Elder Matthew Nielsen

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

Hello Family and Friends!

Last week we got to know a man named Anistacio.  He is 56 years old.  His wife died from a heart attack last December.  We felt inspired one day as we were walking to stop and speak to a group of people seated on the sidewalk.  We gathered everyone together and said that we wanted to share a message with them about Christ.  Anistacio didn’t want to listen to the message because he needed to shop for some things, but I was persistent so he stayed to hear the message.  Well, a few days after this visit, we taught him again and to our surprise, he read the pamphlet that we left him and he prayed and felt really good about continuing to receive our lessons and going to church.  He even accepted our challenge to be baptized!  If everything goes well, he will be baptized this week!  What a miracle, right?

The work is moving along.  I’m trying my best to keep focused on the work and not on the fact that I will be returning home soon.  I pray that the Lord rewards my efforts, because I’m literally giving it all that I have.

Impressions of Brazil:

  1. This Pokémon game is a HUGE hit here in Ceará.  Everyone is playing (both parents and kids).  Although I think it is a huge waste of time, the missionaries have taken advantage of the situation and have taught a TON of people in the streets!
  2. For the Olympics here in Brazil, the country has created 13 coins, each having one of the Olympic sports represented on the back of the coins.  As you may know, I am a coin collector.  So I have 12 of the 13 so far!

I love these verses from the Book of Mormon that teach us about being careful with how we spend our time:  “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.  And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.”  (Alma 34:32-22)  The time that we are given in this life is so short.  It is so easy to get distracted from the things that have real meaning in life.  And those important things that have meaning usually prepare us for eternity.

Do you remember the story I told you about the man who we brought back into activity in the church?  His name was Paulo.  Well he passed away suddenly about a month ago.  He was preparing to go to the temple.  He became less active after returning home from his mission and he stayed away from the church for 17 years.  I am so happy that he returned to the church and began living the gospel again, but I am sad that he lost all those years.  In the end, he was happy and on the right path.  But there are many who lose their way and, unlike Paulo, never return to God.  The question that I ask myself and others is, if God were to call you back home today, would you feel worthy to enter his presence?  None of us are perfect, but could you stand before him and say that you gave it your all?  We don’t have control over all things in our lives, but we do have some control.  My challenge to you is to put aside those things that don’t have any real meaning in your life.  Repent of those things that do not make you feel good about yourself.  And “Come unto Christ”.

I love you and miss you!

Elder Nielsen

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