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

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