Monday, May 23, 2011


Hey y'all from Beattyville!

This week has been a wonderfully jam-packed. I'm sorry I didn't get to write you a hand-written letter
last week but we were getting Sister Gossett ready to go home and we ran out of time. I'll write one today though. On Monday night, I got to Beattyville where I spent the night with my new companions, Sister Ralph and Sister Mikami. Sister Ralph is like a mix between Kiera  George and Lauren Pieper, but she's a bit more reserved than either of those girls. She looks a little like Drew Barrymore to me because of her cute heart shaped face and pursed lips. She's a beautiful pianist that does her own arrangements of hymns. Sister Mikami ("me-caw-me") is like a mix between Elizabeth Matthews and Kubo. She's very involved in musical theatre back home and she has a very powerful voice. She's also half Japanese or "Whasian" as she likes to say. She's very outgoing and friendly. I've really loved spending the week with them. They're very obedient and have true compassion for the people here.
Sister Ralph, Sister Mikami, & Sister Nelson

Tuesday morning we had to go visit the library where the Sisters do service hours. Then we drove to Corbin and spent Tuesday and Wednesday working that area. Sisters like to call Beattyville Jerusalem because of the stiffneckedness and wickedness of the people there and Corbin is called the Promised Land because the field is ripe, all ready to harvest. This week I was able to see how true that comparison is. Corbin is blossoming right now. There are so many elect people waiting to be taught the gospel, we just have to find them. I loved being able to work from 10 til 9. The results were amazing. We had to fit in as many investigators as we could in only two days so we didn't tract at all, but we drove from appointment to appointment of people that I've been really wanting to go see but haven't been able to do so. 

First, we taught Judy Jones who lives in a genuine, true holler. I thought I had seen hollers before, but this was the real deal. It takes us an hour to get from our house to her house because we have to drive from Corbin to the Manchester area which takes a half hour and then we have to drive on dirt roads and gravel roads for another half hour. Judy's home is very pretty and it sits on almost 200 acres of land with ponds and horses and wild turkeys and pigs and dogs and everything. Judy was a referral from Salt Lake. She had requested a Book of Mormon way back in February but Sister Gossett and her companion couldn't find her house so they gave up and mailed it to her. When we got there she apologized for only being in Alma 11. We told her not to apologize (most people don't even read at all). She said that she had been reading online for a while but wanted to have a hard copy. We've taught her two lessons now and she keeps telling us how it all makes sense and how she and her husband have Native American blood and that so many of our teachings are alluded to in their history. She has had bad experiences with the Great Abominable Church out here and is very reluctant to attend church right now, but I know that she'll find out the church is true and she is the kind of person who will overcome her fears to have the truth in her life.

Then we went to see Jacob Gwinn. He's a 19-year-old who requested a Bible. He lives way out in East Bernstad and you have to go off-roading a bit to get there, but his house (technically his mom's) is very nice as well. He told us that he wants to get more into religion and get some answers to the trials that he's having to deal with right now. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he said that it all made sense. The next time we taught him about Jesus Christ and gave him some scriptures about Jesus in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon that we left with him to read. He's a really good kid and is going to trial for some very serious crimes that he claims that he didn't commit. If he is convicted he will go to jail for a long time. I hope he didn't commit them, and I'm inclined to think that he didn't. His family is very anti, so I'm sure we'll run up against some problems in the future, but for now I'm excited about him.

Then we went to see the BYH [<---Acronym for Bless Your Heart: a Nelson-ism started years ago to indicate someone who gets to your heart a little more readily than others.] Truetts. They had invited a young, homeless man to church with them and brought him last Sunday. His name is Jackie but he goes by Stretch or Hillbilly depending on who he's around. He's about 6'9" or so and he's a strong guy. He wore a cowboy hat to church. He came for the Stake Conference Broadcast from Salt Lake and sat through the whole thing and then watched Breanna's baptism and was excited about reading the Book of Mormon. Satan is already working really hard on keeping him from taking the lessons. He's had a couple of emergencies happen and we had to reschedule our appointment so we just went and saw the Truetts without him. I love the Truetts. I can't wait for y’all to meet them. And their fat dogs. They've only been members for 6 years, but they love the Lord and they take the gospel very seriously.

The next day we went and looked for my other BYH, Willard. Every time we go to his house his niece or her boyfriend tells us to come back later. They're druggies and they don't like us coming by. It's easiest to find Willard when he's walking because he hates to be in the house and walks a lot. We couldn't find him, so we went to a potential who I think has a future as a Relief Society President and we set up an appointment with her. Then we went and taught another potential and did a follow up with a man who really doesn't like the "three heavens" and we'll probably end up dropping him. Then we went and saw Breanna, Linda and Jackie Logan. Then we went and saw Jackie "Stretch". He LOVES the Book of Mormon and was already in Chapter 8 of 1 Nephi and it had only been a couple days since he had gotten it. He said that our church was the only time he has felt like people weren't being hypocrites and he felt at home at our church and he knew God had led him there. We soft-committed him to baptism which means he said he'd get baptized but we didn't set a date yet. I'm REALLY excited about him. He's going to be a leader in the church.

Then, we went and saw the Ogdens and I died because they are so cute. Then, I came back to life and we went home.

The next morning we went back to our potential named Connie Brookins. We taught her and Mitchell, her husband. They have been reading and said they get more out of our "Bible" than they do the "other one". They love the index and feel really good about the church. I'm SO excited about them. They are a future bishop and relief society president. When you're in their house you have to keep reminding yourself that they're non-members because the house has the spirit in it and they look and act like members already. They're completely prepared.

 After the Brookins we drove back to Jerusalem... Beattyville. We handed out pass-along cards with an invitation attached to a music concert the Sisters had been preparing for two months. Altogether about 400 invitations were handed out. The Sisters had come up with the idea to get people acquainted with the church and be more open to talk because it would be, "Hello, we want to invite you to a free music concert" as opposed to "Hello, we need to come into your home and convert you". The Beattyville Branch is lucky if it has 20 people at Sacrament Meeting and then they all leave and don't stay for classes.  I'll write more later about the branch and the week we had visiting the area, but Saturday night was the concert (someone dropped out at the last minute who was on the program so I had to do an impromptu solo of "I Need Thee Every Hour".) I'll send you a program. There was only one non-member there and he was a family member of a member. And only a few ward members were there. The rest of the people were the performers that we brought in from Lexington to perform with us.

It was a hard thing for the Sisters to have put months into something, trying as hard as they've been for the last 6 months and have it yield nothing. We got a call saying that the Sisters are being taken out of Beattyville for now and it's been hard on Sisters Mikami and Ralph. But, they both know it's the right thing because the people here in the branch aren't doing anything to help the work and the people out on the streets are very hard-hearted. It reminds me of Zion's Camp. These Sisters were asked to do something and prepare for it and fight for it for the Lord and in the end, he said, let's turn around. But these Sisters are stronger because of it. And they've poured their hearts into this area. They can stand blameless for the work they've done here. I'm glad that I get to take Sister Ralph from Jerusalem to the Promised Land where she will be able to see the fruits of her labors.

Extra Blessings: Grandpa Rex, Marty Brandley, Aunt Kiki & Lauren Pieper.
The rest, if there are any I haven't received yet and will be mentioned next week when I'm back in Corbin and can get my mail
Word of the Week: Mess. I always thought that the Elvis song "Mess of Blues" meant an untidy sadness. But mess out here means a bunch or a pile. People have a mess of tires in their lawn. I can have a mess of laundry to do. Right now we have a mess of investigators
I love you all! The Church is TRUE! Share it!

-Sis Nelson

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