First off, I am writing today because yesterday, we had a Mission Counsel in Andarai, and I didn't have P-day. :) Don't think that I am a bad missionary breaking rules and entering the email when I shouldn't! Wow, what a week this has been. I feel like so much has changed. It was also one of those eternal weeks, if you know what I mean. But before I get explaining, I want to give a shout-out to my buddy Dustin who's ending his mission this week. He is such an example to me. I remember to the very first emails I wrote even when I was at home... and now to this point that he is being released. How time has passed. I love him with all my heart. Now, we will continue the next phase of our lives, still together, living up at Utah State! I am excited to see him again. But, before that happens, I still have plenty of work here in Rio.
This was quite a week of changes. I arrived in my new area, and as any missionary would say, I was completely lost. I had never stepped foot in this Stake or this part of Rio, so everything was very new to me. I thought that I was very far from my last area, but then realized with a bus ride to Andarai, that I am only 40 minutes from Meier. The first days in a new area are always hard, especially if you loved your other area, ward, and companion. I am missing that area a lot... As I arrived here, I noticed that I will be living in the nicest house yet! It is a cute little house and has been very well-kept. From the testimony of my companion, it sounds like the other missionaries weren't too clean, but he arrived here and cleaned everything up. My companion is Elder Amorim, from Brasilia, Brasil. He is 26-- my oldest companion yet! I already knew him from my second area. We served in the same stake when he arrived on the mission. He is about to hit the one year mark. He is very excited to work and has lots of energy. He arrived in this area two weeks ago, so you can imagine how we are in this area.... we know nothing of this place, and no one of the ward! He got to know a couple of the members, and a few of the streets, but basically we are opening a new area. We will be learning together. It has been a little stressful, and we ended up walking a lot this week, for we didn't know the best routes to arrive on certain streets. As always, I arrived in an area that wasn't very organized as far as the records and Area Book. I know that I already spoke about this at the beginning of my last two areas as well. As this week went on, I did an Area Book "makeover", as I had to do in my last areas. I took the Area Book, cleaned everything, organized the records, etc. Now it is all clean and ready to be used correctly. We also focus a ton in a list of 15 families... 5 to baptize, 5 to complete, and 5 to reactivate. This list didn't exist, and so we had to start from scratch trying to find families to teach. So, as you can see, we have had plenty of work to do to get caught up with the system here in Sulacap. I got to know the ward on Sunday. It is a small ward with about 80 people in attendence. I was put as pianist the second I entered the chapel. It is good to be playing again. I have been missing the piano. I am thinking about buying a keyboard to carry with me to college. Oh, we also had a crazy experience that happened yesterday, but I will wait to tell you guys at home. It will grow the suspense, and keep you from worrying about me. :)
Well thats about that. I am very happy to be here in Sulacap, but I have been missing Meier a lot. There doesn't exist a ward exactly like Meier. The work was so strong in that ward, and I could really connect with the members. This has been something hard to get over, leaving that area. However, as I entered my email today, I received a simple email from Mom, citing Doctrine and Covenants 100:3-8, 12. What power held this scripture as I read! I was immediately comforted that I am supposed to be here. The Lord has a purpose for me in this area. I will work with all my force to find the reason he put me here.
I have been here in the chapel all day. Since 8 AM, we had interviews with President Lima. He is so great. He gave us some messages and then left us with a training with the Assistants as he took each Elder to interview. I love talking with President one on one. You can truly feel the power that he has in his words. He is truly an authorized servant of the Lord. I believe that I received my answer as I studied the scriptures, prayed, and talked to President. I will stay here until the end. I will use each day that the Lord gave me, and what happens with college will happen. :) I have a strong testimony of this work. I am grateful for the privilege to be here in Rio. I know that there exists nothing in the world more important for me than to be here on the mission. I know that the church is true. I am grateful for such great friends and examples that helped me build my faith to get me here on the mission. I hope that I can continue to help others serve missions as well. I love you all so much, and hope all is going fantastic. I am grateful for the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ that gives each and everyone one of us the opportunity to be cleansed of our sins. Stay strong, and do what's right. You will never be led astray. :)
Com amor e fé,
Elder Steven Bennett