Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

The Members Love the Missionaries!

Hello Family and Friends!

This week our zone (Zone Pacajus-consists of about 6 companionships) and one other zone participated in a training seminar with President Fusco and his three assistants. I really enjoyed the training and learned quite a bit. He created a new rule for the mission which should help everyone remain positive. (I think we have all heard this one from our parents at one time or another.) It’s that for every negative thing we say, that we say 3 positive things. He used an example of his relationship with his wife because he uses the same rule with her. So if he says something bad about his wife’s cooking, he has to state 3 things good about her in general. He believes that this will help us forget about the challenges of a mission and focus more on the bright side of things, and this will naturally help us to become more grateful people.

This week we had 9 investigators take the missionary lessons! We met Rosa and her grandson by knocking on their door one day. She cuts hair and paints nails for a living. She is 55 years old and single but lives with her daughter and son-in-law and their 2 children. Her son died, very unexpectedly, a few years ago. She was really interested in hearing our message of the eternal nature of families and decided to bring her 9 year old grandson to church last Sunday. Alice is another investigator that we have been teaching for a few weeks now.  She loves to hear our messages, knows quite a few LDS members, and wanted us to speak with several of her friends. We talked to them, and in the end, Ana visited the church along with Alice yesterday. We also met Dani, her brother, and cousin one day as we were walking along in their neighborhood.  Their mother called us over because she noticed I was an American and simply wanted to talk to me and that’s how it all started. We also had Weasly and Camila, both students in my English class, attend church yesterday. They are both 14 years old. Natalia is also one of my English students, and after her shift at a local bakery, visited the church yesterday. She is 17 years old. It was an awesome week!

I am loving this area a lot, mostly because the members are so incredible here. Just yesterday, one of the only members with a car, Isabel (who is also a ward missionary), drove us around all day to each of our appointments, picking up all of our investigators, and bringing them to church in the morning and visiting the other members of the ward in order to strengthen them spiritually with a message. Wow! And after all of that, at the end of the day, she made us a cake and cooked for us, and we watched the face to face with Elder Bednar and his wife. And the bishop, as his way of giving to the missionaries, made a variety of delicious desserts for us (he sells desserts for his living and is thinking of opening a restaurant in the future).  This gives you a little idea of the level of love and appreciation that the members have for the missionaries in this area. I am very blessed to know such loving and giving people.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Drinking a glass of milk is extremely weird to Brazilians. When my companions see me drinking milk, they think that I am crazy! I have never seen anyone else drink milk here and I have definitely never been offered milk to drink.
  2. When people get sick here, they believe it is due to an increase of heat and humidity. No one believes that they are sick because they have a common cold.
  3. Talkative parrots usually have a blue patch of hair on their heads. The hair makes them brilliant!

God requires us to walk by faith. Even if it’s a “particle” of faith. He wants us to take steps toward him. Not the other way around. He says “Come unto me”. I have been thinking a lot about how we can receive greater Spiritual understanding, and I have come to realize that it begins with us. We have to allow ourselves to believe that God exists. This belief then brings a small ray of light that grows each time our faith is tested. To receive more light and understanding, we have to be doing the things that bring that light. We have to do the work needed to get the spiritual understanding. The more our life is centered on Christ and his teachings, the more knowledge and certainty we gain of gospel truths. There’s no better way to test the truthfulness of this gospel than by living it. I love this scripture in Doctrine & Covenants 50:24: “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light and continueth in God, receiveth more light and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”

I love you all and wish you a wonderful week!

Elder Nielsen

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