Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Iryane And Her Son Pedro Are Baptized!

Hello Family and Friends!

This week was a good week but very different without Elder Santana. With any new companion, it takes some adjustment. Sometimes we receive new companions whose ideas and work ethic are completely different from our own or their style of teaching is very different from our own. To have a successful companionship, there needs to be a mutual understanding, openness about how each person is feeling, willingness to forgive the imperfections of the other, and a desire to develop a friendship. But ultimately each missionary must learn to be one in purpose, discarding any contentions and little misunderstandings, because in the end, those little things don’t really matter and only draw you away from the Spirit. And without the Spirit, there is no success in missionary work. As missionaries, it is not OUR purpose to convince others that what we are teaching is true, but the real convincing power which ultimately leads to conversion, can only come from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost has the ability to testify directly to the heart of the person listening to our lesson. But if we are not living worthy of the Spirit, then we are teaching others based on logic alone, which means we might as well just stop the lesson and return another day. A companionship united in purpose, understanding, patience, and with the Holy Ghost, can accomplish amazing things.

Iryane and her eldest son Pedro, were baptized this week! I had the wonderful privilege of baptizing both of them. Seeing this woman enter the waters of baptism was one of the most joyful experiences of my life. We met because of the member program “Be a missionary for a day” activity and we found out she alone takes care of 5 young children, works, and does everything in the house. She is another example of someone with tremendous faith. She attended 3 other churches before we met her. She told us “I always had doubts about the doctrine of these churches because the Bible says/teaches one thing and these churches do exactly the opposite.” We promised her that she could finally have clarity with respect to the doctrine of Christ if she took the missionary lessons.  One month later she was baptized! It is always so beautiful to see her and her children hand in hand, walking the distance from her house to church every Sunday.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. You know how See’s Candies is a famous chocolate company in the United States. Well here in Brazil the most famous chocolate company is the Cacau Show. We have a Cacau Show in Russas and the chocolate is amazing!
  2. If you’re American and you want to buy something from the vendors in the street, you need to know that everyone will raise the price of the product you want, just because you’re American! So don’t forget to negotiate!
  3. Apple products like the IPhone are incredibly expensive here in Brazil. In Russas the new IPhone costs almosts 4,000 Reais, which is about 4-5 times the cost of the new IPhone in the United States!

As missionaries, we need to develop courage in confronting our fears and inadequacies. The best way to accomplish this is by humbly admitting that we have them and developing a plan, using God in the process, in order to succeed in overcoming them. For example, when I came to Brazil, I had a big fear that people would judge me because of my bad Portuguese. The way I overcame that fear was with patience, constant practice of the language, and pushing myself to speak Portuguese every single minute of every single day. The way to success, ironically, requires making a lot of mistakes. An equally important key to overcoming fears and inadequacies is in our efforts to be happy. I have learned that happiness is a power in and of itself, which can motivate anyone.

I love you all! And I hope you have a great week!

Elder Nielsen

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