Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Times, Hard Times, Another Week in Maranguape

Hey, everyone! Hope it's been a good week.

This week was good, we had the Christmas Conference for our whole mission, and we were able to talk to everybody. Also, I sang a song for the talent show, it's a song that the mission president loves, and a group randomly asked me, "Hey, do you know this song? We need an American who can sing and speaks English!" Because the song is in English:) It's "He Ain't Heavy" by the Hollies. It's a good song when you're thinking about companions and difficulties. I'll try to attach the video.

Anyway, we talked to a woman this week who is awesome! Her name is Jacinta, and she really wants to get baptized. Her soon-to-be ex-husband was baptized yesterday, and the Elders who were doing his interview invited her to hear the missionary lessons when she was dropping of their two girls at his house. She accepted, and we went over there that same day we got the referral, and then she when to church the next day and loved it! She wants to be baptized, and be forgiven of her sins, so she truly has been prepared by the Lord. She was recently very disappointed by her own church, and the things that we going on there. So, her heart in open and receptive at this time. I am excited to see how things turn out this week!

Anyway, I gotta go! I will see some of you next week, the 24th, Christmas Eve, on Skype! I love you all so very much! Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! The Church is true!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hurry! Nov. 26, 2012

I didn't have much time to write an email this week because I was buried in other emails......I love you all so much!

This week was kind of a tough week, but we figured out how we can get the work going. We are going to work with the members in Tabatinga, an area of the ward, to help us bring back lots of less-active members and to help us find more people to teach, rescuing and strengthening these families in the Gospel at the same time. That is what real Church growth is all about.

I love you all so very much, sorry for the short email! Elder Tibbits is awesome, and I am excited for the adventures ahead:)

With all my heart,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

AH!! Crazy fast! ~ Dec. 10, 2012

Sorry, guys! I ran out of time this week! Things are doing good, not perfect (well, duh, Elder Empey, nothing in this life is perfect...), but things are running along.

I am excited for the Gospel to be preached to so many more people now that there will be so many more missionaries in the field, and a lot more Sisters! Let me tell you, the Sisters who are coming into the field will begin to raise the baptisms up to an unprecedented level, and it will be them that will set the example and the standard that the Elders will have to live up to.

I was actually thinking about this during this week: it was Eve, not Adam, that perceived the importance of keeping the higher commandment of multiplying and replenishing the Earth, that they needed to partake of the fruit to progress. It was Eve that showed to Adam the "more excellent way". I believe this will also be manifest in our missionary efforts. The Sisters take their callings more seriously, more diligently, and they truly receive power in their callings, even when Elders in the same circumstances don't. I truly believe that there are Sisters that have more power to preach the gospel than some of the Elders, because the Elders have the authority of the priesthood, but lack the diligence and desire to receive the necessary power. It is like that in many different aspects of the Church, not only missionary work. We must rise up, and be men, fulfilling the roles which we were called and ordained to fulfill. Not to say that the wonderful women of the Church cannot or should not or are not meant to fulfill such roles, because they are wonderfully capable and majestic at doing just that. It is simply sad and unfortunate, however, when the women of the Church do so in a necessity to "pick up the slack" that the men leave undone, having to do what the men are supposed to do merely because the men choose not to live up to their obligations and responsibilities. Thankfully and happy, however, this is not the case. I am thankful for wondferful men in my life who stand up, making the difference, and fulfilling their priesthood roles and fatherly obligations, and do so willingly and lovingly. They are examples of the Savior, and they are blessed immensely for their diligent priesthood service.

The Gospel is true! I love you all so very much. Have an awesome, splendiferic week!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Happy Day, Happy Week, Happy News, Happy Mission, Happy Life! - from Maranguape Dec. 3 2012

Hello, everybody!

So, I have a couple good pieces of news this week.

First off, it's December!!!! Wow, the month that we've all been waiting for, ever since one of the Mayans said thousands of years ago:

"Hey, Akish, I just got the best prank idea I think I've ever had......" (he was probably a Lamanite.....)

Anyway, Mayans aside, happy early birthday to my dear, sweet, wonderful Mother, on December 12th, as well as to my good friend Shannon, whose birthday is the same date (that's why it's so easy to remember!).

Also, things are going rather well here in Maranguape. The work's been a bit slow recently, but this week things started picking up. We are really focused on reactivating members, and especially families, and looking as well for part-member families. If all of the members in this area were active, we would seriously be close to having a stake here:) So, there's a lot....lots of work to do!

I can't believe how quickly the time passes! In less than 9 months, I will be, just the thought makes me want to get out and work harder while I still can!

So, recently, Heavenly Father has been guiding my thoughts to more healthy thoughts and ideas. I am realizing more and more every day how much I am so focused on things that aren't so important. Well, they're important, but they are definitely "beyond the mark". I realized that I am focused so much on results, and measuring my value and success on results, and things happening, and people being baptized, and this, and that, and etc, etc, etc. Yet, those things aren't the most important things. I seem to convince myself that something is wrong because things aren't running perfect, whereas, duh, things aren't going to run perfectly most of the time because I'm not perfect! 

 came across a quote that helped me, and continues to help me to refocus on the most important things. It's by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He said: "True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives - that is, our time and choices - to God's purposes. In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny." What a stress-reducing thought! I cannot force people to accept our message, and I don't need to over-worry if people don't. Not even Heavenly Father forces people, and He is perfect. So, instead of focusing on results and numbers and baptisms, I need to focus on doing my very best, and remember that my very best is good enough for Him. Because, that's really all I can do! My best! I can't give more than that, so there's no use in trying to force myself to give more than that!

It's also good to remember why I am really here on a mission, or even a member of the Church for that matter. Because it's true:) And that faith is not dependent on outcomes. Our faith is not dependent on miracles if that is not what the Lord sees fit for us. They will happen, but nearly always in a way that we don't anticipate or expect.

Another good thought: "Are you serving time, or are you serving the Lord?" Puts things into a better perspective, huh?

Another: "Are you striving for perfection, or are you allowing the Savior to perfect you?" I spent about two or three weeks thinking about that one:)

Anyway, I gotta go, but I love you all, and I am so grateful for this chance to learn and to grow, and to greater understand why I am here, not just in the mission, but here on the Earth! The Plan of Salvation truly is a comforting and an inspiring truth. Isn't it good to know that our perfect Father in Heaven has a perfect plan for us imperfect people?

I love you all so very much!

With all my heart,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Hurry! November 19, 2012

Hey, I am almost out of time, so I'll be quick!

This was a good week here in Maranguape with my new companion, Elder Tibbits! He's from Taylorsville, Utah, about 30 or 40 minutes away from Temple Square in Salt Lake City. First companion from the state people here in Brazil like to call "the Factory" ("a fábrica" in Portuguese, probably a title that Utahans neither resent nor encourage....)! I am so excited to be able to help him in these first few days, weeks, and months of his mission in the field. I really like having American companions, it's great!

We are teaching Karol right now, and she already feels that the Church is true, but she just has to gather up the courage to be baptized. ......, Karol had a dream the night before going to Church for the first time, and dreamed of going into the Church. She was dressed exactly the way she was dressed when she actually went the next day, and, even though she had never been inside the Church before, dreamed of the hallways and the chapel and everything exactly how it is in real life, never having been there before. She said that she saw the same people that she saw at church the next day, too. So, please pray for Karol, that she can muster up the courage and the faith and the trust to do what she knows is right, even in the face of great adversity. She is also scared that she'll just stop going after a month, and I wasn't exactly sure how to calm her fears and doubts. But, she does want to let go of her boyfriend, and follow the Savior in the way that He wants.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empe

Monday, November 12, 2012

Quick Letter, I love you all!

So, I have some news. I was called today to be a trainer for the next two transfers! I don't know who my companion is yet, nor if he is Brazilian or American, but I am really excited! I am so grateful and humbled by this chance to help other missionaries to succeed. I pray with all of my heart that I will be guided and directed with what I need to do to be an example and a disciple of Jesus Christ as we embark on this new and exciting adventure!

I am so grateful for the Gospel in our lives. It really makes all of the difference! Sorry about a short email today, but I am still in Maranguape, and I am über-excited (also über-excited that they have the umlaut function on the Portuguese sweet!!!). It's going to be great!

Never forget who you are, and also who He is, and that He is always there to help and lift you at all times, and in all things, and in all places you may be in, for as we stand as witnesses and testimonies of Him, He is there with us. I like it in Doctrine and Covenants where it says, "But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me" (D&C 38:7). He really is here if we will just look for Him and His hands in our lives! Remember to be grateful, and that all will be as it ought to be if we have faith and trust in Him, and do what He asks us to do. And never, never, never forget that He is there to help us to do everything that is necessary! So, don't fret so much! I really need to work on that part:)

Love you all tons and scoops and gallons and garrafões and oddles and puddles and poodles and muddle puds (inside-joke with my Mom) and trucks and airplanes and millions upon millions of coal and copper mines full!!!!

Until next time,

Élder Reid Empey

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Day! From Maranguape!

Hey, everyone!

So, this week, we were able to teach some new people, and I'm really excited to be able to work with them. One day, we were over at a less-active members house, and we had gone there because of another member who brought us there. The less-active member's name is Lucia, and she wasn't home. However, a neighbor was there, named Thatiana. So, we were thinking about going somewhere else to visit, but we ended up staying, and talking with Thatiana. We taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel, and how this Church is totally different than other churches, and that we find the complete truth in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end of the message, she told us that we had been attending the Universal Church, a rather common Evangelical church in Brazil, and that she had felt something missing. She had felt like her needs were not being met by her current church. So, we had come at just the right moment, to someone who was looking for something more, searching for the truth! We will go back there this week, and I pray that we can help them to know for themselves that these things are true.

As I ponder about the things that we teach every day, I have realized that we receive power to influence and teach others insomuch as the things we are talking about have truly impacted and changed our lives. When we bear our testimony, it has as much power as the changes it has brought about in our hearts. If we want to teach about the Restoration with the power of the Spirit, our lives need to have been truly changed by it. As we testify of the effect of the Atonement in our lives, we will help others to feel the Spirit as we speak from our personal spiritual experience, and as the Spirit has changed our hearts. This gospel is not about accepting the truth and being saved, it's about accepting the truth and being changed. That is our purpose here on Earth: to gain a body, to be tested, and to learn and grow through our experiences. As we seek to strengthen our own personal testimony of the truth, and to change our lives, and to awake in ourselves the desire to know the truth, we will have a greater capacity to help other people in these areas. If I have never felt the influence of the Spirit, how am I going to help someone else to feel the Spirit? If my life has not been changed by what happened in the Sacred Grove, and the account that Joseph Smith told, how is my retelling of his words going to help the lives of others to be changed?

I like what President Monson said during the Priesthood Session of this past General Conference. He said, "There is absolutely nothing in this world that will provide more comfort and happiness than a testimony of the truth. Although to varying degrees, I believe every man or young man [or woman or young woman] here tonight has a testimony. If you feel that you do not yet have the depth of testimony you would wish, I admonish you to work to achieve such a testimony. If it is strong and deep, labor to keep it that way. How blessed we are to have a knowledge of the truth."

Every one of us has our own testimony, to varying degrees. What we seek is that our testimonies can become strenghened to the point of being "steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works" (Mosiah 5:15), and President Monson tells us that each of us can get to that point. So, if you're struggling, please follow the advice of Kriss Kringle in "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town": "Put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walkin' 'cross the floor, just put one foot in front of the other, and soon you'll be walkin' out the door!" As we seek to continue to move forward, even pressing forward with a "steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men....wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life" (2 Nephi 31:20).

He will help us, as we seek to "keep moving forward" (Meet the Robinsons), get up after we've been knocked down, and seek always to have our will be submitted to His, for He can make much more out of us and for us than we can even imagine:)

I love you all so very much! Have a wonderful week!

With love and hugs and kisses and more,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Hello from Brazil! Crazy, I'M IN BRAZIL, AND HAVE BEEN FOR MORE THAN A YEAR!!!!!

October 22, 2012
Hello, all:) I hope that you have all had a wonderful week!

So, this week was a bit difficult. Many of our appointments fell through, and a bit frustrating. But, at the end of the week, things brightened up significantly!

So, a few men from a state called Bahia are living and working here in Maranguape, and they have been coming to the English class. We decided to ask if we could talk to them about the Gospel, and they said sure. We taught them this week, and they were understanding really well. Then, after English class on Saturday, we were going to teach them again, but this time at their house. We went over there, and lo and behold, they live with 7 other men from Bahia! We sat everybody down, and taught them all the first lesson. I have never had an experience like that before! Teaching 8 or 9 men who are tall, black, and could probably pull my arms off if they wanted to! But, it was nothing like that! They were incredible! Nearly all of them have families back in Bahia, and are working here far away form their families to support them. It's almost like us here out on the mission!

Anyway, we invited them to go to church the next day, and they said that they would go. One of them said an awesome closing prayer, and we all felt really good afterward.

We went over the next morning to walk with them to sacrament meeting, and five of them went with us! It was very cool to walk over with them, joke around with them, and answer their questions, and sincere desires to learn more. I really love these guys! Then, that night (which was last night), we went over to see how they had liked church, and if they had prayed about everything. They had liked church, and a few said that they were excited to go back next Sunday! One will even started coming to the English class with the two others. Unfortunately, most of them said that they hadn't prayed about everything, but we expained to them how to pray again, answered their questions, and invited one of them to say the closing prayer. He said that he didn't really know how to pray, but his prayer was perfect! I hope and pray that these men will continue to learn and grow, and that they can feel the Spirit, and become converted to and through the Gospel and Atonement of Jesus Christ, even more converted than they already are! I believe that many of us are more converted than we imagine, just as the Lamanites who were converted, and "they knew it not" (3 Nephi 9:20).

As we seek to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and to act, and not simply be acted upon, He will pour His Spirit upon us, that we might have this mighty change of heart, and be purified and sanctified, even as He is pure. If you aren't sure that you're converted enough, don't worry or fret too much about it, because even those Lamanites didn't realize that they were converted, and they had been enveloped with literal fire and ministered to by angels! So, if you want to become more converted, seek to have a broken heart, and a contrite spirit, to be humble to Him, and willing to submit your will to His will. As you do this, He will show you the paths, and even the steps that you need to take to a deeper conversion. His servants have spoken to us in General Conference. Read and listen to their words again, seeking after this mighty change of heart. I know that I really need to re-listen to Elder Bednar's talk about testimony and conversion, so that I can learn what I need to do to change!

I love you all so very much! The Lord truly is hastening His work here on the earth! A family member of mine told me in an email that the Church receives, on average, 600 applicatons a week for perspective missionaries. Last week, they received around 7,000 aplications!!! What a wonderful miracle! In one week, the increase in applications was 11 times the size it had been before, and, if all of the applications were sent through, this would result in a 12% increase in the number of missionaries in the field (if my calculations are correct...)! IN ONE WEEK!!!! Imagine in the weeks, months, and years to come! Now, we all need to discover the will of the Lord for our personal circumstance, and realize that not everyone can or should serve a mission at these ages, or even may not be able to serve for other reasons. But, the Lord is hastening His work, calling upon His children to serve others in the mission field, in family history and temple work, and in serving, inviting, forgiving, and extending a hand to others, especially those who have fallen away from the Church. Please stay firm, and don't miss out on being able to participate and assist in this great work, wherever or whatever that might be!

I love you all so vey much! Have an awesome week, and don't forget how blessed you really are!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Days, and Happy Transfers! from Maranguape

Hey, everybody! We received the transfer call last night, and Elder Langfoss and I will be staying another transfer here in Maranguape! That means that Elder Langfoss will have spent the first four transfers of his mission in the same area, amounting to six months of his whole mission here! Congratulations, Elder Langfoss!
This week was a little bit slower with our lessons and with the people that we're working with, but it was still a great week. We had a bit of a disappointment when the mom of a young man we were teaching, the mother in fact being an inactive member of the Church, said that she wants him to wait to be baptized. That was a bit discouraging, but we kept moving forward, and we look ahead to helping him be even more firm in the Church and in the Gospel.

We talked to a couple of people this week that went miraculously well. Romário, who is the brother of a member, is still excited about the Gospel, even though we haven't talked to him for weeks about it. He still feels that the Church is true, and that he wants to marry his girlfriend and be baptized. We are excited for him. Also, we taught another young man named Fabrício, and he really wanted to know if the Church is true. He was really excited, and I felt the Spirit so strong when we were talking to him.

As we learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how He speaks to us personally and through His servants, the prophets and apostles, we learn and feel and are amazed and thrilled by His enormous love and concern and care for each and every one of us as His children. He wants us to be happy, and because of that, He has given us the support system that we need. That is why I am so excited for this weekend, where we will hear His word through His servants in General Conference. After all, the Lord has said to us that "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same" (D&C 1:37-38). So, as we listen to His servants, we will hear His words, for the Lord speaks even in our day as He did of old.

Let us never forget the marvelous and glorious blessings we all enjoy and share, as children of a loving Heavenly Father, who wishes the very best for us, and fights and commands and cheers on our success. For when we are happy, He is happy; when we are sad, He is sad. And through it all, even in our imperfect state, He loves us, and wants us back. Because of that love, He has prepared a way that it may be possible through His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by Him (see John 14:6(5-6)). If we are willing to follow Him, obey Him, and do what He asks us to do, we will live again, together with our families, with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and we will come to know them in a way that is now for us not just impossible to comprehend, but incapable of our imagination to even grasp (see John 17:3). That is why we are here on earth, to return to Their presence, and enjoy and truly know the joy that they experience. We are here to become more like Them, and to help others as well along the way:)

I love you all so very, very much! Have a wonderful day, wonderful week, and a wonderful General Conference! If you want to watch it, just go to It will be something that you won't want to miss:)

With all of the love in my heart,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Weekly Update - From Maranguape, Cearà, Brasil!

Olá, todos vocês! Como estão indo as coisas lá em casa? Tá tudo bem? Um pouco molhado, né? Mas, com certeza tudo vai dar certo:) (Google Translate is nice, isn't it?)

I hope that everyone's week went well, and that your lives are awesome!

This week, some cool things happened. A young man that we were teaching named Vitor was at home, and we decided to invite his whole family to listen to the message also. We discovered that his mom is an inactive member of the Church! His aunt and uncle were also really interested, so we will continue teaching them, and help them to know that these things are true.

Also, a few weeks ago we were talking to two boys on the street who were going home from school. They told us where they lived, and that we could pass by. We went to Diego's house, but he wasn't home, so we instead went to the other's house, whose name is Gabriel. His grandma was home, and she let us come in and talk to them. We taught them about the Restoration, and in the middle of the lesson, Gabriel's cousin, Pedrina, walked in. She, too, listened to the message, and it appeared that she was interesed and understood the concepts that we were teaching. She is only 12 years old. We marked with them for us to pass by again another day. When we went back, basically no one was at home, except the grandma, who is around 70, and while she understood surprisingly well about the message the first time, she didn't seem to show much interest. So, we weren't sure if they were going to progress or even go to church.

Then, while we were walking near that area one day this week, we saw Pedrina on the street corner, waiting for her mom to pick her up. We asked her if she had prayed about what we said, and she said yes. Excitedly, we asked if if we could pass by her house and talk to her and her family. She agreed, and we marked a day. 

One the marked day, we went to her grandma's house, thinking that she would be there. Sadly, she wasn't, and her grandma said that she didn't live there, and lived on another road a little ways away. So, we left there without much direction except east, and I felt like we should go up on the next road and just walk down it and look around. So, we did. We walked, and eventually came to the end of the road, asking someone if they knew any Pedrina, and they said no, no one by that name lived on that street that they knew of. So, we turned right onto the next road, and asked the people at a house close by. They said that they knew who she was, and that we should just go back on that road, and ask where Telma lives, which is the name of Pedrina's mother. So, we did, and an older gentleman pointed out the house to us. We clapped at the front gate, and to our surprise and delight, Pedrina walked out! She let us in, and we asked her who was at home. She said just her and her little baby brother. We decided to mark for the afternoon to talk to her and her mom together. She said that would be alright, and we left to eat lunch.

After lunch, we went back, and Telma, her mom, go to the house just before we did. As we clapped at the gate, she greeted us, looking a little bit curious or even a bit suspicious. Thankfully, Pedrina came out, and told her mom that she knew who we were, and that we had talked to her before. We came in and sat down, and we found out that Telma had been taught by sister misionaries more than ten years ago in that same area! Apparently, she had gone to church for three or four years, but was never baptized, and then she stopped going. So, we found her again, and we will work with her these next few weeks to see how things will go!

I love this work. What a blessing to be able to work with the children of our Heavenly Father, to preach the truths of the Gospel, and to seek to help build the families here in Brazil, assisting them in their preparation to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for this chance, and for this privilege to serve. I hope and pray that I can be worthy, obedient, and prepared, so that the Spirit can guide us, and magnify our efforts, so that we can accomplish His work in His way, and with His help.

I love you all so very much! When we know the truths of the gospel, we come to realize what things in our lives are really the most important! As was said by a young convert to the Church speaking to President Hinckley, "It's true, isn't it?" After President Hinckley responded yes, the young man tearfully responded, "Then what else matters?" What a wonderful example of sacrifice and the conversion and the love and devotion that we develop when we seek to follow the truths that we learn of His Gospel, and His plan for us.

Have a wonderful week! Don't forget that General Conference is coming up, and that we will get to hear the words of God's living prophets here upon the earth. Please, all who read these messages, take advantage of this sacred and heaven-sent privilege, of receiving His word for us and for our day. For those of you who aren't members of the Church, you, too, are invited to hear their words, and to learn from their messages. You can even watch it live online at the Church website, at If you would like, you can even listen to messages than were given at the last Conference to see a little bit of what it will be like. You can download, watch, listen to, or read their messages at that same web address. If you have any questions, just talk to a member of the Church that you know, and I'm sure that they will be willing to explain more about it.

Love you all tons and scoops and kilos and liters and kilometers and all of the strange metric units that exist in this country and the world,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

What a Great Week from Maranguape

Hey, all!

This week was incredible:) We had some awesome experiences with fasting and prayer.

So, we were teaching Luis Henrique, who wasn't totally interested in the messages and a little bit shy. We stopped focusing a lot on him because we had other progressing investigators. Then, out of no where, his mom and his sister showed up at church! His mom's name is Socorro, and she was really interested in learning more about the Church. So, we started talking to them and teaching her. She accepted the messages, and was really liking everything. However, she was still feeling nervous and uncertain about leaving the Catholic Church and going through all of these changes. A big part, I think, of what was holding her back was that if she was never really active in the Catholic Church, what's to say that she won't go inactive in the Church of Jesus Christ as well? So, she was hesitant, yet willing to learn and to act. She said that she wanted to be baptized and to follow all of these things in her life, but that she still had this doubt, and didn't know how to get rid of it.

So, we did something that was suggested to us in the Zone Training earlier that week: we challenged her to fast with us. She accepted, with a little bit of hesitation, not knowing if she would be able to stand it for the full 24 hours. We don't usually think about this sort of difficulty where we live in the U.S., but here, in a tropical climate, it can be extremely hard on the body to go without food or drink for 24 hours in this heat and humidity, and for some it can even be dangerous. But, she accepted nonetheless, and we fasted with her. Actually, a few of the members fasted with us as well to show their support, their desire for her to accept the gospel, and their faith in the power of the Spirit.

We started the fast at lunch the next day, and went over to her house that night. She said that she wasn't even feeling hungry, nor the desire to eat or drink, and that the fast was going well. When I asked her about how she was feeling, she also said that her doubts and fears and uncertainties simply weren't there anymore! She felt calm, and confident, and was no longer feeling doubtful about acting. We invited her to be baptized that Sunday, and she accepted wholeheartedly. I was so happy:) We also invited her daughter, Ana Luiza, to be baptized with her mom, and she also accepted. She is eight years old:)

After their interviews, I was told that they had both asked that I baptize them:) So, I had the privilege of doing so yesterday after church.

During the talk that was given on baptism and being born again, Socorro began to cry. I knew that she was feeling comforted by the Spirit that she was making the right choice. After the baptismal service was over, I asked her how she was feeling, and she said, with a firmness and a confidence in her voice, "Good." Everyone says that when you ask how they're feeling, but the way she said it conveyed a certainty and a deepness of feeling. She then said, "I feel like I have truly made the right choice." I told her, "Yes, absolutely, without a doubt, you have."

Her friend Antonia is now one of her visiting teachers. Antonia had actually invited her to church many times, and we didn't have any idea about that while we were teaching her son, Luiz Henrique. So, now, we will try to teach him, too.

Socorro also stopped drinking coffee very quickly, and showed her faith by acting upon an invitation by representatives of Jesus Christ. She is an excellent example of why we, as missionaries, need to invite people to act. She wasn't sure what to do, but she was willing to act upon inspired invitations to live the commandments and to seek after the blessings of heaven for her and for her family. As someone extremely new in the church, she already has a testimony of the power of fasting in her life. When I think about that, I feel so happy and excited and pleased for her.

What a great work this is! If we rely on Him, and do what He asks us to do, we will be guided by His omnipotent hand, and we will begin to see literal miracles in our lives, "day by day" (Alma 37:40). We just have to do the "small and simple things" (Alma 37:6-7), and He will guide and bless us.

I love you all so very, very much! Never forget who you are, or the potential that you have, as you seek to be obedient to His word and His commandments. And try not to forget that we don't have to be perfect to receive those blessings! That's why we have repentance, as well as the Sacrament, to renew all of our covenants each week. Something interesting that I already had an idea about, but saw a direct quite about it, is that when we partake of the Sacrament, we don't just renew our baptismal covenants, but"all covenants entered into with the Lord" (Ensign, "Understanding Our Covenants with God", July 2012). This means that we renew batpismal covenants, priesthood covenants, covenants we make with our callings, missionary covenants, and all of our temple covenants. So, if we make any mistake, we can repent, and renew that covenant with the Lord. So, seek after His voice and His hand, and He will guide you for good.

I love you all so very much! Have a wonderful week!

With all the love in my heart,

Elder Reid Powell E

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quick Letter Home!

Hey, everybody!

This week was a bit of a slower week, but it was still insanely crazy because I passed one year on the mission on September 7th!!!!! Wow, this year has gone by so fast. I can't believe all the things that have happened, and that the time passes so quickly. I am excited for this next year, and for the things that we will be able to accomplish and learn. I pray that I can rely on the Spirit, and serve and obey as the Lord would have me do. He sure has blessed me, especially in these past few weeks:)

Things that have happened in this past year:
  • I learned a different language: Portuguese! I'm still trying to improve every day, and it's nice to see that work paying off
  • I learned how to survive in a foreign country (albeit supported by daily lunches in the houses of members and other things, but still, it's not that easy....)
  • I have seen cockroaches, rats (HUGE rats), a tarantula, a weird small type of monkey that they have here in Ceará, among many other animals (did you know that the bees and wasps here don't have stingers? I freak out and wave them away while everyone just looks at me like, "What are you doing, you weirdo?" Good thing they don't really have that many wasps and bees here...)
  • I have eaten many types of foods, including rampadura (I finally tried it yesterday, it's a Cearense candy), pop that is made from the fruit above cashew nuts (lots of people don't know that there's a fruit there, but there is, and they make pop out of it! It's amazing:) ), mangos, coconut water (I remember telling my dad when I was little that I wanted to drink coconut milk, and he said that is isn't that good. Well, Dad, you were right: it's not that great), among many other fruits and vegetables that don't exist at home in the U.S.
  • Made 15 liters of root beer only to find out that basically everyone thinks that it tastes like tooth-paste and having the grand privilege of drinking at least 8 liters all by myself (oh, it was great. I had all the root beer I wanted, and no one was going to hog it from me!)
  • Oh, two other types of drink I tried: chimarrão and tereré, which are both made from the same "weed-like" herb, yet chimarrão is common in Rio Grande do Sul, and is made with hot, hot, hot water, while tereré is more common in Manaus and Pará in northern Brazil and is made with cold, cold, cold juice, usually a type of lemon juice. So good:)

It's been quite the adventure, but the adventure isn't over yet! It keeps on going, and I can't wait for the awesome times to come. I am so grateful for the people that I have known, and for those who have decided to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, being baptized, and becoming members of His Church here on the Earth. I am not anywhere near perfect, and I have so many things that I want to improve upon, and I know that as I rely on the Lord, and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, I will be guided by Him, and be blessed and privileged to see others be baptized as well, those who are searching for the truth, yet "know not where to find it" (D&C 123:12).

I love you all so very much! Have a wonderful day, a wonderful week, and a wonderful time as the days keep on rolling along!

With all of my heart,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, September 3, 2012

Another Great Week from Maranguape

Hello, everybody! I hope that you all had a wonderful week.

This week was good. We had Zone Conference, which means great food and great trainings. I got to lead the music. We had four zones together, so about 80 misisonaries or more were there, along with President Souza, Sister Souza, the secretaries, and the assistants. One of the past assistants was called as a trainer, and the new assistant, is Elder Araujo, who I lived with for 3 months in Beira Mar! I love him tons, and I know that he is going to do a great job.

Andreline was baptized this week! Things went really well for her this week, and the baptism went smoothly. Her dad even came, although he was a little bit tipsy from drinking......we plan on helping him out and hopefully the whole rest of the family.

Also, there was an incredible lesson this week. A member named Vitória has a brother named Romário, and they live way far away in Columinjuba, which reminds me of home because it's in the middle of no where. Anyway, we were going to have to head out there for a 40 minute to and hour bus ride to teach him. Before this, we had an appointment marked with Andreline, but she wasn't at home. So, we headed back to the chapel, and who did we run into? Romário! He was on his motorcycle, just like the last time we saw him. We asked him if he was going to be home for us to head over there, and he said no, because he had some things that he had to do still in Maranguape. But, he said that he had some time right then to talk. So, we asked him if we could meet him over at the church and talk there, and he said sure.

We opened up the church, and he drove his motorcycle into the parking lot. We when in, and opened up the bishop's office. We started talking to him, and asked if he had prayed to know if the Church is true. He said that he had prayed, and received an answer that it is true! I then invited him to be baptized.

Usually when we invite people to be baptized, we ask them, "When you receive and answer and know that these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the authority of God?" They usually say, "Well, if I receive an answer, yeah."

But, this time, he already knew that the Church was true. So, as I invited him to be baptized, I felt a strong spirit testify of the truth, and of what he needed to do. I said, "Because you know that these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized?" He responded, "Yes, I will." I felt the Spirit so strongly, and said, "We are preparing a baptismal service on _____. Will you be baptized on this day?" And he replied, "Yes, I will." I felt so happy, so excited, and my eyes teared up as I testified that I know that he had made the right choice, and that this Church truly is the true church here upon the earth.

How grateful I am for this Gospel, and the impact it makes in our lives. I love you all so very much, and hope that you have wonderful weeks, and wonderful experienes! Quoting President Uchtdorf, "Don't let a day go by without doing something to act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost." He will guide you in your daily lives as you seek His will with the real intent to follow it. You will be instruments in His hands for good, and you will bless the lives of many of His children.

I love you all so very, very much! Make it a great day! YOU ROCK!!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weekly Greetings from a New Area! Maranguape!

Hey, all!

I got transferred! After spending just one transfer in Sitio São João, I have been transferred to the area Maranguape, which is a city in the "interior" of Fortaleza. Our area is huge, including two other cities as well. My new companion is Elder Langfoss, from Chicago, Illinois. He's my first American companion since I was being trained by Elder Call! Anyway, he has about 5 months, maybe a little bit less, on the mission. He told me that he doesn't want to speak any English with me, because he really, really wants to improve and master speaking Portuguese, so I'm going to do my best to help him achieve that goal! I am really excited for this transfer.

The family that went to church in my other area was not able to make it to church this past Sunday. Ayrton got a phone call saying that he would have to travel over the weekend for his work, and he was disappointed. In fact, he asked us, "Is it this hard for all people who try and follow the Church? Does everyone face this much opposition?" I hope and pray that they will be able to find ways to overcome the obstacles and the challenges, that they will be able to receive the blessings of the Gospel in their lives. The awesome thing about them is that they are actually interested, and willing to try to change, and to act upon the things that we're teaching them! I hope that everything works out.

I love you all so very, very much! I hope that you all have a great week, and that you can find joy in the journey.

With love,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, August 6, 2012

Elder Empey's Email

This week is the Powell Family Reunion, which is my mother's side of the family. This message is specifically geared towards them, but I hope that all will enjoy it, read it, and ponder its meaning for them personally.

As far as family reunion goes, I am trying not to be jealous, nor to think about the fact that you're all there together without me. I am so glad that you guys have this chance to have fun and enjoy one another's company. I cannot tell you all how much you have all influenced me for good, and the blessings that I have received because of your love and support and funness and craziness! Our family traditions have become a part of who I am, and who I want to be for my children, and I cannot tell you how much you all mean to me.

One of the things that has deeply affected my spirituality and my love and fond memories is our family songs, and all of the times that we have sat around a campfire (or in this family reunion, "camp stove", as my mom has informed me) singing our family songs. I remember looking to all of my aunts and older cousins who knew all of the words, and saw how much these special songs mean to us, and to our children. Singing has always been, and continues to be, a Powell heritage (and also to all those who marry into it:) ). As I have looked through the Powell Family Songbook that my mom sent me, I have felt and realized that these songs have become sacred to us, especially as we sing them in remembrance of our Grandad and Grandma Powell. They have become links that, I believe, literally cross the veil, that we can reach out to our beloved parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, just to hold on to their hand for a little bit, and say, "I love you. I miss you. I want so much to be with you. I will do anything to be with you again, and I do not want anything to get in the way of me living with you forever as an eternal family."

As we remember the love and the joy of our eternal family ties, we remember that when we sing praises to God through the sacred hymns of the Church, we feel and express these same sentiments in connection to our Heavenly Parents, and in gratitude and devotion to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We feel the desire to shout, "Oh, I will do anything to have these feelings forever, to return to Thy presence, to live in a fulness of joy and beauty and magesty for all eternity!" In the words of Lamoni's father, "I will give all my sins to know thee." We feel the desire to leave everything behind that could possibly keep us ack from returning to Him. These are the feelings that we experience as music, together with the Spirit, touches our hearts.

As we feel the love of God and the love of our family ties, we find the strength and the support that we need to endure to the end. We find the strength to overcome our fears and doubts with love and faith, and with the desire to live together forever. We feel that nothing is more important to us than those eternal relationships, "that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy" (D&C130:2). So, of all that I can say to my family on such a wonderful, fun, and happy occassion, I would encourage you to have as much fun as you can, sing as much as you can, laugh as much as you can, and only cry as much as is necessary and as is tolerable for your emotional stability:) Also, remember that as we keep the commandments, keep our covenants, and serve one another, we qualify to live together forever in glory.

Please, please, please do not let anything get in the way of that blessing. Nothing is more important, nothing is more significant, nothing has more of an eternal impact than the chance we have to live together, with our Father in Heaven, and be as He is. Nothing. I know that I want to live my life so that I can be with all of you forever, and I do not want that anyone is not there with us. Someone once said that heaven will not be heaven if the people we love are not there with us. As another once said also, "Salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter." We need to remember that "we're all in this together" (I know, cheesy, random High School Musical quote...), and that we need to help one another to make it. We cannot do this alone, and we were never meant to. We need the support of our Savior Jesus Christ, and we need the support of one another. We have a responsability to help one another in times of trial, in times of need, and in times where we may be wandering from the path. And why do we have this responsability, and why do we act on this responsability? It's not because we have to, it's not because we are obligated to, it's not because our parents or our leaders will get mad if we don't do it, it's not for any of those reasons. We have this responsability because we love each other. We care for each other. And we remember the promises and the blessings in store for us if we are faithful. That knowledge, and that testimony, help us to act in the rescue of our loved ones. Sometimes, we all need rescuing, and it's okay if that's the case. The Lord Jesus Christ is our ultimate Rescuer, and each and every one of us needs His rescuing grace and power.

I love you all so very, very much. It is because of that love that I don't want anyone missing when we get there! I want us all to be there! Imagine what it will be like, to have everyone there! And, only for a millisecond and no longer, imagine what it would be like if we're not all there. Then, forget that last idea as quick as you can, and remember the first!

There is a quote from the last General Conference, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, that I feel is appropriate: "So if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them. It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late."

I don't want to preach a sermon, but I want you all to know that God lives. He is our Father. And through His Son, Jesus Christ, we receive forgiveness from our sins, relief from our burdens, and the power to overcome the world. Yet, most important, through His Atonement, we can be filled with His love for one another, and through His priesthood power and authority, we can be sealed together forever in a family unit. Never forget how important that sealing is. Never lose sight of the temple as a goal and as a often-frequented haven. Wouldn't it be a wonderful goal to have everyone there at the temple, maybe even during these few days that you are all there together? Maybe that isn't totally realistic for this exact week, but maybe in future family reunions! All it takes is preparation! And not just the planning that we need to do with getting scheduled at the temple and the carpooling, but the preparation that it takes to be worthy to hold a temple recommend. I challenge all of you to ponder about these things, and listen to the promptings of the Spirit, and the desires of your heart. Remember the way you feel as you sing the family songs, and remember Grandad and Grandma, and think about if you would like to feel those feelings forever, and be with them forever.

I love you all so very, very much. This Gospel is the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter where we are, or who we are, whether those of you who are reading this are not at the family reunion this week, or you aren't even a member of our family, please know that these blessings are available and intended for all, without exceptions, without anything held back. Our Heavenly Father lives, and He wants each and every one of us to return to Him. I encourage all of you to ponder upon this, and then to act upon the feelings and promptings that you receive.

Have a wonderful week! Sing lots of songs, have lots of fun, and remember that these feelings aren't meant to end, not even after this life!

With all the love in my heart and soul,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cool stuff and Pictures from Sitio São João

So, crazy week! Lots of stuff happened, so just a quick overview:

We found a gigantic rat, and tried to catch it, but it got away (my fault). While we were trying to figure out where it could have gotten away to, we discovered a large tarantula. It looks just like they do in the movies: hairy and creepy! Anyway, we caught her, put her in a peanut butter jar, and then ended up ``disposing" of her the next day (if anyone knows my Dad, you can guess the method we used: fire.) It was a rather cool experience:) I have attached a few close of pictures of her. Because she was getting weak from being in the peanut butter jar, and because I had been very close to her while she was in the jar, I got a little bit more brave, and took some very close-up pictures.

 Also, I received two packages this week! On two different days! I went to district meeting, and got a package, and then when we had interviews with the President as a zone on Friday, I got the other one. I received lots of cool stuff, including around 40 notepads (I can't believe you sent so many, Mom, but that's okay, I'll put them to good use), a shirt, some shorts, lots of candy (including gummy bears, bottle caps, root bear drops, and Reeses!), a wooden puzzle of the Plan of Salvation in Portuguese (I know some other Elders that have one, they are really cool and really nice). The only unfortunate thing about my packages is that my family also sent me a bottle of Axe, which in and of itself is not bad. It's just that the bottle opened and the Ziplock bag had a small hole in it:) So, lots of the candy at first tasted like soap, but as time passes the taste is going away:) Anyway, so it was a WIN this week.

And Elder Whitby also got a package FULL of candy, so that was good, too. He has another package that he has been waiting 7 months to arrive, and still hasn't got here, so he deserves a little something! This package got here from his house in 23 days. Talk about record time!

We had a really cool experience this week. We were looking through the Area Book last we, and we found a baptism record that was filled out, but the person hadn't been baptized. So, we went there to see what we could do. His name is Junior, and he is 9 years old. When we asked him questions about the commandments and the lessons, he remembered almost everything perfectly. It was amazing. He wanted to get baptized with the other Elders, but his mom said that he wasn't ready yet, and that he would have to wait. So, we asked to talk to his mom. When she first walked in, I could feel that she was not very open to letting her son be baptized. We asked her what she thought about it, and she said that she wanted to wait, and that he wasn't ready yet. We explained that he had answered all of our questions, and that he had remembered the material better than many adults that we teach! She said that she would think about it. So, we didn't push her, and were content with her changing her mind about thinking about it.

After we talked, she walked out of the room. Before we left, we asked Junior if he could offer a closing prayer. He did, and he gave one of the most faith-filled and heartfelt prayers I have ever heard offered. It was powerful. He asked that his mom might let him be baptized, and that everything would work out. Afterwards, his grandfather, who is a member and also was there, said, "See, no one is forcing him to do anything! He is doing this because of his own will, not because of any sort of pressure." So, we left there hoping that everything would work out.

Junior went to church that Sunday with his grandmother. Then, during the week, we passed by the house to ask his mom what she had decided. It was a little awkward inviting her and her husband to talk to us, but we did it. We sat down around the table, and I looked to my companion for him to guide the situation. But, he just looked back at me. So, I went for it, feeling nervous and awkward at the same time. I asked if she had thought about her son's baptism, and she said that she had. I asked how she felt about it. She said that she would let him get baptized. I couldn't believe it! Out of no where, as I was expecting and trying to be prepared for her to say no, she said yes! She said that she had asked him during the week if this was really what he wanted to do and to follow, and he said yes. So, she decided to permit him to be baptized. The faith of a child's prayer has power that we can hardly imagine. He wasn't baptized that Saturday nor Sunday, because the family already had another appointment. But, his baptism is marked for this Sunday.

I am so grateful for prayer, and the power that it brings into our lives. What a blessing to be out here, in this work, to seek to overcome obstacles and to help others to come unto Christ. I love you all so very much, and hope that you have a wonderful week!

Love always,

Elder Reid Empey


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quick! Again!


Man, the time flies! Another week come and gone, and I have to run! But, things are doing great in the area, and with my new companion. Elder Johnny is my first companion from São Paulo, and I am starting to sound like someone from the São Paulo interior:) We have a fun time learning and joking together. And doing crazy things like chasing a giant rat and a tarantula that live in our house (the rat got away, but we caught the tarantula. They are just as creepy in real-life as they are in any movie you have ever seen.).

The area that we are in is a good area, and we are receiving more and more referrals from the members. I am excited for this week, so that we can push forward with the work, and do what we´re here to do.

I have to go! I love you all so very much, and I promise that I will be more detailed in the next emails!

Love you tons and scoops!

Elder Reid Empey

Monday, July 9, 2012

From a New Area: Sitio São João!

Hey, everyone!

I was transferred! I am now in the area Sitio S鉶 Jo鉶, Castel鉶 Stake, and my companion is Elder Johnny! He in not an American, even though his name seems like it:) He's from an area called Riber鉶 Preito, which is close to Sao Paulo. I am very excited for this transfer, and for the new experiences that we are going to have.

I am sad to say that I really have to go, because my time is almost up, but keep moving forward, do what's right, and the Lord is always there right along beside you. Also, good job Josh and Dad for surprising my family with my Dad showing up in Germany unannounced! Like we say like in "The Incredibles," ``I love our family....!"

Tchau, tchau!


Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wow, really fast!


This week was a good one. Just quick, let me tell you one cool thing that happened:

We are teaching the brother of a member, and we were at his house this week. His cousin lives in the same house, and his friend was there with him so that they could study together. They love studying English, so they naturally wanted to talk to me. Anyway, we started to try to teach them, but they had to leave before we got anywhere. We invited them to go to church, like we do with everyone. They said that they would have to see, and didn´t promise anything (basically everyone says that here). So, I honestly didn´t expect anything.

We got to church after we passed by the house of a less-active member to pick him up, and the meeting started. Halfway through, Hélio, a member, came up to us and whispered to us that his cousin and his friend were there! I was so surprised, and I hope that we get to work with them more this week. They are both young, but they seem like very nice, bright people. We´ll have to wait and see!

I love you all! Take good care of yourselves:)

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dearest Everyone

Hey, guys!

This was another week full of events. Here磗 just a few:

A girl named Linda Vit髍ia (translated ``Pretty Vitcoria创) stopped the other elders who live with us on the street. She said, ``Hello! How are your guys doing today?创 Elder Matos said that he saw that she was very inteligent and very different from regular people. because she talked to them. She said, ``You guys are the Mormons, right?创 They said yes. She said, ``Yeah, I used to go there a long time ago.创 A young man from the ward used to be their neighbor, and brought her with him to church a few times. Elder Matos said, ``Do you want the missionaries to go to your house and leave a message with your family?创 She said, ``Sure! We live on such-and-such road, and my parents are at home usually at night or on weekends.创 Let me tell you, this is incredible! And it磗 even more incredible because she is eleven years old. So, we went there and taught the family. Her mom understood really well the message, and later she understood the importance of the Book of Mormon in gaining a testimony of Joseph Smith. They need to get married before they can be baptized, but the whole family is going to church this coming Sunday!

This is just one of the cool things that happened this week, but I am out of time and have to go. I love you all so very much. You are in my prayers, and in my thoughts. This week was a good week for me, and I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father for all that He does for me and my family and friends. Keep moving forward, and don磘 forget who you are. (And for my family in particular, ``use your road-rage if you have too!!!创

Com amor e carinho para todos voc阺,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Crazy Fast!

Hey, everyone!

So, I am running late as usual, so just to let you know a few quick things about this week:

Happy Birthday Anna and Grandma Empey! I hope that it was a great one, and that you feel loved and appreciated by all who know you. You both are blessings in my life, and I love you so very much!

This week was a bit scattered. How so? We are trying to figure out where we want to focus in our area. AKA: It磗 not very efficient to run from one end of the area to the other in the same day, because are area is quite large:) So, we are moving more towards the west side of the area, and we will see what fruits will come of our labor.

We taught a woman and her son, Rejane and Paulo. They are really great people, and Rejane is very interested. They weren磘 able to make it to church, and we felt a bit disappointed, but we will see how things turn out this week.

I have been putting forth an effort to focus more on the Book of Mormon in my personal study. I know that as we use the Book of Mormon for our own personal conversion, we will come to know, even more than we now know, that the Book of Mormon is true. If the Book of Mormon is true, Jesus Christ truly lives; Joseph Smith truly was a prophet; and this church is the true church of Jesus Christ here upon the earth. The Book of Mormon is an evidence, even a proof爐hat these things are true, because we have the promise that if we read it, ponder about its message, and ask of God, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto us (see Moroni 10:3-5). If we do these things, we will know, without a shadow of a doubt, that these things are true; and that testimony will fortify and strengthen us through whatever trial we face.

When all is said and done, the testimony that most strengthens us and allows us to keep moving forward, and the truth that the Book of Mormon most testifies of is this: that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. As we ponder or relationship to Him, study His teachings, and apply His gospel in our lives, we will gain a testimony that will allow us to wade through whatever storm we may face (see Helaman 5:12). Why is the Book of Mormon so important in this? Because, along with the Bible, it testifies of His divinity, shows us His teachings, and restores the ``plain and precious创 truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and shows us, even more clearly and powerfully, the way that we must walk to return back to the presence of God. It truly was written for our day, and allows us to receive the Spirit more fully in our lives.

I know that God lives, and that Jesus is the Christ. The ``good news创of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and paid the price, that we don磘 have to be perfect to return to God磗 presence, but that through following His Gospel, His commandments, and His perfect example, we can take upon us His holy name, and His perfection, becoming ``perfect in Christ创 (Moroni 10:32-33), and receive all of the blessings that the Father hath in store for us. What a blessing it is to know of these things, and to have my testimony strengthened day by day as I seek to learn, study, ponder, and apply His word!

I love you all so very much! Read the scriptures, pray often, and seek to apply His example and teachings in your lives. As you do this, you will find the strength and the grace to meet the challenges you face. Keep pushing forward, especially爓hen its hard, 醤d you will find that things get better:) I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love, as always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Weekly Report from Beira Mar

Hey, everyone!

So, I´m running as usual, but here´s the scoop:

I neglected to also give late birthday congratulations to my father, Kim Empey, who, for the umpteenth time, turned 13 on May 26th. I love you, Dad:)

My birthday was a little interesting yesterday. Quite unlike others that I have had. Firstly, I am no longer a teenager. Weird. I am twenty years old, and in a foreign country, speaking a foreign language, and I can´t believe how fast the time has gone! Also, as a wonderful birthday present, the Manaus Brazil Temple was dedicated, and I got to watch by satellite! The first ten minutes or so didn´t   come through, they were having technical difficulties. But, they got us online, and I got a chance to sit in the Stake Center in quiet, reading my patriarchal blessing for a few minutes. It was great.

An interesting thing to note is that, during a temple dedication, the stake centers that receive the transmission become extensions of the temple, or even extensions of the celestial room of the temple. As our mission does not have a temple close by, we cannot go to the temple. It´s about 10 hours away by bus:) But, yesterday, I had the opportunity to ``be inside the temple´´ during the temple dedication. I felt the Spirit strongly, and I tried to imagine that I was really there in the celestial room. What a blessing!

Anyway, this week was good. We´re still having a bit of a challenge finding new people to teach who want to act on the message, but I know that as we follow the Spirit, our capacities will be augmented, and we will find those who are being prepared to receive and act upon the message. It is getting better and better with every week that passes!

I love you all so very much:) And, there is a new little bundle of joy to love, too! My niece was born this morning, at 4:03am in Germany:) Her name is Laci Rhiannon Johnson (I think the spelling is right). How grateful I am that technology allows me to know about this wonderful event almost instantaneously, even on the literal other side of the world! Imagine if we couldn´t use email on the mission: I would have to wait for this news until a letter would arrive. But, because the Church is divinely directed, and because technology is truly a gift and a resource given to us from a loving Heavenly Father, I can learn about my niece´s birth, and even see pictures if and when they are sent! (Which I would love, by the way:) )

Have a great, awesome week! Pray as if it were all up to Him, and then get up off your knees, and work as if it were all up to you! In this way, He will bless and exponentialize your efforts and the effects of your efforts, to the point where you can have an influence far greater than you ever imagined possible.

Love you all tons and scoops!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, June 4, 2012

Birthday Wishes, Temple Dedications, and the Same Old Heat!


I am almost out of time, but here´s a quite update for this week:

My new companion and I worked hard this week looking for new people to teach, and me showing him the area. It has been a bit of a challenge now that I need to know what street we´re on and things like that, but we were able to get things figured out fine.

Happy Birthday to Joslyn Empey, my sister who can now legally drive! And also date, which is more than a little bit weird if not scary for me....It´s crazy how fast the time flies! I love you very much, and I wish you a happy, happy birthday, and a good, fun, exciting week as you and Mom get ready to go to Germany (My older sister Geneil is having a baby girl, and Mom and Joslyn will be over there in Germany to be a support to her. And to have a great time in Europe!).

My birthday is this week, June 10, which is this next Sunday. It´s actually the temple dedication of the temple in Manaus, Brazil! So, I get to watch the temple dedication on my birthday. What a great present! I will be turning 20, which it strange....I have the personal opinion that the difference between 19 and 20 is almost infinitely larger than the difference between 18 and 19. I will no longer be a teenager! CRAZY!!!

Anyway, I really have to run now, but I love you all! Things are busy, and interesting, and always a time to thank Heavenly Father for every day, every experience that He gives me. What a blessing it is to know that He loves us, and wants to best for us, and will help us as we seek after His goodness and His counsel.

I love you all!


Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, May 21, 2012

This Weeks Happenings from Beira Mar

Hey, everybody!

This week was pretty busy. We had zone conference, which is a meeting that we have once every three months with our mission president and the mission assistants. We learned about the importance of study, both personal study and companion study, and also about something called "Crescimento Real", or "Real Growth". The Church is really focusing on this, and the training that President Souza gave us was a translation a training given by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. So, it's pretty big stuff:) Real growth talks about where we need to focus our missionary efforts, and the activities that we should be involved in. We need to focus in areas that will actually help the Church to grow. This means that we, a missionaries, need to try to help reactivate those who are less-active in the Church, as well as focusing our proselyting efforts on baptizing men and families. In this way, the Church is established more strongly upon a basis of families and priesthood holders, with the support and infrastructure that new members need as they are growing in their testimonies and becoming converted unto the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, it was very interesting, and very important for us to understand and apply.

Also this week, a young man named Rafael was baptized. His brother was less-active, but he wanted to come back to Church, and when he did, he brought his brother Rafael with him to seminary. Rafael was very interested, and wanted to get baptized. So, these past weeks we've been teaching him, and helping to prepare him for baptism. He was baptized yesterday after Church. It is really cool, because his brother can help him learn more about the gospel, while at the same time they can both support each other as they actively participate in the meetings and activities at Church.

Anyway, my time is spent again! I love you all so very much! I was reading a talk by Elder Scott about faith, and it really made me remember some things that I have learned in the past. While I was at BYU, we had a regional conference, and Sister Julie B. Beck was there, as well as Elder Holland and Elder Packer. It was really cool, and I remembered a quote from Sister Beck that I think is important for all of us to remember: "You're doing better than you think you are, but not as well as you could be".  We need to remember that we often are very hard on ourselves, and that we are probably doing better than we think. Yet, we all have room for improvement, and we can continue to get better everyday. So, don't be too hard on yourselves! Acknowledge the good that you do everyday, and feel good about yourself. Do you best, and try to see how you can do better without punishing yourself:)

I love you all so much! Heavenly Father lives, and is mindful of us and our difficulties. He wants to help us, and has provided ways that we can receive the strength and support that we need. So, go to Him, ask Him for what you need, and remember to be grateful when He opens the windows of heaven and pours out so many blessings upon you that you don't even have room to receive it:)
Love you all tons and scoops,

Elder Reid Powell Empey