Jeff (Brazil Sao Paolo Interlagos Mission)
–Paraphrased from Jeff’s mission interview–
The interlagos stake was one of the first stakes in Sao Paolo. People would travel three hours by bus to church on sunday. That was the early history of Interlagos. There are now seven stakes in the mission. It grows really fast. One of the wards that I was in split while I was there. I got to open a new branch. The church just kind of explodes. It is one of five missions in the city of Sao Paolo. When you’re in the city, it really varies how often people attend church. You can go to a struggling branch or a ward that has hundreds coming each week. In general, the church is growing. The local leaders love the idea of growing the church. You can have a lot of baptisms in an area, but you need to keep people active. Attendance really jumps back and forth. The real challenge is stability.
The church is pretty well thought of down there. People usually like and respect the members, even if they don’t want to join. There are a lot of strange rumors, but they’re just rumors. Most people are Catholic, even if they don’t participate much, they still don’t want to change. The Evangelical Christians are very solid in their religion and they don’t want to change. They will listen to you and probably respect you, but they respect everyone. There are the Seventh Day Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are both very strong. There is Spiritualism, and they can be hard to work with because they don’t believe much in absolutism or yes or no.