As I logged into the computer this morning, I was informed of the news of Grandpa. I am saddened by the news, but I know he is in a much better place, and that he isn't suffering with any more health problems. I hope that all of you are comforted with the fact that death is not the end of our lives. I know that this is true-- and in this very moment, this has been made manifest to me even more strongly. I know that Grandpa is happy and living, looking to each and every one of us. His example makes me want to be better. He showed by his example the way we should live and endure to the end. I love Grandpa, and I know he is now on the other side and able to be with me as I work here in Rio, with all of our other relatives that have passed on. Saturday night, we had decided to move our mattresses to the roof of our house because the house was very hot. We slept there on the roof. It was that night that I spent a good time just looking up into the starlit sky and thinking. As I look back on the night, I was woken up in the middle of the night, and looking to the time scale, it would have been about the time that Grandpa passed-- I was woken up about that time. I looked around and then went back to sleep. It just could have been Grandpa passing by to say one last goodbye. I know that he is safe and happy now. My prayer is to all of you, that you can be comforted in this time. This makes me want to work even harder so that, just maybe, one more person, or family, doesn't have to pass a death in the family thinking that that person is lost forever. I know that Grandpa, along with all of our relatives, are separated from us for a moment, but will not be forever. The day will arrive and we will be with them again, all of us, as a happy family.
This was quick a week, as me and my companion looked to the things we needed to change. We had the opportunity to have an interview with President Lima as well. It is such a great opportunity to have an interview with him, because we have the chance to see what we have been doing wrong, and what we will do to change those things. With the interview, we have the chance to repent and increase our vision here in the mission field. He helped me to see what I was doing wrong and what I will do to change these things. He shared some interesting information with us before he began the interviews with our zone. He told us that a normal adolescent in the church needs to be interviewed by Bishop at least 1 time each year. As a missionary, we need to be interviewed 4 times a year. Now why do you think we need to be interviewed so much? Does it mean that we are better than normal adolescents? No. Aren't we living the commandments 24 hours a day 7 days a week? The answer is simple. As a missionary, we live on a celestial standard of life. Each rule is a serious commandment for us. To have the Spirit to teach and convert others, we need to be pure and clean, being purified of any stain that could be with us. Since the interviews, the whole zone has been working much harder and getting in more results. The Atonement is truly a miracle in our lives. :)
We have truly seen some miracles in our work, and because of time, I will explain very quickly. I talked about a very special family this last week, Renaldo and Aline. We visited them for the fourth time this last week, and Renaldo has already received a testimony of the church! He wants be baptized! He already is talking to his buddies about the church as well. He accepted to begin the process of marriage with Aline, and here in about a month or so, they will be baptized! This week, we were also able to teach the brother of a member, Marcio. He has been looking into the church and is beginning to receive this testimony of the church as well. He accepted to be baptized on the 8th of February. :) Lastly, the cousin of a member moved here to Rio, and she had been looking into the church. She, as well (YES!), is beginning to see the truthfulness of the church, and will be baptized after we clear up some of her doubts.
My faith grows each and every day in our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and loves us all. If we keep strong in this path. He has a perfect plan that ends in complete happiness as we follow His commandments. I love this church. I love my mission. I am praying for each and every one of you. Stay strong, and I will too. Love you and miss you all. Have a wonderful week.
Elder Steven Bennett