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We are still collecting information on the Brazil Piracicaba Mission. If you served in this mission and are willing to share your experiences with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
There are 9 stakes located in the Brazil Piracicaba Mission. The success of the missionary work in the area combined with the recent influx of missionaries led to the creation of the mission in 2013! The area is serviced by the nearby Campinas Brazil Temple, though it is located outside of mission boundaries.
There are over one million church members in Brazil, making it the country with the largest membership outside of the United States. That being said, you can expect to keep very busy in the Piracicaba area. Many locals are very accepting of the Church and missionary work has been progressing exceptionally.
Members in this country have a strong love for the missionaries and are generally very willing to offer food and help to them.
Missionaries can expect to eat plenty of rice and beans serving in Brazil! Lunch is typically the largest meal of the day, with a plate of rice and beans accompanying a meat dish (and occasionally a salad as well). A typical regional dish is “Virado à Paulista,” which is seasoned beans mixed with sausage, fried eggs, leafy vegetables, and occasionally pork rinds. Couscous is also somewhat popular in the region. Pastels (pasteis in the plural form in Portuguese) are a popular street food in the São Paulo area. These envelopes of fried dough are usually filled with either cheese, meat, or some type of sweet.
Lunch is the largest meal of the day in Brazil. Rice and beans are eaten at almost every meal. Some type of meat and salad is usually included as well. Popular dishes include pasta, potatoes, and feijoada, which is a thick stew typically made with black beans and pork.
Southern Brazil is famous for its churrascos, or Brazilian barbecues, and its chimmarrão, a hot drink made using yerba mate. Pizza buffets are also popular, with many different types available, though Brazilian pizza typically 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.
Like other Brazilian missions, missionaries serving in the Brazil Piracicaba Mission generally either walk or use public transportation to get around. Buses are relatively cheap and are commonly used for traveling longer distances.
Brazilians drive at high speeds, so it is very important to be cautious when crossing streets. The hot weather can also be a concern with all the walking missionaries do. It’s essential to keep hydrated. A final concern in Brazil is petty theft. Missionaries need to follow specific mission guidelines and be particularly careful at night to stay in well-lit areas and to avoid dangerous neighborhoods.
As most of the mission is located in the interior of São Paulo, many areas are more rural. Agriculture is dominant throughout the region with sugar cane and citrus being the largest crops.
The city of Americana is unique in that it was settled by immigrants from the Confederacy of the United States during the 1860s, though few native English-speaking families still live in the area.
Brazil is home to many unique musical styles such as samba, pagode, funk, forró, frevo, and sertanejo.
The yearly festival Carnaval, which is held forty-six days before Easter, is a major event. Brazilians celebrate it each year with parades, dancing, and musical contests. This 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 very popular in modern Brazilian culture, especially Brazilian soap operas called novellas.
By far, the most popular sport in Brazil is futebol, or soccer. This is a huge part of Brazilian culture. When a big game is going on, missionaries will have a difficult time finding anyone available to teach. Brazilians will often get together with friends and family to have a big barbeque and watch the game. Volleyball, basketball, and several forms of martial arts are also popular.
“Americanense” – someone from the city of Americana
“Paulista” – someone from São Paulo
“cara” – dude
A onde fica…” = “Where is…?” This is very helpful to know in order to ask for directions.
“Obrigado” = “Thank you”
Bring more than one good pair of walking shoes–you will be grateful you did.
With the high temperatures in Brazil, do not bring daytime clothing that is heavy. However, it can get cold at times in Brazil, especially at night or during the winter months (so a warm coat is a necessity on this mission).
When a Brazilian rainstorm strikes, it’s helpful to have a decent raincoat and a high-quality umbrella to keep you from getting soaked. Other recommended items include sunscreen and a waterproof bag to protect scriptures and other essentials.
As most of the area covered by the Brazil Piracicaba Mission is rural, much of the area is agricultural or industrial in nature. The city Poços de Caldas is famous in the region for its thermal springs and glass factories.
Piracicaba also hosts the yearly “Festa das Nações”, a festival featuring cuisine from all over the world. The city São Carlos hosts a somewhat similar event, the “Festa do Clima” which celebrates the mountain town’s mild climate with craft shows and food.
Av. Dr. Paulo de Morais, 555
13400-853 Piracicaba – SP
The work is going so well in Brazil that the Church recently created the Brazil Piracicaba mission! Check back in a year to hear what the first missionaries in the Brazil Piracicaba mission have to say!