How is everyone in good old Utah doing? I am glad to hear that everything went well with the family in California. I hope that you guys will send me some photos so that I can see your adventures. :) This week passed quite fast, almost to the point that I wanted time to slow down a little bit. Sometimes, you barely have time to think! But, it is all part of a mission. Boy, I love the mission. I just have to express that really quick. Here and there, i look back on my mission and really see how much I have loved these few (or many) months. It sure has been rough and tiring-- sometimes to the point of almost utter despair-- but it has brought some of the most happiness to me than anything else in my life. I know that it is through obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we can find true happiness, no matter our situation in life. If we build our foundation on Christ, it won't matter what happens to us. We will be strong, firm, and faithful (Helaman 5:12). True happiness comes through obedience to the commandments of God. :)
This week was pretty tough for us here in our District. Last week, we had lots of success in marking many dates for baptism. We were teaching lots, and had lots of people progressing. However, this week, we lost a few of these people, including the two that my area had. It was a little bit disappointing, but you always have to stay positive in hard situations. My Zone Leader, Elder Nethercott (from California) is very good at this. He helps me get excited in every kind of situation. I remember one night specifically, that I was feeling a little bit down, and as I called the Zone Leaders to pass the numbers, he began by being very happy and excited. I became a little excited, but I think that he could tell that something was on my mind as I passed the numbers. At the end, he gave me a lecture how we need to be happy no matter our results. If we are working hard and diligent, we are doing our part, and the Lord will do His in His own due time. Sometimes we have to remember that God works on a different time scale than us. Sometimes, we won't agree with the way things are working out. However, we need to be humble and accept these things, and through our humility and submissiveness, He will bless us more abundantly. Elder Nethercott also burned a little. He said that here on the mission, we are doing the Lord's work! If we aren't happy, there is something wrong with that. The Lord will test us with trials in our lives. He is looking to see how we will react to these things. When something bad happens, we have two decisions: Get sad, stressed, disappointed, unexcited, and work less. OR... we can continue strong and diligent, and work EVEN HARDER! This is something that I am working to improve at this time. It definitely isn't the first option that comes to your mind, or your first desire. But, it needs to be. I am grateful for his words of wisdom, and I know that our area will improve even more as we work hard with a good attitude and being firm in all situations.
This Sunday, we didn't have very many investigators at Church, and once again, I began feeling these same feelings of disappointment and stress. I know that the Lord knew that would happen, and for that, he inspired one of the speakers to talk on "Doing our Part". This Sister talked about Honey Bees. She talked about how hard a honey bee works. I don't know if you guys have already heard this, but it is quite interesting. In the lifetime of one honeybee, he will work each and everyday, flying around gathering pollen. I don't remember the number exactly, but in the lifetime of one honeybee, he will fly the equivalent of circling the earth twice. However, he will only contribute to 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. However, there are many bees, and through working together, they create lots and lots of honey. Now, applying this to our work as missionaries, sometimes we walk lots... really, LOTS. Some days, we return to the house with small results. However, our work, together with all the missionaries in the world (and the number is growing bigger!), our work is grand. We need to work as honeybees, and pollenate the whole earth (spread the Gospel to all).
I am so grateful for my mission. I am so grateful to see the work progressing in my area, and in all the areas here in Rio, and the world. Each week, I am hearing of friends that chose to serve a mission, and really, I can say that I have friends that span the Globe. Brazil to the US to Canada to England to the Philippines to Korea to India... etc. This work is amazing, and will continue strong. Satan is working hard, but his work is in vain. He is on the losing team. Always unite with the winning team, and you will always turn out alright. :) I know that this church is true. I know the Gospel was restored to the earth. I know that my family can live together for time and all eternity. I know that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Have a wonderful week and stick to what is right! :)
Com muito amor,
Èlder Steven Bennett