Each and every week that I am here to write you guys, I feel that I have grown just a little bit more. I feel that my testimony is just a little bit stronger. I am very grateful for the changes that my mission has made in my life. There really is nothing better than a mission. The Lord's work is the one and only true work that leads us to Eternal Life in His presence. I sure will be sad at the end of my two years, but that doesn't mean that the work stops there. How are you all doing? It must be hot there in Utah now, eh? Here, we have hit the season where the weather is always bouncing around. One day it rains, and the next day it is hot and sunny. This week, I had to use a sweater for some of the days. At night, I am sleeping with a sweater as well. This crazy weather has brought many people down with lots of coughs, stuffy noses, and colds. My companion has been stuffed up since I arrived here one month ago! hahah. :) I am trying to take good care of myself, and until now, I only have a small sore throat.
This was quite the week. At times, as I am getting ready in the morning, I think: "What kind of experiences are in for me today?" There really is no way to know the things that will happen during the day! Now, you may be thinking positively or negatively at this moment... but just remember, I am talking positively, and I also have divine protection with me if you're still worrying! ;) We had many experiences this week, but I will tell you about two specifically.
This week, as my companion and I were preparing one morning, I noticed a strange bump on his back. I joked with my companion, and as he realized it, he began to explain that that must be the cause of some back pain he has been having. We called Sister Lima and the Mission Doctor. They sent us to find a doctor who could give us more information on the condition. So, early Wednesday morning, my companion and I, in nice warm sweaters, left in the wind and rain to find a doctor who could give Elder Amorim a consultation. We found one and we were 8th in line. As we waited, we noticed a lady who wasn't looking too well, but was talking with other people. Then, out of nowhere, this woman fainted and almost fell on the floor! Everyone panicked and grabbed her and they sent for a doctor. While the situation seemed horrible, my companion and I found it rather funny as the doctor arrived and began treating her. Her blood pressure dropped and she fainted, but was fine. To help her out, the doctor sent for a coffee. With this, we couldn't help but give a little chuckle. For three and a half hours we waited, and finally Elder Amorim was looked over. We found out that he has to have a small surgery here in the next month. It seems to be a small tumor, but nothing serious. Afterwards, we ate yakisoba and went in search of some other treatments he needed, and finally we were able to get to work around 4PM. The day continued to rain, and was a chilly day. It was this day that made us a little bit sick, but we are fine now.
The last experience I will tell is one that I will always hold very close to my heart. Really, the Lord blessed me greatly in being able to be a part of such a special moment. About a week and a half ago, I received a call from the Sisters that work in my second area, Andaraí. They were very excited to tell me that Antonia, a lady I had been teaching, had accepted to be baptized, but only I was the one to baptize her! Antonia is someone very close to my heart. Her husband was baptized almost 10 years ago, but has been inactive for most of this time. She also has many members of the church in her distant family. I began teaching her with about five months here on the mission. I taught her all of the seven months that I was in Andaraí, and she never reached the point of wanting to be baptized. I was transferred, and four months later, I returned to Meier (the same stake). I had had a dream that I would baptize her. As I awoke that morning, I recounted this dream to the Sisters in Andaraí. They became very excited and told Antonia about this. Antonia as well became very excited and accepted to be baptized! I had the opportunity to interview her for baptism. For two hours, I was with her in the interview, and as we left, she still wasn't wanting to be baptized. That day was very disappointing to me. I was transferred, and now, about three months later, Antonia has asked me to baptize her. These last couple weeks, the Sisters have been teaching her, and Antonia had some dreams about the temple and the church. She finally saw this as an answer and accepted baptism with certainty. :) On Saturday, the 31st, I travelled to Andaraí once again for her baptism and I was able to baptize Antonia. It was a very special day. I also reunited with many friends from Andaraí and Meier that were at the chapel that night. Many members asked me to send my membership record to Andaraí because I will never leave. It was quite a night.
I am very grateful for the special moments that I am having here in Rio de Janeiro. It almost seems like a dream that I am here as a representative of Jesus Christ. I know that this is His church, and that we are spreading His gospel to all the world. I know that the Lord still has many things in store for me in these last few months. I will be working as hard as ever, and as happy as ever, until the end. Have a wonderful week!
Muito amor e saudades,
Elder Steven Bennett
PS. Lauralee already graduated from high school??