We welcome all to follow along as Elder Nelson shares with us his experiences as a full time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. These are truly they best 2 years FOR his life!

Monday, 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