Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Courage!

Hello Family and Friends!

This last week was very difficult for us in many ways. God tested us and we learned from our experiences. But we were able to organize a very successful activity with the converts of the area on the subject of Family history work. We plan on doing many activities to strengthen the converts and encourage the less active members. We are being blessed with another visit from a General Authority tomorrow, Elder Christenson of the presidency of the seventy. I have prepared and fasted for this wonderful experience. I have learned to write down questions that I want to be answered and bring these questions with me to these special occasions where the spirit is very present, because always these questions are answered.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. Basically the only shorts that people wear are the jean shorts. (Important information!)
  2. It is very rare to see an overweight Brazilian!

I have been pondering lately about courage.  To be honest, when I was younger, I didn’t have much courage to do things like standing up against people who did wrong things, sharing the gospel with the people I knew, changing things that did not make me happy, recognizing my errors, etc.  If I could, I would return back to my younger years to change many things. I could have been a much better person if I had more courage. Changing is hard. Not many people have the courage to change. They prefer to follow along with the crowd, because it is normal and gives momentary pleasure of some form and they don’t want to be separated from the group because of fear. I love the story of David and Goliath. David was a boy, the youngest of his family and small in size. As a shepherd, he knew what it was like to stand and protect the flock. He also knew what it was like to be alone. The only weapon that he had strength and ability to use was a sling! But he knew that God would watch over him and that he would never be truly alone. David loved God. He knew that the secret to having courage was to rely on God’s strength. David knew that he was a son of God and that God loved him. This knowledge gave him courage to charge forward, fearing no man, with only a sling and a small rock as a weapon. Read the story of David and Goliath again. And challenge yourself to follow his example this week. We need to have the faith to believe that we are children of the LIVING GOD who loves us and wants us to be successful in life. This knowledge has helped me to have courage to change my life for the better and has pushed away the darkest and most hopeless moments of my life and has given me peace and strength to press forward with hope.

I love you!

Elder Nielsen

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