Monday, December 30, 2013

2 Nephi 22 :)

Hello my wonderful family and friends,
My heart is very full during this time of year. I love you all so very much. This time of year was already my favorite time of the year, but it has taken a whole new meaning since I arrived here on the mission. These last two Christmas' that I have passed have given me some of the most sacred and spiritual experiences of my entire life. I would also like to thank everyone who sent me letters and emails wishing me a Merry Christmas and New Year, and for all that I haven't responded, email or letter, you have my word that I am getting on that. My time is short, but I wish to make good use of it to write you all back. :) Also, it was so amazing to talk to my family again... all you cuties! I loved it. I am so happy that I was allowed to talk to everyone this time. I love you all so much! Ah, this is just a wonderful time for me. Life truly is amazing. The family is doing pretty well, I had the chance to talk to you guys, and here on the mission, we are having some success. Many things have changed, as I was able to explain very briefly in the last letter and through Skype this week. However, I will try to give you guys a good update of what is going on.
So in these last few weeks, as I have said before many times, my mission completely changed. Receiving word of the transfer, I was saddened, but happy to return to Andaraí. I was saddened by the thought of leaving behind the wonderful people that I was teaching, and the great ward that I had gotten to know. I had the chance to give a talk in the last Sacrament Meeting there, and while I hadn't prepared a thing, the Holy Ghost guided my words and it became a very spiritual and touching moment for me. Leaving Curicica, I received a calming confirmation that all would be well, and that I would be able to find the same success in my new area, Méier. Méier is a great area. It has a strong ward, great members, and amazing people that live in that area. It is a little bit more humble than Andaraí, making it a little bit more easy to find people ready for the Gospel. I had the chance to come to Méier while I was serving in Andaraí in mission splits and baptismal interviews, so I already knew a little bit about the area, ward, and people. I have already had some great experiences of running into members that I know here in Méier and also in Andaraí. I am seeing people that I once taught now baptized and members of the church. I am seeing others that are still being taught, and now I have the chance to help them out a second time. For example, these last few week, I met a young man who is a recent convert, Jean. After having this strange feeling that I knew him, we realized that I was present in the very first lesson that was taught to him. I was there on a mission split. Now, he is a strong member, dating the bishop's daughter, and planning to go on a mission. This last week in Andaraí, I had the chance to do a baptismal interview of an investigator that I taught many months ago. These experiences are priceless. Even to the moment of seeing the Bishop of Andaraí and giving him a big hug.... seeing Celso, a man I baptized that is planning to go to the temple.... seeing the Ward Secretary on the street and even being far from him, he still recognized me and called me by name... these experiences bring a very big joy to you, for you really feel that people got to know you, and they didn't forget about you. Really, experiences that make your mission worth it. :) For these moments, and just for the sheer fact of being back in this zone, I thank my Heavenly Father each and every day.
My first week, I had the opportunity to continue the work of many missionaries in the past, and help teach and plan the wedding/baptism of a family, Felipe and Geciane. It was a very hurried week, and we were always running from one place to the other getting things together, calling people, and setting everything up perfectly. It got to the point where a lady from the ward called us and said that it wouldn't be possible to get flowers and decorations for the wedding. We were stuck in a crisis. No one knew somebody that could help with such little time until the wedding. It was in that moment that I began to realize that Heavenly Father knows all things. He knows what people we are to teach, baptize, and help, in such a moment that only you can be that person to help. It was in this moment that a very special person came into my head... someone who also loved decorations and flowers.... Celso, the man that I baptized back in June in Andaraí. We found his number and gave him a call. He was so happy to hear from me! We told him that we needed his help, and he immediately dropped everything to help us out. He helped us pick flowers, and carry everything to the chapel on the very day of the wedding. No one else could of helped us in this occasion. We were so grateful for him and his help. Truly, Heavenly Father knows all things. :) So, two Saturdays ago (the 21st?), this wonderful family had a beautiful wedding in the chapel, and was followed by their baptism that night. Everything worked out perfectly. The next day, we had the chance to complete a family, baptizing Rodrigo. Rodrigo is a wonderful guy, and very focused on the family. He was a Jehovah Witness in the past, and even to the point of being a missionary for them. He went inactive and got married to a member of the church, thus starting his conversion story. He is great, and he bore a powerful testimony after his baptism.
Really, I have had so many great experiences these last few weeks. I feel my connection to Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost strengthening through each and everyday. I am so very grateful for the things I am learning here on the mission. I truly know, without doubt, that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, the church with His proper authority to save all mankind. I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. He invites all to come unto HIm and partake in the happiness that He has in store for us. As a goal for this New Year, do exactly this... come unto our Heavenly Father and partake in this happiness and His blessings. It is only through Him that we can stay together with our families forever in the presence of Him. Make a goal to know Him even more this coming year. Make this the best year of your lives. I know that I am. :) I love you all so much and I miss you all tons. I hope you all have a wonderful New Years 2014!!! Make it a year of miracles!
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hello all!
I am writing a quick email to you all to wish each and every one of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope all is well and that happiness is with each and every one of you. I am so sorry that I don't have time to write more this week. Next week's letter will be extra huge, for I have so much to tell you guys. I have truly seen the Lord work miracles in my mission. I will send a photo of a recently married and baptized Family from this last week... truly a miracle that happened. But next week,  I will write much much more. I am loving the new área and my companion, Elder Freitas. The stories behind these things as well are very interesting. Expect a nice email next week. :) I love and miss you all, and I will talk to you guys this week on Christmas! Be ready for that. :) Thanks to all who sent me a Merry Christmas email as well. I love you all and hope the best with all. Have a wonderful week! 
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Ether 12 :)

Hello my wonderful Utahns,
I am sorry that this letter won't be extremely long, for today is a very rushed day... It is a transfer day! I found out that I will be transferred back to my loved zone, Andaraí. I will be in an area that is just to the side of Andaraí, called Meier. It is a pretty cool area from what I have heard. I already have served a little there in mission splits, so I am excited to go there. I was also called to be the Zone Leader for the Zone Andaraí. :) I am excited and not as nervous as I thought I would be, but we will see what happens! I am really having mixed feelings about the transfer, and based on the things that I write now, you will see why.
This was such an amazing week. I have never seen so many miracles in one week in my entire mission! It was truly manifested by our faith and our works, and the loving hand of our Heavenly Father. Really, the week went by as a normal week until Friday. I scheduled a mission split for our district. I would stay in my area, and Elder Weight, a new American that arrived in Brasil this transfer, would come to my area to work. As we worked, he had been feeling a bit sick (and ended up going to the hospital Saturday, but this is just extra information...) and a little out of it, but he was able to work. As the day was ending, we visited a street contact we had made two weeks ago. He lives in a Villa with six other homes. We called on the interphone to his home. He wasn't home, and we talked to his daughter. What we didn't know (but later found out) was that there was a man who had been outside listening to our conversation on the interphone. He looked and saw that we were missionaries... the missionaries that one of his study buddies in college had told him about some months before. He was curious to talk to us because he had never seen us so close, always far away walking/running somewhere. He knew that we talk to people, so he put himself where he thought we could see so that we would talk to him. Sadly, we never saw him, and we turned to leave! He saw this as a chance being wasted, so he decided to talk to us! In our perspective, we were turning to leave, and we heard a man say.. "would you guys like a glass of water?". Seeing this as an opportunity, we accepted and entered his home. His name is Guilherme, and his wife is Elaine. They are 29 years old, and studying in college. They live very comfortably, and have a religious background. They know another couple that attends the ward next to ours. They are the perfect family... truly the most perfect family I have ever met on my mission! They love Americans, and by chance, I had been on a split with another American. They are studying English, and their buddy, who is a member, speaks English fluently. They are wonderful, and we instantly clicked with them. They were open to our message, and they absolutely love us just as much as we love them. We said bye and walked home that night. In the middle of that moonlight street, I jumped and cheered like never before... feeling the most happy of happiness that can be felt in the mortal body. As we got  home, I hugged Elder Weight and we both were almost crying because of this wonderful blessing given to us.
Skip to Sunday. We had a Christmas activity planned for Sunday night in the chapel. We worked so hard to invite everyone we could, and to encourage the members to bring their family and friends. In the meetings Sunday morning, our attendence was 74, with one investigator at church. That night, miracles happened. The chapel was filled to the brink! 167 people came to watch the Christmas theater act and choir (showing the birth of Jesus Christ and Christmas in the Americas), 23 being visitors that we brought, or that the members brought. There were so many people that we were not even able to talk to everyone. These numbers could be higher. This wonderful family, Guilherme and Elaine, was there, as well as 4 other families that we are teaching. It was such a blessing. Everyone left with a wonderful, calm feeling, and not a single person rejected our invitation to visit them in their home. Never in my mission, have I seen such success as that. We were so blessed.
So, as you can see, I am leaving at a rather sad time. With such success, I am really sad to be leaving, especially with Guilherme and Elaine. However, they will always be a part of my life from here on out, whether I teach them or not. I am so grateful for the blessings of the Lord here in Curicica, and I hope that I can be privileged to do the same in my next area. Have a wonderful week, and I love you all deeply. :) 
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, December 9, 2013

"When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" Mosiah 2:17 :)

Hello my frosty friends!
How is that nice cold weather treating you guys? I am not sure exactly how cold it is... for the computer does everything in Celcius, but it is showing -17 in Ogden, and -24 in Logan.... That is cold! From what I remember, I think that -22C is around -10F. If so, you guys are nice and toasty. :) This was a rather crazy week as far as weather is concerned. Here in Rio, the temperature started nice and cool last Monday, maybe in the 70s. As the week went on it got gradually hotter, and Thursday was truly a day I will never forget on the mission. We awoke that morning and it was already very, very hot, and not a single cloud in the sky.... however, it was unusually hot. That day BAKED us alive. It was well over 100F, and the sun's rays were very very strong. Many of our appointments that day had fallen through, keeping us stuck on the street the entire day. Oh, it was so hard to keep going... At about 8 PM, we finally were able to visit a family that was home. It was still pretty hot... even without the sun, it was up in the 90s. We had entered at 8 PM, seeing just some small clouds in the skies. As we got ready to head home around 9 PM, we noticed some raindrops falling. In the short span of time, huge storm clouds formed and DUMPED tons of rain on Rio de Janeiro. It was so much so fast that the streets turned to rivers. Sinkholes opened up everywhere. The thunder and lightning were extremely strong. The wind was breaking trees. I truly thought there was a hurricane passing by. Luckily, we had been close to home and safe in a member's home. We weren't able to leave until 9:30 PM because the rain was so strong. Even running home, the rain continued very strong. As we got home, we received tons of phone calls from the mission seeing if everyone was at home, if anyone was still on the streets, and if everyone was accounted for. It was quite scary. In Rio, two people died... but all the missionaries were accounted for, and by the gracious blessing of the Lord, none of the four of us that live in Curicica even got wet. :)
I really liked this week, and it even ended with a really good Sunday. We have been trying really hard to serve the members more. We try to pass at least one family each day or every other day. The members have been really closed to the missionary work in the last few years because they have lost that good realationship that existed between the members and missionaries many years ago. We are trying to bring that back, and some of the members have begun to take notice of that. This week, we were able to help one member move and organize the front part of his home. In response to that great storm that happened on Thursday, many homes flooded, and many members lost items in their homes. We were able to help clean up one of the homes that was hit pretty hard. In the midst of all this, we pass by real quick some of the members just to see how they are and talk a bit. We are really starting to wake up this ward to the missionary work. I am so grateful for the chance to serve these amazing people here in Rio. They are so great. Some days, we didn't even have the chance to teach anyone, but we were in the service of members, which brought us that great feeling that we are doing the work of the Lord. At church this Sunday, our attendence went up, as it has been doing these last few Sundays, and many members were coming up to us, saying hi to us, and talking about people they want us to meet. This is how missionary work should be! Working together with the members to bring about these miracles. However, nothing happens until they have your trust, and this trust comes through service.
I am grateful for this week and all that I learned. We are on the break of many good things, and I am so glad to be here helping this ward strengthen. I have such a great testimony of this Gospel. I hope all is really well and that you are keeping up with that cool weather. We are actually being really blessed here with warm weather, but not too warm. :) Stay happy, stay healthy, and I will be talking to you guys face to face here in a little. I sure do love this time of year. Have a wonderful week! 
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, December 2, 2013

By small and simple things are great things brought to pass‏

Hello my fellow Utahns!
I hope that everyone is "chilling" out, having a good old time during this nice Christmas season. This truly is the greatest time of year-- the time that people are the most happy, most generous, and most charitable. Although I love a nice Brasilian Christmas, it does not compare to a nice, cold, wintery Christmas in Utah. For me, it just feels like something is missing... and for sure it is the snow. Christmas can't be Christmas if there isn't a blizzard outside, and if you're not snuggled up inside by the fire, listening to Christmas songs. However, these are the physical aspects of Christmas. Looking to the spiritual aspects of Christmas, nothing will ever compare to these two Christmases here on the mission. I have already passed one, and boy, it seems like that didn't happen that long ago! Now, I am already on the countdown to talk to you guys again! Can you believe it? I can see the time literally flying by my eyes. It is so important for you to use this time wisely. I can't express that enough. As I see these two amazing years passing by, I realize the importance of the continual habit of doing these things here on the mission... pray, read the scriptures, develop the attributes of Christ, follow the Spirit, and endure to the end. They are such small things, but make all the difference. As we read in Alma 37:6-7, by small things, great things are brought about. These great things are brought about by our small actions and decisions day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, and second by second. Many times, we make goals on how we can change. We begin working with these goals, but it seems as if we aren't changing at all. However, as we look back a few weeks, months, or maybe a year ago, we see that great difference. But why didn't we see that change day by day? Because it was by the small actions and decisions-- the decision that didn't even catch our attention-- that were changing us. Always remember this. Wow, I really went off in my thoughts there for a moment. Anyway, Christmas here on the mission is really great. I remember last year, and how Strong the Spirit was all the time. Truly, this is the time that we celebrate the true meanings of Christmas-- all of the spiritual aspects of it. The Christmas hymns, stories, activities, testimonies, etc. Everything is so great! We are visiting our investigators, singing hymns, and talking about the true meaning of Christmas. We sing at our lunch appointments, and pass the members to see what everyone is needing. Truly, giving 110% of yourself during the Christmas season is something that you can't explain. The feelings of helping others is undescribable. I will never, ever forget these wonderful times. I invite you all to try to help and serve someone (or many people!) during this great Christmas Season. Bake some cookies for the neighbors you don't recognize. Shovel the sidewalks of someone without asking, or help someone carry groceries at the supermarket. There are so many ways to help others. I hope that each of you can open your eyes to these precious opportunities to help someone during this time of year. :)
So this was a great week, and like I say a lot, it passed by really fast. I have seen the miracles of the Lord in our work, and also learned some great lessons. We found one of the Lord's elects this last week-- really, the Lord blessed us, placing this man in our pathway. His name is Deroncio, and he is about 26 years old. He lives close to the church, and he came to watch the meetings on his own! He accepted our visit and said that he had been invited to church in a street contact, by the missionaries in São Paulo. He accepted to go to church, and went! The missionaries got his address, but never were able to find him at home. His work schedule is very crazy. He then moved to Rio to work as well. We took down his address as well, and were never able to find him at home. On the 6th try passing his home, we found him! We got to know him a little more, and that he works with events. He sets up concerts, fairs, carnivals, etc. He had a very big interest in the church since the first time he saw the name. He expressed his confusion as far as religion is concerned, and in the midst of so many churches, he found one with the true name of our Savior Jesus Christ... We taught him the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and he understood everything so well. He said the last prayer and expressed to us that he was already feeling in his heart the truthfulness of the message. He accepted baptism on the spot. We were never able to find him again until this last Saturday. He had been reading the Book of Mormon and understood everything! He knew that these things were true. He only had one problem--- his work. He works in very bad situations, and he has a very big desire to serve the Lord. Deroncio wants to leave this work and live with his Family again-- have a life more calm and where he can do what is right. He says that he will be baptized, and he will be when the Lord wants him to. I have strengthened my testimony so much on the power of the Holy Ghost in the conversion of people. He was so ready to receive the Gospel-- he just had to hear it. He is making plans to quit and go back to his home in Bahia. I don't know if he will be baptized here, but I know that we were able to plant that seed and see it grow. :) For just that, my mission has been worth it.
There is no other work like this work, and there never will be. I am so grateful for this Gospel in my life, and I hope you all are able to see the importance of it in your life. Our loving Father in Heaven has shown us the way, and we are to follow if we want to be happy. Truly, it is as simple as that. Have faith; repent of your sins daily; be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost; then, endure to the end in all things! No, it's not easy, but it's worth it. Oh it sure is worth it. :)  I love you and miss you all. My fasting and prayers are to you all, for your safety and health. Have a wonderful week and stay happy! :) 

MUITO amor,
Elder Steven Bennett  

Monday, November 25, 2013


Hello Hello!
Wow, one more week has passed by and it seems as if one day has passed by. It is so true that the second year of the mission passes much faster than the first. It is amazing to me that there is so much to do, and so little time to do it! This is missionary work, and luckily there will always be another missionary to take your place when you are gone. I had a bit of a crazy week, and even in the middle of time passing so fast, there were moments that passed quite slow. However, I was able to see the hand of the Lord in my life, helping and guiding me to learn the things I am supposed to learn here on the mission. It is so much easier to pass the many experiences that the mission throws at you if you keep in mind that everything happens for a reason. The Lord is testing you and refining you for the future. Something in the future (maybe after the mission in the normal phases of life, or in the eternities) will happen, and you look back at the past moments that prepared you to face that and succeed. The Lord and His Works are so perfect, and they will always be like that. I am grateful for each and every experience, moment, companion, área, etc. that I pass through here in the best two years.
As I have said a little bit in the past, our district has been having a few problems. Everytime we solve one problem, another one starts! This week, we have been trying to help one of the elders who is passing some personal problems. He didn't have the best companions in the past, and this was a factor in the problem now. He was passing some hard times... depression, lack of desire and excitment, homesickness, etc, and with the new transfer, he was put as a trainer in our district. With most missionaries, this awakens them, and they realize the responsibility they have to work and be an example. However, the opposite happened... Unfortunately, his new American companion, is wracking his brain in trying to help him out. Over these last few weeks, I have gained a good friendship with this great missionary, Elder Weight. He has such a great testimony of the Gospel, and he is so full of love to help out his trainer. This great missionary, even with the lack of the language, is teaching all of us a great lesson: Love. He has been doing everything possible to help out the other missionary. I look to Elder Weight's example, and it shows me that even in the hardest moments, we need to be patient and show love. The personal problems with this Elder got to the point that I had to call President and explain the problem. I was ordered to do a Split with him and try to work it out. This mission Split happened on Friday... and boy, was it an interesting day. My love for this missionary is great, and it ached my heart to have to listen to some of his words, and see his actions. However, I tried my best to help him out, and at the end of the day, he was doing better. Until now, he is still doing well, but the situation is still a bit scary at times. We just have to keep praying and loving him.
The week ended with Stake Conference, and this time, all the missionaries were invited to watch the Adult Session on Saturday night. It was different than any meeting I have ever seen in the church. It was more like a presentation with people making comments. The subject of accelerating the missionary work was hit hard. President and Sister Lima spoke and left the Spirit there burning our hearts, leaving the impressions of what each of us, as members and missionaries, need to do better. Many talks were given, and it was left very clear to us that we have to now take these teachings and APPLY them in our lives. Nothing improves by listening, but really, DOING. Learning isn't learning until we apply the principles in our own lives. It sure was a great conference. I also had the opportunity to take my Bishop out onto the street in front of the stake center (Freguesia) and do street contacts with him. It sure was great seeing all these bishops a little bit scared, making the first contact, and in little time, they were running after people talking to them. It was so funny! Ahhhh, I love missionary work. :) 
Well, as you can see, a missionary learns much more than just teaching on the mission. We learn a little in every aspect of life... But above all of this, I have come to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is the head of this church... the one true church on the Earth... the church with the authority of God. I know that these things are true. I know that my testimony has strengthened so much here, and is continuing to strengthen each and every day. I see the importance of the things that really matter, like the Family. Ah, I love my Family. :) I love you guys tons. Keep doing what is right. Read the scriptures daily! Say your prayers in the morning and at night! Through the small and simple things, great things come to pass. :) Have a wonderful week.  
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, November 18, 2013


Hello família e amigos!
This has been a WONDERFUL week!!! As you know, we had the transfer last week. I was to stay here in Curicica. I received a new companion, and we also live with another companionship that received a new missionary. I became very happy to find out that a new American missionary would be arriving and be living with us! His name is Elder Weight, from New Jersey. He is still in the very beginning stages of Portuguese, and I can see how I was talking at the beginning of my mission, and how much I have improved since then. It is crazy how fast time flies, but looking back, it seems that I have done so much. Fortunately, there is still much more to do. :) I began thinking a lot about when I arrived in Brasil. Elder Weight has a Chilean companion, just like I did. I can now see how hard it was when I was learning. You don't just have to learn Portuguese, but learn from someone with a strong Spanish accent! Oh, the good times. But Elder Weight is an amazing missionary. He is fearless, and willing to speak with everyone. He actually Works more than his trainer! He is the first American that I have lived with for quite some time. I have had the opportunity to speak a little bit of English with him (not too much-- I want him to learn Portuguese), and he says that I speak super weird now. Just think what will happen to my English with 9 more months of Portuguese! However, I am fine with that. I only have this short time to speak Portuguese, and the rest of my life to learn English again. :)
This was truly a week of miracles. I was passing some hard times here, and it seemed as if nothing was going right. This week, together with a new companion, I have had the chance to move things around, and we are having lots of success. We were able to see some progress with some special families we are teaching. As well, we found some really great people that are truly elect. Even to the point of just walking on the street-- we have had many more people coming to us, seeking the truth! I have truly seen the promise in Preach My Gospel: "The Lord is preparing His children to hear the message of the Restoration of the Gospel. They will be placed in your path, or you will be placed in their path." I have seen the truthfulness of that. This week ended with a rather intense lesson Saturday night. We went to confirm the baptisms of the daughter and cousin of a recently baptized couple. Jennifer and Suzana have had a rough time accepting, and we were able to help them see the importance of completing their Family in the gospel. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to see a recently baptized father baptize and complete his Family in the church. :) It was amazing!
My time has ended-- I am sorry that this letter is so short, but I will write more next week. I love and miss you all! This work is truly the work of the Lord. It is progressing... rapidly! Choose the right! I love you all! 
Elder Steven Bennett 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Number 10!

Well the results are in! Elder Bennett will stay in Curicica for at least six more weeks. My new companion is Elder W. Oliveira, Brasilian. I havent had an American companion forever... wait, lets change that.. I havent even lived with an American forever! There have been some crazy changes with this transfer, but the changes are definitely necessary. My district was having some problems, really. I believe that I already talked a little about this, but one of the elders here doesnt like the mission rules AT ALL. Not one bit. This created lots of problems in our district, and his example was ruining his companion that still has very little time on the mission. My Zone Leaders tried to help this elder as well, but nothing was working. It even got to the point that President called me, asking what I am doing to help this elder. Many things changed this transfer, including him leaving to another zone. I wish I could have helped him more, but there always gets to a point where you have to help yourself or nothing will work out... However, I am very excited for this coming transfer. I have a new companion, and with that, new ideas, excitement, and changes that always accompany a transfer. Also, this is my 10th transfer. I am not sure how it came about, but my zone gave me the nickname Ben 10 (there is a cartoon with this name, and also in the Brasilian school system, a score of 10 is the best you can have... I accept both interpretations of the nickname!). So, being Ben 10, and being on my 10th transfer, now is the time to really shine and work my very hardest! I am also very excited, for Elder Viglione is still my Zone Leader, and Sister Harrison is being transferred to our zone. She, as well, was with us 9 weeks in the MTC. It was Sister Harrison that accompanied me from Salt Lake to São Paulo as well! For this, we are super stolked to have her with us. She will finish her mission here in Jacarepaguá. Yes, she is already finishing here in 12 weeks. Time is passing very fast.
Well, this was an interesting week. Missionaries always work super hard the very last week to have some baptisms before they leave to another area. We were on track to do the same thing... until my companion became very sick. We went to a public hospital last Tuesday, and the doctor turned him away, telling him to take Vitamin C. He wasnt improving, and Thursday, we went to a better hospital, where they did a thorough check of him, including blood tests, x-rays, consults, etc. Turns out that he was fine, but was beginning to have pneumonia. The doctor gave him medicine to help him get better, and he had to rest a lot. We spent a good part of Tuesday through Friday at home. At times, we were able to get out and make a few visits, but for the most part, he had to rest and recuperate. Now, he is fine and we were able to get out and work Saturday and Sunday. Just in these two days, we had some crazy experiences, and unfortunately, sad ones as well. Suffice it to say that Satan has much power, and at times it seems that we are not strong enough to fight back. As we went to visit a family, members that have been passing some rough times these last few weeks, we had a chance to find the son (9 years old) at home. Bless his heart, he answered, and answering all our questions with honesty, we found out that his parents were in a bar close to their home. The poor kid was sad and scared for telling us, but we gave him a smile and told him everything will be all right. As we passed the bar, we were able to catch a glance of the parents trying to hide behind a table, knowing that we were passing by. It is so sad that this happened to a returned missionary and a recent convert in the church. With more faith and more love, we will truly make an impact in this city where the enemy works oh so diligently.
It would be a lie to say that I am doing great. These are some hard times that I know will pass. The Lord does not give us tests that are more than we can handle. I am grateful for these experiences and I know everything has its purpose and lesson. I am grateful for the support of my loving family and friends as well. Thanks for the letters, and if you still havent written me, you still have time to repent and write. :) My love for you guys grows stronger each and every day. Keep strong in what is right, and dont fall for the cunning plans of the devil!
Have a wonderful week! 
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, November 4, 2013

Crazzzy Week!

Dear Family and Friends,
I LOVE MY MISSION! I just want to express that right now. I really dont know why I am so happy in the middle of a life that, for the majority of the time, is filled with disappointments and plans not going how you would like. However, there is this grand little feeling inside me that keeps me moving each and every day, with happiness and sunshine in the soul. :) As I expressed to you guys last week, I was passing some difficulties in my area, problems in my district, lack of success and investigators, etc. We really tried to improve these things this week. We began by looking at all our problems, and what we could do to resolve them. Some of these problems included a lack of application of the principles/teaching methods in Preach My Gospel, lack of work, and other things that are a consequence of our work. Other problems are outside of our reach. We began with the things that are in our reach: The most important being Street Contacts. Street Contacts are one aspect of our work that depends soley on us-- we do or we dont do. As missionaries, our goal is 30 street contacts per day, summing 210 per week. With obedience to this goal, we are opened to blessings in the aspects that are outside of our control. Many times I have seen the blessings that have come from street contacts, including many more people to visit and teach. We focused on that this week, and we were able to hit that goal. We are now finding more people to teach, and yesterday at church, we received a reference from a member-- something that hasnt happened for quite some time. I believe that these blessing are beginning to flow to us. We just need to keep strong and the Lord will provide. :)
Much of our time was focussed on finding new investigators, but we were able to teach some great families. We have begun working with a less-active family. We are working with them to prepare for the temple. It will be hard, for the father has troubles with the Word of Wisdom and Tithing, but we will succeed! We also found a young, recently-married couple through knocking doors. We are very excited to start teaching them as well.
Saturday, a Missão Rio de Janeiro did what we like to call ´the work of salvation´. Here in Brasil, 02 of November was Memorial Day-- the day when many people visit their loved-ones that have passed on.
 Encontrando Pessoas no Dia dos Finados
Finding People on Memorial Day
Nesse último sábado(dia 02 Novembro) a missão Brasil Rio de Janeiro esteve envolvido em uma grande causa nos cemitérios do Cajú,São Jõao Batista,Memorial e Parque da Paz, na qual todos os missionários tiveram a oportunidade de confortar o coração de todas as famílias por meio da mensagem do plano de salvação, foi um momento muito espiritual e muitos milagres.
This last Saturday (November 2nd) the Brasil Rio de Janeiro Mission was involved in a great cause in  Caju Cemetery, Saint John Baptist, Memorial, and Peace Park, in which all the missionaries had the opportunity to confort the hearts of all the families through a message of the Plan of Salvation. It was a very spiritual moment, filled with many miracles.

2.060 Lições ensinadas
5.213 Contatos
918 Referências
2,060 lessons taught
5,213 contacts
918 references taken
This event was marvelous! I loved it so much. We woke up at 3:45 AM and were on a bus by 5 AM, going to Caju Cemetery. We arrived there around 6:30 AM, and spent the next five and a half hours talking with everyone in the cemetery visiting their loved ones. At first, I was a bit nervous and didnt know how to approach these people. As you can see in the photo (a true photo of where I was), the graves are above the ground. The people clean the graves and pray that their spirits can be conforted. Many are accustomed to putting flowers and candles on the graves. We spent this time walking through these graves, praying with the people, and sharing a message of the Plan of Salvation. It was wonderful to see everyone holding a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation and the church cards. Many people (majority are Catholic), took interest in the cards with an image of Jesus Christ, resurrected, in front of Mary. People even began leaving these cards on the graves as part of the decoration and worship. People also took interest in the card with Jesus Christ showing his hand and feet to the Nephites. Many people were sitting in the shade (it was very hot that day) reading the pamplets. It was during this activity that I began to think of how wonderful the mission is. Never in my life would I have imagined doing something like this activity, if it wasnt for my mission. I am so grateful for the mission. So, the activity was a success, and more than 100 sweaty, red and sunburnt missionaries took a bus to Andarai, my second area, to eat lunch. It was a wonderful day. The work of the Lord is progressing. Miracles are happening all around us. This is the true work of the Lord in preparation for the Second Coming.
I love and miss you all very much. The sun is beginnng to burn, so it is time to use the sunscreen. Take advantage of your chilly weather. :) I know that this church is true. Keep strong in what you know is right. There is no doubt in my mind that the true church was restored to the earth through a living prophet. I know, with certainty, that we have a divine plan that was given to us in the beginning. This work is being done on both sides of the veil. I am certain of these things. Have a wonderful week! 
Elder Steven Bennett
PS. Next week is a transfer. Lets see if I stay or go!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Endure to the End!

Bom dia!
How is everyone doing on this fine and breezy day? We were attacked with some nice spicy weather this week, but with a prayer asking for rain,  we have entered into a rather cool temperature with lots of rain and wind! It is a great relief, and is really showing that I am unprepared for the summer heat that is arriving. It looks like the next coming week will be more cloudy and relatively cool. Let's hope it stays like that!
I always like to write about the things that I learned throughout the week. I feel that being here on the mission, I have the opportunity to teach the wonderful Brasilian people as well as my own family. For this, I like to send the things I learn to you guys as well, through my good and bad experiences. Unfortunately, this has been a week of learning through more bad experiences than good. It was a rough week to say the least. Throughout the week, I, personally, have had a hard time leading my district in the way it should be led; with love, righteousness, and obedience. This was pushed to the limits through a variety of experiences. As I have said before, I live with some missionaries that, I believe, have so much potential, but don't have the desire to use it. I live with another companionship, and they are very connected to their lives before the mission. They like to listen to music that is not approved here on the mission... the mission rules have no affect to them... Obedience is just another "annoying subject" for them. Being the leader, I have to be patient and teach them the right way. This brought many difficulties for me during the week, to the point of much stress. Why stress? Many times during the week, I was brought to a conflicting feeling in my heart: "Why are things going like this? My area isn't progressing. We aren't having any success with our investigators. We are rejected all the day long. Baptisms are just something we dream about. How is it that the other area is having success? They aren't obedient. They hardly work. Their desires are outside of Rio de Janeiro. How is it that they are baptizing and having such success with references, members, appointments, etc. and we, the ones trying so hard to do what's right, are here suffering... walking all the day long... not having a single lesson... trying everything possible and still nothing happens." I was thinking this a good part of the week. I honestly can say that I don't know why it is happening, but I know things will improve. I have seen improvement in the past, and miracles happen. I know it can happen again. It is a test to see how strong we are. I know that if I keep strong, I will succeed. However, staying strong isn't the only requirement, but really looking at what things didn't go right in the week. What needs to be changed to bring improvement and results more rapidly. Staying strong can't just be a desire or a hope, but needs to be put in action. It is the only way to bring about that success and improvement. Looking back on this week, we were discouraged, we were angry, and this wasn't helping us. 2 Nephi 31: 19-20 teaches us a very important principle: Endure to the End. Enduring to the End isn't just making it to the end of a certain period of time, but really trying to improve and be more perfect until you reach that certain point. We didn't endure to the end. Alrighty good, so that solves some of our problems for the week, but leaves another problem. How is it that our neighboring area is having so much success with so little desire, obedience, and work? The answer comes from a talk I am reading: "The Fourth Missionary". There are four types of missionaries. The first, being a missionary that is very disobedient, doesn't work, focuses on himself, etc. The Fourth, being an obedient missionary, focusing on the work, and helping others. Both can have "success", or baptisms, but really is that where the success is? No. The success is in the CHANGE of that missionary's heart, and the CHANGE he made in other people. Maybe he didn't baptize 1000s of people, but he makes a mark in the few that he did baptize, as well as the mark he leaves in his own heart. This change of heart is the reason we, as young men, are sent on the mission. We need to prepare for the future, including raising an eternal family. This change only comes through dedicating yourself to the work, the Lord, and all that he subjects to you, good and bad. It is through these tests that  we are made more perfect and ready to face the future. So the answer to the question, Why do they have success? The answer is: Don't worry about it! Focus on your work, your area, and what the Lord wants. The Lords knows what we will do on the mission, but we don't. For this, we need His Spirit with us, so that we can be guided. If we do this, it won't matter what happens, or how many we baptize... we will return with the change in our hearts and knowing we did the Lord's will.
This is what I learned this week. It was a hard and stressful week, yes. But, I am filled with a peace and happiness that good times are coming. :) I love you all and hope all is well at home. Count your blessings each and everyday! I hope everyone has a wonderful week. 
Com todo meu amor,
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hello. :)

Good morning to all my lovely friends and Family in Utah! How is the nice chilly weather coming in? I am missing that kind of weather... It seems like yesterday that I was passing the last summer here on the mission. It was sooo hot. This week, Summer officially started and today welcomed us with a really hot day. Today is also a Holiday, the Commercial Day, or otherwise known as the day when anyone who owns a store... stays home! It was almost hard to find an internet café that was open. There has been lots of holidays lately. Brasil sure has tons! For us, that is a good thing, for more people are at home. However, if the day is extra hot and sunny, everyone goes to the beach. The life of a Carioca. :)
This was quite the week. Unfortunately, it was a week that dragged on very long. As I said in my last letter, we were in Flamengo for the day (last Monday) renewing our visas. We were supposed to bring our old visa confirmation with us. As we got there in Flamengo, the secretary asked us, "Alright, who has the visa confirmation?" Everyone took out their visa confirmation. We have two actually, and as I pulled mine out, it was evident that everyone brought the second one and I brought the first! I began to be nervous. What if they don't accept it?! Well, turns out, I brought the right one, and the other one wasn't needed. Even more, they already had copies of the visa confirmations, so it wasn't needed really. Monday was a day filled with bus rides and little food. I didn't have enough Money with me to buy a good lunch, so I was hungry the entire day. We were on the bus so long that I learned how to do the rubix-cube. Elder Saihg, my Zone Leader can solve the cube in about 30 seconds... He is crazy. After all of the craziness of the day, we finally  headed back home. Our bus was driving very, very fast. We were thinking that something could easily happen if the other drivers weren't paying attention. Unfortunately, that happened. One driver decided to try to jump ahead of the bus, thinking that he was going slower than he really was. Sadly, the car was T-boned and threw the car like a toy. We were in the front of the bus, so we saw everything. The force almost threw us from our chairs. Luckily, the driver wasn't harmed at all, and he left unscathed. The day was a crazy one for sure, and as we finished the trip back home, my body became very achy. The next morning, I woke up with a fever, achy body, and stomach aches. Turns out, I ate something bad and for the next few days, I was weak and achy, but was able to work.
I don't like to stay at home, so working, even if a little sick, is much better. :) We had some good experience this week. My testimony of the power of blessings has grown immensly. That last Tuesday, when I was the most achy, was a hard day. However, we had a Family Night that night, and i was determined to go. It was great because I had the chance to give a blessing to someone who was more sick than I. Finishing the blessing, I as well felt stronger and with more health. At the end of the Family night, Mazé, the member had made soup, and boy was it good. :) The perfect meal for an achy stomach.
Jumping a little bit later this last week, we went to visit a recent convert, and as we passed, we felt that we should visit some members that live close. As we visited, the mother became very happy, saying that our visit was an answer to her prayers. Her Family is passing some hard times, and the parents are planning on separating. We were able to help her out and give her a blessing of comfort. To add on to this, at the end of our visit, her visiting teachers arrived! She began to cry at the love that was shown to her in that day. Truly the Spirit guided us, and her visiting teacher to her house that day.
Well, my time is ending quickly, but I would like to bear my testimony to you all. I know that this church is true. I know that I say this a lot, but I can't stop saying it! Each and every day, I have experiences that confirm to me the truthfulness of the Gospel. There really is no doubt in my mind that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He lives! He loves each and every one of us. I know that it is through His perfect love for us, that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven with our families. I know that miracles happen. I know that the Priesthood is the Lords power, and that it is real. I know that we can help others through the Priesthood if we are worthy. Always be worthy to use the Priesthood to bless others and to receive its divine power.
I love you all lots! I miss you all even more! Take advantage of that wonder chilly weather while you have it. :) Have a wonderful week. CTR!
With love,
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, October 14, 2013


Hello all!

This was one more week that passed by really fast. I was once again hit by how fast time passes as I received that today, during P-day, I would have to go to the mission office and meet up with all the Americans with whom I arrived here in Rio. We will be going to the Federal Police Station to renew our visas. So, I am here in Flamengo, basically under the Christ Statue with all my great buddies. The difference in everyone is great. Everyone is speaking Portuguese as well. It is amazing how fast time flies. As we waited in the mission office, we were notified of our DEPARTURE DATE.... I was thinking "Seriously??!". How is it possible that they are telling me this already? Well, I will let you guys in on this little secret... the magic date is.... August 28, 2014. I will be boarding a plane, and flying on home. But don't worry, knowing this crazy information won't distract me... I still have plenty of time to work here. :) 

This was an alright week for me. I will not lie that this part of my mission has truly been the hardest for me. This area has been a rough one, and the biggest change has been with the missionaries. I feel that the missionaries that arrived before me and with me are a good bunch. They are willing to work hard to give it all they got. However, lately there has been many missionaries arriving that don't have this same desire, and I am the District Leader of three of them. It has been a rough week, for they are very wild and the mission rules and obedience doesn't mean much for them. I try to work hard and show my example to them, but as for now, it doesn't have much of an effect. I know that I will succeed with time and patience and continued obedience. Everyday brings a new challenge to overcome. I like it though.. challenges are better than passing the time in peace and luxury... :) As for our work, we had troubles in teaching our most valuable investigators this week. We are trying to see what we can do differently. It's like they say, if your work is going right, change it! In the spirit of prayer and fasting, we will know what to do and how to do it. We ended this week learning a good lesson on faith and perseverance. Saturday night, we had a family night with a recently-baptized family. The daughter still isn't baptized, and her cousin is interested in the church. We were feeling very well about the thought of them being baptized this next week. We planned a good lesson, and followed the Spirit. The lesson ended in success... the daughter and cousin accepted to be baptized this next Sunday! We are praying that all will continue well and that we can work even harder to be worthy of these great blessings and miracles.

My time is very short today, for we will be grabbing a taxi here in a little and going to the Federal Police Station. I love and miss you all, and hope the best for you guys. I am praying for each and every one of you! Continue in what you know is right, and never be swayed from this path. In all that I have learned on my mission, the most important thing is the love that Heavenly Father has for us, in that He sent His Son to suffer and die for us. His Atonement is our salvation. Take advantage of this blessing daily. I hope you all have a wonderful week! Think of me under the Cristo Rendentor. :)

Com MUITO amor e saudades,
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, October 7, 2013


Hello hello!

Alrighty, so I really have no idea what happened last week. I wrote you guys an email and sent it off. About a minute later, I received an email saying that it didn't send, and that some fatal error occurred. I looked in the drafts and sent mail, and it wasn't there. Somehow, it got erased... So, sorry about that! Let's hope that doesn't happen again. I will recap some of the things that happened two weeks ago, as well as this week. :)
The transfer ended this last Monday, 30 September. That last week (23/09 -29/09) was a very good week for Elder Rocha and I. We had lots of success with our appointments, and in the progress of some of our investigators. It was also a week of learning from our weaknesses and errors. The week before the 23rd, we had been teaching very poorly, and it was then that we began looking at how we were working, and made plans to improve. We took our goals and really looked at the importance of them, and through paying more attention to them, we were able to end out the week with much higher results. It was in this week that we found two amazing families, Maria + Iran and Romildo+Danielle. These families were references of an activity that we did at the beginning of September. We had been praying mightly that the Lord could put all of His elects on a certain street that we had planned. The day arrived and we went out and spoke with everyone! The fruits of this work brought forth these two families. Maria and Iran have four children, and they already learned a little bit about the church before they moved to Rio. Romildo and Danielle are around 25 and have a cute little boy. They are so humble and willing to learn and do what is right. They received us very happily in their homes and we taught them the Restoration. The two families accepted baptism. These families are wonderful, and truly are ready to receive the Restored Gospel. We have been trying really hard to involve the members with our visits, and this has helped so much. Missionary work truly is better with the help of the members. We truly saw miracles in our work this week.
This brings us to this last week (30/09-07/10). We wanted to continue with this renewed power and faith, and as the week worked, we ran into many obstacles... We had trouble finding our investigators at their homes, or that would accept a visit. We didn't teach very much for this. We also lost some really great investigators who don't want to learn more about the church. Unfortunately, everything started from a bad first impression of the church. Last month, we received the reference of a really great family (a different family than the ones I mentioned above). We visited, and taught them the Restoration. They really liked it, and were reading the Book of Mormon. We invited them to come to church, and they accepted. That next Sunday, we never found them at church. We visited them the next day to see why they didn't go to church. They answered the door a little bit hesitantly, and explained to us how they don't think the church gave them a good first impression. The whole family had gone to church that Sunday. However, they had gone with normal clothing, and were too embarrassed to enter. They stood at the door deciding, and didn't know what to do. We weren't around because church had started about 40 minutes before. There were some members of the church that passed by them and looked at them, but never gave them a "good morning" or "let me help you!". For this, they decided to leave and go to another church. It was a very sad and disappointing experience for us. This family was so great, and through small and simple acts like saying "hi", they now have a bad impression on the church. Always remember this story, and never let that member be you-- the one that passes these precious children of God without saying a word. I hope that some day in the future, they will have a better opportunity to get to know the happiness that is in this church. However, on the flip-side, we are very very grateful for a member who is helping us LOTS with the family of Maria and Iran. This member, Ytailândia, left with us to visit this family, and she, being the Primary President, instantly began integrating this family and their Primary aged children. She helped us lots in that lesson, which turned into one of the most powerful lessons I have had on my mission. Ytailândia then planned a Family Night in her home and made cakes and cookies. It was amazing, and the kids loved it as well. I am so grateful for her help, and the help that members give us. It is one more testimony that members need to be involved just as much as the missionaries! Always look to do your part as a member of the church in helping the missionary work where you are living. There are always people around us, and these people are waiting to hear the true, restored gospel!
This week ended with General Conference, where we watched with our stake. It was out of our area, so we stayed at the home of other missionaries Saturday and Sunday. These days consisted of watching Conference, leaving the chapel and inviting everyone on the street to watch the next session, and then repeat. It was great! :) I love being a missionary. It was amazing. I also had the chance to watch conference, sitting next to Elder Viglione, my Zone Leader and also my best friend with whom I arrived on the mission and lived with in the MTC. One year ago, we were sitting next to each other in the MTC, watching Conference, and trying to learn Portuguese. One year later, we were next to each other again, watching and understanding every word in Portuguese. So much has happened in a year. It is amazing to think back and see all that we have done, and even more amazing to look forward at all that is to come still. I am so grateful for the mission and all that is happening. Truly, I see the hand of our Heavenly Father leading and guiding this work and the Church. He lives, and He loves each one of us. He restored this church to the earth, and there is no doubt in my mind that this work is true. The Church is growing rapidly, and Heavenly Father is accelerating this work. We are up to more than 80,000 missionaries in the world!!!! What an army! What a privledge it is to be a part of this number, teaching and bringing these souls unto Christ! This work will not be hindered. This work will never stop... until the day that each and every soul has heard of this marvelous gospel. I have a quote on my missionary planner:
      "Every time they persecute and try to overcome this people, they elevate us, weaken their own hands, and strengthen the hands and arms of this people. And every time they undertake to lessen our number, they increase it. And when they try to destroy the faith and virtue of this people, the Lord strengthens the feeble knees, and confirms the wavering in faith and power in God, in light, and intelligence. Righteousness and power with God increase in this people in proportion as the Devil struggles to destroy it." -- Brigham Young
I know that this is true. I know with all my heart. This is the true, restored Gospel, and nothing will stop this work until the great and last day when all shall know of its truthfulness. I love and miss you all, and until that great day of returning home, my sacred duty is to help our Heavenly Father find the lost sheep and bring them back to the fold. This I will do until my last minute on the mission. :)
Have a wonderful and safe week. Tell Alisha happy birthday for me, and that I am sending her a card. I hope all is well, and that the nice cold season is coming in nicely! I love you all so much! Choose the right! It is the only way to be happy. Kick Satan in the bum-bum and tell him to leave and take his temptations with him. :) 
Com amor e saudades,
Èlder Steven Bennett

Monday, September 23, 2013

Just working all the day long. :)

Hellooooo. :)
My family and friends, oh how I miss you guys! However, please don't misinterpret this phrase-- I am not trunky or wanting to return home until September 2014. Truly though, I miss and love you all. I just would like to express that at this moment. One of the things I have learned throughout my mission is to truly love others as Christ loves each and every one of us. I have learned to love the people here in Brasil, especially here in Rio-- Carioca. :) Carioca is a people very crazy and happy, that stress about nothing at all. People that make good use of friends and family, and have parties with lots of food and laughter. Of course, these things sometimes are used in excess here, but the basis is the same. I love the people here. I have come to see the importance of family and friends in my life. Sometimes, my mind is taken back to the mystic memories of home life, college, and the beautiful Utah mountains. I see how much I value these things and the importance they have. I love each and every one of you, and I plan to show this love each and every day in the future. :) I believe these thoughts of home have come about lately because I began reading "Our Legacy", a book on the history of the church, starting with the First Vision. I have learned so much more about the church, and truly the miracles and truthfulness of the church. It is amazing to me at the level of understanding I have now, and what I had when I arrived here on the mission. My testimony has grown so much, and even to the smallest principles of the Gospel, I see, understand, and feel the importance of them in my life as a missionary, and the importance they need to have in my life after the mission. I am grateful for my mission. I truly see why missionaries never forget these short two years, even after 30 or 40 or 50 years. I am also grateful that up to this point, these wonderful moments have been recorded in my journal almost to a daily basis. I don't plan on forgetting these things anytime soon... :)
As for this week, it was a week of learning, and a week of evaluating my progress as a missionary, including the quality of my work, and the efficiency. We always are having transfers and changes, areas and companions, so sometimes its hard to catch a good rhythm and keep on with it. This transfer has done that to me. It has been hard readjusting to an area that is so much different than my last. My companion is much different that those in the past. For this, we have had a bit of a rough time catching that wave of good work and keeping up with it. Yesterday was a day that helped us out a lot with this. Unfortunately, throughout these last few weeks, we haven't had much success or excitement between me and my companion, and our teaching was gradually getting worse. Yesterday, we finally sat and had a talk about how we could fix these problems. As we talked, it was as obvious as a warm breeze on your face, as the Spirit fell upon us and helped us work out our difficulties. We ended up hugging at the end, and we left to work once again filled with a power, courage, and excitement that was missing for a while. I never will forget that little talk we had on that quiet little street as the sun was going down. :) It is amazing how the Spirit works in our lives. I firmly believe that I didn't know much about the Spirit, or how to recognize him, before the mission. As members of the church, we have the opportunity to feel His guidance in our lives, always! We must be worthy of Him, however. Do everything possible in your lives to be worthy of His sweet and loving presence.
I learned many things this week, and I plan to apply these things in my work, making me an efficient missionary, full of love and diligence to the work of the Lord. :) I must be running, for my time has ended, but remember these words. I love you! Make an effort to love each and every person around you. Always look to the positive of that person (this helps lots!), no matter how many negatives they have. It is as we do this that we feel the Spirit of the Lord more in our lives and obey the "first and great commandment": Love the Lord thy God with all they heart, mind, and strength, and the same to thy neighbor. I miss you all lots! Have a wonderful week!!! 
Elder Steven Bennett
PS. Did you know Jon gets home in six weeks??? Time passes fast.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Trekking in the Heat‏

Hello all!
Well, the heat has finally arrived, and boy it's making it's presence known! Today was is in the upper 90s, I believe. As we get hotter and hotter, you guys are getting colder and colder. Oh, I already miss the cold. Do you realize that I will not have seen snow for three years when the next winter hits? That is a wild thought. I am thinking that I will die that winter of hypothermia... yikes. So how is everyone? I am glad to hear you guys got to and from St. George in safety. I hope Grandpa will start improving. I am praying lots for him. Send my love to him and Grandma. I wrote them a letter that is ready to go out in the mail. Keep me updated on his progress.
This was a wild week for me. It has been a rollercoaster for sure. Lately, we have been having problems teaching lots of investigators, as well as finding more investigators. We have had some really great people pop up, and I am excited to start working diligently with them. :) However, we find ourselves walking for the greater part of the day, making contacts, and trying to find new people to teach. While doing this in the noon-day heat, it can be a test of your faith at times. It is good that we have companions in this work, for alone, I don't know if I could ever succeed! It is good having a buddy with you at all times, knowing that you are both in the same situation-- someone to help you out and keep you excited in the more difficult moments. It is always good to be with your entire zone, to talk a little and learn together. This week, we had a Zone Conference with President Lima, and we had the chance to learn many good things to help us out in our areas. One of the principles that was touched on the most was the Doctrine of Christ. The Doctrine of Christ is EVERYTHING in our work. If someone can learn everything there is about the Doctrine of Christ, he would be the best and most effective missionary in the field. As we know from 2 Nephi 31 and 3 Nephi 11 and 27, the Doctrine of Christ is based in Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. He who follows these simple five steps will return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. SIMPLE! As missionaries, we have to do our best to help our investigators understand these five steps with the most clarity possible. President spoke that as we understand the Docrtine of Christ more fully, we will work more diligently and effectively, and be more successful as missionaries, and in life! I have been studying these topics a lot lately. :) Anyway, the Conference was very good, and lasted almost all day Thursday.
My testimony was also strengthened greatly this week as we had the chance to put our wits to the test in a special activity set up by President. On Saturday, the entire mission got together as zones (there are 11 zones) and chose a special place, in each zone, to do this activity. My entire zone met in a commercial area, armed with many copies of the Book of Mormon and pass-along cards. For two hours, we were to talk to as many people as possible and find the children of our Heavenly Father who were ready to receive the restored gospel. We talked a little bit about the Book of Mormon and invited everyone to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon free. We noted their addresses to pass later in the week. For all those that didn't want one, we gave a pass-along card showing the number of the church where they could receive a free copy. As you can imagine, it would be a little scary stopping people running to and fro, making purchases, or going to work, just to talk about some strange book that they have never heard of! To be honest, I was a tiny bit scared to begin, but after the first couple contacts, it got much easier and soon, I and my zone, were running around stopping everyone in our sights! Talking with so many people, we received many different responses, some being very good, and some being bad. I had the opportunity to talk to a pastor who was trying to show how the Book of Mormon is false (he couldn't... :)  ) and in the end, accepted to receive a copy and follow the promise of reading, pondering, and praying. I talked to one lady who began screaming in fury at me, and then ran away. However, the best of all was the chance to show those that were truly ready to receive the Book of Mormon, in which I had the chance of inviting them to be baptized on the spot, and they accepted. In total, our zone made almost 1100 contacts, receiving around 100 addresses, and 12 people who accepted baptism on the spot. It was such an amazing experience. As you know, the enemy is always working when the Lord is working. As we began this activity, churches close-by began making signs in protest and offering free Bibles. There was even a pastor that came out preaching and passing out fliers. This just strengthened my testimony even more.
I am so grateful for all that I am learning on the mission. There isn't an experience that compares to this-- moments when you feel more close to our Heavenly Father. I am happy happy happy, even in difficult times. :) I hope all is well at home, and know that I am praying for you guys. Stay strong and do what's right, for the Lord always is close to help us in any situation. Love and miss you all!!! Have a wonderful week! 
Èlder Steven Bennett

Monday, September 9, 2013


First off, I am very sorry that I didn't have a chance to write last week. I don't like skipping a week of writing. I love writing to you guys and telling about all of my brazilian adventures. :) So, these last two weeks have been a little crazy. Time has been passing by really fast. I can't even believe that I will have one year on the mission this week! What happened to time!? I only have one more year to take advantage of every second, helping people come unto Christ. I am making some goals as well for this last year. I am to the point where I can speak fluently to anyone, and I am experienced in basically every aspect. Now is the time to put all this to the test and baptize everyone. :)
These last two weeks have been a bit rough, but also, i have truly seen miracles from the Lord's hand falling upon us. It seems that in the most difficult time, the Lord extends His almighty hand above us and gives a miracle to end out the day happy and grateful. As I have said before, it was pretty rough arriving here. The changes were grand. The missionaries in the past weren't as diligent as they should've been, and for that, we have been working hard to change things around. Here on the mission, we have a book of records called the Area Book. This book contains all the people that were taught in the last year, and sometimes up to three years in the past. Arriving here, the book was almost completely empty! We had NOTHING to build on. We sure have our work cut out for us. As for these last few weeks, we've been able to fill up this book with some records. Unfortunately, the next missionaries are going to arrive here with an ENTIRE area book filled with Elder Bennett and Elder Rocha.... hahaha. :) But I have been learning a lot throughout this period of time. I have had the chance of helping some new missionaries restart with more diligence and motivation. Unfortunately, there exist trainers who don't try to give the newbies the best mission foundation possible. I have had the chance to help my district change a few things around. My companion, Elder Rocha, is a very good missionary, and I am very grateful to work with him. Also, my Zone Leader is Elder Viglione, my blessed friend from the MTC! We arrived in Brasil together, passed the MTC together, and arrived in Rio together. We have seen each others progress from the beginning. Now, I have the opportunity to work with him and talk to him on a daily and weekly basis.
As for our work here in Curicica, it has been a little bit difficult. Sometimes, I feel that I am in the South... the only difference is that we have to persuade these people that there is more than just the Bible.... in the Portuguese lauguage! It's great. I love it, but sometimes it is frustrating. These last couple of weeks, we didn't have tons of success in teaching many people. We were stuck on the street without much to do. However, we always filled our time with something, and Heavenly Father really blessed us for that. Last week, we had a day where nothing worked out. We were very tired, and still had an hour and a half until the night ended. We decided to pass one of our investigators, Watson. It was a shot in the dark, really, for he is rarely at home during the night. We found him there, and he explained to us that he wanted to be baptized! It was such a great moment, and we knew that Heavenly Father was watching over us and our work. He was baptized yesterday. :) I am so grateful for the blessings of the Lord in our work. Truly, without His help, nothing would work out. This is the Lord's work, not ours. We only do what He wants us to do. We have this opportunity to be instruments in His hands. Many other miracles happened, but time not permits that I share them all. For this, we will have to read my journal once I am home. :)
I am so grateful for my mission, and the happiness that it is bringing me. I found out this morning, that Lucas, a young man (19 years old) that we baptized a month ago, received the Priesthood, and yesterday, he passed the Sacrament. He is preparing to serve a mission here after one year of membership. Experiences like this are what power me to work each and everyday... to help others come unto Christ. This is our purpose and our desire, as missionaries. I will work until my very last day. I will come home SO insanely tired. That is my goal. :) I know that this church is true. I know!
Know that my prayers are always being directed towards you all, family and friends. I love and miss you all immensely. Have a wonderful week. :)
Elder Steven Bennett  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Quero ser um missionário... :)

Opa! Tudo bem!
Hello hello to the fellow people in the USA! This was quite a week. It is interesting-- the first week in a new area always seems to last forever. I remember when I arrived in Andarai more than six months ago; I felt that that week was eternity. As for this last week, it was quite the same. Change is always good though. Early Tuesday morning, we boarded a bus toward the "Rodoviaria" (Sorry, i don't know that word in English) in the center of Rio de Janeiro to meet up with all the other missionaries. It was so funny seeing more than 50 missionaries talking, hugging, and laughing with friends and, for some, family! The rodoviaria is where all missionaries meet to switch areas, or to end out your mission. I met up with all of my MTC district and we shared some good experiences. None of us can believe that we will be hitting the halfway mark here in a little. It was great seeing them.... and finding out that Elder Viglione, one of my best buddies from my CTM district, will be my Zone Leader! I was so happy. :) Anyway, we said our goodbyes and then headed off. My new companion is Elder Rocha, from Brasilia. Rocha means rock. He has 4 months on the mission, so he just finished being trained. He has a big desire to keep going forward with the work. So, on our way to Curicica, we took a wrong bus, and ended up taking four different buses in order to get to where we wanted. The whole time I was just following my companion, hoping and praying that he knew what he was doing. But, we arrived safe and sound... but sadly, as we were walking towards the house, two wheels on my baggage (one on each bag) MELTED. How it happened, I don't know. it wasn't very hot out. However, the bags did weigh a lot, so friction may have caused some of that. Anyway, now I am down to three wheels on my luggage, so we'll see how that goes. :)
Arriving here, I was blasted with many changes... Changes in missionaries, changes in my home, the conditions, and the amount of food... personalities... bed (maybe the most important...)... etc. However, the changes that effected me the most was the changes in the quality of the work. Here, I was brought to the realization that we don't have very many investigators. Many missionaries in the past didn't like to make records, so our Area Book is empty, except for a few records dating back to 2010. As a missionary, your most valuable tool is the Area Book. As I was organizing, I came across more than 20 baptismal records that weren't sent to the church or mission... dating back to 2010. So, I came to the conclusion that from about 2010 until now, the work hasn't been very organized or done in the quality that it deserves. It was in this time that I started to make goals on how I am going to change my district. This is a very good area, but a good area needs good, diligent missionaries as well. For this reason, me and Elder Rocha sat down and had a chat about what we are going to do to change this area for the better. Yesterday, we had the chance to have a meeting with the leader of every organization in the ward. We had some time to talk to everyone and explain exactly what we need from them, and what our plans are to improve the work in this area. I loved the meeting, and the ward is responding very good to the changes.
I know that this week will be very good. I know that we are going to change many things for the better. My first goal is to fix my bed, however... :) My bed is giving me lots of back pain. But, I want to express to you guys the importance of this work to me. This is the work of the Lord! For this, we should all be doing our part to progress this work. I am so grateful for the church in my life-- for the gospel and its teachings. I know that it is the only way to true happiness in our lives, and in the eternities to come. Keep to what you know is true. If you don't have a surety of these things, do what you need to do to have a surety. Read the Book of Mormon each and everyday! Within each page is divine truths to lead and guide our lives. I am so grateful for my mission, and am extremely sad that half of it is almost passed away. I hope that all is well at home, and I pray that you guys have a great start with the new school year, and the fall. Are you guys going to run the St. George marathon here in a little?
Love you all! Miss you lots. :) 
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, August 19, 2013


Hello all,

Something that I learned here on the mission is that you never get to a point in which you are comfortable with a situation. I feel that right when you start to get comfortable.... BAM! You are placed in another situation. For me, I was placed in this situation as I became a District Leader and Trainer. That time has ended for me, and now I am off to another area! I will be transferred to Curicica, Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro. It isn't too far from where I am now, but it's definately going to be different. I spent six and a half months in this area here in Andarai. I passed many experiences here, good and bad, and through it all, I became a stronger and more diligent missionary. I am so grateful for my time here. I am now off to baptize everyone out there in Curicica. :) I will miss all of the great people here in Andarai. It truly was a blessing serving here. I hope all is well at home, and that everyone is enjoying the last rays of summer. I will be entering summer here in a little. Yay for heat and sunburns and sweaty white shirts! 

I love this Gospel so much. Each and everyday, I wake up and see the difference it has made in my life. I still can't believe that I have passed almost an entire year here in Brazil. I am a little sad about this fact. But I know the Lord is pleased with my work, and that I am doing His will as I work my hardest. 

Sorry that this email is so short, for my time is even shorter. I love and miss you all very much! :)

All my love,
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, August 12, 2013


Buenos dias,

Hello hello! How is all my lovely Americans doing? I am basically Brasilian now... maybe someday I will be American again. So first off, I would like to correct a little error I made last week. Here in Brasil, Father's Day is August 11.... In the United States, it was quite a while ago... haha.. Sorry about that, Dad. But, I still love you anyway, and you still are the greatest Dad ever! 

This has been quite the week. I have been super busy, and the days pass by like everyday is P-day. A week and a half ago, we received news that President updated our weekly goals, for the purpose of building our faith and our results. This change hit many people by surprise, because most missionaries have trouble accomplishing the goals we already had. Being completely honest, I was wondering how in the world we would accomplish this new feat. However, using the guidance of my Zone Leaders, we jumped into the world with new faith and motivation to accomplish these new goals. Throughout the week, I realized that we were teaching a lot more than in the past. We were always teaching people in houses or on the street. I was blown away by the end result of this week. Just the fact of raising our goals and working to accomplish them, our weekly results raised as well... and not just a little, but a lot! My testimony on obedience to the counsels of our leaders, and diligence, were strengthened. This was a week of pushing the boundaries of our work, and in doing this, we realized that our limits are without end. We can already work harder. There is no such thing as a limit to the work we do! 

I don't have tons of time to write today, but I am so happy to be here in Brasil doing this great work. We had many small miracles that happened this week-- and it is clear to me that we are being blessed for our work. I have been in this area for more than six months now. I have passed many experiences in this area, good and bad, and I can truly say that in these last few months, we have been able to improve many things here. I am grateful for the opportunity to pass this time here, and the things I have learned will continue with me for eternity. I don't know how much more time I will have here, but I will stay here as long as the Lord wants me to stay. This is also the last week of training for my little greenie, and to be honest, it will be a little sad saying goodbye to him if one of us is to leave. I will let you guys know the results of the transfer. 

I hope all is well at home, with family and friends, and I pray for you guys always. I know that this church is true, and there is a happiness in doing what is right. Sometimes, it seems to be the opposite, but as the scriptures say, wickedness never was happiness.... and never will be. :) Choose the right, and as I make you proud through my actions, make me proud through yours. I love and miss you all. I cannot believe that I reached 11 months on the mission. Now is the time to work even harder, and always improve. 

Have a wonderful week, and make good use of the little bit of summer that is left! :)

All my love,
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, August 5, 2013


Opa! Tudo bem?

Ahhhh! This was a great week. :) I will just begin by saying that. How is everyone doing? You know that you guys are having hotter weather than me here in Brasil? It seems a bit weird that that is true, but here in a little while, it won't be. In my last letter, I said that it was super cold. Well, this week, the clouds opened up, and the oven turned on. Really, it isn't terribly hot, but its definately hotter than usual. I am hoping it will cool back down again. It is much better working in colder weather. So, we have some very special things happening this week. First off.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY LORKS! I love you. :) I sent her letter today actually (last week became really complicated), so it will get to her in a few weeks. Sorry about that... I hope you guys have a great day tomorrow, and be sure to send me photos! Also.... HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! This Sunday, eh? I hope you guys have a great Sunday as well. Dad, I sure do love you. :) 

So, this last week was quite the week. It was a very busy week. We have been having some success in our ward here in Andarai. I may have said this before, but Andarai is the headquaters of the church here in Rio. It has the biggest building and the most members. It is here that any church even happens. It sure is cool, but at the same time, it is difficult. Having this knowledge, the members sometimes become very relaxed in their missionary work responsiblities, and lately, the ward has been quite cold. It has been hard getting them excited to help in the work. It is hard to really get references from the members. However, with the visit of President Lima two Sundays ago, we have begun having some changes. The mission created a little reminder card for every family. It is a little rememberance that each member stick on the table, or a cabinet, or somewhere where they pass by it each day. It has five spaces for the people that each family will work with. The other side of it shows six ways that we can share the Gospel with these people. Since we have lunch each day with the members, we have begun helping each family begin to fill in the spaces. So far, we have had lots of success placing people in these spots. With these names, the members then must be motivated to help out these people. Our responsibility is to keep up with each family and follow-up on these people. We are very excited to be working with this, and I really believe that things are beginning to change here. This area is really beginning to strengthen. :) This last Sunday, yesterday, the ward was again woken up to missionary work as the entire ward was presented with the new Ward Mission Plan. In this plan, each family/member is responsible to help in missionary work (finding people to teach, friends, neighbors, etc.). The ward created goals for each member. With the fulfillment of these goals, missionary work will explode here in Andarai. To top off this plan, we baptized another great friend of mine, Euller. He is 10 years old. He got up in Sacrament yesterday, before baptism, and bore his testimony to everyone. He messed up a few things like "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen", but it was great and everyone loved it. The Baptism had a great turn-out. Euller was a miracle from investigators in the past. We began by passing by and visitng a couple. They need to get married, but afterwards, they will be baptized. We are now teaching their son, Lucas (19 years old), who has begun to be interested in the church. His cousin is Euller, who was baptized yesterday. Also, the mother of Euller, Eulini, was very touched by the baptism yesterday. This family lives in the same house with all the extended family. The Gospel is taking over each one of them like wildfire! These people are truly a miracle. :) Last night, we visited Euller, and he expressed that he was feeling amazing and very light. Lucas was present in the lesson, and he expressed his desire to follow this path as well, after studying and preparing. Both of them are future missionaries. :) Anyway, as you can see, this area is beginning to blossom, and the members are becoming excited. This is a very exciting time to be serving a mission. 

I hope that all is well at home, and that you guys are safe and healthy. Keep strong! I am loving each and every moment (good and bad) that is happening on the mission. I have learned from personal experiences the power of faith in our work. Everything depends on our faith. I am so happy to have the knowledge of the Gospel guiding me each and every day. I hope all can understand the power and truthfulness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ contains. Keep doing what's right, and never waver. Also, congratulations to Bishop Doug Hunt on the new calling as Bishop. I know that he will guide the 23rd ward very very well, as Bishop Ryan has done. I love you all very much, and wish you a great week!

All my love,
Elder Steven Bennett 

Monday, July 29, 2013


Hello all!

My oh my, this was a wild week! It definately was quite eventful. As you probably know already, there was the JMJ festival here in Rio, and the Pope was here visiting. There was so many tourists here. So many! I don't know if the news was showing it, but in Copacabana, people were sleeping on the beach! I think 2 million people? That is crazy. You could always tell who was here for the festival because they all have colorful backpacks that say JMJ. It was quite the week! It was also very, very cold. I believe the coldest it hit was 13 C. For all you Americans, that is in the 50s F. I have not experienced temperatures like that since the Winter of 2012, so you can imagine how cold I was. I bought a nice fluffy sweater, and gloves. :) I slept with my USU sweats, a sweater, and gloves during the night. It was so ironic, because I would never do that back at home. People wear shorts in 50 degree weather. Everyone on the streets was wearing huge coats, boots, mittens, hats, ear muffs, etc. It was so funny. :) Even right now, it has warmed up a bit, but my feet are ice cold. It will be such an adventure returning home and experiencing that first winter.
So this week was quite a wild week. It was a rollercoaster of emotions for sure! As this month is ending, we are working very hard to prepare some of our investigators for baptism, and we had a really great experience. About a month and a half ago, we began working with a part-member family that was cut by missionaries about a year ago. We began working with them, and they have been progressing lots. They have to get married first, but after that, the wife will be baptized. :) They have a nephew that came with them to church, and he really liked the church. We invited him to hear our messages and prepare to be baptized, and he accepted. We began teaching him a few times every week, and then one day, his mother told us that she doesn't want him getting baptized. She replied that he needs to know more about the church, get to know "the doctrine", and maybe after three months of searching, he can be baptized. We didn't really like this, but we accepted and moved on. We have been teaching him up until now, and we felt that we should talk to the mother again and ask permission. We planned what we would do, and this last week, we spoke with her. It was a miracle! She accepted, and he will be baptized this coming Sunday. :) We were very happy for him (Euller is his name), and he will be a great add-on to the ward. We have also begun making a friendship with his brother, Lucas. We are actually going to play volleyball with him later today. We are hoping we can start teaching him too! 
Yesterday, President Lima and Sister Lima came to our ward to speak. Sunday morning, we went to the house of a family we are teaching. They always say that they will go to church, but never go. In all my time in this area, they have never come! However, today, we visited and they were actually getting ready! We stayed there waiting by their house until they were ready (to pass time, we talked about the church with a macumbeiro. Google the religious practice macumba and you will know why the conversation was quite interesting!). Anyway, we took the whole family to church, and they met President. President is really funny, and he asked them when they would be baptized (hahah!). They are so great, and I know that they will start progressing. President Lima participated in our Gospel Principles class as well, and thank heavens, we were able to have a good turn out that day! President and Sister Lima spoke in our ward about missionary work, and how the ward needs to wake up and start helping. It was a great little reminder for them, because lately the ward has been a little bit demotivated (is that a word?). I hope we will begin seeing improvements now. :)
One more time, I want to express my growing love for the Gospel in my life. I see people all around me that don't have, or don't accept, the Gospel, and it makes me sad. I want everyone to know the happiness that comes from knowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that this church is true. I know that we need to try each and every day to be an example to others, to improve ourselves, to try a little harder, be more loving, provide more service, laugh a little more, and share the Gospel a little more. Always pray to Heavenly Father to know when and where you can have this opportunity, and I know that he will give you that opportunity with clarity. Stay strong in what you know is right, and never let your testimony dwindle. Share it often, whether it is at home with your family, with members, or work-buddies. I love you all very much, and unfortunately, I am beginning to realize how much I will miss the mission once I return home.... ;) 

CTR! I love you all! Have a wonderfull week!

Èlder Steven Bennett