Monday, March 26, 2012

I got a really funny eamil from Elder Empey today! I just HAD to Share it!

The MOM comments are in pink...

Mom, I have a confession to make. You will laugh so hard when you hear this...(and I DID laugh hard!)....yes, Mother. I didn't look thoroughly enough when you asked, even though you must have asked me a thousand times, (Actually, only a dozen times..) and I said, ``No, they're not with me," every time. But, this past week, I discovered the truth. How did I discover it? As I attempted to put on on of my pairs of pants, I realized that the waist was quite loose, and that was a bit unusual. Then, as I looked closer, I discovered that they were Van Heusen!. And then, it hit me: the pants that I thought this whole time were another pair of mine are, in fact, not. They are yours, Mom:) (What a hilarious visual!) The pair you told me to keep looking for...I'm sorry:) I'm not sure what it is that you would like me to do with them, because shipping is a bit of a hassle here. Anyway, SURPRISE! I have your pants, and I am very glad to now have a little something to remind me of my wonderful mother:) 

 When we took him to the Provo MTC, we washed his jeans that morning, along with mine.  I reminded him he needed to get them out of the dryer and that my jeans were with his. Somehow, he missed the part about my jeans, and I guess he was saving "that extra pair of pants" to use later.....Surprise! is right! I asked my sister a few times if she had found them in her house somewhere and she never did. That is because they are in Brazil.  I even asked him while he was in Provo.  This just makes me laugh! I told him to think of it as a way I "strengthened" him.....he has had to haul that extra 3 pounds around with him everywhere.  :) SO FUNNY! I am still laughing! I told him to cut off a pocket and keep it with him as a reminder of me...and give or throw the rest away!

As Notícias da Área Parque das Nações, Missão Brazil Fortaleza

Hey, everybody! I hope that your lives are full and happy.

This past week has been a little crazy, but things are moving along here in the area. A few weeks ago, we had a Family Home Evening at the house of our bishop, and the bishop磗 wife brought with her two young nonmembers who live close by. They are siblings, and they have two brothers who are members, but are less-active. Anyway, we have been trying to get a hold of them for this whole week, and we finally were able to talk to the oldest of the two, Larissa, and talk to her mother about teaching her and everything. We will start working with her and her younger brother, Guilherme, this week, and, hopefully, we can help them to become active members of the Church, as well to help their brothers to come back to activity in the Church.

Tonight, we are planning on having a family home evening in the house of Ivis and Lucas, the two young men who were recently baptized. Lucas is going to receive the Aaronic Priesthood here pretty soon:)

I am so excited for General Conference this weekend! I can磘 believe that 6 months have come and gone so quickly. One of the things that I started doing a few years ago was to write down questions that I have, and pray about them starting at least the week before Conference, praying specifically that they might be answered or touched upon in General Conference, and also praying that I can be prepared to receive the answers and direction I need, through the Holy Ghost. I have a testimony that these prayers are answered. One time, I wrote down a whole bunch of questions, but I had one questions specifically relating to personal revelation, and learning to recognize, understand, and follow the whisperings and promptings of the Holy Ghost.

When General Conference started, the very first talk of the entire Conference was by Elder Richard G. Scott, entitled, ``To Acquire Spiritual Guidance创. It was a literal answer to prayer, and that talk have become one of my most favorite talks, and one that I think has influenced me in my life.

So, if you have questions that you need answers to, or things that are pressing upon your mind and heart, I invite you to go to the Lord, and ask Him your questions; ask Him that you might be prepared and ready to receive His guidance that He wants you to receive. And then, as you watch the sessions, pay close attention. You are asking for the Lord to show you the way, and as you ``hunger and thirst after righteousness创 (3 Nephi 12), you will ``be filled with the Holy Ghost创, and your mind and heart with be enlightened with the things that you need to do.

I love you all so very much! How blessed we are to live in a day when we can hear the words of living prophets and apostles, and receive their guidance as if from the lips of the Master Himself. For those of you who are not familiar with General Conference, or the teachings of the Church, you are welcome to attend these meetings. I invite you to ask my Mom or any other member of the Church more, and they will be happy to answer your questions.

I love you all so very much! Trust in the Lord, be humble, and He will ``lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers创 (D&C 112:10). He loves us, and because He loves us, He will show us the way, and help us as we do our best to walk in His way.

Love you all more than words can express,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 19, 2012 ~ This Week from Parque das Nações

Hey, everyone!

This week was a bit crazy. So much going on, and my brain is a bit fried, so I don´t remember it all:) But, a few highlights:

The two young men that were baptized two weeks ago were confirmed in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. I think that Lucas, who is twelve, will be receiving the Aaronic Priesthood here pretty quick. I am so excited for them both:)

This week, two Elders from another area moved into our apartment, so now it is three Brazilians and one me! But, it will be good. I am good friends with them both, Elder B. Silva, who is from my group in the CTM, and Elder Lins, who is our district leader. Actually, Elder Lins knows Elder Call really well, and so I´ve talked with him quite a bit about lots of different things.

Our zone changed quite a bit at the transfer. I think that we have three or four Elders being trained, and our zone leaders are now a part of our district. It´ll be great to get to know everyone! One of the Elders being trained is Elder Silvertre. He´s from Bolivia, and he is learning Portuguese just like us! He is speaking a bit in Spanish still, so sometimes I don´t understand what he is saying exactly, but he is a great Elder, and I assured him that he will pick up the language quickly.

Anyway, that´s the week in a nutshell! I love you all very much, and I wish you all the very best. Have a great week!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

March 12, 2012 ~ Quick! I love you!

Dear Everyone,

This week was a good one, a bit hard, but good. It was actually the last week of the transfer. This next transfer, I will be with my companion that I have now, Elder Moreira Santos.

We are really short on time today, so this email will be short! I've headed to the ``Centro创 of Fortaleza, or the Center, to buy the mission bag that they have here. I've wanting to buy one for a while, and I'm glad to finally have the chance to go get one.

One of the things that I have been thinking a lot about this past week is who we are as representative of Jesus Christ. Not just as missionaries, but as members of His Church. After all, in the part of Mosiah where it talks about our baptismal covenants, it says that we promise to ``stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, an in all places that ye may be in, even until death创 (Mosiah 18:9). Specifically, I've been thinking about the influence we have on others, and the witness that we bare to them, through our daily example and actions. A grand part of being witnesses of God is in the way we speak, the words we use, the way we feel about others, and the way we treat others. When someone is living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, others can see it in their face; they can just tell that something is different about them.

Sometimes, I think we worry about talking to other people about the Gospel, and about being missionaries in our daily lives. I think something that is important to remember, though, is that our example and our love for others has a greater impact than we can even imagine:)

I love you all so very much! Until the next!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Happenings of Parque das Nações

Hey, everybody!

Just a quick look at what happened this past week. We worked really hard to prepare two young men to be baptized, Ivis and Lucas, who are 10 and 12 years old, respectively. They are brothers, and their grandmother and uncle are members. We found out about them because their uncle´s girlfriend is also a member, and she told us that they wanted to be baptized. So, ever since we started teaching them, they´ve wanted to be baptized. They absorbed everything that we taught them, and they really are great young men. We had to get permission from their mother for them to be baptized, and this was the most difficult thing for us. But, we finally got her permission, and I had the privilege of baptizing them both after church yesterday:) What a blessing!

I know that the Church is true, that we are truly led by a living prophet today, and that he is led by Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who sits at the Head of His Church. What a blessing to live in these, the last days, to have so many blessings at our disposal, and to learn more every day about our Heavenly Father and His will for us.

I love you all so very much! I hope that the weather is warming up for you all, but also that it doesn´t suddenly get to be the temperature there that it is here:) (It´s a little hard to get used to, and also I´d have to take back all of my global warming jokes...;) )

With love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

February 27, 2012 ~ As Notícias da Minha Área, Parque das Nações

觢a, a gente!

So, I am running out of time (as usual), but there was something really cool that happened this week.

On Thursday, we had a division. I was with Elder B. Silva in the area Parque das Na珲es (Elder B. Silva is from S鉶 Paulo). I was having a hard time figuring out exactly what we should do, and where to go. As we were walking, I looked at the cell phone for some reason, and I realized that it was turned off. I turned in on, and we kept walking. I feel a bunch of buzzing and notifications, but I didn磘 want to open up the cell phone at night while we were walking on the street.

We stopped by a members house, and while we were there, I checked the cell phone. Their were a bunch of text messages that it had received, and nearly all of them were junk texts about some service that wasn磘 working (I think I may have accidently pushed some buttons while it was in my pocket moving around). But, to my surprise, there was a text from the referral secretary, and there was a referral for us! I was glad that the Lord had given us direction that was very specific and clear, and we followed it.

As we walked to get there, I prayed that he would be at home, that we could be able to talk to him, and that we could do something to help him. We got to the place where his house should have been, but the number of his house wasn磘 there. But, we asked the people close by if they knew where ``Johnny创 lived. They looked a little confused, but said that he lived in the next house over. We asked the people there if Johnny was there, and they said, ``You mean Johnathan?创 We said, ``Sure, yeah!创 Who knows, could be! A young man lead us into the house, and called Johnathan: a thirteen-year-old boy. This was probably not the ``Johnny创 we were looking for. But, his dad came into the room and said, ``Hey, Elders!创

Come to find out, his dad, Anthony, had talked to other Elders before. Actually, he had attended church for a few months without being baptized. He is very religious, and was very open to talking to us. We went back a two days later, and talked to him some more. He is a great man, and we will have to see what will happen in the next few weeks.

The thing is this: when I went back there with my companion, we found the house of ``Johnny创: the number on the front was wrong. Because of that mistake, we were able to find Johnathan and Anthony. If it had been written correctly on the front house, we probably wouldn磘 have found about about them that night.

The Lord truly works in mysterious ways! If we are willing to act and do His work, He will put us in the places we need to be, even if we are in the ``wrong创 place!

I love you all so much! Keep moving forward, and never forget that the Lord has great things in store for us:)

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

February 13, 2012 ~ Early Valentine´s Greetings from Parque das Nações!

觢a, everyone!

This week was a good one. We worked really, hard, and we were able to find a bunch of new people to teach. One of the difficulties or challenges that we have is, I think, somewhat different than lots of other missions in the world, and it磗 a blessing at the same time: when you are knocking on doors or walking down the street trying to find someone to teach, you can teach a first lesson and extend all of the commitments to almost anyone. If you say, ``Can we come in a share a message with you?创, nearly everyone says, ``Sure, you can.创 The difficulty is in finding the people who are in reality open to receiving the message of the Restoration, those who are being prepared to receive the message of the Restoration, and who are willing to act upon it.

This is a good thing because we can help lots of people to learn about the message, and to try to help them to feel the Spirit. The difficulty lies in them actually keeps the commitments, coming to church, and really wanting to receive an answer by the Holy Ghost that these things are true.

One of the best things to do that helps with this difficulty is member referrals and/or involvement. It磗 great, too, to involve people who are less-active in the Church, and they can help other to receive the Gospel, while at the same time feeling and learning and growing into full-activity in the Church for themselves. It makes the who process easier to involve members, because those who we teach have someone who they can go to church with, someone they can ask questions, and someone that can really be their friend in the Church. As President Hinckley said, new converts need three things: a calling, a friend, and to be nourished by the good word of God. So, if we involve a member from the very beginning, the whole process runs smoother and more naturally.

For example, we are teaching two young men whose grandmother and cousin are members. One is ten years old, and the other is twelve. They live most of the time with their grandmother, and sometimes they go to their mom磗 house. They wanted to be baptized before we even started teaching them. We learned about them because their cousin told us that they wanted to be baptized, and so we went! The thing is that they have seen the example of their family members, and they want to be a part of it.

I think that we don磘 always realize how important our example is to other people. There is a often stated phrase that I am continually learning to be true: people are always watching. Even when we don磘 think they磖e watching, their watching. As missionaries, I think we tend to forget this, because people are always watching us, especially, simply because we stick out! We walk around wearing white shirts and ties and name tags, and I wear glasses and everyone says I look like Harry Potter (I never expected that to happen, buts tons of people say it!). We need to always be examples of kindness and goodness and witnesses of God at all times, in all things, and in all places, just as we covenanted to do. As we testify of Him in our actions and countenances, as well as in our words, we will be able to influence others for good, and sometimes, if not a lot of the time, it will happen without us even noticing it.

So, be faithful and true, even when you think or ``know创 no one is watching, because someone is always watching (even if the only person who磗 watching is Heavenly Father, and He is always watching!). As we are witnesses of Jesus Christ at all times, in all things, and in all places, our examples can help plant and nourish in others the desire to learn more and to accept the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a blessing, privilege, and great responsibility we have, to be witnesses of Him, and to help others to come to know Him because they knew us:)

I love you all so very much! Keep pushing forward, and don磘 forget to look for the joy in living. As the scriptures tell us, ``Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy创 (2 Nephi 2:25). So, seek to be grateful for the many blessings that you have, and you will find that your gratefulness and happiness will increase. Why? Because He will show you, as you express your thanks, the blessings that you haven磘 seen, He will help you to hear the loving and kind words that you didn磘 notice, and He will help you to feel the love that you didn磘 realize was always there for you to feel.

Love you all tons and scoops and buckets and truckloads full,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

February 6, 2012 ~ What´s Happening in Parque das Nações

Hello, all! Hope your having a great day!

This week was very busy. We磛e been working very hard at finding new people, and we were able to find lots.

It 磗 interesting to me that we, in the United States, typically feel embarrassed or shy or maybe even jealous (in the ``God is a jealous God创 sense, as in we want to keep what we have to ourselves) with our friends, and we are nervous and worried about giving their names as referrals to the missionaries. Here, people are less worried, and often very open to giving us names and/or addresses. I remember that there was a challenge that we were given in our stake quite a while ago that if we will write down the names of friends of the family, and prayer and read the Book of Mormon regularly, we can pray to know which names are of people who are more prepared to receive the gospel, and we can act on it, and give them a Book of Mormon. I can磘 remember exactly what it was, or how the challenge worked, but I think that we could all be better at doing our ``member missionary work创, including myself when I get back!

I磛e gotten to know some of the members better this week. There is a new bishop in the ward, because the ward is actually a new ward. It used to be called ``Aeroporto创, or airport, because it磗 close to the airport. But, the ward boundaries were expanded so now it磗 really big, and it磗 called ``Parque das Na珲es创, or ``Park of the Nations创, which some members have said sounds like the name for a cemetary:) Anyway, things are going alright. We didn磘 have any baptisms this past week, but we will have to see what happens this next week.

Thank you all for your letters and your love and support. I cannot tell you how much it helps:) It helps me to remind myself of the good things that have already happened in my life, and the truths and principles that I have already learned that have helped me, and hopefully others, to live happily and without dwelling on the negative, and on my imperfections. Thank you all for everything:)

Anyway, my time is up, but keep moving forward, read your scriptures, say your prayers, trust in the Lord, and know that He loves you perfectly, infinitely, and unconditionally. It磗 okay if we mess up sometimes:) That磗 why the Savior gave His life for us! I know I have a long way to go, but I know that it will be worth it. It will be so worth it:)

Love and hugs and kisses and all (for those of you that are not family members, we磍l consider them ``pre-mission hugs and kisses创 and ``post-mission hugs and kisses创),

Elder Reid Powell Empey

January 31, 2012 ~ Salutations from Parque das Nações

觢a, a gente!

I have some crazy news: I was transferred! Elder Call was transferred as well, and now we are both here, with new companions and new areas, in Fortaleza! I will miss the people that I met in Juazerio do Norte, and I磎 glad for the things that I learned there, yet I am excited for the experiences ahead.

My new companion is Elder Moreira Santos. He is from Rio de Janeiro, and he is really great. I think that we are going to get along just fine, and that we will learn a lot from each other. Also, I have the chance of having a native Brazilian for a companion! In this way, I can improve my Portuguese even more, and learn even more about how to be a good missionary.

Our area is called, ``Parque das Na珲es创, which means ``Park of the Nations创. It used to be called ``Aeroporto创 because it磗 right next to the airport, but that area combined with another, and now it磗 really big:) We will be walking a lot! But, it should be good. I磎 excited to see how things turn out.

This past week was good in Juazeiro. We almost had a baptism on Sunday, but it didn磘 work out. Even so, she came on Sunday to church, and afterwards she said that she really feel the desire to be baptised! I hope and pray that everything will work out for her, and that she will really get baptised! I am so excited for her. She is awesome, and has been from the very beginning:)

Anyway, I gotta go, but I wish you all a good week, and hope that you will feel the love that the Lord has for each and every one of us, without exception:) As we seek after His love, and begin to love Him even more in our lives through obedience and faithfulness, we will feel the love that He has for us even more, and we will also feel the love that He has for all those around us; and we will receive a greater capacity to love ``all men创 (2 Nephi 31:20) with charity, even ``the pure love of Christ创(Moroni 7:47).

Tchau, tchau, a gente! Eu se amo muito!

Love and hugs and handshakes galore,

Elder Reid Powell Empey