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!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Be not afraid; Only Believe!

Well Folks!  This is it!  The very last email from Elder Nelson.  I think we can safely say that this has probably been the Best 2 years for his life!  It has been nothing but inspiring and uplifting for our family.  We have laughed, we have cried, we have prayed and we shouted for joy for this young man!  Now he is coming HOME!

Dear Everyone!

2 years. 10 companions. 5 areas, 2 of which I served in twice! Great times, happy times, hard times, trials of my faith. Intense spiritual life changing moments, and moments that make me want to cry. I've been tested, persecuted, pushed, pressured, encouraged, uplifted, saved and succeeded. This has been the most difficult adventure I have ever been on in my life. I've been afraid. I've been intimidated, I've talked to complete strangers every day. This has been extremely difficult,but through the Lord, I have overcome. I believed. Raining days, sunny days, HUMIDITY! The ocean, orange groves, alligators! Banana Spiders, palmetto plants, southern BBQ, southern people, the city, the country, all of the above. The most life changing experience hands down. And it's not even over yet. I have attached 100 things I learned on my mission, they are just a fraction of what I have learned or have changed while on this labor of love. But i want to express 3 major things I've learned while serving. 

1 - The greatest task we have is to preach the gospel. No matter where we are, who we are, or our capacity, we must live and share the gospel. We must do it together as a family and individually. When individuals and families participate in the work of salvation, souls are saved. This is our most important duty and I intend to do it forever. I thought it was a 2 year deal. No, I have just completed basic training. It is now the real mission. And I am ready. 

2 - The family is THE single most important responsibility I can have in this mortal life. The most important goals and highest priorities I have is to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity to a woman who has the same views, goals and desires as I do. With the same FIXED determination to serve God to the end. I have felt and have accepted the responsibility of a Priesthood holder and nothing could give me more satisfaction. I have seen families who are fantastic, they have been my role models. I have seen families that do not function, and who break down, and disintegrate... These have been my projects. I have also seen families lukewarm in their commitment to serve, these have been in my prayers. I understand that I have made sacred covenants to honor, serve and participate in this work and I will keep them. This is my motivation. 

3 - Finally, I realize the gift that God has given us of time. This life is the TIME for men to prepare to meet God. I cannot waste this sacred opportunity God has given me. I will use it perfectly. 

For me to describe what has happened in he last two years in one letter is impossible. But I can say I've learned from everyone I've taught, wards I've served in, companions, leaders, friends. I have grown. I see what God intends for me. The only thing I can think of to help you see what the Lord has done with me is to give you my testimony. When I can speak it with the conviction of my soul you may understand deeper but I pray as you read it, you can feel the spirit tell you how deeply these truths are rooted in me. 

I testify, that God the Father lives. He is my father, he has created me in His image, because He intends for me to become as He is. I Know Jesus Christ is the living son of the Living God, I know this because of the chance he has given me, by cleansing me, and allowing me to walk in his shoes. I know who he is. I know what he does. I know He is real. I know that The priesthood keys and authority have been restored through the true Prophet Joseph Smith. I know Peter James and John appeared and restored those keys, it is not fiction, it is an actual event. I know the Book of Mormon has priesthood power in its pages. I've seen it heal people. I know that Moroni sacrificed everything, diligently wrote in this book for me. I love him for that. I have come to love the scriptures. I know that all men everywhere, if they read the Book of Mormon can come to know it is true, and likewise can come to know the true church. I know that in order for us to be cleansed, and become perfected and prepared to meet God, we must make sacred covenants through ordinances performed by someone who holds proper authority. And that authority is active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know these things are true. They are written on the fleshy tables of my heart, never to be erased. 

I will never be the same, I have felt his love, and there's no going back. 

Elder Stephen Nelson

Be Not Afraid; Only Believe

100 things I learned on my mission

The family 
1- If the Father does not preside, he is not doing his job
2 - fhe molds children into disciples
3 - if you study the scriptures as a family your children will be closer to the spirit
4- the home is where the gospel is taught
5 - the family is what makes the church stronger
6 - when mothers teach and nurture, love is strongest
7 - husbands and wives need to have the same goals
8 - just because you marry a return missionary doesn't mean they will be covenant keeping
9 - a sealing in the temple is not the end
10 - family who keep covenants are happiest
11 - priesthood holding men have a RESPONSIBILITY to serve
12 - husbands do the dishes, they clean the house, they are an equal partner
13 - Fathers call the family for prayers and leads out in gatherings
14 - have personal interviews with children
15 - fathers who teach their kids to work help their boys become men
16 - secrets lead to sin
17 - don't have any conversations you wouldn't want your wife to hear our see
18 - your wife is your best friend
19 - preach my gospel will be our fhe manual
20 - you're happiness in this life is being with your family
21 - The more familiar you are with the scriptures, the closer you become to the mind and will of the Lord and the closer you become as husband and wife and children.
22 - if I do the dishes, clean and help out, there will be peace and the spirit in our home
23 - if our family creates a mission statement together we will all be motivated to do it
24 - I will put pictures of Christ up on the walls, to remind everyone he is the center of our home
25 - we will talk of Christ, preach of Christ, rejoice in Christ, prophecy of Christ in our home... 2 Nephi 25:26

missionary work
1- it starts in the family
2 - An invitation with love won't be turned down
3 - street contacting is good, but there is a better way
4 - always have someone taught in my home
5 - always have your line in the water
6 - relationships reap rewards
7 - plant seeds always
8 - more joy and happiness comes when we are involved
9 - my children will prepare for missions best when they help missionaries teach
10 - preach my gospel is the key
11 - make friends! Network
12 - part member families, fellow shipped will join
13 - a calling will strengthen anyone
14 - a friend is essential for all members, I will be that friend
15 - teaching needs to always b basic principles, think like a nonmember
16 - center the work in the ward
17 - plan my week with set aside time for missionaries
18 - invite! 
19 - whenever someone is being taught, or recently baptized, they need dinner and a lesson at my house
20 - Ward council is for PEOPLE
21 - it is first priority in WC
22 - be confident in the truth
23 - it's easy when we are sincere
24 - when families are fellow shipped the work hastens
25 - it is the members job to find

effective use of time 
1- plan! 
2 - weekly planning will help you schedule your priorities
3 - do the first things first 
4 - plans are nothing ( they always change ) planning is everything
5 - exercise in the morning gives you more energy
6 - wake up at the same time every morning
7 - keep going even when you are tired
8 - set goals, they will lead you to success
9 - always report your labors without being asked
10 - stay in quadrant 2
11 - don't wait to be asked
12 - Find a solution, don't report a problem
13 - be proactive
14 - be assertive, and courteous
15 - be obedient to your leaders
16 - create my own work
17 - wasting time dulls your spiritual sensitivity
18 - casualness never was happiness
19 - be sincere, parable of the oranges
20 - be accountable to God

self improvement 
1- humility = confidence in the Lord 
2 - If I prepare I can literally feel the sacrament clean me
3 - if I really love someone I will help them become their best
4 - people respond best when they know you love them
5 - I can talk to anyone
6 -  obedience is like breathing, when we get here, we can begin to grow
7 - I can maintain a schedule
8 - ask inspired questions, you can really find out how to help someone
10 - seek to understand then seek to be understood
11 - 55% of missionaries go less active because their commitment to their mission was lukewarm
12 - the doctrine of Christ is written on the fleshy tables of my heart
13 - I can be assertive and kind
14 - people are the reason we try so hard, not accomplishments
15 - if I am motivated by my love for God, I will reach my full potential

Doctrinal Truths
1 - God really does want to show his love for His children
2 - I am nothing without the Holy Ghost
3 - the scriptures have all the answers
4 - when the Holy Ghost touches someone heart, there is no denying it
5 - when you bear your testimony the spirit must come and testify
6 - faith comes before the miracle
7 - The Holy Ghost causes our feelings to be more tender. We feel more charitable and compassionate with each other.
8 - the Book of Mormon has literal power in pages, priesthood power
9 - the plan of salvation which includes the steps of the gospel of Jesus Christ is our 1 message
10 - as we show the lord our gratitude for the atonement we will see more miracles and retain a remission of our sins

Temporal things
1 -you don't NEED a lot of money to be happy, just sufficient for our needs
2 - be self sufficient
3 - care about your appearance, people judge off of how we look
4 - live within your means
5 - a clean house brings the Holy Ghost

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

2 Minute Warning

June 1, 2015

This is Elder Nelson's second to last email!  We will hear from him one more time and then he will be home the next day!  He returns to us on June 9th!

Dear Family and Friends:

We are really asking for miracles, we have been trying to show the Lord that we want to use his time as WISE as possible...and he is blessing us. 

Now I will start with the let downs so we we can end on a positive note!

Bebina did not come to church...and neither did alexis, or aaron and we dropped him, and Nhi didnt come... BUT i will report on their progress!

- We have been teaching her for about 5 weeks now. She had some crazy ideas, and didn't believe the Book  of Mormon, it didn't "agree with her spirit" she didn't like Sacrament meeting, it wasn't preachy enough... so we thought it was pretty much over. Well she told us she was still open to learning. We had a lesson last week and asked her what she has enjoyed most about learning. She said the plan of salvation, mostly the spirit world. She believes that, and yet no other doctrine supports that. We then took her to the Book of Mormon... and began to testify! She started to ask questions, and based on her commitment level so far, it was go big or go home. So we went big. We told her that the Book of Mormon in Alma ch. 40 is where the knowledge of the spirit world came. So the Book of Mormon is true... and waited for her response... and she said okay i guess its true. But the question of being confirmed by the laying on of hands and not just receiving the Holy Ghost, and that she was already baptized and feels it was good enough, and that the holy ghost was not part of it? Well we opened up the scriptures to Acts 8 and talked about how the Apostles and testified that God has restored the proper way to baptize and confirm. As well as John 3:5 that says a man must be born of water and the spirit. She told us that she was already baptized by propper authority, we then testified that she just told us that the Book of Mormon was true, and if it is true, then the Priesthood was restored through Joseph Smith. and this is the only true church. We would teach, testify and then STOP. and wait for her response. She finally said, okay. and I asked her, do you believe that the things we have told you today are true? she responded... yes. and we set the baptism date for June 21st.She asked if we can do in 2 weeks. "why wait any longer?" was her reply.

Now i am not sure how Alexis is going to progress, there are some other factors in all of this, but we will do our best. One thing I do know, this church is true.

Nhi Hoang
- she was referral from the other Elders in the family ward since she is a YSA. She is from Vietnam! And I wish i could just video her lessons. I have never been so humbled in my life. This girl wants to know so badly. She has been researching Christianity and feels that it is true. She has had Christian friends and loves the way they act and things they believe. We told her we can help her KNOW if God and Jesus are real and if they are real. So we have met with her 3 times. The first time she came back after reading the restoration pamphlet and recited almost word for word the experience Joseph Smith had, she said " I feel like Joseph Smith, I want to know which church to go to. I think that Joseph Smith is real!" and the second time we really got into the gospel. I know that if she will read the Book of Mormon she will come to know Christ. She prayed for the first time in her life and said she felt something! but you could hear the concern in her voice when she said "I don't think God is hearing my prayers, I think he doesnt understand Vietnamese!" we assured her that he is just testing her faith! We explained how the spirit comes to us and she got so excited! " I think I can feel it right now! here sitting here with you i feel calm and peace and joy!, I can feel his love! I think he is real" ( you have to read that with an Asian accent to really understand. It is the sweetest thing ever. She wants so badly to feel her answer. She accepted the baptismal date of June 27th and cannot wait. 
Please pray that this sweet girl will get her answer.

Bebina was sick on Sunday and couldn't come but we have grown pretty close with her and her family! she has a house of cousins and neices and nephews and they...love us! they are adorable. But Bebina is on fire. She accepts everything we teach her! She is trying her best to keep the word of wisdom even though it is hard. ( tea is a hard thing to give up here in the south ). She asks so many questions, and has so much faith. She is preparing for a baptism later in the month. Pray she comes to church!

President and Sister Cusick got their missionary back from Ireland! that was pretty exciting for them. 

Sunday Elder Hawkes, Elder Newbold and Myself were all asked to speak! I chose to speak about repentance. I used the steps of repentance listed in the gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and related the story ofwhen I threw the Crochet hammer through Anut Theresas window! I will send you the talk and you can read it. I felt the spirit so many times, I felt so confident and I knew that the Lord was speaking through me. I had so much love for these members in the Tampa YSA. So many have such strong desires to be good but struggle. I really wanted to help them realized how to find true joy. 

We also sang ( including elder LLoyd ) I will not be still, the EFY song. I messed up the words, ha, but the spirit was so strong! It was powerful. The words are perfect for what I have been doing the last two years.

I love these people so much. I love teaching the Gospel. I love having and sharing the truth with those ready to receive it. I know this is the true church. I am so scared to come home...

Elder Nelson

Be not afraid; Only Believe

Servants of the Lord 5/26/2015

Well I don't think there has been so many miracles in a week! 

We have been really trying to contact as many people as we can, and invite as many people as we can, and at the same time WEED out those people who are not prepared. There are so many people who are prepared. The hard part is when you get a potential, you want them so badly to be THE one... and then you most likely don't hear from them. It breaks your heart. But, every once in a while they stick. So as far as those people who are solid and preparing for baptism. 

Bebina! She was the one found at walmart. Well we have taught her half of the lessons and is on fire. She has kept all the commitments, she has been reading, she read the pamphlets, she set a baptismal date for June 21st and believes that this is the RIGHT way to do it. All the other churches have been doing it a different way and it didn't feel right about it.The night before we presented her the Book of Mormon, she had a dream about someone coming to her and giving her a book to read. She woke up and was so confused, then her dad told her that maybe it was us giving her a book? Well we came and she was blown away. When she told us I opened to the first chapter in 1 Nephi where Lehi is given a vision and the same thing happens to him. We bore bold testimonies that God wants her to read the Book of Mormon and be baptized. She can't wait to come to church and believes!

We had many cool experiences contacted. We go onto USF campus quite a bit and find people here and there, but one day It was really difficult. The more people deny us, the harder it is for me to continue. So we walked for about 20 minutes and met like 3 atheists. and I was had about had it. Elder Newbold contacted the next girl he saw, he is fearless and he asks her this questions... "If you could have one thing, what would it be?" she stops... thinks... and responds with, " a few more moments with my gradma" It was crazy, we asked some more questions and she asked us some things about the after life. We asked her if she knew for a fact she would see her grandma again and she said she would like to believe that but she doesnt know... WE testified that She can see her again, and be with her family again. And we need to tell her about the true church that carries these eternal truths. It was so intesne and so powerful. She ended up not keeping her appt. and havent heard from her but I know she will always remember that.

We also set a baptism date with an investigator whowe dropped, then met again on the street, then dropped... then came back! it was crazy. We finally got an appointment and gave him a church tour. He loved it. He kept saying how he feels so good. He feels that God finally spoke to him and tell him this is where he belongs. He read the pamphlets we gave him and he said he believes this is the truth! It was amazing. His name is Aaron.

Last story, 

so I have resisted tracting for a long time, but it was raining and we HAD TO TALK WITH SOME HUMANS! so we pickeda complex and went to town! well we did our best and found a few contacts. well we kept going and the 2nd to last door. A girl comes out and goes "no no no no" then Elder Newbold was persistant and got her to watch the because of him video... BROUGHT THE SPIRIT SO STRONG! her heart softened and brought out the questions, like why joseph smith, why do we always find her? why are there so many religions, and we testified of the message we have and why we left our homes for 2 years and she was blown away, she was very skeptical but agreed to a lesson. It was so awesome. Elder Newbold was so persitant and bold. I know that God leads us to HIS children who need us. It was such a tender mercy. I know that This is true. It is such a crazy story, a little boy sees God and Jesus Christ come down and call him to be a prophet? Well its true. I know it is. 

Reach out to someone, participate in hastening the work of salvation! I love my Savior. I know he lives.

Elder Nelson

Be not afraid;Only Believe

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

You Never Know!

Hello Family and friends,

Well again, I am so happy to be in this area, with this companion. It seems like every night when I get on my knees I cant say thank you enough! 

We have had a lot of work. Which is such a blessing. Just as a reminder, the BEST way to do missionary work is through the members. For the work to hasten, members need to work with the missionaries to find, teach, and BAPTIZE their friends and family, and acquaintances. BUT when that iis not happening, missionaries must do ALL they can on their own. So, we have a couple of YSA members working with their friends who have shown interest, but other than that we have been finding!

We have found  some very interested people! we have also found people who have shown interest and dropped soon after that. ( which is very common...too common )

We met a girl named Stephania. She is from Colomubia but lives Near Orlando. She was visiting USF because she plans on going here in the fall. But Elder Newbold contacted her last week and set up a skype lesson. so we taught her and it went well! She says she has a lot of time and is interested so, its perfect. Well ,the next day she was visiting USF again and we set up a lesson. We taught the whole first lesson (the restoration) and she liked it. She wanted to know if it was true. So, she went home and did exactly what we told her. We skyped her again the next day and she described some feelings she had! of course it was the Holy Ghost and we were so EXCITED! Talked to hundreds of people by now, some interested. some not, some rude, some just flaky, getting one or two and never hearing back then finally one STICKS! It was so nice... we really felt she has been prepared. So, we are working on her reading and finding out if the book of mormon is true. And getting her to either the YSA down here in Tampa or where she lives but pray for her!

Next is Bebina. we met her at Walmart it turns out her whole famiy are members backin Haiti. I mentioned her last week. Well we taught her twice. and she is planning on coming to church. Her brother served a mission she says, and she called him and told him she is learning and he is so excited for her. She is really interested and told us if she finds out its true she will get baptized! so I know its just a matter of time! Pray she can come to church.

We've met a few other people but they are our highlights. We have been teaching another girl, she is hebrew...or thinks she is? but she prays using hebrew language... anyway she has been realy interested. She came to church and loved the classes, but sacrament meeting wasn't preachy enough. hahaha.

Pray for these people! And pray we find some more. 

One of the finding activites we did this week was take popsicles on campus to handout with fliers inviting people to church. Well, we got to campus and there was NO one around... so we drove around and would see one or two people. so we pulled up next to them and offerred a popsicle haha. Well we did this a couple times and realized, it works! So picture this... a truck with a cooler with popsicles in it. 4 missionaries, driving around and we would spot a person, grab a popsicle, jump out and deliver it with an invite, then jump back into the car and drive to the next person! it was so fast and effective and SO much fun! We freaked some people out but we got a lot of good potentials actually! One even came to church ( he is the Ap's investiagator) but it was awesome.

I am so happy. I love the work that is happening right now. I am giving it all I have. It is kind of difficult, when I realize how much members can help and influence the work and how much better that way is, but because I learned that I know exactly what I am going to do when I get home to be a member missionary. 

The Lord's work is hastening! If you aren't sure how to help in the work, but WANT to? let me know! i have plenty of suggestions. 

Elder Newbold is fearless and learning everything! 

Be not afraid; Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Loving Father in Heaven

Family and Friends, 

I am filled to the BRIM! with joy. I know God lives! Elder Newbold and I have been trying so hard to learn all we can, to talk to everyone we can, we are trying to become perfect planners, we are trying to be exactly obedient, to obtain christlike attributes, and to get new investigators and teach lessons and be our best and each day we feel accomplished. And yet we still dont have anyone solid! We have a lot of potentials and we are very bold ( especially Elder Newbold, he doesnt mess around). We explain clearly our purpose and share how we are looking for the elect. It was has been difficult and yet, looking back we both feel great. We feel that Lord is proud of us. and That motivates us to keep going, to keep looking! We have a lady we taught last week named TY! she was found by other Elders and refferred to us. This was Elder Newbolds first lesson and investigator. He did fantastic. He taught clearly and we invited her to be baptized. She accepted! She beleives the restoration is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was quite remarkable. she has been wanting to find her church and doesn't just want to join any church. We feel she is an honest seeker of truth. Pray that she will be able to come to church. That seems to be the hold up right now!

But other than her we have had tender mercies, little miracles, people who are willing to listen, they dont progress but allow us to invite and preach which is what we were called to do. 

We decided to fast, partially in gratitude of what we had, but also in hopes to find a SOLID progressing investigator that will get baptized... well Sunday as our fast was ending we were in Elders quorum and we starting talkng with a kid who we had only seen once... well it turns out he told us he had just stopped taking the lessons a little bit ago and is now coming to find out if it is actually true again! He came with two other girls that just moved into the YSA and he wanted to meet with us! our prayers were ANSWERED!!

5 seconds later we talked to the other elders and they told us he was already a member annd just was messing with us... as you could have guessed I was REAL happy about that. and we went over to him and laughed about it.... just image the fake smile and the playful choke hold around the back of the neck and the " haha oh man... GOOD ONE!"  

BUT! just today ( p day, as we were grocery shopping) we were moving VERY fast... but! as we were checking out the cashier started laughing at us! I asked her why and she just didnt say anything, well then she opened up and said she "thinks her whole family is mormon back in Haiti??" haha how can you "think" something like that, well she just moved here and is looking for a church and she wants to learn about her families religion! She gave us her number and we set up an appt. Probably the most solid contact thus far. PRAY FOR HER!

I know God lives. He is not done working through me yet.

Be not afraid;Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Monday, May 4, 2015

4th quarter!

Hello Friends and Family,

So there has been quite a bit of change in the last week! I am
training Elder Newbold, he is from Bountiful Utah and  is absolutely
prepared. He knows PmG, he is fearless talking with everyone he sees,
he has ZERO problem getting up in the morning, works out hard, studies
hard, he can already plan and bore his testimony in Sacrament meeting.
He introduced himself to everyone and got to know a bunch of the YSA,
they love him. I am blown away. Such a fast learner and definitely
inspires me to give all I have. Mostly to keep up with him, but it's

As far as investigators, we are running a little low. BUT we have had
many opportunities and I know we will find some. Our goal is one
baptism before I go. And it's going to happen! I have faith. I am
serving in the Tampa YSA Ward it's a lot of fun being back. We live
with the Assistants and I think it's excellent exposure for Elder
Newbold. He will receive many training opportunities to learn from so
many. There are 8 sets of missionaries in ONE church building. It's
also where the mission office is, so we see a lot of other
missionaries. You are kind of near the action so it's fun. The best
part is we are a cross the street from the University of South
Florida, and when school is in there is quite a lot of foot traffic.
Lots of people to talk to. I'm certain we find those who are ready.

We have walked a lot. A LOT! We have studies very hard, we've set
goals, we've prayed together we have talked and worked and really want
to dedicate our missions to the Lord. So we will do that.

This week I have strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ. The fact
that he loves me so much that he wants me to end my mission upward. I
am so grateful he cares about how I feel. He cares about who I become,
so I will give him all of me. I know we will find people soon.

Be not afraid;Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Monday, April 27, 2015

Transferring and Training

   Dear Family and Friends:

This was a long, eventually, busy week. It was up and down and
fulfilling. I felt so accomplished by the end. I love Palmetto Ward,
and this area and my companion. Often times life is good, and God
gives you incredible blessings. But only every so often does he
give you a taste of complete joy. Spending this time here in Palmetto
with Elder Spach was that for me.

Here was our week.

Today was Bradenton District meeting and then Sebring followed by an exchange in Sebring. It honestly feels so good to be out with people, inviting.
Just being fearless and sharing the message of the restoration. I love
it! I love just testifying and talking with people. I'm with Elder
Stuart, who is a great missionary. He went home for almost a year and
is now back. He is an inspiration as well as Elder Ohlau who has been
a member 3 years. And one of those years was here in Florida. He is an
inspiration. He is fired up, dedicated and converted to the gospel.
I'm so lucky to be surrounded by people to lead me, even if I'm in the
leadership position. President is pushing street contacting, and being out,
keeping our line in the water as PMG says, as well as working with
members. It's the perfect balance now that the members are
catching on.

Well, we weekly planned, went down to Bradenton to meet some other
Elders, then got caught in a rain storm! So, we were stuck inside for a
long time today. I am trying so hard mentally to be a good planner. To
learn how to be the best planner I can be, I've really improved.
President has given counsel that we will use forever in our lives,
being as effective and EFFICENT as possible. Our lesson cancelled so
we had to go find somewhere else to contact. So, we drove over to the
55+ community, we saw that there was a no soliciting sign but we went
anyway. Handed out a few cards but then met a nice couple. They were
just feeding the birds and we made small talk gave them a couple cards
talked and found out they were Romney fans and loved how he loved his
religion, we got to teach about the Book of Mormon and the spirit was
just so strong, a lady pulled up and said some things about us
soliciting and that they were going to call the cops, but this couple
had our backs they were so nice! It felt fantastic to have kind people
like that. It meant a lot to me knowing that was a good place to be at
this time. I want to keep my line in water as much as possible.
Being personable, and invite always, I'm trying so hard.

Biked from 10:30 - 4:30 sooooo hot! So sun burnt! It felt so good to
be out with the people. We had lunch with Bill Chambers, best food
ever. Palmetto meat shop. Pulled pork sandwiches, pasta salad, baked
beans, potato salad. Macaroni salad Gatorade and a brownie. I was in
heaven ( bbq is my new love ) they definitely know how to do it down
here )and he followed up with the lady he gave a Book of Mormon to.
Great visit. We met some great people but I met a man named Wayne. I
waked up to him and gave the "Because He lives" card, and he asked about
the church. He has a guy who talks to him about it, he had trouble
accepting Joseph Smith being a prophet. Well we talked more, I asked
about the Baptist faith and he explained. Then he asked me how long I'd
been a member and how I found it, and I bore a sincere pure testimony
of how it happened for me. I expressed my abiding love for he Savior
and he felt something from my words. He told me how impressive it was
to see a guy my age, 20, with a love for the savior, and to show that
love. Eventually he told us he doesn't want to join a church for
any other reason besides God telling him that's the church he
should join. Right then I invited him to learn and he accepted.
Probably the highlight of my contacts that week and maybe mission ( as
far as personal contacting goes ). I literally felt the spirit pour
out of me.

Saturday. We had a whole day planned to bike and contact up to a house
3 hours... So that took some mental prep And then to the Scotts
afterwards, but late Friday we texted Sis. Bartosiewicz ( convert
family who is ALL about missionary work) and she invites us to help
with their move. I thought about all the service they are giving, and
how stressful moves can be, so we decided to give our service. Well it
was a lot of fun. I felt so good giving my services. We got there and
they had moved the majority of it, but we ended up being the last two
to help unload and Bro. Bartosi told Bro. Jackson the Ward mission
leader after that he was very grateful for our help. It felt
incredible, making that decision and knowing it paid off. Then they
took us to Outback and Sis. Bartosiewicz gave us like 4 referrals that
she can't wait to have us over in her new house. Then one of the
waiters we actually knew  ( nonmember) came up and
told us he met a girl who was looking for a church and referred her to
us haha!
Brother Stuart with Elders Nelson and Spach 

Then finally transfer news. Elder Spach is staying and I
will be white wash training. It was big news. I wanted it, but I
didn't really believe it would happen. Telling the Ward was so hard.
We called Bro. Jackson and he said some incredible things. He said
Elder Spach and I make a great team. The best he's seen. I agree.
Elder Spach has been the best companion I've had. He told us it was
hard for him just before we came and then overnight, boosted when we
were transferred here. I feel like Ammon, not boasting of us, but
boasting at what God can do when we are just obedient, and do ALL we
can.  But I am grateful for this gift to train.

Church: blessed the sacrament with Nick and Noah. Two young men in the
Ward I've got really close with. That was a small thing but it meant a
lot to me to be up there with those two guys. We ended up having to
improvise a lot! There was a tray missing so we blessed water twice.
Sis. Schmickel ( the lady best friends with Kymmie Marriner ) gave a
magnificent talk about obedience. The Marriners came again ( minus
Chris ) but they are becoming just normal  members! The Pattens
brought their neighbor with them and she came to class as well! She
stayed all three hours! I'm so impressed with the Pattens, being
fearless missionaries. They rock!  We talked for about 30 minutes after
class with her, this lady who the Pattens brought told Bro. Stewart
all about her life, he is a great teacher, he listens and then
responds under the influence of the spirit. She had so many questions
but I loved having her there! She enjoyed it and wants to come back.
She was asking why the preisthood, why the only true church, why a
prophet, and we were all just testifying.

Then at 4 yesterday we had a lesson with the Marriners.  It shows me
God cares so much about the Marriners that he places specific people
around so that this specific family can be guided to the restored
gospel. A Brother in he Ward told us he prepares his Sunday School
lesson for them specifically then hopes other people get something
too.  We had two member families teaching he Plan of Salvation to the
Marriners. I was honestly really nervous it is big stuff as a
missionary. Every missionaries dream. They had less questions this
time, and the spirit was strong, every concern that came up was
answered, one of the questions that came up was works vs. grace why do
we place so much emphasis on works? And we explained how it's both! We
need both, we are given an opportunity for eternal life on condition
of repentance. The Scripture in Ephesians about being saved by grace
alone and how in 2 Nephi it says we are saved by grace after all we
 can do.
The Marriner family with Elders Nelson and Spach
Well, we all gave our best explanation of how we need both and it did a
good job of answering his question but then Elder Spach pipes in and
said " well look at these prophets, we never know who they were talking
to, maybe in Ephesians they  were working too hard they spoke on
grace, and in the Book of Mormon, they needed to focus on works!" For
some reason that clicked, and the spirit filled the room. It was just
so cool, watching the doctrine be taught by everyone and by the spirit
be brought to their hearts and seeing it enter.

We said goodbye to some of the people in the Ward yesterday and will
do a few more until Wednesday. I feel like I'm leaving home again. We did
so much work with these members, teaching people in their homes,
feeling the spirit together. I got home and just prayed on the floor
and thanked Heavenly Father for my life. I could have never guessed
that a mission would bring, people who I will love and cherish
forever. And people who have left me better than when I met them.

I have 6 weeks left to train a new missionary and give until I cannot
anymore, and I intend to do that.

I know Christ lives, I know he invites us all to come unto him! I pray
we do that today and then find someone else to bring along. Greater
joy and happiness await you if you decide to join in the work.

There is no time to waste!

Be not afraid;Only believe
Elder Nelson

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tender Mercies!

Dear Family and Friends:

Well, I finally am pretty much better! I have come to the conclusion that it was all just a trial of my faith. And honestly a blessing. I had a lot of time to study and think and realize how BAD I wanted to share the gospel. This morning i studied in Mormon and was just in awe of the missionary he was. He wanted to preach but was forbidden in verse 17. I could feel his desire. He had a mantle placed on him, he had a love for these people, many of them I bet he grew up with, friends of his and yet he could not tell them of their wrongs because they were so wicked. Satan had taken a hold of the people and they were no more worthy to have apostles there. 

I also read in Moroni 9:6 - let us labor diligently for if we should cease to labor we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay. I have been given a gift and I cannot waste a moment, and that is just LIFE in general not to mention in full - time missionary service. 

Thursday we went to the temple and oh my goodness. Walking into the Celestial room was like a temporary sit down with the Savior. It was like taking a break and just have him give me a pep talk. I felt his approval, telling me " look you haven't done that bad of a job, in fact you've been great, look at all the good you've done thank you for representing me. I love you just keep going." Nothing could have been more impactful at this time. 

We got home and I was still not feeling my best, we started to put some stuff together to eat but I honestly had nothing ,haha .looking back I was probably just being lazy, but just then we got a text from the Pattens ( members we're super close with ) asking us to come meet a nonmember at their home, so we went and I downed some day quill, and we went, well the non member was really nice and just a good introduction ( she was only 15 or so ) but They ended up having dinner for us! IT was such a blessing! Such a tender mercy when I was feeling so terrible! I don't know why but it just meant a lot to me. There are so many people who are trying their very best to serve and to give and to help. I have learned that although I only see the immediate, the Lord knows the eternal. 

Saturday morning Monica was baptized!! You probably don't recognize that name because I personally have only taught her a few times but She has been coming to the YSA for a year. Just never wanted to get baptized. Elder Spach taught her a lot before I got here. But she was baptized and it was one of the smoothest baptisms and the spirit was so strong. and Sunday I confirmed her. Tender Mercy. She was confident in the Covenant she was making. She works with a ton of members and they just invited her and befriended her. THE POWER OF MEMBERS!

Sunday at Palmetto ward was pretty bittersweet. I realized that one of the joys and blessings of a mission is on Sunday you really forget about yourself. Your experience is the LAST thing on your mind. All you think about is "is this person here?" or "I wonder what she is thinking after that comment?" " DId he go to class? Does he have a fellowshipper" haha its fun but super stressful!! Well Caitlin the investigator we taught a couple weeks ago who was loving it decided that she didnt get a good feeling when she prayed but she still wants to come to church and mutual... IT WAS HEARTBREAKING! its so frustrating because we literally meet with these people once or twice and then its like Performing Brain surgery to get schedules to connect! So thankful for members who are proactive and help set appointments. So, she doesnt want to learn anymore, and if we could just teach her I know we could help but, I know the Lord has a plan. Im grateful I could plant good seeds and accomplish my purpose. Tyler, our other 16 year old investigator was so close. He was all for baptism, loved church, reading the book of mormon, then went home and his dad told him that he can do it when he turns 18 and he cant meet with us anymore. HOW SAD IS THAT? again, i know that when he gets to a point where he wants to reach out to God, he'll know exactly where to go, and that gives me comfort. 

BUT Katelyn, who was baptized back in February, gave a talk in sacrament meeting!! her Dad showed up but he left before anyone could talk to him or anything, but she didnt write it out or anything she just decided to " follow the spirit!" she is so brave. She also brought her friend Jessica! ( yes i don't know what it is with the names katelyn and jessica ) but Jessica came to Mutual and now church and LOVED IT!! again the key ingredient is that friend! She came and met everyone and has questions and we are teaching her this wednesday. The only recently baptized Jessica came over to her in class and shared her experience and the other laurels are fellowshipping her its starting to domino and I could not feel more sastisfied. 

So, thats basically what has happened. I am so grateful to be a missionary. To wear the Title ELDER. So grateful I am a voice for him. What a gift.

I know that Jesus Christ lives. I love feeling a little bit of what he felt. The struggle, where he was despised and rejected of men. I get to feel a little bit of that. And its all for him. I know what he did was real. I love him and always will. 

Be not afraid;Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Here are some other fun pictures that Elder Nelson sent this week.  However, he didn't send an explanation for them.  Oh Well!  Looks fun!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Temple Trip

Dear Family,

Danielle was baptized on Saturday. Her husband Chris came and it was
very good. She asked Elder Spach to baptize her and me to confirm her,
it was an experience like nothing else. Giving someone the Holy Ghost
who once had it but had lost it. I felt the love God had for her and
how REAL the atonement and the redeeming power of it was and had
played its role here. I know that all of us can change and can receive
all the blessings we desire. I know that we all can be worthy of the
blessings God wants to give us. After the blessing there was a sense of
relief and peace that was tangible.

We taught Jessica and her Bf Alex at the Stewart's this week. The
Stewart's are a young couple with a baby, I've mentioned them before.
Bro. Stewart is going to Lecom ( medical school ). Both BYU graduates.
He is award missionary and teaches gospel principles. They are such a
great family. They took a few principles from preach my gospel lesson
2 and each taught a portion of the lesson! Seeing a family teach
together with the missionaries to a new member just felt so perfect.
Sis. Stewart made dinner for everyone, it was just exactly what I want
for my family. You can tell their priorities are right in line with
what the Lord wants.

Bro. Draudt another Ward missionary plays basketball with some boys at
the complex we live in. ( the Stewart's and the Draudts live in our
complex. Draudt is in dental school. ). He befriended a boy and gave
him a pass a long card. Well a couple days later we passed him on the
street and invited him to learn. He's only 14 but he accepted. It was
very cool. He said he felt good as we explained the Restoration and
felt God was telling him to look more into it. The second lesson we
challenged him to read the Book of Mormon and after 3 days he was on
pg. 91! Ha! We are honestly wondering what the catch is! He is really
searching for an answer. Our only struggle is getting him to church,
we are working on that, he doesn't know anyone so he is a little
nervous, so pray that he is up to it!

Lastly, another family that lives in our complex, the Sevys, he is in
dental school. We taught Katelyn and again, it felt so good seeing a
family teach the gospel together, they have such a good story. Sis.
Sevy is a convert and she shared how it was very difficult for her
family to accept that she was becoming a member but now they are
sealed and have a 2 year old daughter!

This week the reality of how much time I have left really hit me. I
made a choice that I was going to step it up and talk with everyone. I
want to enjoy and work as hard as I can! Well, right as I made this
decision, Saturday... I got sick. Which got worse Sunday and after
church I just crashed. Monday I was feeling a little better, so I
wanted to get out and hit the pavement! Will turner the 19 year that
does studies with us and is preparing to go to Portugal
Will Turner , me and his brother
( loves
missionary work ) decided to spend the day with us. He got his bike
and we all got ready. Well it started to rain... And it was too bad so
I convinced everyone that we needed to just be strong and get out! So
we did, and it started raining harder, and harder, and it was now
pouring. Those of you who know Florida summer rains, he raindrops are
the size of golf balls! Within 5 mins of exiting our apartment we were
soaked, as we turned the corner E. Spach hit a pothole and crashed.
Went over his handle bars and his bike went into the lane of oncoming
traffic. There was only one car who stopped so it was okay. Nothing
broken just a little blood. I was coughing more and we realized okay
maybe God doesn't want us to go out. Well after an hour of waiting of
course the rain cleared up and we went to the appointment which was
service! We did the service and Elder Spach really connected with the
guy and got a return appointment. But after that I was down for the
count... I've been sick and in bed for the last three days! I don't
understand why lately I've really been struggling with feeling like
I'm not doing enough and when I decide to do more I get sick.

Tuesday morning was zone conference and it was all about diligence. It
was exactly on point with my thoughts lately. President Cusick
announced that because of all the member missionary work last year
we've had more success than ever! But now the member are warn out and
so many missionaries don't know what to do when not teaching
referrals. A lot of time being wasted. So we need to continue using
members and help them, but now we need to do all we can on our own!
There is a reason preach my gospel has both using the members and
finding through your own efforts, working with members is the better
way, the best way, but not the only way. We need to do both, so we can
now tract. We need to be with the people, inviting! I have recently
felt that I just have been missing out on that missionary feeling, being
with people inviting them, talking with them! I've gotten so used to
the way we were doing it, I've gotten pretty bad at being a
missionary. I hate to admit but I get scared talkin to people. It's
pretty humbling admitting that but I am asking for divine help. I feel
like I need to recommit and kind of start over.  I think the Lord was
preparing me for this. It feels right. And I think it's an act of his
love, granting me a fresh new beginning. And I am going to take it.  I
am so grateful that the Lord knows me, He knows what I need, he knows
what I am missing he know what will help me grow the most. I am so
worried I will finish and realize I could have done more, I understand
that members are trying so hard and will help us when they can, but I
need to consecrate my 2 years I promised Him.

I hope from these experiences all of you can see and feel what I felt
this week. Pure joy comes from teaching the gospel in your home and by
giving your all to every calling you are given including full time
missionary service. I have made promises to my Father in heaven in the
temple and at baptism. I love him and love his children, I know he
lives. He has done so much for us. Pray I will get better soon and can
use every minute I have left. I will do all I can to please my father.
All I really want to do is please my fathers.

Be not afraid; only believe

Elder Nelson

P.S. Going to the Temple today! Tender mercy.

Some of he missionaries that will soon be heading home.  
One trip to the Temple in Orlando

Elder Nelson

Elders Nelson and Spach finally get to visit the Temple!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Restoration!

Dear Family and Friends:

Well this week was spring break and ALL of our investigators were gone! So, we knew it was going to be a slow week, but with a little faith and humility I realized the Lord had many things he needed me to learn this week, and I did! We had interviews with President Cusick. and during that interview I just felt this sense that i need to give more. I need to not waste any time here. I signed up for 2 years and I need to give him two years.

Our mission decided that in order to get out with the people more we need to park the cars! Think about other missions, They all walk and use the bus! and we are just enjoying our A/C, spoiled!
So we parked them… well what we didn't think about was how this would affect our area, and the geography of the area… well, we hit the bikes tuesday and had an interesting day to say the least. 

Getting ready to get back on the bikes!

We had some miracles and did good things happen. 1 baptismal interview and set up one of our YSA investigators for her baptism on the 18th! but this is how it went. 1 hour down to the interview in the next ward south of us. then back in an hour. then 1.5 hours over the the lesson with the YSA there for 30 mins, ( she bought us dinner, miracle. ) then started back, after about and hour, my tire got low, pumped it up, kept going, 30 seconds later completely flat. so we walked along this state road! for 30 minutes, then some random guy pulled over and picked us up. he wasn't a member but insisted he would take us anywhere we needed to go! so obviously a miracle right? well we got in the car and he was very nice… very very nice! a little too happy and relaxed and friendly. well by the time he dropped us off we knew that he wasn't exactly 100% with us at the moment. and as we got out of the car we saw an empty can of a less than favorable beverage. WE WERE PROTECTED BY ANGELS! so that was the dangerous part of the week but the Lord always gives us a miracle to match. 

Abi is a YSA that was baptized about a year ago. her family has been really struggling lately. But she told us that her mouth had really been hurting lately, and she was having trouble talking and it got worse progressively as the days went by.  We insisted on giving her a blessing but she refused. by the 4th day she couldn't even eat so she said yes! but we did not have our car… so we biked! and it was getting late. 45 minutes, plus we got lost, its 8:30 pm and finally found it. we gave her a blessing and it was so powerful. She was so grateful but we were so worried we needed to get home! its 8:45 now and if you do the math there we needed to leave NOW! and as we were leaving she saw that we biked and told her dad they were giving us a ride so we bungied our bikes to their little durango and they took us home. MIRACLE… but the greater miracle… by the end of the 25 minutes car ride? her mouth, was practically better. and the next day, no pain. 

I know that the Presithood has been restored!

We had members invite us to their homes for conference for almost all of the sessions and two of the sessions were with nonmembers and one session was with Katelyn who was recently baptized. she loved it. Our Bishop had us over for an easter dinner with his friends and family and had us show the easter video. It is just so easy for him to share the gospel.  
In front of the Bishops house on Easter

Today, 185 years ago the church was restored! General conference really hit me. Elder Hollands testimony of the Risen Savior put it into perspective. He never forgets us. We cannot forget him! 

I know he lives! 

Be not afraid;Only Believe

Elder Nelson