Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello Family and Friends!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful to God for the absolutely wonderful life that he has given me. I am thankful for the wonderful family that I love. I am thankful for the wonderful 2 years that I get to spend in the service of my Heavenly Father, helping the people of Brazil. It is truly inspirational to see so many missionaries offering so many selfless acts of service to people in the world. It is amazing to be one of 85,000 full-time missionaries that have decided to leave everything behind in order to bless God’s children by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I become emotional when I think of the sacrifices that people make in order to serve missions. I know God is watching over each missionary and that each will be blessed for his service. I am also very thankful for the members in my ward at home who have helped me during my youth and who have inspired me to become a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that I am very blessed in my life.  And I am thankful for it.

This last week we were able to meet some great people through an English class offered by the city. We went to this English class on Tuesday as sort of an unplanned visit and all of the students (about 30 people)  were very surprised and excited to meet a REAL American haha! I spoke about my culture and what we do and where I live and what it is like where I live. Then I spoke about why I am here and what I’m doing and I asked if anyone would like to learn more about the church. Some people who wanted to hear more about the church wrote their addresses on a paper. We have already visited some, and in the end, 2 of them visited the church on Sunday (the receptionist of the English class and one student).

The one student who went (Layla) had some difficulties getting to church. The day before we confirmed with her and the other 2 sisters, Layla’s mom said that she would drop them off. Sunday rolled around and they all woke up late, the mom wasn’t at home, and no one wanted to give them a ride. The other two sisters gave up but Layle persisted, and in the end, Layla was able to get a ride with her uncle. She loved visiting the church and wants to learn more!

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. All of Russas goes to a specific beach in Aracati on New Year’s Day called Majurlandia.
  2. A well-known snack food here is crackers with cheese and Goiabada (almost like a Guava jelly or paste). It is really good actually. They also make a sweet pizza with this combination.

As members of the church, we are asked to sacrifice our time and talents for our Heavenly Father…in fact we are asked to sacrifice all that we have in order to build the kingdom of God. There are so many people who struggle with the most simple of sacrifices, like coming to church one Sunday or keeping simple commandments. It makes me sad to think of so many people who reject a way of life that can bring them so much happiness and peace. God cannot bless us with his presence without our willingness to follow him.  We need to learn to be like him. Every commandmant that we are given in this life prepares the way for us to return to God and live an elevated standard of living. One of the truths of the gospel is that we can return to live with God with our families. But to be with God, we need to live as he would have us live.

I love you all! And eat some turkey for me!

Elder Nielsen

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