Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

An Open House for the Community

Hello Family and Friends!

This last week was a great week! Last Saturday night, we held an open house at our church, where all of the ward leaders and teachers set up information in each of their classes in order to inform the public regarding the LDS church. They prepared pamphlets and presentations, along with providing upcoming activities and a question and answer session. The community has heard a lot of lies and gossip about the church and it’s a wonderful thing for the people who have doubts to find out the truth and not believe someone who either has an ulterior motive or hasn’t even visited the church before. How can you judge something without learning about it firsthand? And how can you be a good servant of God, in whatever religion you choose, and defame the name or the religious practices of another, especially with no firsthand evidence? We are commanded to love one another. A person who gossips and defames others is not serving God. Anyways, for this open house, we created invitations and went to the two biggest companies here in Russas to hand them out to the workers (F5 and Dacota) and then we left some in the local stores. The turn out was great! As a result of this activity, we have had people ask for the missionary lessons. We will be visiting them this week!

The woman I wrote about a few weeks ago, Luzia, absolutely loves the church. It’s like she turned Mormon the day she walked into the church for the first time, because she has continued to visit every Sunday since then and she is so excited about her baptism (this Saturday!). She invited an out of town friend to come to see her baptism. She is so sweet and has already invited us to have lunch with her and her family, which generally only the members provide. And when I was sick, she walked from her home all the way to our apartment to see how I was doing and if there was something she could do. When she visited us, she said that she had a headache for 4 days because she had given up drinking coffee the same day that we taught her the word of wisdom (she is feeling much better now). I have been so impressed with the incredible faith of this woman and look forward to the wonderful path that is ahead of her as she grows in the gospel.

Today we will have family home evening in her home and the activity will be watching a movie about the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and we will have popcorn and make homemade churros!

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. The younger generation call people of authority, “people of respect”, and people who they have a lot of love for Tio or Tia (Aunt or Uncle).
  2. If you are looking to buy a Hammock, there is a city (Jaguaruana) that is famous for making them handmade in whatever style or form you want. Almost everyone in the city hangs these hammocks in their homes.
  3. Almost all types of soup have rice here. I have always thought it strange to have a soup with rice in it, but I always have to remember that EVERY Brazilian meal needs to have rice and beans!

I love this quote by CS Lewis: “It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor.  The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid upon my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in nightmares.  All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.  It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.

There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

Our examples are huge and one day we will be standing before God, and looking upon that man who created us, and we will have to give an accounting of how we treated others and whether we helped or hindered God in the Plan of Salvation. If we truly love as Christ loved we will share what we know of the Plan of Salvation with everyone, everywhere, every hour. We need to feel that urgency! People are waiting to hear the good news of the gospel! Don’t be afraid of what people will think, just do you part and if they accept it, their lives will be blessed. How wonderful it is to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is a great privilege and also a great responsibility.

Have an incredible week!

Elder Nielsen

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