Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

The Brazilians Love Tropical Birds!

Hello Family and Friends!

This week was hard but we have had growth and miracles in our area. Let’s start with one of the miracles. Elder Coiti and I were having a tough time at the beginning of the week because no one was home or they just ignored us (I like to think that no one was home!). We decided to pray more intensely for help in our area. One day we were walking down a street and found a house that we contacted the first week we were here. We decided to knock and found Roberio and Ebe and their little kid at home. We had left a Book of Mormon with them 3 months ago. During the lesson we had with them early this week, Roberio told us he has been reading in the Book of Mormon since the day we left it with him, and he believes in its teachings. He also believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he restored the same church that Christ established while on the earth. He wants to get married legally so he can get baptized. His wife also believes in this gospel and wants the same thing for her family. So this week we will start the process to help them get married, which takes around 1 month. This experience was really amazing and a true answer to prayer.

We are also working with Daniel and Iliane who are not married but they are continuing to progress and continuing to go to church. We have been trying to motivate them to pursue an eternal marriage in the temple, but they must be married civilly first. They both want to but in order to get married, it requires money and in this area it is hard to find people that have money to spend. To avoid the expense of marriage, many people just live together, wearing wedding rings to show their commitment to each other. But I pray that we can start the marriage process with them as well as Roberio and Ebe this week. I have hope that everything will work out.

Impressions of Brazil:

1. Everyone here has bird cages in their homes.  They love tropical birds.

2. In our area we have what are called favelas or groups of houses clustered really close together and built on top of one another. The housing is very poor and with no space between them. My companion and I have some investigators there that we are teaching. The people are humble and willing to listen to our message, unlike other areas.

3. It is like a religious revival is happening here. I kid you not. There are MANY churches in our area. The two biggest ones (apart from the Catholic church) are Universal and Assembelia de Deus. Also, there is a church right across the street from ours that has a pastor who literally screams while preaching to the people. This goes on for hours. But this type of preaching is very typical for pastors in the different churches here.

I think we often lose track of our purpose and focus in life, on the things that actually matter the most (God, family, service to others). When we become unhappy in life, it is often because we have lost track of these basics and what they mean to us. But we can return to the basics and regain our focus.  We do this by turning to God and living his gospel.  Read the scriptures, attend church, help others.  I promise that if you are not happy about your life, that these simple things will bring improved joy and improved relationships with others. This week I have done a better job at focusing on the basics and I have felt my joy increase as a result.

I love you all!

Elder Nielsen

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