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