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, March 31, 2015

What a Birthday!

Dear Family and Friends:

The best weeks in your mission are those you get the tender mercy of SEEING a baptism. What a blessing. 

Tuesday we had District Meetings and every other week we make the 100 mile Drive out to central Florida! There is a district literally 1.5 hours away. Which I suppose is not that far for a lot of other missions but going to District meeting is a whole day event and this time it was. We left at 1:30 and were stuck on the ONLY road out of Sebring for 2 hours and didnt even move, so we decided to just stop and get a subway sandwich… which was disgusting. Then we got back on the road and spent another 2 hours in the car. Then President called us and asked us to go pick up a car in the next city over which was 30 mins away. So, Elder Spach and I drove separate cars home for 2 hours! It was so weird to be alone. We got home at 8:15. Then we drove them Friday up to the mission office. 

Alexis - this week we taught a YSA girl, a referral from a member. It was our second time meeting her but this time we really talked about why she was learning and what she wanted to know. She said her friend, ( Pedro, who is preparing for a mission ) just made her really interested. It was such a big part of his life and she saw the change it caused in him. So, the last time we met with her we gave her a restoration pamphlet and told her to read it. Well, she read it. And took 4 PAGES OF NOTES! and wrote down all her questions! She said she wants to find out so bad. and if she finds out, then she will be baptized! Pray that she does. This last week her aunt passed away, pray that this brings her closer to a knowledge of the truth! 

Friday we had Mission Leadership Council. It started out at the BEACH!… and then RAINED. and in Florida when it rains. it RAINS! the raindrops are like the size of humans. So we all jumped in the cars and drove to the nearest church building. It was fun talking about things we want to implement in the mission. One of the biggest things we are noticing that helps is missionaries stating their purpose when entering new wards. Or missionaries who are confident in Ward Council. Too often we are just another set of missionaries who do missionary things, then get transferred. But thats not what we are going to do. So, to fix that we realized missionaries need personalities! They need to earn the trust and love of members and some may think you need to sit and eat dinner with members to do that. Trust me, you don't. It helps, but even better is doing that while teaching someone. 

So, we are trying to help missionaries clearly and boldly state why they came on a mission, the sacrifices we made, the simplicity and intensity of our call. 

Just a side note, I realized I talk the most in all the councils… how annoying!

Jessica was baptized on Saturday! It went so well. Her PARENTS CAME! that took EVERY one of us by surprise! They were very nice and talked with everyone and just fit right in. It was such a neat experience and then we got to stand in the circle to help confirm her but again. this was the Palmetto Wards baptism. All the parts were done by the members. We just performed our call to teach and it all worked! I know that this is the way missionary work is supposed to work.

Lastly, we had a third hour presentation Yesterday. It. was. awesome. 
It was all about missionary work. Bro. Jackson our ward mission leader told the whole ward our ward mission plan and shared with them our goals. 1 baptism a months! and challenged everyone to stop being scared! The church basically turned into a baptist church for about 20 mins haha he went so hard. He loves the gospel so much, and is only been a member for 8 years. Then one of our ward missionaries who is so converted to missionary work. He served in Finland, then taught at the MTC for 4 years and now is living here going to Medical school. He has a family, little 5 month old baby. Cutest family ever, but he stood up and just shared how he has lost all fear to share it and now he can't help but share it. Then I shared how Elder Zwick asked us to ask the Ward council and ward members to know all our investigators and to answer a question. Who are you going to teach in YOUR home this week?… and you answer that weekly! So, family, who are you going to teach in your home, with the missionaries this week?? 

Then Elder Spach got up, and said something I had no idea he was going to say. He told everyone… in the whole ward that his bother just got his mission call, and his mom gave him the option to go home a transfer early, but he said "No". He loves his family, but he signed up for the whole thing, and the Palmetto ward deserves all he has. He is all in. Then we watched the new easter video and I stood in the back and felt the spirit testify to me that we were doing the right thing. That even though I feel so often I'm just beating a dead horse that we are making a difference and that Christ really is living. "He is not here, He is risen."

My only invitation is that you invite someone to your home that you can lift! Please, there are missionaries who need someone to teach! 

Be not afraid;Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Just had to share.  Elder Nelson said he ran into the door of a van while waving hello to someone this week and got this big bump on his forehead!  Ouch!

Elder Nelson celebrated his 20th Birthday on Sunday!  
The Patten's gave him a party and treated him so special!
They have spoiled him in Florida!

Monday, March 23, 2015

M & M's

Dear Family and Friends:

This week was fantastic! I am so floored by this ward sometimes! Throughout the week we pray and plan and try to do our best, but the ward has become so involved with the work and has helped us so much. We taught Caitlin a YW aged woman on Wednesday with the Laurel President and she has just fellowshipped her so well.  Caitlin just so deeply wants to know. 

Katelyn who was baptized about a month ago, is NOT slowing down. On Friday we had a lesson with her, well at least we tried to, but everything we tried to invite her to do, she was already doing. She was called to be the First Counselor in the Laurel Presidency. She is going to the Temple this Friday to do baptisms. She scheduled an interview for her patriarchal blessing. She has an app on her phone that counts the pages you read to help you set goals to read books. She did it for the book of mormon. She is going to Seminary now. She has a plan to make up the last two years she has missed of Seminary. She wants to graduate with all 4 years and plans to go to BYU after her mission…. we kind of just sat there and listened… and said a closing prayer.

Tyler, another young man we are teaching loves the church. He really wants to be a mormon! (thats how he says it) we taught him the word of wisdom and he is willing to keep it. He has been reading and its just impressive to see his pure faith.

It was already a good week but..

Sunday was probably one of the highlights of my mission. Church was
fantastic, we had investigators there, and a few non members who were
related to families. President Cusick gave the entire mission M and M's to remind everyone that Members and Missionaries…get it…m and m… need to come together. So we handed them out to all the ward councils and they loved it! there seemed to be a missionary work buzz going on.

A man blessed his baby and I felt the spirit so
strong. During that entire sacrament meeting for some reason I could
just imagine God, looking down at us. Watching us, watching some
people pray and ponder the sacrament, pleading to connect with him.
And this man who received a child, a spirit, a precious daughter of
God into his family for him to care for. What trust from God. And yet
some people who were just in church to be in the building. Some people
who are just in the pews, I just wish they could see. As I thought
about this I pleaded to connect with Heaven as well. We sang Nearer my
God to thee and I was overcome with the spirit. It described my
feelings perfectly. There let the way appear, steps unto heaven, all
that thou seedest me, in mercy give... It bore witness to my heart
that here is a path back to Him. And I am on it. And I just wish
everyone could see that every day, that we could remember that. That
path is clear, and those covenants are the way. We need all the
connection we can get.

After church we had one of the biggest lessons I've ever had. Big in
numbers and big in IMPORTANCE! A family that the Ward has been friends
with and working with and inviting for a year or two finally agreed to
have the missionaries over. The father had many questions he wanted
answered but the mother we knew was very interested. She has attended
many times. Their daughter is converted and reads the Book of Mormon
and is rock solid. Well I was extremely nervous. I prayed for about 15
minutes before we went over to their home. 3 other active families
were there as well, the family hosting fed us and then we sat down for
the lesson. The father had done a lot of research and asked some
questions, but something incredible happened. We taught the
restoration and then the spirit filled the room, and every question he
had we had an answer or testimony that explained it. So many questions
I had no answer to, and yet an answer came. The spirit taught everyone
and we were able to answer. And the list got smaller and smaller as we
answered them. He then left and we visited with the mother and she
expressed a lot of interest. Her closest friends are all members and
finally is ready to learn. She is the sweetest lady and treats us with so
much kindness even though we have only met her a couple times.

Right after we left that home, and went to the home of one of the
families who joined us in the giant lesson just earlier! And we taught
Caitlin, a young woman who's mother is a member, we taught her earlier
in the week on Wednesday. she wants to find out for herself! She said
she was praying and didn't feel anything different when she asked if
it was true. Well she is so close and we taught the plan of salvation and
she understood and accepted it all. She is committed to finding out, so I
know she will. But the most impressive part for me, was the testimony
given by the father of the home, bro. Cox. He explained that if we
want to know we just have to ask, and sometimes if we feel it to be
true then we need to have faith, God would tell us if it were not
true. Like it says in the scripture. Ask God, in the name of Christ if
these things are "NOT" true.

Bro. Cox explained that just before this man died, all he wanted to
write was an invitation to all of us, to read the book he was giving
his life for. And as he read that in my minds eye I saw families all
over the world. My own family and all these incredible families in
Florida, changed, made better, living strong good lives, testifying to
others that the book that man Moroni had saved, Was true. I was
overcome with the spirit and emotion. I felt certain joy and peace
that I was a part of something great. His young girl has such simple
faith as a mai maid, I know she'll get an answer.

Finally we went to Jessica's lesson. We quizzed her on the baptismal
interview questions, she passed, we read through the baptismal
qualifications in D&C 20:37, she passed, and she organized her
baptism. She got all the paperwork signed. She is good to go for the
baptism on Saturday! 1 o clock, I will send pictures next week. What
an incredible week.

I am certain the Book of Mormon is true. I believe it so deeply. I love this work and I am so grateful I know it.

There are people who need it. Please go find them! 

Be not afraid:Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Monday, March 16, 2015

Transfer News


We received the transfer email Saturday night and found out that we are….

STAYING!! Elder Spach and I have another 6 weeks here in the Palmetto ward! we were so pumped but we also realized how much President Cusick is trusting us with that. elder Spach and I go home within a transfer of each other So I realized that President is trusting us to give EVERYTHING we have and not just cruse to the end. so that is what we are going to do. SPRINT! 

Throughout the week Elder Spach and I have many times where we just look at each other and say well now what should we do? because our plans fall through and our back up plans don't work out, but I have come to realize the beauty of a proper companionship. There were multiple times this week that 1 i was absolutely exhausted. we both got sick this week and it started getting hotter so we were just toast. and When it was my turn to get sick. Elder Spach took the lead and just was so merciful with me. he has helped me change and improve so much. when I am not giving my all or if there are things to improve he tells me in the most humble way. He has truly taught me how important companionship inventory is. It has changed my relationships forever. 

Jessica, a new investigator Caitlin ( who is a young women from a part member family ), the Recently baptized Katelyn, the kids, and a new young man Tyler! all came to church on Sunday! the youth are really growing! haha. 

Jessica is all good for baptism and is converted. We meet with her 3 times a week and she has come to church twice in a row now. She is practically part of the ward. She has come to young women's as well. It's picture perfect. Last night we watched the Joseph Smith movie and she went off about how we came to this country for religious freedom ha but she said she knows Joseph Smith is a prophet! she said her mom wants to meet with the Bishop. So pray that goes well. I think this will be a good thing. ALSO JESSICA HAS READ 10 chapters in like 3 days! 

Katelyn is still going strong after being baptized. Her boyfriend the one who introduced her to the church hasn't been going much to church or mutual but she is there, every week. without fail. she referred 7 people to us this week. i repeat…7 people… you know when the last time I got 7 referrals in one week? never. She is unbelievable! 

Tyler! is a friend of the Teachers quorum president in the Palmetto ward, Tristan is his name. He invited his friend tyler to church and we taught tyler three times this week. he is a 16 and the only really religious person in his family. They have some struggles as a family too. But he is always with Tristan and they are so close. This is the beauty of members. Relationships with members softens the hearts of nonmembers and that is when the magic happens. He is ready the book of mormon and just last night he texted us and asked us to recommend some scripture for him to read! he is on fire.

Caitlin is asking her Father to be baptized and is very excited. she is about 14 and really wants to come. She came twice in a row and has been to every mutual activity. She was the only one in her family to come to church! talk about valiant youth. I am so humbled by these kids. We haven't even taught her yet, our first meeting is wednesday

last but not least…the Mariner Familly, they have been coming to church for about a year now, with the daughters already converted and loving the church… The members have been bold and felt like now is the time and we have a meeting with the entire family at the young women's presidents house with two of the other mothers in the ward who are friends with them. We are so excited. I have waited and prepared for my entire mission for a moment like this. Pray for us sunday. There are miracles that are waiting!!!

Brothers and Sisters I just want everyone to know that I know THis church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is the Living son of the Living God. I have never seen him. BUt i know he lives.

This is his work and I pray that it is NEVER ever, over for me.

I invite everyone to find someone. Who are you going to teach in your home this week.

Please join me in the labor of love.

Be not afraid;Only believe.

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Courage like the Stewarts!

Hello my Dear friends. 

I am going to try to stay organized but there were all kinds of miracles that happened this week so if you get confused and want further clarification on any part just email me stephen.nelson@myldsmail.net

So, I will go down the list of people we taught or are currently teaching:
Kidd family - So Sister Kidd is getting Baptized in April! She set her date and is extremely excited to do this. She has come to church by herself with the baby one time and has been an absolute rock. But on top of  that, Bro. Kidd has been diligent. He came yesterday and is thinking more about baptism. We taught them both on Saturday about Baptism and Sister Kidd was just so excited to be clean again. You could see it in her eyes how badly she wants any guilt to be swept away. And Chris has said he will get baptized with her in April if he gets an answer, HE JUST HASNT ASKED YET! but I have no doubt. Chris ( Bro. Kidd ) participated in Gospel Principles class a lot and shared his feelings about getting answers from the spirit so I know it's just a matter of time. 

Jessica!! okay eveyone buckle up for this girl. 100% miracle. So we taught her for the first time two weeks ago and this week we taught her twice! She was scared to death the first time and the second time she made us cupcakes! ha. She quit her job so she can come to church on Sundays and is reading the book of mormon! and set a baptism date for March 28th and her boyfriend ( who is the son of the 1st counselor in the Bishopric ) is helping her so much. His family has her over so much and just loves her. That is what really got her interested. She said no like 5 times, and then Alex, ( her bf ) tried one more time and gave her a book of mormon and now everything has changed. She came to church and we sat by her. The talks were all about how to recognize answers  form the spirit, and they all described it as a warm peaceful feeling. and she leaned over to me and said " wow everyone feels that? that is so cool!" and she started moving her feet up and down really fast because she was so excited… and I said back "of course, because its true." during the course of this exchange and after.. I was filled with the spirit. I was so sure that the work I was doing, was the Lords work. She LOVED church. had an absolutely incredible time, she loved young women's and shared her experience with the gospel principles class of why she was there. It was unbelievable. 

Sunday - there is a family who's daughter is a DRY member, and the mom has been coming more often but not wanting the lessons and now their other daughter is coming but the father does not want to. Well, this Sunday some of the young women's leaders talked with her and invited her to learn. and She told them she has been feeling an unusual urge to learn from us!  The ward has been working on her SO HARD for so long! So, I am so excited to teach them. That is the Mariner family! 

Another young man brought his friend to church and he wants to learn. AND there is another young woman who wants to get baptized too and all she needs to do is get permission from her Dad who she knows will says yes. She is so close! 

For some reason all we baptize is young women?? I have NO idea why?? But whatever works! So far they are the strongest converts I have seen!

We have a few others who are close and in the works. The ward has just become finding machines, and fellowshipping machines. Still far to go but we really are not doing anything other than teaching! They do all the work. 

Two more amazing experiences.There is a couple in the ward I may have mentioned who have it figured out. The Stewarts, he is an RM who served in Finland, and he taught at the MTC and they met at BYU and he is going to Med school. Their home is perfect, and they are so active and give service and just perfect examples. Elder Spach and I always love seeing them. But they gave one of their neighbors a Book of Mormon and followed up and invited them over for a lesson with us. That is very hard to find! Not many members are that good! But they did it and we taught the Dad Tuesday night. Long story short, he was not interested in learning more and finding out if there was a God. Bu,t we gave a clear chance and the spirit was there, and he felt the love. I felt so accomplished afterward. And unlike street contacts, we will see him again, and more importantly the Stewarts will see him again, because they are good friends! I pray everyone will have the courage of the Stewarts! This is the kind of attitude ALL of us need to obtain. and give the action to back it up. 
I have a firm testimony of the Restoration of Christ's true church. And I love preaching it. And more joy and happiness than I have ever felt fills my soul each week.

The last experience was Saturday night. After our coordination meeting we had about an hour so we decided to search out some less actives on the way home from our ward mission leaders home. ( by the way our ward mission leader texts us every day, multiple times of the day to ask us how we are. HE LOVES this work, and is the most supportive man!) 
But we were looking for this one house for literally 30 minutes and could not find it, so we were like forget this, we're done, lets head home. whatever…. well, just then of course we passed it and debated whether or not to actually go up and knock. Well, we did and it wasn't who we expected it was the ex husband of the woman we were trying to meet and he told us that if it really was her that it would not have been a joyful conversation ha. So, it worked out. But he was SO happy to see us. and I was kind of having a rough night, not in the best mood, I was worried we would waste the Lords time, but we sat and talked about his life. And I began to realize THAT this is exactly where we were suppose to be that night. He was the one that Christ would have visited. My testimony was strengthened by the stories he told me. I grew because of him. 
SO, my invitation to you is for you to have Courage like the Stewarts and find out WHO you need to see this week. Not WHAT you need to do.

I love Jesus Christ and I love his work.

Elder Nelson 

Be not afraid;only believe

Monday, March 2, 2015

Members are the KEY!

Well hello! 

Spring is starting to creep in, and its getting a little more humid but the work is really starting to pick up! We have so many members who are really working so hard! I have come to realize how SMALL my part is in the work of salvation. It is honestly so small and yet I feel like I am growing the most. 

Well, Katelyn was baptized on Wednesday! It was perfect! So many people from the ward came and supported her. I think part of the reason for the support was throughout her teaching process we taught her in a different members home so, each of these families felt connected and part of her conversion. They had a part in helping her join the fold. And Elder Spach and I did not have any part in the Program, all the prayers, songs, witnesses, baptism, and confirmation was done by a ward member. This is exactly how it should work. I invite you to become involved in the missionaries work.  

Elder Bednar said in his last conference address "these remarkable men and women (meaning missionaries) help the members of our Church fulfill the divinely appointed and indicidual responsibility each of us has to proclaim the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ"

So we missionaries are here to help. 

Elder Zwick of the Seventy lead our Mission Leadership Council and let me just tell you this man is one of the top 10 best people I have ever met. Seriously. He and President Cusick have been great friends so you could just feel the love in the room. He taught us a lot about leadership in our mission and ways to improve it, but the majority of it, and the majority of his messages to us were being truly converted the GOSPEL! Not just a missionary but being a strong member, and leader throughout our lives. The Apostles are very concerned with the missionaries becoming who they need to be. Elder Bednar said we are not just human beings, we are" human becomings".

Tuesday night we got a text randomly from one of the YM in the ward he said his girlfriend wants to be taught the first lesson tomorrow at his house at 7. So we gladly agreed. Seemed to be a good use of our time.:) 

Well, we got there and She finally opened up all of her questions. She has been resisting the church so much because of how much she has heard but she had an expereince that led her to ask for a lesson with us. Needless to say, we were very excited to teach her. She was very nervous and had many questions, but so did we. My favorite section of PMG is asking inspired questions, which Elder Zwick talked a lot about as well. So we asked about what she believed and she enjoyed it. She felt comfortable enough to ask some of the hard questions she has had, like why the book of mormon has been changed  even though its supposed to be the most true book. And about if she can be baptized even though she has two earrings haha. But the coolest part was this. We asked her the Golden 3 questions from the plan of salvation. Where did you come from, why are you here, and where are you going? and she said... "I have no idea", and I said "well, i am about to tell you exactly where you were, and why you are here... you ready?" and then the spirit litereally filled the room. I explained that she was with her loving father in heaven, and that she CHOSE to come down here and follow him. As we said this tears filled her eyes, and I asked how she felt and she just said "warm". You could just see it in her eyes. We meet with her wednesday again, but she has already been discussing baptism with her bf. Her name is Jessica. Moments like these are honestly the reason I am on a mission.  

We have a young women who is fellowshipping and encouraging some of the other non member youth to get baptized, and we just had lunch with a ysa girl and her friend who came to church. We have a lesson on thursday with a family and their friends from medical school. The fire has started! And it is not burning out any time soon!

Elder Zwick hosted all the members of the ward councils in the south three stakes of our mission and trained them all on how to effectively improve missionary work in the ward and stake. He said at all times, members of the ward council should be able to answer these four questions each week

1 What are the names of the progressing investigators coming to church?

2 What are the names of the progressing investigators with baptismal dates?

3 What are the names of the members working closely with each Progressing investigator?

4 WHO is going to be taught in YOUR home this week?

If you answer these 4 questions each week, the work will hasten. I have a testimony of Members who are involved. I want to help them. Elder Zwick shared with us so many incredible expereinces where he just was fearless. He did not care the circumstance, he just shares the gospel. Its who he is. And It is who I am. 

I have entered a higher level of dedication. I have realized how deep I have covenanted with God. I have signed my soul to Him and thank goodness for that! 

1 Corinthians 3:3 "...ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."

The Doctrine of Christ is written on the fleshy tables of my heart. And it will never be erased.

I know God lives, and this work will go forward. Please join us!

Be not afraid;Only Believe

Elder Nelson

Jia sent this picture to Elder Nelson after having done baptism's for the dead.  
She is moving right along and progressing very well in the gospel.
She is a Rock Star!!