the people in this state are called “gaucho” and this area was settled by germans, so most of them are light-skinned and bright-eyed. i actually physically fit in quite well. and since i just read questions and Bible verses, some people didn’t even know i was american until like the 3rd study we had with them. weird.
when we were going door to door (sidenote: i am now convinced that being a mormon must be the absolute worst thing ever) we had surveys, and we would ask the people first, “what, in your opinion is the greatest need in this community.” and after people answered that question, we asked “do you attend a church? which church? are you certain if you died that you would go to heaven?” and several other questions of the like. from what i understand, if the people in the group felt good about how the visit was going, they would ask the person whether or not they wanted to receive a free Bible study on the book of John in their home.
if we did a Bible study with someone, we were to tell them about the missionaries and let them know that they would be coming to one of the four lessons in the study to meet them, and after we left to go home the pastor and his wife would finish the study with them. i think that my group was pretty spectacular because although i really couldn’t contribute to making decisions or giving my input about sketch levels and the like, they did a pretty good job of being led by the spirit instead of a list of rules. i am very thankful that my group seemed to me to be very Christ-centered and unconcerned with distances and numbers, and i say this because sadly, i feel that this sort of thinking was encouraged.
shockingly (and i say this with the utmost sarcasm) people would usually tell us that the biggest need was jobs because unemployment was so high, and that they frequented the catholic church, but they didn’t believe what they taught, so they practiced spiritualism. (if you are at this moment thinking, that sounds so completely strange to me, then you need to get out more and talk to more people) in the state that i was in, spiritualism is the biggest religion practiced, and it’s pretty much wicca (which is the biggest religion in Canada as well). my friend that i met in the airport who also participated in this trip/lives here told me that voodoo is also really big in Rio Grande do Sul (and some african spirit practice, but i can’t remember the name of it because it’s not a commonly used portuguese word).
this is how asking the questions went. this lady was not very pleasant actually, and she did not want to do a study.
this precious cherub is the grandson of a sweet lady who came to us while we were at another house to tell us she wanted to meet us when we were finished. she was a christian and she just testified and testified. really precious, Lara was.
Juao Paulo and i were buddies, mostly because we were on the same level of language capabilities. we bonded. and his mom, young and burdened as she was really was hungry for the Word.
here Vanessa did a study with some pretty funny kids and Eduardo did a study with an illiterate lady. across the street we ended up having a study with three sweet 20-35ish girls who ended up doing the next three studies before we came back, accepted Christ, and invited 4 more people to do the second study with us. pretty cool.
people here are generally pretty accepting of guests. i think it was somewhat because i look like most of the gaucho people but also because this region is just really polite. i was told that it was because after the germans settled the area, most of the inhabitants went to europe to study, and brought back manners with them. however, i don’t really know how accurate anything i’m told is. they also drink chimarrão which is hot tea. even other Brazilians think it’s weird because only people in this area drink it; and everyone drinks it, all day, every day, on the beach, walking down the street. odd.
i think we might be the only group who didn’t get offered chimarrão from anyone we visited which was fine with me. we did get invited to have coffee with two of my favorite people though, Clesio and Jose Carlos. they were the sweetest, and senhor carlos reminded me so much of my dad; i really wish i could’ve understood him. overall, i think our group was extremely blessed with some spectacular visits, and that’s that.