Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Roberio and Ebe are Baptized!

Hello Family and Friends!

This week was an incredible week for me!

Missionary work is difficult, but so rewarding. I have grown to love people so different from myself and experience true joy in the process. I get to help people change their lives for the better, serve them, help them work through their addictions, problems, and sins and give them a chance to receive a remission of their sins and guilt through the ordinance of baptism, in the restored church of Jesus Christ. All of this happens through missionary work. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have the privilege of being part of a force of 80,000 missionaries worldwide who are experiencing what I am experiencing. If any of you have doubts about serving a mission, take the time to earnestly pray and seek for guidance. I promise that your decision to serve a mission will be the best decision you can make.

Right now it is pouring rain outside the internet cafe. This is soooo odd for all the missionaries who are serving in this area because it is usually over 100 degrees everyday with no rain. It is actually cold and I’m wearing a thin jacket that I brought with me for the cold weather in Utah while I was at the MTC.

This week, we had a Brazilian missionary stay with us in our apartment who is deaf. He along with his companion are taking a course in Libras or Sign language in order for the hearing companion to be able to communicate with him so they can teach the gospel in Sign Language. I had the privilege of watching him teach a lesson on Jesus Christ to 5 deaf investigators and watch him offer a prayer all in Sign Language. This was one of the highlights of my week and it has inspired me to start learning Sign language in Portuguese. I was so moved by the dedication of that missionary who basically just arrived in the field 2 weeks ago and will spend a normal 2-year mission teaching the gospel to the deaf.

The wedding of Roberio and Ebe was incredible as well. We all rode the metro to Fortaleza where they got married. Later on that night, I baptized Roberio and my companion baptized Ebe! After the baptisms, our ward threw a little party for them at the church. On Sunday I was able to confirm Ebe a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and she was able to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  My companion confirmed her husband.  I have had a lot of firsts on this mission speaking the Portuguese language: I have given a 6 minute talk, baptized, confirmed, given a blessing to the sick, dedicated homes, and taught. I am DEFINITELY not perfect with the language (the slang is still hard to follow), but I can now communicate and understand pretty well after about 4 months in the field!

Impressions of Brazil:  

  1. The typical American breakfast does not exist here. Breakfast is basically bread (only eaten in the mornings, never for lunch or dinner) with hot chocolate.
  2. Milk is never refrigerated and lasts a lot longer than the gallon of milk in the US. It is packaged in boxes at the grocery stores.
  3. Peanut Butter and Beef Jerky are impossible to find, but thanks to my Christmas packages I have them in the apartment. Thank you everyone!

Prayer is so important. It is the only direct way to speak to God and receive answers from him. Prayer counters the evil and increases our understanding of our relationship with God. After I pray, I receive an amazing increase of strength in order to face my challenges.  I also feel great peace. Part of my prayer is a request that God will watch over me. There has been many instances in my life, where I have felt and seen that protection given to me. And when I experience a bad day, I pray that I can receive an understanding of why I was given that day and what I was supposed to learn from it. Prayer is also the only way to receive access to the infinite power of the Atonement, which allows us to repent and ask for forgiveness of our sins and strength to overcome our weaknesses. The Adversary understands the importance of prayer.  He will try to convince you that prayer is worthless or that God will not answer you, or you are a sinner and are unworthy to pray, or you are tired so you should take a break, or you have prayed enough today. We have all experienced those feelings before.  Remember to recognize those feelings as Satan’s way of keeping you from praying and that prayer is the only access to strength and help beyond yourself.

Have an incredible week everyone!

Elder Nielsen

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