Monday, December 9, 2013

"When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" Mosiah 2:17 :)

Hello my frosty friends!
How is that nice cold weather treating you guys? I am not sure exactly how cold it is... for the computer does everything in Celcius, but it is showing -17 in Ogden, and -24 in Logan.... That is cold! From what I remember, I think that -22C is around -10F. If so, you guys are nice and toasty. :) This was a rather crazy week as far as weather is concerned. Here in Rio, the temperature started nice and cool last Monday, maybe in the 70s. As the week went on it got gradually hotter, and Thursday was truly a day I will never forget on the mission. We awoke that morning and it was already very, very hot, and not a single cloud in the sky.... however, it was unusually hot. That day BAKED us alive. It was well over 100F, and the sun's rays were very very strong. Many of our appointments that day had fallen through, keeping us stuck on the street the entire day. Oh, it was so hard to keep going... At about 8 PM, we finally were able to visit a family that was home. It was still pretty hot... even without the sun, it was up in the 90s. We had entered at 8 PM, seeing just some small clouds in the skies. As we got ready to head home around 9 PM, we noticed some raindrops falling. In the short span of time, huge storm clouds formed and DUMPED tons of rain on Rio de Janeiro. It was so much so fast that the streets turned to rivers. Sinkholes opened up everywhere. The thunder and lightning were extremely strong. The wind was breaking trees. I truly thought there was a hurricane passing by. Luckily, we had been close to home and safe in a member's home. We weren't able to leave until 9:30 PM because the rain was so strong. Even running home, the rain continued very strong. As we got home, we received tons of phone calls from the mission seeing if everyone was at home, if anyone was still on the streets, and if everyone was accounted for. It was quite scary. In Rio, two people died... but all the missionaries were accounted for, and by the gracious blessing of the Lord, none of the four of us that live in Curicica even got wet. :)
I really liked this week, and it even ended with a really good Sunday. We have been trying really hard to serve the members more. We try to pass at least one family each day or every other day. The members have been really closed to the missionary work in the last few years because they have lost that good realationship that existed between the members and missionaries many years ago. We are trying to bring that back, and some of the members have begun to take notice of that. This week, we were able to help one member move and organize the front part of his home. In response to that great storm that happened on Thursday, many homes flooded, and many members lost items in their homes. We were able to help clean up one of the homes that was hit pretty hard. In the midst of all this, we pass by real quick some of the members just to see how they are and talk a bit. We are really starting to wake up this ward to the missionary work. I am so grateful for the chance to serve these amazing people here in Rio. They are so great. Some days, we didn't even have the chance to teach anyone, but we were in the service of members, which brought us that great feeling that we are doing the work of the Lord. At church this Sunday, our attendence went up, as it has been doing these last few Sundays, and many members were coming up to us, saying hi to us, and talking about people they want us to meet. This is how missionary work should be! Working together with the members to bring about these miracles. However, nothing happens until they have your trust, and this trust comes through service.
I am grateful for this week and all that I learned. We are on the break of many good things, and I am so glad to be here helping this ward strengthen. I have such a great testimony of this Gospel. I hope all is really well and that you are keeping up with that cool weather. We are actually being really blessed here with warm weather, but not too warm. :) Stay happy, stay healthy, and I will be talking to you guys face to face here in a little. I sure do love this time of year. Have a wonderful week! 
Elder Steven Bennett

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