I hope that you are all well and happy, and full from the holiday season. And it´s only just begun!
As far as being here during these times, it´s a little bit out of the ordinary to say the least:) There are Christmas decorations in stores, and some people have Christmas trees and decorations in their houses, but it really doesn´t feel like December at all. Well, granted, it is significantly hotter here than where most of you are, but it still doesn´t feel like December.
As far as where I live in Juazeiro do Norte, I live in Bairro Centro. In Brazil, every city is divided into ``bairros,´´ which are like districts or ``neighborhoods´´. The Bairro Centro is where almost all of the shops and stores are, so we are close to places where we can buy things. Right now, the branches here in Juazeiro are meeting in a large house while the ``capela,´´ or chapel is being renovated. This house is located on the corner of Rua São José and Rua Da Conceição.
The actual chapel is located on Rua Doutor Flora ( I think that´s how you spell it:) Anyway, the basketball court is outside, and we have only played there once because we got special permission. We haven´t done it since.
Anyway, I have to go now, but remember, please remember, that I love you all so very much; and, more importantly, your Father in Heaven loves you so very, very much. We can´t even comprehend how much He loves us. Go to Him. Pray to Him. Cry to Him. He will hear you. He will help you. And you will be able to feel to love that He has for you. Whatever the hurt, pain, or discomfort we feel in this life can be relieved, healed, and comforted through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He lives. He loves us. And He wants to bless us so very much.
I know that I am not perfect, and that I have many, many things that I need to do differently, but I know that I am here for a reason, and I know that Heavenly Father wants me to be here, right now, as His servant. May God bless you, and may you feel the redeeming love of the Savior, is my prayer and hope for you all.
Love and hugs and kisses and more, from the bottom of my heart to yours,
Elder Reid Powell Empey