Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Happy New Year!

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Hello Family and Friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I’m sure you are all excited and eager for the new year. I think it is crazy that we are about to enter 2016. The time sure passes by quickly. This is a good reminder that we need to savor every minute of every day that we are given.

My Christmas was wonderful. I got to talk with my family on Skype, which was great! It was so good to see them. I love my family so much and I truly believe that I have the best family in the world. Later on at night, we met as a district and had a district Christmas dinner. I prepared the main dish. I roasted 2 huge ribs (took about 4 hours to cook). Well we ate a lot to say the least, and after, we did a Secret Santa. Everything turned out great!

We will also be doing a dinner in the branch to celebrate the new year!

Also, President and Sister Fusco, and a few of their children visited our branch on Sunday. It was so awesome to see them again. President Fusco gave a talk about Christ. He said in his talk that Christ was born in the most humble of conditions, when he had every right to have been born in a mansion, surrounded by costly things. He said that Christ was not rich or successful in business but because of his example and good life that he led, his influence will never be forgotten. He said that when we were baptized we made a promise that we would take upon ourselves the name of Christ and be a good example to those around us. Christ told us that we need to strive to be perfect as he is perfect. How can we do this? We need to do the things he did. We need to think like him. We need to act as he would act. President Fusco said that this is the secret to happiness. He finished his talk saying that Christ has always been and will always be the secret to living a happy and fulfilling life.

We have been continuing to work a lot with Renato, who is deaf, Johnny, Jadson, his girlfriend Centia, and Leo. These are the people that are progressing by leaps and bounds in the gospel and are preparing to be baptized in the church. I love each of them. I love teaching each of them about the wonderful blessings that come with living a gospel centered life.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. All of the cars are a lot smaller in Brazil than the cars in the US. The small streets wouldn’t allow for big cars!
  2. In the beginning of my mission I couldn’t pick up on the different accents of the Brazilians. To me it all sounded the same. Now, it is much easier to identify a Brazilian who lives in a different state because of his/her accent.
  3. The main material in the construction of homes in Brazil is concrete. It is very different from the wood structures in the US. It is very easy to distinguish between Latin American homes and US homes.

I love these verses in Matthew 10:37-39: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” I felt really impressed to share this with you today. I feel that a lot of people, principally the youth are putting many things before God (sports, TV, friends, etc). There is such great happiness found in putting God first in our lives. Christ said that if we are not looking to him, that we will not be worthy of him and this means that we will not be worthy of his unlimited mercy, which mercy is the only thing that will save us. For those of you who decide to stay home on Sunday instead of going to church, do you really think that this is showing that you love God and want to keep his commandments? Put God before everything else and you will be infinitely blessed. This has been such an important lesson in my own life.

Happy New Year everyone!

Elder Nielsen

 

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