Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Merry Christmas!

Hello Family and Friends and Merry Christmas!

This week has had its ups and downs. On Tuesday we had a Christmas Mission Conference. All of the missionaries in the Fortaleza East mission were there. We were fed well (pancakes and good Brazilian meat, rice, and beans for lunch) and watched a Christmas movie (Arthur´s Christmas) and the LDS Christmas devotional. Oh, fun fact: The Fortaleza East mission was created less than two years ago. Before, there was only the Fortaleza Mission. President Fusco is the first mission president for the East Mission. My companion has served first in the Fortaleza Mission and now in the East mission (he has been serving for 1 year and 7 months now). Anyways, I really enjoyed the mission conference because it got me in the Christmas Spirit. People do not really put up Christmas lights in Brazil, but I will see Santa hats on people and Christmas trees in the members homes.

This week has been hard because some baptisms fell through and some of our investigators are not willing to kick bad habits that are really hurting them. On the bright side, my language skills are getting much better and I can carry on conversations with the Brazilians! I’ve learned something about patience and gratitude. We do have one “golden investigator.” Her name is Bia. Everytime we invite her to do something she has always done it. She is 18 years old and her Evangelical Mother always sits down and listens to us during lessons. Let me give you a little image of this: We clap our hands outside her gate and she comes and lets us in. We walk through a short space between her black gate and her smaller house (all dirt and a few small green ferns) and we reach her house. She opens her door (wood and in two parts) and she rolls up a hammock hanging above one of the beds. She brings two orange chairs and places them next to the bed which is by the door. We then teach her and her mom. They also have 7 cats, one of which is really fat and typically sits on the bed.

Impressions of Brazil:

1) Pizzas are not made until around 6 at night. This is very frustrating because I always want pizza on p-days.

2) Everyone sleeps after lunch, which is the big meal of the day. This makes it hard to tract during this time.

3) Brazilians are really into soccer and there are many fields in our area, but we missionaries are not allowed to play. This has been a rule for almost 4 years now. This rule is especially annoying to the Brazilian missionaires haha.

Our lives are like pieces to a puzzle. A large complicated puzzle. There are times when I have felt broken and in pieces. But there is one  man who is able to piece me together into something incredible again and that man is the Savior, Jesus Christ.  I trust in him. He sees the many pieces of me and is willing to take the time and put each individual piece back into the right spot. He descended below all things to gain an understanding of people like me and you, who struggle in our lives. He knows us individually and is eagerly waiting to help us become whole and perfect. He means everything to me. He was whipped, beaten, and suffered an incredibly painful death for each of us, so we can have the opportuntiy to repent of our sins and return to a loving Heavenly Father again. He is the light and life of the world. He is the person we should remember the most, not just on Christmas, but every day of our lives. He wants to see us joyful in life, and teaches us to open our hearts to him. He will not walk through your door and into your lives without your permission. You have to open the door and ask for his help. We need to turn towards him. This life is too difficult without him. We cannot navigate through all of it alone.  He is our captain. He is the gift given to us all. He is Christmas. He is everything.

Eu sei que meu Rendentor vive. Ele é tudo para mim. Esta vida seria imposivel sem ele. Quando eu tinha uma experiencia ruim ele estava lá por mim, enxugando minhas lagrimas. Ele pode ser com voces se voces tem uma coração aberto e permitem ele entrar. Por Favor abrem suas portas então ele pode entrar e abençoar suas vidas. Ele morreu na cruz por nós. Eu sei que ele conhece cada um de nós individualment. Ele sabe como ajudar nós passamos por nossos dificuldades nos toda enfrentamos em nossas vidas. Use a expiação de Jesus Cristo. Ele vai dar voces força em nome de JesusCristo, quem eu estou servindo por não só 2 anos, más por toda minha vida Amem.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Elder Nielsen

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