Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

My Mission Has Changed Me

Hello Family and Friends!

This last week was tough, but I learned a lot.  My mission has taught me how to endure hard times and still keep moving forward.  It feels like I have been tested in every possible way.  My mission has shown me my weaknesses but also my strengths.  I feel like I’ve experienced about a decade of spiritual growth in a very short time.  The mission just matures you.  You learn how to love others, even if that love is not returned to you.  You learn how to help others because you feel compassion toward them.  But there have been times on my mission when I felt like I literally hit the bottom and felt like I could not get back up again.  And somehow God has always been there for me.  I know that these hard experiences strengthened me and caused me to be a better person.

Because of our work with the members, especially the youth, we are having success in an area that is really difficult.  We had the privilege of baptizing 3 of our investigators yesterday:  Haveri, Pedro, and Tiago.  Haveri had a difficult time preparing for baptism.  Her family does not support her decision to join the church.  But she gained a testimony that this church is true.  And even though her family is against this, she took a leap of faith and was baptized.  She is an amazing person who truly is motivated to do the right thing even though everyone is encouraging her to do something different.

Impressions of Brazil:

  • Brazilian BBQ is cheap and extremely good.  One of the best is a restaurant called Sul e Brasa.  They have discounts on Mondays and Wednesdays.  On those days, you can have a never ending meat fest!  I have also eaten Sushi there for only $7-8.  Do you understand how cool this is to a hungry boy?  It is so good too.  You sit at your table and you have a little card that has a different color on each side.  If you leave the green side up, they will serve steak and other types of meat for hours and hours.  And yes, I ate there once for 3 hours.  Haha!  I left there feeling like a umpa lumpa!  I couldn’t afford this kind of eating in the United States!

I’d like to share 3 scriptures that have made a big impact on me.  All of them speak on the importance of making correct choices and using our limited time in life to do good.  Please read them and allow the spirit to teach you what you need to learn:

“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.  (2 Nephi 2:27)

“Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.”  (1 Nephi 10:21

“For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.”  (Alma 34:32)

I pray that the scriptures enter your hearts.  They have changed my life.  I know that the choices we make now determine our future.  If we are always in preparation to meet God, then we will have joy in this life.

Until next week!

Elder Nielsen


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