Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

The Baptism of Eudeci!

Hello Family and Friends!

I had an amazing week that ended with the baptism of Eudeci! Let me begin with an interesting experience I had with a bus driver. As you know, I wake up really early on Tuesdays to take a bus to Aracati to go to our District Meetings. Well, for about a month now, the bus driver has been asking us questions about what Mormons believe. He is very interested in the church and its doctrine. So we decided to pay him a visit at his house last week to begin teaching him. (The bus isn’t the most ideal setting for gospel discussions!) He is not your average investigator. He has studied the Bible quite a bit. He attends a church called Assembleia de Deus, which is a really well known church here in Russas that is also known for their dislike of Mormons. We taught the first lesson about Joseph Smith and he said that he was willing to do what was necessary to know if what we taught is true. We invited him to pray to receive an answer to his question, and he said that he would do it. He also said that he would come to church on Sunday to see what our church is like, which he did! So we decided to attend his church to show support for him. It was a very interesting experience, because it was a church where the pastor spoke very loudly, with loud band music playing, and lots of “amens” from the members during the sermon. But it was great! The pastor of the church was actually very welcoming to us in many ways and even commented that he has family members who are members of the Mormon church. His aunt is actually married to a Bishop in the United States. I really admire how well he knows the Bible.

As I said before, we baptized Eudeci, who is a mother of 3 and whose husband (Her husband was the uncle to the bishop’s wife here in Russas) had died only a few months before in an automobile accident. We had met her through the activity “Be a missionary for a day.” She really has been like a mom to us in many ways. She loves cooking for us and making us feel at home. She is a great woman and I’m glad that she made the wonderful choice to become a member of the church. This week we will be baptizing her daughter Pricilla. I’m really excited!

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Russas is famous for building town squares. It’s funny but there are 5 town squares being built at the same time right now and it takes so long to build them because Russas doesn’t have a lot of money to be doing these projects.
  2. There are two good places to eat here in Russas. One is a bakery called Disky Pão and the other is a restaurant called Landuá (only super rich people eat there). They are both owned by the same man.
  3. The first mission office in Brazil was in the state of Santa Catarina in the Rio Grande do Sul of Brazil. The gospel was originally preached in German to the Saints in Brazil during that time. Sister Fuscos’s (the mission president’s wife) family was one of the first families to accept the gospel here in Brazil so they were taught in German. Sister Fusco knows German, English, and Português.

We have been teaching another man who, after every message taught to him, likes us to prove that what we are teaching is found in the Bible. (Many of the scriptures we use in our lessons come from the Book of Mormon.) Because if the same message isn’t in the Bible, then it is not true to him. Yes, it is possible to show him this, but he is missing a wonderful opportunity to show his faith in God by praying to know if what we say is true. Why do people want to limit what God is capable of doing for them? Developing faith in God takes some work. And people want the miracle without putting in the effort. Remember that it is by faith, doubting nothing, that God works his miracles. This faith is shown in countless stories throughout the Bible: Moses using his faith to part the Red Sea to escape the Egyptian soldiers, David trusting in God that he can end a war by killing Goliath with one stone and a sling, Peter walking on water during a storm, and so on. Without faith and full trust in God, not much can happen. We are just so limited. I love the story of doubting Thomas, who after Jesus Christ had risen from the tomb, could not believe the witness of others that he lived! Jesus later appeared to him and said this to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” We all need to have more faith in God and be more aware of the miracles that God is performing in our lives. He is real and very present in every one of our lives! I know this to be true because I have prayed and he has responded to my prayers.

I love you all!

Elder Nielsen

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