Can you believe that this is my last week here? Did i not just leave on a mission?! Wow, it's almost been two months, and exactly one week from now, I will be an actual missionary doing real missionary work in the beautiful city of RIO DE JANEIRO! Ayyyy! I'm so pumped. The CTM has been such an amazing experience, as well as one of the hardest things i've ever had to do. I was definitely not ready for it when i got here, and now i'm about to jump into a whole new world and i'm definitely not ready for it either. However, i'm so excited and i know the Lord is watching over me every second of every day, and because of this, I will not fear.
This week has been a pretty good week! One thing that i forgot in last week's email was.... Happy Halloween!!! Geeze how'd i forget? Did you guys do anything cool? I was thinking about home a lot that day and all the partying that is probably going on. They don't celebrate it here, so it was just a normal day. They have Dia de Bruxas (Day of Witches), but i'm not sure when it is. But, they sure have a lot of holidays here! Anyways, yeah, Halloween made me a little home sick and I went to bed that night thinking about all the fun things I was missing, and will miss over the next two years. It was discouraging, but I know it's the best decision with me being out here.
Oh Mom, so I used your FOR number and got more names. I will keep the three extras I have (I used one today), and if by chance I can go to a temple some time, I will use it. If it doesn't look like I will, I will send them home and let you guys use them. Do you realize that one of the names you gave me had to wait 97 years for today?! He was baptized and confirmed in 1915! I looked at that and had to use him today, because he's been waiting forever! I'm so grateful for family history. Keep up the awesome work Mom! Oh, i also noticed you did the Initiatory for him in October! Parabéns on going to the temple still! Keep it up, I hope you guys are feeling the wonderful feeling I have felt doing temple work. Today was a little sad because it is possibly my last temple trip for the next 22 months. I sat in the Celestial Room extra long today and nearly cried at thinking that I may not be in another one for such a long time. Take every opportunity you can to go, because its a privilege I don't have anymore.
Oh fun fact about Rio! The Cristus Statue is 700 tons and 130 feet tall. :) Just saying!
Anyway, Portugues was put to the test this week during my very first experience PROSLYTING! Ahhhh, it was crazy! I have never been so nervous in my life. Proselyting goes against everything i have ever done in life. Going with the flow, looking like everyone else, wanting people to like you. NO. Not anymore. Here it is the opposite. We are the weirdos dressed up, talking to everyone on the street about being Mormon. We are giving a weird book out to people who barely know who God or Jesus Christ is. People give us dirty looks. They crossed the street to avoid us (one lady i was talking to got up and ran away! She stopped a bus that was about to leave and jumped on! That was a heartbreaker right there.... but slightly funny.). People are not that happy to talk to us, and we are rejected 9 times out of 10. THIS is what makes missionary work hard, and THIS is the difficulty I wasn't completely ready for. I don't like being rejected. I am used to it now of course, seeming three hours of proselyting adds up to a lot of rejections! But with these, we had some success. :) We were able to give out 4 copies of the Livro de Mormon! One guy knew absolutely nothing about the Church, and was pretty interested. The second guy wasn't a member but loves religion and loves seeing people out talking about Christ. He accepted to read it. The last two went to a mom and her daughter. They didn't know much about us, but they were pretty happy when we gave them the copies. They were people who seemed like they would be members already. :) I hope that these people are blessed as they read.
My Portugues was also put to the test in this end of CTM assessment we needed to take. If you get too low, they make you stay an extra week! No pressure right? Well it turned out alright. I got 76%. It tests you on all kinds of Portuges... verbs, grammar, blah blah blah.. But only a few got about that, and the highest was 90%. Most got around 50, and I heard the average was 44%... Yikes. So I hope that means my portugues is alright!
One of the biggest things I've learned being here at the CTM is looking and recognizing the Holy Ghost and when He is prompting you. I feel so much more spiritual than ever in my life! This last Sunday was such a wonderful Sunday. I felt like I was being Spiritually poured out upon all day! So amazing. :) We had many great speakers throughout the day. One speaker talked about the stone cut out of the mountain (D&C 65 2), and asked what side of the stone are we going to be on? I thought it was pretty profound. Also, with going out into the field, we are about to get hit with a pretty big culture blast, and Portugues blast. We are all nervous for it. One of my district elders bore his testimony and said "It doesn't matter what we are hit with, as long as we land on our knees."
There were many more things I could say, but time doesn't allow me. I may not be writing an email next week, because I will be flying to Rio, but I will email you guys as soon as I get the chance. Here goes the next step in this crazy adventure. :) I love you all so very much, and I miss you guys with all my heart. Keep doing the things you are supposed to be doing and love each other with all your might, and the Lord will bless you as he has with me. I hope everything at home is going great.
Elder Steven Bennett