I´m really short on time (surprise, surprise), but let me tell you a little bit of what happened this week:
Catherina was baptized! The baptismal service was great, and I was reminded of my own baptism, the feelings and love that I felt. (It was a month after I had turned eight, and it was the Sunday before our Powell Family Reunion in La Wiss Wiss, Washington. So, there was a lot of family there. It was July 9, 2000, if I´m remembering correctly. The year 2000 seems like such a long time ago....12 years since I was baptized.....man, I´m getting old!)
(Also, the subject of this email is the title of a traditional Powell Family song. I have a copy of the family songbook with me here on the mission, and I cannot believe how much I love and miss singing together as a family. Those songs are more a part of me than I ever imagined, and remind me of the wonderful heritage that I have been blessed with:) )
We met an incredible investigator this week as well. We received his name as a referral, and he went to his house to talk to him. His name is Samuel, and he is 20 years old. He was in the house of a member some days ago, and the missionaries were having lunch in the member´s house that day. They talked to him, taught him the first lesson, and said that we needed to bring a Book of Mormon with us. When we went over to his house to talk to him, he happily invited us in, we were all really comfortable talking, and we explained to him about the Book of Mormon. He loved the concept that we have a record of the teachings and doctrines of Jesus Christ, but from a different perspective, the perspective of the people living here on the American continent. The teachings and the gospel of Jesus Christ are the same, just that the Book of Mormon and the Bible work together to help us see and learn more about how to apply the gospel in our lives.
We gave him a part in 3 Nephi to read, because he wanted to know more about what the Savior taught to the Nephites while He was here. When we came back two days later, he had read that chapter, the following chapter, and had begun reading from the beginning of the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi! He said that the pictures made him curious, and so he went and read the references that are connected to the pictures. He said that he thought that it was really interesting, the story of Lehi and his family, living in Jerusalem, and that they eventually ended up the Americas as the Nephites and Lamanites. He understood the first few chapters of 1 Nephi and the other parts of 3 Nephi better than some members of the Church! And he started reading the beginning on his own. We didn´t even ask or invite him to start there after reading in 3 Nephi, he just naturally did it out of curiosity and desire to learn. He is incredible, and I am so excited to see what will happen this week. I hope and pray that he can truly gain a strong testimony that these things are true, and that he can become a member of the Church, and receive all of the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that he can eventually serve a mission! What a blessing that would be, in his life and in the life of his family, now and in the future.
I love you all so very much! The Gospel is true. Jesus Christ lives. Our lives are not perfect, other people are not perfect, and we are not perfect; but, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed of our sins, be filled with hope, and, because of that hope, we can live our lives in joy and happiness, knowing with a certainty that we truly can live with our families forever in the presence of our Eternal Heavenly Father. What a joy, what a blessing, what a privilege we have to partake of the grace and the love of God:)
I wish you all the very best, and hope that you have a wonderful week!
Elder Reid Powell Empey
P.S. I know that it is finals time at BYU, and so for all of you BYU folks, I wish you good luck on your tests, and hope that you look back on the past two semesters as time well enjoyed and well spent:)