Welcome to one more weekly letter from the Cidade Maravilhosa. This is such a marvelous city. I love the Cariocan people. Here, everyone is getting prepared for the World Cup that will be starting here in June. Everyone is buying costumes, shirts, flags, paint, etc. The streets are being painted yellow, white, green, and blue, and flags and banners are being strung in all places. I am not exactly sure what our work schedule will be like during the World Cup, but it sure will be interesting to work while the whole world is watching soccer. :)
So what a week I had! Lots of crazy things have been happening. I am glad that I have been able to keep my journal updated, so all of my experiences are written on paper. I was able to do a mission split this last week with a new missionary in our zone, Elder Morris. He is really cool, and for only having 6 months on the mission, he speaks really well. He came to my area and we had the chance to work here. We had a pretty interesting experience as well. The night before, I was doing street contacts with my companion, and we had stopped a man named Luis. He was very receptive to our message and accepted immediately that we go to his home and leave a message with his family. We marked the next day to go over there. As we ended our conversation with him, I told Elder Amorim that he would be baptized for sure. While I was with Elder Morris, we passed his home. As we shouted for him, another man answered. His name was Fernando. He asked us who we were, and we presented ourselves. We asked for Luis. Fernando became very confused and asked us when we had spoken with Luis. We responded that we had spoken with him on the street the night before. Fernando explained to us that he has a brother named Luis, who lived here... but died more than 30 years ago. He didn't know of any other Luis that we could have been mixing him up with. We taught him a bit about the Plan of Salvation, and we will return there another day. Could it have been his brother sending a message to his family to accept the Gospel? It sure was an interesting experience.
As an update to Raphaella, who was to be baptized this last week... Unfortunately, the baptism fell through. The 22nd arrived, and she wasn't feeling ready. We made an appointment to meet her at the chapel, and she never went. We called her and she put on some boy who prentended to be her father. We had already gone to her home, and no one was there, so when the boy said that it was her father at home, we knew he was lying to us. We were never able to speak anymore with her after this incident. It was very disappointing to us. She really was ready to be baptized. It is sad to see people so close to following our Savior Jesus Christ, and for one reason or another, Satan puts his grasp on things. Never in my mission have I realized the importance of Jesus Christ in our lives. In these days, many people have many beliefs on God and Jesus Christ. People think that God lets us worship Him in the way that we want, and that all pathways lead to salvation. Sadly, this is a lie that Satan wants everyone to believe. Jesus Christ is the path, and there only exists one path. He suffered and died for us, and only through faithfulness to ALL of the commandments that He gave us, we can be ready to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. The Church of Jesus Christ exists in these last days. The same organization that Jesus Christ set up in the first days. It is only through His path that we are saved. This I know. How grateful I am to be a representative of Jesus Christ in this part of the world. For all those who have doubts of these things, pray to our Heavenly Father. Ask if this is true. Then, follow this answer and visit the Church that Jesus Christ organized. What a privilege it is to know that these things are true. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that He is our Savior. I know that He restored His church on the earth through a living prophet.
I hope you all have a wonderful week. Stay strong, and stay safe! I love you all so much!
Elder Steven Bennett