Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

It’s Really Hot Here In Russas!

Hello Family and Friends!

It is getting really HOT here in Russas! It feels like my skin is melting off my body! And it’s only winter here. Imagine what it will be like in the summer. My companion and I search for shady spots for some relief! And when we find the shade we are soooo grateful for the few seconds that we are able to spend in it. I am forsure going to have some gnarly tan lines when I finish my mission!

Last week we decided to work more with the people we have met over the past few weeks in order to strengthen their testimonies and knowledge of the gospel. This week we will be more focused on working with our converts in order to find new people to teach. We normally ask every person that we baptize to create a list of people that they feel impressed that might be willing to hear the missionary lessons. We take this list home with us and pray over each name in order to receive guidance on who we should teach. We then take the list back to the member’s home the next day and ask their permission to begin teaching those people who we have been prompted to teach. This method has worked really well in our efforts to increase member participation in the finding process. Knocking on doors is always the least effective way to find those who are willing to hear the gospel message.

We are having transfers in one week. This means that I could be transferred because I have been in Russas for quite some time. I don’t want to leave! In fact, we have asked President Fusco to add another companionship in this city. The city is just too big for one companionship. I hope that President Fusco gives our suggestion some serious consideration. It would really help the membership increase in Russas.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Their is a type of ice cream that is sold in little frozen plastic baggies here in some houses in Ceará called Din-Din. It usually is sold for 50 centavos. It’s good!
  2. Drain pipes here are super annoying because thy literally hang off the side of the houses and if you are about as tall as me, you will hit your head on it every time as you walk by if you are not paying attention. I have hit my head on these drain pipes a ton of times haha.
  3. The Brazilians think it’s so weird that houses in the United States are generally made of wood and not of brick or cement.

I want to share a spiritual experience that I had some time ago. I feel like this may help some of my friends. In the Book of Mormon there is a story about a missionary named Aaron who is led by the spirit to visit the King of the Lamanite people, whose name is Lamoni. This king becomes very interested in hearing the message of Christ. His heart is open. And this is what he says in prayer to God, “O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.” This man had great faith. Would we say the same thing? Would we be willing to trade all of our sins and weaknesses so that we could come to know God? We are all tempted. There is no sin in that. But temptation can turn to sin if we allow it in our hearts and those thoughts become actions. I wanted to know how it is possible to stop temptations from entering into my heart. And I prayed for understanding on how to do it. I received some very clear direction for myself. For me, it would take a lot of work, but I was willing to do it. I was impressed to fast weekly, read the scriptures twice a day, read my patriarchal blessing every morning, and have a hard physical workout every day to clear my mind. I have put this plan into practice in my life and I have felt the difference. I have a strong testimony that if we will pray, read the scriptures, fast, and come to know God’s plan for us through our patriarchal blessings, that we will have the “spiritual armor” we need to keep the commandments. But it will take some work on our part. The question is, what are we willing to do “to know God”?

Have a wonderful week and know that God loves each and everyone of you!

Elder Nielsen

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