Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Drink Coconut Juice!

Hello Family and Friends!

This week we had the experience of knocking on the doors of many different religious leaders in the community.  It was a weird coincidence.  Usually we are talking to less active Catholics or Evangelicals, but we just ran into so many devout church goers this week.  It was great!

People here are starting to get ready for Carnival (17-21). I am really curious to see what it is like here. Just to remind you, Carnival is basically a massive party that takes place in every part of Brazil.  In some cities, they party much harder than others and the partying can last for more than 4 days. But I am told that this area is calm and nothing really dangerous happens here. In fact, the craziest thing that I have seen in this town so far is this older lady who walks down the street with a baby cart (and no baby in it), shouting curse words at kids and talking to herself. She is very well known in the community.

I’m getting really excited for the marriages and baptisms of Daniel and Elaine and Roberio and Ebe. Roberio and Ebe will be married next week and will also be baptized on the same day. On the following week, Daniel and Elaine will be married and baptized. These two couples are VERY excited. And I can tell how much they appreciate everything by the amount of food they give us each time we visit them haha. The missionary work is progressing in so many ways.  And I am so happy to be part of it.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. The weather here is so hot! The temperature is around 35-40 C, which is about 100F. So heat with humidity equals death. I literally sweat a pool of water everyday. Sorry for the gross fact, but it is very true haha.
  2. The typical pay is about 7R$ per hour. The dollar is worth about 2.5 more than the Real (Brazil’s currency).
  3. Coconut water is huge here. Almost every family grows coconut trees. Coconut water is used to help heal an upset stomach. This is why our fridge is full of coconuts that members give to us. But getting the coconuts from the trees and opening them is actually a really hard task to do. And if you are not careful, you could get smacked in the head with one when they fall from the trees! I have attached pictures for you.

I don’t have a lot of time to write today.  So I just want to let you know how grateful I am for this gospel in my life. It is truly a beacon of light in a very dark world. I know that this gospel was established by Jesus Christ.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is his church. I believe that there was an apostasy after the death of Christ and his apostles.  And over time, the priesthood authority was withdrawn from the world. I know that because of a humble prayer by a 14 year old boy named Joseph Smith, that God once again opened the heavens and spoke with man.  Through Joseph Smith, his church was restored to the earth. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.  I bear testimony of Christ and his gospel every day to those that I meet as a missionary. I know that Jesus Christ lives.  He was crucified for our sins and weaknesses, then was resurrected. I know that these things are true because I have studied it out and have prayed.  Believe me, I would not be here if I did not know these things. A mission is way too hard of an experience without a sure knowledge of the gospel.

Love you all,

Elder Nielsen

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