Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Happy Easter!

Hello Family and Friends!

I’m in Araripina! It is really a beautiful place. It’s extremely hilly and the streets are paved in cobblestone. You can smell the fresh bread baking from the Padaria. There is a ton of shopping here. The people here are definitely more wealthy. The city is tucked away against a green mountain range. And the weather is much nicer here (not as hot).

The gospel is relatively new to this area. In my last email to you,  I said that Araripina has a branch. I found out that they actually have a “group”. For those of you who don’t know the process of opening new areas, it starts with a group (20-50 people), then moves to a branch (30-70), then to a ward (50-100), and then to a stake. The church meetings are in a house, like I already said, but President Fusco flew in this week to do his interviews with us and he decided that he doesn’t want the church services in a house anymore because a small house will not give opportunities for the membership to grow. So we are in the process of deciding where to have the church services.

My new companion is AWESOME! He is on his last transfer. I will stay with him for 5 weeks because on his last week, he is allowed to go around and visit all of his prior areas in order to strengthen the members he baptized and visit with those who he had grown close to in each area. I think that is a great idea on the part of President Fusco to start doing that. My companion lives in southern Brazil and is the only one to leave on a mission in his family. He is a convert. The missionaries knocked on his door when he was 10 and he was baptized just one week after the Elders started teaching him.

News: An Apostle will come at the end of April to visit this mission! We think it will be D. Todd Christopherson, because President Fusco keeps sending his talks to all of the missionaries in his emails each week. I’m excited!

Sorry but I have to make this email short.  I promise to give you some great “Impressions of Brazil” in my next email!

In my study time this week, I have been learning a lot about the process of molding my will to God’s will. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ set the perfect example for us when he spoke these words, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” We need to trust that God knows us and that he can direct us on a path that will bring us happiness. The path may not be easy, but it will be worth it.  Happy Easter!

I love you all very much.

Elder Nielsen

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