Monday, March 5, 2012

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

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