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