Benjamin (Brazil Sao Paolo South Mission)
–Paraphrased from Benjamin’s mission interview–
The Best and Smallest Mission
My mission president gave a training once on why this is the best mission in the world. It is one of the smallest missions in the world. There are millions of people in the city. You don’t spend a lot of time traveling. There is a ton of people. The church is very strong in Sao Paolo. There are 11 stakes in the mission. It would take you just two hours in your car to travel through all 11 stakes. It was recently created in 2013. That boundary gave the coast to a different mission, so we are focused on the city. Our mission is just one happy cluster of people. It has a lot of church history and a lot of elders are from there. A lot of the early prophets and apostles traveled through there. It has always been the epicenter of church growth in Brazil. A lot of the earliest chapels in Brazil are in our mission.
We always talked about how Joseph Smith’s story is really applicable. Everywhere you go in Brazil you see a church. The running joke is that Brazil has more churches than bars, because people can just open their garage and start a church. You have Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Pentecostal, and other big churches as well. Every misconceptions they could have, they do. The best thing you can do as a member there is just be a good person. There are a few religions that people take care to avoid that have to do with voodoo and black magic and sometimes people will think that we do that, so you have to be very clear that you are a Christian.
Hospitality vs. Interest
The people are very hospitable, but you can’t confuse hospitality with interest. You have to convince people to act right away. You have to transmit some of your joy to those people and then let them know your intentions. A lot of people there work a ton. Some people are just gone all day. You have to still follow up with people every day. Facilitate their progress. You have to be a little bold, because Brazilians are really polite.
Most of the strength comes from good families.