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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.
The Church has been in Brazil for many years. In general, the Sao Paulo congregations are well established. Normal church attendance is around 80-120 people. Members and leadership very eager to help missionaries, so you will get the chance to work a lot with the local members to find and teach investigators.
Lunch is the primary meal of the day. Meals often consist of rice and beans with a little meat. Breakfast and dinner are light.
Missionary favorites include pizza, coxinha, pastel, churrasco, açaí, and maracujá.
Missionaries typically get around by walking or taking a bus. Occasionally, missionaries ride in car with church members to get to an appointment.
The area is generally safe, but you still need to use common sense follow mission rules and safety guidelines.
When you visit people, it is customary to clap your hands outside of the gate rather than to knock on the door.
Missionaries will need a good umbrella. Jackets and other cold weather clothing do not have to be very heavy.
Avenida Nova Cantareira, 1146 fundos
São Paulo – SP – Brasil – 02330-001
Office E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office phone: (011-55-11) 3721-0920
Straight from the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission:
What items were hard to get or not available?
“shoes and deodorant”
What did you eat the most of?
“rice and beans”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Pizza soaked in olive oil.”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“poverty & dirt floors in houses”
What advice would you give to someone going to the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission?
“That I would have been better off leaving nothing at home that I’d have to worry about or that would distract me in any way – like a girlfriend.”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“I would so love to go back again, right now, knowing what I know now… make sure you have no regrets.”