Monday, August 29, 2011

Newman's Caesar's and Shark Fruit Snacks

I've changed my mind about people emailing me. I want anyone who is in the family to email me if they want to. I may not be able to email back every week, but maybe my siblings will write me more if instead of folding a letter, licking an envelope and finding a stamp all they have to do was click send.  Ok? Ok.
This week has been a good week. Mary Smith got home from her trip to her sons where she visited her son's Baptist church which is the church she attended before taking the discussions. It's been almost three weeks since she's been away and we've missed her and have been hoping that she felt a difference in her old church and our church. When we walked in the door she said, "Guess what!" "What?" "I'm getting baptized!" "Hurray! When?" "As soon as you'll let me! I stopped drinking coffee two days ago." It was awesome. She's really awesome. She's sort of my hero because she's really old and really funny and really mean and I hope to be just like her when I grow up. She reminds me of a frowny-faced Carol Channing. She'll tell us something that reveals how selfish and mean she is and be cackling and laughing the whole time and be so cute about it that you can't help but love her. She has a lot of health problems and will probably have to be baptized in a chair so it will definitely be interesting to see how they work it out. Her date is September 10th. She has a nephew who joined the Church 20 years ago and once she started taking the lessons she called him and told him and he said that he'd love to help baptize her and at first when we set the date she said she wanted to make sure he could be there so we decided to tentatively pick the 10th and if we needed to wait longer for him to come that we could push it back. As we were leaving she said, "Even if Dally can't come down for the 10th, I want to go ahead and get baptized that day anyways." Luckily, he can come down. But even if he couldn't have, she would have gone on without him because she's so excited to finally be able to officially pay her own tithing to the Church. She's hilarious.
I haven't really been able to see anything or hear much about Hurricane Irene so any info on that would be appreciated. The weather out here is beautiful right now. This morning we went up to Otis and Autumn's and I got to mow my first lawn! And they fed us a country breakfast with pretty much everything from their own garden or farm. It was all really good. Probably because everything here is fried. EVERYTHING. And they fry it in bacon grease. Otis had been telling me how he likes to put the strawberry-jalapeno jelly on a biscuit and put bacon on there, too. When he first told me my knee-jerk reaction was to say, "EW! Gross! Why would you do that!" And then he made me try it and I actually really liked it. It makes me gag right now to think about it in my head because I'm so opposed to those sorts of things, but I actually REALLY liked it. CRAZY. Then we went and fed their horses. Then we went and fed their CHICKENS. I almost died because I was so scared but I didn't say anything to him or Sister Clemons about the family curse or my fear and I just went in there and kind of sang/whimpered to myself and I made it through alive. I was telling Otis how everything that I do when we're with him is completely new to me. These are things that he does every day and things that I've never done in my life. It's pretty cool. Otis is awesome. I hope you all get to meet him someday. He told us at our last lesson how he feels like he can really be honest with us and ask us questions that he's been hesitant to ask previous missionaries for fear of offending them. His questions aren't offensive, just very hard to answer. But he's sincere and honest and very giving and awesome and I really, REALLY want him to be baptized.
I hope the kids have a good day at school. Mom! How does it feel to have your last child out of elementary school? Thanks, MJ. I salute you and all the Nelson Mariners you've housed for the last 25 years. Hayley and Paige plan on naming their first daughters Jean and Joan in honor of the two J's that made MJ possible.
Dorothy the cat now sleeps in Willard's bed with him. He has one side and Dorothy has the other side. They're besties.
Brynn and Carly sent me a wonderful package this week and in them were Shark Fruit Snacks. My FAVORITE. It was hilarious because on Monday when Sister Clemons and I went shopping I commented on how odd I thought it was how the stores out here don't have Newman's Caesar Salad Dressing (they have every other Newman's salad dressing, just not the Caesar) and they don't have Shark Fruit Snacks. Then, lo and behold, SHARKS! Hurray! My friends know me so well. Seriously, I've been so happy this week because of those fruit snacks. I've missed them and craved them like crazy.
We teach this blind guy named Jerry and we always sing to him when we meet with him and the other day two other people from the apartment complex came over because of it and listened in on the lesson. One was pretending like she wasn't listening (just standing right next to me and looking at the trees) and the other was openly listening. It was pretty cool. There's this other lady we teach and she has seizures and she has to take pretty strong medicine to stop the seizures but they put her to sleep. The other day we were teaching her a lesson and her one eyelid started drooping hard core. I looked over at Sister Clemons and she had to look away from me to keep from laughing. So, I kept talking and then the other one started drooping and she started snoring and I had no idea what to do and then she blinked herself awake again so I pretended like nothing happened and kept talking. But. like. a. robot. to. keep. from. laughing. I would talk for a second and then have to stop because I was afraid if I opened my mouth again that I'd bust up laughing. And Sister Clemons was crying laughing silently and not helping out a bit. So, I kept talking until she fell asleep again and I asked her if she wanted to go take a nap and she said she wasn't sleepy and that I should keep going and then her eyelids drooped again and she started snoring again. She'd keep blinking herself awake and pretending like she hadn't been sleeping and I was about to die. So I ended the lesson early and we walked as quickly as we could to the car and laughed for a good five minutes.
There's a man in the ward who loves to invite people to church that aren't members and it's great. But, he also ends up saying really hurtful things to the investigators and we have to try and patch things up and the bishop has to tell this member that what he's telling the gators is way out of line and wrong and mean and it's kind of weird. He brings them in and then he pushes them back out. At least he brings them in though, right?
Friday we had interviews with the President and the Assistants trained us on some new programs that some general authority came up with to help us increase our member referrals. I'm excited. President is such a great man. I hope you'll all get to meet him and Sister Woodbury someday.
Sherry came to church this week! Finally! I'm actually very surprised and proud that she came this week because Satan was working pretty hard to stop her this week. She had seizures late into the night on Saturday. She didn't get to sleep till 3:30. I called her at 7:30 and woke her up and then I called at 8 to make sure she was still up and she didn't answer. I called a couple minutes later and she didn't answer again. I called again at 8:20 and she answered and was still in bed and I told her she had 20 minutes till Marvin came to pick her up and I expected her to say she couldn't come because she needs an hour to get ready but she got up and got ready. THEN, Marvin's car broke down on their way to Corbin. So, she had to call her boyfriend to come pick her up on the side of the road. So, she drove him back to Barbourville and then drove herself back up to Corbin but Marvin had stayed with his car and had kept her phone so that he could get a hold of the person coming to fix his car so she drove up by herself to Corbin and got lost without a way to call us. BUT, she made it. She didn't give up. She missed all of Sacrament Meeting but she made it for the last two hours. Phew. It was awesome. We were so happy to see her and so proud of her for not giving up. It was great.
Any time we decide to do something good, there will be opposition. But if we'll push through the opposition, we'll be blessed. God has commanded us to partake of Salvation. Of course, because it is of the utmost importance, there will be many difficult obstacles, but if we will push forward and through, we will be eternally blessed.
I wish you could see how pretty it is out here. The sunsets are unreal. Sister Clemons and I scream and gasp over them all the time. And now it's cooled down a bit and the weather is PERFECT. It's just so peaceful and gorgeous. It's nothing like I've ever seen before.
Extra Blessings: Carly and Brynn & Grandma Bonnie
Word of the Week: Mater. As in "Tow Mater".  As in Mater Sauce. People out here really do call tomatoes "maters". Also, did you know that there are many different colored maters? Red, Green, Yellow and Orange. And I've eaten them all and I STILL hate them.
This gospel is the truth restored onto the earth by a loving Heavenly Father. He and His Son appeared to the boy, Joseph. He allows all of us access to His power here on the earth. It is the same power by which we can make the covenants we were sent here to this earth to make. It is the same power by which Jesus walked on water and by which Moses parted the Red Sea. His Son speaks to the Prophet Thomas S Monson today. This is God's Church.
Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson

PS - The Church is True!! Share it!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Night, Sleep Tight

Don't let the bed bugs bite... because it's awful when they do. That's right. I have bed bugs. It's disgusting and scary and I hate it. I have TONS of little bites all over my legs and arms. 
And because I'm allergic to bug bites, they're all raised up and swollen and I hate my life. But I really love my life, I just hate having bed bugs. I know exactly who I got them from (a ward member who had them and came to church anyways and then sat so close to us that I'll be lucky if bed bugs is the only thing I caught).  I was telling Sister Clemons about how this place is sort of like a third world country sometimes, so I guess I should have expected things like bed bugs and lice and stuff. Our washing machine broke a couple weeks ago and the church isn't going to fix it so we get to go to a laundromat on Mondays from now on. Still, I'm convinced that Corbin is the promised land.
My new companion is Sister Clemons. She's from Fort Collins, Colorado. She's 21, about as tall as I am, blonde, is majoring in childhood education, very sensitive and pretty awesome. She's doing very well already. She has a couple inhibitions but for the most part she's jumping into things right away and she's doing a great job at it. I think we complement each other pretty well. I told her about Nick's birthday spanking train and she started crying laughing which is a good sign.

Which leads me to my next item of business: HAPPY BIRTHDAY NINA! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY, REX! HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY, MILES! I hope you all got my card I sent. I've been thinking about you all the last week or so, hardly being able to believe how old everyone is getting! Rex a teenager? Please! And Nina in Middle School? I can't stand it. MIles is going to be starting primary this next year! And Mom is going to be back in diapers again soon! All such big milestones!

Something awesome that President Woodbury talked about at transfers was the spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law. He said that a lot of people think that the spirit of the law is that if we understand the idea behind the letter of the law then we don't have to keep the letter, just the idea of the law. But he said that to him, the spirit of the law should be keeping the letter of the law with all your heart. I really like that. We should never rationalize not keeping the letter of the law. We should be exactly obedient and then we'll have the Spirit from keeping the law.

Judy Jones got bit by a snake this week. A couple weeks ago some of her horses got bit by snakes and died. She spent the night in the emergency room and is recovering but she can't walk yet. People have to constantly mow their grass out here or else snakes will come and if you get bit by a copperhead, it's bad news. Sister Ralph and I saw a copperhead once when we were coming out to our car and it was pretty jarring. We went back in to get the people that lived there and when we all came back out, the snake was gone. Anyways, I'm grateful that Judy is recovering.

Willard read the Doctrine and Covenants this last week. He's started the Book of Mormon again because he missed it so much. There are these stray cats that walk around the neighborhood and Willard always finds them sleeping in his chairs on his porch and he hates cats so he runs them off. I've been trying to catch a squirrel ever since I got to Corbin and Willard always tells me not to because they'll bite me. But I really want animals to be my friends lately. (I miss Dahl Pal). Anyways, one day an orange cat was on his chair and I coaxed it in to letting me pet it and then I told Willard that he had to let them stay and be my friends since I'm not allowed to play with the squirrels. I named the cat Gigi. Then a couple days later a little gray cat was there. I named her Dorothy. There's another one that looks kind of like Penny did. He's a tomcat. I named him Napoleon. Long story short, Willard used to hate cats and now he leaves out food for them on his porch and even lets Dorothy sleep in his house with him. It's hilarious. He feeds them bologna and milk. Willard gave us two people this week that he wants us to teach. He's such a good missionary.

Sister Clemons and all the missionaries she came out with got sick in the MTC. Which means that all of the trainers are now sick as well. So, some of this week has been spent inside coughing and sleeping. But, it's still been a really good week. We had two investigators at church yesterday. One of them is a girl named 
Kendra. She's a very unique girl. She called me last night and told me that she called a taxi to take her somewhere (there isn't a bus system here) and she was really nervous about making it to the place she needed to be on time so she threw up all over herself AND the taxi driver. What would you do if you threw up all over a taxi driver? Me? I'd probably shrivel up into a prune and die. What would you do if you were a taxi driver and some girl threw up all over you? I'd probably be so grossed out that I'd throw up all over the girl who threw up on me in retaliation. Sister Clemons and I have been laughing and gagging ever since.

We had a really good day on Friday. We have this forever investigator named Otis who I really like. He lives almost an hour away. He has horses and chickens and we went fishing in his pond and he's really awesome. He calls me Sis. He lives with his girlfriend, Autumn and they always take care of this little kid who is six named Malachi. Anyways, he's really awesome but he is pretty closed off about the Book of Mormon. We were actually able to get him to commit to starting the Book of Mormon and reading it from start to finish. He asks a lot of really hard questions to answer about the Book of Mormon and the Bible but he's not trying to attack us, he just really likes his Bible. He's one of my favorites.

Then we went to see Gail Childress. She's the lady who is a saint and I don't know how she's alive. She only has one lung but it's only half of a lung. She has diabetes. She has cancer. She has two blown out knees. She has COPD. She basically has everything. She's about 4'7" and can barely walk around. The doctors can't do surgery on her because a surgery would kill her. She loves the Lord very much. She tells us how much she misses Heavenly Father and can't wait to see him again. She has prepared over 10.000 names for the temple in her family history. She got a blessing a little while ago that said that tons and tons of people are being released from Spirit Prison because of her. She is trying to stay alive long enough for her husband who just became active again, to get the priesthoods and go to the temple with her to be sealed. She's a saint. Every time we go over to her place which is up in the woods, we watch a church video clip with her  like the ones from the Doctrine and Covenants and she quotes them to us the whole time and tells us exactly what will happen to the character as soon as they come on screen. Grandma 
Bonnie would love watching movies with her because there's absolutely NO suspense. But, I love her so much. She tells us to always be true to the Lord and how blessed she is and how much she loves the Lord and I wish you all could meet her. She hasn't just had physical trials in her life, but EVERY kind of trial you could imagine. And all she does is talk about how blessed she is. She gave me some earrings and a necklace which is probably one of the nicest things she owns. It has an angel on it. Willard also traded with someone this week for an Indian Angel statue he wanted to get for me. I can't get over how generous these people are. It reminds me of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I don't want to take things away from such humble people, but to not accept their gifts would be hurtful to them. They're so sweet. SO sweet. I can't handle it.

Something awesome about being Senior Companion is that I get to drive. I've missed driving a lot. I really don't like being the passenger. It had been five months since I had driven and it was so nice to get behind the wheel of our car. When we were pulling out of the church parking lot in Louisville on Tuesday, I told Sister Clemons to get out and back me. Then I handed her the bright neon orange vest and told her to wear it when she backed me. I sort of felt bad, but I also couldn't help myself. She put it on, no questions asked and backed me out of the stall. All of the other missionaries saw it and started laughing and looking at me and giving me a thumbs up. When she got back in the car I told her that she really doesn't have to wear the vest and she started laughing and was really grateful and was a good sport about it. She even wants to get a picture in it. And I told her she can use it on her greenie when she gets one. And I promised her that was
 the only trick I had planned. She's cool. And it was pretty funny.  She's a good missionary. She and I had three hours to talk on our ride home from Louisville and she was really excited and all for working really, really hard and being exactly obedient and she's been proving that this week. She didn't even get to unpack till Friday because we were so go, go, go. It's great to be able to work this hard. I just wish we didn't have to spend so much time in the car. We still haven't had time to go tracting yet. We've literally knocked only ONE door. But, we're blessed to have people to teach. It will be nice if we can ever get more missionaries in here. The area we cover is so large that there used to be three sets of missionaries here and now there's only Sister Clemons and I. That's why we have to drive so far away. We cover a big area.

There's a lady that moved back into the Corbin ward this week who told me that she knows some people in Las Vegas named the Brandleys. I was like, "Seriously?" She said, "Yeah, my step-daughter married a guy named Mark Brandley." And I was like, "Laci?" And she and I started screaming and laughing and we figured out that we've been in the same room before because she was at the reception and so was I and I told her that Michael and I are best friends and she told me that she wanted to set him up with a girl that is in the ward and it was crazy and she said how much she loved him and the whole Brandley family. (I thought it would be awkward to tell her how I hate Michael right now because ever since he got a new nose he's been too good for me). But it was awesome to make that connection.

Extra Blessings: Carly and Brynn, Dad, Mom (with notes from Ava and Elle) and Grandma Bonnie
Phrase of the Week: "might could". Instead of saying "maybe" people say "might could". I might could come to church next week if I can wake up that early. Yuns might could teach my brother about your Bible of the Mormons when he comes over. Do you think I might could get a ride with yuns to the store?

I love you all and I hope you know that even though I'm having such a great time out here, that I miss you all. I wish you could all be here with me. Missions are the best. EVERYONE should serve a mission. The church is completely true and the best thing you can do for your happiness in this life and for sure in the life to come. I have the best family and friends ever. I have the best mission ever.
The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,
Sis Nelson

Monday, August 15, 2011


One of my favorite tv shows back home is "I didn't know I was pregnant." If you don't believe me, check my blog: and look for the blog post about Nemo the Fish. Anyways, I found out on Saturday that I'm having a baby on Tuesday and it's a girl!-- but, more about that later.
 This week has been a very long week. It hasn't been a bad week, just jam packed.
On Tuesday we were in Barbourville and saw Sherry and she was having some pretty bad seizures that were lasting an hour or so long. Whenever we come in and she's having a seizure we start reading the Book of Mormon and she comes out of it. It's really neat. So, we came over and she had a friend there who we hadn't met and she wasn't talking much to us when we tried to introduce ourselves. She was pretty stand-off-ish. We didn't know how comfortable she'd be having us read the Book of Mormon in there, but we knew that Sherry needed it so we started reading to her. We gave her friend, Carla, a book to follow along with us out of politeness. After we finished Sherry had stopped having her seizure. Carla kept thumbing through the book so we asked her if she had any questions and she held up the Book of Mormon and said, "Yeah. Where can I get one of these?" Awesome! "You can just keep that one." "Thanks." Then Sherry bore her testimony to Carla all about the Book and what the gospel teaches us that she loves. The questions that she's had all her life and never found answers to in any other church. It was really cool. Sadly, Sherry STILL hasn't come to church because every Sunday she seems to have crazy/bad seizures, but we're working on it. She also has very bad depression but I think that's one of the reasons that I'm in Corbin because she and I will talk about the things we go through and have gone through with depression. Sister Ralph just sits there not knowing what to say but I think she's here for a reason, too. She has people in her family that have depression and she's commented on how much she is learning and being able to understand them and love them more because of what she sees with Sherry.

On Wednesday we were in the Library preparing for a fireside we were putting on on Sunday. While we were there we started talking to Bro Noe. He was in the middle of telling us his conversion story when a fight broke out in the library. I think I mentioned a girl and her boyfriend a couple weeks ago. We saw them in the emergency room. She's on drugs real bad and he's abusive to her. Anyways, she was in the library when he ran in and hit her to the ground and took her cell phone and she was crying and asking him to stop. And all of the men in the library jumped up and told him to get out of there and they called the cops and it was pretty intense for a library. I hope she doesn't go back to him. I hope we run into her again soon without a bunch of people around so that we can talk to her and share the gospel with her.

A picture of the Finding Faith in Christ DVDWe met a guy this week who had been given a pass along card a year ago and found it and wanted the Finding Faith in Christ DVD. We delivered it to him and he was pretty cool. He had some attention problems because he had overdosed a couple years ago on cocaine and had some brain damage because of it. But he was very sincere and wanting to make things right with God. He lives with his uncle out in the country. His uncle has the BEST mullet I've ever seen. We invited him to sit in on the lesson with us and he said, "No. I don't believe in Mormon. I like to drink beer. I'm a Baptist all the way." So, we taught Tony the Plan of Salvation and he paid really close attention to everything we said and at the end told us we "did a really good job" and that he wants to go to the "top place" and then he said, "You two have perfect teeth. Both of you. They're great." Haha. We taught him again on Friday and he told us that he was getting baptized at his uncle's church on Sunday even though he didn't like the church all that much. We told him about authority and the restoration and he said he'd get baptized anyways because it couldn't hurt and then we could keep talking next week. Sister Ralph told me as soon as we got out of his house that he would get anti'd at his baptism and she was right. He just barely called and told me that he can't do our church thing because he has to stay with the church that he was raised and baptized in. Bummer.

At District Meeting this last Thursday Sister Ralph and I were asked to do the training and we did it on opening our mouths and talking to everyone and then asking for referrals from everyone. It was fun. When we were preparing it in our companion study we found some really great rebuking scriptures that talk about how we are not just asked but COMMANDED to open our mouths. And I'm not just talking about misisonaries. We had fun making everyone read them in their best rebuking voices possible.

Friday was Sherry's birthday and none of her siblings or kids did anything for her so we went over and spent the evening with her. She says that she can feel heaven when we're there.

Saturday was crazy and wonderful. We got up and went over to Willard's and buttoned his top button and put his tie on him (a red one that I bought for him because red is my, his wife's and his favorite color) and made sure he looked good and then left him there to wait for his ride and then went home to wait for our ride. We were picked up by the Hollins and we drove with them to Richmond where the four of us hitched a ride with Brother Brown (our high council rep) up to Louisville to go to the temple.
Louisville Kentucky Mormon Temple

Brother Brown is the king of one-liners. My favorite is how he talks about the temple as the place where the almost dead do work for the dead. His wife died a couple years ago and he misses her terribly. He goes to the temple every week and fulfills his calling but he wants to just go back and be with her again. He always has candy and food in his pockets and reminds me of a skinny, hill-billy Father Christmas. He pretends to be mean, especially to me, but he really loves me and pretends to be mean to show his love for me.

 We got to the temple and Sister Ralph and I did an endowment session and it was such a blessing. I've been praying for this chance for a while now knowing that usually you can only go to the temple as a misisonary a year or so after you've been out on your mission. As I was in the Celestial room I watched as one spouse would wait for the other to come into the room and they would hold hands and sit together. I kept thinking about Mary watching Willard as he has joined the church and is waiting for her work to be done and how wonderful it will be for them to be reunited and be able to enter the Celestial Kingdom together. I'm so glad that in a year I'll be able to meet up with Willard and Sister Ralph again and go through an endowment session with them. 

After the session we went to the baptismal font where Willard was sitting and watching the baptisms (he didn't get baptized because of how hard it is with him being crippled). But he loved it. He can't wait to get the names ready of his family members. It was such a special day. 

As we waited outside of the temple and took pictures with Willard, President Woodbury called me. I knew it was transfer call day and I had expected to be transferred. But, when President calls you know someone is training. Logically it would be Sister Ralph. But, it's me. I'm training this next transfer. This means that I'll be in Corbin for at least another three months which is wonderful. I don't want to leave this place, the promised land. But I'll miss Sister Ralph and I am extremely nervous about training. I've had trouble sleeping and focusing the last couple days. I still feel so new out here in the field. I don't know how good of a job I'll do, but I want this Sister's mission to start off in a different way than mine did. I just hope I'm up to the task. President told me he knows I'm young out here, but that he has full confidence in me and that my Zone Leaders have full confidence in me. Bishop Barton gave me a blessing yesterday because I've been pretty stressed. I love the priesthood. I always immediately feel comforted when their hands are placed on my head. I think I'll be ok. I hope I'll be ok. PLEASE pray for me and for my new companion. In mission lingo I'm becoming a mommy and Sister Gossett is becoming a grandma. Hence the fact that I didn't know I was pregnant. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE pray for me and for my greenie.

Also, don't worry, Kubo sent me a neon traffic vest for me to give to my greenie when she backs me in the car. It's going to be awesome and I hope she doesn't find out for a while that she isn't supposed to wear it.

Word of the Week: Roaschineers. I've asked and asked how to spell it but no one knows how to spell it. It's just slang. It means corn on the cob. Don't ask me why. I've almost figured out that it means "roasting ears" but none of them can confirm it. They just ask if I wants a roaschineer.

Extra Blessings: Lindsey and the boys. Thanks for the pictures and especially the diaper! I died laughing!

I love you all. The Church is TRUE! Share it!
Love Yuns,
Sis Nelson

Monday, August 8, 2011


Something that is incredibly awkward here in the Kentucky culture has to do with potty words. I'm sorry if this offends you, but then you'll know how I feel all the time. The people don't mean to offend me, they just don't see a problem in telling me all about it. They especially like a word that sounds like "diorama".  I'm talking men, women, children, non-members, members, speakers over the pulpit in Sacrament Meeting. All of them feel no shame in saying that word and then going into detail about it. Why? Don't ask me. I have no idea. I feel my face flush every time they say it. But I'm serious when I say that I can't go more than three days without hearing about it. If you ask someone why they missed church: they had really bad diorama.  If you ask someone how they like a certain restaurant: it gave them really bad diorama.  If someone is returning your call: they couldn't answer the phone because they were in the bathroom with really bad diorama.  We were in a lesson with this lady who we really don't like to teach, but she wants us to teach her. She welcomed us in, offered us water and then said, "I'll be back in a little bit, I've had really bad diorama all week." The bathroom door was connected to the room we were sitting in. That was the one time Sister Ralph said it was ok to turn up the volume on this lady's tv and focus on the people in the show. There's a greenie in the area next to ours and she's from Vegas and we were talking about culture shock and stuff when she mentioned the diorama conversations she's run into already. As we were talking about how awkward it is, I got a call from one of our investigators. He proceeded to tell me about his farm and the animals he has for twenty minutes. The last ten minutes of that conversation was all about his horse's diorama. Please! I'm sure you're uncomfortable reading this, but I can't go another week without telling you about something I've had to deal with since I got here.

Speaking of awkward, last week we picked up a former investigator that the Bishop wanted us to go check on. Her name is Lucy. She started investigating the church about five years ago. The Elders then had brought a member named George to help teach her. Instead of her joining the church, this member moved in with her, later married her and became inactive. So, we went to visit Lucy and she told us all about how much she's grateful to the church because it brought her to George. Then she told us about how she and George like to hunt ghosts. Then she told us how George thinks that Paul in the New Testament is the Anti-Christ. Then she told us how much she loves being married to someone who is ordained. I'm pretty sure our eyes got big when she said that. She then got a happy, tender look in her eyes and told us how her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend were over at Lucy and George's trailer saying how they wanted to get married but didn't want to have to go to the courthouse. Then George remembered that he was "ordained" so he married the two of them right then and there in the trailer. Uuuuuuuuuuh....... How do you tell someone that her daughter technically isn't married? We left and immediately called the Bishop and told him about the "marriage" George performed. First thing Bishop said was, "Oh dear Looks like I need to make a visit out to George and inform him of a couple things, don't I?" Yes, Bishop. Yes, you do.

I know I've mentioned Logan before and his CRAZY dad, Randall. Well, this week we met Randall's older brother, Johnny. And he might have actually been worse than Randall. He got SO caught up in words and how things are said and saying that all preachers are liars. He said, "For example: I had a preacher tell me I need to quit smoking. That's a lie! I don't smoke. The cigarette smokes, I puff on the back of the cigarette." "Well, that's just the term we use for puffing on the back of a cigarette." "It's a lie." Then he told us that he doesn't have any kids. "I didn't have them. I'm not a woman. And I'm not their father or their dad. And their not mine. Don't call me their father." "Then what should I call you?" "Their DADDY." "Isn't that the same thing?" "No. God is their father, I'm their daddy. It's a lie to call me anything but daddy." How do you talk sense to people like that? Logan told us from now on he'll try to meet with us when he's home alone or meet somewhere else.

We set a baptism date with Kendra Lundy for September 24th. But she still hasn't quit smoking or come to church more than once so we might have to push it back.

We haven't been able to get ahold of Jackie Sturgill since the week after his baptism so we went to his work on Friday. He's told us all about Fish Friday and how people come from miles around to get the fish. I tried it, not expecting much because the last catfish I had tasted like I was eating fried mud. But this fish was THE BEST fish I've ever had. They import it from Viet Nam where they raise the catfish with a net that restricts them from feeding on the bottom of the lake. The meat was pure white and it was DELICIOUS. So were the hush puppies. Also, I had chicken and dumplings last night and they were to die for.  Anyways, Jackie works at a gas station diner and we went in and got some food and then sat down with him to try and get him to come back to church. He moved back in with his wife last month which is not a good thing. He told us that he liked his experience with the church and that he thinks it is true but that God is leading him in a different direction because he just can't live the standards of the church. He thinks that God wants him to help people instead of attend church. It's weird, he had to run and help with something for a minute and Sister Ralph looked at each other and said that we both felt like we should testify and invite him back, but that we shouldn't push anything. For some reason, the Spirit told us to let him be for now. Even though it makes us REALLY sad, I feel calm knowing that things will somehow work out for him. We'll still keep in contact with him, but mainly to let him know that we care about him.

Eventually he'll remember the truth and take some responsibility. I know that he'd be happier if he would come to church and keep the commandments, but I've seen a bunch of people out here come back to the church after going inactive. For some people it takes them longer and more cycles to have the gospel stick. He'll be back though. Hopefully sooner rather than later. On Sunday I was realizing that only 2/3 of my converts are active right now. (Breanna's mom hasn't come in a couple months which means she hasn't come either). 1/3 has already fallen away. It's heartbreaking. But, how heartbreaking was it for 1/3 of the Hosts of Heaven to leave God in the pre-existence. Could He have forced them to stay? Maybe. But He wouldn't. Our agency is so important to Him. How sad it is that Lucifer fell from such a high place. How much potential did he throw away? Could he have been a leader on earth for good? A prophet maybe? But he used his agency to fall, to leave his Father, to try and get others to leave as well. And how sad that he succeeded with a great deal of God's precious spirit children. All of the people here have already conquered Satan once. How sad if they fail the second time around. Something I believe very strongly is that no one is born wicked. We all have the potential to be good. We all have the ability to make it back to our Heavenly Father. Because of where I was born, my odds increased on me making it. But I look at some of the people we teach. They're good people. They've just grown up without a clear knowledge.

Consider two people: The first was born into a home of 11 children. He didn't have running water or electricity till he was in his teens. His father and brothers taught him how to bootleg and chew tobacco before he got into school. His mom died when he was 15. He was in jail by 17. He was a father by 19. He taught his kids how to do all of the illegal things his dad taught him. He lived with woman after woman. He knows every drug dealer and bootlegger and cock fighter around. He's fought more men than he can remember. He's got tattoos and bad health because of the things he did in his youth. He gets kicked out of every place he lives because of the bad company he keeps. His children won't talk to him anymore.   Consider the second person: he's a worthy priesthood holder. Someone who reads his scriptures and prays every day. He's someone who loves his wife and his children more than anything. He's someone who is meek, submissive, humble. He truly wants to follow the Lord. He hears something once and immediately does it. He works hard and doesn't complain. He is so friendly and helpful to others that there are flocks of people who come to sit with him and talk and get advice from him and see if they can help him at all. He's someone who knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He knows that the Book of Mormon is true. He knows that the priesthood has been restored. He knows that he can be with his family forever. He's someone who has committed himself fully to serving the Lord. And he's not ashamed to tell you or invite you to learn about it. What is the main difference between these two men? The Gospel of Jesus Christ. How are these two men related? They're the same man, just three months apart from each other.  And that man is someone that I know and love very much. There aren't any bad people, really. They're just misled. They're alone. They're uneducated as to the things of the Lord.  We are here on this earth for three reasons. Drugs, money and power aren't any of them. Don't ever be ashamed to "inconvenience" someone by telling them the reason they're here. They are here to get a body, learn to make the correct choices and make covenants with their Heavenly Father so that they can enter into a life without worries and sickness and evil.

Sorry this is so scattered. I feel scattered this week. I want to share one more story with you. Steven Rodriguez and Keith Parker were introduced to the gospel by a girl named Maddie. She also introduced the church to a guy named Chuck. Chuck hasn't joined the church... yet. He comes every once in a while with Steven now that Maddie has moved. He has a Book of Mormon and is very intelligent. He's a black guy in his early twenties from " the hood" of Cincinnati. He just graduated and got a job teaching history and job skills and coaching football in a town called Pineville. He feels very strongly that the Lord wants him exactly where he is and doing exactly what he is doing. He told us that God tells him things in very deliberate ways. He finally agreed to the discussions and as we taught him the first lesson and got to the part where he needs to pray about the Book of Mormon, he was interrupted by a friend. When he came back to listen to us he opened up his Book of Mormon and found a $100 bill in the pages. He looked at us and was like, "Did you put that in there?" "NO." "What the?" "You weren't lying when you said God is deliberate with you." "No joke!" It was awesome. I think he'll be baptized within the next couple months.

Yesterday Willard passed the Sacrament again and Judy Jones bore her testimony. It was very powerful. She told about how long she had prayed to find the right church and how over years and years she was led to Kentucky and then led to the church and that she knows that it is true and that she loves the Book of Mormon and that Joseph Smith was a prophet and it was SO POWERFUL. REALLY. I was so proud of those two yesterday. It's sad that Jackie wasn't there, but it's great what those two are doing and it's only been a month since they've joined the church. On Saturday Willard is going with us and the ward to the Louisville temple and he can't wait and I can't wait and it's just really awesome. I love being a missionary so much. The Spirit is the most wonderful thing. Zion is being built here on the American continent, just like Joseph Smith prophesied. It really is. And how lucky are we that we are a part of it!  Also, we taught Willard the Restoration again this week as a follow-up lesson and he was crying the whole time, especially during the first vision. Afterwards he said, "Whenever the Spirit is on me as strong as it was when you were talking about Joseph Smith, I feel like I can shoot fire from my fingertips." He's so awesome. He's already in the middle of 3rd Nephi again and he makes his friends listen to parts that he really liked that day and tells them all about the plan of salvation and he's just so awesome. He's SO awesome.

Ok. I'm sure that most of this was jumbled and confusing, but it's the best I could do to get it all down.

Word of the Week: Bar. Davey Crockett kilt him a bar when he was only 3. Willard likes to call himself a grizzly bar but he's really as docile as a possum. Some people out in Gray County seen them a bar on Judy's property.

Extra Blessings: Sister Gossett, Lauren & Christian, Paige & Nick (your postcard from a month ago finally got here)

Also, I got a haircut and asked for three inches off and she took about 5 off. Mom, do you think Meredith would be willing to fly out here in a month or so for my next haircut? I honestly can't trust anyone else with it.

The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,
Sis Nelson