Wow has this week flown by! It seems that each transfer that passes, time speeds up just a little bit. I would like to begin by shouting out a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful Mom and Dad! I hope that all was jolly and well for you guys and that you had a special day. :) If it makes you feel any better, you still have to go through one more of those before I get home... ;) And, I hope you all have a wonderful trip to St. George and Disneyland!
So like I said, this week flew by. This month, really, has been flying by. It was just the beginning of the month, and now it is the 15! What in the world?! Each day that passes, I am reminded of the stunning truth that time passes so very fast here on the mission, and that I need to make use of every second of the day! In terms of work, this was a great week. Our district has been doing lots of splits lately, and for that, I am always going around to different areas. I spent two days this week in the neighboring area, Tijuca, because we are teaching quite an interesting fellow. You wouldn't believe it, but he is Chinese! His name is Ye, and he has been here in Brasil for about 2 weeks now. He only speaks chinese and english... and is working on the portuguese. It is quite funny listening to him speak just because I know that I once sounded like that as well. :) He is here doing research for an international relations company. Two Sundays ago, he came to church to watch the meeting. Afterwards, we talked to him, and he said he was investigating the church. He accepted the visit of the missionaries, but also, he lives in the area of Tijuca... but, he only speaks English. The situation was getting more and more complicated! Luckily, one of the Elders in Tijuca, Elder Perez, speaks almost fluent English (English with quite a bit of errors, but its understandable). Each time we teach him, we have to do a mission split. It is quite the adventure teaching him in English because i never learned to teach the gospel in English, just Portuguese. I find it very fun really... :) He is a really great guy, and you can tell by the questions he asks that he really is trying to research this church with real intent. We visited him last Thursday, and taught the Restoration. He accepted to be baptized on the 21st! We also met with him yesterday, and he had many many questions for us. He views the church how many people nowadays view the church. He sees us as the only ones who are changing the Gospel of Christ. As we taught him that really it's the other way around, my own testimony was being strengthened by my own words. I was beginning to really see the truthfulness of these things. I had the chance to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon, and afterwards, Ye replied, "Well, i think this meeting can end for today. It seems that all thats left now is to read this book and really see if these things are true." We left that room feeling the Spirit very, very strong.
Back in my own area, Andarai, we had a great experience that happened Friday. All week, we had been talking to ward members and getting them pumped up. The feedback we were getting was in relation to baptisms in the ward. "Where are the baptisms?" and "Why aren't you baptizing more?" were some responses we were getting. I was a bit saddened by these because we are truly working hard, and truly, the ward could do more on their part. Friday, we had lunch with Bishop, and we talked about the ward mission plan. We both agreed that we need to baptize more, and that it will only start happening if the ward helps us out. Bishop started out by giving us a reference from his own apartment building. We decided to pass by that very day. We were welcomed very warmly by a slightly aged woman, Evelin, and her neice, Anara. They were wanting that we do a prayer with them. As they talked about the things they wanted that we ask, I began thinking of inviting them to hear our message as well. They accepted our message. We taught, and the Spirit was strong. They, as well, accepted baptism for the 28th of July.
I know that this is the true church on the face of this earth. The Doctrine of Christ is the only way to return to our Heavenly Father someday. I am grateful for the knowledge of an eternal family. :) My time is short, so I must end now. I hope all is well, and I love and miss you all very much!
Elder Steven Bennett