First off, I am very sorry that I didn't have a chance to write last week. I don't like skipping a week of writing. I love writing to you guys and telling about all of my brazilian adventures. :) So, these last two weeks have been a little crazy. Time has been passing by really fast. I can't even believe that I will have one year on the mission this week! What happened to time!? I only have one more year to take advantage of every second, helping people come unto Christ. I am making some goals as well for this last year. I am to the point where I can speak fluently to anyone, and I am experienced in basically every aspect. Now is the time to put all this to the test and baptize everyone. :)
These last two weeks have been a bit rough, but also, i have truly seen miracles from the Lord's hand falling upon us. It seems that in the most difficult time, the Lord extends His almighty hand above us and gives a miracle to end out the day happy and grateful. As I have said before, it was pretty rough arriving here. The changes were grand. The missionaries in the past weren't as diligent as they should've been, and for that, we have been working hard to change things around. Here on the mission, we have a book of records called the Area Book. This book contains all the people that were taught in the last year, and sometimes up to three years in the past. Arriving here, the book was almost completely empty! We had NOTHING to build on. We sure have our work cut out for us. As for these last few weeks, we've been able to fill up this book with some records. Unfortunately, the next missionaries are going to arrive here with an ENTIRE area book filled with Elder Bennett and Elder Rocha.... hahaha. :) But I have been learning a lot throughout this period of time. I have had the chance of helping some new missionaries restart with more diligence and motivation. Unfortunately, there exist trainers who don't try to give the newbies the best mission foundation possible. I have had the chance to help my district change a few things around. My companion, Elder Rocha, is a very good missionary, and I am very grateful to work with him. Also, my Zone Leader is Elder Viglione, my blessed friend from the MTC! We arrived in Brasil together, passed the MTC together, and arrived in Rio together. We have seen each others progress from the beginning. Now, I have the opportunity to work with him and talk to him on a daily and weekly basis.
As for our work here in Curicica, it has been a little bit difficult. Sometimes, I feel that I am in the South... the only difference is that we have to persuade these people that there is more than just the Bible.... in the Portuguese lauguage! It's great. I love it, but sometimes it is frustrating. These last couple of weeks, we didn't have tons of success in teaching many people. We were stuck on the street without much to do. However, we always filled our time with something, and Heavenly Father really blessed us for that. Last week, we had a day where nothing worked out. We were very tired, and still had an hour and a half until the night ended. We decided to pass one of our investigators, Watson. It was a shot in the dark, really, for he is rarely at home during the night. We found him there, and he explained to us that he wanted to be baptized! It was such a great moment, and we knew that Heavenly Father was watching over us and our work. He was baptized yesterday. :) I am so grateful for the blessings of the Lord in our work. Truly, without His help, nothing would work out. This is the Lord's work, not ours. We only do what He wants us to do. We have this opportunity to be instruments in His hands. Many other miracles happened, but time not permits that I share them all. For this, we will have to read my journal once I am home. :)
I am so grateful for my mission, and the happiness that it is bringing me. I found out this morning, that Lucas, a young man (19 years old) that we baptized a month ago, received the Priesthood, and yesterday, he passed the Sacrament. He is preparing to serve a mission here after one year of membership. Experiences like this are what power me to work each and everyday... to help others come unto Christ. This is our purpose and our desire, as missionaries. I will work until my very last day. I will come home SO insanely tired. That is my goal. :) I know that this church is true. I know!
Know that my prayers are always being directed towards you all, family and friends. I love and miss you all immensely. Have a wonderful week. :)
Elder Steven Bennett