Monday, June 27, 2011

The Whole Candy Bar

Dad, Mom, Joel, Val, Lily, Violet, Derek, Lindsey, Nixon, Miles, Lorenzo, Paige, Nick, Merl-Erv, Hayley, George Glass, Rex, Nina & Dahlia:

Hurray for being a missionary in the Great Kentucky Louisville Mission in the Baptizing Lexington Zone in the Corbin Area! Hurray for housing the missionaries in the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission in the (Lakes Zone?) in the Lakes Area! This morning I read Elder Ballard's talk from Conference and he admonished us to all be member missionaries because us proselyting missionaries can't do it all on our own & housing the missionaries is a great way to help the cause. [This is in reaction to the news that some missionaries have temporarily moved in with us. It's always fun to have them around]

Who knew? Who knew that a teeny, tiny little town in the middle of a large country could make me so happy? Who knew? You can't even find the places I work in on a map most of the time. Luckily God doesn't need a map to know where to send His children to bring them the delicious fruit that Lehi and Alma had such a hard time describing. A fruit that is desirous above all other fruit. Who knew that my fruit would be waiting for me in Corbin, Kentucky? But it's here! Huzzah!

Jackie Logan FINALLY said a prayer out loud for us. He's been working with missionaries for almost six months now and the other day I asked him like I always do if he would pray, waiting for him to tell me to say it instead when he said, "Ok. Let's do this." And he offered a wonderful prayer! It was a small step for some, but a HUGE step for him!

This last weekend was the baptism and confirmation of Jackie Lee Sturgill. Steven Rodriguez baptized him and it was hilarious because beforehand we were worried about Jackie being too tall for the font and not being completely immersed. He told Steven that if he needed to he could shove him under for an extra couple seconds to do what it takes. And that's what Steven had to end up doing. Steven is a big, tall guy, but even he had to bend way down and put one of his hands on Jackie's chest and shove the top half of him down into the water. It was awesome. Steven and a guy named Jason Sizemore (both baptized within the last couple months) gave the talks and then Sister Ralph played for me and I sang "Come Follow Me". Then yesterday he was confirmed and given the Holy Ghost and a wonderful blessing telling him that Satan is going to try very hard to stop Jackie from accomplishing the many assignments that await him in the Lord's Kingdom but that the Lord would be watching over him to help and protect him. We need to find him a good, virtuous, LDS girl to marry. I think that will help him stay on the right path.

More good news: We set a date with Judy Jones for this Saturday! She's about a third of the way through the Doctrine & Covenants and has already read the Book of Mormon, an Ensign we gave her, the Gospel Principles Manual & basically anything else she can find online. We can't give her enough to read she goes through them so quickly. And she's sharing the gospel with people around her and she went from saying she didn't want to be asked to read or pray outloud in our missionary lessons to volunteering in Relief Society to pray and to read. She's so prepared it's crazy. She literally lives in a holler that is FOREVER out of the way of any place you'd ever imagine driving. I don't know how we would have ever found her if she hadn't found us. She's awesome. When she was a baby, her parents used to have her drink coffee and she's kept drinking it for 59 years. She went from 3 pots of coffee a day to none in a matter of weeks because she wanted to be baptized. The gospel literally changes people, first on the inside and then on the outside. We're excited for her baptism and then to see how soon afterwards she's called as Relief Society President. She's just so meant for this Gospel.

EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS! We set a date with Willard. It's making me cry just thinking about it. It was so awesome how it happened. Willard is still reading the Book of Mormon and sharing the gospel and keeping all of his commitments and everything. We had a wonderful lesson a week ago in church about the Priesthood and how the authority comes straight from Jesus Christ and he told me afterward, "You proved your point." 

But he still insisted that the man who baptized him had the authority. We taught him every other part of the lessons that we had left this week and the last thing we had to teach him on Friday was baptism and confirmation. I started out by saying, "The only thing left we have to teach you is on your favorite subject..." He looked at me and gave me a face, bracing himself for another back and forth on priesthood. We had had him read 2 Nephi 31 the night before even though he read it a couple weeks ago (he's in Helaman right now) and told him we wanted to know what he learned from it when we came back that next day. When we got there he said, "I'm ready for the test."

 I asked him what he learned and he said, "Baptism is the gate."


 "Did I pass?

" "Well, what else did you learn?"

 "After you're baptized you'll get the Holy Ghost."

 "Great. And then what do you have to do?"

 "Keep being good."


 "And that's what you two are helping me with."

 "Except that you weren't baptized by someone holding the priesthood of God."

 "Willie Perkins is a good man and he told me that he had the authority to do what he did."

 ...So then we explained again how we got the priesthood in our church. He insisted that Willie had it. He said that Willie must have gotten it from someone in our church. I told him he hadn't. He said, "How do you know that?"

 "Because he isn't a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and only baptized, worthy men who have been baptized specifically into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are given the priesthood."

 "Really? You have to be baptized into your church to get it?"


 "Well, he must have been baptized into your church then."

 We explained that even if he was, if he's preaching in a different church it doesn't count. "The credit card is denied." He laughed at that, but didn't consent that we were right.

 Then, something told me to go back to the order that was taught in 2 Nephi. I remembered that when he was baptized he had a big sin that he was committing that he hadn't repented for. This past week he has finally corrected all that he can to be right with the Lord. We went over the baptismal questions and he answered them all correctly and then I asked him if when he was baptized Willie Perkins required him to repent. Willard said he hadn't. I explained to him that the steps the Book of Mormon teaches us are Faith, then repentance, THEN baptism and the Holy Ghost. He had skipped a step. If Willie had the priesthood and had done the baptism correctly, Willard would have had to repent BEFORE baptism. Willard looked at me and said, "You could be right about that." Then he paused for a couple seconds and looked at me and said, "Actually, I know you're right about that. I was just told that you're right."

 "...You were told by... the Spirit?"


 Sister Ralph and I looked at each other. We didn't know what to do. We've asked him so many times to be baptized that we had stopped asking the last couple visits.  Finally, I said, "Willard, will you be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?"

 "Yes. I think I need to be, don't I?" 

At that point Sister Ralph had to take over because I was crying and trying to hold back sobs. That day and that lesson with Willard are what I've been preparing for and praying for for a very long time. How beautiful and blessed I am to have been able to witness the Spirit testify to my sweet friend, Willard. I don't know how to describe the "deliciousness" of that moment. It is more desireable than anything I've ever experienced.

 Willard is set to be baptized on July 9. We'll have three weekends in a row of baptisms! We tried to consolidate but none of them could do them on the other days and none of them wanted to wait. There's a reason why the missionaries call Corbin the Promised Land! Of course, things in Willards life went downhill as soon as he committed and he's having calamities in his life right now, but his spirits are still up. He told us yesterday, "I was reading in Helaman about the darkness and then the fire that encircled Lehi and Nephi and I could have sworn my heart was about to jump out of my chest. The Spirit was so strong. I wish you could have been there to feel what I felt as I read that!" 

Sister Ralph and I are glad we weren't there. We're glad he's having personal testimony-building experiences with the Book of Mormon. Yesterday as he called us his angels he told us that he loved us but that he was doing this for himself and not for us. Hurray! Just weeks before he told us if we really wanted him to that he'd get baptized, but that he would only be doing it for us. NOW he gets it. He's doing this for himself. He asked me why other people don't listen to our message. "It doesn't make sense! They've had a bite of the candy bar and set it back down. If they'd listen to you, they could have the WHOLE candy bar!" Haha. Being a missionary is so wonderful. The Lord lets you witness miracles on a mission! You don't perform them, but if you follow the spirit, He'll let you witness them! Hurray!
Other things have happened this week, but they don't really matter after that wonderful story, do they? All is well in Corbin. All is well!

I love you all and I hope that you enjoy the church history tour. I'm SO jealous! Sister Correia sent me some pamphlets of all the sites she's working and it looks like so much fun. She bore her testimony to me and I don't know how, but she's gotten an even STRONGER testimony now. She's so happy! So am I! Everyone should serve a mission! Look for her and for Sister Barrus when you're out there in New York!

Extra Blessings: Grandpa Rex, Sister Correia, Brother and Sister J, Anne Dastrup and her soon-to-be Hubbs. [and I'm sure she just accidentally overlooked my huge handwritten letter in her package and Rex and Nina's emails -- had to throw those in to save face since this is the second week in a row it's happened.  I was beginning to get a little embarrassed.  Fortunately we already enjoy all kinds of "Extra Blessings' by just hearing from her each week!! :o) ]

Word of the Week:  "Spoll't"  the American English translation is "spoiled".  ALL children out here are spoll't, according to their parents. And most of them actually are spoll't. A good time can be spoll't by rain. A good night's sleep can be spoll't by a billion, itchy bug bites.

I love you all! Read your scriptures and pray and you'll always be on the right track! The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love- Sis Nelson

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Past that gate is our Relief Society President's property
More  of her land
Keith - Student investigator
This is the gazebo where we teach Steven & Keith at Union College
 in Barbourville where they both have scholarships for football.
Union College - main building

Baptisms!  Johnathan & Kaylee Ogden


Steven Rodriguez, Johnathan, Kaylee, & Keith Parker
(aka Keith Beagles)
Steven & Keith were baptized 4 days before I got to Corbin

Kaylee was being "The Holy Ghost"

Birthplace of  KFC

Shh!  Don't tell President Glende about my boyfriend!

 I pass this truck at least 2 times a day

Me 'n Mater - it makes me miss Nixon and Miles

Linda (Jackie's girlfriend)
Brianna (we're teaching her - she's one of
Linda's kids) &  Boo

Brianna's Baptism - Matthew (14), Me, Sis. Goss, Brianna (8), Linda & Jackie
Brianna didn't want someone "old" to baptize her so
we asked Steven who had been baptized
 for a  month to do it.  He was REALLY EXCITED.

All that used to be a tree

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Miles! You're acting like a Lamanite!"

Where do I begin? So much to say! First off, I almost wet myself as I was reading about the "Nelson Family Spanking Tradition". Haha. Poor BIL[<---brother-in-law]. Well done, Val! [Insert from letter telling her the story: After we swam, ate, gave gifts, and sang, the kids (started by Val) all insisted that Nick go through the "spanking machine" as part of the Nelson family tradition.  He was very reluctant and finally gave in because, after all, it is tradition.  So, everyone stood with legs apart in a line, and he crawled through as each one spanked him pretty hard.  When he was done, he stood up and said, "That's the most embarrassing thing I've ever done."  Whereupon Joel said, Way to go Nick - you just completed the FIRST Annual Birthday Spanking Tradition!!"  Nick about DIED!!  "No!!!  AGH!!!"  And he covered his face with his hat and turned bright red.  It was pretty funny.  And it was all Val's idea.  She's truly becoming a Nelson in every sense of the word.] We have to do that to all the new in-laws that join the family. 

Also, thanks, Dad for the detail about Lorenzo's vomiting and other explosions and the pandemonium that ensued. It makes me miss yall, but it makes me really happy to hear about it all. Thank you, Mom, for the package. I got it this morning. Hurray for General Conference! Thanks for the balls and games and toys, too. I've been trying to teach Johnathan how to juggle so it'll be great to give him some of those. I'm hoping to get more pictures of some of our adult investigators like 6'8" Jackie Sturgill or Willard and his smile, but they're harder to convince to get into a picture. I'm glad you met a man named Harry Peacock. I'm glad I got to see the gorgeous Emily Lloyd Andersen and her hubs. I can't wait to hear from Rex about his Patriarchal Blessing. Rex, do you mind sending me a copy when you get one? Mom and Dad told me a little about it and it sounded very special, just like you. Teen, I need pictures of your recital. I need pictures of Violet's spots. I need pictures, before and after, (Whoopi then Simon Cowell) of Dahl's hair.
The miracles that I'm seeing here, both personally and for others is such a blessing. I wish you could all be here with me. My words don't seem to do them enough justice. The removal of my allergies is something that I have to remind myself of every day as I cringe at the sight of a cat or dog and then remember and pick them up and nuzzle them and kiss them and then breathe in deeply and wait and nothing happens but the animal licking my face or something. No sniffling or itchiness or watery eyes or anything! And to top it all off, being able to smell! Yesterday in Relief Society we went over Obedience and 1 Nephi 3:7. If the Lord commands you to do something, he WILL prepare a way. He has prepared one for me. He could have sent me somewhere else and kept my physical conditions as they were, but for some reason wanted me here, in Kentucky, and has strengthened me and healed me so that I could accomplish the work that I've been called to perform. It reminds me of the first part of 2 Nephi. I echo what is said there: Awake! Arise, O Zion! O how great the goodness of our God! O how great the plan of our God! O the greatness and the justice of our God! O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! O how great the holiness of our God! My brethren and sisters, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God. O, my beloved brethren, remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. O, my beloved sisters, come unto the Lord, the Holy one, remember that His paths are righteous. O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins, remember the words of your God. Let your hearts rejoice!
The Lord has been answering my prayers like crazy lately. Little ones and big ones. Tender Mercies and Full on Miracles.  One night this week I had said a prayer asking for a specific piece of comfort and answer but had been interrupted by a call from my District Leader before I could ponder the answer or recieve the comfort. The next morning I got a letter from Grandpa Rex and the first two paragraphs were the specific answer and comfort I was looking for. How wonderful that I have a Grandpa who follows promptings and a God who prompted him to write the letter a week before I would ever offer my prayer!
This week has been a good week. I've really delved into the material from Elder Skouson's talk and have gained a completely new perspective on the atonement and I'm so excited and humbled by it. I've taken notes and I'll send them to you. Also, Sister Ralph had another talk that she said, "is pretty good. I don't know who it's by but it's great." Guess who it turned out to be: Ed Pinegar. And it was a good talk. One thing I really liked that he said was actually a quote from someone else, I think. "Faith is the Power, Love is the Motive, Obedience is the Price, The Spirit is the Key & Christ is the Reason." He said that in regards to missionary work but it applies to everything we do for the Lord. He also said, "If you want to be perfect, repent perfectly." He also said "You can't teach faith unto repentance until you live faith unto repentance."
Kentucky is a beautiful place. You've never seen a sunset till you've seen a Kentucky sunset. The same goes for the sunrise. Haha. It makes me think of Jane Eyre when Mr. Rochester asks Jane to watch the sunrise with him on the morning of his wedding and she gets all upset and then they profess their love to each other.  Anyways, it's GORGEOUS out here. The green isn't the green I was expecting. It's more lime green and lighter greens. But it's really greens of every shade all mixed in together. The mountains don't look like mountains at all because you can't see a SPECK of brown. They're just COVERED in trees. Also, we've had fireflies in our yard lately. They're pretty magical. We caught one in a jar and watched it light up and then go out and then light up again. I hope yall get to see some someday. The thunder has been CRAZY. Last night, Sister Ralph and I were both woken up several times because of the thunder. It didn't even sound like thunder. It sounded like metal crashing against metal but on a ginormous scale. It sounded like a war outside. Plus, it was like a strobe light with all the lightning. The air is so thick, too. Willard described the air out here pretty accurately, "Here you gotta chew your air up before you can swallow it." It's true. 
We had an interesting week with Willard. He has been sharing the gospel with his friends, devouring the Book of Mormon, accepting every commandment we throw at him and calling himself a member. BUT, he still doesn't think he needs to be rebaptized. No matter how many times we go over authority and priesthood and all of that stuff, he still thinks the man who baptized him had the authority. We also found out a big sin in his past that he's been hiding from us. He didn't kill anyone or anything, but it was really depressing to hear about it and I can understand why he didn't want us knowing about it. I told him he needs to correct the situation in order to completely repent of it. He said he couldn't. I told him he could. He insisted he couldn't because it would hurt too many people's feelings. I called him a coward. He told me he's not a coward and I told him, "Willard, I love you. You're one of my best friends. And you're acting like a coward." I went to apologize for it later but the Spirit told me not to halfway through my apology so what I ended up saying was "Willard, I'm sorry I called you a coward... but you are acting like one." That night I was worried that I'd offended him and he'd stop his lessons but the next day he apologized and said he'd been worried that was offended and would want to stop teaching him. Things are a lot better now that he's being completely honest with us and he has started taking the steps he needs to take to right his wrong. Every time we see him he's read like 10 chapters in the Book of Mormon. He LOVES it and can't put it down. He's the biggest BYH. He's bringing a friend to our lesson tonight so she can hear about the truth.
Jackie Sturgill is set for baptism on Saturday and still hasn't smoked. I'm getting pretty excited because he'll be my first adult baptism. The other three have been kids. We're hoping to have Judy Jones and Willard baptized in July.
My favorite thing I read this week was in a letter from Lindsey about Nixon and Miles fighting over a seat. Nixon told Miles, "Miles, you're acting like a Lamanite!" Haha! I felt like telling Willard that the other day. It's cool, we have four people in our teaching pool right now who have Lamanite blood in them. Willard is one of them. So, I guess he really was acting like a Lamanite.
Being a missionary is SO awesome. The things I learned about the atonement this week have kept me in tears every time I think about them. Our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit are changing my life even more than they already had before I was ever even born. Everyone should serve a mission.
Extra Blessings: Grandpa Rex, Nixon, Miles & Lindsey, Sister Brandley.
Word of the Week: Yournzez (yourn-zizz). It's the plural posessive form of "you". (A combination of yuns and yours). Example: I've heard about yournzez golden Bible.  Did yuns get yournzez car situation figured out?  I can't remember if yournzez church starts at 9:30 or 10.
Thank yuns for yournzez prayers and support! I need it and appreciate it! The Church is TRUE! Share it!
Love, Sis Nelson

Monday, June 13, 2011

She Loves the Smell of Skunks


This week has been a roller coaster. (Drekmore, I keep thinking about "Lincoln Park is a roller coaster"). Tuesday night we got a call from Jackie Sturgill telling us that he's done with our church and didn't want to be baptized anymore. He was offended by the bishop and by the people who introduced him to the church. We got the story from him and from what he was told by the member, I would have been offended, too. We went over and talked with Bishop about the things he had said to the member who had relayed it to Jackie. He told us he never said that and that he never would have said that and that he really likes Jackie and has high hopes for him. So, Bishop went over to the member's house and chastised him and then we had to go eat dinner at the member's house that night and it was really awkward. Then we went and patched things up with Jackie who said that he would come back to church but that he didn't want to ride with the member who had lied about what the Bishop had said about him so we had to find him a different ride from London to Corbin for church and then we found out that Jackie is moving in a couple weeks so we probably won't be able to see him baptized and we hope that he'll continue with missionaries there and it was a big, long mess. And then at church yesterday that member talked to him and made things a little worse, but I think Jackie realizes that it's not the members, it's the gospel that's perfect and worth coming for. We had a really good lesson with him comparing other churches to our church and why other people choose their congregation and how we should choose the church we align ourselves with and he kept saying that "It's the word that's important, not the people, the money or the convenience." He seems pretty solid. Yesterday we fasted with him to help him quit smoking and he went the whole day without smoking a cigarette which is quite the miracle because he's been smoking since he was 9 years old and he's 31 now. 

We had a really good visit with Judy on Tuesday. We got Sister Bowen and Sister Decker who are in the RS Presidency to come out with us which was really nice of them because it's an hour away from Corbin and Sister Decker lives a half hour up the mountain in Corbin so it's really an hour and a half for her. Judy LOVED having "friends" and said that when she was praying to find a church she also prayed to find friends and she feels like she's gotten a two-for-one in our Church. She told us that she finished the Book of Mormon and that night she woke up at 2 in the morning and had a long talk with God where she repented and then was told that she needs to be baptized. She's really awesome. She and her husband bought their property about 6 years ago and have been building a house ever since. She's about to finally get a kitchen installed so that she doesn't have to haul in water. They are completely off the grid which means that they produce their own energy from a natural gas well on their property so they don't have any electric bills and the don't have to pay for water and they don't have a mortgage. They're almost completely self-sufficient.

Willard is still the BYH of my life. We were going to go 4 days without seeing him but we ran into him 2 days in and he started getting teary-eyed saying that we can't do this to him again. He can't go this long without seeing us. Honestly, neither can I. I miss him if we go a day without seeing him. We taught him this week that when he was baptized, he wasn't baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God and so he had made a committment to God, but not a covenant with God. We went over good, better, best with him and told him that what he did was better than a lot of people, but that the best thing he could do was to be baptized by someone who had permission from God to do so. Later that week we talked to him about the difference between the Holy Ghost and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We talked to him about the Great Apostasyand the Restoration. He still wasn't getting it. We asked him if the man who baptized him had authority to do so. He said that he did. We asked how he knew that and he said that he was a good man who loved god and knew a lot about him and that he was sure that he had somehow gotten authority. Then, I got out a picture I have of John the Baptist physically laying his hands on Joseph Smith's head and then another picture with Peter, James and John. We explained how their authority led back to Jesus Christ. Then we told him how every priesthood holder in the Church can trace his line of authority back to Jesus Christ. Then we fasted with him. He had three things he wanted to fast for: the left side of his body is crippled because of his stroke and he can walk, but it's hard for him and he can't use his hand at all so he wants that to be healed, he wants to know why he is alive when he should have died twice in his life and then he wanted to know if he should be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by someone holding the priesthood authority of God (we sort of helped him come up with that last one...).

Yesterday, we visited him and he was reading in Alma 5 so we read it with him and then we broke our fast. It was a really, really good 24 hours in regards to Willard. I think he'll get his answer, I just hope that he'll be willing enough to acknowledge it. He got a haircut this week and his hair went from long and slicked back and curly at the bottom of his head to short and tidal waved like Papa-Elf's. It's adorable. We told him he looks like a Mormon and he smiled. Have I explained his smile to you? It's awesome. It's taken me a long time to figure out what it is because it's a little confusing. He wears dentures on the top of his mouth because he dipped for years and years. When you first see him you think that half of his top teeth are dentures and half aren't because one side of his mouth is nice, straight and white. The other side are all spaced out and a little crooked. BUT, when he talks, the WHOLE THING falls out of his mouth because he doesn't use glue. So, somehow, he has dentures that are straight and clean on one side and redneck on the other. It's awesome. He looks adorable when he smiles. When we were talking about baptism he asked what day we wanted him to be baptized if he was willing and we told him July 2nd. He stopped and got choked up. That's he and his wife's wedding anniversary. He misses her a lot. He talks about how similar I am to her. "Not the way you look, but the way you are. You're so much like Mary." Sister Ralph and I told him how we feel like she has accepted the gospel on the other side and is helping out in any way that she can to lead Willard to the church so that she can be baptized and sealed to him. We really do feel that way. He told us that he prayed us to him and I believe he did. This may sound prideful of me, but I think that he specifically prayed me here. He and I just have a real love for each other. Sister Ralph will tell you how depressed I get when we go too long without seeing Willard. We really were supposed to meet each other. The Lord sent him to me or maybe me to him, but we were supposed to meet. I know we were. If I go the rest of my mission without finding someone to teach (which I hope doesn't happen), I'll be content because I met Willard. He's the reason (or at least one of the reasons) I was called to the GKLM. He's the reason. I can't wait for you all to meet him.

Johnathan & Kaylee are doing well. Johnathan said the other day "Why can't you come over every day?" Haha. I'm trying to teach him how to juggle and trying to coach Kaylee how to do a round-off without actually doing one since I wear skirts all the time.

This last week we had an amazing leadership training. Technically the training is only for Zone Leaders and District Leaders, but President and Sister Glende wanted to see all of their missionaries one more time before they were released so they invited everyone. We went over teaching by the spirit and we studied Matthew 16 when Christ is teaching Peter by the spirit and then we went over Alma 32. It was awesome. We've already implemented what we learned with Jackie S and Willard and have seen amazing results. The Glendes are good, good people. I wish you all could meet them.

There's a bad flu that's going around here and last night Sister Ralph wasn't feeling too well so we decided to come in early so she could rest and hopefully nip it in the bud. She let me listen to this talk by an Elder Skouson (I think that's his name) that was given in the 80's about the meaning of the atonement. It was fascinating. I'll have to send you my notes. He talked about why it was necessary and physically why he had to do it the way he did it and how Heavenly Father couldn't take the cup from him and there really was no other way to make our eternal prospects possible. It was really, really amazing. Seriously. It has changed and answered so much for me.

Sister Ralph is really cool. She's pretty much Michael in girl form but a little different. The other day she was talking about her favorite smells and she told me that she loves the smell of skunks. I started gagging and screaming and calling her a liar but she's serious. She likes to smell them when we drive past them. It's disgusting. She's a great companion. She likes to work hard and doesn't like things to detract from our purpose as missionaries. She plays the organ and the piano beautifully. She also plays the flute. She always calls out slug bug and tries to guess when traffic lights are going to change. She's quiet and patient. She's very loving and kind. She blows her straw paper at me and thinks it's funny. She's very neat and tidy. She's seriously just like Michael. She even has a nose and so does Michael.

Word of the Week: "Went Right Through Me" It's actually a phrase of the week, I guess. The first time I heard it I had no idea what it meant. I thought it had to do with Mexican food or something. But it means that it made the person angry and made their blood pump faster. Jackie said it like 12 times when he was telling us about how one of Linda's kids was being disrespectful to him. "It just went right through me. It went right through me and he's lucky he aint 18 yet or he'd a paid fer it."
Extra Blessings: Sister Gossett and Lindsey. THANK YOU FOR THE PICTURES! I cannot get over Enzo and how fat he is. My favorite picture is the one of the three boys with Enzo in the middle. It's on my wall and I can't stop looking at it. Thank you!
Email Blessings: Nina. Thanks, Teen.

Happy Birthday, Lindsey and later this week, Nick. Happy Father's Day on Sunday, Dad! I love you and wish I could call you!

Hurray for Carly getting marriage clearance! I'll need tons of pictures!

It's awesome. Being a missionary is the best. Everyone should serve a mission. Go look up President Eyring's statement on being part of the "fellowship of the unashamed". That's how we all should be. My banner is clear. I love Christ and I love serving him. I love you all. The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love, Sis Nelson

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brooke Shares a Miracle - June 6, 2011

Family, Dahlia, and Michael's Nose;

I'm sorry it's been a while since I wrote you all by hand. Please excuse any spelling errors I make. It seems like forever since I've had a thick, juicy dictionary in my hands. I've really been missing it lately as I've started trying to make my way through Jesus The Christ. Wowee, he uses a lot of big words.

I keep thinking about how everyone should serve a mission. There are lots of reasons, or purposes, why everyone should serve a mission, but one of the biggest reasons is because of what you witness as a missionary The reason the Young Adults of the Church serve missions is so they can witness the miracles God performs. I can't convince someone to be baptized anymore than I can convince Dahlia to learn how to juggle.  But, Heavenly Father has allowed me to witness the miracles that happen when one of His children allows the Holy Ghost into his/her heart. I really have nothing to do with it. I'm just allowed to watch it. I've been thinking a lot about Alma 29 lately. I wish that people would listen to the happiness that's knocking on their door instead of shutting it up before it can get a word in. Still the Lord is allowing me to see miracles.

I love listening to the Mo-Tab. It's comforting to hear so many voices united & telling me that there are people who know Sister Ralph and I aren't crazy. There are millions of people who do know The Book of Mormon is true and that God does speak to His children today. Miracles have not ceased.

Can I share with you a miracle of my own? I've been debating on whether or not I should share this with you all for a couple of weeks now. I've been afraid that if I told you, it would go away. But, I'll tell you anyway.

The day I got to Louisville - the second I stepped off that airplane on to Kentucky ground - I could SMELL. It was faint and only lasted a minute or so, but I knew it had happened. It's been over four years since I lost my sens of smell and about twice a year I'll get it back for about a day and it will be so strong and all at once that I get very nauseated and sick. The, the next day it's gone again. It's been over a year since I had one of those episodes, until my first day in the field. And it didn't come all at once or very strong. It was faint and "under"bearing. Over my first transfer in Corbin I would be able to smell a little her and a little there and for a little long, maybe 2 hours here and 2 hours the next day. I've gotten to the point where I now can smell all the time and I haven't gotten sick once yet because of it. It's AMAZING.

I feel so much more connected with the world around me. Everything has a scent! Your table, your towel, your banana, your moose nightgown, etc. I'm sure y'all don't notice those things anymore because you're so used to it. But, I just sniffed the pen I'm writing this [letter] with and the ink has a smell. Hurray!

Now, I'm sure I could tell this story to someone who didn't know God and he would tell me it was because of humidity and climate and time and whatever else, but that's not true. China is very humid and it didn't work there. I've been to Hawaii and California and it didn't work there. It is a miracle and a blessing from Heavenly Father. That's it. I know it is. [reader: this surprised all of us! She is not exaggerating when she says that she has not been able to smell anything for years - a curse AND a blessing as the case may be]

Y'all also know how allergic I am to cat and dogs, too. I can't stand 3 minutes around one without hives and asthma attack, right? Not on my mission. Every house I go into has a furry pet and every pet climbs all over me and nuzzles me and sheds on me and not once have I sneezed or gotten itchy because of it. Not once. I'm telling you, it's a miracle.  [an even BIGGER miracle - to not have ANY reaction, not even a SNEEZE?!?! We can't imagine it.  This is unheard of - perhaps Nina will get her wish for a kitten in this household after all!]  I don't know if it's just an 18-month blessing or if it will last afterwards, but it doesn't matter. I've been watched over and blessed by Heavenly Father and I'm grateful for whatever He gives me.

I love you all. The church is TRUE!! Share it!!

Love Sis. Nelson
 [final note: we are witnessing the fulfillment of one of the promises in her blessing as she was set apart as a missionary - that her health would "improve" as she served faithfully. Indeed, our Father keeps His promises. We are all so touched and grateful!]. 

Monday, June 6, 2011


First things first: Mother, as I was saying my prayers last night I accidentally knelt on my glasses and they broke. Needless to say I look GREAT with only one arm and a diagonal tilt. I can't really wear them unless I hold them to my face. PLEASE send me those two pairs that I had made for me. PLEASE. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE. Thank you.
This week has been a good one. We had FOUR investigators in church on Sunday: Jackie Logan, Jackie Lee Sturgill, Judy Jones & Willard Cox. Jackie Sturgill is still set for baptism on July 2nd if he can quit smoking by the 18th of June. We taught him the Word of Wisdom on Friday and he immediately said he knew it was true and that he would need a lot of prayers but that he wanted to live it. We call him first thing every morning and then last thing at night to check up on him. The first day he only smoked 18, then it was 12, then it was 8 and yesterday it was 4. He looked miserable yesterday. He said church helped though. He's also having to move today because the shelter where he's been living is changing to a 7-day emergency shelter. He thinks he has a place to live, though. Jackie Logan isn't really progressing too much because he still isn't married. Judy is coming along quite a bit. She told us it would take her a very long time before she would consider coming to church and then on Friday she said she was coming to church and she drove the hour it takes to get from her house to our chapel and stayed for all three hours. It was awesome.
Corbin Chapel

Testimony meeting was a little... interesting... but I think she could tell which testimonies she should take to heart. Willard is progressing to a certain point, but he has told us that he doesn't want to be baptized because he already was baptized. He knows the church is true and he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He knows that theBook of Mormon is scripture. He knows that the priesthood is in and only in our church. But, he still is getting a "no" when he prays about being baptized. Sister Ralph and I feel that the root of the problem is that he hasn't truly forgiven himself for some of the things he's done in his past. He hasn't told us what they are, but he obviously still feels very guilty for them. 

Yesterday I asked him if he's forgiven himself and he said he hasn't.. I told him a little bit about how hard of a time I've had forgiving myself for the things that I've done before and how I knew that everyone else deserved Christ's sacrifice, but for some reason I felt like I should have to pay for what I did because I knew better and I shouldn't have done those things. He agreed and said that he didn't want Christ to have to pay for what he did because it wasn't fair and he didn't deserve to not have to pay for his own sins. Then I asked him something that was sort of a cheap shot, but I think it got the point across. I asked him if he felt like I deserved to be forgiven of my sins and if I deserved to have Christ die for me.

He cries whenever he talks about me (he calls himself my lost sheep that I've left the 99 to find and "an angel"), and I knew he'd cry if I asked him that question, but I asked him. He said that of course I deserved it. He lives with his niece and her daughter who's a toddler and he LOVES her. Her name is Emma and she's just learning how to walk. I asked him if Emma deserves to be able to use the atonement. He said of course she does. I told him how Heavenly Father sees Willard and how much he loves Willard. Willard's lip started quivering really hard. I committed him to praying to know if he is worth the sacrifice of the Atonement and if he has been forgiven. He said he would ask. We've been teaching quite a few old people lately and it's amazing how the Lord loves all of them as his children. 80 years is nothing compared to eternity. We're all still his little children and he loves all of us. I need to stop so that I won't cry. I love Willard so much.

Sometimes I'm amazed that we find people to teach here in Kentucky. Tracting is basically a test to see how quickly the people behind the door can tell us no. Tons of people have told us that they'll pray for us and that we'll need it when we come to their door. They're not praying for us out of the goodness of their hearts, they're praying for us because in their eyes we're going to hell. We were tracting in Barbourville the other day and it was miserable. The only way I can think to describe the weather is sweaty. The air was sweaty. It was hot and thick and we were drenched. We were walking down the street and there was a couple with some kids walking on the other side and they said hello to us and we told them we were missionaries and they said they knew who we were and called us Mormons. They know Steven and Keith and the girl who introduced them to the church, Maddie. They've actually been to the Corbin ward before. We asked how they liked it and the girl, Dara, said, "I only went to support Maddie and try and see what made her such a sweet person. The religion doesn't hold water but I respect her." Oh. Ok. We didn't really know how to respond. 

She said that she could tell we were really hot and that when we were done with the street to stop by their place and they'd have some water bottles for us. So we did. We sat on their porch and had some cold water and they were very nice and talkative and testifying of Christ and talking about how much they love their Mormon friends. They asked me how I felt being called to Kentucky and I told them that I had said beforehand how if I stayed in the States that I wanted to go to the Bible Belt. Travis, Dara's boyfriend, said, "Well, you're definitely in the Bible Belt. In fact, I think it's safe to say that you're right in the Belt Buckle." Sister Ralph and I laughed because that is incredibly true. I told him how I love people that love the Bible and he said that he's into revivals and stuff like that. As we were leaving we asked if we could say a prayer with them and Travis said he'd rather say a prayer for us. He asked in his prayer for Sister Ralph and I to have our eyes opened and be led to accept new things and to truly do the will of God. 

Bible Belt billboard

That's basically how every lesson goes. People will be friendly but very blunt in their opinion on where we stand in the scheme of things. We taught a lady the other day who was a referral from a member and he told her we were nice girls who loved the Lord and she said, "As long as they teach from the Bible, I'll listen to them." It's sad how Satan mixes truth with lies. These people believe in God and love God so much that they hold on to the portions of the truth that they have and shun anymore truth that comes their way. Why wouldn't people want MORE revelation from God? If someone told me there was another Book called the Book of Steven or Joe or something, and I could find out if it really was, I'd be thrilled.

I think you'd all be proud of me because I don't freak out about bugs anymore unless they're on me or near me and I don't kill them or anything, but I don't freak out if I see one. When I was staying inBeattyville the shower we used was in a basement and I was about to get in the shower when I saw a HUGE spider. It was about the size of a quarter and an inch & a half tall. It was brown and hairy. I wasn't dressed and the spider was between me and the door so I couldn't run away or call for help. I started crying and got the trash can and tried to kill it but it JUMPED a foot off the ground. I tried smashing it a couple times but it kept jumping. Finally, after about 8 tries, I killed it. It was one of the most traumatic experiences ever.

Johnathan and Kaylee are still doing well. Sister Ogden said that after we left the other day, Johnathan told his mom that he'd be ok being a prophet. A couple days later he got into a fight with kids at school over the Book of Mormon. He still hasn't ever said a prayer for us and I've been trying to get him to forever. We play rock, paper, scissors tournaments and the winner gets to say the prayer. Whenever he wins he says, "Best out of 3" or "Best out of 5". Last time we were there he said, "Rock, Paper, Scissors (and then he put his hand like a phone and held it out and said) Jesus is calling". Haha. It was hilarious. He's started wanting to wrestle me for it and I tell him I can't and then he tackles me. It makes me miss Rex and Nina.

We've watched the full-length Joseph Smith movie two times this week and we watched it a couple times in the MTC, too. I cry every time. It's ridiculous. I can't talk because it makes me cry so hard. I'm supposed to be testifying afterwards to our investigators and all I can do is look at Sister Ralph and plead with my eyes for her to not make me talk after she's done talking. Then she tells me with her eyes that I have to talk and I try and I start crying harder. It's bad. But the movie is great and Joseph Smith really was a prophet and he was a wonderful man and so was his wife and I get tired thinking about all that he accomplished in such a short period of time.

Thank you, Dad, for your email this week. The volunteering feeding homeless sounds like a wonderful experience. I need to see pictures of Enzo's hair.

Extra Blessings (which only count if they are handwritten) go to: Sister Gossett & Brother and Sister J. (Email blessings go to Kiera and Paige).

Word of the Week: Keepin'. 
Keepin'= Babysit -  but for anyone of any age. Linda and Jackie keep nieces and nephews every weekend. People who have their elderly parents live with them are keepin' them. Sister Ralph and I pretend like we're keepin' Hagrid.
Everyone should serve a mission. EVERYONE. The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love, Sis Nelson