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Snapshot of Brazil – The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, making it distinct from the rest of South America. The Brazilian people are mostly descended from a mix of European, African, and indigenous ancestry, though this varies from region to region. The Roman Catholic Church is Brazil’s dominant religion, particularly in areas such as Teresina, Florianópolis, and Fortaleza. However, the Roman Catholic church has been decreasing in popularity in recent years as various Protestant and Evangelical churches have been growing rapidly. Other religious traditions are also practiced in various parts of the country, such as traditional indigenous beliefs in the north of the country, or Afro-Brazilian religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda that are concentrated in Salvador, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro. There has been some conflict between these different religious groups. While Brazil’s culture as a whole is influenced by Portuguese, African, indigenous, and Roman Catholic traditions, there is great variation from region to region. The south of the country is more strongly influenced by German and Italian culture. Brazil has a strong history in literature, architecture, and film. Brazil is also home to many unique musical styles, such as samba, pagode, and funk (especially popular in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia), forró and frevo (popular in the northeast), and sertanejo (popular in Mato Grosso and Paraná). The yearly festival Carnaval (held each year forty-six days before Easter) is a major event, celebrated by parades, dancing, and music contests. The holiday is especially popular in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, to the point that missionary work is sometimes restricted during the week of Carnaval. Television is especially popular in modern Brazilian culture, especially novelas (Brazilian soap operas). Soccer is by far the most popular sport in Brazil, though volleyball, basketball, and several forms of martial arts (such as Capoeira and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) are also popular. Food in Brazil also varies from region to region, but there are some similarities throughout the country. Lunch is generally the main meal of the day, and rice and beans are eaten at almost every meal. The meals usually involve some type of meat as well as a small salad. Popular dishes include feijoada (a thick stew typically made with black beans and pork), pasta, and potatoes. Southern Brazil is famous for its churrascos (Brazilian-style grilled meat) and chimmarrão (a hot drink made using herba mate). Salgados (fried snacks similar to Spanish tapas) and the pastel (pastry envelopes filled with meat or cheese) are popular snack items. Pizza buffets are also popular, with many different types of pizza available, though Brazilian pizza generally does not have sauce. Rather, people add either ketchup or mustard to their pizza. Other restaurants sell meals buffet-style where the consumer pays for food by weight (per kilo). Many types of tropical fruit are also available in Brazil, and drinks made from fruit such as açai and guaraná are quite popular.
Many of the members in the area have been in the church for decades and will do a lot to help the missionaries. These members also tend to be very empathetic to new converts and do what they can to help the new converts feel welcome and loved.
A favorite of many missionaries is Amonha, which is freshly barbecued linguica, with corn and melted cheese on top. Another popular dish, the Galinhada, is a mix of rice, corn, and shredded chicken with Brazilian spices. In this part of Brazil it is common to eat traditional beans, rice, and chicken with a small salad for lunch. Pao de Quiejo, or cheese bread, is also popular.
Most missionaries in the area travel on foot, but buses and taxis are readily available in every city.
If you follow the rules and remain with your companion you will feel very safe in this mission.
It is important to greet everyone. Many people greed friends with kisses on the cheek, but missionaries typically do not. When you arrive at a new house, it is custom to clap outside the gate and the people will let you in. When you are in someone’s house you can make hints that it is time to leave, but don’t touch the door. It is important to smile at people in Brazil.
In this mission when people speak, it sounds like a song, similar to the northeast of Brazil. However, when they pronounce “ti” it makes the “Chi” sound and when the word ends in “de” it makes the “jee” sound (unlike the Northeast). Some things commonly said are: “Wy” (Deciding, filler word) “Trein” (thing, like, “what is this Trein”?) “Bao Demais” instead of “Bom demais” (Great! Awesome!)
Sunscreen and bug repellent are necessities, but other essential equipment like water purifiers will be provided by the mission.
Rua 18, 110, Salas 1105 a 1107
Ed Business Center, Setor Oest
74120-080 Goiânia – GO
What items were hard to get or not available?
Sunscreen, Peanut Butter, White shirts, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, rootbeer…
What did you eat the most of?
What is the craziest thing you ate?
The hump and tongue of a bull mixed with corn…it was alright, but I only had it once
What was most surprising about the culture?
The relaxed nature of their culture, the way they viewed life, and their values
What advice would you give to someone going to this Mission?
Fear not, The climate is good, the people even better. As we say in Portuguese, So Vai!! (Just do it/Go for it)
What do you wish you had known before you served?
If you give your heart to the people of Brazil, they will give back twofold, enjoy every moment of your time with them!
**Did you serve in the Brazil Goiânia Mission? If so we want to hear from you! Share your experiences here or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org**