Hello my wonderful Utahns,
I am sorry that this letter won't be extremely long, for today is a very rushed day... It is a transfer day! I found out that I will be transferred back to my loved zone, Andaraí. I will be in an area that is just to the side of Andaraí, called Meier. It is a pretty cool area from what I have heard. I already have served a little there in mission splits, so I am excited to go there. I was also called to be the Zone Leader for the Zone Andaraí. :) I am excited and not as nervous as I thought I would be, but we will see what happens! I am really having mixed feelings about the transfer, and based on the things that I write now, you will see why.
This was such an amazing week. I have never seen so many miracles in one week in my entire mission! It was truly manifested by our faith and our works, and the loving hand of our Heavenly Father. Really, the week went by as a normal week until Friday. I scheduled a mission split for our district. I would stay in my area, and Elder Weight, a new American that arrived in Brasil this transfer, would come to my area to work. As we worked, he had been feeling a bit sick (and ended up going to the hospital Saturday, but this is just extra information...) and a little out of it, but he was able to work. As the day was ending, we visited a street contact we had made two weeks ago. He lives in a Villa with six other homes. We called on the interphone to his home. He wasn't home, and we talked to his daughter. What we didn't know (but later found out) was that there was a man who had been outside listening to our conversation on the interphone. He looked and saw that we were missionaries... the missionaries that one of his study buddies in college had told him about some months before. He was curious to talk to us because he had never seen us so close, always far away walking/running somewhere. He knew that we talk to people, so he put himself where he thought we could see so that we would talk to him. Sadly, we never saw him, and we turned to leave! He saw this as a chance being wasted, so he decided to talk to us! In our perspective, we were turning to leave, and we heard a man say.. "would you guys like a glass of water?". Seeing this as an opportunity, we accepted and entered his home. His name is Guilherme, and his wife is Elaine. They are 29 years old, and studying in college. They live very comfortably, and have a religious background. They know another couple that attends the ward next to ours. They are the perfect family... truly the most perfect family I have ever met on my mission! They love Americans, and by chance, I had been on a split with another American. They are studying English, and their buddy, who is a member, speaks English fluently. They are wonderful, and we instantly clicked with them. They were open to our message, and they absolutely love us just as much as we love them. We said bye and walked home that night. In the middle of that moonlight street, I jumped and cheered like never before... feeling the most happy of happiness that can be felt in the mortal body. As we got home, I hugged Elder Weight and we both were almost crying because of this wonderful blessing given to us.
Skip to Sunday. We had a Christmas activity planned for Sunday night in the chapel. We worked so hard to invite everyone we could, and to encourage the members to bring their family and friends. In the meetings Sunday morning, our attendence was 74, with one investigator at church. That night, miracles happened. The chapel was filled to the brink! 167 people came to watch the Christmas theater act and choir (showing the birth of Jesus Christ and Christmas in the Americas), 23 being visitors that we brought, or that the members brought. There were so many people that we were not even able to talk to everyone. These numbers could be higher. This wonderful family, Guilherme and Elaine, was there, as well as 4 other families that we are teaching. It was such a blessing. Everyone left with a wonderful, calm feeling, and not a single person rejected our invitation to visit them in their home. Never in my mission, have I seen such success as that. We were so blessed.
So, as you can see, I am leaving at a rather sad time. With such success, I am really sad to be leaving, especially with Guilherme and Elaine. However, they will always be a part of my life from here on out, whether I teach them or not. I am so grateful for the blessings of the Lord here in Curicica, and I hope that I can be privileged to do the same in my next area. Have a wonderful week, and I love you all deeply. :)
Elder Steven Bennett