Eliza’s Question: I friended some people for you on Facebook. One was named Maicovale Pingo. I saw that he had several photos of you. I looked at them and it was nice to see you. We just couldn't guess who this guy was. Was he your companion? (if so, he was breaking some rules) or just some other dude who was stalking you two and posting all your pictures.
Ben’s Response: So, Eliza, my comp was only a temporary missionary. The mission expected a missionary from the Brazilian MTC that didn’t actually come, so I have been the missionary to pick up the slack, working with temps from the area. Elder Vale is Maicovale Pingo and he is at home now. He also wasn’t an ordained missionary, so he didn’t have an email account and just used Facebook.
I’m glad the mini-surgery went well and that you are playing more music. I think that is the thing I miss the most on the mission -- music, especially singing in English and playing the guitar.
My new comp is Elder Tavares. He is an 18 year old from Vila Dos Cabanos, a city close to Abaetetuba. Oh, and he also dated Janaina, the first person I baptized here. I think it was my first or second week in the field. So it was fun to work with him for a while. It was like training because he didn’t know much about teaching. But today his cousin is going to trade places with him because he needs to register with the army here.
Funny story. The bishop told my comp he was going to speak for 20 minutes in Sacrament Meeting a few days ago, I think Wednesday. I felt pretty safe so when we got to the church the first councilor pulled me to the side and said that I was going to speak as well because the scheduled speaker didn’t show up. He gave me 20 minutes to speak. So, I whipped out a talk I gave in my last area about missionary work, modified it in Sacrament Meeting, and ended up giving what I thought was a really good 15-20 minute talk in Sacrament Meeting. I think just to be safe I will write another talk and carry it around with me so that when I get called to talk on short notice it’s not a big deal.
Oh, can you accept Jordan Tavares when he sends a friend invite on Facebook? Thanks, Eliza. Love you!!!
This week has been interesting. My comp, Elder Vale, finished his mini-mission and went to the beach. I got another temp who is getting replaced by his cousin today and I was made District Leader. The District Leader thing is a bit funny because my comp from the MTC, Elder Childs, is in my district, we share the same chapel [Ben was also the District Leader when he was in the MTC with Elder Childs]. So, it’s been interesting to have more responsibility. I think I work much harder when I have more responsibility.
So the week has been OK. I had a really cool experience with an investigator yesterday. Ademir is 49 (born in ‘63) and he is living with his (I think it’s pretty funny here in Brazil because they often refer to wives as “mulhers” being translated as “woman;” they say, ´”minha mulher” -- “my woman”) mulher Ana (30’ish) and two sons about 3 and 5 years old. They have been visiting the church with some other investigators we have and they were really interested and skeptical at the same time. Ademir, in particular, had a hard time understanding that the Book of Mormon isn’t more important [to us] than the Bible. But after I explained to him about the priesthood, and how they needed to know that the Book of Mormon was true to know that we had the priesthood, after a while he understood. And it was cool because I explained and the ideas were just flowing. I had never thought about the Book of Mormon in exactly the way I explained it. The Spirit was working and at the end Ademir understood and said that he needed to read the Book of Mormon. Then, yesterday we taught him and Ana about the Word of Wisdom. But when I started teaching I showed them a picture of the Joseph Smith without really knowing why. I like to explain about how Joseph Smith received the commandment from God, but I don’t always show the picture of him. But this time I was prompted to show the picture and Ademir ended up stopping the lesson and explained that when he was 19 he walked in front of one of the first chapels the Church built in Belém and had a dream where Joseph Smith told him that he needed to help the church. He accepted my invitation to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God, and will try to get married. I think that missions are great.
I’m out of time but I love you guys! Oh, and thanks for the paper and insoles!!!!