Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

I’ve Been Transferred!

Hello Family and Friends!

Time is passing so quickly.  I can’t believe that I will be home in just 11 weeks!  It feels like yesterday that I entered the MTC, not knowing anything about the mission field.  Sister Fusco said it perfectly when she told us that when she flew into the mission area for the first time, that she looked down on all the houses and people in the streets and thought that there wasn’t enough time to get everything done!  I feel the same way.  I need more time to help all of these people.

I was transferred this week!  This was unexpected for me.  My new area is called Cidade dos Funcionarios.  It’s really close to the mission home.  It’s a great area.  I love the people here.  My companion is Elder Silva.  He is from Sao Paulo.  He is new to the mission field, so I will be training him.  He seems like a great person.  I look forward to working with him.

Impressions of Brazil:

  • The church organized a new Stake last week in Juazeiro, which is the first stake in the state of Ceará that is located in a rural area.  The church is growing really fast here is Ceará!

As I was getting to know the new area and the people, I got the chance to talk with someone really cool.  His name is Paulo.  He served a mission, but when he returned, he felt like no one noticed him (he doesn’t have family who are members of the church) and he stopped going to church.  His inactivity lasted for about 15 years.  He said that he knew the church was true during all of these years, and for this reason, he did not go to any other church.  But one day while he was working, his first missionary companion appeared at the door with a person that they had baptized all of those years ago.  He said that this visit sparked the desire in him to return to church.  This last Sunday, after a month of being active again, he was called to be a ward missionary!  Isn’t this such a wonderful story?

Paulo’s experience reminded me of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  Imagine the joy that our Heavenly Father feels when he sees his children return back to him!  I feel like I understand, better than ever before, the love that God has for all of his children, including those who turn from him.  I also have a better understanding of the incredible patience that God has for each of us.  He just patiently waits for us to come walking down the path.  I can also feel the remorse of those who try to turn back toward God after living a life of sin.  But I can also understand the peace that comes through repentance.  I love these words, “And he arose, and came to his father.  But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.  But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”  (Luke 15: 20-24)

I bear my testimony to you that God loves you more than you will ever know.  And for those of you who stray from God, find the strength you need to take that first step on the path that leads back to him.  Through God, you will find rest and peace and forgiveness.

I love you,

Elder Nielsen

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