Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Frogs in Russas!

Hello Family and Friends!

It rained a lot this last week! Which is really odd because the rainy season had already passed. We tried really hard to tract and meet new people to teach, but because of the hardness of the rain it made it really difficult. In the end, my poor companion, who basically just got over weird stomach pains, also got a head cold! But he will be fine.

The good news is, we also began contacting people from the list of 55 names we got from our ward missionary experience.  So far, we’ve found some incredible people, including two families. The first is a single mother who has 5 young children who has been a member of 3 different churches, but would always find doctrinal disagreements. She is a hard core studier of the Bible and has been really interested in learning more about the church because she has heard nothing about the “Mormon Church” before the ward missionary activity. The other contact was with a family of four. The mom showed a lot of interest in the message because she feels that living the gospel will improve her marriage and increase love in the home.  She decided to come to church on Sunday with her youngest child who is 8 years old. I really look forward to teaching them and visiting the rest of the people on the list.

Also it was really cool last Sunday to see one of our newly baptized people come to church wearing a tie, dress shirt, and dress pants. He had always told us that he would NEVER wear those clothes, but as a result of the persuasion of his girlfriend it finally happened! The influence of a good woman!  Haha!

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Almost all of the people here in Russas work in the Dacota Shoe Factory.
  2. Russas literally is infested with FROGS! I’ve almost stepped on a million of them walking around the town at night because they only come out at night (my companion is afraid of them haha. He will kill me because I’m writing this in my email, but oh well).

I love this scripture in Alma 34:32: “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.”  This scripture is a real “wake up” call for all of us. We have such a short period of time in this life. This scripture has caused me to ask some questions regarding my own life. Are my days really meaningful? Am I having a positive impact on others? Am I a happy person? If I continue doing the same things in my life, who will I become? When I leave this life, will I be able to look back and say that I used my time well? We have all heard the saying, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die”. (In another words, do whatever you want because this life doesn’t matter.)This is a lie that the Father of all lies tells us. It is soooo short sided. This life does matter. We should have an eternal perspective about the things we do and say. How does what I say help or hurt others? We need to fill our lives with good and we will have meaningful lives. When we live for the next “fun” moment, life can become pretty shallow. And often we will be lead toward pain, guilt, and addictions. There are always consequences to our actions. But by living the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can become whole and live happy, healthy, and meaningful lives. That is a promise made repeatedly in the scriptures and I have seen people change and receive those blessings in their lives.

I love you very much,

Elder Nielsen

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