Monday, July 25, 2011


... make me gag. 

We had some this week at Sherry's and they weren't my favorite. I made Sister Ralph eat mine because she owed me one from our last dinner appointment. Steven Rodriguez was eating there with us and he didn't like them either and Sherry asked us who wanted the rest of them and I told her that Steven did because he loved them. Steven hated me for a couple minutes. As we were leaving he tried to get me back by saying, "The Sisters told me they want you to fix them some more Fried Green Tomatoes but are too shy to ask you to." Sherry looked at me and I told her that Steven was just saying that so that we could give them to him. She believed me and told him that he doesn't have to be ashamed to ask her directly for things. It was such a wonderful backfire. I'm still trying to mend our friendship because of it. Haha.
On Tuesday we were teaching Willard and we always have our lessons out on his porch. Because he's crippled, if he ever needs anything in the house we go get it for him. He asked us to get him a drink of Kool-aid and when we came back out I shut the door behind me so that the cold air wouldn't get out and so that no bugs would get in. Sadly, the door locked automatically and Willard's key was inside. So, Sister Ralph and I walked down the street to find our friend who is a locksmith but he wasn't home. So, we tried getting open some of Willard's windows. They were all unlocked, but painted shut. Willard said he wished he had a crowbar. That's when we got a brilliant idea. There were these two men who were working on the outside of our house this last week who are really nice and we figured they probably had one. So, we walked home and I walked up to the younger one (with a long ponytail) and said, "Excuse me, but you don't happen to have a crowbar on you, do you?" He stopped what he was doing, laughed really loud and said, "Yuns are the last two people I would have ever expected to ask me for a crowbar!" Haha. Then he asked, "What are you going to do with a crowbar?" "We have to break into our friend's house... don't worry. Our friend wants us to." He laughed and went and got his crowbar and we walked back over to Willard's, two Sister Missionaries with a big, rusty crowbar in our hands. Then Willard and his friend, Jim, switched things up on us. Willard said, "Instead of you teaching me, now I'm going to teach you a thing or two." Then he taught us how to break into a house! Who would have thought I'd break into a house on my mission, but I did! It was pretty cool.
A while ago we got a referral for a girl named Megan Wyatt who had a Word of Wisdom pamphlet and who wanted a missionary visit. We were really excited to go meet her. We drove out into the middle of nowhere (there's a lot of that around here) and found her trailer. Except when we got there the man told us his last name was Wyatt and that there wasn't no Megan Wyatt but that his son was dating a girl named Megan. We sat and talked to this man, Randall, for a while, but he was really crazy. He's Holiness which is an extreme version of Pentacostal which means that they scream and holler and speak in made up languages and heal each other and faint and all that stuff. He proceeded to speak 900 words a minute and tell all about how he's "Jesus only" and how marriage is not ordained of God and how his prayers to God confirmed it to him and how if you're a sinner you can't pray to God and all of this completely and uttertly false doctrine. We left and came back a week later looking for Megan and it was Randall again. 

This week we went back to drop the referral if we couldn't find her and Randall's son, Logan who is 20 said that the referral was actually for him. He's the one who had the pamphlet and wanted to know about our church. We taught him for a little bit but Randall was there so it was mostly them yelling at each other and Logan walking off when Randall would call him a sinner. Finally, when Logan ran off again, Sister Ralph followed him and I had to bite the bullet and stay where Randall was to keep him occupied so that Sister Ralph could teach him something true without his dad butting in. (Don't worry, we were within sight and sound the whole time). I sat there for 45 minutes and listened to Randall talk about how heaven is going to be when we all live inside our own bodies and how in 2012 a new world order is going to take place and all this other crazy stuff while Sister Ralph had a really good discussion with Logan. She set up an appointment to meet with him without his Dad and we went back a day later and taught him about the Plan of Salvation and let him ask questions and tell us his life story and before we knew it, we'd been there for almost 4 hours! We had to go because we're not supposed to stay over an hour, but he really opened up to us and started crying and telling us how his parents have led him down a very, very dangerous path and now he has a little girl and all he knows how to do is cook meth to support her and how he doesn't want that for her. He took the Book of Mormon and can't wait to read it. We're SO excited about him!
Sorry this email is so short, but we've had people ask us to help them with things for the last couple Mondays in a row and we don't have nearly as much time as we used to for Preparation.
Word of the Week: Holler'n. Anything that's a he said/she said is something that they're holler'n. Willard is holler'n about how he wants to buy us a tv. The dogs down the street start holler'n everytime someone passes by. Angie's cousin is holler'n lies to get her reputation rurnt.
Extra Blessings: Dad, Hayley, The J's & Kiera.
I love you all. I love being a missionary. I need your prayers and am grateful for them. Keep them coming! And I can't wait to get my Pinky Book! [an eagerly awaited 2-year Pinegar family project just freshly completed of which she was a contributor - it's a masterpiece!! and on order...]

The Church TRUE! Share it!
Love Yuns,
Sis Nelson

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Slow-dance With A Blonde Indian

Have y'all ever seen the Kentucky State Flag? If you haven't, you need to. It's really awesome. In the center of the flag are two men: a dark-headed Caucasian and a blonde-headed Native American. They're slow-dancing...
... I think. They could be shaking hands, but I'm pretty sure they're slow-dancing. Mom sent me a flag in the mail and we hung it on the wall and I've studied it quite a bit. Where in the world did this white man find a blonde Indian? Why are they slow-dancing? What inspired Kentucky to use this as a symbol of their state? [apparently Brooke has never seen a depiction of a blonde-haired, buckskin-clad frontiersman before. Only Indians wear fringed leather breeches and shirts, I suppose. I don't suppose it could possibly be two of the most famous Kentuckians that ever lived: Daniel Boone and Abe Lincoln. Oh well...I like her take better. ]

So far I've only come up with an answer to that last question. I don't know who they are or why they're doing what they're doing, BUT, I understand Kentucky's use of it. Since I've been here in the Bluegrass State, I've had tons of instances and experiences that were technically possible, but not probable, especially for my Las Vegas mind-set. Lots of times I've done things or seen things or heard things that are as weird and at the same time as intruiging as a blonde Indian slow-dancing with a white man. You know what is happening isn't logical or natural, but you can't help looking away. Example: butt-cracks galore, couples that consist of a young, good-looking guy and an old, overweight lady, bugs that sound like car alarms, men with ponytails, women with beards, etc.

This last week has been different from the last few weeks we've had. It felt weird to not have a baptism on Saturday, but it motivated us to go out and find some more of God's elect, ready-to-get-wet children. On Tuesday we went and taught Judy Jones' mom with Bishop Barton and his wife. Mary is a really grouchy, withered lady. She's 82. A long time ago when I was in High School I decided that I was going to have a porch swing when I had a house of my own and if I was single as an old lady that I would sit out on that porch swing and watch all of the people in my neighborhood and yell at all of the kids that knocked a ball into my yard or stopped to smell one of my flowers. My goal would be to have all the kids in the neighborhood afraid of me and think I was a witch and dare each other to get up the courage to ding-dong ditch me. It's a lofty goal, but one I think I can rise to if circumstances allow.

That's how Mary would be if her circumstances would allow. Sadly, she lives miles from any neighbors and doesn't have a porch swing to sit out on. So, she terrorizes her daughter and son-in-law while she sits in a recliner all day. We actually taught her with Judy the first time we taught Judy. She pretended like she didn't want to listen, but refused Judy's offer to help her into another room. During the lesson she would ask questions, remind us that she wasn't going to change her religion and then try and be quiet again until she simply had to ask another question. The next lesson, she told Judy we had to have it in a different room because she wasn't listening to us anymore and she also wasn't moving so that we could come in. She's been like that ever since I've known her. She came to Judy's baptism but wouldn't sit next to us. When she talked to us she was nice but then said that she was offended by our church. On their way out, Bishop stopped Judy and Mary and talked to Mary for a while and told her that she should let us missionaries teach her. She said she'd like that. Then the next week she said she didn't want us to come. Then on Sunday she came to church again (she's been 3 times now even though she "doesn't like the church". She drives an hour, sits for three hours and drives back an hour all for a church she "doesn't like".) and asked us why we haven't taught her yet. Haha. She's really grouchy and fickle. She reminds me of the lady in Pollyanna, what's her name? It was her idea to use the string. She was picking out her coffin and everything. I wish I could remember her name. [Mrs. Snow - played by Agnes Moorhead. A family favorite film - we know almost every line by heart. "Why, Mrs. Snow, that's a fib.  It was MY idea."  "Hearts and flowers.....enough to make you sick!!] Anyway, Mary reminds me of her. She wants so badly to not like the church but she can't help it. We had a good lesson with Bishop there and already brought up baptism with her. She'll be baptized, I'm pretty sure.

On Thursday we drove around Lily for 2 hours trying to find a house that isn't on any maps. When we finally found it, the lady we had been referred to didn't answer, but her husband did. He was quite rude to us and basically told us never to come back. Later that night though, we went to see Gail Childress. I don't know if I've told you about her or not. I think I have. But anyway, she's this little lady in her 50's that calls herself "obeast" because she only has half a lung and one knee and cancer and diabetes. She's dying. But, she's the sweetest, most saintly person I've ever met. She's always watching some church movie and can quote them to you as you watch them. She's so grateful if she ever gets to attend sacrament meeting. She loves the Lord and will tell you that over and over while you're with her. She says that she misses Heavenly Father and wants to go see him again but that if she's still here, she'll do all she can to help Him. She writes letters every month to sisters who are inactive and has prepared over 10,000 names for temple work. She's a doll. None of her family is active and she prays and prays that they will be and I don't know how they aren't because she's such an angel, but they aren't. Anyways, she's always such a boost to us when we see her. She was raised in the backwoods and got married when she was 16 and said that it's better that way so that neither of you have too much of an opinion on things so you can grow up together.

Friday we visited a girl in London. We gave her a Book of Mormon a couple weeks ago and last time we saw her we asked her if she had read and she said, "Yep. I got all the way through Genesis." "Umm... did you read the Bible?" "No, the Book of Mormon." "The Book of Mormon doesn't have Genesis in it." "Oh, well, I read the first book of the Book of Mormon." 

Right... This visit we had with her on Friday we asked her the same question and she said, "Yeah. I read the first book." "Cool. Which book?" "Affromani, I think it's called?" "Nephi." "Yeah. That one." "You read the whole thing?" "Yeah." "How many chapters?" "5". "1 Nephi has 22 chapters in it." "Yeah. I read 22 chapters." Right...

Affromani? Really?

Johnathan Ogden who is 10 got a cell phone this week. It's awesome.

Willard finished the Book of Mormon this week. I call him a crybaby because he's so sensitive. I asked him if he cried as he read through Moroni (or "Maury" as he pronounces it.) He said, "I cried through the whole thing." He's doing really well! He started reading the Pearl of Great Price yesterday.

I wish you all could see the colors out here. There are flowers here that I honestly thought were just in the movies. Every week there's a different color of wildflower on the sides of the streets. It's gorgeous.

A couple days ago my left eye (my good eye) started hurting. I woke up the next day with it swollen on the outside. Today it's red and swollen on the inside. I look great. Also, I got a chigger the other night and if you don't know what those are or what they do, look it up. It's really creepy. I literally dug it out of my skin. You're not supposed to do that, but I wasn't about to let it stay in there. Also, one of the families we visited called us the day after we saw them. We had hugged them and played with their dog and sat in their home for an hour. They told us they have lice. I about broke out all over my body, I was so nervous. I prayed like crazy the next two days. Thankfully, we don't have any. But I can promise I'll never get too close to that family again.

Mom, thanks for the update on the trip. I almost threw up or Sister Ralph'd all over myself when I read about the bird flying into your chin. I also panicked when you told me about Nina being lost in Manhattan. Thank goodness Hayley always has to know where everyone is at all times. I'm so glad you got to meet Sister Correia! Isn't she a doll? I need more details though on your meeting.

Word of the Week: Pronounced "wunst". Kentucky's form of "Once". I saw your church wunst on tv. Never wunst have I rode in an aeroplane. Wunst I get my check, I'll pay you back.

Extra Blessings: Pinegar family! I loved knowing you were all so close to me these last couple weeks. KUBO & LARS! Thank you for the post(er) card and the Smell package and the letters. I loved them!

I love you all and I love being a missionary! If anyone wants a good rebuking they should read D&C 60:2-3,7-8,13!
The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns-
Sis Nelson


Get it? Instead of "Waters of Mormon."
This is what a mission does to a perfectly good sense of humor. . .
This is where the Corbin Ward meets.
Jackie Lee 

He's 6' 8"

Boo-Boo.  I did his hair.

Judy was baptized by our Ward mission leader, Brother Magnet.


I LOVE his smile!
Jimmy is his 1st name but he hates it so he goes by Willard.
He also hates his smile. He refused to smile or have his cane in the pictures.
BYH gathering [as in Bless Your Heart]
Squidward, Willard, Snowflake, & Gr'pa Buck. . . I mean Claiborne W.
Willard says he looks like he's "in the family way" in these pictures.
Birddog!  That's what the Piepers call me.
There are two billboards that we pass everyday on our way home.
 They change about once a week.
This one made me laugh.

Monday, July 11, 2011


What a week! Up and Down, but mostly up! I hope yournzez week is mostly up, too.

First, I have to apoloqize for the mis-quote in last week's email. I quoted a scripture that's in Alma 41:10 and said that it's in Ether. Sorry about that. I realized what I had done as soon as I left the library and it's been bugging me all week.
Second, I finally got my glasses. I can see! I don't have to re-glue my glasses every night!
Third, Sister Ralph and I are staying in Corbin for another transfer! I've been dying thinking that I might get transferred, but thankfully, I get to stay here for at least another 5 weeks.

This week I really wish you all could have been the group of flies on the wall and ceiling and floor that surround every house around here. (The heat and humidity brings them out.) I would have loved to have you all be able to see the things that I saw this week.

We met President and Sister Woodbury this week and they're a big pair of BYH's. I LOVE them. Sister Woodbury is a doll. President Woodbury got up after she spoke to us and said that he used to think that people did good for the rewards from heaven or the good feeling they'd get afterward. Once he met his wife he knew that there are actually some people who do good because they ARE good.
He told us that he and his wife were hoping to be given the chance to postpone their mission for a year to get his business affairs in order. President Ballard offered them the option to postpone a year and when he went to accept the offer, he was counfounded and couldn't. The Spirit told them they shouldn't put it off. He told us that he and his wife knew that NOW is the time and the GKLM is the place and they hope that the missionaries here know the same thing. I do know the same thing: Now IS the time and the GKLM is definitely the place! President bore his testimony about how he knows that the story of Jesus and of Joseph Smith are stories that are too good to be true, but they ARE true. It was great. President told me that Uncle Max was his seminary teacher and that he probably couldn't believe it when he found out that President Woodbury was called to be a mission president. I LOVE the Woodbury's.

On Thursday, Sister Ralph and I got to go to a meeting that is held in the apartment complex of a man in our ward. Brother Mink has been trying to get missionaries to attend it for a while now and Sister Ralph and I finally said we'd go. It's a group that meets weekly and is led by a preacher-type man who isn't technically a preacher. It's a non-denominational gathering that has Baptists, Pentacostals and who knows what else that all meet together and sing and then preach and hire preachers to come in and guest speak. It reminded me a lot of Faith Lutheran. I think Sister Ralph was pretty uncomfortable in there because she's never been around people who "worship" the way they did. Brother Mink wants us to preach in there as one of the guests. We thought about it, but not very many people liked that we showed up to observe and they're all pretty set in their ways. If they asked us to, we would, but we're not volunteering any time soon. The people there are all great and all love the Lord, but the only way they can feel the Spirit is by singing rock songs and shouting "Amen!" every once in a while. I did feel the Spirit sometimes, but not the way I do when we have church in an LDS building. I wish those people, who are so dedicated and good-hearted WOULD listen to us. Sherry Taylor lives in the complex and we were teaching her the other day and she found out we were going to go to the meeting and she pointed to our tags and asked if we were going to wear them in there. We told her we weren't ashamed of where we come from or who we are. She smiled and puffed herself up and said she wasn't ashamed either, haha. We got her a large Book of Mormon and hopefully she'll be able to start reading it now.  The preacher-guy was very welcoming to us and called us special guests, but I think that if we come back, we'll have worn our welcome. It was cool though. I liked singing some of the songs they sang and watching them close their eyes and raise their arms. It reminded me of the Crabb singers and made me hope that I'll meet them while I'm out here.

On our way home from the meeting, which was in Barbourville, we got out to take a picture something at a gas station and when we got back in the car it wouldn't stop. We were 15 minutes outside of Corbin so we called Brother Claiborne Williams and he came and helped us get home. Our alternator and battery went out so our car has been in the shop since Friday morning and we won't get it back till tomorrow or Wednesday. It's hard to not have a car here. It's definitely made us grateful for the Church for providing a car for us.

Willard is my new best friend since Michael, Brynn, Carly, Book Club and my sisses ne'er write me.  We've had another crazy week with him, of course, but only because Satan is working so hard on him. He's stayed strong though. On Tuesday we went to see him and he wasn't there. There's a man named Jim who lives a street before Willard's that we always pass on our way to the lessons. Willard stayed with Jim last weekend when his roommates kicked him out last week because of the changes he's making in his life. The landlord kicked his roommates out and let Willard move back in. (They're drug addicts and use Willard for his disability check. All they do is steal money and his pain pills from him. It's ridiculous. They'll be mean to him until the first of the month when they guilt him into paying the rent because they have an infant that he doesn't want to kick out on the street. Don't worry, everything is settled now, but it's been a big headache for the last three months that we've known Willard to watch them manipulate him the way they do.)

ANYWAYS, we were on our way to Willard's when Jim told us he saw Willard leave with his old roommates the night before and he hadn't come back yet. We went over anyways and Willard wasn't there. I was a mess. The girl that he used to live with was trying to get Willard to run away with her and "leave" her boyfriend and marry Willard instead and Willard at one point had asked her to marry him and she had said no. Anyways, it is a long mess and I was thinking that she had seduced him even though he had told her no several times. She's just pretending she wants him because she can see that he realized that people shouldn't treat him the way they have been and that he was going to stop letting them walk all over him. We left a note on the door asking him to call us and that we loved him. I was a mess the whole day until he called and asked us to come over.

 We were in East Bernstadt at the time so we rushed home after our apppointment and he told us how she had come by and tried everything she could to get him to marry her (so she can get his check every month) and he had said no and so she told him she needed money for food for her baby and he didn't believe her so he told her he would go with her to the store to get the food himself and she refused to drive him home once he was in the car and she took him out to Williamsburg and tried to get him to spend the night with her. He refused and asked her to take him home but she wouldn't. He doesn't have a phone or he would have called a ride. Instead, he slept on the couch. Long story, short, she robbed him, took his check for the month and left him there in Williamsburg. He started walking back to Corbin and after 5 miles (keep in mind he's crippled and uses a cane to walk) someone picked him up and brought him home. He locks the doors to the house that he now has, but she broke a back window and came in and stole stuff anyway. Ridiculous stuff like his deodorant and toothpaste. She even stole his Book of Mormon. He's so frustrated and sad. BUT, he hasn't given in or given up yet.

Today Sister Ralph and I went over and moved out all of her furniture that she has refused to move out so that she can have a reason to come back and see Willard again. We moved it all out to the garage so she won't have an excuse to come in. Bishop has helped Willard with everything else and the house is now in his name so he can call the cops if she comes back. I know all that stuff sounds pretty sketchy, but Bishop, Sister Ralph all feel very strongly that he is a good man and that he truly has been taken advantage of. His baptism was WONDERFUL. He was holding his chest half of the time because he thought his heart was going to pound right out of his body. Claiborne baptized him and it was his first time baptizing. Willard is crippled on one side so he couldn't hold on to Clay because he needed his good hand to cover his nose. Bishop, Sister Ralph and I wanted another person in the font with them but they insisted that they had worked out how to do it and they were fine.

 So, we had Steven Rodriguez stand near the font stairs just in case. Clay had been rehearsing the words over and over that day. Bishop made sure they were in the water before we opened the font doors. But, I guess no one told Clay to wait till the doors were open so the witnesses could see because as the doors were opening, Clay was finishing the words. We thought he was just practicing but then he dropped Willard down into the water and slipped. Willard started flailing around with his hair all in his eyes and his teeth almost falling out and Steven started jumping into the font, but also slipped and we were all freaking out because it all happened as the doors opened. Willard finally got back on his feet and he and Clay were smiling proudly when Bishop told them they had to do it again. HAHa. We were DYING. It was so funny. They did it a little better this time, but Clay still slipped and Willard still flailed. All that mattered though was that Willard got baptized, and he did. It was AWESOME.

The next day, his ride showed up to church and said that Willard wasn't outside waiting, but his door was open. They didn't want to get out and knock so they left him. I turned his ride right back around and told them to go get him because Willard HAD to be there to get the Holy Ghost. Willard limped in just as the Sacrament hymn was starting. He was given the Holy Ghost and it was wonderful. After he was welcomed into the ward by the uplifted hand, Brother Potter said that he had been interviewed and found worthy to be given the Aaronic priesthood and be ordained to the office of a Priest! What a wonderful surprise! He was ordained later that day and was given yet another beautiful blessing. He was again told that through his faith he could be healed and that he will be a light and a teacher to other people who need answers in the gospel! He's so excited and humbled to have the priesthood! It's amazing! Clay was in there for it and after the ordination, he told Willard to stand up instead of shake his hand and they hugged each other and both cried. It was the cutest thing ever to see two, old, hardened men cry together and rejoice in the gospel! Willard's roommate came by last night to harass him again and she said that there was something noticeably different about him and she couldn't put her finger on it. I can! He's a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he's a Priest in that Church! He was really sad that she had taken his Book of Mormon but we gave him another one and as soon as he saw it he was able to calm down. As we were leaving he said that he hopes that she'll be smart enough to read that book that she stole because it will change her life the way it changed his if she does read it. He's SO awesome! Brother Cox! No wonder Satan has worked so hard on him! He's going to bring others to the gospel!

One of my pairs of shoes has already been worn out pretty badly and when I walk, they squeak, almost like a suction cup. Each foot does it. I sound like Squidward. I've stopped wearing them because it's so embarrassing to sound like that. It's more embarassing than my broken glasses were. Willard calls Sister Ralph "Snowflake" because she's so pure. When he was baptized we told him he's a snowflake now, too. He smiled and said that he wants to stay that way. I like to pretend like Sister Ralph is mean to me because she's so nice and docile. The other day I told Willard that she won't let me talk when we're home and if I do she hurts me. He's VERY protective of me and even though he knew I was joking, he turned to her and said, "Snowflake, if you're being mean to her, I'll melt you! And all you'll be is a drop of rain." Haha. It's cute. Everytime we get into our car he looks Sister Ralph straight in the eye and points over to me and says, "Drive carefully. If Sister Nelson gets hurt, I'll never forgive you." Haha. He's so mean and so sweet. I love him.

I love being a missionary!

Extra Blessings: Grandpa Rex, Sister Gossett, Paige & Kiki's car full

Word of the Week: Hear'd. Rhymes with "beard". Not a homophone of "herd".  Claiborne Williams hear'd the harmony Sister Ralph and I were doing and got goosepimples. I never hear'd nothing like it. Have you hear'd? The Gospel has been restored!

I love you all and hope you're having a wonderful time traveling and moving and not dying in the southern heat and humidity! I know I am! But I don't care! Missions are the best!

The Church is TRUE! Share it!

LOVE, Sis Nelson


God Bless America! Land that I LOVE!

Right now half of you are touring our nation's capitol and then touring our church's history sites and I wish I could be there with y'all but I love being here in good, old Kentucky. Yesterday was the 4th of July which meant that we couldn't email because the Library was closed. It was a good day, but nothing like 4th of July back home. People here aren't as patriotic.

THANK YOU, Mom for the 4th of July package! I hung up the Kentucky Flag and have been waving my little American Flag whenever I study.  And I LOVE the Mo-Tab Patriotic CD. LOVE it. It doesn't get dark here till after curfew so we couldn't stay and watch fireworks with any of our investigators, but we did our nightly planning out on our porch last night and saw a couple fireworks that someone down the street was setting off. The ward had a pancake breakfast yesterday and a flag raising ceremony where we all sang "The Battle-Hymn of the Republic". It was a good day. Willard told me he wanted to put a lampshade over my head because I was beaming too brightly. But why shouldn't I have been? This land has been preserved and prepared by our God. This is the Promised Land that is spoken of throughout the Book of Mormon. Reformers like Martin Luther and William Tyndale and then later explorers like Christopher Columbus and then faithful pilgrims and later on inspired patriots all paved the way and were led by the Holy Spirit and by God. They were led by Him so that there would be a ripe, spiritual climate of freedom and faith, perfect for Joseph Smith to offer a prayer and for God and His Son to open up the Heavens and pour down the blessings that came from the Restoration of the Gospel. And WE live in that place! We're so blessed!

I have to admit that I've done a good job of not missing yall to the point of distraction, but yesterday, I missed you. I missed Vegas and the fireworks and the feeling of unity that comes on the 4th out there. Though it has been neat to look around at the green hills of Kentucky and know that this is where the Union forces hid to recruit and defend our freedoms and our country.

This last week has been busy. This next week will be busy, too. Our Ward Mission Leader is in charge of finding meals with members for us and on Sunday we told him not to schedule any this next week because we don't have the time to stop what we're doing and drive to Corbin or London and eat with a member. We just don't have the time. We're just packing sack lunches (dinners, actually) and eating in the car. It's such a blessing to be so busy!

Judy Jones was baptized this week.and it was a great experience. I think we're going to start teaching her mom now, too. When she was confirmed she was told that she'll have many callings in the church and I already know she'll be a relief society president someday. I know she will. She's SO solid. Sister Gossett and her mom were in town and she took us out to eat and then went teaching with us for a little bit. She was very happy to be back and told us not to miss home at all because this work is so important and home will be there when they make us take off our tags and go back to living in the world. She told me she loves me a lot and apologized over and over for things that she feels bad about. I think she and I will be good friends once I get back and we don't have to live together 24-7.

Willard is doing very well. Satan is trying REALLY hard to stop him from being baptized, but Willard keeps quoting Ether 12:27 which we went over with him. "Wickedness isn't happiness" he'll tell us. I'll say, "It never was." And then he'll finish it with, "It never will be." He's so awesome! I'm hoping that he'll go through the temple next year so that I can be there for it! And we've even talked about me being baptized for his wife! After Judy's baptism we asked Bishop to give him a blessing.

PAUSE. . . .

There's a man named Claiborne Williams in the ward and he's got a bunch of tattoos has had a crazy life. He joined the church two years ago. He reminds me a lot of Gr'pa Buck in the way he talks and looks. He has a mustache and similar eyes to Gr'pa. He wears bolo ties and cowboy boots every week. He's cool. He traveled around the country for 40 years playing country music. He plays the steel bass I think it's called and the banjo and stuff like that. He's been married several times and is very young in the gospel but loves what he's learning. The first week Willard came to church I asked him to befriend Willard. And they're like two peas in a pod, now. Sister Ralph says she's never seen a fellowshipper and an investigator become friends like Willard and Claiborne have. It's great. He's very excited about the whole conversion process and told Willard he wants to be there every step of the way. He's actually going to be baptizing Willard on Saturday. His first baptism.

PLAY. . . .

Bishop asked Claiborne and Sister Ralph and I to come into his office as he gave Willard the blessing. He asked Brother Williams to anoint Willard with oil and Clay had never done that before so Bishop walked him through it. Then Bishop gave Willard the blessing and Clay got to stand in there with his hands also on Willard's head. When the blessing was done, Clay was beaming. He said that he had "goosepimples" all over and that everything that Bishop said, his body had witnessed to him was true. That's his first blessing he's ever been in on. He asked bishop if that happens every time you give a blessing. Bishop says that if the man giving the blessing is worthy and the person receiving the blessing has faith, then it can happen like that. He told us how much faith Willard has, and he does. He's determined and excited to be baptized. His friends and family are telling him not to but he tells them that he is and that he knows it's true and that they should listen to our message, too. His blessing was wonderful. He was told he'd be able to withstand temptation through his faith. He was also told that through his faith and obedience, he would be able to regain partial, if not all, the use of his crippled arm and leg. Willard has been asking us to pray for that for him since we've met him and honestly, I've been hesitant to do so because I didn't feel like it was something that God needed to do. Willard insists that he could help the Lord more if he could help himself and others by being healed. Bishop didn't know any of this, but the Lord did. That's why he got the blessing he did. Willard says, "He made this body, He can heal it if He wants to." And He will because of Willard's faith. It was SO wonderful! The next day Willard was so happy all through church. He says he already feels healthier and felt the Spirit "as much as I did from that blessing yesterday."

There was a visitor in Fast & Testimony Meeting who bore her testimony of how she had joined the church 8 years ago and then gone on a mission and I felt the Spirit as she talked about her love for the gospel. She mentioned being from Western Kentucky. Afterwards I went and asked if by chance she knew where Beaver Dam was and she does and we found out that the Piepers are her great friends and a big reason she was baptized! I told her I was Lauren's roommate and she asked me if I was the one who dressed up with Lauren our freshman year in the controversial tag-team costume we had and I told her I was and we bonded and talked the next two hours about the Piepers and how we were supposed to meet each other last year at the LOST finale but how she couldn't come at the last minute. Such a small world! It was awesome!

There's a lady here that we're teaching named Sherri Taylor and she lives in Barbourville and she's great. She fed us last night, actually. She has one of the strongest accents I've come across so far. She calls Catholics "calf-licks" and pronounces Autistic as "artistic". She has bad eyes and can't read the Book of Mormon so we ordered her a large print one and she said that if when she reads it, she feels it's true, she'll be baptized. Her granddaughter wants to as well. When we went over the Plan of Salvation she was so grateful and kept telling us how she had all of her questions and all the missing pieces answered and filled in that one lesson and how she wishes she would have found this sooner. She's great! We went over to help her clean her house because she's very sick and while we were there she started shaking like she was having a seizure. We prayed for her and at the end of the prayer she stopped shaking. Then we had her granddaughter start reading the Book of Mormon to her and she was very quickly fine and able to get up and start helping us clean. It was a miracle. Miracles have not ceased. Our God is a God of Miracles and He performs them daily!
We did hear some sad news this week: Johnathan and Kaylee have to move to their sister's for six months while their parents take care of some things. Johnathan finally said a prayer for us and we're going over tonight to say goodbye to them. It's very, very sad. But, I know that they'll be ok and I promised them we'd keep in touch.

We're meeting our new mission president and his wife tonight! It's going to be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes. Ah. There's so much to tell you and never enough time.

Word of the Week: July. Pronounced in Kentucky as "Jew-Lie" aka the lying Jew. Yesterday was the Fourth of JewLie. Joel's birthday is JewLie 21st. Willard's baptism is JewLie 9th.

Extra Blessings: Emma & Kate Wadsworth, Papa Elf.

I love you all! Look for miracles and you'll find them! Everyone should pray to be chastened and if you don't believe me, read Elder Christofferson's talk "As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten". If you're going through trials, get down on your knees and thank our Heavenly Father! The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love, Sis Nelson