My family and friends,
I am super short on time this week, so this letter won´t be too long-- im sorry! So this week was a very hard week to say the least. Last week, Elder Fernandez and I were very excited about the work progressing in our area. We had two baptisms lined up for the 27th of January and three for 3 of February. Throughout this week, including up until today, all of these baptisms fell through. Its been really hard and discouraging. These people are so wonderful, and I just want them to be baptized so they can begin to feel the Spirit and happiness of life as members of the church do! The two for the 27th were a mother and her daughter. They have been fulfilling our invitations to come to church, read the Book of Mormon, get to the members, etc. However, they felt that they arent ready. The same situation is happening to another mother and her daughter. They have a baptismal date for the 3rd of February. They fell through this morning. I am a little discouraged, but still very hopeful. All have testified and believe that the Book of Mormon is true and that the church seems different than all the other churchs here. They are all progressing very well. :) President Lima is always telling us that he wants to see some results in our area. It's a bit stressful! For this, we haven't been sleeping very well, and always having this on our minds. As I said last week, we have over 200 references to visit. In a day, we usually visit 5 to 10. However, of those, usually 1 is home or accepts a visit. Its very frustrating at times.
So thats about the summary of my whole week. We also had mission splits this week-- my first real mission split! Thursday morning, we travelled to Macaé and met the Zone Leaders at the bus stop. I was put on a split with Elder Hutching, who is probably the most experienced missionary in the area right now. His mission ends next week. He is a really cool guy! Oh American too. :) We headed back to Rio das Ostras, and I had the opportunity to be the Senior Companion, because I know the area (more or less... with the assistance of a map...), the members, and investigators. I took the lead in almost everything that day. It was really tiring! We contacted many addresses from our giant list, but NONE were home! All day thursday, we tried to find people to teach, and not a single person was home or accepted a visit. I'm on a split with the Zone Leader in my own area, and I couldn't manage to find a single person to teach that day. My confidence was shot that night, and i didnt sleep much. However, he taught me many good techniques and ways to use time wisely. I am grateful for the split.
Funny moment of the week: We visited a lady yesterday that came to check out the church. She wasn't home, but we talked to her husband for a little while. As we were talking to him I felt something hit my back-- I thought it was a big raindrop because after a little while my back felt wet there. After we finished talking to him, I realized that a stupid pigeon had pooped on me! Somehow this pigeon managed to hit Elder Fernandez also, but the majority of it hit me... We headed to the church to clean up. I now have a stain on one of my white shirts.... yuck.
Well, I better get going. I am hoping this coming week will be better. This is my last week being trained as well! Next Tuesday, I will be an official trained missionary, and not a greenie! I sure don't feel ready for this step, but here we go. There is a transfer this next Wednesday too. Chances are I will stay here, but Elder Fernandez will most likely be transferred. There also is the chance that we will have two more missionaries live in our house and work in Rio das Ostras as well. If this happens, Elder Fernadnez and I will be split up, but still live together. We will see what happens!
I love and miss you all. A scripture that we taught many times this last week was Alma 34:32-33. This is the time to prepare to meet God. Always make sure every action you do is in harmony with this. We have limited time on this Earth. This time is just a twinkling of the eye in relation to our eternal time scale, but will decide our future for the rest of eternity. Now that is something to think about!
I am constantly praying for you guys back at home and asking that the blessing of heaven will be DUMPED on you guys. :) Have a wonderful week!
Elder Steven Bennett