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