Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

You Are Not Alone!

Hello Family and Friends!

I feel very content with everything. Missionary work is moving forward here in our small town. It’s weird to think that I have been on my mission for 5 months now. It feels like yesterday that I entered the MTC in Utah, not knowing one word of Português. But now I feel confident enough to speak in front of anyone, and that is an amazing blessing to me.

We challenged Roberio to bear his testimony in Sacrament meeting yesterday and he actually got up and did it. He talked about how he came to know us and how he knows that the church is true and why he decided to be married, in order to be baptized. He said, how can two young missionaries go around teaching people to be better and have better lives and challenge them to obey the Word of Wisdom (it is extremely hard for people to give up Coffee here because it is cheap and basically engrained into the culture, also, Brazil is a big manufacturer of Coffee) and to be morally clean until marriage, if they were not truly representatives of the one true church on the earth. His last words were basically this, “If this is not God’s chosen path, I don’t know what is.” Basically everyone in the congregation was crying and, I’ll be honest, I was crying too.

Geize, the young woman who has a little baby girl and whose husband died a few months before we met her in an automobile accident, was baptized yesterday! She brought her entire family to the church service and to watch her baptism. Coincidentally, it was her birthday too! We made a big cake for her and surprised her with it, but unfortunately the member who wrote her name on the cake spelled her name wrong haha. So her name is spelled on the cake Geise when it is really Geize. She thought it was really funny though! She really is an incredible person and I’m glad that she is finding more peace in her life. She deserves it!

This week we have the wedding and baptism of Daniel and Elaine on Wednsday! My companion and I are really excited and looking forward to that! Also, tomorrow is the mission conference and we will be going to Fortaleza to hear the president speak to us.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Brazilians love to greet each other by kissing. For example, if you see someone you know, you would give each other a kiss on each cheek. But of course we missionaries cannot participate in that! We just stick with the  handshakes haha!
  2. In the USA, we pump our own gas. In Brazil, you are not allowed to pump your own gas. A gas station attendant will come out and fill your car up with gas for you. A popular job around here is working for the local gas station.
  3. Extended families live together here. Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, Children all live together. If not in the same house (very common), then in the house next door!

I’ve been thinking about what an investigator said to us the other day. He is afraid to be baptised because he is afraid he will return to all of his bad habits. He wants to be a member and to be sealed to his wife in the temple, but he is afraid of breaking his covenants. His story reminded me of a scripture in the Book of Mormon, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27). With the Lord, we don’t have to be afraid of change. Yes we are weak and yes we sin and fall short, but that is why the Atonement of Jesus Christ is so important.  Why would we deprive ourselves of blessings when we have him to support us? He is always available for us. What a blessing he is in my life. I testify that the Atonement works, that it is real and that we can remove sin and guilt from our past mistakes and replace it with joy and peace. But don’t just rely on my words alone, experiment and you will know for yourselves. Kneel down in a quiet place, and pray with hope and faith to the living God. Feel for his love. You are not alone in this life and you don’t have to face your trials without his support.

Love you,

Elder Nielsen

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