Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Marcos is Baptized!

Hello Family and Friends!

These last two weeks have been huge growth weeks for me and my companion!

I want to start off by telling you about our progressing investigators. On Saturday we baptized Marcos, a 17 year old who had been taking the discussions for the past few weeks. He was confirmed on Sunday during Sacrament meeting. Marcos is the boyfriend of another convert named Erica. She asked us to teach him. He was basically born living all of the gospel principles! He had already been to church and institute with Erica and had the desire to be baptised before we started teaching him. Golden! Marcel, a friend of his, baptized him. It was so awesome to see the huge smile on his face after his baptism.

We are also teaching Camila, who is 14 years old. We met her in our English class. She went to church last Sunday and has a huge interest in learning more about the church. And we are teaching Alice. Alice grew up with a lot of church members and had an interest in visiting the church before we even knocked on her door. Several family members tried to convince her to not visit the church on Sunday, but she decided to go and she ended up loving it.

My companion and I teach piano and English to the public here in Russas in the church on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I personally teach about one English lesson each week. I am preparing to present another lesson in two days. The English class is extremely popular here and the room is packed full of people (definitely not because it has an American teaching it or anything!). Normally I teach using the following format: Teach a basic lesson for the first hour, then teach and translate a piece of music that everyone knows, and we sing together after we learn it! Then the last hour is used to answer questions about homework or really anything that they want to know. My companion plays the piano really well, so he teaches piano lessons on Thursdays (he learned to play the piano as a result of a class that a missionary taught in his own ward before he came on his mission). Pretty amazing, isn’t it?  I took 4 years of piano, but don’t really remember much!

My birthday was incredible! Two different groups of members threw birthday parties for me. The first party was given by a family who recently returned back to the church from inactivity (they made my favorites…pizza and cake!). And the second group were single adults in my ward who threw a surprise party for me and bought ANOTHER cake (yes I got really fat that day)! I played around with a hilarious pet monkey at the party!

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Here is the Brazilian version of the Happy Birthday song: Parabéns pra você nessa data querida, mutias felecidades, muitas anos de vida, parabéns pra você nessa data querida, mutias felecidades, muitos anos de vida. E pra Elder Nielsen nada (only one person says this), tudo (all people shout this. Então como é que é (one one person says this). é pique é pique é pique é pique é pique, é hora é hora é hora é hora é hora (everyone shouts this). Rá-tin-bom (everyone shouts this). Elder Nielsen, Elder Nielsen, Elder Nielsen (everyone shouts the name of the person three times).
  2. Some weird food that people eat here: Panelada or TRIPE, pan fried with rice and beans on the side. Or Buchada, which is the intestine of the cow filled with usually beans and rice or a type of meat like chicken.
  3. Famous styles of music in Brazil (I will add a famous singer who everyone likes in Brazil who sings the specific style of music listed): Forró- Fala Mansa, Pagode- Sorriso Maroto, Arrocha- Pablo (this song is played ALL THE TIME in the streets -homen não chora), Samba- Zíca, Axé- Calibso, Sertanejo- Itãozinho e Xororó. There you go. Try googling those hits!

Moses 1:39: “For behold, this is my work and glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” As members of the church, we have a great responsibility to assist Christ in moving this work forward by proclaiming our testimonies to others. Frankly, the missionaries need your help. And we all know that receiving member referrals is so much more effective than knocking on doors in moving the work of salvation forward. You have friends and family in your communities that know and love you. Half the battle is already won. The missionaries need to teach. That is their job. And the solution to finding the pure in heart has to come from the membership of the church. The message that the missionaries share transforms lives for the better. So why the fear?  At the very least, you are helping others to understand the church. If we really understood the great importance of this work of Salvation, our love for others would compel us to share the gospel. Remember this, we are either helping our brothers and sisters reach their salvation by our actions, by opening our mouths, or we are denying them the opportunity by not sharing. Our example is HUGE brothers and sisters. it is a matter of eternal consequence for us and for them. We need to give a little more of our time in helping the missionaries, by sharing our beliefs and doing our part. The missionaries cannot effectively do this alone. You will find so much joy in this service.

I love you all!

Elder Nielsen

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