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, August 25, 2014

My new obsession!

Well, it sounds like Elder Nelson has hit the ground running and hasn't been able to stop much.  He jumps right into his duties as an assistant, and he continues to be anxiously engaged in missionary work!  Enjoy!

Dear Family and Friends,

So, a week ago on Sunday I went to the assistants apartment and left my
bags there, and we went with the prior assistant to say goodbye to the
people who he served with, members and converts and stuff. 
Monday morning we ate lunch with Brother Lewis and then Elder Hawkes and I took over.

I really had no idea what to do with the departing missionaries... I would walk around and people
would ask me questions like where should I put this and what to do with
stuff and I had to pretend like I knew what was going on, and this
wasn't even the worst of it yet. Monday evening we had the departing
dinner. That was such a cool experience. President just talked with
them, and expressed how grateful he was for all of them. He asked them
questions about what he could do to improve the mission, and then we
knelt down for a family prayer. I just kinda hung out, I felt so out
of place ha, but I enjoyed it.

We stayed in the hotel with the exiting missionaries, that was
awesome! And then woke up super early to take the missionaries to the
airport, returned and then got dressed and ready to pick up the new
missionaries. We met President and Sister Cusick at the airport. It
was fun to see all the new missionaries, it reminded me how I felt
when I first came out. It was really humbling. I tried to treat them like
I would want to be treated when I first came. Then we went to the
mission home, which is like the coolest place ever, it's huge, to eat
and for instruction. We trained them on obedience, and stress, and
cars and yea. It was fun because a lot of them are so willing to learn
and want advice and they just soak it up.

They were exhausted but it was good. Took them back to the hotel, and
we stayed there again. Next morning ( Wednesday ) took em to the
church and trained them all day on teaching and more like tools and
tactics of missionary work. Then dinner at golden coral ha.
Thursday was a crazy day. TRANSFER meeting. I got to sit on the stand
with president and Sister Cusick and Elder Hawkes, and watch it all
happen. It's such a blessing to be apart of all this. And to see how
much work goes into it all. Then afterward everyone is asking who to
give their keys to and who to give the phone and where they will live
and all this stuff. And wow. The Holy Ghost definately brings
everything to your remembrance. Cuz there I could have done that on
my own.

Elder Nelson w new incoming missionaries
Training meeting w Elder Nelson and Elder Hawkes in the background

So, that night we slept back in our apartment and I was kinda tired but
mostly just excited! I was just thrown right into the middle of
everything!! Usually president will call an assistant at transfer
meeting and they don't really start til after. But not me haha. It's
good. I liked it better that way.
I know The Lord is just humbling me, because every prayer I have I am
pleading with The Lord to work through me. And that's exactly what I
need, I'm so grateful.

But then the missionary work side. Elder Hawkes and I looked at the
teaching pool and there wasn't much there, a couple of great progressing
investigators but that was it. So we set some goals, and a vision for our area and
companionship and as the assistants.

By Friday we just decided... We are going to turn it up! We realized
how much President has to deal with. There are
missionaries that need him, and that is his main priority, so I realized that we
have so much control! So we just made a mental decision that we were
going to work harder than we ever have. And make our eye SINGLE and
let me tell you it is.

In the last week we have received probably15 referrals and taught
half of them. A member from Palm Harbor ward who is serving in the ysa
ward now, brought her friend to church her first day in the YSA ward.

Christian Belsisle has a good friend we are teaching on fb! And sister
Brown my recent covert from when I was in Tampa 1 told us she invited a
ton of friends to a ward party and 2 of them came and said they wanted
to come to church. So we invited them and they both agreed to come to
church!! And they did! Their names are Stephen and Yvette. An older
couple who are engaged and then that night bishop had a new
member/investigator fireside and they came! It's unreal! We just went
so hard!

Another experience! We went over to a mans home, Miguel. He and his
wife are working on being baptized, but they're living together and
not married for some reasons. Well, their son was crying and coughing
uncontrollably. Finally as we were about to leave I told Elder Hawkes
we should give him a blessing, and then Miguel came out and asked if
we could do it. So we went in and did. I began the blessing, and I
knew that he would be healed. And able to sleep. It was the most sure
feeling I've had! I just knew it. And Elder Hawkes knew it. As we
walked out of the home Miguel told us that he felt something in there
and he started crying and we told him how important it was that he was
baptized so he could receive the priesthood and bless his family like

I can't even tell you how I feel. I've never felt so motivated, or
excited or happy or pumped or whatever. All we talk about is
missionary work. All we want to do is teach lessons and talk to
people! And baptize them! Help them understand how important it is!
And it's happening! Elder Hawkes is such a great example of obedience.
He is teaching me so many things. It's humbling being with him. I'm
just soaking it up!

This next week we are going to keep going just as diligent. And I'm
not going to stop. I love this work so much. I never want to stop!!!!
I'm serving in the Tampa bay YSA ward and Tampa 1, but mostly the YSA ward now
that school is back in. And I am just ready to work. I'm running out
of time. So I'm going to sprint. I hope you will join me!

This morning we set a date with a young man who is 24 named Jordan.
He's a stud and his friend just invited him to church once. And now he
believes and says its like remembering something he forgot. He knows
it is true.

Be not afraid;Only Beleive

Elder Stephen Nelson

Friday, August 22, 2014

A new assignnment for Elder Nelson

On Sunday evening I recieved a text message from a sister from Elder Nelson's last ward saying that he had been transferred back to the
Tampa 1st ward again.  This was accompanied by a picture of Elder Nelson sitting on her sofa in the middle of 2 of her children and two other Elders sitting on the other side of the sofa. When I questioned why and who was texting me, this was her reply:

"This is Meagan Freestone!  We love your son!  He just got called to be Assistant to the President.  I don't think too many people know yet.  He probably said goodbye to his ward today. Can't even tell you how excited we are about this!  We feel like he is one of our kids here.  One of my kids cried when he saw him at the door and another one jumped into his arms."

I told her that he has that affect on us as well:)

I then received the following email from Elder Nelson on Monday morning:

I hope I can get some time to send an email today it'll be busy but
main things I want you to know.

I loved palm harbor so much and I cried like a baby. I became best
friends with Drew Marcucci.

I had to go to the AP's apartment Sunday night. I'll be picking up the
new missionaries tomorrow and taking home the ones finished. Elder
Hawkes is my new companion :) IM PUMPED!
Elder Stephen Nelson

I then waited for the next day or two to see if he would get a chance to email me....nothing.  I knew that his mission has a facebook page and they usually post pictures from each transfer.  So, I watched all day on Thursday for pictures.  Sure enough they posted lots of pictures of the new companionships as well as the two preceding days of missionaries coming and going.  I could see Elder Nelson in the background in many of the pictures but none of he and Elder Hawkes together. 
(He and Elder Hawkes have worked together in the past in Tampa 1 when he was there. Hawkes is in the Spanish program.They became good friends at that time.) 

Last night I finally saw one picture of Elders Nelson and Hawkes together talking to President Cusick so I decided that was good enough for me!  I have been anxious to post something to his blog and send a letter on to all of you.  

We are very pleased with the great work Elder Nelson is doing on his mission and we are excited for this opportunity for him to work so closely with his Mission President.  I will try to send some of the pictures I have obtained from this last transfer.  Thank you so much for your love and support! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Boys are meant to chop wood

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was busy but so rewarding! I love having the chance to travel through the whole zone. I get to teach a lot of missionaries but mostly I learn! 

I went on an exchange with two incredible missionaries. Elder Ware and Elder Doty, they had a baptism. I got to interview her and she was definitely ready, They were so happy, and a couple times I sat back and realized what I had and I was brought to tears. I listened to the words of the song nearer my God to thee. And that song just explains the feelings I had, how I feel closer and closer to him through the gospel, and how angels are beckoning me to bask in his light. And the more work we do, the nearer to God we are. 

These two Elders were in sane! They talked to every human being they saw. They have 6 baptism dates set and they are exactly obedient and it's just fun to be with them! I couldn't keep up! Seriously! I just loved it! One experience really changed me though. We were to teach some people, the lessons fell through so we went to stop by a house, no one home. We stopped at another potential investigator and he had a few minutes so we went in and started teaching lesson 1 and he seemed to start to slip. He was saying he didn't want to join any church because he has had so many experiences that have led him down the right path. We testified that he doesn't have to give up anything, we just have more for him to know! And he started feeling it. And we could see it, to the point where he said, "I just want to know so bad"! So we all knelt down and he prayed right there and asked God if there was a living prophet and he said "amen" and we all just knelt there in silence. It was one of the most tender moments so far! 

We had a family in the ward host one of the part member families we are working with and it went just perfectly! It was awesome! We just showed up, ate, shared a message, and left and both families just talked and mingled and we barely did anything! This is how missionary work should be! I'm so lucky to be a ward like this! And then Sunday this same family hosted another part member family over, and they were so bold and loving. The work is hastening and I love it. 

On Thursday we received two missionaries in our zone who transferred from Africa! There was an outbreak of a disease that's super dangerous so they evacuated and we received two of them in our zone who were the assistants at the time! So, obviously they are great. But, hearing them talk about their time there and seeing them adjust is so humbling. I'm so grateful for phones and a car and apartments and warm water and a bed!!! I'm never complaining about those things ever again! 

I have seen so many missionaries this week who are trying so hard to be their best. I've learned so many stories of missionaries who are the first in their family, and who don't have much support and were less active but felt a need to return to activity and now they are giving their all because they want to repay the savior, it's so humbling. I pray that we will all give a little more and realize that we are all like Peter. We sometimes look away from the Savior and reach out our hands desperately for his help. And when he pulls us up, we must never leave his side. And go and find others. 

This is what drives me. And I will eternally be grateful for Jesus Christ. I know that he lives.

Be not afraid;Only believe

Elder Stephen Nelson

Monday, August 4, 2014

Trials are a gift.

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was another busy one. But it was more exchanges than
lessons. And man I've learned a lot in this transfer. I have really
learned how The Lord blesses you with trials. I've learned that we
must be given burdens or we cannot enter the Celestial Kingdom.

I challenge all who read this, to be grateful for the trials you are
given, and thank him for every one.

I have changed my prayers, I also testify that he answers all prayers.
I know that is true, but mine have changed, I now am grateful for
my trials. If he were to not give us trials, we would not be able to enter
his kingdom, or receive the glory we are destined for.

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God;
yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their
Alma 34:32

If we don't work, or labor, get to know our bodies, practice resisting
sin, over coming evil and adversity, why should we be any different when
it is time for judgement and Ressurrection. If we don't know how to
resist the natural man here on earth, why on earth ( or in heaven )
would he give us new, perfect, celestial glorified all powerful
bodies. So I'm grateful for this time to prepare. And I'm grateful for
every trial.

This week Ciera was baptized:) holy cow. 

Ahh ha Elder Booth and I were freaking out! We held it on
Tuesday night for mutual, and it
was a really relaxed night. I was feeling anxioius and I
made the agenda wrong, our ward mission leader was out of town. Our
assistant ward mission leader was out of town. It was scary. But! Of
course, another trial to be grateful for! So I said a prayer... Or 12
and just hoped it would be a special day for Ciera. She has no family
support or anything, and we just wanted it to be special for her. Well
the YW president showed up, with A TON OF TREATS and a towel with this
poem on it and she bore her testimony to ciera in the middle of the
service. And it changed everything. So that strengthened me. That The
Lord knows, and will make sure EVERYONES needs are met. And the whole
night changed. The kids got quiet, they even bore their testimony to
ciera. They told her how proud of her they were! And DAREN baptized
her? Daren just received the priesthood last SUNDAY! So it was an
incredible day.

Ciera with all the Elders

Ciera w Daren ( who baptized her) and her missionaries!

On top of that The Mortenson family came to church! And bro Mortenson
stayed for preisthood hour and stood and declared he is chsnging his
life and getting back into it. We have been praying so hard for them.
And he is really becoming a preisthood man! I was humbled this week.

I am so grateful for the blessings we receive. I know that all our
losses will be made up in the end. I also know that when we get to the
end, the losses, won't even be loses anymore, they'll be gifts, and
yet God will still grant us those blessings. I know this is the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. In the fullness. And I am humbled. I pray that I can
make a difference in someone's life. I love being a missionary. And
pray it's never over for me.

Please join me in the service of our God, who's done everything for us.

Be not afraid;only believe

Elder Stephen Nelson