Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Fireworks on New Year’s Eve!

Happy New Year Everyone!

It was “Novo Ano” here in Brazil!  Let me paint a picture of what it was like. We live in an upper story apartment on a shopping street called “Avenida Central”. All of the stores were closed on New Year’s day and other than that it seemed like a normal, quiet day in our little town. But when the night came, that was a different story. They have fireworks here, you see. And every time these fireworks go off, it sounds like a gun shot and my heart skips a beat when I’m walking down these streets. The President told all missionaries to be home by 8 pm. Anyways, the Central was crowded with people and it sounded like a war had begun in the town because of all the fireworks. It was definitely an experience for the books!

This last week we focused on working with the members. We have had a really hard time finding people willing to hear the gospel and progress with it, so I felt that we needed to spend more time working hard with the members in their homes getting referrals from them. My companion and I don’t know this area as well as the members do, so it seems obvious that we need help from the members in order to move this work forward. I think we all know that without the help of members, our work here becomes a lot more difficult.  It seems plain and simple, but getting the members to help is sometimes easier said than done. Haha. But overall it was a successful week.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. The bread here is REALLY good because it is baked fresh every day in a Paneria or bakery. Panerias are everywhere here. Breakfast usually consists of  bread and maybe coca-cola haha.
  2. If you have money and you want to go to a restaurant here, you go to a Churracaria. This restaurant basically serves meat, meat, and more meat. It is really good but generally really expensive, especially for missionaries.

A new year gives us an amazing opportunity to begin again.  We are able to move on and leave our mistakes behind. Each year we can become better people because of the Savior’s atonement, which gives us the chance to repent.  This process isn’t always easy.  It’s hard to leave bad habits and addictions behind when they have become so much a part of you.  But once you make the commitment to change and to sacrifice these bad habits, the Lord is able to replace them with peace and new direction.  I pray that all of us are able to move forward and make the Savior a bigger part of our lives in the coming year.

Love you,

Elder Nielsen

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