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