Elder Matthew Nielsen

"You are assigned to labor in the Brazil Fortaleza East mission"

Fortaleza Food!

Hello Family and Friends!

I’ve had another very crazy week! I am in the state of Ceará and the city of Maracanaú. It is a very slow-paced town and on the poorer side. It is very easy to talk to people here, but it is really hard to have progressing investigators. There hasn’t been a baptism in my area for 5 months. They briefly shut this area down and reopened it a few months before I arrived. But the good news is my companion and I have a baptism coming up this Sunday! Her name is Barbra and she is 9 years old. She is a family friend of one of the members and she wants to be baptized. If everything works out, I will  have the privilege of performing my first baptism, and it will be the first for the area in months. I am really excited!

Sorry I didn’t write yesterday. I was having problems with adjusting to the food and water here, so I went to see the doctor. Everything is fine and they told me it will just take time to adjust to this area. (This may have been too much information for you!) Oh, this week has been crazy with transportation too. My companion and I got lost and it took us 2 train rides and 5 buses to get us back to our area! Haha! Riding buses here is basically my work out. I’m going to be buff soon, just you wait and see! Also, it feels like I have lost about 20 pounds or so, because my pants are extremely loose. But overall, this week has been a great growth week, some disappointments because of investigators and the language, but I have learned many lessons about myself and about persevering through tough times.

Impressions of Brazil: 

1) This is a VERY small town and everybody knows each other. So whenever we ask where a specific person lives, the people always know the exact rua or street and numero do casa or number of the house. Very helpful.

2) Almost everyone owns a small store.

3) Fortaleza food is notorious for having a ton of oil and fat in it. So it takes a while for missionaries to adjust to this food.  My stomach!

4) The accents are different in each area of Brazil. The Sao Paulo Brazilians always brag that their accent is the most proper of any of the other major regions in Brazil. My companion is from Sao Paulo and he told me he is going to teach me the Sao Paulo accent not the Fortaleza accent.  He compares the Fortaleza accent to the accent of southerners in the United States!  I’m not sure our southerners would take kindly to what he says! Very improper apparently haha!

This mission has already tested me to the very core in so many ways.  But when things get tough, I always go back to the basics when I need help. I PRAY and I use the atonement of Jesus Christ. I plead almost every night to my Savior for strength and understanding regarding the challenges I face. I have to remind myself that I am here to be a light on a path for others to follow. This path will lead others to peace and hope and away from guilt and darkness. I know this experience is not going to be easy, but life isn’t easy. We can only look to find better ways towards understanding and growth. Understanding comes through prayer, humble heartfelt prayer, and access to the Savior’s atonment. Remember that the Savior’s atonement is not just for those sick with sin, it is also for those who are weighed down with sorrow and who are discouraged with life. Praying for peace and understanding can give you the most unbelievable strength to make it through anything you have to endure in this life. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” How sweet the feeling is, how joyful you can be, and how much love and understanding you will receive if you will but turn towards the Savior, Jesus Christ for help.

I love all of you with all of my heart.  I hope you have an amazing week!

Elder Nielsen

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