What a week it has been. Definitely a week of learning and of many feelings. You will notice that I am writing you guys a bit late, and that is because we had our Mission Counsel this morning. This last Friday, Presidente and Sister Lima left Rio de Janeiro, and Presidente and Sister Cabral arrived ready to lead this mission. They were so anxious to follow the prophetic counsels that they received through their training in Salt Lake City, that they called the Counsel to be today and not on any later date. Many wondered why such a meeting would be put on P-day, but we were very blessed by the sweet Spirit that was present in the meeting. I testify to you that each and every Mission President is called of God to lead that part of the world. He knows what the missionaries are needing, and what the mission needs. I have arrived in each of these meetings receiving all of the answers that I was needing for my difficulties in my companionship, area, and/or zone. How wonderful it is to leave these meetings with a new sense of excitement to lead forth the work of the Lord.
This week leading up to today brought forth many difficulties for me. I believe that there are very few emails that I have sent to you guys talking only about the difficulties that I was passing, and feelings of discouragement. Up until this morning, I truly thought that I would be sending you guys an email like that. However, how I praise the Lord for His love for me. He knows what we need when we need it. He is a God of miracles. I certainly did pass many difficulties this week. We are not having many investigators progressing and many aren't willing to come to church. We have been trying to be diligent, but at time it gets very difficult. My companion and I have been a bit stressed lately. I do not know why, but I always knew that the Lord would test me at the end of my mission to really see if I would be faithful and true to the end. I have had various trials that have tested this, and even now are testing me. I will stay strong. I have a testimony of prayer. This testimony was strengthened even more hearing about the miracle with my dad this week. The Lord performed a miracle and it was an answer to my prayers. Sunday afternoon, the Lord answered my prayers as well. When I felt that I couldn't hold on any longer in a certain trial that has been facing me and my companion, I kneeled in the bathroom, and I prayed. I know that the person who kneeled and the person who rose were two different people. The Lord doesn't always answer your prayers immediately, but my will was lined up with the will of the Lord, and my answer was immediate. I thank the Lord for the love He has for me.
The Counsel today was very special. It was also completely focused on me. President Cabral began speaking on various subjects, but one was a quick study in D&C 50. I invite you all to study it a little bit more throughout this week. We went verse by verse up until about verse 27. President related these passages to us, the missionaries here in Rio de Janeiro. He focused quite a bit on verse 24, which is a very special verse to me. It is the passage that I put on my mission plaque. After reading, he asked us an interesting question: "Do you want to be part of this group?" "How great is your desire to be a part of this group of people, fully engaged in these attributes?"
President continued his training speaking many wonderful things. My eyes were opened and my mind soared as many ideas began to connect in my head. I finally understand with such a clarity the things that the Lord wants us to do in His vineyard. Richard G. Scott, recently, was talking on the subject of Rio de Janeiro, and he said some very interesting words: "The greatest leaders of the church will be from Rio de Janeiro. It was for this very reason that Satan is working so hard to blind and bind the people in iniquity". The greatest leaders of the church are in this part of the world. My job is to find these fantastic leaders and bring them to know of their potential. My responsibility is great, as with each and every missionary in the world. We don't baptize just to baptize. This was made very clear today. We baptize to bring people to the TEMPLE. We need to begin the journey with the final result in our minds. This is the vision of President and Sister Cabral for the next three years. I am grateful that I have 8 weeks to serve under his command and continue this work in front.
I must be running, for my time has ended. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. This is His Gospel, and His will for the whole world: Bring His children to the true knowledge of the Gospel and to make covenants with Him in His Holy temple. I know this to be true. I will work my best until my very last day, and I know the Lord will continue to bless me and my family greatly, as He already has, for now and all eternity. I love you all so much. Have a wonderful week.
Elder Steven Bennett