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, July 28, 2014

My Life is like my shoes....to be worn out in service.

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was the fastest week of my mission! I slept in my own bed I
think twice maybe three times. It was really fun and we were very
busy, but at the end of the day we are so exhausted! I can honestly
say The Lord is teaching me, and molding me into what he wants me to
be. Which is truly the desire of my heart.

Tuesday - Daren the recent convert who's 18, came out with us to every
lesson!! He's such a beast! He just loves being with the missionaries
and is making plans to serve a mission! It's awesome!! Also elder
Booth gave him the priesthood on Sunday,and he will be baptizing our
investigator Ciera on Tuesday!!

Wednesday - district meeting, then we went on exchanges with the two
other companionships in our ward. I was with Elder Callister, and we
biked.... All... Day... It was so hot and I was not use to it. I've
been a little baby in a car so that was fun, I was very humbled after
that. And in my prayers I thank Heavenly Father for a car haha.
We taught the Mortenson family again, and they came to church! Bro.
Mortenson is doing great. His family are non-members but they've been
to church twice this week and he came to a Melchizedek priesthood
training at the stake center and it went awesome. So, Its so great to
be a part of their conversion.

Thursday - Maria our miracle recent convert is doing so good!!! She's
on fire and very happy still!

Friday - we spent the day with the youth in St. Petersburg. The stake
presidency had me and Elder Booth present a training and do some role
playing to prepare these kids and then they all split up with the
missionaries in our zone and we contacted for 3 hours! Haha it was
awesome. The two I was with were complaining a lot, and sooo scared
but we got talking with people and eventually we met Chris' he has a
kid and we taught him how baptism is a new start for him and he wants
to be baptized! These youth were so excited for a mission!

Saturday- was a baptism for the Clearwater ward sisters, they had
three! It was amazing! and then Elder Callister and I drove down to
his old area and he got to see his investigator get baptized and
the sisters in that ward had a baptism. I felt the Holy Ghost. I loved
it. And it was nice to sit in peace and enjoy the gospel. These
converts were the most converted I've ever met! They stood and
declared to everyone there that they knew Joseph was a prophet and
that this church is true! And there were like 30 other non-members
there! It's really fun to spend time with Elder Callister because, it's just
like chillin with your best friend all the times plus we both love
missionary work! It's great!

Sunday - was a great great day! It was awesome! We set up a ton of
appointments for the week. After church we went to the Johnson home, a
great family and they made plans for two appointments coming up this
week! And they are praying for every investigator of ours by name!
And then to the Welch's and we taught a lesson with them and Breah and
Becky! And then to that priesthood fireside. I learned incredible
knowledge about the priesthood.

This week was exhausting but, I got to give service, feel the spirit,
and it's become just like breathing! Missionary work is just what I
do! I love it! It's just natural I wake up and study and exercise and
pray and go preach and invite and I'm so happy! As we learned what it
means to hold the priesthood of God I realize how grateful I am for a
mission. And I've come up with some conclusions about my life.

1) if I am going to hold the priesthood, I will do so with honor. And
use it the way we should. Which means sacrifice.

"The Melchizedek Priesthood is more than a trust to do what the Lord
would do. It is an invitation to become as He is."
Henry B. Eyring - Act in All Diligence

2) I use to view a mission as me taking time out of my life to serve.
Not true. I have learned that I came out here, in search of my life.
And have found it for the first time. It is no longer a sacrifice.

3) When obedience ceases to become an irritant, you are endowed with
power from on high. And when it ceases to become an irritant, then The
Lord has some clay.

I am grateful for the chance and opportunity to get some one on one
training from God. To be Gods investigator in the morning, to stand
in place of his apostles, and to feel true joy. Instead of the false
temporary pleasures of wasting time, and not really doing much to
improve. I pray that I can continue to learn how to improve, and I'll
do that by finding, teaching, and baptizing. My 3 favorite things.

I am so excited for Ciera to be baptized. She may not quite understand all
that it is. But she will! I know this is true, and will never look

Be not afraid;only believe
Elder Stephen Nelson

Monday, July 21, 2014

Every Nation Kindred tongue and people!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, this was a long long week. I can't even remember teaching
lessons. We went on like three exchanges. I slept in my bed like
twice... Ha,jk, that's an exaggeration but yeah it was rough. But I
learned so much! On a mission you grow at triple the normal rate, and
this week was like double that... But it's over now and I'm happy.

We had an Elder decide that a mission was not for him. He decided he
He decided that it was too hard
for him and he wasn't ready. He is in the process. He might stay but
he's very determined in his decision. We visited him and talked and
tried to help him see the blessings. But he didn't see them. He no
longer had the faith that he could be lifted up... Now, I try not to
judge and just to lift. And his life is his and there's a plan just for
him. But let me say a few things to those of you preparing to serve
missions in the next few years.

If you believe that you can go weeks without reading your
scriptures, show up on Sunday, and go home from church and do nothing
and then go on with the week Monday morning, in this routine of
indifference about the gospel, you are very wrong. Years ago, you
could but now, The Lord needs practiced, prepared students of God. Who
go to seminary, listen, study, pray, read, serve, help people move,
lift up others, go home teaching, invite your companion to do home
teaching! The Lord needs those who are prepared. Because when you
enter the mission field, when you put the tag on, you are treated like
a man, and you will be expected to serve like one.

We have to to be willing to leave our old lives behind. The quicker we
do so, the greater the legacy we will leave behind. Now, the most
incredible part of it all, is no matter where we are, even if we have
gone back, is that we can! As soon as we decide and have enough faith
in Christ, we can leave our nets. Even Peter went back, and Elder
Holland declares that when he rededicated himself, that marked the day
he became the great apostle and DISCIPLE that he was meant to become.

So, for those of you preparing, it's time today to decide! And if you
feel like it's too big of a task? You're right, I then invite you to
study the atonement and then stand back and marvel at the glorious
atonement that will form us into glorious beings, if we are just
willing to give ourself to him!

I know it is true. It really happened! The atonement really happened.
Jesus Christ the son of God descended below all things, so that you
and I ( if we chose it) can soar higher.

I love this gospel! I learned about humility this week how it's not me
who does this work, it's The Lord. All the credit goes to him! I love

But anyway!! We had a baptism in the ward, Daren Vazquez is a beast!
His friend is a youth in the ward and now all he does every day is
hang out with the missionaries! He texts us like every other day and
says give me a lesson! Or  "hey guys who can I teach with you today?"

He asked me to confirm him and it was so beautiful. The spirit flowed
and he received some promises that later he told me he felt were
specific to things that he needed in his life. He felt it and it brought
tears to his eyes during the blessing. I've really learned the
language of the spirit on my mission, and the most important part is
the worthiness of the speaker! If we are worthy and make a daily
effort of being in the spirit of prayer all the day, when it's time to
perform ordinances, we will feel it. There were 12 missionaries at
Daren's baptism!

The last experience I'd like to share is about a family in the Palm
Harbor ward who I've become friends with. The Father especially, I
just felt a connection and love talking with him! They are the
Radfords! He teaches the Gospel Doctrine class and I love the way
he teaches it is so powerful! It's so clear and everyone pays attention!

Bro. Radford signing his sunday school lesson

His son was being baptized that day and he asked me to join in the
circle to confirm him, I was so humbled. This was one of the most
spiritual baptisms I've been to. See, the Radfords are a little
different from other members, or families. They're deaf. They
communicate through ASL, and they perform ordinances in ASL.
Jordan Radford at his baptism

As we sang the hymns I tried to learn and mimic the signs for the
words, there was a young women watching me and laughing at me, but I
didn't care. I just love it. During the ordinance, they stood in the
water, placed his arm to the square, closed his eyes, paused, brought
his arm down and signed the prayer. There is another man in the ward who
is deaf and his wife is hearing so she translated. Then he baptized
him brought a him up and returned his arm to the square. I was filled
with the spirit. Like never before, and similar was the confirmation.

Never have
I felt the unique spirit I felt then! It was incredible! During the
confirmation the same sister translated.  It was funny, Elder Booth
walked in right as the confirmation began and closed his eyes and
listened as a woman gave this blessing... HE WAS LIKE WHAT IS GOING ON
HERE! Then opened his eyes and realized what was happening!

I know that The Lord will never leave one of his children alone, there
is no one that is out of his reach. I know that is true. And I pray my
life can be a part of this great work. It is the deepest desire of my

These missionaries are giving up so much to be here. And they are
really learning to be disciples. It's amazing. I know that The Lord
knows that, so during these 2 years, I'm sure he is going to pack them
full of life changing experience. And lead us to the people we need to
be. And he is doing that for me.

I love this work. I love The Lord. And I am grateful for the year I have left!

Be Not Afraid;Only Believe!

Elder Stephen Nelson

Monday, July 14, 2014

I stand all amazed

I did get to chat with Elder Nelson for a bit this morning.  We often get to do that.  He expressed his love of the mission and a sadness for the short time he has left.  Before he left he made me promise that I wouldn't count down the days.  I was happy to oblige since I remember all too well what it was like ending my mission and how sad that day was.  I want him to be enthralled with every minute and not worry about how much time he has been there or how much time he has left.  It is truly the best 2 years FOR his life and he is loving every minute of it!  He says he is sad to think that someday it will end!  

Dear Family and Friends,

So, do you ever have those moments when you feel like you've done
absolutely NOTHING and yet Heavenly Father just poured out like a fire
hose of blessings? I felt like that Friday night. In those moments
always I start singing I stand all amazed. My favorite line is
"confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me." Because I truly
am confused. I don't get it! I don't understand! Let me back up and
tell you what all has happened this week!

Sunday - we were asked by our high priest group leader to come over for
lunch after church. He said his mother in law was coming into town and
he thinks she wants to get baptized... Soooo we showed up and
miraculously that just came up?! And she said she felt she wasn't
ready! Elder booth said immediately, OF COURSE YOURE READY!  And then
I said all you have to do is answer 5 questions. And we went through
the questions and she realized how easy it was! Well. long story short
we taught her the lessons in 3 days. Bro Johnson said " clear the
table, let's start the first discussion."

Monday - was a great day! We had a ward fhe in the park and we had a
couple ( a lady in the ward just invited them to church and they
showed up) and this couple wants to learn! They
Loved church and we will begin teaching them!

Tuesday- we continued teaching Maria! She just cruised right along!

Wednesday- Maria had her interview and we met the Mortensen
family, a part member family ,and he accepted the invitation to prepare
to receive the melkizedek priesthood! Our Elders Quorum president is
awesome. Loves missionary work. And then we taught Cathy at the end of
the night. She's preparing to receive a calling.

Thursday- was Maria's baptism! So great. We honestly did nothing? We
showed up and taught the lessons and that's all! Well afterward she
told us how much she appreciated us and loved us and Bro. Johnson
expressed to us how grateful he was. And it was the most humbling

We also received another companionship in our ward. And Elder
Callister is in our ward! So crazy!!! So were so excited about that!

Friday- was so awesome! We had a movie night with the youth... And we
watched Saratov approach! The youth wanted to watch it and pres said
it's for the youth so do what they want! Hahaha so we had root beer
floats and popcorn! It was... A crazy movie! All the missionaries were
just in tears because we saw the families of these two elders and it
was hard! Ha but so inspiring! And after they were released? They
stayed on their mission. It just really hit me hard. And?! There were
probably 60 people total! And more than half were non members!!
Soooooo AWESOME! This ward is the best!!!

Saturday- was Breahs baptism! And I baptized her. It was flawless. The
spirit was there. She invited her non-member friends?? And I was so happy
for her. And grateful I got to do it!
Elder Booth, Elder Nelson, Becky (Breah's Mom) Breah, Bishop Claus, Brother Greer

Breah and her Missionaries!

Sunday- we had two dinners with lessons and set up a full week. These
members and ward leaders really help us so much, could not ask for

The standard of excellence here is to teach twenty lessons a week
and a baptism each month. We are hitting both. But more importantly
the St. Petersburg zone is getting there. And! The mission. I've
learned so much, and am continuing to learn how to be successful in
all things. When we sacrifice, and focus and dedicate ourselves we see

I pray that we all listen to the prophet. Just try somehow this week.
I promise you that if you pray for a missionary experience every day.
You'll see one. Every day. And you will see small and GREAT MIRACLES.
Lost sheep will return to the fold, less active and no-nmembers! Both!

I'm so blessed to serve. Trials are a blessing! Baptisms, lessons,
people who love and care. A family who tells me they love me each
week. People who care what I do and where I am and above all, the love
of the savior. I could not ask for more. I stand all amazed.

I love missionary work. I love being here and I pray it is never over for me.

Be not afraid;only believe.

Elder Stephen Nelson

Monday, July 7, 2014

Don't Limit God's Power!

Dear Family and Friends,

"Although they are difficult and frustrating sometimes, they truly
enable us to do so much more- which sounds funny because why would a
weakness ever help you do more? But I'm learning that as we recognize
our weaknesses and call on Him in His strength, we actually rely on
Him not on ourselves and our own talents or abilities. Thus we open
this channel of power that gives us access to an infinite amount of
strength and capability that I would have never been able to tap into
without my weakness in the first place. Our weaknesses can truly be
made strengths. "

This is a quote from a missionary is the Philippines! So that right
there is humbling. This week was great but I hit a wall. It was as if
I hadn't slept or ate my whole mission haha but it hit hard and at the
same time we had a couple empty days. Everything fell through... And
the majority of our work is with members, so if we aren't really
connected with them then we have like nothing to do... So it was
pretty hard. And a couple days I was just complaining... And a couple
times tried to kneel down and ask him what to do but it wasn't sincere
enough I was more just going through it... More of a prayer of hope
not quite faith yet! So... Saturday came and i really just wanted a
fresh start. But just as the world tries to convince you no! You can't
change. You're exactly the same. You can never become better. You
haven't been able to stick to a diet or workout or study schedule so
why try now! Well that is what the atonement does for us! It makes it
possible, for all of us to truly be born again! To start over.

And I pleaded with The Lord, started my fast for Sunday and went to
bed. The next morning... Probably the most miracle filled Sunday...
Ever. Elder Booth and I went north about 30 minutes to do a baptismal
interview for a lady who got baptized! And it went perfect! The zone
is doing incredible! The missionaries are so faithful! President
Cusick joined us for ward council and it was so awesome. Ward council
is basically all about the people we are teaching it blows my mind how
dedicated these members are! All they are doing is missionary work.

And yet we ask more of them!
Well, then sacrament meeting Cathy came! And she had been struggling
this week wanting Heavenly Father to answer her prayer. A great man in
the ward walks up and bears the most beautiful testimony, testifying
that Heavenly Father is there, and he does care about all of our
heartaches. And it hit her so hard, I promised her that if she brought
her question to church it would be answered. And it was. And always
will be!

Then president Cusick spoke!  He threw down, Palm Harbor is like the
best ward and he told them all the easy way to do missionary work. He
basically said if you wanna do missionary work then let's do it! And
if not well we can find some easy things for you to do. He said all of
you can come to the missionaries and at least pray for those they are
teaching. BOOM! He ended and we were swarmed by members with ideas and
with people saying you are coming to swim meets with us and band
concerts and BBQs and lessons and were having a night with all he
youth at the church! And they're all bringing a friend! The palm
harbor youth even asked the Clearwater wards missionaries who they
were teaching so they could pray for them' it was unbelievable!

Well, it doesn't stop there. We went over to the high priest groups
leaders home. He told us to come over for lunch, and that is mother in
law was thinking about converting. She had come to church twice with
us and we thought she was a member! Well, she said she wanted to get
baptized but didn't think she was ready. I told her if she can answer
5 questions. She was ready... She was taking lessons in Oaxaca Mexico!
And studied the church forever! She had a testimony of Joseph smith! I
told her Maria.... You are ready! Her granddaughter is going to the the U
on Friday and she said she wanted to have everyone there for her
baptism. So, she's getting baptized on Thursday night :)

WE WERE FREAKING OUT! We literally did nothing!?!? I have no idea why
that happened. But it was amazing. And we went over and taught the
super super happy girl Ciera. She is slow to progress but wants to get
baptized, Tyler Kimball in our ward is a beast missionary. All he
wants to do is come out with the missionaries!

And Jake Hansen! The one who me and Peters got close with he has been
wanting to as well so, this week he'll get to. It's gonna be awesome.

I'm floored by these faithful members!

Tuesday we spent the day at Quoquina beach in Bradenton Florida... It
was so fun. We recieved great training, and made some great goals for
the next month. Last month our mission reached the highest number of
baptisms in a month. Ever, 66. We exceeded our goal by 3 and our new
goal is 84! When we reach this it will double our total from may.
 In zones baptized 19 people in one month, and our zone has 27 dates set
and 24 dates set for July. These missionaries are blowing me away...

As I look back at all of this... And I think about what I was
"struggling" with earlier in the week. I realize if we but humble
ourselves and for those of you who are studying preach my gospel

Humility is willingness to submit to the will of the Lord and to give
the Lord the honor for what is accomplished. It includes gratitude for
His blessings and acknowledgment of your constant need for His divine
help. Humility is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of spiritual
strength. When you humbly trust Him and acknowledge His power and
mercy, you can have the assurance that His commandments are for your
good. You are confident that you can do whatever the Lord requires of
you if you rely on Him. You are also willing to trust His chosen
servants and follow their counsel. Humility will help you as you
strive to be obedient, to work hard, and serve selflessly. (6: How Do
I Develop Christlike Attributes?)

If I humble myself I can be confident that it is for my good. For all
of us who are serving full time missions and for those of you who are
struggling with trial or sin, who may feel overwhelmed by your own
mistakes, or feelings of inadequacy, or those who are tryin but want
to do more!! I offer this scripture

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of
murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast
into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce
winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the
elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws
of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son,
that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy
good. (D&C 122:7)

8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than
he? (D&C 122:8)

It was never easy for him, why should it be any different for us.

I know that if we humble ourselves before The Lord we will begin to
realize what the sister, I quoted at the beginning, was talking about.
We need trials in order to grow. We tsp into deeper strength when we
are given them. I know that humility will bring all of us answers to
our prayers.

I know that if we humble ourselves before The Lord we will begin to
realize what the sister, I quoted at the beginning, was talking about.
We need trials in order to grow. We tap into deeper strength when we
are given them. I know that humility will bring all of us answers to
our prayers.
Quoquina Beach

Elder Nelson with President Cusick
Elder Nelson and Elder Booth

We need trials in order to grow. We tap into deeper strength when we
are given them. I know that humility will bring all of us answers to
our prayers.

I love missionary work. This is the most important work. Ever. I pray
that today you set a goal and make a plan to invite someone to do
something, please let me know what you decide to do.

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Be not afraid;only believe

Elder Stephen Nelson