Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Rayane and Priscila are Baptized!

Hello Family and Friends!

I left an investigator’s house this week feeling pretty sad.  This is someone that we have been teaching for about a month now and who finally chose to believe the lies on the internet about the church rather than take the time to ask God what is right. He even told me that if God himself said that this church is true, that he would still not join it because he feels good about where he is now. Wow! From my experiences in the mission field so far, I am convinced of two things: 1) That in many ways, we are living in dark times, where the adversary is making it so difficult to know the difference between right and wrong. And that if our testimonies are not anchored in deep spiritual conviction, that we will not be able to keep our covenants with God. And we will fall hard into the darkness. 2) We need to prioritize God’s will over our own. If he asks you to do something or if you feel that thing that your doing is not right and he wants you to stop doing it, obey his will because he knows what is best for you. Make choices based on God’s will and with a bigger perspective on the future and not based on momentary happiness, because what I have learned is that a majority of those momentary choices are not influenced by God because he wants us to make choices that help us achieve an infinite happiness and eternal joy. Our Heavenly Father knows the bigger picture.

For the most part, this last week was wonderful! We had two baptisms on Saturday. These two wonderful people, Rayane and Priscila, have made amazing choices and will be eternally blessed for it. Priscila, for those of you who don’t know, has been going to church with her mom, Eudeci, for a while, but when it came time for her baptism, she decided to take a 15-day trip! But when she returned, she again expressed her desire to be baptized, so she was baptized this week along with Rayane. Priscila doesn’t know how to read and is not very educated but listened very closely to our lessons and memorized almost everything that we taught. She is incredible!

So…a tender mercy story. It was late Saturday night and we had no money with us to buy our lunch for Sunday. Well, as we were thinking about this dilemma, one member of the ward saw us and gave us money to buy our Sunday lunch, but we realized that all of the grocery stores were already closed because of the late hour, but we started running to the nearest grocery store hoping that there would be one still open! As we neared the local grocery store, we realized that it already closed down for the night but suddenly the door started opening, which gave us just enough space for us to climb in underneath haha! All of the workers of the grocery store were still there and one cash register was still open and we were able to buy our lunch just before the door was shut again and the workers left and shut off the lights. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is a blessing!

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Sometimes it’s tough to understand the language, because some Brazilians don’t bother to pronounce many sounds in their words, just to make it easier to say. For example, with the word “filha” (daughter), they take out the l and the h and they say “fia”.
  2. (Sorry about this next one.) Brazilians do not think that someone who farts is funny like the Americans do, but when they fart they go on doing what they were doing like nothing happened. They have no problem farting in public or in the house. They don’t get embarrassed by it. My kind of people!
  3. Common slang words: nossa, caramba, puptz, vish (they basically all mean o my gosh, or wow, or I dont believe it, or that’s incredible).

One skill that I have improved on while serving on my mission is my level of PATIENCE with people, difficult situations, and stressful experiences. It is incredible that I can stay happy and at peace when every day a majority of the people we talk to reject us, talk bad about us, and are hating on the church in their own special ways. Literally in one of my areas when walking down the streets, I have seen people run into their homes and shut their doors as fast as they can so that we don’t speak with them. It is as if they are running from a natural disaster or zombies haha! Actually it’s kind of funny! But thanks to all of these testing experiences, my patience has grown so much. We need to have the bad days to recognize when we are having the good days. We need our patience tested in order to learn to never give up in even the most difficult situations that life has to offer. I’m so grateful for the help that God gives me every day to become the man he wants me to become. It has been a privilege to be a representative of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Your Favorite Elder,

Elder Nielsen

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