Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

I am so Happy to be Serving a Mission!

Hello Family and Friends!

This last week was extremely spiritual for me. I had the amazing experience of seeing the fruits of my labor in Russas!

With this last transfer, Elder Semicek and I decided to set goals that would benefit certain organizations in the ward. We have been asking the Lord to help us find people that would be key to strengthening the ward through their talents and abilities. For example, one of our goals was to find 3 worthy young men between the ages of 17-18 in order to bless the ward with prospective missionaries. And so far the Lord has blessed us with 3 worthy young men who are thinking about serving missions in the near future. In fact, one was baptized last Saturday, Carlos Eduardo, who I talked about in my last letter. I truly believe that we need to be more specific in our prayers about what we want from God. I have gained a huge testimony of that this last week.

Carlos Eduardo was baptized by Ronaldo, one of my converts who is friends with Carlos. Both are 17 years old. What an amazing experience I have had to see these young men progress in the gospel and to watch one baptize the other! I am filled with gratitude to have stayed in Russas for almost 7 months now, just to be able to see what I saw last Saturday. I’m not sure if I wrote this last week, but Tereza, who is the mom of Carlos Eduardo, who was baptized 30 years ago, but fell into inactivity when she moved to Russas, has returned into full activity in the church. She invited all of her sisters (she has 5 sisters, 3 of which are members of the church but only one stayed active during all these years) to watch the baptism of her son. It was like a huge family reunion. Sister Aldenia, who is Tereza’s active sister, got up to bear her testimony last Sunday in the Fast and Testimony meeting. She started crying while expressing her deepest desire to see all of her sisters return back to the church. She said that everytime she went to the temple, she wrote all the names of her family members on the prayer roll. She said she has fasted and prayed for years for the time when one of her sisters would return back to church. She called us, my companion and I, angels sent from heaven to answer the years and years of prayers that she has offered (at this point in her testimony, I was crying). She said that God always listens to our prayers and in his time and his own way, he will respond. This was so humbling to me. I am so happy that I asked Ronaldo the simple question, “Ronaldo, do you know anyone nearby that we can teach?” God works through us to bring his children into the light.

The other great experience that I had was listening to Elen (another convert that I had the privilege of teaching) get up to bear her testimony about how Elder Claro and I had saved her life when we first met her and started to teach her, because she was thinking about taking her own life because of the heavy depression she was experiencing. It looked like she was bearing her testimony directly at me. Yes, I also got very emotional during her testimony. I couldn’t help but think about how grateful I am that I decided to change my life around in order to be able to serve a mission, because without that decision, I would not have been able to have these amazing experiences. I would not have been able to meet such wonderful, inspiring, and faithful people. I love these people so much and would do anything for them.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. There are so many churches here in Russas. And many of them have very creative names. My favorite is a church called “Bola de Neve” or the Snowball church. Another has a very simple name “Igreja” or church (yes the name of the church is literally “Church”).
  2. Here in Russas it is very hot, but the saving grace is a good wind that comes from the beaches in Aracati.
  3. Brazilians have an extremely difficult time pronouncing 4 words: Word, Ward, World, and Beach!

I am speaking to those of you who are wondering if you should serve a mission. I want to express my deep testimony to you that you NEED to serve a mission. The Lord is literally preparing people for you to bless with the gospel. The most important thing that you will do as a missionary is to teach, because the Lord prepares the people and the Spirit converts them. You need to strengthen your testimony now by studying the scriptures, going to church, praying, fasting, serving others, and sharing the gospel. And keep yourself worthy. I hope you are reading the wonderful letters of the missionaries in our ward and stake. I’m sure you have noticed that every missionary has changed a lot and has transformed into a better person. I’m sure you have read about the miraculous experiences that they have had. I’m sure you have read about the knowledge that they have gained about the gospel. I’m sure you have heard about the influence and impact of these letters on numerous families and friends. I’m sure you have heard of the blessings that have been given to the families of these faithful missionaries. The Lord needs you to serve a mission. He needs you. Do not procrastinate this wonderful opportunity. If you are not worthy, set up a meeting with the bishop now. He will help you to work through your mistakes. He is an ordained servant of God and as such will only look to bring you back to the protecting care of the Lord through an outpouring of love that he will show for you. He will help you to set inspired goals that will help you to become worthy to serve a mission and to enter into the temple. Don’t let your inadequacies get you down. The Lord qualifies whom he calls. He only needs the willingness of the person in order for him to mold you into the person you can be. So get this process going! The sooner the better!

My love to all of you! And have a great week!

Elder Nielsen


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