Some Thoughts About My Mission
Hello Family and Friends!
I have been thinking about the ways that I have changed in the last two years. I am so grateful for the spiritual growth that I have had and the testimony that I have received regarding the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for the time that I have spent here in Ceará. Yes, it has been hard, but very rewarding. Through the messages of hope and salvation that we teach, we have been able to change the lives of many. What an amazing experience to be a missionary!
I have a testimony of the importance of developing charity in ourselves. “Charity” is the pure love of Christ. It is the most important spiritual gift that we could ever hope to have. When you have charity, you serve without expectation of anything given in return. You serve because you feel a strong desire to help others.
I have gained a testimony of miracles. I know that they are real. Miracles are another evidence of God’s love for us. They have happened so many times on my mission. I know that God is a God of miracles. I started a new program in my district where missionaries are writing their experiences with miracles into a book that I bought. And at the start of our district meetings, one companionship will read about a miracle that they have experienced. What an amazing thing to hear about all the wonderful miracles that have happened to these missionaries!
I know that God lives and that he answers our prayers. It is really sad for me to see the world becoming less willing to believe in God. I feel sad that so many are missing out on the wonderful experiences of the spirit. They miss the comfort, strength, love, and hope that comes through prayer and following Christ and his teachings.
I have gained a testimony of the importance of working with our less active members. I love the parable of the Lost Sheep and how it encourages us to do whatever it takes to find and help those who have lost their way: “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” (Luke 15:4-6) This last Sunday, a less active family returned to church for the first time in a long while. We have been teaching them for quite some time. They are extremely happy to be at church again and living the commandments. We need to have courage to teach and help those people who have lost their way.
I have gained a testimony that the trials that we receive in our lives are given to mold us into the people God wants us to be. God sees us very differently than we see ourselves and differently than the world sees us. He sees our potential and knows what we are capable of accomplishing. Be grateful for the tests and trials that you receive, because they are proof of God’s love, because without them we cannot be saved. Last week, for example, was very challenging for me. But I know that God helped me. And I know that I’ve become stronger because of it.
I felt very impressed to share these thoughts with you. It’s weird to think that I will write only 2 more emails to you. I hope to be able to share a few more of my experiences and the major lessons that I have learned while serving in Brazil.
I love you and am excited to see you very soon!
Elder Matthew Edward Nielsen