So this is an email I wasn't expecting to write today, honestly. I am supposed to be on a plane going to Rio today! But i'm not... I am actually still in the CTM here in Sao Paulo. It's a great little story why! Sooo, there was a mission conference for all the mission presidents this week, so everyone leaving for this field this week wouldn't have a mission president to greet them when they get to their respective missions. So, they let us stay an extra day! Do you know what that means? My district will be most likely the LAST district, here at the Brasil CTM, to be here the LONGEST with the new change in age and time at the CTM. There are many districts here for 9 weeks... but not 9 weeks, and 1 day. :) So that makes us the longest!
Anywho, here's some flight information. I will be packing all day today and I will be jumping on a bus at about 4:30 AM, so about 11:30 PM for you guys. I will go to the airport, where I have a flight at... 7:30 i think? I will arrive in Rio de Janeiro at around 8:30 AM. Pretty wild, eh? AH, I'm so pumped!
So this week's been really crazy with all the preparations to leave and what not. We've had a lot of meetings about health, the language, faith, and other stuff needed to leave the CTM. Many of these meeting happened last Friday.... all day... completely in Portugues. Super tough. My brain was toast after that day. I literally had about enough strength to waddle up to my room, brush my teeth, and flop in bed. Throughout the week, I've started to realize how much i'm going to miss English! English is my go-to language when i don't know a word in Portugues. It's gonna be much harder in the field and the realizations of this hit me over this week.
This Sunday was a pretty wild Sunday! So, for Sacrament, they expect every missionary to have a talk prepared. They will call four random people during Sacrament to get up and give a 5 minute talk. If you are above week 6 at the CTM, you are required to give that talk in Porgtugues! So guess who got called this last Sunday? Any guesses? This guy here. Me! It was actually really fun-- A tad bit scary, but mostly fun. That night during Devotional, I was asked to play the piano too. I was all over the place that day! I guess I should end out the CTM strong, and this is the way I do that!
Oh, this week, we baptized our "investigator" Evelin! It's really my instructor, and she acts out her conversion story. We just teach her throughout our time at the CTM, and all the time has led up to this. Even though it was fake, it was so happy! I just felt really good inside. :) She is an amazing teacher. Mom, she added me on facebook, so you need to get on there and accept her. I think she has some photos or videos she'll tag me in, and you guys will be able to see those. Evelin Jardim is the name. It was super sad saying goodbye to her last Saturday. She has been with us for 9 weeks! She says that she is sure she has the worst job ever. Teach a district everyday for 9 weeks, get really close to them, and then say goodbye to them.
So we did some more proselyting today. We were supposed to go yesterday, but they wouldn't let us because it was raining pretty hard. We were all a little ticked. Today, we jumped on a bus and rode for about 40 minutes to downtown Sao Paulo, Paulista Avenue. The best way to describe it is New York! Big buildings, people running here and there to get to work, and really bad traffic. It's really overwhelming! We didn't have a whole lot of success there because people just have no time to talk to you. We talked to an Atheist who gave us a pretty good debate for a while. Finally, we just cut it off and left. Another homeless Buddist lady took my companion's planner and was writing some weird stuff in it and yelling at us. We showed another brasilian elder and asked him what it said. He ripped it out and said not to worry about it. All in all, not the best day. It really shot my confidence. There were people preaching about the end of the world everywhere. Big signs said: "Venus is going to explode! Hurry and read the Bible and be saved, or you will go to Hell!" Just weird weird stuff.
Well, that's about it in terms of stuff that happened this week. Not a whole bunch. I want to thank everyone who is writing me, and I hope my letters get back to you guys! Mom and Dad, I received your letters this week. They took a bit longer than usual, but they got here. Thank you for the photos! They will be a great add for my photo album in the making. Send a couple here and there every once in a while okay? Also, I need you to check my bank account. There is some purchases I have made, and I want you to make sure i'm being charged correctly and what not. And, like i said earlier, please jump on my Facebook and add any people who have friend requests with me. Namely one with the last name Ramos, and Evelin Jardim. They were my instructors and have photos of me. Thank you so much, love you!
To end out this letter, I want to share a small spiritual message I learned in a video. On our name tags, we have our name, and the next largest words on it are Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is directly over our hearts as well. This is signifying that at this time in our lives, Jesus Christ should be the closest thing to our hearts. We should be doing everything possible to honor His name and preach His Gospel. This is what I will do for the next 22 months. I am happy to do this for the next twenty-two months. :) I love you all so much, and I hope everything is well at home. Keep me updated!
Elder Steven Bennett