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!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Transfer time!

On Monday this is the email I received from Elder Nelson.  So, it's Thursday!  I am waiting to see a picture of him with his new companion via the Tampa Florida Mission Facebook page!  


SO! I will try to give as much info as I can, but I only have a little bit of time before the exiting missionaries get out of their meeting and we drive them over to the mission home for dinner. 

Sadly, it will be the last time I will be doing it! 

I'm being transferred!! pretty wild! But I feel good about it. Being an Assistant to the President was such a unique experience! I can't believe the Lord allowed me to be here at all. Not many get to, and he gave me an opportunity. I can't explain how grateful I am.

 I feel a renewed sense of urgency. I am excited to jump back into a full proslyting area. Unfortunately as an AP you don't get to do as much. You are not a traditional missionary. I am excited to go back. To be the same as others, to lift encourage and inspire and bless others. and teach. Being a missionary is truly about the souls. God's work and Glory is the people. Not the stats, and I feel I will be able to focus more on that now. 

( no one else in the mission knows this yet so don't go posting it everywhere until Thursday
i will be going to Sarasota Zone, I will be serving as a Zone Leader there with Elder Spach, another one of my good friends here. Sarasota is a bout an hour and a half south of tampa. I will be in a YSA ward! 

Im sorry I got to go! love you!

New Address:  4081 Taggart Way N #201  Sarasota, FL 34233

Here are a couple of pictures I received this week too!

Not sure who sent him a package, but I have a hunch:)

Jia and Jackie made Elder Nelson the Christmas cookies that 
I make every year at Christmas.  Jackie messaged me and asked for 
a special cookie recipe for him.  So cool!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dominique is numbered among the Church of God

Dear Family and Friends:

This was a fantastic week! There were so many miracles! I wish I could
explain them all but I will name three. Overall member missionary work
is the best way to do it! I promise! But it must come from the

Dominque: she was baptized on Saturday! The Tampa First Ward is the
best, led under the direction of Bishop Addison. Things just run so
well! He is such a good bishop because he goes exactly by book. He
treats the missionaries like kings! He told us, it's not that
difficult, you guys are called to teach, we do the rest. I'm blown
away, I've never learned so much from someone's example. Sis. Ball
hosted Dominique for a lesson this week and we found out they had
their first child at the same age, and she is the same age as Sis.
Balls daughter. And she joined the church as a single mom. So sister
balls testimony of how the church blessed her life was very applicable
to her.

Dominique has two little girls she is raising. She has a solid testimony of
what is truth.
I think she will grow a lot. But she was ready. She has shown real
faith! Bishop said the Ward is going to love and fellowship her as
hard as they can! It was a miracle. I had the great opportunity to
confirm her. I felt the intensity of Heavenly Father counsel to her to
keep the commandments and stay strong! It was awesome.

During testimony meeting at the  Tampa 1 building I was overcome. The
spirit was so strong, all these people got up and testified that they
know God lives. I felt it burn in my heart that it is true! I loved
it, I had tears in my eyes the whole time, because of the burning
truth I felt. No one has seen him or heard him, and yet we
know. It is truth. I was so grateful for that. Never underestimate the
power of a simple testimony. Declaring what you know to be true. Elder
Holland teaches us, that in a fast and testimony meeting, we are not
to give a travel log of what we've been doing, or vent over the
pulpit, we are to state what we know to be true. And maybe how we know

Chelsea Spampianato, is our new friend! Jacqui Shelton, "Member
Missionary MVP" has introduced us to so many people! And Chelsea is a
new one. She came to church in Palm harbor and I met her there and
invited her to learn more about the restored gospel. She agreed. We
taught and explained to her what we did, and she agreed to learn. She
shared with us that her mother past away. And we were able to testify
of the plan of salvation to her. About the truths restored through
Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She lit up when we talked about
seeing her mom again. I could feel the spirit so strong. By the end of
the lesson she could recognize the Holy Ghost it was awesome. She said
it was very exciting finding out truth. She really wanted to know it.
She wanted a Book of Mormon too! It was amazing. She agreed to take
the lessons and to find out, and be baptized. For some reason I want
her to find out so bad. I have a sincere love for her. I can't wait.
Jacqui bore a profound testimony about being with families forever. We
all felt something beyond our own power. We invited her to read the
restoration pamphlet and she accepted.

We left the Restoration Pamphlet with her and she committed to read
it. On our way over we were thinking what if she didn't read it? We
were still going to teach her? Or show her how important the
commitments were by asking to reschedule until she had read the
pamphlet? Well... We asked her if she had read it, and she said yes. I
can't even tell you the joy. The joy, that filled my heart!! Because
that meant she wanted to learn! She wants the truth! Well, she
committed to continue. She said it would be difficult to go back to
Zimbabwe because her family is split 7th day Adventist and Roman
Catholic, but she said she could do it. She said she is tough. I have
so much faith in her. She can do it!!! I have such a sincere love for
her. I pray she can experience joy in this life from being a part of

She leaves on Wednesday but wants to be baptized in February. Can you
believe that? It's a miracle!!!

And to top it off. We taught 5 people from China! It was fun to see
their personalities and different levels of desire to know and learn.
They just walked in off the street one day. Yao Ming, Zhang, Shang,
Liu,  Wang. I felt the spirit so strong. Jia felt it especially when
they prayed. Jia taught most of the lesson in Chinese. I want them to
learn so badly.

There were many other highlights like we went to a USF basketball game
with Jia, her first basketball game, and we met another referral there
and set up a time to teach her, we had an incredible planning session
with two sisters who extended their mission to tour the mission and
teach everyone how to weekly plan. I developed a deeper relationship
with the Lord! Instead of us deciding what they need, the Lord tells

And last but not least, we can listen to Christmas music! We have the
Beach Christmas zone conference the next two days so I'm just very
excited! That's just a little bit of what's been happening.

I have come home every day and just sat back and put my hands up and
ask how can I be so blessed? In my prayers in the morning, I can't
help but thank him in detail. I am so lucky, so lucky! Often times I
am overwhelmed with all that I've been given. He is such a loving

I love My father in heaven. I really do know he lives. I know him. Personally.

Be not afraid only believe.

Elder Nelson

I love this face!!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

God's Work and Glory

Dear Family and Friends:

This week was another blur. The week just blew by, and it's already
December???? Are you kidding me! It could not be flying by faster.

So one of the coolest parts of serving in a YSA Ward is we get to see all
the fresh returned missionaries from all around. Honestly it's so
humbling. Some have cars and plans, some have nothing! But they all
have a fire that's contagious. They love missionary work, they know
how important it is and they want to help so bad. It's amazing. They
love preach my gospel and apply it every day. With planning and goal
setting. I pray I can do all of that.

So we are really pushing centering missionary work in the ward. That
is what the prophets have wanted. In a perfect world the members would
find and invite and we would teach right? So that's what we are aiming for.
So we meet with members, and discuss their missionary work and come up
with a plan of how to improve it, we take names of their friends and
we come up with a plan of action of what we can do to bring them one
step closer to baptism and learning the restored gospel. We've
received more referrals than I can count. And it all comes from
sitting knee to knee and asking them if they really want to do this.
And also they realize it's their own work! And then we just follow up
and teach them when they are ready, at the same time of course we try
to invite everyone along the way!

This is our Member missionary work!

Speaking of we are baptizing Dominique on Saturday! She is preparing
for that day. We taught her the word of wisdom and she was a little
troubled at tea and coffee of course but she hasn't drank is since!
And it is because she told us she knows it's truly a commandment! What
a testimony! She is keeping all the commandments. She is super cool,
and we found her as Elder Hawkes was buying some shoes at champs!
How crazy is that!?

So this week was a a little different. We switched thanksgiving to P
day, and scheduled district meeting on that day So we got to hang out
with some other missionaries and just kinda enjoy the day. It is was
the best thanksgiving of my life. The freestones are honestly some of
my best friends. They insisted we come all day! And MOM THANK YOU FOR
SUGGESTING THAT PIE! I felt so connected to home! 3 other elders came
too, and we all just Hun out with the freestones. We played
scattegories and played football outside. It was one of the best days
but also the best thanksgiving.

The Freestones family with the Elders on Thanksgiving!

The highlight of my week though, was visiting palm harbor ward on
Sunday. Jacqui and Jia live over there so they went to that ward and
Jacqui brought another friend to church. So we went to meet her. Holy
Cow, i have never felt more love. I was swarmed by people I loved! The
young men and parents, and people I served with. It was amazing. Most
incredible was that the people I baptized, were still going strong! There is
a group of 4 ( sometimes 5 ) converts who stick together and just love
to share and live the gospel! They are so powerful. It hit me like a
ton of bricks how the work was hastening there. One of the recent
converts I taught there went to the temple and received her endowment.
One of Elder Peters' converts who went less active is returning! One of
the less actives I was working wih came and brought his kids!! Plus we
scheduled an appointment with a great new friend of Jacqui! I was so,
beside myself with joy. It was the best day and week. I've begun to
realize what this work is all about, Gods work and Glory, missionary
work is not a system, or a program. It's his children. It's the
people. I have made lifelong acquaintances and friends, who i helped
but most importantly they strengthen me. I never want to stop or quit
because I know they love me. This is he essence of the gospel.

Palm Harbor Ward Friends!

I love Gods tender Mercy. So let's get to work! Not for quotas, but
for children, and friends and families, I know these people all love
God, even if they have forgotten. We all miss our father. Let us help
one other return back to His arms. I know He lives.

This is Elder Healy from Provo.  He is the second counselor in the Mission Presidency.
Such a good man!

Be Not Afriad;Only Believe

Elder Stephen Nelson