Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

I’m Training Elder Semicek!

Hello Family and Friends!

There were a few surprises this week. We were notified at the last minute that my companion, Elder Claro, would be transferring to Araripina (this was also one of my areas) to be a Zone Leader and that I would be staying in Russas to train a new missionary! My new companion, Elder Semicek, is from a city called Curitiba in the state of Paraná in the South of Brazil. He is 20 years old and is really motivated. I look forward to getting to know him and how he works as a missionary. I hope that we can make a huge difference here in Russas. Which I know we will!

Because I was away from my area for most of the week, it made it tough to progress the work in Russas. But I enjoyed the training I received from my leaders in Fortaleza. I met my new companion there and practiced a lot of teaching strategies. We returned late on Thursday to Russas. For the remainder of the week, we worked with newly baptized members and in the end we got a ton of references from them and even visited with many of them. For the last 7 weeks, I have been teaching the Gospel Principles class in Sunday School. Well I taught a lesson on member missionary work and how the Lord wants the members to be involved in this work. So I decided to capitalize on this and ask for references from the new members in the class. They wrote down the names of their friends who they felt would be interested in receiving a message about Jesus Christ and how he can bless families. It worked and we received several references of individuals and families that we visited on Sunday. And the member went with us to these meetings.  It was great!

We will be travelling again to Fortaleza on Wednesday for a Mission Conference. So we will lose some time in our area again, but it will make us work even harder! We need miracles to happen to be able to have a productive week!

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. September 7 (today) is a national holiday in Brazil where they celebrate independence from Portugal. Brazilians generally host some type of parade and shoot off fireworks in the streets. My companion says, “It is like July 4 but not as cool!” The parade will pass right in front of our apartment. Great. Doesn’t look like I’ll be getting a lot of sleep tonight!
  2. Laying tile on the floor in Brazilian homes is considered a luxury, because it is so expensive. Generally the houses here either have cement or dirt floors.

I was in Sacrament meeting yesterday and I began flipping through the hymns in the hymn book and I found a hymn that by reading it made me very emotional. It spoke about Christ’s atoning sacrifice and his death and resurrection and how he saved all mankind from eternal misery. I cannot possibly begin to express my profound gratitude for that wonderful and compassionate man and the sacrifice he made on my behalf. In Luke 7:37-38, a humble woman approaches the Savior and kneels at his feet to anoint them. The gesture is symbolic of her gratitude and love for the Lord:  “And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” She believed that he was the Son of God. Anointing his feet with oil showed great respect for him. I too am a sinner. We are all sinners. I’m not sure that I would even feel worthy to approach the Lord as she did. He has given me everything that I have. He has made it possible to return back into the presence of Heavenly Father. I know that Christ lives. I wish all of the people of the earth could hear and understand the significance of this glorious message, “He Lives!” I know he deeply loves each and every one of us. He is very aware of us. If the veil of unbelief was pulled away from our eyes we would be able to see that. I feel his help and strength every day. I testify that he is real. That he lives. I know this to be true.

Love you,

Elder Nielsen

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