Well hello there once again! It seems like yesterday that I was talking to you guys!... oh wait, it was yesterday. :) How great it was to talk to you guys again. I feel that it has been a while, but at the same time, it was very fast. I know that time will continue to pass by even faster until the day we are together again. I am so grateful for my wonderful family... My awesome dad who is such an example to me to work hard and do things with quality. I am grateful for my beautiful mom who never quits in anything. She is so diligent and does things for the love she has for others. I am grateful for Alisha who has shown her example to me by the choices she has made in her own family now. Of course, I am grateful for Wade, who is such an example of someone who respects his family and spouse... someone who also served a mission with honor. Don't forget about baby Kai, who I love so much even though I have never seen him! And last but not least, Lorks. I am so grateful for Lorks and to see her growing and developing into a wonderful and beautiful young lady. I hope she knows how much I love her and how much the Lord wants her to serve a mission. :) While I am at it, I am also very very grateful for my church leaders through the years, my friends, and other relatives who have helped me up until now. I am GRATEFUL for everyone!!! It is for this reason that I put up Moroni 7:3 as the subject, because of the love I have for all of you, and the prayers that go out to you guys from the Cidade Maravilhosa each and every night.
This was a week of much learning. I am grateful for the experiences that I have each and every day. It is these experiences that mold us into the person we want to become. The Lord gives each and every one of us certain circumstances and situations so that we can learn and grow. This week, we faced lots of fatigue and lack of excitment as we faced opposition. It was a bit challenging to keep going, but we kept strong. Things are improving here in Sulacap, but we sure have plenty of work to do in front of us. We are making goals to improve in all aspects, beginning with us. I always will remember some of the words that President Lima spoke to us in our interviews this last Tuesday: "If you want to see a difference in your zone, be the first to change, starting with yourself." It is truly this that needs to happen. We cannot change anything if we don't change ourselves. I am very excited to start this next week with lots of excitement and motivation. I am grateful for the chance to have talked with you guys yesterday. Many missionaries would become trunky talking to the family, but I don't feel that at all. My motivation to work harder has increased through talking with you guys. I have been reminded once again of my purpose here in Rio: Bring happiness to other families that my family already has. I know that through my hard work, I will bless the lives of my own family, and the lives of many others. There is no greater happiness than this-- to know that I have the chance to help others know the true, Resored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and bless my own family back at home. For that, I will stay focused and work hard until my last minute of being a missionary.
I will end with my simple testimony of the truthfulness of this Gospel. I read Elder Randall's (now being Dustin!) last letter as a full-time missionary, and exactly as he said, one of the greatest things I am gaining here on the mission is my own testimony of this Gospel. I really do know that we are part of the true church of our Savior Jesus Christ. There doesn't exist any other church that can bring us closer to Christ than through His own church. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon, and the opportunity to read its sacred pages each and every morning, and to pray to our Heavenly Father, receiving an answer of his truthfulness and divinity. I know that the Holy Ghost works with us in this work. I have grown to know its prompting and counsels. I have grown to know when He is with me and when He is guiding me. I know that there doesn't exist anything better on this earth than the opportunity to live with our families forever. Mom and Dad, for your presentation of my mission, make sure each and every person who is listening knows that the greatest thing you will gain through serving a mission is your own, personal testimony of this church... a testimony that will guide you for the eternities. A mission is difficult, but there is nothing in the world that could give you such an experience, knowledge, and development as a mission gives you. It doesn't matter how someone feels in respect to serving a mission... they need to know that they will NEVER regret for serving.
I have an immense love for you all and this work. Have a marvelous week!
Elder Steven Bennett