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, April 21, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been great! It truly has been awesome every week I feel
myself becoming more and more attached to this place and I see how I
have less and less time here. Being with Elder Peters, who got his
flight itinerary(to go back home) Wednesday, doesn't help either! Haha but I love my
time in Florida.

We had a great lesson Monday night with Cathy Wilson, our new most
promising investigator.  She loved the restoration but more
importantly than that, we brought a recent convert with us! Cynthia
Neumyer. She is a BEAST! Just this cute old lady late 60s who was
baptized about a year ago, and she testifies like a Mormon veteran.
They loved her! They were talking and talking and talking. And our
lesson went great. Cathy's sister is in town and she reminds me so
much of Sandy Mariano! Calls everyone dude and is so cool haha. But
she helped a ton in the lesson too! We are excited for her.

Wednesday we had an awesome district meeting! We now have 3 districts
we go see each Wednesday. And fun fact elder Callister is the district
leader for one of them! And he is training a new missionary! He is way
cool! I'm so happy for him! We are focussing on Easter and the church
has put a video out! It. Is. Amazing. It changed my whole perspective
of the resurrection. Every person in the world needs to see this
videos here is the link.

We also brought one of the trainees up with us, Elder Belding. He is
from New Mexico and is one of those missionaries you knew will need a
lot of help learning the work. He has an incredible trainer but wow I
was not expecting the growth that has happen. I was so humbled... The
last couple days I have been so humbled. These fresh missionaries
carry the spirit around so strongly. They are so excited and they give
me a boost. They really do. I love being able to meet so many of them.
In my studies I read a few scriptures about humility too that really
helped. I did a lot of praying and studying and I feel so much closer
to him. It's amazing how EVERY DAY! We need to change, every day we
need a boost, or a fill, more daily bread. If we do not feast in the
spiritual things of the world we will become comfortable, And then
there is no growth. I know it's true!

Alma 42:30  Oh my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more.
Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your
sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of
God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your
heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility?

This helped me so much. We went out with one of the high priests this
week.... Oh my.,, we were really trying not to because... Well I'll
explain it with his own quote " I wish they would invent something
about this size that you could carry it everywhere and you could push
a button and it could do anything for you!..." Elder peters whispers
behind me... "You mean an iPhone??" Then his gps at full blast screams
to turn left and he turns right... Which takes us around in a
circle... Rerouting us... And he's like... "Where in the heck are we
going??? "

But what I learned was. He wanted to help he wanted to feel the
spirit, he wants and has a desire to serve. And he said a prayer
before we began that just changed my perspective again. I get into
such a routine. To where it is my job! Instead of a divine calling, I
am so glad I could recognize that.

We are still working on doing a prayer in every members home and that
is going well. And Brandon is working on getting the priesthood! And
wow. They are all in. Going to the temple in a year and I could not be
more excited! :)

Oh! Something else came to mind too!! I think Thursday night? Maybe
Friday... We went and left a prayer in a great families home... Well
there are a ton of little ponds and creeks and these everywhere in
Florida but especially in this area. And it was fairly warm outside.
As we were turning the corner I spotted something that looked like a
rock or wood floating in the water... I told Peters to stop ( i was
hoping!!) and he did... We walked over there and it was a gator!! I
almost freaked... I was trying to pull out my iPad to take a pic or
something and we got too close and Boom!! Big ol' splash and it took
off into the water... Luckily not at us but it was really scary. Major
adrenaline rush. It was probably 3 or 4 feet long... The head itself
was probably a foot long... Ha!! Crazy huh!!

And Friday night, I had the great opportunity to interview a man for
baptism. It was the most humbling experience. He expressed his desire
to God... Wanting to know what his next step in life is... And God told
him just keep doing what you are doing. So he did, his name is Gregg
btw. He prayed and read the bible every day... Trying to raise his two
daughters, and one day he drove by the church and felt his prayer
answered. God told him, this is the church you need to go to. So he
walked in... Loved it. Went home read the Book of Mormon and called
the missionaries. He was in Ether when they found him. Can you believe
it? I was just... Beside myself talking to this man?! And I was
interviewing him?? Ya it was amazing. It's an understatement to say he
passed the interview. And his baptism on Saturday was beautiful.
During the actual ordinance... He walked right in the font waited for
the elder he knew exactly where to stand, put out his hands... And you
could have heard a pin drop... I was overcome with the spirit. He went
down and up... The biggest smile on his face. Hugged Elder Gentry and
walked away... You could have heard angels singing. What a tender
mercy it was to see that.

All week I have been earnestly praying to feel the spirit. Wanting to
receive the witness that he is there and guiding me especially in this
work. Often I find myself just viewing this as a job instead of a
sacred calling. Once again he answered me. Through the baptism and

Sunday we had some musical numbers and talks on the atonement and
resurrection especially. I could not help but feel the spirit... Tears
couldn't be held back as I listened to "He is risen"  and "I believe in
Christ"... And heard the sacrament prayer... And the women sang some
sort of song about how we have second chances... And can change and

move on because of the atonement,.. It hit me very hard. As I took the
bread and water Sunday especially... I was. Full. I knew it was real.
And I felt the Savior. I testify that he lives.

I love these experiences. I love teaching the gospel. I love these
missionaries. Everyone I meet, and talk to, and learn their story?
Then I see how hard they work. I send a prayer of forgiveness for my
ungrateful heart. I have been blessed with an endless supply of
unconditional love and support. Thank you! And most of all, to my
Savior. Holy cow I know him so differently now. He is there. And he
loved us so much. He gave us a gift. The gift to live again. I surely
will do all I can to honor that gift. And I hope to carry the spirit
to others and inspire them to honor that same gift. I testify of the
resurrection and love of Jesus. He is the Christ. I know it.

We have things to do! I received an email this past week about how
someone realized what was most important in her life, she had
something bad... And changed it to good... And then something good...
And changed it to something great. That is what we all need to do. The
savior gave us these lives. We are going to fill them with things no
matter what. There will be a load.  I invite all of us to sift through
our load. And dump all the things that are anything but the best. We
are eternal beings. Why should we trifle with temporary things? You
were meant for first place. Don't be satisfied with second! :)

Be not afraid;only believe

Elder Stephen Nelson

Monday, April 14, 2014

New Goals

Well we got transfer calls saturday night, and of course we are
staying here in palm harbor, but we only have six weeks...until elder
peters hops on a plane and goes back to AZ!! Which is sooo weird to
think about...really sad actually... And these next two transfers, we
will be losing like 40 missionaries! It's crazy. Good news though...
Elder Callister is training a new missionary! I'm way excited for him
to do that!

This week, was truly incredible actually. I started the week with some
goals in mind, personally, to make me better, and trying to repent
completely and constantly. And I think it was revelation. I feel
great. There is something special about repentance... Well I guess the
fact that it's real! We can have our very natures changed! Which is
what we need to do! Cut out all the unneeded things and turn into
disciples. And for me, I am realizing what I need to do to truly
become a man. Not just a good missionary, but a man. I have always
tried to be older... Or kinda pretend like I'm more experienced
because I hate beginnings!! Ha, but now I am noticing how young I was,
and the changes I need to make. To be organized, to be clean! And hard
working and able to make sacrifices and mature!!!! Hahaha not a little
18 year old haha. And I've been seeing changes and I will continue to
make them. My studies feel different, I am getting almost double done
what I used to and waking up and getting going is not nearly as hard
as used to be! But, ha it is quite exhausting. I made these goals but
a couple things instigated this change too this week. I'll try to
touch on em as I tell ya about the week!

We went on an exchange tuesday to wednesday and wow. That was such a
humbling experience. The elders I went with were down in Gulfport, the
very bottom of the st Petersburg stake and zone. You can see it very
easily on a map. But they were full bike in the ghetto!!!!!!! But they
were happy, obedient and working hard! They have a lot of work and
they get things done! I was so impressed! Tuesday night when we went
to sleep, at about 3, we heard someone screaming, saying all kinds of
fun words for about an hour. He would yell and yell and yell and then
get in his car and drive around really fast then come back and do it
again.... Pretty soon a lady in the complex came out and screamed at
him and he was like... " who me!????" We were are you kidding me???
Who the heck ELSE would she be talking about!!! " and he was like, no
one is around lady?!? Go away... Ya it was an experience. But those
elders were still happy and worked hard!! I thought a lot after that
exchange. About how lucky I was... And my love for them grew so much.
I wanted so bad for them to see success. And while I was down there
with them, we contacted a media referral of this black lady who was
soooo interested! Especially in knowing where we were before this life
and where we go after. It was so cool.

Wednesday we had a good district meeting, elder peters and I do a
training every week and we try every time to train on something that
affects everyone, they seemed to like it. Elder peters is just so good
at putting a few points and letting the spirit guide... I need to
figure that out...I think I just stress too easily! But it worked.
Then!! Get this.... We went to lunch with president Cusick!? He was
meeting elder peters to talk about something's he wanted help or
advice with before he went home. That was sooo cool! To meet with him
just to talk, and wow. First off I know he loves us and all of the
missionaries, but he is super chill! Way cool and sooooooo smart. I
learned so much from him and took a ton of his suggestions and have
started them! He was talking to elder peters how to manage time,
money, marriage, work. It was such great info. And we were thinking,
President Cusick's job, is to go into business and teach them how to
be 100% all around more efficient and effective, and they pay him
thousands of dollars.... We get it for free. Ya we are so lucky.

Thursday was our miracle day... After teaching Brandon in the morning
and then coming home for lunch I realized we did not have many people
to teach... It was pretty much just him... So I was kinda complaining
about how we need more investigators and the members weren't working
on their friends enough and BLAH BLAH BLAH... Well... Elder peters
goes, dude we have a baptism though!!!??? And I was like... You are
right!! How many people go their whole mission with only one or two
baptisms! And we got one in 6 weeks! And he is solid! It was humbling
and eye opening and completely changed my train of thought. And it was
a family! It was perfect! Well we then went to contact a media
referral we got... Well miracle happened. Her sister was there and we
gave them both priesthood blessings and her sister is so ready for the
gospel!! Cathy, she is awesome. She texted us Saturday night asked
what time church started and to save them seats! And she told us how
she wants to heal from things in her life and ahhhhhhhh!!!! It was so
crazy! I look back and see what The Lord has done for me this week...
And I am so... Grateful.

Friday night we were invited and also approved to go with the clawson
family ( they are sooooo awesome) to see their daughters high school
play!! They did Peter Pan! It was so cool. Took me back to high
school!! Which was pretty much only a year ago! Ha. But it was a
really good play! Their daughter is really good she was Wendy and it
was only her first year of drama. We got to meet sooooo many people.
Half the palm harbor ward was there it seemed like and they all had
their friends and the youth in the play introduced us to a bunch of
people! And everyone who came! Got to see Mormon missionaries! It was
really cool!!! We stuck out like crazy! And we saw all the little
girls looking at us and whispering hahahahaha this old lady told me
and elder peters that we were gorgeous:) that was fun. But ya. That
was great!

We taught Brandon Ledford like 4 times this week... And...... HE WAS
BAPTIZED on Saturday!! :) it was the coolest experience. To see a
young family and couple, join together and help each other and
progress toward something that is saving them! And wow. He is humble
and he totally believes it. We sang I'm trying to be like Jesus...as a
special musical number. Me and elder peters and his wife Kim. It was
interesting, not many people came but the spirit was there and Brandon
said this " the devil was working on me this morning... But after I
went under it was all gone..." Holy cow. What an amazing experience. I
know I am where I need to be. Also... Marco Stevenson got baptized!
Back in Tampa one... He finally did it. Elder Callister and I were so
happy... We were so humbled... The sisters found him and baptized him!
It was awesome.

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference

Hello family!!

 General conference... Was really really interesting!! A lot of unexpected stuff! I was expecting this big ground shaking session of all missionary work... But it wasn't. It was all about being kind, being happy, being good and standing up for what you believe in?! I was so surprised! At first I was a little disappointed but now I realize it was exactly what I needed. Especially elder bednar and wow... Elder Hollands talk was incredible. Elder packer too!? He looks like he is on his last few conferences... But did you catch his experience... I'm pretty sure elder packer knows Jesus Christ a little better than the average joe!!! Wow! So cool! But I was humbled during conference... I was looking and looking for some specific answers and felt like I didn't get em, but after a lot of prayer and thought... I was missing all the answers and revelation that I needed!!!  Bednars talk about the load???? How happiness is not the absence of the load?? Wow. That is so for me!! Happiness comes through progression toward perfection!!! It was so cool. We also have been working with some less actives and an investigator and they watched conference! We got to watch a session with Brandon who is getting baptized this Saturday!!! And T is the less active... It was so cool to hear excitement in her voice when she told us she got an answer, and the fact that she kept the commitment we left. 

So we have 7 weeks left together!!! Can you believe that? Elder peters is going crazy! But he is determined to squeeze every last bit of missionary work out of him!!! 

At priesthood session I was reminiscing about priesthood session with all of us and grandpa... I was also thinking about how grateful I am that Dad not only took us to priesthood, not only took us to church not just did those things, but he was in it, he payed attention he took notes and applied them. I feel that during the upcoming years when our fath and testimonies are tried sooooo many who are only dipping their toes in the gospel and not embedded in the protecting gospel will fall :/ we have to be completely changed... Our natures changed. Read the definition of repentance in the bible dictionary. It's so interesting. A fresh view of everything... We need to have a complete change. So that's what I'm trying, and we are trying to help members understand that, but we can tell those that are not fully immersed and don't see what is happening. But then there are some like the Belisles!! And the Clawsons( here in palm harbor) and the Smiths and the youth here ( they are amazing!) who have strong desires to do the Lords will and see blessings. I'm particularly impressed with a kid named Logan!! He is bryces age and wow...he has invited his friends so much! And he is excited to go on a mission and at the same time he is standing as a light on his football team!!! Bryce has that opportunity!!! There is also another kid jake who is 15 and he gave his varsity football coach a Book of Mormon!!! How cool is that!! Miracles. Are. Waiting. 

Yes Ballards talk was definately for me too!! But I add my testimony to his!! Follow up is almost harder than the initial invite!! But that's where growth is!!! I can't wait until it starts happening! And it will! What is michaels calling!???

I am growing so much. I am learning how to be a servant.., how to be a man of god.
We recently went to a mission leadership conference with president Cusick, the other zone leaders and the sister training leaders and we watched a conference talk by elder holland... And how peter went back to fishing and repented and that is when he became converted... And I think I've talked about this before, but this week I've been trying to do that, to leave my nets. To leave my childish tendencies, my laziness, my selfishness... Things that's an earthly father, or eternal father... Cannot do. I am trying to repent and change. And I believe it can happen. I believe in the atonement, and if I didn't I wouldn't try it would be way too hard. But I believe in it. I believe god loves all of us. And I believe he can heal us. I believe when I pray he hears it. And we can love him through our obedience. I'm imperfect. But I love AND FOLLOW the savior. I'm so TIRED of people telling me they love Jesus and praise him and accepted him... No. They don't. At least they don't know how... 
Assuming this is somewhere in Palm Harbor

I'm grateful for my knowledge and I will share it with all humble enough to act! He lives!!! 
All of you keep me going through the hard times. I will do my best to return the love. You are gods plan, a family! Thank you for the love. 

Elder Nelson got his birthday packages a little late.
Here he is with a tie he got from a good friend.

Be not afraid; only believe 

Elder Stephen Nelson 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I had the best birthday ever so far

I believe that now that Elder Nelson is a Zone Leader he is finding that his time is very limited.  This letter is a short one this week.  However, I did receive a message and some pictures from a Sister in his ward.  Thank goodness there are good people in these wards who understand how desperately a mother of a missionary loves to hear what they are doing and who they are meeting.  So, here are the pictures she sent to me yesterday.
Her name is Niki Kemple.

The Kemple Family w Elder Peters and Elder Nelson

Dear Family,

So this week was really good... I am so grateful for the support I
have from all of you!!! I got so many birthday wishes and especially
from Tampa one. I literally feel like family!! I love them and miss

 This week... I'll be honest, we did not get to do much... And at
first I was sad... And frustrated... We only taught a few lessons...
But the few lessons we taught! We set a date!! This one man, is so
humble and ready to learn! So many missionaries would kill for that!
Brandon is his name and his date is set for April 12!! We taught him
this morning and he wants to find out from God what his purpose in
life is. And I can't wait for the moment he realizes this is it!!

I'm sorry not much time, and there are many events to tell! But our
ward is beginning to see it. We have a couple members who are soooo
fired up! They carry pass along cards just in case they meet someone!!
They invited 2 of their friends to have dinner with us! And afterwards
the family scheduled another time to have someone else come! There are
some members calling us, asking how they can help!!! It is so cool! I wasn't
seeing the miracles right before my eyes!!

 I had the best birthday
ever so far because I spent it with my best friend. My Heavenly
Father. We talked a lot on Saturday. Elder peters did a lot. But was
sick:/ and I appreciated it so much. And then I had a lot of time to
ponder and pray and wow. I felt his love for me. And reality of the

There are ways to help... And there are miracles to make!

Be not afraid only believe

Elder Stephen Nelson