Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BEST DOG I EVER ATE


THANK YOU! THANK YOU to everyone who sent me birthday wishes and presents! I don't think I've ever had this much love on a birthday ever. I hope it's not incentive for me to stay away. (Here, Brooke. We'll send these gifts hundreds of miles away to you as long as you STAY hundreds of miles away...) Just kidding. Thank you. I really felt very loved and remembered on Saturday.

Thank you to Brother and Sister Pieper for the Elvis paper-doll cut outs. Thank you to the J's for the delicious cookies. Thank you to Michael, Kiera, Cami, Lars & Shelene for the Forever Lazy (you better believe that I've already worn it and made sure the back zipper works), Thank you to Sister Gossett for the beautiful flowers. Thank you to Grandma & Grandpa for the bracelet and candy and the stylish, handy cleaning gloves and the whole package. And what perfect wrapping paper and card. I loved all the bright colors and thick lettering and it was wonderful. Thank you to Mom and Dad & the rest of the family for the picture, skirt, scarf, card and Pinky the Elephant Book. Raise your hand if you have the most creative, talented, loving family and if you have proof of it in a book all about an Elephant who went to see the Queen! (I'm raising my hand.)

October 22, 2011 - BROOKE'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
My birthday was great. We got up and Sister Clemons made me Cream of Wheat and Scrambled Eggs and Orange Rolls and we took it all over to Willard's and had breakfast with him. For lunch we met up with Clay and Willard and Otis and his grandsons, Malachi and Skylar at my favorite place to eat: Wah Weng Garden. Willard has never had any type of Asian food before and he's been asking me lately what he can get me for my birthday. All I've asked is for him to try Chinese food. "NO WAY." Is always his response. "I don't eat cat. And I don't eat dog." I've tried telling him over and over that it's really good and that it's only Chicken, Beef and Pork. I refused to tell him anything else I wanted and begged him to try it. VERY reluctantly he agreed. VERY reluctantly. Clay wasn't too happy about it either. Bishop and his wife were supposed to come with us but Bishop chickened out at the last minute and refused to come. 

We got there and Otis was fine because he lived in Taiwan during the war so he likes Chinese. Sister Clemons has eaten there before so she was good, too. I made Willard sit down and I went and filled two plates with all my favorites and brought them to him and told him he had to try at least a bite of every different thing I put on his plates. Hahaha. He was so scared. By the time he was done with his first plate though he looked at me and said, "You don't have to wait for a birthday to get me to come back to this place. This is the best dog I ever ate!" Hurray! Yet again, Sister Nelson is always right. Then I tried teaching everyone how to use chopsticks and everyone but Clay gave up after a couple minutes. At one point I hear, "Sister Nelson, looky here, I got it!" I looked over and Clay had the chopsticks both threaded through his fingers where there was one finger on one side and another on the other for all four fingers. Kind of like a spider web. Then he'd close his fist to move the chopsticks together and squeeze his pinky and pick up the food. It was hilarious. The best part was when he didn't think Sister Clemons and I were looking, he tried to show Willard how to use them like he was professional . What sweet BYH's. I wish you could have seen the one hillbilly trying to tell the other hillbilly how to use chopsticks. 

After Chinese we went and had some cupcakes on Willard's porch while I opened all my awesome presents. Then we went to a lesson with that truck driver and his wife and they found out it was my birthday so they made us bologna and salami sandwiches. People do that. They'll feed us at three in the afternoon like we haven't had lunch and we won't have dinner. The lesson went well though and we almost got Bob to pray for us which he's never done out loud. Then we drove out to Barbourville to have spagetti and peach cobbler with Sherry and I thought I was going to burst.
I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is that Michael broke his foot. The good news is that Michael broke his foot while at a groovy aerobics class for middle-aged women called Zumba.

Something that I came accross and absolutely love is in Romans 8.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Don't ever forget

Mollie had her interview yesterday to be baptized on this Saturday.  Interesting fact: Mollie's mom had her do beauty pageants as a little girl and Mollie's middle name is Benea which is the name of that famous pageant queen that got killed and is always in the Inquirer. Otis has been attacked a lot by the adversary but everytime he prays or comes to church he's able to be excited and remember what he knows that is true.


 I'm sorry this is so short this week but Sister Clemons and I are both under the weather today and she really needs to go lay down. On the upside though, Sister Clemons asked for a picture of the Noes just now in the library and they said they'd rather wait till Sunday because then they'll be shaved and looking better. Keep your fingers crossed that we get a picture of the hairpiece!

Extra Blessings: Paige (letter. I'll let you know when I get the package), Mom & Family, Grandpa Rex & Grandma Bonnie, The J's, Sister Ralph, Sister Gossett, The Kentucky Piepers, Michael, Kiera, Cami, Lauren & Shelene.

Word of the Week: Founder. To founder is to over-eat to the point of death. Willard bought a skinny, little horse and he fed him so much that he founder'd him. People's dogs around here are so fat that it's a wonder that they haven't all founder'd. So many people fed me on my birthday that I was in danger of foundering.

And a VERY Happy Birthday to my Sis, Hayley on Thursday.

I love you all and I really do have the best family and friends ever. The Church is TRUE! Share it!

See'ya-Love'ya-Bye!

Sis Nelson

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sour Spray

If you've never tried Warheads Sour Spray....don't!! Unless you love torturing yourself or you are trying to stay awake driving!!  This little video arrived last week and made us anxious to meet Willard and miss Brooke's infectious, genuine laugh.  Please note:  No animals were harmed in the filming of this production.  At least not permanently.

CATAPLEXY!


The Lord has opened up the windows of heaven and poured out blessings and I don't have room enough to receive them. My cup runneth over.

What a week! I wish I had 5 hours to write because I could use it all to write about the everything that has happened since I last wrote. Ok. Here I go.

I don't think I can go day by day, but probably story by story would be better.

Let's see. First I'll talk about Willard. As some of you already know, (I sent a video of it) I made Willard try some Warhead's sour spray and he hated it and any time he makes me mad to get back on my good side I make him take a spray of it because it's hilarious to watch. Well, I've been wanting to have him try pop rocks for a while now but haven't been able to find any. Luckily, Mom sent me a package this week with some Halloween pop rocks in them! One morning we showed up and I said, "Willard, close your eyes and open your mouth." "No way." "You have to." "No. I've learned better than to trust you with those things." "It's not the sour spray." "I still don't trust you." "PLEASE!?!" "No!" After about five minutes I talked him into it. He sat there as the rocks popped in his mouth, not knowing what was going on. He wanted to swallow them but I made him keep them in there. I think he was a little upset that he liked them because he paused, looked at me and gave me a mean face and then poured some more into his mouth. Aha! Point for Sister Nelson! 

He also gave the talk at Sherry's baptism this week. He was extremely nervous and I had taken an hour to write out everything for him, scriptures and all so that he wouldn't have to fumble through his books and things. When he got up there he forgot to put his glasses on so he just paused a lot and went off script and was really shy and nervous and kept apologizing but of course his sweet spirit shined through and he did a great job, especially for his first time doing anything like that. He also got into a little... heated conversation... with a man in the ward who is a little creepy and too friendly with his comments towards missionaries. That man gave the closing prayer at the baptism and in the middle of his prayer said, "If there's anyone in the congregation who thinks I'm a hypocrite, please show them that I am not." and it was awkward and Bishop had to have a talk with the man. Willard is pretty protective of us and that man will hopefully keep better distance from now on.

Sister Clemons is a natural blonde. The other day we were being worldly and talking about home a little bit and the subject of Jimmer came up and she had no idea who he was and I started telling her about him and she asked if he was still at BYU and I said, "No. He graduated and got drafted. First round, too." "Wait. So is he in Iraq already or something?" Hahaha. "No. He got drafted into the NBA." "Oh." I kept laughing about it and she got upset and said, "I'm not as dumb as I sound." Bahaha. It was hilarious. [This is the same companion we heard in a recent mp3 Brooke sent us say the following -- Willard had just commented that in a previous job he was making lots of money. "Uncle Sam LOVED that!"  Sis. Clemons: "Oh! Your Uncle Sam worked there, too?"  I'm still not sure, even after Brooke laughingly explained things, if she actually knows who he was.]

Sherry. Whew. She's baptized! She's confirmed! And it's all a big bunch of miracles! Way back in September when Sherry got her answer that she needed to be baptized, a day or so later she felt like God was telling her she needed to go back to her son's church one more time before October 15th. She didn't know if it was actually God telling her to do it or the devil but as time for the baptism got closer the thought wouldn't leave her and she decided that she would go to Thomas's church on Friday night, the night before her baptism. She finally told Thomas she was being baptized and he actually reacted much better than she had expected. He's very involved in his Holiness church. He has met us a couple of times and what is usually the case with people like him and his wife happened. They try to keep their distance because they're SO against our religion but when they do get around us they can't help but like us. Thomas can't help but like us. He told Sherry that he doesn't believe the way we do but that he wanted to come and support her in her decision. Sherry told him she needed to go to his church one more time and he was really excited about that and said that he was going to cast out some devils out of her (like he has apparently done before. Though Sherry says whenever he casts them out they come back "seven times worser than before")

Of course, when she told us this we were very worried. We're not supposed to go to other people's churches to bash or things like that but Sherry asked us to come with her because she was afraid of what they'd try to do to her, yet she still insisted on going one last time. I ended up speaking with President Woodbury about it and asked his advice. He said that typically we aren't to do things like that but that once on his mission he had had a similar experience in Japan and that it ended up strengthening his convert's testimony. He said that if we had some priesthood holders go with us it would be best but that we for sure didn't want her to go to the church alone. Clay grew up around Sherry and so we brought him and our ward mission leader, Brother Maguet. They gave her a blessing beforehand. Then we drove out into the hills of south Barbourville to a place known as Coal Port. We drove for another couple minutes up into the mountains some more. 

(Sidenote: on the way there Sherry wasn't too sure about directions so she said, just keep going and if we come to a dead holler we'll just turn around. They don't say "dead end" they say dead holler. Also, she and Clay were passing people's houses and telling us how the people that used to live in there died. The craziest was when Sherry asked, "Do you remember so-and-so?" Clay: "That black-headed boy?" "Yeah. A few years back he got lexicuted and both of his arms tore off." "Yeah. I heard about that. Man, that boy could play a banjo better than anyone I ever hear'd.") 

We finally arrived at a little, one-room Holiness church in the backwoods and got out of the car and instantly heard people "whispering" about how we must not be from around here and stuff like that. We walked in and sat in one of the back pews. It was pretty tense in there as Thomas and the preacher saw who Sherry had brought with her. She also sat on the inside of the pew so that to get to her they'd have to come through Clay, then Bro Maguet then Sister Clemons and then me. Haha. Like I said, the church was one room and obviously built by the members. It was very humble. The ceiling had gold sparkles painted on it and the pictures on the wall were all of Christ on the cross in a lot of agony.  All of the women in Holiness churches have long hair that they aren't supposed to cut and they all wear skirts everywhere. Most of them just wear jean skirts though. They have a pulpit and drums and about four guitars set up and microphones and cymbals and tambourines and a piano way in the back that is just used as a shelf.

The service started out by Thomas asking for prayer requests. People would just say someone they knew or someone they heard of and tell all about what problems they had. Then Thomas would say, "Anyone else?" and someone else would give a prayer request. This went on from person to person for about 20 minutes. I wondered why Thomas wasn't writing them down because it was a lot to remember. Then, once everyone was done with their requests, he started praying and everyone else started praying and they were all saying individual prayers loudly at the same time and holding their hands up and some were swaying back and forth and other knelt down and others were crying and others were shouting but they were all saying prayers for those people on their own at the same time. This went on for about five minutes. 

After that, Thomas took the mic and the guitars started up and the drums started up and Thomas started sing/shouting a song. But I couldn't really hear many of the words because the amps were turned up so loudly. All of the kids plugged their ears and I wanted to but I didn't want to be rude. As Thomas sang, I think that the louder you sing and the faster you pray the more you're supposed to feel the spirit. People were praying/shouting/crying along with him but not really in unison, just kind of everyone doing their own thing. This is when people started "speaking in tongues" and having "the spirit come on them". Some people sounded like yodelers and others sounded like wild turkeys, others sounded like they were doing a native American Indian yell. Others sounded like gibberish that a little baby would make up. When they have "the spirit change their tongue" it's something that is very special for them and they thank the spirit right then for doing it to them. Some of them raise their hands and shake them back and forth and this one lady put her head down and was jumping up and down like she was at a concert or something till her hair all fell into her face and she started, trance-like, moving out of her pew and down the aisle. 

There was this other girl on crutches and she was crying and shouting and some of the people around her started shaking their hands and moving them up and down her leg and others were shouting for the demons to come out of her leg and stuff like that. That went on for maybe three songs worth. Then the preacher got up there and gave his sermon. He talked about how much of a good man he is and how he isn't ashamed of what he knows and how he's been able to overcome his past of being abusive and being a drunk and whenever people liked what he was saying they'd say amen or put their hand in the air. He was shouting to the point where every couple sentences he had to take a handkerchief and wipe the spit off of the top of the mic. He would pant and gasp for breath because he was getting so into it. He was very sweaty by the end of his sermon. I agreed with a lot of what he was saying though. My ears were just a little sore.

After the sermon (during which he welcomed us as special visitors) they had something that seemed pretty similar to the prayer requests from before but this time people could come up to the front and sit in a chair and have people surround them and sing/yell/pray/cry/shout/wave/speak in tongues over them while the band played some more music. 

We really intended to stay for the whole meeting but at 8:40 we had to leave to make it home by 9:30. As we started to head out I went up to Thomas and thanked him for letting us come and he saw we were leaving and went up to his mom and said, "Don't leave yet! We're going to pray over you next." She paused. She had been quiet the whole service (which I was relieved about because she grew up Holiness and I thought she might start shouting along with everybody). She said, "Thanks, but I'm good. I got what I came here for." 
Thomas looked upset but right then the preacher came over and said, "You're not leaving yet, are you?" She explained that we have a curfew and he said that we were welcome back anytime and we all shook hands and then we left. It was quite the experience. Quite. 

Sherry said that she felt very good about being baptized the next day and that she realized that when she got baptized this time it would be the last time and that she wouldn't just come to church and then go home and do whatever she pleased (which according to her is what those people do) but that she would be dedicated. That she would read every day and pray every day and live the gospel. I'm grateful for that unique opportunity to go to a different church as a missionary. I kept thinking about how genuine these people were in their desires to worship and follow God. They've just been taught to express that devotion in a completely foreign way to how I was taught.

Anyways, the next day Sherry was baptized. Her two sons, Thomas and Jerry Wayne, their significant others and Thomas's daughter who lives with Sherry, April, were all there to support her. It was quite the contrast to the night before as we were all very quiet during the service and that we didn't have loud instruments and things like that. The spirit was very sweet. I hope that her children felt the difference. Clay and Bishop both were in the font with her because she's a larger woman and has leg problems. She wanted Sister Clemons and I up near the stairs watching to help her come out of the font afterwards. Clay and Willard gave the talks and Sister Clemons and I sang one of her favorites: I am a Child of God. (acapella again... don't worry though, the narcoleptic lady, Wilma, who was sitting on the row in front of Sherry and her family sang right along, out loud with us so it was kind of like we had accompaniment) And Bishop gave a great welcome and it was wonderful. 

That night Jerry Wayne (who lives in Corbin) bought pork and ribs and corn and taters and everything else you could think of and we had a celebration and he insisted that "the girls" come (that's what they all call us). We call Sherry our "mama away from mama" and it really did feel familial all sitting around that table joking and hugging and laughing and eating. Even Thomas and his wife were very friendly and talking about the next time we all get together. Thomas even said he'd cook me up one of his favorite dishes. 

 The next morning Sherry called and told us she was too sick to come to church to get the Holy Ghost. She sounded awful and we weren't surprised because Satan always makes it really hard on Sherry on Sundays. We told her that she HAD to come and of course her ride was late and there were a bunch of mix-ups and none of her family came but she made it. And she got the Holy Ghost and it was wonderful. She and Willard were talking together about how different you feel after you're baptized and how it gets even better when you get the Holy Ghost. She said she felt lighter and happier and that her heart was new. It was wonderful.
Whew. Now onto Otis. Otis is that forever investigator that I've been mentioning lately. I know I repeat stuff a lot on here and I'm not sure if I've told you this or not but I'm going to tell you again anyways just in case I haven't. Otis is someone that has been meeting with the missionaries off and on for the last two or three years. (Actually, Otis told us on Saturday that about 20 years ago he'd come in contact with our church but had said no to them after a short time). Everytime that someone would drop him, he'd somehow end up being picked back up again. He had been dropped for probably six months or so when we accidentally picked him up in May. And I seriously mean it was an accident. 

We had gotten a call from a lady up in Louisville who said that she wanted us to go talk to her sister, Autumn and that she didn't know why the missionaries ever stopped meeting with her. We went through the previous investigator forms and Autumn and Otis had tons of papers from tons of companionships talking about how Otis was nice but liked to bash and how he said he'd never marry Autumn and how Autumn seemed interested in the church but didn't want to move out from Otis's and every time they dropped Otis it is because he said that he didn't believe and wasn't interested in joining the church. SO, at that time we were teaching someone else named Otis and I needed to get ahold of him to set up an appointment. The phone back then didn't have any last names in them (don't worry, I saw to it that it does now).

 So, I called the Otis that we were teaching but when he answered the phone he said, "Who is this?" "It's Sister Nelson." "Who?" "Sister. Nelson. You know who I am." Pause. "Is this the Mormons?" (At this point I realized that I was NOT talking to the Otis I thought I was. I started scrambling to make it seem like I had meant to call this man who I had no idea who he was.) "Yes! It's the missionaries." "Oh. Well. Did you want to come over?" "...uh. Yes." "Ok. How about Friday at 5?" "... sounds great! ... can you remind me where you live again?" Then he proceeded to give me directions as I was shuffling through ward lists and papers trying to figure out who this man was that I was talking to.

 We hung up and I told Sister Ralph that we had an appointment but that I had no idea who with but that I was pretty sure his first name was Otis. We started looking harder through papers and finally came across the name Otis in those former investigator forms and recognized him as the man who lives with that sister of the lady who called us a week or so before. Apparently Heavenly Father really wanted us to pick him back up again. So, Sister Ralph and I went out there and instantly fell in love with Otis and his "grandson" Malachi. Autumn has sadly started losing her mind as weird as that sounds but she's nice, too, when she doesn't think I'm an undercover FBI agent. 

Whenever we'd go out to see them Otis always seemed more interested in visiting and doing activities like feeding horses and mowing lawns and fishing and cooking for us than he did in talking about the gospel. We spent quite a few preparation days up there so that we could form a friendship with him but weren't really getting anywhere in the spiritual department with him because he was so defensive of his Bible and if the Book of Mormon said anything in it that he couldn't find in his Bible, he couldn't handle it. Still, we really loved him and felt that even though we weren't making much progress that the Lord wanted us to be teaching them. So we kept teaching them. 

Eventually Sister Ralph was transferred and Sister Clemons came in and I had to explain to her that even though it seemed like we weren't being very productive with Otis that I felt like we weren't supposed to drop him. Luckily, she felt mostly the same way. Last transfer President Woodbury changed some of our protocol for worthiness before baptism. He made the Word of Wisdom requirements more strict and he made quite the interesting change in regards to Law of Chastity. He said that with the economy the way it is, especially in Kentucky, that if people are living together as roommates and purely as roommates and not as a romantic couple that they can get baptized without being married as long as we as the missionaries feel like the relationship is truly and completely platonic. 

At first I didn't know how I felt about that, but President is a good man and I trust him. Sherry was able to be baptized because of that change. Even though the past records said that Otis and Autumn were a couple I got to thinking about it and they didn't act like a couple at all. They never touched or were sweet with each other and they have separate bedrooms. One day when we were with the horses and Autumn couldn't hear us I asked him if he and Autumn were a couple. He told me that years and years ago they had been but for the past 8 years or so they were strictly friends and that he let her live with him because she lost her son and the rest of her family and doesn't have anywhere else to go. (He retired a few years back and is comfortable financially). I asked him if the missionaries before told him he'd have to marry Autumn to join the church and he said they had and I told him that he actually didn't have to if they were seriously just friends and nothing more. He said they were. He seemed to be a lot happier after that conversation.

The next time we met him was at the restaurant without Autumn and we got to talk more about faith and real intent and things went great there, too. For a month or so now I've felt very strongly that Otis needed to see The Testaments movie. I don't usually think investigators should watch that movie until they've warmed up to the church because it is pretty cheesy in some parts. But that part at the end with the blind man and Jesus is so powerful and the Spirit kept telling me that Otis needed to see it. Otis doesn't have a tv that works so we borrowed Willard's tv and dvd player and drove up to Otis' and tried to get it to watch it but Otis had to burn some tree stumps that day so we couldn't. The next time we borrowed the tv again and went up there and as soon as we started it, Otis got an emergency call and had to leave. The next time the DVD was lost. The next time we couldn't get it to play in English, only in French.  UGH! By this point we were sure that Otis HAD to see the movie. Why else would Satan try as hard as he did to keep Otis from seeing it? 

We thankfully scheduled a lesson at a member's home last week after Malachi asked to come to church and Otis came and ended up really liking it. The day of the lesson (Sister Clemons and I were SO excited to finally be able to watch it.) the members called and said that Brother Gross' mom was in the hospital and they were leaving right then to drive to Harlan to visit her. CURSES! We called Otis, depressed. He was depressed, too. He loves seeing us. In a last ditch effort we called a less-active couple that live near the church and asked if they'd be willing to have the wife come over to the church and let us watch a movie with an investigator. The husband said that'd be fine. We called Otis back. "Otis, would you by any chance be able to come to Corbin for a lesson today? I know it's a long way to drive, but--" "I'd drive to Chattanooga if that's where you missionaries were." Hurray! 

So, the members came (the husband smoking a cigarette) and brought their disobedient, rowdy 4-year old. But, they came. And we started watching. I was praying the whole time that Otis would feel the spirit. It was hard not to get angry when the little boy would come in from the nursery with some toys and try to write on the chalkboard and talk real loud or when the members would ask when it was going to be over and things like that. I just prayed and prayed. Sister Clemons did, too. I couldn't tell if Otis liked it or not because he kept fidgeting and was really quiet.

 At the end, when the Spirit is crazy/strong, he took of his glasses, wiping the tears away from his eyes. He looked right at me and said, "You knew. How did you know? How did you know that'd get me? The power of the Lord is so strong on me right now." He kept saying, "Glory" Praise God" & "Amen" as we shared some scriptures out of the Book of Mormon. He could barely sit still in his seat he was so excited. We told him we weren't allowed to hug him because we could tell that he wanted to, he was so happy. Though I wish I could have. He's so sweet. He just kept saying how there's no denying the spirit that he felt and how he's always been so against the Book of Mormon and now he can't deny the spirit he felt and that Jesus really did appear to the people here. 
Part of the last scene where the Savior heals the man above who is blind
The actor happens to be a dear friend of Brooke's Grandparents and mother - Rick Macy

We invited him to the baptism and told him how much we cared about him and as soon as he was out of sight we hugged each other and started crying and jumping for joy and I almost had a fit of Cataplexy. (Cataplexy is when you feel an emotion so strongly that you faint. Kind of like King Lamoni when he was overcome with the Spirit when Ammon taught him.) It was so, so wonderful. 

The next day he came to the baptism and LOVED it. He kept saying amen and glory through the whole thing. He was so thrilled with it all. The next morning I called him right before sacrament meeting started and asked where he was and he said, "What time is it?" "9:30" "Oh no. I guess I should get out of the bathroom and head over there." "Yeah. If you hurry, you'll be able to make it for Sister Clemon's talk she's giving." "Oh. Ok." My heart sank. How could he have been so excited the past few days and then forget about church? I sat down next to Sherry and the Ogden kids (they sit with me because their mom is gone for six months so their dad drops them off and they sit with me) and was a little bummed. Right then, Otis walked in, fully dressed in a shirt and tie and smiled really big at me. "You tricked me!" "I told you I was in the bathroom! I just didn't tell you I was in the church bathroom!" He started laughing and I did, too.

 He was so excited through the meeting. When Sherry went up to be confirmed I scooted over and told him what was going on with her getting the Holy Ghost and how those men had the priesthood and he went, "Whew!" and shivers went down his back and he was so excited about the idea of what was happening. I peeked during the prayer and he was watching, very closely at the whole thing, bouncing his leg up and down trying to contain himself. After the prayer I tested out the waters a little and said, "After you get baptized, you'll be able to hold the priesthood, too." He looked at me and shivered again and said, "Praise God" and was so excited and happy.

During the second hour he told me about some dreams he's had about God and how he's been worried about coming to our church because he knows that we don't drink and he likes to drink. During Sacrament Meeting he said that God told him that from this day forward he'd never struggle with alcohol again! Tears were running down his face. That's when I told him how much God loves him and how we had accidentally picked him back up and when I told him the story he kept pumping his fists above his head like he had just won a gold medal and said, "glory" over and over. We were all crying and I said, "Otis, what are you doing on November 5th?" "November 5th, November 5th... nothing." "November 5th sounds like a good day to get baptized, doesn't it?" "You know what, it does! Glory!" Tears and laughter and Sister Clemons and I hugging each other followed. 

After church we gave him a lesson on the priesthood and the restoration and Willard and Sherry and Clay and Bro Mink were all there and it was wonderful and Otis is SO excited. Ugh! We're so excited. He said how he can't believe the 180 that's happened this last week but he went hunting Saturday morning and all he could think about was that Testaments movie. He said, "A herd of deer could have run all over me and I wouldn't have been able to shoot my gun, I was so distracted. I even left my gun on accident!" 

The Spirit is so miraculous! All it took was a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the rest of his doubts faded. Ah! It's so wonderful! He called us on the way home from church and said he met a lady who was complaining about her church and he said, "You should really come to our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You know, the Mormons? It's great. This is when we meet and this is where and you'll love it and if you give me your number I'll have the missionaries call you." And she gave him her number! AH! Too many blessings!

We set two new baptism dates this week (Molly is set for October 29th) and have a couple more that should be set soon.  Heavenly Father is pouring out blessings from heaven and we're trying to receive them all, but there's just too much. My cup runneth over. Yesterday at church Sherry was confirmed, we had 4 investigators at church, we set up the FHE program, we had two ward members ask us for Book of Mormons to hand out to their friends, we got a member referral AND we set Otis's baptism date. All in the space of three hours. How, I ask, is one supposed to be able to take all of that in? I know I must have had the goofiest grin on my face all day, but I couldn't help it. The Lord is just too good to us. And the people in the ward and my converts and my investigators all being in one room with me, I don't know how to handle all the happiness.

There's so much more that happened this week but this letter is already a year and a half long so by the time you finish reading it I'll just tell you the rest when I get home. Ah. I LOVE my mission. I love it too much. I don't know how I'll ever leave Corbin in one piece. I'm sure it's rare but there's got to be cases where a missionary served his/her whole mission in one area, right? Right? If not, maybe I'll be the first? Dad sent me some comforting scriptures for when I do have to leave, but let's not think about that right now. NOW is the time and Corbin is the place!

REX! Way to be a missionary! So many people who are actually full-time missionaries are terrified to invite someone to be baptized and there you are, 13 years old committing your home teachee's girlfriend to be baptized! Such a wonderful example! Mom, thank you for the package and the letter. I loved reading about the mission reunion and hope to be able to go to one of my own 40 years from now. You didn't include the info on what Sis Peterson has done though that you said I'd be excited about. Nick will make a great Roman Soldier. Has he seen his costume yet? Also, Sister Woodbury has a private blog for the mission for parents and family and if you want to be able to read it you should send your name, email address and relationship to me at becksing@aol.com.

Ah. I wish I could tell you more because there's so much more to tell. We had a pretty bold meeting with a less active and another with an old baptism date and so so much more. EVERYONE needs to serve a mission. SERIOUSLY.

Word of the Week: kine-lee. (kindly). It means "kind of". Sherry kine-lee felt like she was walking on air after her confirmation. Otis used to be kine-lee be unsure about our church. The Holiness people, they're kine-lee diffurrnt, but they definitely love the Lord.
Extra Blessings: Mom & Grandpa Rex

I almost forgot, I've been talking in my sleep a bit lately and the other night I woke up Sister Clemons by telling her all about 2 Nephi 31 and how the last verse of the chapter is so true. Another night I kept saying over and over, "I'm so tired! I'm so tired!" Haha. I am. But it's a good tired.

I love you all. The Church is incredibly and wonderfully TRUE! Share it!

See'ya-Love'ya-Bye!

Sis Nelson

Monday, October 10, 2011

TURN THERE


I'm officially a human. I've experienced what my ancestors for hundreds of centuries did on a constant basis for survival. Last Monday I killed, skinned, cooked and then ate a rabbit. I'm now in the process of tanning the the rabbit's hide. The only sad part about the day is that Sister Clemons got a little sick watching it all. But she still asked me to get a hide for her and tan it so that she could have one so I don't think it traumatized her too bad. (too badly? I can't remember which is correct.) Willard thinks it's crazy that I can kill a rabbit but I can't kill a bug. I think it's crazy that he can eat possum but he won't try Chinese food.

Speaking of Willard, we cleaned his house this week and put up pictures of the temple and Jesus and his favorite Book of Mormon heroes and he loves it. Claiborne gave him a blue cowboyish suit jacket to wear to Church and he LOVES it. He wore it all day yesterday, even after church was over.

Sherry had her baptismal interview yesterday which was a miracle. Every time that there's an interview or a baptism it's like everything goes wrong in the life of the investigator. For some reason I'm always terrified that the person won't show up or will back out at the last minute. It's so stressful. But, she came and it went well and I really hope the baptism goes well on Saturday. She finally told all of her family besides her son who is [in the] Holiness [religion]. She still doesn't want to tell him about it because she knows he'll get all worked up over it. But, she told her other son, Jerry Wayne and her granddaughter, April and her brother Reid (who we all call Grubworm) and they all said they'd come. Grubworm is one of those people I love who is really grumpy but if you aren't afraid of him he likes you even if he tries to pretend like he doesn't like you. You know those people? Anyways, he's one of those people. The other missionaries are really nice and quiet around him and I just poke fun at him. He calls me Wanda. I asked him why and he said because I look like a Wanda. At first I was offended and then I realized I might actually look like a Wanda. Do I look like a Wanda? Anyways, I'll update you next week on how the baptism goes this Saturday.


Do you remember how last week I told you about how that lady thinks I'm part of the FBI? Well, this week I asked one of our investigators what his middle name was and he said I'd never guess it and told me it starts with an E and ends with an R. I right away guessed Edgar but he said it wasn't it. Then I said Ebenezer. Then he said that he'd meet with us again if I guessed it correctly. He told me to call him in a couple days. I called him in a couple days and said, "Is Elmer there?" He was like, "How did you know that?" "... am I right?" "How did you know that?" "... I'm really smart?" "No. Seriously, have you been reading my mail?" "That's illegal." "Have you?" "Why would I drive all the way to your house just to find out your middle name?" "Are you with the IRS? You're undercover IRS, aren't you?" Haha. What is it with people thinking I'm an undercover government official?


We didn't know where to tract this last week so I looked at a map and saw a street named "Verbena" and it reminded me of "The Parent Trap" and warmed my heart so we decided to tract it. It's an awesome street and I feel good things are going to come from it. Thank you, Hayley Mills. Thank you.


This week we also cleaned someone's house and I got the bathroom because my sense of smell isn't as good as Sister Clemons' and honestly, I was in a bad mood for the rest of the day. I don't know if this bathroom has ever been cleaned. If it has, it was years ago. Spiders and hair was the least of my problems in there. I didn't even think I'd be able to find the white porcelain under all the scum and stains and... grossness. Sister Clemons cleaned the entire house in the time that it took me to clean the house. But I still think I got the fuzzy end of the lollipop on this one. And so does Sister Clemons. She couldn't even walk into the door because it smelled so bad in there. Bleah. I don't know what it is about missionaries: Elders are the moving service and Sisters are the cleaning service. I'd rather move someone out of a house than clean it.

There are a couple things that Kentuckians/Hillbillies can't do:
  1- They can't make Mexican Food.
  2- They can't whisper.
  3- They can't give directions.

I know I mentioned the Mexican Food last week and since I just talked about cleaning the bathroom my stomach can't handle much more description on that subject.

Whispers: They can't. They just can't whisper. I don't know if it's a physical problem with their throats or if it's a psychological problem or what. But they just can't whisper. Relief Society is the worst for it. Basically every week in Relief Society I strain my ears for 45 minutes while the people around me talk about whatever they please, thinking I can't hear them. I've learned to live with it and just laugh. But a couple weeks ago we had a visitor from the church out west and when the lesson started and no one got quiet and just talked through the whole thing she looked around like, "Am I the only sane one here?" I just leaned over to her and said, "Don't worry. I know. I know." She asked if it was always like this. "It is. They think they're whispering." She eventually started laughing after her shock wore off and then she and I helped each other decipher what was being said by the instructor when we couldn't quite hear over the babble.

Directions: "You know Falls Rd? Just take that for about 2 miles and you'll see a big church on the left and then you'll go a little farther and you'll go down a hill and at the bottom you'll see a doublewide and you'll turn and drive for about a half a mile and then you'll see a tree that was struck by lightning. Turn there. Take that up the hill about a mile or so and when you pass the field with all the boats in it you'll see a blue house, turn there. The road splits again. Take the one where the old goat is tied up by the dogwood tree. It's the 3rd trailer on the right. Don't get out of the car, just honk till we see yuns so we can tie up the dogs. They bite."  You think I'm exaggerating. I know you do. I'm not. Those are the kinds of directions I get. I'm lucky if I can get them to tell me which direction I turn at the dead tree or the old truck or the pile of tires. Seriously. And there aren't street signs on half of the streets. So, even if people knew the names of the streets, it wouldn't help me a bit.


I think I've told you about Otis. He's the one who lives with the lady who thinks I'm with the FBI. He's the one we mowed his lawn and fished with. He has horses and chickens and all that. He's one of my faves. He calls me "Sis" which makes me feel right at home. I'm sending pictures of him so you can see him because I love him so much. He has a little sort-of grandson who isn't really any relation to him but through a dna mix-up was apparently his roommate's grandson for a while until they found out he wasn't but they were already attached to him so he spends every weekend and holiday with "Otie" as he calls him. His name is Malachi and he's adorable and has the strongest accent I've heard out here and he's a cowboy through and through. 

Anyways, we were up with Otie and Malachi and Autumn on Saturday and we were outside talking while we were burning a tree stump. Did you know that's how you clear a field? You burn the stumps. Otis and Autumn are what mission lingo would call "forever investigators". They've been talking with missionaries for two or three years now and haven't really made any progress but every time they're dropped the missionaries end up picking them up again. Sister Ralph and I only picked them up because I accidentally called him instead of a different Otis and when he answered the phone he asked when we were coming to see him so we scheduled something and we've been meeting with them ever since. He's awesome. Anyways, back to Saturday night. Malachi came out with a tie clipped on to his t-shirt and said, "Look! I get to wear one of these if Otie or Autumn ever dies." "Malachi! Don't say that!" "Well, that's the only time I ever wear one of these." "No! You can wear that to church." "I look good in it, huh?" "VERY good. You have to come to church tomorrow now so you can have a reason to wear that tie." "What time does it start?" "9:30." "We'll be there at 9!" Haha. I looked at Otis. So did Malachi. "Can we go tomorrow, Otie?" "Well... sure." Hurray! 


And they CAME! I think Otis only planned on staying the first hour but I was a brat and took Malachi into his class and introduced him to the other kids and he was really excited to stay so Otis stayed for the second hour. Then he tried to leave after the second hour but Willard told him to come to priesthood with him and that he'd like it. So they stayed for all three hours! Malachi LOVED it. He wants to come back next week. I asked Otis how he liked it all and he said that it was really great. He said that the third hour was "very rewarding" which I think means that it was good. The guy we killed the rabbits with is the guy we've wanted to fellowship Otis and while we were at church we all set up a time to have a lesson at his place this week! (By the way, that family with the rabbits are the Gross Family. That's honestly their last name: Gross.) It was so wonderful to have Otis there! We usually see him only once a week because he lives so far away but he said that Friday was too long away before we saw him again so he's meeting us down in London on Tuesday. We're so excited about him and Malachi!


Sister Clemons and I were talking about how weird it is to be teaching all these people that are older than us because we feel like their parents. I worry about them and pray about them and get excited over their little accomplishments and stress about them and nag them and push them and pick at them and fix their hair and wipe their face and do everything short of changing their diapers and giving birth to them. When they're struggling, we're struggling. When they're happy, we're happy. It's like backwards parenting or something. They're our little sheep and we're trying to watch over them and keep the wolves out as best we know how.


We taught Wayne again and he's trying to quit smoking and has started reading the Book of Mormon. We'll let you know how that goes... and by "we" I mean "I" because Sister Clemons doesn't write these emails, I do. I'm just used to saying "we".


We've tried to meet with Danny, Molly. the cute kids with the divorcing parents, the deaf people, the lady who just had a baby and the man we tracted into who wasn't wearing clothes but Satan is trying REALLY hard to keep these people away from the truth. I just wish he'd give us a day or two break so that we could round them all up and bring them into our fold. Pray for us.


Ok. I know this is long. But this is the last thing, I think. This week we got to do a blitz. A blitz is when one set of missionaries goes and works the area of another set of missionaries along with them. An exchange is when one companion in two areas switch around for a day. As Sisters we don't ever get to do exchanges because it's only with a District Leader or Zone Leader that people exchange and we're not allowed to be alone with Elders. But, this last week we got permission to do a blitz with the Sisters in Berea. It was so awesome. It made a lot more sense to me as to why all the Elders get so close to each other even when they aren't companions. When you do an exchange you get to know them and know their area and you get close to them. It was awesome to be able to see how another area works and see how different missionaries knock doors and do their studies and stuff like that.

Sister Edgerton is training Sister Noakes in Berea. Berea is a college town with a lot of people not from Kentucky in it so it's really artsy and not at all like Corbin. Sister Noakes has been out one transfer longer than Sister Clemons. Sister Noakes is from the East side of Las Vegas and Sister Edgerton is from Boise, Idaho. When we got there, Sister Noakes and I went and tracted while Sister Clemons and Sister Edgerton looked up formers. Then we went and walked around Berea campus and contacted people there and found some GREAT potentials that I'm really excited for the Sisters about. Then we taught a recent convert of theirs named Marvin who is from Liberia and it was really fun to see them treat him similarly to the way we treat Willard. 


Then we came home and played ping pong after we did all the other things we are supposed to do at night because for some reason they have a ping pong table in their apartment. In the morning we all studied together and split up again and went tracting and Sister Noakes and I visited some formers and potentials and it was so uplifting and motivating. It made me feel so much more connected to my mission. I love Corbin but I've been pretty isolated out here. It was neat to interact with other missionaries and see how others work in different places. It made me really like those other Sisters, too. It was great to see that there isn't just one way to tract, but many ways. Same with study and contacting. It was really, really awesome. In a couple weeks they're coming down to Corbin for a blitz again and we can't wait.


This week I've had something from Conference stuck in my head. Obedience is more important than Sacrifice. I think a lot of times people think that if they give some big sacrifice that it makes up for their disobedience. But we've not only been asked to be willing to die for the truth, but to also live for the truth as well. Christ made a huge sacrifice, but he also was completely and exactly obedient before, during and after that sacrifice.

There's a place here in my district called Irvine but it's not pronounced like Irvine, CA. It's pronounced Irvine as in Erven as in Erven Tebbs as in ET as in Papa Elf. It makes me happy whenever people tell me to take the "Erven" exit to get to district meeting.


Extra Blessings: Mom, Paige, Shannon & Sister Ralph
Word of the Week: The words "stroller" and "shopping cart" don't exist here. They're both either called "buggie" or "carriage".


I love you all and love this gospel and am so happy to be on a mission. To think that I almost gave up on being a missionary. How awfully sad that would have been! Thank you for your belief in me, and your prayers and support and love. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father loved me enough to say no to my request to serve a Chinese-speaking mission and sent me on a Hillbilly-speaking mission instead. Corbin is the Promised Land!


Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson

Monday, October 3, 2011

TWO LETTERS: ARGYLES & AGENTS


ARGYLE SOCKS AND FORGET-ME-NOTS - SEPTEMBER 26, 2011

The Prodigal Son has returned! Michael was dead to me, and is alive again; he was lost to me, and is found. I have begun to be merry!

Michael sent me a package! He sent me a tape recorder with messages from him and my friends. He also sent me cool Harry Potter stuff like every flavor beans and other things that I can't tell you about because I'm sworn to secrecy about them which makes me really cool because my companion is a squib and she's jealous and I'm awesome.

This week has been FULL. We set a baptism date with a guy who just married a member and we also set a date with two of those kids in that family I talked about last week. One of those kids is 8 so he'll be a child of record but the other is a convert. Not that that makes much difference.

On Monday our Zone Leaders came to the area and tracted around because they feel bad that we never get to do exchanges with any other missionaries. They found us some investigators who are deaf! So HA! To: Paige, Hayley and anyone else who ever got annoyed with my finger spelling. I've actually USED it on my mission. It's kind of crazy because we're already teaching a blind person and now we're teaching some deaf people. The two deaf guys are both named Dennie. Dennie Jr goes by DJ. They can't read lips and only DJ can read but not very well because ASL uses different grammar and sentence structure than English does. We took a little marker board to our follow up with them and wrote back and forth and I signed a couple things that I could remember and they taught us some signs and they said that they both want to know God but that no churches ever provide interpreters so they don't know much about Him. Thankfully, the Restoration dvd has an option to have someone in the bottom of the screen signing what's being said so we watched that with them and they both liked it a lot and they felt the spirit. They don't want to come to church till they can get an interpreter and I don't blame them but the only people in the stake who interpret live hours away and have callings in their own wards. So, we have people who want to learn, but no way to teach them. It's pretty frustrating. Interpreters cost about $35 an hour which is more than our weekly budget. We're still looking around though.

We saw Willard Monday night and he was like, "I set up a teaching appointment for yuns tomorrow morning at 11." He's such a missionary. We took him with us the next day and taught this lady who was VERY knowledgeable but also very set in her ways and we taught her twice this week and dropped her already because she told us flat out that she WILL NOT pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Still, Willard will be blessed for sharing the gospel with others.

We went up to Judy and Mary's and there had been a mix-up on times and days so they weren't there but Judy's husband, Wayne was there and he took us on a walk through their almost 200 acre property. Luckily, we had pants and tennis shoes on from a service activity we had just come from. We were planning on asking to change in their house but when he saw us dressed like that he assumed we came to see the property like he asked us to (he must have forgotten that we told him we'd be able to do that on a Monday and not on other days.) Anyways, he started walking and talking and since we're trying to get him to trust us and talk to us we followed him and had a good walk with him seeing their property and I managed to slip in some of the things we believe and at the end of our walk I asked him if we could teach him and he said that he'd like to think about it but that he probably would let us teach him sometime in the near future. It was pretty awesome. I think Heavenly Father wanted that mix-up to happen because without the pressure of his family he was able to talk and ask honest questions and get to know us personally instead of hearing Judy tell him that we're nice girls and stuff. He already told Judy that he wants us to come back on a Monday and take us fishing so that's a good sign, I think.

The service that we did on Tuesday was probably the grossest thing I've ever done. I can't talk too much about it because if I do I seriously might up-chuck all over the library. I honestly gagged three times that day. We cleaned the trailer of a girl that we're teaching and it was awful. Again, I can't go into too much detail without barfing but, at one point Sister Clemons and I had to walk outside because the smell that we uncovered was so wretched. We were emptying her trash can and there was this goopy, dark brownish-green stuff in the bottom and I thought it was something that should have gone in a diaper. We asked the girl about it because it was SO nasty and she said that a couple months ago she had been chewing tobacco and spitting it in the garbage can while drinking alcohol when she threw up in there and hadn't ever cleaned it out and sometimes the smell made her so sick that she'd throw up on top of it again. It had been adding throw up to it for the past few months and she never cleaned it up and I'm gagging so I have to stop.

We went tracting Tuesday night while we had a couple minutes to spare before an appointment and all of the doors we knocked were pretty blunt, short and abrupt with how they did not want to hear from us. I decided we'd knock one more door even though neither of us wanted to keep going when a man in his boxers opened it. "Great..." I was thinking. But, he put on some clothes, invited us in and told us that he wants to get closer to his two daughters that live with him, took a Book of Mormon and asked us to come back this week. It was awesome. Also, there's this street that Sister Ralph and I felt led to because of a long story but we felt like Heavenly Father led us there. Every time we'd go to tract it something would come up and we wouldn't be able to go. Even Sister Clemons and I get sidetracked whenever we try to go there. A couple weeks ago we tracted there for a little bit and we met a potential and we saw a house that I LOVED and wanted to knock but saw that there weren't any cars home so I decided to knock it later so that we could get someone when they were home. I don't know why but I LOVED the home. Anyways, yesterday we went looking for that potential we'd met and he wasn't there but we saw that there was a car outside of that house I loved. I wanted to knock it but Sister Clemons pointed out that there were balloons on the door and mailbox that said, "It's a Boy!" and she said, "We don't want to crash a baby shower, do we?" I was like, "Yes, we do." She didn't feel good about it and we were running late anyways so we drove off but I kept thinking about that house and about Sister Ralph and I being led there and about the Sunday School lesson I had just given urging all of these converts and investigators I love to follow the Spirit and I just turned the car around and drove back to that neighborhood and we knocked on the door.

A cute lady opened the door and said, "Come on in." Hurray! She told us that she had just gotten home from the hospital with her brand new baby she'd had the day before by c-section. She said that she and her husband are religious but very open and asked us to come back in a couple days when she's more settled in because she liked what we were telling her about the Plan of Salvation! Hurray! The Spirit is SO awesome! It was funny because Sister Clemons had been saying how she always heard these miracle stories that missionaries share and she felt like she hadn't seen any yet and that she wanted to and there it was. The thing is that the Lord can't do things like that until you weed through the mean people who shut their doors on you or who are rude to you. He's waiting to bless you, you just have to act first and he'll do the rest. We're way excited. And I just hope that I can make up for the times I've already had on my mission where the Spirit has been talking to me and I haven't been in tune or obedient enough. Because I know that I'm not perfect and that there have been times here I'm sure when I should have knocked more doors or turned back or said more. When we do those things, God will see our efforts, begin to trust us and then put people in our path that He can trust us with.

Sister Clemons did a great job of opening her mouth this week. We had to get new tires and while we were waiting I started talking to this older couple that were very nice but told us they weren't interested in anything to do with religion. Sister Clemons was a little saddened by that but that didn't stop her. There was this kid on the other side of the waiting room and she began talking to him and he WAS interested and we got his number and taught him part of the Restoration. At one point he told us he lived about thirty miles away and we asked why he came here to get his tires done and he said, "I have no idea, really. I just felt like this would be a good place to come, I guess." AWESOME!

We're teaching this other girl who is 10 with bright orange hair and she'll be baptized next month, I'm guessing. She kind of reminds me of Nina because she's a little flank and she's really smart. Her name is Molly.

I've been able to spend more time with Sister Holt (she's related to Laci Brandley, Mark's wife). Sister Holt is an AMAZING lady. I wish we could live with her. She's been through a lot. She prefaces stories by saying that her life is stranger than fiction and she wouldn't believe it if she didn't live it either and she reminds me of Mom. She's WONDERFUL. Instead of saying, "Bless his/her heart." she just says, "BLESS." and since I look up to her I've decided to start saying that as well.
Saturday night was the Women's Broadcast and if anyone missed it, male or female, they need to look up President Uchtdorf's talk on Forget-Me-Nots. He's such a powerful, loving man. I loved that talk. I loved every part of it. It was exactly what I personally needed to hear.

Yesterday was ward conference and our Stake President spoke and he's a powerful man, too. He talked about how when he left on his mission he had read the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Jesus the Christ, etc. He was as prepared as he could be. When he walked in that first day his teacher asked him why he wasn't dressed like a missionary. He thought he was in his suit and nametag. She told him there was something wrong with his socks. (They were argyle). He told her he thought they were conservative and she told him he needed to change them and made him go right then and buy some new socks to change into. On his way he was pretty upset thinking about all the things that he had sacrificed and prepared to come on a mission and now some lady says he has to change his socks right then and there! As he was fuming a thought came into his mind, "Sam, if you aren't willing to change your socks, what are you willing to change for the Lord?" From that point on he made a strict effort to change whatever it was that the Lord asked him to, big or small. God is perfect and we aren't and in order to become like Him we have to change, not Him. I thought it was a cool story.

Extra Blessings: Sister Ralph, Michael Gordon Brandley
Word of the Week: Deer Fly. A deer fly is like a horse fly but much worse when it bites you. Believe me, I know. 


I'm crazy/excited about conference. I hope you are, too. I'll be thinking about you as I watch. We'll all be watching it at the same time! And during the rest hymn I'll be singing "Somewhere Out There" instead of whatever the congregation sings.

I love you all. The Church is True! Share it!

Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson



AGENT NELSON - OCTOBER 3, 2011

This week has been the longest week ever. It hasn't been miserable, I just can't believe as I look back at my planner that some of the things we did were this week. They seem like forever ago.

Did I tell you about the truck-driver that we're teaching from Minnesota? His name is Bob and he's really awesome and elect and prepared and golden and whatever else you want to call him. This week we taught he and his wife together which he was apprehensive about because she's Pentecostal and pretty weary of "Mormons" but it went really well and most of the things we told her she was responding like, "I believe that. I've always believed that even though my church doesn't believe that because if you read the Bible it tells you right there all about it." The only bummer part about them is that they have crazy/busy schedules because hes always on the road and she works graves at a truck stop diner. We saw Bob yesterday while his wife was at work and since we couldn't go inside his house I asked if I could go look at the inside of his truck becauseKubo and I have a dream of spending a summer as truck drivers. He thought that was a little weird but let me go look around in there and he even let me turn on the truck and he even let me pull the air horn. It was a childhood/college dream realized to pull that horn. When I got into the back where his bed and clothes are I saw that he has his Book of Mormon right in there in the middle of all his stuff! He's going to get baptized really quickly once he comes to church, I'm betting. He's so ready.

Tuesday we went up to Judy and Mary's and usually when we're up there Wayne stays outside to work on the hay or something or stays in his room. This time he ate with us and then when we started the lesson he got up and we thought he was leaving but he was just getting an extra chair! Haha! He stayed for the lesson and asked questions and when I asked if we could teach something next time he said that was fine! Thank goodness for the scheduling mix-up last week! He also told us he wants to fix us a specialty dinner he makes and wants to know more about prophets and I'm so excited because he's really awesome and Judy's been very patiently praying for him to be interested and it's happening!

On Tuesday night we went out to eat with Otis because we didn't have many miles left and instead of driving out to East Bernstadt he told us he'd meet us in London and take us to food. (Sidenote: whenever people out here take us out they want to take us to Mexican. And, no offense to my beloved Kentucky, but no one out here knows how to do Mexican the right way.) Anyways, we went out to eat with Otis and we expected Autumn to come with him but he told us she hasn't left the house in over a year. She's been telling me recently about how she thinks the government is following her and encoding secret messages to her in her walls and stuff like that so I already knew she was a little paranoid, but Otis told me even more on Tuesday. He said that the other day she told him, "Sister Clemons, she's with the Mormon Church. But Sister Nelson, she's with the FBI." HAha. No joke, she thinks I'm a secret agent. This worries me slightly that maybe I don't seem genuine or something but mostly it flatters me that she thinks I'm secret agent material.

Conference was this weekend as you all know and it was WONDERFUL! Here are some of the comments that I have about it:
-Thank you, Elder Scott for proving that we use the Bible along with the other standard works! It was exactly what Sherry needed to hear.
-Elaine Dalton's talk made me so grateful to have a father who loves my mother. As I sat and listened to that talk I realized that I was surrounded by women, young and old, who didn't have fathers or ex-husbands that were guardians of virtue like my dad. I'm so blessed.
-Elder Hales? AKA "Bob" as President Monson likes to call him. Is he ok? I wasn't expecting to see him like that.
-Hurray for the Provo Tabernacle becoming Provo's 2nd temple!
-I always love being in a church meeting and hearing my investigators singing the hymns along with everyone else. I don't know why. It's not THAT big of a deal that they're singing, but it always makes me so happy.
-If you close your eyes during the choir numbers at conference you can feel the Spirit a lot stronger because you can focus on the sound and not on the pink dresses or the facial expressions of the singers.
-Willard went to all 5 sessions and during the last session we were sitting next to each other and when President Monson got up to speak he leaned over to me and said, "Now there's a prophet!"
-Sis & Bil: I hope you paid close attention to Elder Andersen's talk from the Saturday Afternoon Session...
-Elder Uchtdorf's talk made me pretty weepy, and not just because I could relate to him when he talked about Southern Accents. When he spoke about how some of the greatest people who've ever lived will never grace the pages of history books, but God knows them and loves them, Sister Clemons and I looked at each other and at the same time mouthed, "Gail" to each other. She's the first person that popped in my head but there are many others here and in China and back in Vegas and all over who are so WONDERFUL. It's like this wonderful secret that Heavenly Father is letting me in on by being able to meet these people that no one else knows about. The part that really got me was when Elder U said that the most powerful being in the universe is the Father of my spirit. It's amazing how these truths that I've known all my life can come to me at certain times and seem so knew to me, like an epiphany that's been right in front of my face the whole time. (Sisses: Hidden in Plain Sight if you know what I mean...)

Sherry came to conference and so did another investigator named Leslie. She liked it, I think. She met an LDS guy online who lives out west and they've been talking for like 6 months now and she finally wants to learn about our church. She's in her 40's with 4 kids and he's 29! She showed us a picture of him and he doesn't even look 19! I hope she doesn't get her heart broken by this kid. We're trying to make things clear to her that a testimony shouldn't be based off of a love interest but we'll see how things go...

Yesterday was Willard's 59th birthday! Sherry and Clay came over to his place (which was nice because since Sherry was there we could go inside and didn't have to sit outside and freeze the whole time). Sherry and Sister Clemons made his favorite foods: homemade biscuits, fried potatoes and gravy, & fried chicken. Then we had lemon meringue pie for dessert. It was very good and very rich and very Southern... not to mention fattening. But it was fun. Sister Clemons and I got him a new shirt and some shoes because the one pair he has has holes so big that his toes stick out of them. He loved having attention and love like that. It felt like the five of us were a family. It was wonderful. This morning we got a picture of him in his new shirt. The beard is something he wore for 30 years that he wants to grow out again but Bishop saw it and told him it has to go if he wants to pass the sacrament again. Haha.
Sherry asked Clay and Bishop to baptize her in a couple weeks. ALSO, Willard said if we'd help him write it, he'd be willing to give one of the talks at the baptism! Did I ever tell you that until Willard was an adult he had a really bad stutter? He's crazy shy about talking in front of people but he said, "The Lord blessed me so much this weekend I figure the least I could do to show my appreciation is offer to help at the baptism." He melts my heart. He and Johnny Graff in the same room at the same time would probably make my heart explode.

Tonight I have plans with a member to go to his house and kill my own food, skin it and then cook it and then eat it! Sister Clemons has opted to watch. I'll let you know how it goes.

The leaves are starting to turn. It's getting more and more gorgeous each day. This place is so beautiful in every season... though I'm guessing I won't feel quite this way when the first snow falls. It definitely is getting cold here, too.

Also, I have to apologize for my atrocious spelling and grammar. I rush through these and don't have time to proof-read and I'm to the point now where I don't remember all of the correct grammar anyways sometimes because of the constant misuse I hear out here. Pray for me!

Extra Blessings: Papa Elf
Word of the Week: Verniller. Which do you prefer: chocolate or verniller?

Happy Birthday, Lily-Pad!

Next week I'm going to try and figure out how to send you some voice clips that I have of Willard telling his conversion story.

Have I ever told you about how Brother Bowen hangs up the phone? He says, "See'ya-bye" like it's all one word. I commented on it to them the other day and Sister Bowen said when he's on the phone with her he says, "See'ya-love'ya-bye."

See'ya-Love'ya-Bye!

Sis Nelson

PS - The Church is true - share it!