Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

“Perfect love casteth out fear”

Hello Family and Friends!

This is the 60th email that I’ve written while out on my mission. Just a little factoid for you! Time flies by so quickly when you are losing yourself in the work of the Lord.

This has been another challenging week for us. We have been working so hard, but have not had the results we want. And the wonderful people that we have been teaching who have had such amazing miracles and spiritual confirmations have backed away from us because they fear that they will fail at keeping the commandments. They have decided to take the easy road. These people know that the church is true and even admit this to us, but they don’t think they can make a commitment to God. After they spend so much time in the teaching process and in fasting, praying, and learning…these people just shut their hearts and refuse to allow the Spirit of the Lord to guide them and strengthen them. Fear is an enemy to God and destroys hope and faith. When we fear, we lack confidence in God and his ability to help us. I love the scripture in 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Simply put, love comes from God and fear comes from the enemy of God, our adversary. If we have received truth and the spirit has confirmed it to us, then there is nothing to fear. God will walk with us. There are so many less active members in the church and investigators of the church that have fears, mostly of inadequacy, which keep them from turning their lives toward God. It is our job as latter-day saints to show love for these people, remind them of who they really are (precious sons and daughters of God), and remind them that they are never alone in their trials. There is one person who truly understands them, who suffered for them, and who loves them. He is the Savior, Jesus Christ. I have faith to believe that all my efforts are not in vain and that these people will one day hear and obey the voice of the good shepard.

People are already starting to put up Christmas decorations here! It is so strange to see time passing so quickly.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Generally the more wealthy the area where you are serving, the harder it is to find people willing to listen to the missionaries. I’ve taught many wealthy people, but not one of them has accepted the gospel and been baptized.
  2. The Brazilian version of hot dogs starts with cutting up chunks of sausage and creating almost like a soup with it and then spooning the mixture into the hot dog bun. Interesting right? It’s quite good though!

I have received a testimony about the importance of taking the time to understand the point of view of another person. There needs to be understanding and love between people in the teaching process or there cannot be any movement toward God. No one is going to make course corrections without feeling both the love of the teacher and the love of God. As members of the church of Jesus Christ, we also need to be careful that we are living the principles of the gospel that we are teaching others. And the investigators need to see that we are living the commandments. We cannot convert others to a higher level than our own level of conversion. This is because the Holy Ghost does not testify from unholy temples and we know that if the Holy Ghost is not involved in the process of teaching and correcting, then what we say will have a minimal impact on those we teach. Good teaching requires love and a lot of patience. I am so happy for what I have learned on my mission.

Love you all,

Elder Nielsen

Tudo vai dar certo, sorria, ergue sua cabeça e prossegue em frente!

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