Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

The Power of Fasting With a Purpose

Hello Family and Friends!

We traveled to Fortaleza again to participate in a mission conference held by President Fusco. I learned some great things from the conference. Many of the talks focused on how to effectively teach the process of repentance to our investigators, which also happened to be the focus of Elder Andersen’s remarks a few weeks ago at another mission conference. President Fusco also spoke about the need for missionaries to learn how to receive correction humbly, without becoming upset and without complaining. He said that the biggest indicator of maturity and growth is the ability to take correction without complaint. President Fusco reminded us that Elder Andersen challenged all of the missionaries to ask the mission president in their interviews, “What do I need to do to improve as a missionary?” President Fusco then shared a brief story about the first time an apostle came to visit after he had only been out on his mission for a few months (it was Elder Andersen who visited). At the end of the visit, while President Fusco was driving Elder Andersen and his wife to the airport, he asked Elder Anderson what he needed to do to improve as a mission president? Elder Andersen responded by asking President Fusco, “Do you want it straight or with sugar coating?” President Fusco said that he wanted it straight. He then said that all the advice that he received from Elder Andersen felt like he was being stabbed by a knife 3,000 times, because Elder Andersen was correcting Elder Fusco’s leadership methods, saying what he needed to do to be a better mission president. This was difficult, but Elder Fusco learned so much from this experience. So President Fusco said that, from now on, we need to ask him in our interviews what we need to do to be better missionaries. He said that he will be honest and not sugar coat the counsel he gives us!

We have been traveling a lot to Fortaleza, which cuts down on the time we have to work in our areas. This is not good. But we have been inspired to fast and pray a lot about finding people prepared by the Lord for our message. I have literally been amazed to see our small list of investigators grow into a large list of people wanting to hear about the gospel and the church. I find this absolutely incredible. I have gained such a big testimony of the power of fasting with a PURPOSE. We were blessed with 8 new people that we have only begun teaching and all 8 visited the church last Sunday and have expressed desires to be baptized! Miracle?… I think so! Next week, I want to share a little more about the wonderful people we are teaching.

Every area that I have served in has had a mother-like figure for me. In Russas, Eudeci, who was baptized a few weeks ago, has been that mother for me. She recently shared a touching testimony about the impact that we had on her. She said that she was extremely depressed after the loss of her husband who was killed in a car accident. But just one month after the death of her husband, we knocked on her door and shared a message of faith and hope through the Plan of Salvation. We taught her that life continues after death and that she would see her husband again and would be with him throughout all eternity. She said that because of us and the message that we brought, that she found the strength to turn the pain that she felt into hope and joy and she became happy again. She is a special person to me. Every time we stop by to talk to her, she is always wanting to do something for us. She is such a great lady.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. A very common food from Ceará is called Baião. Which basically is a mixture of beans and rice that is cooked together, often with an added ingredient of ground coffee! Hmm.
  2. I have had the great pleasure (on more than one occasion) of being chased down the street by very angry, territorial dogs. But I survived to tell the tale!

From personal experience, I have learned that a true friend will always leave you better than you were. Strive to find friends that uplift you and allow you to become someone better. Let go of those friends that make you forget about your divine heritage. We are sons and daughters of God. We all have limitless potential for good.

I miss you and I love you!

Elder Nielsen

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