My time is very short, and as you can see, today isn't Monday. I have had the wildest week, and it seems that once again, everything has changed at the moment that I least expected. Let us start at the beginning. This last week was the last week of the transfer. I never really gave it much thought, for I am beginning my last transfer on the mission. Being in Sulacap for only a few months, I thought that not much would move.... just maybe a change in my companion. However, Sunday, we received word of the transfer. President Cabral transferred me and my companion to new areas! Two new elders will be going to Sulacap. I was transferred to Jardim Maravilha, Campo Grande. I will explain more about this later. We were still at church when we received word, and all of the members began to be very sad at the sudden change of the two of us. I was able to take some photos with some of the members. I was the official pianist in the ward, so they also became very sad for my going. During the day, we visited some of our investigators and members to say goodbye. Sunday night, I packed all of my bags up, and Monday morning, we were off. Usually we meet at a bus terminal in Novo Rio, but President had moved the meeting place to the chapel in Botafogo (you can see Pão de Açucar from the street). We went to the train station to head for Botafogo at 8am. When we arrived, they told us that it wasn't possible to pass our luggage until 10am. We needed to be at the chapel at 9am. We began to think. We tried everything we could, but no one could authorize us to pass our luggage. We had to grab a bus and go to another terminal in Barra de Tijuca, and grab another bus that would go to Botafogo. It was such a long trip, but I was also able to pass through some of my old areas, and also all of the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. We travelled on the coast until Botafogo. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. :) However, we arrived three hours later because of this trip, and missed the training that President gave to the missionaries. But, everything was alright, and we got to eat lunch and head out with our new companions. My new, and last, companion is Elder R. Oliveira, from São Paulo. He is so cool... everything that I was praying for. We made the 3 hour trip to my new area, which is in the Campo Grande Zone, translated Big Field. This name is very literal. Never have I had such an area as this! I passed almost my entire mission in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, and for the last few weeks of the mission, I was transferred to an area, that is, as we would say, "in the middle of nowhere!". hahaha, but I love it here already. It is a wonderful area. As we arrived, the members gave us a welcome BBQ, and the chapel is so beautiful here. I found out that I will be the official pianst as well, and the responsibility of teaching two English Classes of 191 people has fallen upon my shoulders. I am the only American here, so I will have to teach a Beginners class and Advanced class every Saturday morning. I am excited for the responsibilities that the Lord has given me to stay focused until the very end of my mission. I am also continuing my duties as Zone Leader here. As we arrived, I noticed that the house was very dirty and unorganized. Also, our Area Book (once more....) is a complete disaster. Last night and this morning, we were able to clean the house up (it is basically sparkling now), and I am in the process of creating an Area Book that is acceptable to the Lord. I am certain that this will be the best zone that I have passed if we can immediately change these small imperfections.
I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that this is His work. I am so grateful for the time I have had to preach the gospel to all. I am busier than ever, and there isn't a moment to lose. I know that the Lord will accept my mission if I continue until the end. I love you all so much, and I am grateful for the emails I have been receiving. I hope all is well at home. Have a wonderful week, and don't forget to use sunscreen out in that sun!
Elder Steven Bennett
PS. My "grandson" was called Assistant to the President (Elder Neu, who was trained by Elder M. Souza, who I trained). As Dad taught me, you need to teach your son to be better than you were.