We welcome all to follow along as Elder Nelson shares with us his experiences as a full time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. These are truly they best 2 years FOR his life!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Trial of Faith

Dear Family,

This week was very bittersweet. So I have been really super excited about
teaching a ton of people! And helping them all Learn and progress and
baptize! But on Monday?? After our lesson with 15 yr old P he
dropped us... And said he needed to do his searching alone... And then
this other new investigator who was so good. He had us in tears during
his prayer,,, dropped us because of his wife. And the family who had a
baptism date... Is probably breaking up so haven't been able to teach
them... And this other 10 year old kid.... Who we were teaching... Is
a little PUNK!! So all our progressing gators and baptism dates...
Fell through :( all of em... And elder peters got sick Thursday night
so fri and sat were just me in the apartment studying... So. I had a
ton of time to think and contemplate... And make a choice to be mad,
and bitter and find out what I need to learn... Well, I tried very hard
to do that. And I've been making a ton of mistakes and not working as
hard as I should but I realized something... Well, a ton of things that
I will cherish forever....

So this week I watched a ton of conference videos and the bible videos
and read a lot of the New Testament and words of the savior Jesus
Christ. I prayed and prayed and studied wanting to feel a closer
relationship to him. And wow... I did. The bible videos really helped
me too.

After watching the video about the sacrament... And seeing how he
interacted with the apostles and when he would preach to the people,
and reading it in the New Testament.... Wow! he loved those men. He
loved them and wanted them to succeed. To know he loved them. He saw
their potential and he saw what it could do for them. He didn't want
to lose them! So when he established the sacrament he told em... Do
this to remember me. Please! Don't forget about me! Just saying "I
follow Jesus" isn't enough, we have to promise over and over every
week. Jesus had to be alone that one night... And if you ask him he'd
say no the father is with me, that's what he told em, but he was
alone, and in return through the sacrament we don't have to be alone,
he sends his spirit. And we promise the savior... No! You dont ever
have to be alone again!! I love you too and I won't leave!!! It's so
intimate so real, he lives! And he doesn't want to lose us. And
especially as a missionary, I feel it's closer, I feel like one of the
12. When I mess up, I feel like peter... Going back to fishing after
the savior dies... When Christ asked him... John 6:67 " will ye also
go away?" And in 68 peter answers "to whom shall we go? Thou hast the
words of eternal life?" And yet we still go away, so how important it
is to promise the savior our love and allegiance. I love the savior so
much, and I know he lives.

Another thing I learned this week is that even though we lost sooo
much this week, pretty much all of our top investigators... After
calling the other missionaries in the zone last night... I see what
happens when others are obedient, and when they see the vision... They
are teaching 17 lessons a week...3 dates set last week 5 new
investigators just last week??? For more than one companionship. And
they are excited about the plan that we just kinda threw at em. And
they testified to us that it works and helping their elders and
sisters to see it? Crying as they testify in district meeting because
they know it's true?? That is way more satisfying to me than 100
baptisms... We will continue to work hard. But I know The Lord is
hastening, and things are readly changing... And I just want to learn
it all. I love this work. I love my Lord and savior Jesus Christ,
there are miracles to see and to create!

Onward up and upward! There is much to do!

Be not afraid: only believe

Elder Stephen Nelson

Monday, March 17, 2014

Come join the ranks!

Dear Family,

Last week was crazy but it's settled down a tiny bit. We are
working so hard! My area is amazing! So, Elder Peters is 23 yes! And he
is a beast! We are doing so good! And having so much fun!! All we do
is teach and work with members. Done with street contacting like we
did in Tampa one but it's nice because I can look back and see how
much I grew and I know I can do that too! But here, and with Elder
Peters, who knows exactly the vision President Cusick has, we are
hastening the work!

 We taught 16 lessons last week. Have received over
25 referrals and are tearing it up! It's crazy because I realize how
much time I'm sacrificing too with Zone Leader responsibitiies on top
of the work! But it feels so good and honestly, it helps w the work
because I have the privilege to see what other missionaries are doing
that works and different teaching points and styles that I can steal
and try! Plus, Elder Peters is a veteran! I'm growing so much with how
I do things, ways to teach, and in obedience! It's amazing.

 We work out
hard at the gym every morning,eat a great breakfast ( which he makes)
get into studies ( I'm starting to really take notes and study for
investigators) and then 10 o' clock hits and we are out working!!! In
two weeks we have set two dates... Have 4 progressing investigators
and the members already loved Elder Peters so they trust us and it
makes it easy for them to trust me! It's setting the pace for the rest
of my mission. I am so grateful for how my mission has gone so far so
I can learn from each companion... And learn who I want to be and
appreciate the great moments.

I can say now that miracles are waiting to happen. Obedience
brings blessings and you'll feel great. And I did! But I always felt
like something was missing! I expected more from myself and I think
it's because I felt the hastening that I feel inside of me. I think all
missionaries do, but just like we are asking these people and
investigators to give up their old lives and the comfort of their
habits... For something better... The missionaries are having a hard
time doing that. But there is really a large majority who are ready to
hasten! There are only a few who struggle! There are
Doers who are stepping up! Elder Peters and I wanted to make sure
everyone knew...personally how much we love them and want the best for them and
boy did they exceed our expectations! Last district meeting the
district leader, Elder Smith, gave the best district meeting ever. He
was teaching things that we taught him only a week ago , to the whole
district testifying to them that he knew it would work... And we split
and did role plays of lesson one ( which is in a whole different style
now, which the mission department taught us and President Cusick which is
a whole different topic that is changing missionary work forever... )
and as he did it ( this is Elder Smiths companion, Elder Gentry) he
prayed and asked God for an answer just like the investigator would
and he got an answer and just started crying and got up and hugged
Elder Grant who was teaching... ( btw Elder Grant was my MTC comp and
he is in my zone! I see him often! Also I see Elder Callister every
other week! We are really close! Our investigators in Tampa One the
Sanchez family got baptized! And it was Elder Callister's birthday yesterday! How
cool is that?  and now we are in the same zone!) anyway we came back
together from the role play and Elder Gentry's companion Elder smith...
Who is the district leader... Bore his testimony of the church being
true... And it was so powerful... In tears, he said that we are being
led by a prophet.... Elder Peters and I were so humbled. It's an
incredible thing to see the work hastening!!! And I'm
right in the middle of it! I can't explain it! A lot of things have
happened but I want to share another quick experience!

We recovered a referral from a family that the sisters we replaced
were about to teach, Tom and Rachel. Young couple about to get married
and wanting to know more. Rachel is all in. But Tom was a little
skeptical. Typical young family... Hard upbringing...  But sincere!
Well, we met with them and taught lesson one. And in the new style the
first lesson is split into 3 parts. Each part is a different lesson
and we only leave one commitment. Well, the first commitment is prayer
the second is read and third is church. Well, we were teaching lesson
one and at the end we ask them if God were here right now what
question would you ask him... Hoping to get them to ask well I would
ask him if Joseph really saw God and Jesus Christ. Well... When we
asked Rachel... She said " I would ask him why I didn't know about
this sooner!!" Holy crap... We almost died, then we were, "okay... Well
that's what happens when we pray... We talk to him and ask him
questions and he comes and answers!" And we asked her if she would pray
and ask... Right now! So we all knelt down... And Rachel offered it...
Right before she started she said... " I'm scared!... Okay here I go..."
And just goes into it. And pleads with Heavenly Father to help her and
give her a confirmation that it's true... She said "amen" and we just
paused and waited and listened... We asked her how she felt and she
just starts crying, and says I've never felt so close to god before! I
just... I know that's it's true?!....we freaked out and invited them
to be baptized.  Rachel said I've already made my choice and Tom
said...well I don't want to break the covenant I already made with
God?  How does that work. Rachel! Told him about the priesthood! And
we testified to him of the cleansing power of baptism and he was
like... Stand up guys, give me a hug. Thank you... And they agreed to
be baptized!

So many other things have happened but that's just a glimpse. There
have been other humbling experiences that just show me that people are
being prepared and the members have friends who are! And the work is being
hastened. There is a sense of urgency that we all must feel. And if we
don't... We will miss the opportunity to be a part of this. I know
the Lord leads this work himself. I know he lives, I know President
Cusick was called here for this purpose and is teaching all of us how to
serve The Lord and also to hasten. We are here to hasten not to
maintain. President says, "Either lead, follow, or get out of the way. We
don't have time to wait"!

I know it's true!!

Be not afraid; Only believe

Come join the ranks, There is much to do!

Elder Stephen Nelson

Monday, March 10, 2014

Palm Harbor!

Dear Family and Friends!
 I don't even know where to begin... Seriously.... There
has been so much that has happened in the last week....

I hope I get time to respond to all your emails but if not I read them
all and am so grateful! But this week!!!

 Monday I said goodbye to
everyone from
Tampa one and it was hard... Saying goodbye to
brother Lewis was probably the hardest. I was fine with everyone... I
knew I would see them again and was sure they knew I loved them, but
with brother Lewis... He dropped us off at home Monday night and as I
started to say goodbye It just hit me... And I just cried, he is (
excluding dad ) the greatest man I know. It was so hard and ya...
Anyway. Tuesday morning we packed up in Christian Belisiles truck and
went to Olive Garden met w brother Chapman and Dana and
Madison and
then off to transfers.

 Elder Callister and I were freaking out... We
had no idea what would happens and sooooo many elders were going home!
Time is going by so fast. Well elder Callister and I got called up at
the same time and we are now in the same zone. And in order to
explain... Completely what's going on. I gotta tell you something
crazy. I'm now a zone leader! And yes my companion is Elder Peters who
was just released as assistant! Holy cow. I freaked out. I had gotten
to know both assistants from exchanges and got to see them at church a
lot but I never thought he would be my companion.

Elder Nelson and Elder Peters

 I have a car now!!!
No more biking for a while! And the area i am in is ( so called) the
best area in the mission! Everyone talks about serving in Palm harbor!
Elder Langi served here and so did Elder Peters before! He gets to
again! And he goes home in two transfers! Can you believe that???
Isn't it crazy?? I was freaking out, well we got to our apartment...
Still haven't unpacked and we have just been sooooooo busy! And I'm
stressed out! So much to do and learn and know. I feel like a greenie
again! Elder peters is sooooo experienced. Like in the mission? He is
#1. The best. He's an older missionary so he's like... Michaels age. And
just was Ap. It is the luckiest thing of my life. I'm learning so much
but it's also intimidating for me! Cuz I have to learn a lot of things
from trial by fire. I have a lot of things that I have to learn and
teach at the same time! But it's a great experience and I've never
been more humble, and happier and busier in my life. The people in this
ward are amazing! They are so ready to help and have like 20
referrals waiting that we will follow up and get appointments with the

President Cusick? Is a genius mom. Wish I could explain what
is going on but it's hard through email. We are sooooo far ahead of so
many missions and people. 30 missions have iPads and we are one of
them. We had members of the missionary department come and teach us
how the work will be hastened and told us how to teach people and a
different way of teaching the lessons. And Elder Peters had a plan
from like two weeks ago when he knew he would be coming here. So I am
right in the middle of it. 

There are miracles happening. The Lord is preparing the world... And us for his return.

Time to get to work. Let the world go and hold tight to the rod. There's no room for clutter.

I know it's true.
Our new address is:
 7337 columns circle #101Palm Harbor, FL 34683

Elder Stephen Nelson

Monday, March 3, 2014

Transfer Calls!

Transfer calls!! I'm being transferred from the Tampa first ward to
some place else :) I was beginning to think I was just called to the
Tampa Florida First Ward mission :)! Which I was fine with! But...
It's been hard because I'm soooo excited for change and movement and
it's exactly what I need and I'm so ready. But at the same time all
these people have done so much for me. Sacrificed so much for me. But
I learned a valuable lesson. Well more like solidified it. That I am
called here to serve these people. That's why I got so close with
them, I came and I served and I bore testimony and expressed
appreciation. And that's why we became close. Not because we just hung
out and talked and stuff, but because of my calling, and how lucky I
am to be in a ward who is so open and ready for that, but I can feel
The Lord needing me somewhere else. And it's exciting, I'm ready to go
wherever he wants me and I feel very satisfied. My work here is
finished and they are finished with me but man, I will never ever
forget the people I have met.

Elder Nelson's District and Ward Mission Leader

 I feel like I am leaving home again. Ican't even explain my love for them.
My hope is that in each of their
individual lives... They can succeed. They can overcome their
challenges... Wayward children... Hard jobs... No jobs!... Broken
families... Stress! Accepting the atonement. Everyday issues, I just
pray that they continue with what they have shared with me and shown
others and never stop being incredible. They hold a special place in
my heart and will always call it home. I'm so glad The Lord knew me,
and knew I would need a little home away from home to start off my
mission. To learn and to get comfortable so now I can take all of this
and apply it, I'm so excited to see what The Lord wants me to do. And
I will do it. I'll go where he wants me to go.

I really have no idea what missionary work or the mission is like...
Outside of south Tampa so I'll let u know as soon as I know!

But this week... Was incredible! Monday through Wednesday was pretty
empty... Thursday we had another meeting with the Sanchez family! They
accepted a new date of March 15th! And I'm so excited for them! the
mom came to church Sunday! And the daughter is ecstatic about her
baptism! We won't be here but we got to help with their conversion.
And see them grow and accept it! And then Saturday! ( skipping the un
eventful days...) we had a baptism! Sister Snow and Sister Graves had
a baptism and Elder Callister and I spoke and gave a prayer! And then
were the witnesses and Sunday helped with the confirmation! The spirit
at this man's baptism was incredible! He was so converted and ready to
change. He wanted to change.

 Wanted to get rid of everything else and
just change, and he did. Multiple times he was in tears. Because he
knew he was going to make it. Then Marco answered the phone!!! We met
and had lunch with him... He hadn't eaten for a couple of days... So
we helped him. Had a lesson... Committed him to a date and he accepted
all of it. We walked to the church.,, took a tour and in the chapel we
got to stand and sit quietly for a good 10 mins, then bare testimony
of eternal families and the spirit was undeniable... Well he didn't
show at church, but u know what.. it's okay. So many people have done
so much to help. And bro Lewis told me Saturday morning... Hey it's
still worth it... And if he doesn't ever get baptized. It's still
worth it.
Elder Callister and Elder Nelson

I don't know how to put in words how I feel. But I do know where to
contribute all of it. My Heavenly Father whom I love to serve,
forever. I know He lives and miracles and joy await. And the best part
is I've come to know this so early and have the rest of my life to do
something about it, this is all that matters.

Elder Nelson

Be not afraid; only believe