Parker (Brazil Juiz De Fora Mission)
–Paraphrased from Parker’s mission interview–
Before getting to Brazil, I thought that everyone would get baptized there, but I was wrong. The church is pretty small there in the mission. It was created in July 2013. The Juiz De Fora mission covers the border between two states. There is a big culture difference there too. The church is generally stronger in Rio because that’s where there have been more missionaries. Ward size is generally smaller. My first ward had about 100 people and that was a strong ward. I was also in a branch that had 120 people come once, but that was in a district so it couldn’t become a ward. The members are really strong and they want to help.
There is a lot of Italian influence and it is very Catholic there. There are saints and statues and whatnot. The Evangelical aspect is very strong also. A lot of those churches are very charismatic and you can see them in garages just filled with chairs sometimes. In the state of Rio there is kind of this dark magic thing where they sacrifice animals and call upon spirits. Some practice it for good and some for bad. You just stay away from those situations. One day I was walking down the street and there were these wicker baskets with hens in them with their throats cuts and the blood dripping down the street. The people are afraid of it so they didn’t touch it and they just stayed there for a month.
The people there are very friendly. It’s a very different culture. You clap in front of a door and the people will come out and offer you water right away. They are very friendly.