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