Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Greetings from the CTM

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!
Com amor,
Elder Reid Empey

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 18, 2011

Óla! Como estão? Eu espero que vocês estão muito bem estes dias, e que vocês estão aprendendo as coisas que vocês precisam aprender em suas vidas:)

(I hope that Google Translate will work for you.)

{Mom E. ~ Google Translator says "Hello! How are you? I hope you are well these days, and that you are learning the things you need to learn in your (plural) lives:)"}

Life here at the CTM in São Paulo is VERY different than Provo. This is to be expected for many different reasons.

Firstly, one has to consider the logistics of the situation: São Paulo has a little over 130 to 150 missionaries right now. We are getting a whole bunch more because a slew of visas just came through from all of the consulates, but we still have a relatively few number of missionaries compared to how many we could have. The Provo MTC, on the other hand, has around 2300 missionaries; remember that a vast majority of these are 19 year old boys:) So, by natural circumstances and dire need, the rules, support system, and structure are much more strict and enforced. It´s a very tight ship over there:) Over here, there are less people, so, naturally, the enforcement and regulation/regularity of schedules, class start times, activities, branch structure and leadership, etc. will be less. It is an extremely different dynamic than the Provo MTC is.

Secondly (and I think this augments and multiplies the natural less strict atmosphere here), we are in Brazil. The CTM staff are Brazilians, teachers are Brazilians, the cooks are Brazilians, and most of the missionaries here are Brazilians (especially considering all of the visa problems that Americans are having these days). Therefore, everything is going to naturally be less uptight and strict because the Brazilian culture is very, very flexible with whatever is going on. It is definitely more laid back, and a very different experience.

I must say that I am glad that I was in the Provo MTC for the time that I was. I learned things that I never thought that I wouldn´t learn here. For example, when you get used to all of that structure, and everyone is saying all the time, in every devotional and fireside, ``Obedience, obedience, obedience´´, you adapt to the circumstances, and utilize that pressure to push you to do the things that you need to be doing. Atleast, that´s what I tried to do:) Here, however, there is very little of that. Because there is a lack of pressure, missionaries are more prone to get distracted and stay distracted, including myself. So, I am glad that I am getting frustrated with some of the laxity (if that is even a word) that is going on, because that says at least something about my own drive to stay focused.

So, we only have thirty minutes to read AND write emails in the CTM, so I don´t have as much time as I usually do. Also, I can upload some pictures to you, including the one for my missionary plaque. I don´t know if I will ever be able to do so again, but we will have to see:)

My mom asked me to talk a little about how Reid is doing, not just Elder Empey. Well, I am doing well:) It is a new experience, and there are struggles and trials and difficulties. It is hard when I get frustrated with others´ lack of focus. It is difficult getting used to the bumps of a new district, and a new companion. It is difficult when I don´t do the best that I can. But, I know that we are blessed when we do all that we can. I am grateful for the newfound meaning in the phrase, ``Do your duty, that is best, leave unto the Lord the rest.´´ This does NOT mean that you do EVERYTHING that you could possibly do. No, no. It means you do your very best, and what ever else doesn´t work out will.

Anyway, I need to go now, but I love you all so very very much! The postal system is supposedly still on strike, but the mail goes through. It just takes a lot longer:) Try Dear Elder again, I could swear that they send it to here too, it just costs money:) I love you tons and scoops and gallons and cider bottles and apple bins and Zoom-Zoom loads (my family knows what that means :) ). Know that I am doing well, and that I love you very much. May God bless you, that you may be filled with His love. Your prayers on my behalf are appreciated. I desperately need them.

I love you all so much!

Eu amo vocês sempre,
Elder Reid Empey

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Elder Reid Empey and the other Elders entering the CTM in Brazil

He made it to BRAZIL!!!!!!!

Dear Parents,

We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC. What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.

They now have companions and are settled into their rooms. They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study. The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting. These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.

The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs. He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple. This will be either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on individual assignments.

Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “There is no mortal man that is so much interested in the success of an elder [sister] when he is preaching the gospel as the Lord that sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord’s children.”

Please accept our love,
President Donald L Clark and Sister Zaza Clark

ADDITIONAL information . . .

DO not send packages to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC and it arrives after your missionary has left for the field, please understand that the package can not be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you. The only other option is for us to open the package and forward the letters and photographs, giving the rest of the content of the package to the missionaries that are here.

WE Strongly eNCOURAGE sENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers. The cost to get this type of correspondence is exorbitant.

Monday, October 10, 2011

This Week Has Been Crazy!

I got my visa on Friday, and that changed my plans with and perspective of a lot of things.

I am so glad for the opportunity to go to the Brazil MTC! It will be an incredible experience, as this experience has been. I am very excited to see how things turn out over the next few weeks.

My brain is going in tons of different directions right now, and it's hard to focus on what I should write about. I have things that I need to get done, and not much time (read "NO TIME!") to do them, but I will be fine. I think that I will be getting up early so that I can ensure that I can get everything done:)

I have talked to Elder Fieldstead (a cousin's son, who is also in the Provo MTC) a few times, and say "hi" whenever I see him. I think that his classroom is in my building, but I'm not quite sure. I don't have much time to wander the halls of the MTC, do I?

If and when you send pictures, (not just Mom, ANYONE who would like to send them:) ) I think that the regular mail would be fine if it's the size and weight of a regular letter. Apparently the mail system in Brazil is great with letters, and it takes about a week to get down there. Still, I don't know much about the pouch system, and it may be better to send pictures that way. (Addition from Mom E., pouch mail is letters ONLY, NO pictures from my understanding. Unless you print them on regular paper and fold them up with your letter.) By the way, I love the pictures that my family has already sent. (Although, it would be nice to have a more recent picture of our family...) Please send me pictures and letters, they make my day, and help me to continue pushing forward.

I am so glad to be here, and for this wonderful priviledge to learn, and to grow. I have learned so much about relying on the Lord, and being patience, and pushing forward amidst the presence and pressure of challenges, trials, and opposition. I have felt the Spirit bear witness to me of the importance of this work, and specifically my part in it. I am so excited to see what being out in the field is going to be like, and I hope that my Portuguese is sufficient enough that people can understand me, and won't mock me too bad for it. (I was talking to a woman who works with missionary immunizations today while I was getting my second hepititus A shot, and she said that we didn't have American accents. Actually, she said that we have Portugal accents, and that the people in Brazil will make fun of us for them Oh, well. I think I can handle it. I think I'd rather be mocked for speaking with a Portugal accent than for not being able to speak the language at all...)

I love you all so very, very much. I know that the little amount I write and send in an email is not much, but I hope that you know how much I love you, and appreciate you and your desire to push forward, and do what the Lord wants you to do. I don't think it's easy, in any circumstance, to yield our will to the Lord's, and I think that it is supposed to be that way. I know that as we strive to give up our will, and give ourselves, our hearts, our mights, our minds, and our strengths to the Lord, He will tell us what we need to do. We will be enabled to accomplish the things which He requires of us (if you doubt that, read 1 Nephi 3:7, and try to remember how many times Nephi tried to get the plates before he actually could). We can do it with His help. We can. It will not be easy, but it will be possible, and I think that as we seek to live with His Spirit as our constant companion, and are better able to recognize and understand and have the courage to follow the promptings that come, it will become easier and more manageable; but not because our load is getting lighter. Instead, we are becoming more strong, and better able to bear the load that we already have placed upon our backs. I think that the Lord often works in this way: rather than taking our trials from us, and the weight and burden that they are in our lives, He strengthens us to be able to bear them up, and He molds the back to carry the burden placed upon it, until we can hardly feel them upon us. (Mosiah 24 is great for this one)

Anyway, I love you all! use Dear Elder, I think that they send letters to the Brazil MTC as well:)

Love always,
Elder Reid Empey

MTC Week Three is over!

Hello my dear family and friends!

I cannot believe it, but this Wednesday will be one month from my entering the MTC.

All I can say is: "WHAT!?!"

It seemed crazy to me that it has been a month, and that my MTC stay is officially half-completed. It feels both like I just got here, and like I have been here forever.

I love all of the letters and Dear Elders and packages and emails and love what you send in them! I love to hear that I have a package, or a letter, or two or three or four! It makes my day, and reminds me that there really is a world outside of this one, and there are people who live out there, and love me, and wish me to know and feel of their love by sending me a little something :)

General Conference was a blessing in my life, as it always is. I had many of the answers to my questions and prayers be answered, and I have made some connections that needed making. Yet, there are connections that I still seek desperately to make. How thankful I am for modern-day revelation, that we can truly hear the word of God from the mouths and voices of His servants. It's strange to hear them speaking directly to the missionaries who are presently serving, and to realize that's me :)

I hope that you all are doing well, and are feeling the love of the Lord in your lives. What a blessing to be on the earth at this time! To learn and to grow, and to utilize that knowledge for the helping and uplifting of others. My testimony was strengthened in the need for a testimony! We need our own testimony, and then as we bear it to others, the Holy Ghost can testify both that the things we testify are true are true, and the Holy Ghost can also testify to others that we truly know those things to be true.

I've also learned more about the necessity of having the Holy Ghost to be with us always, and my desire to have that constant companionship has greatly increased. It is interesting to mention the scripture from which the name of the manual "Preach My Gospel" came from. Right on the front cover, it quotes the scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants from which it was taken. (I believe it's D&C 50:14) I have heard numerous people talk about this title, one in particular being Elder Jefferey R. Holland in a powerful devotional address given in 2005 (I think). In D&C 50:14, it says that the elders, or missionaries, are called to "preach my gospel by the Spirit". Elder Holland said (now, truly imagine Elder Holland saying this in his own way, with power and force, with the edge that is characteristic of when he is saying something that in his mind and heart and soul is extremely important): "The name of this manual could very well have been 'Preach My Gospel By the Spirit', but it was simply a bit to lengthy. But don't you ever think of it's title without the rest of the verse connected to it."

In Doctrine and Covenants, Section 42:14 (I think), it says that we should seek for the Spirit in our teaching, and that "if ye receive not the Spirit, ye shall not teach." For a very long time, I thought that this was almost like a commandment, that if we don't receive the Spirit, we are commanded not to teach. I now do not believe that to be a correct interpretation of the scripture. Instead of a commandment, it is a declaration of fact, a statement of principle that we need to come to realize and have a testimony of. It should guide our actions and remind us of the vital importance and significance of all of our works and deeds in associating with other people around us.

It is not a commandment in the sense that "if ye receive not the Spirit, ye are commanded not to teach." Rather, it is simply and emphatically stating: "If ye receive not the Spirit, no teaching will take place." If we don't have the Spirit with us, and we don't teach by the Spirit, then how can spiritual things be learned? There are a few things that we must realize:

First, we do not teach. The Spirit does. This is good for us to know, because if we do have the Spirit with us, and we learn to teach by the Spirit and with the Spirit, it doesn't matter how incapable or inexperienced teachers we are. The Spirit will fill in the gap between our abilities and what others need to know, feel, and do.

Another important component of this is that we need to never be prideful of our teaching abilities, because the Spirit teaches, not us. (If your confused about this, read D&C 121:36-end of the chapter, specifically where it talks about pride causing the heavens to withdraw).

Second, we must be sure that nothing in our lives is hindering our ability to have the Spirit to be with us, and/or to teach and/or learn by the Spirit. This includes trying to teach others by logical, Bible-bashing-reminiscent means. (I can say that because I've been guilty of this, and have a knowledge through experience that it doesn't work.)

Anyway, I love you all, and have the Spirit to be with you! And like how Brother Bott would end every single class: "you want to teach with the Spirit, but in order to do that you must:"
"DON'T SIN ANY MORE!!" (we would all yell back)

I love you all, and will write soon:)

Love always and forever,
Elder Reid Empey

MTC Week Two!

Hello everyone! I wish you the best, and hope that your lives are going well.

Mine is quite busy. As I have said before, my schedule is extremely packed to the brim, and I must be very discriminatory with my personal time so that I can actually do the things that I need and want to do.

My mother (Hi, Mom ) has repeatedly asked what Sundays are like at the MTC. How about I tell you what yesterday was like?

So, I got up at 6:30 am (or very close thereafter), showered, and got dressed. On Sundays, personal study starts at 7 am in the classroom, whereas the first activity of nearly every other day (breakfast) starts at 7:10; and if you're late to breakfast you just have less time to eat. Therefore, it is more difficult to get to the classroom at 7 on Sundays, and I think that I have yet to make it there exactly on time. But, still, I get there!

Yesterday was different than most Sundays because it was Fast Sunday. Usually, we have breakfast at 8 am after personal study, then Priesthood meeting at 9:10, then more personal study from 10 am to 12:10 pm. District meeting would start at that time, and then Lunch at 1 pm.

Now, this is the usual schedule. Yesterday, however, we had personal study from 7 am to 9:40 am. Our branch is part of a new pilot program apparently, and there are certain activities that they want us to do on Sunday, like a Preach My Gospel Doctrine Assessment, or PMG Principle Assessment, a Language Study Checklist, a Scripture Study Checklist, etc.

Another part of the online course is watching a documentary called "The District." Actually, we first started watching "The District 2", and then we watch the first "season" after that. It is footage of real, live missionaries, real, live investigators, and documents the daily life and activities of missionaries. It is very cool, and I can't believe that they had all of those actual discussions with cameramen around them! This is a good thing to watch, because you can feel the Spirit of missionary work. Although, it does make you sort of wish that you were already in the field:)

Yesterday, I was supposed to watch the third and final episode of "The District 2." However, the link just took me back to the second episode, and there was no way for me to get to the third one. So, I chose to watch something else. Maybe that's not what you're supposed to do, but I did :) And I am so glad that I did.

Instead, I watched the address that was given on Saturday by President Uchtdorf at the General Relief Society Broadcast. It is an incredible talk! I loved it. It was definitely something that I needed; and I have no qualms that I watched it :) I highly recommend for anyone who has not seen it to watch it now.  It's only twenty one or so minutes, and it is worth it. Also, don't stop halfway through, please. Watch it all at once :) That's how we're supposed to listen to Conference talks the first time, right?

Anyway, so after I watched that recording (and actually, I ran out of time, so I had to finish it later; this is why I recommend watching it all in one go the first time around...), we went to mission conference. It was really great! There were talks, a musical number, more talks, a congregational hymn, and then the mission president, President Gordon Brown, and his wife, Sister Patricia Brown, spoke to us. For most of his talk, however, he yielded the time over to two visitors, whom he hasn't seen since 1972.

They were a couple that he had knocked on the door of while he was a missionary. They have served in many different capacities, served missions, and so on. They had stayed in contact after their baptism, but lost contact and hadn't talked since 1972. What a special experience, to see them, and hear their testimonies.

Well, my time is about up, so I get I will just have to write the rest of my schedule down, and Mom can type it up and send it out!

I love you all so very much. I am doing well, even though it is very difficult for me sometimes. Yet, the Lord is there for us, and He wants to help us to be able to bear the load which we are called upon to carry. He will help us, if we will trust in Him, in His power, in His voice. I think also, though, that we need to not just trust in Him, but to truly trust Him. He means what He says:) And He is always there, waiting for us to exercise our agency in such a way that He can bless us.

I love you all:) Boa tarde, e boa sorte! (Good afternoon, and good luck!)

Sincerely and truly,
Elder Reid Empey

MTC Week One!

Hello all! I can't believe that it has not even been two weeks since I was home. Crazy:)

Thank you all so very much for your letters! I sure do need them:) I love to hear what is going on in your lives, and how your testimony has grown over the past week. Your experiences and testimony strengthen my own:) Please continue to send mail, and I will write you back! Also, please be patient if you do write. According to the mission rules, I am only supposed to write letters on P-Day, which is Monday for me. So, if you desire a quick reply, try to get it to me as soon before Monday as you can! If you still don't get a prompt reply, I promise that I am trying, and that I will write back as soon as I can:)

So, some members of my family have been asking me about time, and Sundays, and what I have done, and if I've had any time to play the piano, etc, etc. One thing that I have learned about the MTC is that you have no time. The schedule is filled almost literally to the brim, and there isn't much time to do much else than studying, classroom time, and trying to figure out how I'm going to teach an investigator ("pesquisador") in Portuguese...

My Mom asked me in a Dear Elder letter (which I highly recommend if you don't have time to write or prefer not to; although, I so do love handwritten letters:) ) if I had the chance to play the piano at all. At the time that I read it, I hadn't:) I sort of laughed inside because there simply wasn't time. However, since I read the letter, I have played the piano a little bit, at the insistence of some of the Elders in my district. They liked it, so they basically try to get me to play whenever they can.

Susequently, I have officially been labeled as 1) a piano player, 2) a person who knows lots of stuff, and 3) a stud muffin. The definition of the third item apparently loosely translates to "gets tons of letters, and Dear Elders, and talks to all of these Sisters, and knows like everyone, and talks to all of these Sisters, etc."

I feel the need to clarify on the third point: apparently, the Elders here have this weird idea in their heads that they need to stay away from the Sisters, like their something that can cause them to loose focus, and that if they hold even a small conversation with them, they'll either fall in love with the Sister and then be distracted and a horrible missionary, or the sister will just tell them to buzz off (and maybe report them to the MTC President).

I have realized a few important things as far as this in concerned: one, these Sisters are missionaries! They want to be here. They have the desire to share the gospel. More likely than not, they are willing to talk to you if you start a conversation with them:) Two, because so many of the Elders avoid them like they're the plague (or something), they are talked to very little. So, they might feel even a little refreshed when they meet an Elder who asks them where they're from, or where they're going, and doesn't run away from them like they're Potifer's wife. (Maybe a little overexaggerated, but just a little...)

Anyway, this place is great! I'm much more comfortable here now. It's been very difficult, but I've been able to rely on the Lord, and come to know the things that I need to improve upon to receive His Spirit in more abundance. I went to the temple this morning, and it was a wonderful experience. I invite those who can to attend as much as they can. This morning I did other things than the regular routine, and I am so grateful that I did:)

My companion, Elder Nielsen, is a friend and a strength to me. I am so glad to have such a wonderful companion, who isn't addicted to video games, or texting, or phermones, or whatever. He desires to work hard, to learn the language, and to do what the Lord wants him to do. He will be a great missionary, and the Lord will use him to accomplish great things.

I love you all so very much! Please read the Book of Mormon. Seriously. It is the key to personal revelation, and if we use it like we should, we will receive power, and knowledge, and a greater capacity to do what we need to do.

I need to go now, but I want to tell you that I have a testimony that this is where I am supposed to be. No doubt about it in my mind:)

Love always,
Elder Reid Empey

His Mission Began September 7, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,
Greettings from Provo! Or, atleast one small part of it:) I am alive and well here at the MTC, and I am excited to be learning so very much about missionary work.
As you know, I am going to the Brazil Fortaleza Mission, Portuguese speaking. Apparently I am participating in a new pilot program in my branch that is supposed to increase the amount that I learn in a shorter amount of time. At least, that's sort of what I have heard. I've only heard general heresay, and not much from my ecclesiastical leaders, so I'm not totally sure:) Still, I'm glad that I get to participate in another pilot program, just like there is a pilot seminary program back home in Washington! (Email my mom if you want to know what that is)
As far as learning more in a shorter amount of time, I have to say that is true:) The program is largely based on a principle called "SYL: Speak Your Language." Basically, I walked into class on the first day, and my teacher speaks only Portuguese to us. We have to sort of guess what he is saying, as he tries to explain the meaning of a word we don't know with other Portuguese words and actions and stuff. His name is Irmao LaBanc, and we also have a sister teaching us as well, Irma Holtzclaw.
Learning the language has proven to be quite difficult, and it continues to challenge me, but I love Portuguese! It is so cool:) From my humble perspective, it is more fun to speak than Spanish, both because the pronunciation sounds more outlandish, and because it's easier to speak Portuguese with an accent than Spanish. (When I speak in Spanish, I just sound like a white guy:) ) Anyway, I am enjoying it very much, and I'm excited to see what kind of progress I can make before I leave the MTC! I can already say short prayers in Portuguese, bear my testimony, and I am learning more every day. Another part of the pilot program (I think) is that we get to teach investigators ("pesquisadors"). Actually, all the missionaries here at the MTC work with pesquisadors I think, but we taught our first discussion to an investigator totally in Portugues on the third day. It's pretty intense:) I think that it is a good thing even though it's extremely hard, because it forces us as missionaries to learn and practice language in Portuguese that relates to the Gospel; and it helps us to immediately begin thinking about and learning how to tailor our studying, both Gospel study and language study, for a specific investigador. For example, how do we convince Vincente (pronounced "vin-SEN-chee") that the Book of Mormon will help him and his family? How do we convince him to read the Book of Mormon with them, and to attend church? How do we follow up with Vincente? Anyway, it helps to know that our "pesquisador" is in fact an actor ("Vincente" is one of the other Portuguese teachers here at the MTC), and that we won't ruin someone's eternal salvation if we mess up really bad:)
My companion is Elder Nielsen, from Parma, Idaho. He is an awesome elder, and we get along very well. I'm glad that we are companions, because it's not difficult at all:) We are very open with each other, and want to do the very best that we can. We struggle together, and compliment each other, and I am grateful that we were assigned to be together. I will send a picture of us as soon as I can, but I don't have an SD card reader so I can't upload the pictures right now. (Just to forewarn you, he's 6'4" :) )
Anyway, I don't have very much time left, but I just want to let you all know how much I love you, and that I know that this is the place that I'm supposed to be. My testimony has grown so much, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve. It has been hard, and I'm sure that it will continue to be hard, but I know that this is the Lord's work, and that I can do anything through Him. I have a testimony that Heavenly Father loves us so much. He wants us to be happy, and wants to give us blessings. It is up to us to be obediant, and to exercise faith in Him, and in Jesus Christ, and to trust in His mighty hand, as well as His timetable:)
Please write to me and let me know how you are doing! I can only write letters on Mondays (P-Day), as well as email, so try to get it to me as soon as you can before so that you can get it as soon as possible.
Anyway, love you all! Hoje e um moito bom dia!
Elder Empey