David is serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Brazil São Paulo North Mission. Getting up at 6:30 am, he works out, studies Portuguese and scriptures to prepare for his teaching appointments, and then heads out to teach people he meets and those who have asked him to teach them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beans and rice are his main fare (described in his own words below), along with lots of fruit he buys at the local street market. He lives with other full-time missionaries and teaches in pairs. One day a week he has several hours, called “preparation day,” to shop, wash his clothes, read and write letters via email, and occasionally have some fun. Playing soccer with local kids in the streets of São Paulo is a common recreational activity for him. David left home October 1, 2014 and will return around October 1, 2016.
David describes his first area, a “favela” of São Paulo, like this:
“So far, I love it, of course. . . . It smells like the chicken coop, mixed with the exhaust of the go-kart, mixed with diesel exhaust, mixed with the smell of our septic tank. . . . This place feels like a neighborhood in Tonga, only urbanized. Everything looks like someone was in a hurry to construct it and it looks very shoddily done. The sidewalks and streets are like a ton of patch jobs and potholes put together. Nothing is smooth. All the houses and buildings are like shacks or poured cement buildings.
I like it here.
. . .
If it makes you feel any better about my driving, the traffic here has already tried to kill me several times. I had a car fly past me while I was walking that would have taken my leg off if I hadn’t looked at the right moment and moved my leg. Freaky.”
About the food, David says:
“The food here is rice and beans. Your other options are rice and beans. And if you don’t like rice and beans, you shut your yap and eat rice and beans. I’m not complaining because I don’t mind. I didn’t like it in the MTC [training center] after a week because they use the same recipe for beans each time, but out here it is fine. I like rice and beans.
The food here is pretty good . . . but then again, I think I have only really tried rice and beans.”
And then there’s the fruit and the pizza:
“I didn’t realize how much I ate. I am constantly getting more food to restock the fridge. I love the fruit here. I burned through 2 mangos, 2 limes, 12 bananas, and 12 oranges in two days.
The pizza here is awesome. They have some of the most interesting toppings here and you can fill the crust with cheese or chocolate. The chocolate and banana pizzas are my favorite. Do not judge me until you try one. They are delicious.”