Hello hello! One more week in the lovely Rio de Janeiro has passed, and boy was it a wild week. It was a week to learn quite a bit, as well as a bit stressful. It has also been around three or four weeks that it hasn't rained, so we are still up on top of our house sleeping with the twinkling stars above our heads. I don't know if I have ever told you guys this, but lately, the sky, moon, and stars have been really fascinating to me. I am thinking about returning home and doing some kind of major with that kind of stuff. But until I have to think about that stuff, I will leave it to the future and focus on the mission. But I really do like sleeping up there and falling asleep thinking. It is amazing to think about the amazing miracles that our Heavenly Father performs. Just looking to the stars in the heavens is a plain fact that nothing was created out of luck or by some great explosion. I have no doubt that all was made for the happiness of man by a loving Heavenly Father.
Anyhow, this week was quite the week. As I told you guys last week, we had a transfer and I am still here in Meier. I am hoping that I will stay here until the end of my mission. I don't know if it is likely, but it is possible! So my buddy Elder Freitas left me, and I am here with Elder D. Ferreyra. He is a great missionary! He is from Argentina and has a sweet accent. He looks American, so everyone thinks we are two "gringos" walking down the street. He only has about five more weeks in his mission... so this means I will "kill" him (I am his last companion before returning home). This area, Meier, is famous for "killing" missionaries. Elder Freitas stayed here 7 months and served with three missionaries who ended their mission here. Now, he has left and I am here. I am starting to end out these missionaries! It sure is an interesting situation to live with a missionary who is ending pretty soon. They are whether really trunky, or they are really excited to work until they drop. Luckily, my companion wants to work until he drops. We will definitely have success here. :) So Tuesday, it was off to the Rodoviaria to grab the new companion and leave my old companion. There were tons of missionaries there, including each of the missionaries that arrived in Rio with me. We took another photo, for Sister Harrison will be going home this next transfer. I cannot believe that that time has already arrived. As I grabbed Elder Ferreyra, it was back to our area to get off to work! It always is a little weird getting used to someone you don't know... especially someone who is from a different country than you, but I think I have gotten used to it. We got off to work and at first it was a little rough getting used to the new style of things. Being the leader in the area, I have to remember all the streets, where to go, what we'll do, etc. These last fews days were pretty stressful with all of this in mind. The Assistants are always calling and checking up on the news in the zone, what is happening, etc. It is just the first week, so I know it is a bit rough-- it'll improve with time. We also have responsibilities to perform interviews for the people being baptized, visit our missionaries in the District Meetings, etc., so we were always running around Rio to help our missionaries. This cuts our time to work in our own area, but you are still expected to be an example of results in your zone!
In almost every letter, I have been updating you guys about a wonderful family we are teaching, Renaldo and Aline. They are such an amazing family! It was such a miracle in finding them, and since that day, they have been progressing really fast. We have been visiting them since the beginning of the last transfer, so about two months. We finally were able to start the process of marriage with them, in preparation for their baptism and goal to go to the temple and seal their family for time and all eternity. :) Thursday, we were off to Tijuca with the family to start the paperwork. We found a method of marriage that cuts all the taxes, and it is faster than all the other methods... 30 days. Because of time constraints, we didn't have time to take the documents to the marriage registry. This morning, after many obstacles, we were able to arrive there at the registry, with our testimonies. It was hard marking a day with everyone, and getting everything planned, but we finally succeeded in going there this morning. When we arrived, the workers told us that the power was out! REALLY! Satan really is working to stop this family from getting married! However, the power company arrived and we waited and the power returned. As our turn arrived, we were told that because of his address, we had to go to another registry that is a bit far from here. We were with a Sister in our ward, Val, and she is very in to missionary work. We took the family to this other registry to get everything worked out! She rocks! She was even passing out pass-along cards to everyone telling them to get married and visit the church... ;) So, it looks like all is well for now, and in 30 days, we will perform the marriage and baptism in the chapel.
I am loving my mission and all the experiences I am passing. This week was stressful, and in the midst of all this, I was pretty sick. I won't get into details, but I am sure I have a virus. But all is well, my spirit is high and happy, and I am doing just fine. Miracles are happening all around us, and I am very happy to be a part of this work. Stay strong, stay happy, and have a wonderful week! I love and miss you all. :)
Elder Steven Bennett