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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

News from Beira Mar

Hey, everybody!

This week was a good week. We were able to start teaching a few new
people who have real potential, and continue working with those who
were progressing. One of these people is Kailanny, the granddaughter
of Fátima, the same Fátima who was baptized and confirmed last week.
Kailanny is nine years old, and very smart. She understood all of the
lessons, and she loved church when she went the first time. On Friday,
she was baptized! I had the privilege of baptizing her, and I am
grateful to have been a part of helping her to learn more about the
Gospel, and to enter into the strait and narrow path that leads back
to our Heavenly Father. She was confirmed and received the gift of the
Holy Ghost yesterday during sacrament meeting.

Something kind of cool happened this week. My companion and I were
walking to an appointment, and as we were walking, there was a man a
little bit further down the street from us. He looked at us, and
smiled at me and nodded his head. (As I have often said, a nod of the
head is a universal male signal of acknowledgment, whatever part of
the world you are in, and being here in Brazil has only solidified my
theory of this.) I smiled and nodded back, and he motioned toward us.
His name was Vernon, and he asked me if I knew of another missionary
that he had known a long time ago. I didn´t even understand the name
directly, but I said that I didn´t know of him. Vernon knew him a long
time ago, and he started to tell us about how he knew about Joseph
Smith, and about the gold plates, and how he tried to explain it to
his landlady once and she said that he was crazy. He said to her,
``Let me get in touch with the Mormons, and they can explain it to
you!´´ She was sort of appalled and even offended at the notion:)

Anyway, I wrote down his address and phone number, and we invited him
to Church. Sadly, he works every Sunday morning, and so he got our
number as well, and we said that we would try to stay in touch with
him when we can. (He still lives in that same apartment, so teaching
him there probably wouldn´t be a good idea with his landlady) So, we
will have to see what happens!

I know that the Church it true, and that Heavenly Father really is
preparing people to hear the message of the Restoration, that they can
be ready and willing to act upon the message that we have to share to
the world. And that message is this: After having the divine truth and
authority of the Gospel of Jesus Christ been lost from the earth for
centuries, our Loving Heavenly Father has once again extended His hand
to His children through living prophets, giving us the light and
direction that we need to be happy and joyful now, and to return to
live in a fulness of His light and love in the life hereafter, with
our families being united for eternity to live together in His glory.
What a message this is! I know that it is true, and that we can truly
receive these blessings in our lives.

I love my family:) It was so good to talk to you all yesterday, to
hear your voices, to joke around with you, and to feel truly grateful
for the wonderful family that I have been blessed to have. I also feel
grateful for all of my extended family and friends. I have truly been
blessed to know you all:)

Have a great week, everyone!

With love,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Monday, May 7, 2012

This Week in Short: Beira Mar

Hey, everyone!

I hope that everybody is having a good May so
far......wait.....MAY?!!?!! Already?! My goodness, time flys by!

This week was good. I am getting more familiar with our area, as well
as with the members of the ward. The people here are very open and
loving, as are people in general here in Ceará, Brasil (the state
where my mission is). They are generally very friendly, and willing to
talk to us. It is a very different culture and dynamic than most
places in the world, as well as many of the other missions in the

On Saturday, one of our investigators was baptized. Her name is
Fátima. She is an older woman who had been an active member of an
Evagelical church for nearly 25 years, and who said this about being
baptized: ``I accepted Jesus 23 [or so] years ago, but now I´m going
to follow Him in the correct path.´´ She is very kind, and very sweet
to us. Elder Call and Elder Baptista started teaching her before I
came to the area.

One of the things that has most interested her is eternal families:
that through the priesthood authority of God, we can be sealed
together for time and for all eternity, not just ``until death do we
part.´´ Even more than this, she was very excited by the doctrine of
baptisms for the dead, which she heard about in a Relief Society
lesson. Baptism is an essential ordinance, and without being baptized,
we cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven (see John 3:5). Yet, we
know that millions, even billions of people have died without an
opportunity to learn about or accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, our Loving Heavenly Father provided a way that they may
have the opportunity to receive all of the blessings of the Gospel
that they did not have the opportunity to learn about or accept before
they passed on.

Fátima was really excited about this, because her mother passed away
when she was very young, 9 years old I think. She had wondered for a
very long time what would happen to her mother. Because of this, she
was very interested in learning more about the Church, and coming to
know more about the importance of vicarious work for the dead.

I had the privilege of baptizing her, and she was confirmed yesterday
during sacrament meeting. This week, we are going to help her
granddaughter, Kaylanny, to get prepared to be baptized, too!

Anyway, my time is long gone, but I love you all, and I hope that you
have a great week! I am excited to talk to some of you on Mother´s
Day! I can´t believe how fast 5 months has past since the last call on seems like forever ago and like yesterday at the same

Love you all tons and scoops!


Elder Reid Powell Empey

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lots of Walking, Lots of Work, Lots of Blessings, Lots of Love:)- Beira Mar

Hello, all!

This week was crazy. I have learned so much in this past week, and I
am learning more and more every day.

My companion, Elder Baptista, is a very hard worker. He walks with a
purpose, AKA ``very quickly,´´ and I have felt more sore from just
walking than I have ever felt on the mission so far:) But, it´s a good
think, and I am glad to feel that we are putting in all of our might
and strength that we can to do the Lord´s work.

Last P-Day, at night, we went to the house of Suely. Four of her
children were taught and baptized by Elder Call and Elder Baptista,
and she had not yet been baptized. But, when we got there, her
daughters answered the door, and then she came out, and said that she
wanted to be baptized! The situations impeding her from being baptized
changed, and she didn't want to hesitate at being baptized now that it
was possible for her. So, we re-taught and reviewed the lessons and
the commandments for her, and she was baptized this past Saturday!

Also, a girl who has been going to church for a long time (she was
considered an ``eternal investigator´´) decided to be baptized as
well! Her name is Thatiana, and she told us when we got to church on
Sunday, we called the zone leaders, they conducted her interview
during Sunday School, and she was baptized after church.

I am out of time! This week has been full of experiences and things
that happened, and I am so grateful to be here. I am excited for the
weeks to come in this area:)

I love you all so very, very much! Keep moving forward, and keep on
praying! One of my favorite sayings is, ``Pray as if it were all up to
the Lord, then get up off of your knees and work as if it were all up
to you.´´ When we remember Him, and to ask for His help, it isn't
always so much that the things we need or want to happen just happen,
as much as that we put forth all of the effort we can, He augments
and expands and exponentializes our efforts to the point that they are
sufficient to achieve what is needed. It is His grace that saves us,
``after all that we can do,´´ as well as THROUGH all that we can do.
And as each day passes, and with each effort we put forward, we draw
closer to Him as we act with His help, His support, and His love.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!


Elder Reid Powell Empey