Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Our First Baptism!

Hello Family and Friends!

We had our first baptism! So I am really excited about that! Even though this area is really difficult for missionaries, I know that God will provide people who are ready, willing, and humble enough to accept the gospel. I am so grateful for every opportunity to share this wonderful message with the great people of Brazil. I had an amazing experience this week during a first lesson with an investigator. She is Catholic, like most Brazilians, but is willing to try something else if she can determine it is true. At the end of the lesson, she was still not certain our message was true, so I felt prompted to bear my testimony in both English and in Portuguese. I know that must seem weird to you. But it was the most powerful experience and the Spirit was so strong in that room. When I finished testifying, I asked if she wanted to be baptized, and she said yes! I know that miracles happen. That was an incredible miracle because the investigator could not understand a lot of what I said in English. But the Holy Ghost testified to her and she was able to recognize that influence in that moment. Isn’t that an amazing?

Impressions of Brazil:

1) Brazilians advertise by attaching MASSIVE speakers to their cars (some speakers are bigger than the car itself). Then they drive up and down the street booming their messages!

2) I’m sure that most of you have bought something off the ice-cream truck at one point.  You hear them play that song and you go running! Well, here it isn’t the ice cream man, it is the tapioca man and churro man. It literally brightens my day when the churro guy comes into the area where we are walking.

3) Animals are everywhere!

4) This one is kinda gross so if you don’t want to read it, skip forward haha. Most people when they go number 2 use toilet paper, right? Well it is very typical for Brazilians to have a sprayer right by the toilet and they just use that instead. It makes the bathrooms, well, smell really bad, to say the least.

I want to share a revelation my mission president had about missionary work. Many missionaries have trouble getting their investigators to follow through with their promises. President Fusco fasted and prayed for insights into this problem. He wondered how the early missionaries could be so successful in committing people to make the journey overseas to Utah? What did these missionaires say to those people to have them leave so many good things behind in Europe and travel so far? These pioneers traveled long distances, some with very little food and water, and many died of accident and disease for a religion that was so new to them. What in the world did those missionaries say to them that inspired them make that journey? The answer my mission president received in a prayer was, these missionaries gave them eternal perspective. They testified that families are eternal.  That there is more beyond this life.  When we know this, our problems seem very small.

Until next time!

Elder Nielsen

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