Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Elder D. Todd Christofferson Visits Our Mission!

Elder Christofferson and his wife spoke at an all-mission conference in Fortaleza!

Hello Family and Friends!

I was transferred again! Which means I took that 14-hour bus ride once more. (The ride was a little slower this time because the bus driver hit a cow in the middle of the road, but the cow made it out alive, which was an absolute miracle.) My new area is in a city close to Fortaleza in the state of Ceará called José Volta. My new companion’s name is Elder Alves de Souza and he is on his last transfer or the last 6 weeks of his mission. I think there’s a theme going here…I’m only getting old missionaries as my companions (Elder Coiti and Elder Farias return home tomorrow). I have already met Elder Souza in my first area in Novo Oriente and did a split with him there for a day while he was companions with Elder Gomes who was living with my companionship at that time. He is a great missionary and I look forward to working with him.

As you know, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, an apostle of the Lord, spoke to our mission last week.  Two missions were allowed to attend, along with President and Sister Costa, from the first quorum of the 70, and the area 70 was there as well. The first thing that happened is that each missionary took a photo with Elder Christofferson and his wife and after that, we all sat down again. Then row by row, every missionary shook hands with Elder Christofferson as a type of interview he said. Both Elder Christofferson and his wife used translators when they spoke because they don’t know Portuguese. He felt inspired to call each Mission President and their wives to bear their testimonies about the missionaries that are serving in their respective missions and how blessed they are to serve with them. I loved that part a lot. And then Elder Costa and his wife spoke. I loved that Elder Costa shared his conversion story with us. At 28 years old, his parents were already members of the church, but he never really had an interest in joining. One day he overheard the sister missionaries speaking about Joseph Smith and his story (his dad was the ward mission leader at that time and the missionaries were almost always in their home), and he felt the impression to just pray about what he had heard and see if it was really was true, but he ignored the prompting because he wanted to play soccer with his friends and he was already late. But he just kept getting that feeling throughout the day that he needed to pray and that feeling kept getting more and more intense. It caused him to return to his house and pray about the truthfulness of Joseph Smith’s story. He decided to read the testimony of Joseph in the first few pages of the Book of Mormon, and he read paragraph by paragraph and prayed to God to know if what he had read was true. He found it was true, all of it, which he said took about 14 hours to do and he immediately went to find the sister missionaries.  He was baptized that same day! Elder Costa’s experience was a perfect example to me of what it takes to gain a testimony. I have learned from my missionary service that God rarely responds to someone who is not willing to act on the answer. Elder Costa wanted an answer to his prayers. He put in the time to study, prayed, and acted on the answer.

Love to you all,

Elder Nielsen

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