Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

The Title of Liberty!

Hello Family and Friends,

It’s Carnival in Brazil, which makes missionary work almost impossible! The adults are all partying at night.  The kids put white powder all over their bodies and dye their hair in different colors and chuck eggs at each other! And on the last day of Carnival there is a huge parade that will pass along the street where we live.  The parade will have singers, bands, dancers, people shooting off fireworks and everything else you can imagine. So good luck to the missionaries getting any sleep tomorrow night! But it’s been a blast seeing what this national holiday is like.

We have the marriage and baptisms of Roberio and Ebe this week on Thursday! Everyone is so excited. And the marriage and baptisms of Daniel and Elaine will be on March 4. The civil marriage process is pretty intense here. First you have to research and find a Cartorio or a marriage facility that is cheap. No one has any money. The missionaries all use the Cartorio in Fortaleza. You have to pay an entrance fee of 50R$ and then they will give you a sheet of paper that has the date of the rest of the payment that is due, which is a total cost of 175R$. And that same day you need to have 2 people willing to give testimonies about the couple.  All the paperwork needs to be signed at the same time. The next date on the sheet is the actual marriage date, when you are to produce two more people to give testimonies. So the process requires a lot of planning and traveling for the missionaries to Fortaleza. So we have been spending a ton of time organizing baptisms, marriages, celebrations and so on.

We had another investigator come to church last Sunday with her kid and her sister. She has been really depressed since the death of her husband who died in a motorcycle accident and has been attending several different churches looking for peace and we knocked on her door during this hard time. She has been really receptive and her curiosity about the plan of salvation and the possibility of being with her loved ones after this life has brought her hope and a desire to be with us on Sunday. She is an amazing person and really dedicated to the welfare and happiness of her family who all live very close to her.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. As I’ve said before, there are relatively few cars here, but if you do see one, it will likely be either Toyota, Honda, Fiat, Chevy, or Volkswagen (Fiat and Volkswagen are the most popular).
  2. If you want American Fast food you don’t have many options. You can either eat at Dominos, Subway, McDonalds, or Burger King. Taco Bell can also be found in some cities.
  3. People love sweets here! Especially CHOCOLATE in any form. Hot chocolate is very popular with Nesceu. I’m offered chocolate from members everyday.

I have been studying the story of a military leader named Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon this week. After finding out that dissenters from the Church of Christ and the government had decided that they would kill the leaders of the church and destroy the faith of the believers, Moroni tore off a piece of his coat and wrote on it “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.” He bound this “Title of Liberty” (it was like a flag) onto a large pole and went about talking to the people in that land saying, “Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights and religion, that the Lord their God may bless them.” After Moroni had finished saying these things, ” the people came running together” and they rented their clothes and made a promise that they would “not forsake the Lord their God.” This scene is so impressive to me. The people came RUNNING to defend their rights, their freedom, and their faith and were willing to fight and give their lives for those liberties. If we could show just a small portion of that same faith and courage as we face the evils of the world, our lives would be better for it. We see how our freedoms are slowly being taken from us in the world today. We need to courageously stand up for our liberties. Let others know what we believe and how important it is that we continue to have the right to practice our beliefs. I hope that all of us can find the courage to bear our testimonies to others. And I hope that all of us will understand the importance of fighting to keep our freedoms so that we can worship God as we please.

I love all of you and I am so grateful for your support. Have a great week!

Elder Nielsen

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