Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

The Importance of the Atonement

Hello Family and Friends!

This was a big growth week for me! We experienced many challenges that tested me in a lot of ways. But I’m grateful for these challenges because they draw me closer to God. I know that we will see more positive results because we faced these issues and relied on him.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was interviewed recently by a talk show host and said that in four years the number of full-time missionaries will increase from 85,000 to 100,000! Isn’t that amazing? With the lowering of the minimum age for service, so many men and women are inspired to serve.

President Thomas S. Monson recently stated that he would like missionaries to remain in one area for 8-12 months, but that mission presidents can make that decision. That is a HUGE amount of time to be in one area! My president in the last mission conference (all 190 missionaries), said that his goal was to keep missionaries in one area for 12 months. This he said so that investigators could walk through the process of teaching, baptizing, and the temple with the same missionaries.

We have very few progressing investigators at the moment, but we are starting to teach 2 more individuals. I will fill you in about them next week!

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Everyone said that it would take about 6 months to be fluent in the language and develop a cast iron stomach!  I beat it by 1 month.
  2. A clothes dryer is rarely used, if at all. This is because they are really expensive, the climate is basically a furnace, and they use a ton of energy and energy is really expensive here (which is why people usually use only a few light bulbs in their entire house).
  3. There is a culture here of building your own house and keeping it in the family by passing it down from generation to generation.

This scripture is reassuring to so many that I teach: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) The main purpose we have as missionaries is to improve the quality of a life in the people we meet by leading them toward God and his son Jesus Christ. In this process, we are able to help others use the Atonement of Jesus Christ in dealing with temptations and addictions. I have seen many lives transform as they have learned to rely on the strength of God. We often believe that we can overcome our addictions alone. This type of thinking does not come from God. Each of us are given weaknesses that require the help of God and others. You must first recognize and admit that you have weaknesses. Then you must acknowledge the fact that without God, your efforts to overcome your weaknesses are only minimal,  you cannot overcome these difficult problems with your strength alone. With sin and weakness comes guilt and remorse. Christ has given us a solution to this. He has already paid the price for our sins through the Atonement. Repentance and a willingness to change is all it takes on our part. Pray to God for strength and reach out to those around you.  Confide in someone close to you, who is willing to walk with you through the process of becoming clean. Remember that you are not alone and that you have the incredible gift of the Atonement to strengthen you in moments of weakness. God is real and miracles do happen in the lives of people who are willing to do the work it takes to improve. Have faith to believe that anything is possible. I’m far from perfection, but the sacrifice of Jesus Christ bridges that gap. I know that there has been a restoration of Christ’s church on the earth in our day. I invite you to find his truth in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be part of the wonderful effort of helping people come to Christ by following him.

I love you all very much!

Elder Nielsen

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