Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ben Visits Santarém

April 15, 2013

Dear Family,

I’m now in Santarém.  Look for it on Google maps.  

It’s in the middle of the rain forest and has very few paved roads. There is a stake here that was formed about a year ago.  The zone is doing well with the exception of a few areas, with whom I have done divisions with to help out.  Yesterday I had a really great experience helping a family prepare the papers to get married they are really fun and where really excited to marry so that they could get baptized.  I attached two pictures.  One is of the family I helped get married (they are Raimundo and Jess, and they live in Santarém) the other picture is the view from the super cool 3 story house where I live (the staff house).  [The pictures weren’t attached so I’ve put in a pic I found on Google.]

I also got to teach a man (Rodrigo) that is was really prepared to be baptized about tithing.  It was really cool.  Afterwards I did his baptismal interview.  It was amazing to get to know him and play a small part in his conversion.  He was a referral from a member.  The member was old friends with him and invited him to an Adult singles retreat, and the young adults of the stake all helped him integrate into the church.  It also helped that he is 27 good-looking single and plays the guitar...  he probably won’t be single for long.  So give referrals to the missionaries!!!! Comparing my mission with the mission in Moscow, one of the largest differences is that here the members talk a whole lot about the church with others and are not as shy about inviting friends.   There are a few other differences but that is one that we can control regardless of our culture of population.  There is a part in PMG that says that "nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach".  Before my mission I preferred to bear my testimony with my actions, and be an example to nonmembers.  This sort of tactic in missionary work I have come to realize is a little bit unbalanced.  We also need to invite.  Without an invitation it is almost impossible for people to change.  So Dad, you talked a little about how there will be a lot more missionaries in our area with few people to teach personally I think this is one thing that is lacking that could help a lot.  Our family is really good at the example part showing others what we believe and that we are Mormons but our family I think can improve a lot on the other side of the missionary work that is the invitation.  Remember to help the ward with this they will need some strong leaders to show them the way.  The best leaders lead by example!

To finish up...
Ellis, my favorite food here is Tacacá, and the craziest thing I have eaten is Turú (worms that eat wood, you eat them raw) 
Emma, I hope you took don’t get nervous about the track meets, you just need to beet yourself the others don’t matter.
Eliza, what did you end up deciding about the mission?
Dan, I hope you passed your belt exam!!!

So I’m a little out of time to write.
Love you all!!!

PS. I sent a letter to Quincey so I hope she will respond here in about a month.

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