Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

We Are Seeing Miracles!

Hello Family and Friends!

This last week was a week of miracles. We were tracting on Tuesday and we found a young woman who called us over and was really interested in what we do because she always sees us walking around on her street. Her name is Roberta and she is about 19 years old. We spoke to her a bit that day and she said that she had a friend who is also interested in what we do and if she could come and listen to the lessons. We came the next day to find that the friend who was invited by Roberta invited 2 other friends and the sister of Roberta invited 2 other friends. So long story short, we are teaching 6 of them and all are interested in the church.  5 of them came to our meetings on Sunday. And all showed an interest in being baptized this coming Sunday. So we are currently helping them in this wonderful process of preparing for baptism, which basically asks them to leave behind their old lives in order to take up a new and better one, being purified through the ordinance of baptism from all sins and all mistakes, and taking with them the promise of the companionship of the Holy Ghost based on their willingness to follow in the footsteps of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  A major part of our commitment to Christ then becomes our willingness to also help others along their paths.

During a district meeting with our 8 missionaries in this city, we decided to implement some new ideas. We are going to start an English class for anyone in the community who is interested in learning.  I will be helping to teach the class. We have also decided to begin singing uplifting songs every Sunday to members of the church, investigators, and others in who sit in the town square.  We feel that this will help them to feel peace in their lives. Additionally, each companionship has decided to sacrifice an hour per day to help a certain companionship in Araripina accelerate the work in that particular area and to offer a helping hand in strengthening the members in their area.  We want to work together as a team to help the work move along.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Soap Operas are extremely popular and everyone watches them.
  2. When it gets really hot and I mean REALLY hot, this is always a sign that it will rain shortly in our area.
  3. High school is only 3 years and not 4 like it is in the US.
  4. It is like a new trend here for the old and young to wear braces.

The following is part of a journal entry that I wrote during Easter week.

Friday was a dark day. It was the day that our Savior Jesus Christ began the process of the Atonement. The difficulties and suffering of this day are mostly unknown and incomprehensible to us. One of his closest friends entered into an agreement with Christ’s enemies and betrayed him in exchange for money. While this betrayal was in the process, Christ entered a garden called Gethsemane and suffered incredible pain in body and spirit as a result of taking upon himself all of the sins, sufferings, and sicknesses of every person who has ever lived or who will live, which suffering caused him to bleed from every pore in his body. This intensity of pain caused him, the greatest of all, to cry out to his Father, “If thou be willing remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” But even though the pain seemed unbearable, he continued because he understood that he was the sinless one, the only one who could give the children of God the opportunity to return back to live with God again, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” He molded his will to God’s will and continued to suffer in agony because he loved his Father and he loved us. Although God could not take his pain away, he sent an angel to strengthen him and encourage him. I can imagine this angel wrapping his arms around this suffering man in that dark garden of olive trees in Israel. After undergoing this painful process, the one that betrayed him entered the garden with a group of Roman soldiers, kissed Jesus on the cheek as a sign to the waiting soldiers, and they took him away to the Jewish court to be illegally tried and sentenced to death on the charge of blasphemy. He claimed that he was the Son of God!  We owe this man everything.

Elder Nielsen

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