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, September 29, 2014

The Members here are amazing!

Dear Family and Friends:

This week was busy. As usual. All you RM's and current missionaries know how important is it to be busy! And how DEPRESSING it is when you don't have work to do! So it was a great week! We had interviews and transfer planning and today begins transfer week.

Transfer planning is pretty fun! I wish all of you could know the type of man President Cusick is. He is so direct and straight forward. 0% sugar coated ha. That's how he get's so much done! So, with every missionary he says it just how it is. But suprisingly he asks for our input a lot. He really puts a lot on the missionaries. When there is a problem, he doesn't come in and solve it. He will say, "well, what do you think we should do?" or he'll say "thats your baby" ha. so it's really helping me learn to be proactive.

Tonight until thursday we will be staying in the Hotel, so really upset about that! ha .not... but tomorrow morning we will be taking the exiting missionaries home and picking up the new ones in the afternoon. We are getting 6 new missionaries.

As far as teaching goes, I have never seen satan attack our investiagtors more... It's exhausting! I don't understand what else we are suppose to do! 

So many things are standing in the way of making a commitment towards baptism for each of our investigators!

So... what is there to learn from this?

Well, first of all, I am so grateful for the Lord giving us all these incredible people to meet and help teach about the true church of Jesus Christ. That in itself is amazing. All of them were member referrals, so the work is hastening! 

Obviously where there is much good to come, satan tries to stop those who will do much good in the Kingdom of God and I know that all of these people will be so strong. They will help and stay solid forever! So, the Joy that will come when they are able to make the covenant will be so worth it. They are all converted, but can't be baptized. It is actually really cool to see, I had made a goal to make sure that no one i teach will be baptized unless they are completely prepared! and that has definately happened.

I know, with all my heart that Heavenly Father will not let them suffer. They will be blessed for their efforts. They have a testimony of the Restoration, and they cannot deny it! Once we learn this, we cannot go back! I really feel the Lord is just blessing me. These people have been sent here to me, to teach me. I may have to do the teaching, but I am learning way more. It's humbling. These people are elect, and I just get to serve them. I could not be more grateful!

The members here are honestly amazing. I don't understand how they do it. There are some who just want to do missionary work. They just serve and are always inviting their friends to events! 
they inspire me to serve more. If they are going to balance their work, and school, and lives, to help us, then I need to give more! 

As for you, family! I hope to hear about your missionary experiences! 1 person before JUNE! We have been blessed with the gospel, and there are so many people who don't know what we know! 

So press on. Journey on. Keep serving. 

Be not afraid;Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Monday, September 22, 2014

Humble YOURSELF before God

Dear Family and Friends:

I learned this week that if we want God to humble us, He will. But he really wants us to do it ourselves. He wants us to get on our knees for as long as we need to until we realize that HE is in charge.

We still have not heard from Jordan. He dropped his baptism last sunday, and has not returned any of our calls or anything. So that is very discouraging. This week we just felt down. We attend every interview and do individual training with each companionship. and It gets exhausting but it's so worth it. President has loved what we are doing with our training, he even used it as the topic of his talk in one of the stake conferences! So, we were pretty excited! We are grateful Heavenly Father gave us that revelation! 

We have instructed all these missionaries to stop avoiding the members, to stop doing it on their own. We have been training all of them to go out and ask random people on the street to learn and be baptized but, on sunday we just kick back and relax... right? false!

God prepares hearts, members find them, and missionaries teach. That is the way that God has set it up, so if we are trying to do it a different way then we are wrong! So, that is what we are getting these missionaries to do! To follow up with every single member they see at church. All throughout Sunday we are going up to a member and talking with them until they commit to do something with us or with a friend!  We are being bold with them. We don't even go to class, we just talk with them. And every member receives an invitation. Sunday is gameday!! 

It's exciting to see these missionaries raise their sights and instead of hoping for a baptism and these miracles, they are going out and creating them! In our call letter it says we will be led to those ready to be baptized. so that is what we are going to do!

Jia changed her baptismal date for November 16th, (she turns 18 on November 15th) her family isn't quite all in with her decision mostly because they don't understand, but she wants some time to help them and then she is doing it. But she said by then she will be 18 and make all her own decsions. She said she is going to do it! Yesterday a member grabbed her (it was only her second sunday) and took her to sunday school! so we weren't even with her. It was so cool. She texted us halfway through and said " outer darkness seems scary, I want the Celestial Glory, #baptism #marryamormon #marraigeinthetemple WE FREAKED OUT! she is so ready to be a part of the truth. She believes it is a good seed, but she wants a certainty. Get this. SHE FASTED AGAIN! she fasted on her own, to find an answer. It's insane! We are so excited for her! 

Thai, who is a referral from JIA! is progressing so well too! He came to our last lesson with a story of how he was reading the Book of Mormon at work and someone came up to him and asked why he was reading it and he said "because! i want to be happy!" and this kid started to say some negative things and Thai told him to back off! ha it is crazy how the spirit works. He said that was his answer and he knows it is true, and he believes it! 

We went to Kristi's home last night and can i just tell you that I have never felt the spirit stronger in a non-members home! Her son is such a good kid, he is so mature and she is so kind! We brought the Belisle's with us and they all just hit it off! I was so happy i was about to explode! After such a long week this was just such a beautiful blessing! 
Elder Hawkes, Elder Nelson, Ryan and Kristi

So, the humbling part was just the exhaustion, we were traveling so much, in the car a lot, we slept in other missionaries apartments 3 nights out of the week and we just hit a wall. For a while we found it so hard to keep our eyes single, and to focus on the needs of our investigators, we started thinking about ourselves and we just were frustrated because we were doing so good. But we needed that. Satan was working so hard. We could literally feel his presence working on us and our investigators!.

But I know that miracles come after the trial everytime. I have zero doubt in my mind that because of our faith we will see salvation brought to those who we love, or will come to love! We just need to want it, and work for it. After all, what do you think God is doing up there? Certainly not thinking about himself! 

So, as for you family! I want to know how the search for your 1 person is going! You don't have much time! AGAIN! the challenge is to find one person to be baptized before June 2015! I expect the miracle! I hope you do too! I hope in every prayer that 1 person wherever they are is included! 

This is not our work, or our glory, we earn nothing from this. God literally gives us EVERYTHING when we make HIS purpose, ours. I love MY Savior and redeemer, Jesus THE CHRIST! HE lives! 

Be not afraid;Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Monday, September 15, 2014

I need Thee every hour

Dear Family and Friends:

This week was definitely The Lord reminding me that I cannot do this by myself.

I will start off with the hard things that happened this week then end
with the good. So Jordan did not get baptized. He didn't answer us all
day Saturday and missed his lesson with us, so we had to postpone it.
He said he didn't feel ready. It's okay but just sad. We literally
desire his salvation so much. So it was hard. He didn't come to church
Sunday either. So keep praying for him. He is so solid, wants to be
baptized living everything he needs to!

But! On the other hand, JIA IS GETTING BAPTIZED 28th of September!?!?!
Can you believe it! We had some powerful lessons with her and mom you
were right, she does need to act on her faith. And she agreed to, she
said on Friday that she believes that Jesus Christ is her Savior! She
believes it and accepts it! If that was the only good thing that
happened on my mission it would be worth it! I've never felt so much
joy than when she said that! And then we taught the restoration,

talked about a living prophet and she committed to living the word of
wisdom! She promised she would never drink tea ever again! 

(she didn't have a problem with any of the others) but she had been
drinking tea for her entire life, they're Chinese! It's the culture.

Jackie (Jia's member friend.)
Jia in the middle of Elder Hawkes and Elder Nelson

Just being silly

But she is living it. I've never seen faith like this. It's 

So, put the date on your calendars September 28th. Lock
it in. She is getting baptized into the true church of Jesus Christ!

We have a couple other investigators we are working with. Thai, who is
the friend of Jia, she just brought him one day, she is so awesome
it's crazy. We taught the restoration and we all knelt down and prayed
and he told us right after the prayer that he felt a weight was lifted
off of his shoulders? I'm hello!!!? And he accepted the date of
November 9th, it's going to be moved up but he wants to be baptized! I
can't believe how lucky I am to be here with these incredible people.
I love them, I'm full because of their faith.

So, this leads me to my challenge!
 Mom and Dad and Bryce! And also
Michael and Megan, I am challenging each household to find
someone...to baptize. Find someone to teach with the missionaries to
baptize into the true church before I get home! I want you to hasten 
the work.

 So, fast and pray and pray every day and night! One person
that is prepared to be baptized can come into our lives if we have the
faith. That is the way to get things going into the ward. Please! I
give each of you this challenge, Michael and Megan and mom and dad and
Bryce, so one person for each of you! And don't worry I will follow up
every week... Do you accept this challenge? I hope you do. I know it
can happen. I know that our family is meant for missionary work.

There's no coincidence that ALL of us have been or will go on a Mission.
The Nelson's are missionaries. So please accept!!
I love this work. 

Because we are living the life of Christ. We are
keeping his commandment. If we truly want to keep our covenants to 

him, if we want to follow him in all things, we will be missionaries! All
things will come as we do this! I know it is true!

I know Christ lives and commanded all of us to preach his gospel and
invite others unto him! So I pray we will do it!

Be not afraid;only believe
Elder Stephen Nelson

Monday, September 8, 2014

He Lives!

This week was very very busy! I hope I can remember everything that has happened. As an assistant your work is kind of split up into three categories. 1 - admin/office  2 - other missionaries 3 - proselyting

So, this week with admin/office,  every couple days President will call us with an update. But yesterday he calls and says alright lets fix this now so, we changed all the districts so now there are about 10 missionaries in each district, took about 5 cars, we have to make all these changes and let everyone know. And then send out new accountability forms, and district meeting trainings that we created, its just very cool but, we were freaking out! And all the internet went down in the Mission office so WE COULDN'T DO ANYTHING! (first world problems). We have a lot of influence with how the mission runs. I didnt think it would be like this but, President really trusts us for a lot of the changes he will just ask " do you think these two missionaries would succeed? and, "who should be the DL here"? And he will do what we suggest. I feel so much trust from the Lord and it gives me drive to do better! 

With other missionaries, we went on an exchange with two of our zone leaders and wow it was amazing!  Recently Elder Hawkes and I have felt this new urge to change. To help other missionaries change and give up everything for this short time. To ONLY SERVE the Lord. And its happening. I see how me and Elder Hawkes have similar drive. We want and have this incredible drive to improve every day. All we talk about is what we can do to do better personally, or other missionaries, or those we teach. This week we had an idea and we will be doing it. We are going to basically travel the mission. We are going to go to each companionship and spend the night with them and go through their area book and have a morning with them, let them know we love them and Boldly invite them to give more. To try harder and to find those who are READY to learn. That is the main focus here.

Tampa Florida Mission Leadership Council

We have learned that in order for us to baptize more, we have to find those people who are READY to learn. Too often we waste time teaching those who arent progressing because we need something to do, something to fill our time. But that is not what we should be doing! We need to do the best possible thing we can. We need to look for those who are prepared and prepare them for baptism. Show the Lord that we are looking for those who are ready and he really leads you to them. Or them to you. We have a baptism this week for Jordan, let me tell you a little about him.

He accepted the invitation to be baptized so, we've been meeting with him every other day. Well, this week I witnessed the greatest conversion ever, literally!  I learned a very important point, that we as missionaries do nothing!! All we do is invite! We are the messengers, the change is up to the individual! When we work hard all we are really doing is learning how to invite better and earn the Lords trust so he can give us people who are prepared. So, we left Jordan to read Chapter 32 of Alma and the next day he came ready and asked if he could say the opening prayer and was like "GUYS! i cant wait to tell you what i learned". He explained how He knows the Book of Mormon is true. He said that he felt a seed was planted in him and it grew into the tree of life like in Lehis dream ( THIS IS WHAT HE TOLD US!) and he said how he would die for the truth he has learned". He felt that all these other churches had pieces of a puzzle and he finally found the one where they all fit together! WE WERE FREAKNG OUT!?!?! that right there would be enough of a miracle for my entire mission. But Heavenly Father gave us more of course.

We are teaching Jia who is chinese and learning and praying about Christ being her Savior. Well, she met twice with us and came to institute TWICE! and this next week will be her third week meeting with us, and she's growing. She will text us some days and say how she is praying more and more each day. Yesterday she said "when im mormon" in casual conversation haha just something small but HUGE for us. Elder Hawkes and I have become great friends with her and we literally pray all the time that she will learn that CHRIST IS HER SAVIOR! she is praying to know and says she wants to believe it! PRAY FOR HER! she is on her way! she went from never praying to praying 3-4 times every day! 

AND! we met 5 kids last week on campus during this club sign up day one of them just walked right up to us and asked if he could learn! His name is Patrick, I've never felt the spirit so strong. Elder Hawkes felt it and the Institute teacher that was with us felt it too. We know he is prepared. We met with him and he said he CANT WAIT to pray about the BOM. 

Sorry this is so long but that's not even the half of what is happening! I just wish all of you could feel whats happening here. Last night we were invited over to a family, we invited the family to learn and they literally went on forever about why they didn't and just wouldn't even let us talk... they TOLD us how we dont need to go to church and that the bible is the only thing thats true...and I kindly said well, we just wanted to invite you... but as we left I made a commitment that I need to show my faith and testify with Boldness. 

So, I invite all of you to do that. And add your testimony to mine. That I know that there is more to learn than the Bible. That God spoke to a boy in grove of trees and restored the fullness of his gospel. I know that Christ leads this church, and we must be a part of it! Please help me in this work. 

BE NOT AFRAID;Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Monday, September 1, 2014

Humbled to the dust

Dear Family and Friends:
So, sometimes in missionary work, you have so much motivation, so much desire to baptize, and to teach everyone and just make a difference in lives and the work but you just can't get there. That's how I felt for a long time. But I never stopped trying, never stopped working towards it.  Well, Heavenly Father recognized that... And performed a miracle. Elder Hawkes is the perfect companion. All we think about, talk about, breathe, eat, dream about, is MISSIONARY WORK! We can't stop doing it! It's all we want! And we feed off each other's excitement and motivation! And we are such good friends already it couldn't be better. Well, we are working so hard, but I realized something. Most of the time when we are working hard, it's just to earn the Lords trust, so he knows we will appreciate his miracles, because when amazing things happen, it's not us, ITS HIM! We are having so much success and I am so happy. I know I am nothing as to my strength I am weak, but this is just incredible!

Tuesday - so, I don't know if I've talked about Jia much, she came to church with her friend Jackie. Jackie was in palm harbor with me and I found out she was coming to the YSA ward I will be working in. So, she invited her friend the first week and we've met with them like almost every day this week! Tuesday Jia and Jackie and another investigator Tara ( who is a dry Mormon, ready to be baptized, totally awesome ) went and had breakfast at this place and we talked about church and stuff. Jia loved it but she is working on finding out if Christ is her Savior. She is looking for something to believe in for herself. Her family is Buddhist but she is interested in Christianity. That night we went to the belisles and Christian who I've gotten pretty close with, brought his gf, who we've been teaching a little bit, she is a great girl and he's being a great missionary! 

Wednesday - we met with a couple that we found, they've been looking for a church, and they accepted the invitation to be baptized but we learned some things that were keeping them from being able to work. It's a hard thing as a missionary, because everyone deserves the gospel! We want to help everyone, but sometimes we don't have the resources. Their desire is all there though. 

That night we had institute and get this, Jia, wanted to come, but had a thing for school, that could have really helped her in her major, well, she cancelled it and organized rides and reorganized her schedule, because she felt it was that important!!! We were so excited! 

We also have another investigator, J. He was a referral that the assistants have been teaching for about a week. He's 24, played semi- pro football, but we had a lesson with him, set a baptismal date for this coming Sunday, and his testimony is so solid. He read all the way through ch.8 of first Nephi, he asked about the vision and the tree. It was amazing, then he goes on to tell us that he believes it, he wants it in his life and he can't go back now!! He was about to cry and his prayer was so sincere!! He couldn't wait to be baptized and confessed to us that he knew it was true. We asked him if he believed the Book of Mormon was true and he said  "yes,therefore this church is true" and he wanted to be a part of it. I could not believe it!! I was in awe.

Thursday all of our lessons cancelled, but the craziest thing? We were still happy, we knew it would work out, I feel like we are unstoppable even when everything goes wrong, we KNOW Heavenly Father is doing it all so we weren't worried! Elder Hawkes is so good at talking with everyone. It's crazy, we just invite everyone and teach everyone and bring their friends. We had 6/8 lessons cancel today, but Heavenly Father gave us two Chinese guys from USF and they loved the church tour. They just walked into the building randomly!  They were Christians and felt so much peace at the church. We invited them to be baptized and they accepted. It was amazing to see because they didn't really understand everything but they know what they felt. I am so grateful. 

Saturday was fantastic!! We met Jia and Jackie for lunch and Jia showed us her Chinese culture haha! we got these weird drinks at kungfu tea?? ( don't worry we didn't have tea) and then she took us to authentic Chinese food!  And then she got us an extra ticket ( we already had 3) to the USF football game.  We brought Jordan, our investigator and all of us went to the game. It was sooo cool. Tara, our other investigator twirls for USF, and is sooo good, ( she was the one who got us the original three tickets, she was out there on the feild in Raymond James stadium. That's where the Bucs play.

Saturday at dinner we started a fast with Jia, and she agreed, the first time she ever fasted. We watched the Mormon message, The hope of Gods light, ( if you haven't seen that video, please go watch it right now!! It'll change your life) but in the video he fasts to find out if God is there and he doesn't find out just then, but the answer to the fast leads him to continue his search strengthens his faith and he soon finds out. 

Well we all fasted with Jia, and she did it! 24 hours. Sunday there was a BBQ and she came and we got together and Jia said the prayer to break the fast and she said in the prayer that she did not get an answer but that she knows she can be like the man in the video, and be patient, and get an answer soon. She has faith she will receive an answer. She said she is reading the Book of Mormon, and she said once she gets an answer she will be baptized. ITS CRAZY! I've never looked at the Saviors sacrifice so intently. I've never appreciated my knowledge of him being the son of god so intently. I know it is true. Having the chance to teach it, is the greatest gift. Ever!

Sunday we lost 4 investigators... They called us and dropped ( they all 4 had baptism dates, that couple we were teaching, and the two Asian men, that we did a tour with) but again. We were fine, and what happened?  Heavenly Father brought 9 investigators to church! Jackie brought another friend! Kealana to church. She said she has never felt so comfortable at church. She felt so good, and she felt the spirit. Another recent convert brought his friend. Two other random Asian men, showed up, one of them said he will join the church! His name is Billy, we are meeting him tomorrow! He came to the BBQ afterwards too! 

DO YOU SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?? I sometimes get on my knees at night, speechless. I don't know what to say. I don't have to say anything. But I do know that Gods light is real!  He is doing all of it. I want success. I want to be the tool, I want to teach, and baptize and I know I will. Because I want to do what Christ did. I feel his words are my words.  In john 17 ," Glorify thy son, that thy son may glorify thee." 

I know that the glory of the Father is real and we can all receive it. I know that his sacrifice had to be so terrible, so that the glory of the resurrection could be known, and appreciated. I love Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for what he has done. And his call to the apostles to go teach all nations, baptizing them, is for all of us! I know it's for me! And it's all I want to do. I want to be with my Savior, as I'm sure the original apostles wanted to be. And when we do missionary work, we can never be closer, because we are doing exactly what he does, and did! 
This is Elder Nelson's favorite picture of the Savior 
(sent to me this week in his email)

So, all of us, who pray to be closer to Him!? Who want his love, or his redeeming power or compassion? Share what you know and invite. You'll be with him once again! 

I KNOW HE LIVES! and I won't stop until I've told everyone who wants to hear. I hope you join me in this journey. 

Be not afraid; Only believe