Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Times, Hard Times, Another Week in Maranguape

Hey, everyone! Hope it's been a good week.

This week was good, we had the Christmas Conference for our whole mission, and we were able to talk to everybody. Also, I sang a song for the talent show, it's a song that the mission president loves, and a group randomly asked me, "Hey, do you know this song? We need an American who can sing and speaks English!" Because the song is in English:) It's "He Ain't Heavy" by the Hollies. It's a good song when you're thinking about companions and difficulties. I'll try to attach the video.

Anyway, we talked to a woman this week who is awesome! Her name is Jacinta, and she really wants to get baptized. Her soon-to-be ex-husband was baptized yesterday, and the Elders who were doing his interview invited her to hear the missionary lessons when she was dropping of their two girls at his house. She accepted, and we went over there that same day we got the referral, and then she when to church the next day and loved it! She wants to be baptized, and be forgiven of her sins, so she truly has been prepared by the Lord. She was recently very disappointed by her own church, and the things that we going on there. So, her heart in open and receptive at this time. I am excited to see how things turn out this week!

Anyway, I gotta go! I will see some of you next week, the 24th, Christmas Eve, on Skype! I love you all so very much! Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! The Church is true!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hurry! Nov. 26, 2012

I didn't have much time to write an email this week because I was buried in other emails......I love you all so much!

This week was kind of a tough week, but we figured out how we can get the work going. We are going to work with the members in Tabatinga, an area of the ward, to help us bring back lots of less-active members and to help us find more people to teach, rescuing and strengthening these families in the Gospel at the same time. That is what real Church growth is all about.

I love you all so very much, sorry for the short email! Elder Tibbits is awesome, and I am excited for the adventures ahead:)

With all my heart,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

AH!! Crazy fast! ~ Dec. 10, 2012

Sorry, guys! I ran out of time this week! Things are doing good, not perfect (well, duh, Elder Empey, nothing in this life is perfect...), but things are running along.

I am excited for the Gospel to be preached to so many more people now that there will be so many more missionaries in the field, and a lot more Sisters! Let me tell you, the Sisters who are coming into the field will begin to raise the baptisms up to an unprecedented level, and it will be them that will set the example and the standard that the Elders will have to live up to.

I was actually thinking about this during this week: it was Eve, not Adam, that perceived the importance of keeping the higher commandment of multiplying and replenishing the Earth, that they needed to partake of the fruit to progress. It was Eve that showed to Adam the "more excellent way". I believe this will also be manifest in our missionary efforts. The Sisters take their callings more seriously, more diligently, and they truly receive power in their callings, even when Elders in the same circumstances don't. I truly believe that there are Sisters that have more power to preach the gospel than some of the Elders, because the Elders have the authority of the priesthood, but lack the diligence and desire to receive the necessary power. It is like that in many different aspects of the Church, not only missionary work. We must rise up, and be men, fulfilling the roles which we were called and ordained to fulfill. Not to say that the wonderful women of the Church cannot or should not or are not meant to fulfill such roles, because they are wonderfully capable and majestic at doing just that. It is simply sad and unfortunate, however, when the women of the Church do so in a necessity to "pick up the slack" that the men leave undone, having to do what the men are supposed to do merely because the men choose not to live up to their obligations and responsibilities. Thankfully and happy, however, this is not the case. I am thankful for wondferful men in my life who stand up, making the difference, and fulfilling their priesthood roles and fatherly obligations, and do so willingly and lovingly. They are examples of the Savior, and they are blessed immensely for their diligent priesthood service.

The Gospel is true! I love you all so very much. Have an awesome, splendiferic week!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Happy Day, Happy Week, Happy News, Happy Mission, Happy Life! - from Maranguape Dec. 3 2012

Hello, everybody!

So, I have a couple good pieces of news this week.

First off, it's December!!!! Wow, the month that we've all been waiting for, ever since one of the Mayans said thousands of years ago:

"Hey, Akish, I just got the best prank idea I think I've ever had......" (he was probably a Lamanite.....)

Anyway, Mayans aside, happy early birthday to my dear, sweet, wonderful Mother, on December 12th, as well as to my good friend Shannon, whose birthday is the same date (that's why it's so easy to remember!).

Also, things are going rather well here in Maranguape. The work's been a bit slow recently, but this week things started picking up. We are really focused on reactivating members, and especially families, and looking as well for part-member families. If all of the members in this area were active, we would seriously be close to having a stake here:) So, there's a lot....lots of work to do!

I can't believe how quickly the time passes! In less than 9 months, I will be, just the thought makes me want to get out and work harder while I still can!

So, recently, Heavenly Father has been guiding my thoughts to more healthy thoughts and ideas. I am realizing more and more every day how much I am so focused on things that aren't so important. Well, they're important, but they are definitely "beyond the mark". I realized that I am focused so much on results, and measuring my value and success on results, and things happening, and people being baptized, and this, and that, and etc, etc, etc. Yet, those things aren't the most important things. I seem to convince myself that something is wrong because things aren't running perfect, whereas, duh, things aren't going to run perfectly most of the time because I'm not perfect! 

 came across a quote that helped me, and continues to help me to refocus on the most important things. It's by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He said: "True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives - that is, our time and choices - to God's purposes. In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny." What a stress-reducing thought! I cannot force people to accept our message, and I don't need to over-worry if people don't. Not even Heavenly Father forces people, and He is perfect. So, instead of focusing on results and numbers and baptisms, I need to focus on doing my very best, and remember that my very best is good enough for Him. Because, that's really all I can do! My best! I can't give more than that, so there's no use in trying to force myself to give more than that!

It's also good to remember why I am really here on a mission, or even a member of the Church for that matter. Because it's true:) And that faith is not dependent on outcomes. Our faith is not dependent on miracles if that is not what the Lord sees fit for us. They will happen, but nearly always in a way that we don't anticipate or expect.

Another good thought: "Are you serving time, or are you serving the Lord?" Puts things into a better perspective, huh?

Another: "Are you striving for perfection, or are you allowing the Savior to perfect you?" I spent about two or three weeks thinking about that one:)

Anyway, I gotta go, but I love you all, and I am so grateful for this chance to learn and to grow, and to greater understand why I am here, not just in the mission, but here on the Earth! The Plan of Salvation truly is a comforting and an inspiring truth. Isn't it good to know that our perfect Father in Heaven has a perfect plan for us imperfect people?

I love you all so very much!

With all my heart,

Elder Reid Powell Empey

Hurry! November 19, 2012

Hey, I am almost out of time, so I'll be quick!

This was a good week here in Maranguape with my new companion, Elder Tibbits! He's from Taylorsville, Utah, about 30 or 40 minutes away from Temple Square in Salt Lake City. First companion from the state people here in Brazil like to call "the Factory" ("a fábrica" in Portuguese, probably a title that Utahans neither resent nor encourage....)! I am so excited to be able to help him in these first few days, weeks, and months of his mission in the field. I really like having American companions, it's great!

We are teaching Karol right now, and she already feels that the Church is true, but she just has to gather up the courage to be baptized. ......, Karol had a dream the night before going to Church for the first time, and dreamed of going into the Church. She was dressed exactly the way she was dressed when she actually went the next day, and, even though she had never been inside the Church before, dreamed of the hallways and the chapel and everything exactly how it is in real life, never having been there before. She said that she saw the same people that she saw at church the next day, too. So, please pray for Karol, that she can muster up the courage and the faith and the trust to do what she knows is right, even in the face of great adversity. She is also scared that she'll just stop going after a month, and I wasn't exactly sure how to calm her fears and doubts. But, she does want to let go of her boyfriend, and follow the Savior in the way that He wants.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Love always,

Elder Reid Powell Empe