Finally, he told us that António had been arrested.  Also, the husband of the daughter of one of our members was also in jail.  He was a city councilman from a left wing party.  Being Elders who didn't know better, we went to the city hall to get permission to visit them.  To our surprise we were granted permission.  They had arrested lots of people and so the two we were interested in were not in the jail, but locked up in a room in the city hall.  There were six in the room with mattresses on the floor (no chairs), and we were able to hold a discussion with our investigator and visit with the other cinco políticos.  What you might call a captive audience.

 I don't know what ultimately happened to all those arrested there.  Thankfully, the two we were interested in were released, unharmed, after a couple of weeks of captivity.

In 1975 my wife and I were living in Brasília and Brazil was still under military rule.  President Geisel was the head of government at that time.  President Spencer W. Kimball was on a tour of Latin America, holding area conferences.  Accompanied by Brother David M. Kennedy who had been Treasury Secretary under President Nixon, they flew to Brasília where Brother Kennedy had arranged a private meeting with President Geisel.  I believe this might have been the first time that a Church President had met with the Head of State in Brazil.  Brother Kennedy told us that President Kimball was received with great courtesy and interest.  
  Alf, we had no clue that President Kimball was in Brasilia.  But we received a call from our District President stating that Brother and Sister Kennedy were in town and wanted to spend the next day sightseeing.  He asked if we would take them around, which we were happy to do.  The next morning we rented a taxi for the day and picked them up at their hotel.  Then we learned why they were there and about President Kimball's visit (it was a very private visit and the members there did not know that he was passing through).   President Kimball flew out that morning for São Paulo and the Kennedys left the next day for Portugal.   We had a delightful day with the Kennedys.  They were interested in the architecture and especially wanted to see the library at the University of Brasilia.  He recounted his role in securing funding for the new general library at the University of Chicago, where he was a board member.  Very down to earth, lovely people.  Jerry Johnson (BM 62-65) (  p.s.  We enjoyed meeting you last year in Lisbon where we were serving our mission.

Some Curitiba history

Ross Vieweg (BM 48-50) and his wife Joy were on our recent tour in Brazil, and represented well the missionaries of his era. We had a great time together. I mentioned last month that he had purchased a house to be used as a meetinghouse during his mission.  He explains: “Alf:  I need to clarify the matter of the house purchase in Curitiba when I was there as a missionary from 1948-50. My companion and I, with the permission of the local branch president, did sign for the house to be used as the chapel for the branch. True, we did not obtain permission from the mission president before signing for the house. We were told to "get" a new place for the branch to meet in, and we did so, just not doing so in the right manner, that is, with the president's OK first. The president was teaching us a lesson in obedience and proper protocol when he said to us, "Elder, since you bought the house, you can pay for it." The branch did pay for the remodeling and refurbishing of the house to be used as a chapel. The branch loved the house; the president liked the house, thought we did well in getting it, and okayed the purchase of it. When I recovered from a massive sun burn that I got from a beach party in São Francisco after we finished the remodeling of the house and moved in, the president transferred me to the mission home in São Paulo so he could "keep an eye on that upstart missionary," where I served as editor of the mission magazine. (Yes, I really did learn to speak Portuguese.) Ross Vieweg (BM 48-50)

 Item: Brother Michael Benning (BM 63-65) of San Jose, CA, writes:
The “Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965” collection has been indexed and can be searched by name.  It is found at

If you arrived in Brazil before 1966, search your name at that site.

Here is a link to records for someone you may know.


Brother Benning notes, Many missionaries, such as myself (1963-1965), who served in the Brazilian Mission landed in Rio but did not actually/officially entered Brazil until they got to São Paulo.  Those who would like to try to find their registration need to go to “Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902-1980” on the FamilySearch site and search alphabetically at (

Isn’t it wonderful that so many records are available?  Bro. Michael Benning   (

As for the 2014 World Cup Brazil, all I will say is “Oláaa, olá, olá, oláaaa!”

Um abraço do irmão

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

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