Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

A Good Week for Missionary Work!

Hello Family and Friends!

This past week was a very good week for missionary work! Our area is very small. It includes Santo Satiro and Acaracazinho. We live along the shopping street of Acaracazinho. We have 5 progressing investigators who came to church this week. One is the Mom of Bia, who we baptised 2 weeks ago. She loves church and also loves to listen to us and feed us haha. Next is a “married couple”, they were married in the catholic church, but not legally (in order to be baptised you have to be married legally). They are really cool. Their names are Daniel and Iliane. Daniel is part of a band and works with food markets as well. He gave us a ton of fruit on Christmas. Fruit is really expensive here, especially grapes. Another person we are teaching lives on the same street as Daniel and Iliane. His name is Gabriel and he is 17 years old. All of his family is Catholic, but he has never liked going to church, and he doesn’t believe that going to church necessarily means that you will lead a good life. Well this Sunday he came to church on his own. It tells me that he has been thinking seriously about our message.  He took a very long walk to get to the church. Another person who is progressing is a friend of Barbara’s, our first baptism. She frequently attends church and is really close friends with the Arrmattea family, who are members in our ward and who work with the missionaries. We have had more success, but these people have been progressing the most.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Seasons are different here. While it is winter in the US, it is summer here. (Actually, it is basically summer here year round. The only difference is during winter it will rain a little more I hear.)
  2. After New Year’s many people, mostly teenagers, head to the beach in Fortaleza (the largest nearby city which is about 2 hours from my area). They usually stay for 4-5 days celebrating the new year.
  3. Carnival, which is basically 4 days of massive partying in all of Brazil, will begin around the 17 of February. The partying is the heaviest in Rio de Janeiro I hear, and missionaries there cannot leave their houses during those 4 days. Missionary work pretty much stops in most parts of Brazil. Carnival is a lot like the New Orleans Mardi Gras but so much bigger (so I’m told! haha).

I’m so grateful for this opportunity to sacrifice 2 years of my life in serving my Heavenly Father and preaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Many people ask why I would make this sacrifice.  After just a few months in the mission field, I can honestly say that I have gained so much more than can be imagined. Serving a mission has helped me to grow in my relationship with God and to know that he lives. Serving a mission strengthens me in all areas of my life. When I return, I know I will be a better person, more prepared to deal with life’s challenges and trials.  The trials that I face here will help me to help others throughout my life. What a blessing to be a missionary!

Elder Nielsen

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