Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Hello Family,

Well, I had a few minutes to jump on the computer and use this email for the last time. I can't believe that my time has really come to return home. I will be writing in my journal the whole 13 hour planeride, expressing my feelings and the great experiences of the end of the mission. I sure feel strange, I will not lie. I am feeling so much happiness, but much sadness for have to leave my "second home" here in a couple days. My last official day was yesterday (Sunday), and today (Monday), the new transfers took effect. I am staying in Botafogo, and we are seeing all the sights. I am with five other missionaries... two with whom I arrived here in Brasil... Elder Hawks and Elder Viglione. They will be with us as we go through the temple on Thursday.
I want to leave you guys with just maybe my last testimony as Elder Bennett. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus lives and loves us... that He atoned for our sins and gave us the chance to return to Him. I know that there is no other path to salvation, except faith in Jesus Christ, daily repentance, keeping our baptismal covenants, following the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. This I have come to know personally. I have a personal testimony of this. I can testify that the Book of Mormon is true and changes the lives of all who humbly and diligently seek to know of its truthfulness. I will come home a changed person. Not because I have learned more key scriptures, or I learned how to work hard, or travel, but because I am returning with a personal testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. 
We will be seeing each other here in a little, but until then, I wish you all a wonderful week and much happiness. I love and miss you all so much. So much. What a wonderful day it will be to reunite with you guys once again. 

Until Thursday. :)

Com todo meu amor,
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fé produz Milagres

Hello hello!

I have little time to write, but I will do my best to tell you all that I want to say. This could possibly be the last email home. Maybe next Monday I will have time, but who knows. If not, we will be seeing each other a week from this Thursday! I am so grateful for all that has happened here on my mission, and for all that is still happening. I can truly see that the Lord is blessing me in this last transfer here on the mission. How I am grateful that I followed my answer and stayed until the end. I passed many difficulties, but now I am seeing many blessings in these last weeks. I have been praying a lot to be able to help many people here in Jardim Maravilha, and to baptize or reactivate at least one  person who will continue strong in the church. I have prayed and fasted a lot. Throughout this transfer, we passed some difficulties as we tried to bring people to church and to reactivate. However, in this process, there has been one man who has been showing progress. His name is Hamilton. He is 52 years old and has a wife and two children. We knocked on his door at 8:45 PM as we tried to fill the last few minutes of the day with success. We began teaching him, who is inactive in the church that he attended. We brought him to church a few Sundays ago and he really liked it. He accepted baptism for the 16th of August but he ended up not going to church two Sundays ago, disqualifying him to be baptized on that day. We had interviews with President Cabral this last week, and he told me that I need to show my faith to the Lord, trusting 200%. I decided to do that. We made plans, put them in action, and with much faith we are seeing progress! Last Thursday, we arrived at his home to teach him some other commandments and invite him to be baptized on the 23rd, my last Saturday. As we arrived, he opened the door, obviously very angry, and drunk. He told us that he was leaving. We decided to follow him! We began talking to him, and we managed to bring him to the church where we could talk to him in private. He was very angry about a fight with his family. We sat him down, and I gave him a blessing. I don't think I have ever put so much faith in a blessing as I did that night. As we said Amen, he became very quiet, and we began to teach him about choices and consequences. He began to cry and say many crazy things, but we managed to help him understand that alcohol was the problem. We managed to bring him back home and put him to bed. The next day, we visited him, and taught the Word of Wisdom, and that we would prepare him to change his life. He accepted baptism for the 23rd of August. Miracles are happening here! Yesterday, we also found a man who is 17 years inactive. We talked about the Book of Mormon and prayer, and as he said the closing prayer, the Holy Ghost touched him strongly. He accepted to return to church this coming Sunday. 

These miracles happen through our faith. My faith is strong and I am working hard to make sure these miracles continue. I can't stop now! I will continue until the end! I love you all so much. We will be in contact soon! If we don't speak next Monday, I will see you all soon! The church is true!

Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, August 11, 2014


Hello all. :)
First off, I want to wish Lauralee a HAPPY BIRTHDAY from this last week. Now she is an adult and can't mess with the cops anymore. :) Wow, how the time is flying. This week passed pretty quickly, especially because I was outside of my area for four days of the week. We had our Mission Counsel in Andarai on Lauralee's birthday, and the trip there is 2 hours and 40 minutes! We woke up at 4 AM to get to the bus and luckily, we made it there before 8 AM. It sure was a great meeting. President Cabral is a man of much energy and excitement. He really has his heart in this work. I am glad that I was able to get to know him here at the end of the mission. My faith and vision of this work has been raised even more, and I know that he was called by the Lord to guide this great work. He is very powerful in his words, and as he spoke, many words entered into my heart, teaching me and helping me to improve. We had a special experience as we left Andarai. At the beginning of this trip, I brought 50 reais with me to pay for the trip. There had been a problem with my companion's bank card and I ended up having to pay for him as well. The trip, for the both of us, was 26 reais. As we left Andarai, we stopped in the bank to withdraw my companion's money, which was supposed to be there (the secretaries had "solved" the situation). To our surprise, his money wasn't there.... and I didn't have enough money for the both of us. We began praying that someone could help us. All the missionaries had already left, and it was getting late. Then, out of nowhere, a member from my companion's old ward appeared and began talking to us! We knew it was an answer to our prayers.... until we found out that he didn't have any money with him. So, we began praying more. WE didn't know what to do, but we decided to walk to the bus stop. As we did this, we saw my old companion, Elder M. Souza! We asked them what they were doing here, and he said that they had run into some trouble packing up their zone materials and they were only able to leave now. He then told me, "Hey, I forgot to tell you! Elder Azevedo finally was able to pay you for the haircut razor you gave him." I had lived with this Elder months ago, and I had even forgot that I had given him my haircut razor and trusted him in paying me back. He didn't have money at the time, but I still gave it to him. Well, the money came to me at the right time, and I had enought money to return home with my companion. I will always be grateful for the Lord and His infinite and perfect plan for us. He prepared the way that everything would work out. We finally arrived at our home at 9 PM that night.
Other than that, I gave my last Zone Training last Thursday, and boy was it great. The Spirit touched strong to each and every one of us there. The week ended well, but still, we had to solve a couple problems in another area of the zone. It even involved staying there Saturday night, and a visit from President to this area. But, all was solved and all is well. :) I sure am tired, but it is a good tired. We also did a Service Project this week which destroyed my hands. We built a fence for our Bishop.
Well, I must run. I have much to do. I am thinking that I will have to go through my luggage and sort out the stuff. I will definately be coming home with less than I arrived. :) I love you all. Stay strong and do what is right. This is the Church of Jesus Christ... I know this with all my heart!
Com amor e saudades,
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, August 4, 2014


Hello all!

Well, just to update you guys on my canker sores, three of the four have gone away, and a cold sore decided to say hi. Let's just say that my mouth has passed a little bit of pain in these last few weeks! But all is well. :) How is everyone at home? I don't even know if I need to ask anymore, for I will be at home here in a little. In the midst of many emails about my arrival at home, I have not had any side-effects that many call "trunky". I live with three missionaries that all have between one year and one year and three months, and they are more trunky than I am. I am the one telling them to focus. It has even come to the point that the assistants call me just to make jokes about how old I am on the mission (I am older than the two of them... one being my grandson as well. Irony.. ). So basically everyone is trunky.. except me. I love the work, and I am able to focus perfectly, and I will continue until the very end. I am grateful for your help in getting everything organized back at home, and if there is anything I can do, being here 6,000 miles away, just send me an email, and I will do what I can. :)

This week was a good week. We worked hard, and it was not always in our own area. I spent a few days in other areas helping out some of the missionaries with some things going on. It was good helping them out and seeing the difference when the problems were solved. This experience in problem-solving prepares us for many things to come in the future. While there are quite some annoying situations we have to solve in the zone, I am grateful for the chance to help my zone improve and reach their potential. 

At the beginning of this last week, we were given a goal in our zone to bring twenty people to church in each area. This is a really challenging goal, but we took it on with lots of faith. The reason for the goal wasn't to really reach twenty, but to arrive closer to the normal goal, which is six. As we raised our vision, we realized that our work raised as well, and we were to have better results. As we passed a couple on the street, I decided to stop them and invite them to church the coming Sunday. They really did come to church!!! It was amazing. We also found out that a neice that they haven't seen for quite a while, who is member, saw them enter the church, and started to cry. The Lord works in wonderful ways. :) I am grateful for my testimony that was strengthened through our work this week. 

Well, I gotta run. I sure do love you guys. I know that this church is true! Have a wonderful week! Tell Lauralee HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, July 28, 2014


Olá todos!

So, one more week has passed, and with that the goods and bads! We worked hard and saw lots of miracles immediately. Starting Monday night, we visited some references from a recently-baptized member. The first was his grandma, who reluctantly accepted our visit. As we arrived there, there were other relatives who live there, and of those at home, we taught the Restoration to his grandma and his aunt. His grandma, Sebastiana, is quite old, and is very active in the Baptist Church. She sat and listened, but didn't participate very much. However, Vizulva, his aunt, was very interested in the message. She asked many questions, and was very excited to learn more. We had arrived with the purpose of teaching Sebastiana, but the Lord knew that it was really Vizulva that was ready for the message. That very night, we also visited the last reference. We received a certain address ending with the number 33. We arrived on the street and found out that that street listed the addresses by lots and quandrants... meaning that there doesn't exist a home with the number 33... We decided to walk the street just to see. It was about 8:40 PM, and we were thinking about beginning our journey home, but we decided to continue trying. We found a home that said Lot 33, Quandrant 33. We stopped and thought, "could it be here? This may be the closest we will find?" We were searching for a young man of about 20 years. We thought about knocking the door, but at that moment we saw a couple with two children walking up the street.... the only people on the street, excluding us. I decided to ask them if they knew the young man. They said no, but that they live at that very address where we had stopped. We began talking to them, and they were very interested to hear a message about the church. We talked to them for about 15 minutes. The two of them are ex-pastors of a church, and now are inactive. We returned home very happy, knowing that once again, the Lord had put us on the path of this family through a wrong address. 

As I said, we have been working super hard, and the weather has been changing quite a bit. The last few days have been windy, cold, and rainy. I have been using my sweater out on  the streets. This week I became quite sick as well. On Wednesday, I woke up with a sore throat and an achy body. I had to go to another area to do some baptismal interviews, and I ended up sleeping there. It sure was a difficult day. Thursday, I woke up with the same symptons, but feeling a tiny bit better. Friday, I woke up with an achy head, and three canker sores in my mouth! My body is going wild... hahah. Anyways, I am pretty good now, except for FOUR canker sores that are so strategically placed in my mouth that it is agony to say anything. Yay for me, right? hahah. :)

Well, I must be running. I sure do love you all. I can't believe that time is going by so fast. My English class is doing very well, and I am learning English (again) together with my class. Everyone thinks I'm a clown, I think. They always leave laughing and smiling. We are working with a real English course that is offering a 75% discount to anyone who wants to continue learning English after the course has ended. I am really liking teaching English. There are also some members that want me to teach them piano. I think that would be a bit harder. Anyways, have a wonderful week. I sure am busy, busy, busy. Keep having fun in the sun. Be happy. :)
Elder Steven Bennett 

Monday, July 21, 2014



Ah, once again, I have only minutes to write and tell you guys of the marvelous things going down here in the middle of nowhere. :) Here in Jardim Maravilha, it is actually very beautiful! Imagine Hunstville and Eden, on the other side of the mountain. That is how it is here in this part of Rio! It is so different from being in the city, with buildings and people running here and there. It sure is more humble here and I can see that the people are more open to our message. The chapel here is so beautiful, and the entire neighborhood uses it as a reference point. I am enjoying working here, and also, the Lord blessed me with a wonderful last companion and housemates (my last companion and I weren't the best together). I wish I could send photos, but this computer doesn't have the capacity of transferring photos from my camera. So yeah, that is a little bit about my life... oh ps. there are wild horses that roam on the streets... hahaha. There exists Brasilian horses in Rio? Yes. :) I also took the responsibility of teaching English to the public. Saturday, I taught my first class and boy was I nervous. There were about 50 people present. I tried to use my personality in teaching, and I was able to make everyone laugh a bit. Everyone left pretty happy, and a member who was present in the class, began telling everyone how great it was. So I am being kept pretty busy, and the Lord isn't letting me relax not one bit. Lately, I have been very, very tired. Not only because I have been on the mission for almost two years, but I haven't had a normal P-day for about 4 weeks. There was always a meeting, or transfer, etc. I have been trying to keep excited and happy, but there were a few times that were pretty difficult. I am excited for today. I will be able to relax a little and rest. :) We are also making a lunch at the chapel with some of the members, and playing volleyball.

I am working hard, and I know that the Lord is blessing me for this. I am not perfect... I am no where near perfect. I know that I still can do much more, but I am striving to improve each and every day. I know that the Lord knows the desires of our hearts, and my desire is to teach the Gospel to all. He gives me strength to do this even when I feel that I don't have the energy. I know that He gives me the capacity of doing this work. I hope you all have a wonderful week. Stay toasty there. Here at night, it gets so cold (60F)!!!! I use a sweater and a huge blanket to sleep. :) I am so Brasilian now. I love you all, have a wonderful week!

Elder Steven Bennett

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Hello Hello!

My time is very short, and as you can see, today isn't Monday. I have had the wildest week, and it seems that once again, everything has changed at the moment that I least expected. Let us start at the beginning. This last week was the last week of the transfer. I never really gave it much thought, for I am beginning my last transfer on the mission. Being in Sulacap for only a few months, I thought that not much would move.... just maybe a change in my companion. However, Sunday, we received word of the transfer. President Cabral transferred me and my companion to new areas! Two new elders will be going to Sulacap. I was transferred to Jardim Maravilha, Campo Grande. I will explain more about this later. We were still at church when we received word, and all of the members began to be very sad at the sudden change of the two of us. I was able to take some photos with some of the members. I was the official pianist in the ward, so they also became very sad for my going. During the day, we visited some of our investigators and members to say goodbye. Sunday night, I packed all of my bags up, and Monday morning, we were off. Usually we meet at a bus terminal in Novo Rio, but President had moved the meeting place to the chapel in Botafogo (you can see Pão de Açucar from the street). We went to the train station to head for Botafogo at 8am. When we arrived, they told us that it wasn't possible to pass our luggage until 10am. We needed to be at the chapel at 9am. We began to think. We tried everything we could, but no one could authorize us to pass our luggage. We had to grab a bus and go to another terminal in Barra de Tijuca, and grab another bus that would go to Botafogo. It was such a long trip, but I was also able to pass through some of my old areas, and also all of the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. We travelled on the coast until Botafogo. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. :) However, we arrived three hours later because of this trip, and missed the training that President gave to the missionaries. But, everything was alright, and we got to eat lunch and head out with our new companions. My new, and last, companion is Elder R. Oliveira, from São Paulo. He is so cool... everything that I was praying for. We made the 3 hour trip to my new area, which is in the Campo Grande Zone, translated Big Field. This name is very literal. Never have I had such an area as this! I passed almost my entire mission in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, and for the last few weeks of the mission, I was transferred to an area, that is, as we would say, "in the middle of nowhere!". hahaha, but I love it here already. It is a wonderful area. As we arrived, the members gave us a welcome BBQ, and the chapel is so beautiful here. I found out that I will be the official pianst as well, and the responsibility of teaching two English Classes of 191 people has fallen upon my shoulders. I am the only American here, so I will have to teach a Beginners class and Advanced class every Saturday morning. I am excited for the responsibilities that the Lord has given me to stay focused until the very end of my mission. I am also continuing my duties as Zone Leader here. As we arrived, I noticed that the house was very dirty and unorganized. Also, our Area Book (once more....) is a complete disaster. Last night and this morning, we were able to clean the house up (it is basically sparkling now), and I am in the process of creating an Area Book that is acceptable to the Lord. I am certain that this will be the best zone that I have passed if we can immediately change these small imperfections. 

I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that this is His work. I am so grateful for the time I have had to preach the gospel to all. I am busier than ever, and there isn't a moment to lose. I know that the Lord will accept my mission if I continue until the end. I love you all so much, and I am grateful for the emails I have been receiving. I hope all is well at home. Have a wonderful week, and don't forget to use sunscreen out in that sun!
Elder Steven Bennett

PS. My "grandson" was called Assistant to the President (Elder Neu, who was trained by Elder M. Souza, who I trained). As Dad taught me, you need to teach your son to be better than you were.