Monday, November 25, 2013


Hello Hello!
Wow, one more week has passed by and it seems as if one day has passed by. It is so true that the second year of the mission passes much faster than the first. It is amazing to me that there is so much to do, and so little time to do it! This is missionary work, and luckily there will always be another missionary to take your place when you are gone. I had a bit of a crazy week, and even in the middle of time passing so fast, there were moments that passed quite slow. However, I was able to see the hand of the Lord in my life, helping and guiding me to learn the things I am supposed to learn here on the mission. It is so much easier to pass the many experiences that the mission throws at you if you keep in mind that everything happens for a reason. The Lord is testing you and refining you for the future. Something in the future (maybe after the mission in the normal phases of life, or in the eternities) will happen, and you look back at the past moments that prepared you to face that and succeed. The Lord and His Works are so perfect, and they will always be like that. I am grateful for each and every experience, moment, companion, área, etc. that I pass through here in the best two years.
As I have said a little bit in the past, our district has been having a few problems. Everytime we solve one problem, another one starts! This week, we have been trying to help one of the elders who is passing some personal problems. He didn't have the best companions in the past, and this was a factor in the problem now. He was passing some hard times... depression, lack of desire and excitment, homesickness, etc, and with the new transfer, he was put as a trainer in our district. With most missionaries, this awakens them, and they realize the responsibility they have to work and be an example. However, the opposite happened... Unfortunately, his new American companion, is wracking his brain in trying to help him out. Over these last few weeks, I have gained a good friendship with this great missionary, Elder Weight. He has such a great testimony of the Gospel, and he is so full of love to help out his trainer. This great missionary, even with the lack of the language, is teaching all of us a great lesson: Love. He has been doing everything possible to help out the other missionary. I look to Elder Weight's example, and it shows me that even in the hardest moments, we need to be patient and show love. The personal problems with this Elder got to the point that I had to call President and explain the problem. I was ordered to do a Split with him and try to work it out. This mission Split happened on Friday... and boy, was it an interesting day. My love for this missionary is great, and it ached my heart to have to listen to some of his words, and see his actions. However, I tried my best to help him out, and at the end of the day, he was doing better. Until now, he is still doing well, but the situation is still a bit scary at times. We just have to keep praying and loving him.
The week ended with Stake Conference, and this time, all the missionaries were invited to watch the Adult Session on Saturday night. It was different than any meeting I have ever seen in the church. It was more like a presentation with people making comments. The subject of accelerating the missionary work was hit hard. President and Sister Lima spoke and left the Spirit there burning our hearts, leaving the impressions of what each of us, as members and missionaries, need to do better. Many talks were given, and it was left very clear to us that we have to now take these teachings and APPLY them in our lives. Nothing improves by listening, but really, DOING. Learning isn't learning until we apply the principles in our own lives. It sure was a great conference. I also had the opportunity to take my Bishop out onto the street in front of the stake center (Freguesia) and do street contacts with him. It sure was great seeing all these bishops a little bit scared, making the first contact, and in little time, they were running after people talking to them. It was so funny! Ahhhh, I love missionary work. :) 
Well, as you can see, a missionary learns much more than just teaching on the mission. We learn a little in every aspect of life... But above all of this, I have come to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is the head of this church... the one true church on the Earth... the church with the authority of God. I know that these things are true. I know that my testimony has strengthened so much here, and is continuing to strengthen each and every day. I see the importance of the things that really matter, like the Family. Ah, I love my Family. :) I love you guys tons. Keep doing what is right. Read the scriptures daily! Say your prayers in the morning and at night! Through the small and simple things, great things come to pass. :) Have a wonderful week.  
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, November 18, 2013


Hello família e amigos!
This has been a WONDERFUL week!!! As you know, we had the transfer last week. I was to stay here in Curicica. I received a new companion, and we also live with another companionship that received a new missionary. I became very happy to find out that a new American missionary would be arriving and be living with us! His name is Elder Weight, from New Jersey. He is still in the very beginning stages of Portuguese, and I can see how I was talking at the beginning of my mission, and how much I have improved since then. It is crazy how fast time flies, but looking back, it seems that I have done so much. Fortunately, there is still much more to do. :) I began thinking a lot about when I arrived in Brasil. Elder Weight has a Chilean companion, just like I did. I can now see how hard it was when I was learning. You don't just have to learn Portuguese, but learn from someone with a strong Spanish accent! Oh, the good times. But Elder Weight is an amazing missionary. He is fearless, and willing to speak with everyone. He actually Works more than his trainer! He is the first American that I have lived with for quite some time. I have had the opportunity to speak a little bit of English with him (not too much-- I want him to learn Portuguese), and he says that I speak super weird now. Just think what will happen to my English with 9 more months of Portuguese! However, I am fine with that. I only have this short time to speak Portuguese, and the rest of my life to learn English again. :)
This was truly a week of miracles. I was passing some hard times here, and it seemed as if nothing was going right. This week, together with a new companion, I have had the chance to move things around, and we are having lots of success. We were able to see some progress with some special families we are teaching. As well, we found some really great people that are truly elect. Even to the point of just walking on the street-- we have had many more people coming to us, seeking the truth! I have truly seen the promise in Preach My Gospel: "The Lord is preparing His children to hear the message of the Restoration of the Gospel. They will be placed in your path, or you will be placed in their path." I have seen the truthfulness of that. This week ended with a rather intense lesson Saturday night. We went to confirm the baptisms of the daughter and cousin of a recently baptized couple. Jennifer and Suzana have had a rough time accepting, and we were able to help them see the importance of completing their Family in the gospel. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to see a recently baptized father baptize and complete his Family in the church. :) It was amazing!
My time has ended-- I am sorry that this letter is so short, but I will write more next week. I love and miss you all! This work is truly the work of the Lord. It is progressing... rapidly! Choose the right! I love you all! 
Elder Steven Bennett 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Number 10!

Well the results are in! Elder Bennett will stay in Curicica for at least six more weeks. My new companion is Elder W. Oliveira, Brasilian. I havent had an American companion forever... wait, lets change that.. I havent even lived with an American forever! There have been some crazy changes with this transfer, but the changes are definitely necessary. My district was having some problems, really. I believe that I already talked a little about this, but one of the elders here doesnt like the mission rules AT ALL. Not one bit. This created lots of problems in our district, and his example was ruining his companion that still has very little time on the mission. My Zone Leaders tried to help this elder as well, but nothing was working. It even got to the point that President called me, asking what I am doing to help this elder. Many things changed this transfer, including him leaving to another zone. I wish I could have helped him more, but there always gets to a point where you have to help yourself or nothing will work out... However, I am very excited for this coming transfer. I have a new companion, and with that, new ideas, excitement, and changes that always accompany a transfer. Also, this is my 10th transfer. I am not sure how it came about, but my zone gave me the nickname Ben 10 (there is a cartoon with this name, and also in the Brasilian school system, a score of 10 is the best you can have... I accept both interpretations of the nickname!). So, being Ben 10, and being on my 10th transfer, now is the time to really shine and work my very hardest! I am also very excited, for Elder Viglione is still my Zone Leader, and Sister Harrison is being transferred to our zone. She, as well, was with us 9 weeks in the MTC. It was Sister Harrison that accompanied me from Salt Lake to São Paulo as well! For this, we are super stolked to have her with us. She will finish her mission here in Jacarepaguá. Yes, she is already finishing here in 12 weeks. Time is passing very fast.
Well, this was an interesting week. Missionaries always work super hard the very last week to have some baptisms before they leave to another area. We were on track to do the same thing... until my companion became very sick. We went to a public hospital last Tuesday, and the doctor turned him away, telling him to take Vitamin C. He wasnt improving, and Thursday, we went to a better hospital, where they did a thorough check of him, including blood tests, x-rays, consults, etc. Turns out that he was fine, but was beginning to have pneumonia. The doctor gave him medicine to help him get better, and he had to rest a lot. We spent a good part of Tuesday through Friday at home. At times, we were able to get out and make a few visits, but for the most part, he had to rest and recuperate. Now, he is fine and we were able to get out and work Saturday and Sunday. Just in these two days, we had some crazy experiences, and unfortunately, sad ones as well. Suffice it to say that Satan has much power, and at times it seems that we are not strong enough to fight back. As we went to visit a family, members that have been passing some rough times these last few weeks, we had a chance to find the son (9 years old) at home. Bless his heart, he answered, and answering all our questions with honesty, we found out that his parents were in a bar close to their home. The poor kid was sad and scared for telling us, but we gave him a smile and told him everything will be all right. As we passed the bar, we were able to catch a glance of the parents trying to hide behind a table, knowing that we were passing by. It is so sad that this happened to a returned missionary and a recent convert in the church. With more faith and more love, we will truly make an impact in this city where the enemy works oh so diligently.
It would be a lie to say that I am doing great. These are some hard times that I know will pass. The Lord does not give us tests that are more than we can handle. I am grateful for these experiences and I know everything has its purpose and lesson. I am grateful for the support of my loving family and friends as well. Thanks for the letters, and if you still havent written me, you still have time to repent and write. :) My love for you guys grows stronger each and every day. Keep strong in what is right, and dont fall for the cunning plans of the devil!
Have a wonderful week! 
Elder Steven Bennett

Monday, November 4, 2013

Crazzzy Week!

Dear Family and Friends,
I LOVE MY MISSION! I just want to express that right now. I really dont know why I am so happy in the middle of a life that, for the majority of the time, is filled with disappointments and plans not going how you would like. However, there is this grand little feeling inside me that keeps me moving each and every day, with happiness and sunshine in the soul. :) As I expressed to you guys last week, I was passing some difficulties in my area, problems in my district, lack of success and investigators, etc. We really tried to improve these things this week. We began by looking at all our problems, and what we could do to resolve them. Some of these problems included a lack of application of the principles/teaching methods in Preach My Gospel, lack of work, and other things that are a consequence of our work. Other problems are outside of our reach. We began with the things that are in our reach: The most important being Street Contacts. Street Contacts are one aspect of our work that depends soley on us-- we do or we dont do. As missionaries, our goal is 30 street contacts per day, summing 210 per week. With obedience to this goal, we are opened to blessings in the aspects that are outside of our control. Many times I have seen the blessings that have come from street contacts, including many more people to visit and teach. We focused on that this week, and we were able to hit that goal. We are now finding more people to teach, and yesterday at church, we received a reference from a member-- something that hasnt happened for quite some time. I believe that these blessing are beginning to flow to us. We just need to keep strong and the Lord will provide. :)
Much of our time was focussed on finding new investigators, but we were able to teach some great families. We have begun working with a less-active family. We are working with them to prepare for the temple. It will be hard, for the father has troubles with the Word of Wisdom and Tithing, but we will succeed! We also found a young, recently-married couple through knocking doors. We are very excited to start teaching them as well.
Saturday, a Missão Rio de Janeiro did what we like to call ´the work of salvation´. Here in Brasil, 02 of November was Memorial Day-- the day when many people visit their loved-ones that have passed on.
 Encontrando Pessoas no Dia dos Finados
Finding People on Memorial Day
Nesse último sábado(dia 02 Novembro) a missão Brasil Rio de Janeiro esteve envolvido em uma grande causa nos cemitérios do Cajú,São Jõao Batista,Memorial e Parque da Paz, na qual todos os missionários tiveram a oportunidade de confortar o coração de todas as famílias por meio da mensagem do plano de salvação, foi um momento muito espiritual e muitos milagres.
This last Saturday (November 2nd) the Brasil Rio de Janeiro Mission was involved in a great cause in  Caju Cemetery, Saint John Baptist, Memorial, and Peace Park, in which all the missionaries had the opportunity to confort the hearts of all the families through a message of the Plan of Salvation. It was a very spiritual moment, filled with many miracles.

2.060 Lições ensinadas
5.213 Contatos
918 Referências
2,060 lessons taught
5,213 contacts
918 references taken
This event was marvelous! I loved it so much. We woke up at 3:45 AM and were on a bus by 5 AM, going to Caju Cemetery. We arrived there around 6:30 AM, and spent the next five and a half hours talking with everyone in the cemetery visiting their loved ones. At first, I was a bit nervous and didnt know how to approach these people. As you can see in the photo (a true photo of where I was), the graves are above the ground. The people clean the graves and pray that their spirits can be conforted. Many are accustomed to putting flowers and candles on the graves. We spent this time walking through these graves, praying with the people, and sharing a message of the Plan of Salvation. It was wonderful to see everyone holding a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation and the church cards. Many people (majority are Catholic), took interest in the cards with an image of Jesus Christ, resurrected, in front of Mary. People even began leaving these cards on the graves as part of the decoration and worship. People also took interest in the card with Jesus Christ showing his hand and feet to the Nephites. Many people were sitting in the shade (it was very hot that day) reading the pamplets. It was during this activity that I began to think of how wonderful the mission is. Never in my life would I have imagined doing something like this activity, if it wasnt for my mission. I am so grateful for the mission. So, the activity was a success, and more than 100 sweaty, red and sunburnt missionaries took a bus to Andarai, my second area, to eat lunch. It was a wonderful day. The work of the Lord is progressing. Miracles are happening all around us. This is the true work of the Lord in preparation for the Second Coming.
I love and miss you all very much. The sun is beginnng to burn, so it is time to use the sunscreen. Take advantage of your chilly weather. :) I know that this church is true. Keep strong in what you know is right. There is no doubt in my mind that the true church was restored to the earth through a living prophet. I know, with certainty, that we have a divine plan that was given to us in the beginning. This work is being done on both sides of the veil. I am certain of these things. Have a wonderful week! 
Elder Steven Bennett
PS. Next week is a transfer. Lets see if I stay or go!