Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Mission Conference!

Hello Family and Friends!

In the beginning of the week, we had a wonderful conference with Elder Christensen and his wife.  Sister Christensen gave a great talk.  She encouraged us to be more committed to Christ and his teachings.  Our purpose on earth is to keep the commandments and become like Christ in every way.  She said that on each of the temples of the church is written the words, “Holiness to the Lord” and that “commitment” or devotion is another word for “holiness”.  She asked us to “deliver our hearts to God”.  We must do this every day, little by little.  Our commitment doesn’t happen all at once.  She emphasized the Book of Mormon as an important tool to accomplish these goals.

Then we heard from Elder Christensen.  He shared a story about Elder Richard G. Scott taking a plane flight and preparing a talk for when he reached his destination.  While writing his talk, he would receive inspiration and he would write that inspiration in the margins of his paper, then he would continue writing his talk.  Elder Scott related that when he finished his talk, he realized that the Lord was directing him to write on a certain subject.  Elder Scott was saying that we need to listen to the Holy Ghost and do what he is instructing us to do.  We should write about those things that come from the spirit of God so that we don’t forget them.  Inspiration will come when we are doing the Lord’s work.

Elder Christensen spoke a lot about the process of conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He said that every time we have a spiritual experience, that we become more converted.  He said that we need to have a powerful change of heart and he said that we can gain this change of heart through the Book of Mormon.  He said that we need to read this book like we are reading it for the first time, like Joseph Smith while translating the book.  He reminded us that the Book of Mormon can help to resolve problems and give peace to our hearts and strength to help us keep the commandments.  He also said that revelation is when we connect a feeling with a thought.  He said that Moses was a great example of this principle when he received revelation to part the Red Sea.  He must have initially had the feeling that doing this was an impossibility, but after receiving guidance from the Holy Ghost, it became both a feeling as well as mental confirmation.  This is revelation!  Such great thoughts, right?

Then Elder Christensen he called for the mission presidents of the Brazil – Fortaleza and Brazil – Fortaleza East missions and he asked them questions. He asked President Fusco, how can we distinguish between our own thoughts and the thoughts of the spirit?  President Fusco said that he learned from Elder Bednar that if we are keeping the commandments, that we don’t have to decide whether our thoughts are coming from the spirit, because we are in tune with the spirit through our obedience.

We were really productive the rest of the week.  We were so exhausted!  We are teaching a lot of people that live on the farthest part of our boundaries, which means we are walking a lot!  But things are moving along here.  We are teaching a lot of people who really have an interest in learning the gospel.  One of these people is an elderly woman named Zeraide.  She is 70 years old and the grandmother of other family members who converted to the church in Aracati.  (Remember this city has one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil called Canoa Quebranda.)  Her whole family lived there and she met the missionaries there, but then most of her family moved to Cidade Nova, where I serve now, and she decided to move with them.  She went to church with her daughter and 2 sons, but wasn’t baptized.  We have taught her and she has decided to be baptized.  This was truly a miracle.  She will be a strong member without a doubt.  She loves the church.

Impressions of Brazil:

The people of the south that live in the Rio Grande do Sul believe that this place is the best place to live in all of Brazil!  They remind me of the Texans in the States!  They have a lot of pride for their state.

That’s about it for now.  Have a great week!

Elder Nielsen

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