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Joao Pessoa is a richly vibrant city. As you walk along the street, you pass a mixture of palm trees and houses of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Everywhere you go you will see open cars with big boom boxes playing Forro (Brazilian cultural music), Sertanejo (Brazilian country music), or Pagode (carefree dance music).
The people are very open and inviting. As you talk to people on the street and enter their homes, you will constantly encounter smiling faces. Regardless of whether the people have a desire to go to church, they will invite you in and be very hospitable. As you spend more time with these people, the more your love for them and their way of life will grow.
In Joao Pessoa the members know what it means to sacrifice everything for the work of the Lord. Missionaries here are not only treated as respected servants of Christ but also as members of the family. The members go to great lengths to ensure that the missionaries are well cared for in every way.
The church in Joao Pessoa is very strong. There are many firm members who have desires to serve God- some families even have decades experience in church service. The youth especially have a great love for missionary work and do everything they can to help the church to grow. Not only will you be happy to serve these people, you will feel as though you are one of them.
All throughout Joao Pessoa there are bakeries that make fresh bread early in the morning. There is also a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that are native to Brazil. One popular beverage in Joao Pessoa is the juice version of the superfruit Acai, (pronounced a-sai-ee), which can be purchased for four “reais” (equal to two dollars). Lunch is the primary meal in this part of Brazil. Members tend to feed the missionaries at this time, and you are likely to receive home-cooked meals consisting mostly of fish, chicken, or pork. As a side dish you will have beans, rice, noodles, and a fresh salad. The members take great care with their cooking, and it is rude to eat little, so enjoy! Dinner is usually a lighter meal, such as “macaxeira” (a common root in Brazil) or “CuzCuz” (steamed cornmeal).
Every missionary in this mission travels on foot. However, 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.
Brazilians pride themselves on their hospitality, and love those who enjoy their way of life. In Brazil it is important to greet everyone. 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 never touch the door. The people should feel that you do not want to leave their presence, even though you must. It is important to smile.
Oxente (surprised, “whoa guys!”)
bixo (pronounced bee-sh-ou, means “beast” or “bro”)
vixe (exclamation, “darn!” or “wow!”)
Most necessary equipment will be provided by the church, such as a water purifier. However, it would be wise to purchase plenty of sunscreen and bug spray.
Shipping items to Brazil is simple- all letters will arrive at their desired destination. If you wish to send a package, place religious pictures on the package itself, and your package will arrive safely with items intact.
Rua Deputado José Mariz, 515
João Pessoa João Pessoa – PB
What items were hard to get or not available?
Sunscreen, peanut butter, white shirts, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, root beer…
What did you eat the most of?
Beans, rice, and Acai!
What is the craziest thing you ate?
Buxada (goat stomach) it’s delicious!
What was most surprising about the culture?
Women breastfeed in public, people party so hard they fall asleep face down on the street
What advice would you give to someone going to this Mission?
Know quickly whether the people you teach want to be baptized or not- there are many people who want to be baptized, but you need to find them. Use your time wisely.
What do you wish you had known before you served?
Love the members with all of your heart, and never even think of saying anything negative of them.