Monday, July 11, 2011


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

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