This week was a little bit tough, but we worked hard and we´re looking forward to the next.
It´s so hard sometimes when people think fundamentally differently than you do, and they don´t understand the implications of what your saying. For example, Juazeiro is basically all Catholic (we say, ``católica até o pó,´´ which translates to ``Catholic into the dust´´ or ``into the dirt´´; ``atè o pó´´ is a phrase everyone uses for something that is really, really a certain way, like saying that they are Mormon until the death, or something is expensive beyond belief. It´s not just used to describe Catholics, I promise:) ). Because so many people are Catholic, they sometimes are Catholic without even knowing why they are. They pray every day, and go to ``misa´´ or mass once or twice or even everyday of the week, and yet they don´t really know what they believe. We talk about Joseph Smith, and ask if they think that he was a prophet, and people sometimes say, ``Com certeza,´´ or ``Of course.´´ They think that he could be a prophet, and all of those things could have happened, but don´t realize that means that the Church is the only true church.
Also, we ask people to pray about Joseph Smith, and then some people say, ``I pray everyday before I go to bed. Yeah, I believe praying is so important.´´ Yet, they sometimes don´t realize that they need to pray specifically about these things if they want to get a specific answer that they are true. It´s just kind of a struggle sometimes, but I am trying to improve every time, and to improve in how I explain things that it can be clearer and make more sense to the people that we are teaching.
One day this week, I was really feeling down, and really not feeling like things were going the way they should. I was trying to pray a lot about it, and seek the Lord´s will and guidance, and yet it was still hard. We left the house and started walking to one of our appointments. I was thinking about what was on my mind, and I was praying in my heart as fervently as I could. As I was thinking, I thought about my covenants that I have made, especially the covenants of the temple. As I focused more on my covenants of the temple, the thought came into my mind: ``This is My covenant, too.´´ Just as I covenanted with the Lord, He covenanted with me. And He will never back down from His covenants. If I keep my part, and honor my covenants, I will receive the promised blessings.
And as these thoughts went through my mind, the hymn ``How Firm a Foundation´´ popped into my head as well. As I began to sing the words in my mind, I began to tear up as the Spirit touched my heart, testifying to me that the Lord will always bless those who are obedient to Him and His words. In D&C 82:10, He says, ``I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.´´ And, in D&C 58:31, He says, ``Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?´´
We have covenanted with the Lord, and He has covenanted with us. If we are faithful to our covenants, and honor them, and remember them and Him, we have the Lord´s promise that we will be blessed. It may not be in the ways we expect, or according to the timetable that we want, but the Lord´s promises ``shall all be fulfilled´´ (D&C 1:37-38, or verses 36-39).
I know this to be true. I love you all so very much:) Keep fighting the good fight, relying on the Lord, and following and remaining faithful to His words, and His promised blessings will come to you in ways that you cannot now imagine to be possible.
I love you all so very, very much! Don´t forget it:)
Com amor ``até o pó,´´
Elder Reid Powell Empey
P.S. I did receive the letter package with the tree and the banners. Thank you so very much! I love the notes that people wrote on the banner, it means a whole lot to me. We didn´t put the tree or the banners up, because it came quite a bit of time after Christmas, but I am so glad that I have all of the comments, and I will be sure to keep them with me and read them often:)
P.P.S. LOVE YOU ALL TONS AND SCOOPS! :)