Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Weekly Update - From Maranguape, Cearà, Brasil!

Olá, todos vocês! Como estão indo as coisas lá em casa? Tá tudo bem? Um pouco molhado, né? Mas, com certeza tudo vai dar certo:) (Google Translate is nice, isn't it?)

I hope that everyone's week went well, and that your lives are awesome!

This week, some cool things happened. A young man that we were teaching named Vitor was at home, and we decided to invite his whole family to listen to the message also. We discovered that his mom is an inactive member of the Church! His aunt and uncle were also really interested, so we will continue teaching them, and help them to know that these things are true.

Also, a few weeks ago we were talking to two boys on the street who were going home from school. They told us where they lived, and that we could pass by. We went to Diego's house, but he wasn't home, so we instead went to the other's house, whose name is Gabriel. His grandma was home, and she let us come in and talk to them. We taught them about the Restoration, and in the middle of the lesson, Gabriel's cousin, Pedrina, walked in. She, too, listened to the message, and it appeared that she was interesed and understood the concepts that we were teaching. She is only 12 years old. We marked with them for us to pass by again another day. When we went back, basically no one was at home, except the grandma, who is around 70, and while she understood surprisingly well about the message the first time, she didn't seem to show much interest. So, we weren't sure if they were going to progress or even go to church.

Then, while we were walking near that area one day this week, we saw Pedrina on the street corner, waiting for her mom to pick her up. We asked her if she had prayed about what we said, and she said yes. Excitedly, we asked if if we could pass by her house and talk to her and her family. She agreed, and we marked a day. 

One the marked day, we went to her grandma's house, thinking that she would be there. Sadly, she wasn't, and her grandma said that she didn't live there, and lived on another road a little ways away. So, we left there without much direction except east, and I felt like we should go up on the next road and just walk down it and look around. So, we did. We walked, and eventually came to the end of the road, asking someone if they knew any Pedrina, and they said no, no one by that name lived on that street that they knew of. So, we turned right onto the next road, and asked the people at a house close by. They said that they knew who she was, and that we should just go back on that road, and ask where Telma lives, which is the name of Pedrina's mother. So, we did, and an older gentleman pointed out the house to us. We clapped at the front gate, and to our surprise and delight, Pedrina walked out! She let us in, and we asked her who was at home. She said just her and her little baby brother. We decided to mark for the afternoon to talk to her and her mom together. She said that would be alright, and we left to eat lunch.

After lunch, we went back, and Telma, her mom, go to the house just before we did. As we clapped at the gate, she greeted us, looking a little bit curious or even a bit suspicious. Thankfully, Pedrina came out, and told her mom that she knew who we were, and that we had talked to her before. We came in and sat down, and we found out that Telma had been taught by sister misionaries more than ten years ago in that same area! Apparently, she had gone to church for three or four years, but was never baptized, and then she stopped going. So, we found her again, and we will work with her these next few weeks to see how things will go!

I love this work. What a blessing to be able to work with the children of our Heavenly Father, to preach the truths of the Gospel, and to seek to help build the families here in Brazil, assisting them in their preparation to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for this chance, and for this privilege to serve. I hope and pray that I can be worthy, obedient, and prepared, so that the Spirit can guide us, and magnify our efforts, so that we can accomplish His work in His way, and with His help.

I love you all so very much! When we know the truths of the gospel, we come to realize what things in our lives are really the most important! As was said by a young convert to the Church speaking to President Hinckley, "It's true, isn't it?" After President Hinckley responded yes, the young man tearfully responded, "Then what else matters?" What a wonderful example of sacrifice and the conversion and the love and devotion that we develop when we seek to follow the truths that we learn of His Gospel, and His plan for us.

Have a wonderful week! Don't forget that General Conference is coming up, and that we will get to hear the words of God's living prophets here upon the earth. Please, all who read these messages, take advantage of this sacred and heaven-sent privilege, of receiving His word for us and for our day. For those of you who aren't members of the Church, you, too, are invited to hear their words, and to learn from their messages. You can even watch it live online at the Church website, at http://www.lds.org/general-conference?lang=eng. If you would like, you can even listen to messages than were given at the last Conference to see a little bit of what it will be like. You can download, watch, listen to, or read their messages at that same web address. If you have any questions, just talk to a member of the Church that you know, and I'm sure that they will be willing to explain more about it.

Love you all tons and scoops and kilos and liters and kilometers and all of the strange metric units that exist in this country and the world,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

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