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, June 2, 2014

Fresh Start

Dear Family and Friends,

This has been an emotional, physically, mentally draining week!?
Exciting and sad at 100 mph! Haha, missions are seriously crazy.

Tuesday - we went to transfer meeting. And just listening to them talk
about ending missions, or what we are doing in our service as
missionaries hit me hard. It made me think of Elder Peters leaving.
Being done... And it hit hard. I cried listening to Elder Casey's
testimony. We sang "Hark all ye Nations" and it all just hit so hard.
And I sat there and bawled... And Elder Peters saw and just put his arm
on mine and I just held him. That ended and we went around and took
pictures with as many as we could. Saying goodbye to the Keyes ( they
were a senior couple who I loved...) was hard! Sister Keyes gave me a
giant hug and told me " I look around at these missionaries and I
think I'm not sure if some of these will make it but when I look at
you, I say there's one who will make it." I was so humbled to be with
them. Elder Keyes even said, " here's a good missionary right here. "
and said he would miss me. I was floored.

 Saying goodbye to Elder
Casey was awesome. It all hit me again, I had forgotten how much he
had influenced me as a missionary. He changed everything. He told me
"you don't even see it, don't even know how much potential you have."
When he came on an exchange with me in Tampa when he was my zone
leader. And ah, it was just heart- wrenching and then saying goodbye to
Elder Peters. I just cried like a baby... Seriously. It hit me so
hard. And he starting laughing at something I said and then just
cried... He gave me incredible advice. Whatever you decide to do...
Just go do it, with confidence. Even if it's wrong. He told me. I
could do it. And I believe him. I had something that I forgot to give and
I saw Elder Peters again and he was laughing/crying and was like just
go already... Wow... I really. Really. Loved him. And I felt his love,
and I didn't even realize how much fun and love we had. It will be
with me forever.

 Elder Booth and I are companions now and I'm so
excited! In the strength of The Lord I can do all things.

Wednesday- we hit the ground running! Me and Elder Booth went to
district meeting and gave a new training, we have new district leaders
and new Sister Training Leaders and it's pretty much all from the
beginning and we are wasting no time. Elder Booth is so humble. It
blows my mind kinda, he just wants to work so hard and is so good at it.
It's really awesome. Exactly the companion I needed now. I've been
beyond lucky with companions.

The rest of the week we had to bike and we literally contacted a ton.
But it was perfect. We both practiced some great skills, talking with
everyone, being bold! And got caught in a rain storm and got
completely soaked.

Thursday we found some new investigators that were contacted a while
ago and within three days they became investigators and then dropped
Ha. But the cool part is we met em at the door and I just went hard.
He opened and said something to the effect of... "I'm not that
interested..." And in my head came "well that's too bad, I didn't come
out here to not give my message cuz you're not interested" so we
persisted. I swear we testified 10 times and brought up his family and
what the church and gospel could do for him. Then finally he goes, you
guys wanna come in? Uhhh duh! Haha well we came back and knocked three
times no answer... So we walked around the neighborhood and came back
and knocked again!! Ha. He answered the door saying wow you guys are
persistent! Ha you got that right. That was the first time in one year
of serving The Lord I have felt like that. I knew this was his chance.
And he said how sorry he was and blah blah he wasn't interested, but I
told him. I'm glad you came and told us straight up so now we don't
have to worry.

Friday and Saturday were really? Humbling but I look back and I'm
proud of he work we did! We are really trying hard. I see what works
and what doesn't... And we have improved our skills so much. Talking
with everyone! Teaching boldly and with authority. Companion unity.
Obedience. It's everything.
Saturday we biked over 15 miles to the church... To find out our
appointment cancelled and then walked around a lot, but we taught a
lesson with one of the boys, a youth preparing to serve.

But I wanna tell you about who we taught. Her name is Rachelle. She is
the only member at her high school. She is going to be a junior... She
is the only member of her family. And she has no license to get around
and no father support and some mother support. And yet? She "loves
being Mormon." I love going and teaching her. She is so cool. She is
granted... Very hyper and crazy'
! But I see what she is doing and it is far more than what I did. She
reads and prays and tries to be obedient. I pray we can all be more
like her.
Sunday... Ah so good. We spent some time with the members, talking with
them and it's so amazing to see them and watch them talk about who
they could invite for dinner and who they could invite to mutual and
say "Tuesday you are coming over for dinner and we will find someone
to come!" The Hansen's did that today! She said come over and someone
will be here. And we did! She invited her family and we just talked and
hung out and ate and then before we leave she says Elders you got
something to share? And we watched the "Because of Him" video with her
non member nieces and nephews and brother... I don't care who you are,
what you've done, how active, or inactive or perfect or imperfect we
are or may perceive others to be, that is what The Lord needs. More
people like her!

I really understand the atonement now. The power that it has and how
to access it. And I feel so great.

As many of you know transfers can be extremely exciting but also very
hard. Well this one was hard. Every transfer before this was exciting
but this one was much much different. For the first time I was really
satisfied with how things were going. I was happy, comfortable and I
saw how much I grew! It was amazing... And then boom... All of it
rested on my shoulders. It's all mine now. And man I feel it. Times
like these make you reflect upon how your mission has played out so
far. From the MTC to here. It feels like a long time! And yet It feels
like I just got Elder Peters and now he is gone! It blows my mind!

Every day seems long, and when you go out and find forever and you
don't meet many people you feel like you aren't productive and then
when we had a baptism!! I felt like crap, She was our only
investigator what are we gonna do now?? We need to be doing so much
more!? Ahh!?

But I've thought a lot about this and I've realized something. It has
to feel that way! We have to always feel like there is more to do,
why? Cuz then we wouldn't do it. We have to feel the urgency otherwise
we would just chill... Or be content. There must be that pressure cuz
after your two years it's gone! You finish and your calling is
completed. And I only have one year left of it. So I pray that I never
lose that feeling.

Elder Peters taught me that we work, and we try hard! We are bold with
people. We are confident, but most of all we enjoy every day! One
morning I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and I watched the video
"Because of Him" again. And the spirit overcame me. It was as if the
savior himself wrapped his arms around me. The things I've been trying
to tell people were true! He does live! Right now! And he wants to
bless them! It is all true! I watched that video and was overcome with
emotion. Especially as I likened the relationship he had with his
apostles to my relationship with Elder Peters. I wonder how painful it
was to realize hat their best friend really was gone... Or when the
apostles went to serve missions and were attacked and killed. How must
Peter have felt when he received word that James, or Paul or Andrew or
Philip were gone... These men that he loved so dearly had given their
lives in the service of God.

One simple truth gives us peace. Which is what they soon came to know!
Death has no sting, the grave no victory! The Savior lives! I feel as
they do. That I have lost a brother but I know the truth. We will all
continue to serve! We will all serve together! Wherever we are and
even after this life we can be together. I couldn't be happier.

I hope we all can keep going. Invite someone else. Do home and
visiting teaching, have dinner with another family. Study preach my
gospel have fhe. And watch as The Lord works wonders with us. I love
this work with my whole soul.

Be not afraid;only believe

Elder Stephen Nelson

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