Boa tarde! I hope that everyone is doing well these days, and that life is good for you all. Brazil is Brazil, which I think is to be somewhat expected; today is actually quite hot! The first few days I was here at the CTM were hot as well, but then we had a cold front that has lasted nearly the whole time that I´ve been here, and it´s been very nice:) But, I need to get used to the hot weather, because it will be this hot and hotter every day in Fortaleza:)
It is hard for me to believe that in two weeks, I will be entering the field! It´s crazy! I feel like I´ve been in one training center or another for at least a semester´s worth of time. (Oh, wait.....two months is like two-thirds of a semester....huh.....weird....) I have learned so very much, and am so grateful for my teachers and my leaders that help me to learn and to grow.
My companion in the CTM is Elder Swinney. He is from Fresno, California, and he is a great elder. Even though he and I have had very different experiences, and have very different points of view on some things, we get along very well, and are learning more about how to work well together every day. (Both learning more every day and working together every day:) ) As we have sought to dicuss what we want to focus on in our lessons with our ``pesquisadores progredinos,´´ and communicate with each other how we might be more effective as a companionship, we have grown more united and more able to meet the challenges that we are facing. I may not have told you this, but we have investigators here in the CTM (actually, they are our teachers takign on the role of investigators...), and we teach them! In Portuguese:) It is quite the experience, and I have so very much to learn, but I know that this is probably the best way to learn at this point without putting real people´s salvation and progression in the Gospel at risk. I am excited to see what the field is going to be like. According to D&C 4, it´s all ready to harvest, so I guess I´d better make sure that I´m okay with jumping in with all of the other workers! (I wonder if there is some sort of Gospel parallel for a combine in this metaphor, because that would be kind of handy....maybe it´s the Book of Mormon!)
Just so that you are all aware, there is a Brazilian equivalent of a ``Dear John´´ letter. It´s called a ``Carta Azul.´´ Literally translated, this means ``blue letter.´´ However, the wonderfully clever females of Brazil make their break-offs as humiliating as possible, because they literally put the letter in a blue envelope, so everyone around them can see exactly what has just happened to some poor soul. Whenever anyone is checking the mail, a Brazilian district or an American district or whoever, everyone chants, ``Carta Azul! Carta Azul!´´ Most of the time, there isn´t anything to really get excited about. Yet, I did hear about one Elder who received two the same day:)
Anyway, I am out of time, but I love you all so very much! The temple this morning was very good, and I am so glad that we get the chance to go every P-Day. What a blessing:)
I love you all tons and scoops! If you have specific curiosities, please let my Mom know your questions so that she can email them to me, and I will answer the ones that I can.
Anyway, I love you, and I will write again next week!
Elder Reid Empey