Ah, I always look forward to the chance to write you guys! I always have so much I want to say. :) This week was a fast one, that's for sure. Even here in the hot, toasty, and humid weather, people are busily bustling around shopping for Christmas and there definitely is Christmas spirit here. It is a different Christmas spirit than the one that I am used to, however. I will not lie, it is a little hard not to think about home during the Christmas Season because to me, Christmas means family, friends, and being together with the ones you love. This year is a little different. Its a little hard, but hey, that´s a mission. This time really makes me grateful for the wonderful blessings i have in my life: A wonderful family, a home, friends, and of course, a loving Heavenly Father who is always there to comfort you when you are down. This is a blessing i always took for granted, and here on a mission, I feel my Savior´s love much more than ever before. These first few months of a mission have been super hard, but I have learned so much. I hit the 3 month mark just a little while ago! That right there is 1/8 of my mission! That is kinda sad that it is moving that fast! You really need to use your time wisely out here, or one day you will wake up and realize you are boarding an airplane for home.
So this week, I did some more travelling. I seem to travel a lot nowadays. After I wrote you guys last week, we hurried off on a bus to Macaé for a P-day with the whole Zone! It was really fun, and we had lunch at a members house. We celebrated a couple birthdays as well. I had a lot of fun, but it was also super hard for me. Everyone in the zone is fluent in Português except me. So, I am rarely talked to, becuase people know i will understand only a little of what they say. They always said speak more and join the conversations! I never knew what their conversations were about, however. So, there was a lot of the time i was quiet. I don´t like not talking! I love to talk! So, it was hard. Hahah, one elder was thoroughly convinced that I was angry or something and too angry to speak. He always asked are you alright? It was a little annoying actually. He just didn't understand that I didn't understand what people were saying. But, the day turned out well. We spent the night in Macaé, and then at 5 am the next morning, we took a van to a place called Niteroi (I think). It was about a 3 hour drive from Macaé. We arrived and had a Christmas Conference with 2 other Zones, and Presidente Lima spoke to us. This meeting started at 9 am, and ended at 4 pm. It was nuts! My butt hurt from sitting so long. We talking about planning, and the importance of it in missionary work. Without planning, the Spirit can´t guide you to help your investigators. You need to have a plan, and the Spirit will guide. We also watched the Thomas S. Monson´s Christmas Session. It made me miss Salt Lake a little... :) We then boarded a van, drove back to Macaé and it was pretty late by then, so we stayed in Macaé another night. Early Thursday morning, I boarded a bus back to Rio das Ostras. Lots and lots of traveling!
This week, we also focused on really trying to find new investigators, preferably families. It´s pretty hard. We contacted one lady and began teaching her the Restoration, but her daughter is Evangelical and is trying to get her to stay in that religion.... little annoying... hahah. Our beloved Belisario (I think i´ve mentioned him before; the father of the family we baptized a while ago) is being as stubborn as ever! He loves everything about the church, but doesnt want to be baptized. Its sad because his family is going to the temple this week, but he has to wait in the Gardens. His spouse, Vania, is growing to love family history a lot, and she is always working on that. She has lots of baptisms set up for the temple. She is such a champ! This is a lady who one month ago stopped smoking after 40 years of smoking, and was baptized. She is amazing. We have also taught some other families, and hopefully we will see progress with them. We taught a family yesterday evening, and we are visiting them again tonight. Wish us luck!
So lastly, I have to tell you about yesterday. 17 December 2012. Such a wild day. Not because of people, but because of the weather. So we begin the day and start the 3 km walk to our lunch appointment. The second we step outside, we´re roasting. Its hot. No clouds in the sky or anything. 40 C, or 104 F. Yikes. After lunch, clouds roll in, and it starts raining, and hard! The thunder and lightning is going crazy as well. Super loud and close. This stops for a little, begins again, stops, and begins. We were talking to this lady on the street, and all of a sudden it starting hailing! Big chunks too! The lady was so excited. She said that the last time is hailed here was when she was a child. She looked about 27. So lets see, we have about everything except snow, which is impossible basically. All of this chaos stopped for a tad, and we found a family and started teaching them. As we said the closing prayer and headed out, the wind started up strong. We braced ourselves for the worst as we headed out. The worst definitely came. All of the above started!! We ran to a members house drenched and with ringing ears from thunder. We waited out the storm, and then headed home safe and sound. We arrive home.... and our house is FLOODED! Not a whole lot, but it a good portion! We spent some time cleaning that up and then headed to bed. Nothing was damaged. We had a box full of Livro de Mormon and the box was completely soaked and sitting in a puddle. We hurried and pulled out all the books and examined them to see if they were damaged. Not a single one was wet or damaged. Miracle? Yes. :)
Well, that sums up the week. I hope everyone is having a fun Christmas Season with all the hustle and bustle that goes along with it. Have a good week. I love and miss you all very much! The Church is true!
Elder Steven Bennett