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Located deep in the South of the United States, missionaries can expect to get some Southern cooking in addition to typical American food. Fried chicken, grits, biscuits and gravy, okra, and collard greens are just some of the popular southern dishes you are likely to encounter while serving in the Birmingham Alabama Mission!
Missionaries will generally get around using either cars or bicycles, depending on the designation for their area. Designations are generally based on the size of the area and leadership assignments.
Birmingham has one of the most extensive networks of highways and roadways in the Southeast. Four Interstate Highways serve the area: Interstate 20, Interstate 65, Interstate 59, and Interstate 22, as well as a southern bypass expressway Interstate 459, which connects with I-20/59 to the southwest, with I-65 the south, I-20 to the east, and I-59 to the northeast.
The city of Birmingham has one of the highest crime rates in the United States. Missionaries should be aware of their surroundings and avoid dangerous areas. Other cities (especially rural areas) are much safer than Birmingham. However by obeying mission rules and staying obedient, missionaries will be safe and guided in their actions.
The University of Alabama is located in Tuscaloosa. You can expect to meet many fans of the university throughout the state, and will probably hear yells of “Roll tide!” around the time of an Alabama sporting event (especially football).
Birmingham is considered to be Alabama’s cultural and entertainment capital. The area is home to several art galleries such as the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Southeast’s largest art museum. The city is also home to several ballets and orchestras. Several music, film, and other cultural festivals are held in Birmingham throughout the year.
You’ll probably hear some strong southern accents while serving in the Alabama Birmingham Mission! Besides different word pronunciations, there are several slang terms unique to the southern United States. Here are a few commonly used ones:
“fixin’ to” – about to do something
“yonder” – over there
“reckon” – to think
There are plenty of interesting things to see and do in Alabama! Some notable sites in the Birmingham area include several historical sites related to the civil rights movement, such as the 16th Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park. Oak Mountain State Park has several hiking trails and Red Mountain (which sits at the southern tip of the Appalachian mountains) provides a scenic view of Birmingham.
3100 Lorna Rd Ste 102
Birmingham AL 35216
Straight from the Alabama Birmingham Mission field:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
“You could get anything you needed”
*What did you eat the most of?
“We shopped and ate our own cooking with very few dinner appointments. I cooked pot roast with potatoes and carrots most Sundays.”
“Fried chicken, collard greens grits!, In all honesty I didn’t get offered those things much but actually it was quite normal to what I ate in AZ. Members would feed us Mexican food, lasagna, casseroles etc. And as a missionary we ate a lot of ramen noodles in our apt. and cereal.”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Sweat Potato Pie for Thanksgiving, it was really good.”
“Beans and hog jowls”
“tasted pickled pig feet.”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“Trees are very thick, no hills or mountains to speak of like Utah, so orientation was difficult”
“Couldn’t always understand the language”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Alabama Birmingham Mission?
“Study the Bible, there are brilliant people that have weird ideas about what the scriptures mean.”
“Love the people”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“I wish I had more time in the temple before I left”
“So glad I went. So thrilled for the YW being able to head out sooner.”