Monday, November 28, 2011


Happy Turkey Week Last Week! Happy Birthday on Saturday, De-De!

Thanksgiving was a good day. Scared of being foundered, Sister Clemons and I wore our stretchiest skirts and went to Bro Maguet's house at 1 and ate a very refined, beautifully cooked, well manicured meal. They have a gorgeous home and so many things there reminded me of home. It was a wonderful meal. We enjoyed our time there, especially our time with our friend Charlene, but we didn't allow ourselves to eat any seconds because we knew we were heading to Sherry's afterwards and she was expecting us to EAT when we got there. After the Maguets we went to Barbourville and ate at Sherry's son's trailer. Goodness, I love those people. A month or so ago I had mentioned to Thomas (Sherry's son) that I wanted to try squirrel and he told me he made pretty good squirrel so when we walked in he pointed to the table and pointed at me and he had made a whole bowl full of squirrel for me to try. All the sections of the squirrel were fried and in the bowl. I first ate a leg and it was pretty good. Then I ate a couple more pieces. Then Thomas asked me if I wanted to see him do something really Southern. You know me. I not only wanted to watch it, I wanted to do it, too. So, he dug around in the bowl for a second and found a head. Then I dug around and found a head. Then he showed me how to place my hands to crack the skull open, which I did. Then he took the end of a fork and popped out the brain, which I did. Then at the same time we popped the brains into our mouths. Wasn't too bad. Wasn't too good, but it wasn't too bad, neither. Now I can say I ate squirrel brain.

Me and Grubb at Thanksgiving right after I ate the squirrel brain and he thought I was crazy
As soon as we started filling our plates, all the hillbillies (Willard, Grubworm, Sherry, etc) started at the soup beans! They didn't start at the turkey or the ham or the taters or the sweet taters, they started at the soup beans! Haha. (You all know what soup beans are, don't you? It's THE staple here in Kentucky. It's a HUGE pot of pinto beans. You usually eat them with cornbread. And the cornbread out here isn't sweet like it is out west. It's cornmeal and water.) Anyways, it was hilarious to watch them all start at their roots. The food was great. My jello was a hit. I couldn't find any black cherry so I used blackberry instead and it wasn't as good, but no one else knew the difference. The only sad part about Thanksgiving was that we didn't all go around and say something we're thankful for. So, I'm taking my chance while I have your attention:

In Mark 7:11 it reads: "But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is aCorban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free."

Did you catch that? Corban (otherwise spelled as Corbin) means GIFT. Haha! That's what I'm thankful for this year: Corbin, KY.

Speaking of Kentucky, Sister Clemons and I are becoming so Kentucky. When I used to live in China, my friends and I would flatter each other by telling each other how Chinese we were if we did something that the Chinese did or said or ate or anything Chinese. Well, here I'm not so sure it's a flattering thing to be told you're Kentucky. But, to me it mostly is. As I'm sure you can tell, my grammar and speech has completely gone to the dogs. There's many times where Sister Clemons will say something and stop and pause and wonder if that was grammatically correct and she'll look to me and I'll just shrug my shoulders and say, "I have no idea. It sounded alright to me."

Haha. Today we were at Willard's tying his shoes for him and he lives in a house where they rent rooms and random roommates all share a common area. Well, one of his roommates is crazy and has what the people out here call "Old Timers" pronounced "auld timers" meaning Alzheimer's. There's this lady that was cleaning up and couldn't find the garbage can and asked Grace (the one with Old Timers) where the garbage can was. She said, "I put it outside because there's a dead rat in it!" Of course this scared us two missionaries. The other lady said she'd take care of it and went outside to find it. She came back in a second later, laughing, saying, "Gracie, honey. That wasn't a rat! That was a leaf!" We all started laughing and then Grace said, "Oh. That's my paranolliea getting the best of me again!" Haha. Paranolliea. No, that's not a flower. To her that means paranoia. Out here all you have to do is get in the vicinity of the right word and people can figure it out. It's kind of like the other day when I thought Clay was talking about a stereo but then I listened a little harder and realized he was talking about Moses and Pharoah. He just kept saying Pharee-o.

People use comparison phrases here. If something is cute it's as cute as a speckled puppy under a shiny, red wagon. If something is feeble it falls apart like a dollar watch. If you've been drinking you're drunk as a skunk. Those are just some common ones but you can make them up and say whatever comparison you want to fit whatever situation you're in. You all should try it. It's fun to have imagery like that in your conversations.

Also, pet names. I used to get a little weirded out when people would call me honey or sweetheart or sugar if they didn't know me. Now I love it. I've even started calling people sweetheart. It's just a really nice way to talk to people instead of treating them like just anyone, if you add honey or sugar on the end, then you're recognizing that they're a special person, even if you don't know them. You don't have to know them to know that they're special.

When I first came out here I didn't really know if someone was a good cook or not because it was all new food to me, but now that I've been here a while I can tell just by looking at someone's supply of bacon grease or their cast iron skillets if they're a true, down home country cook or if they're an amateur that needs to go back to the city.

Something that I'm worried about with how Kentucky I'm becoming is being blunt. People here don't have much of a filter. They'll say whatever they think and it's not to be taken offensively. They don't mind pointing out someone's faults right in front of them or telling an embarrassing story about them with them right in the room or talking about their diorama or their constipation or their bra size or whatever it is. At first it offended me and now I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to sort of think that people should be able to say what they feel and I know that's not very tactful, but it's true. My skin is getting thicker, too. People will say stuff to me that would have made me cry a couple months ago and now it doesn't phase me or offend me. It's just something someone says that's usually true. People call each other dumb or lazy or fat or ugly or annoying out here like it's nothing. It's kind of crazy. But I'm also starting to forget what the big deal is if someone says that. If it's true, why does it matter? I know it matters. But I'm getting in the habit of being more blunt than I should be and I hope I get out of it because I don't want to come home and offend people all the time.

I'm also starting to give directions in terms of landmarks and mileage. How do I know how many miles it is before you turn? I don't. I just guess. How do I tell one hill apart from another? It's weird but you find ways. Now, I'm not saying I'm as bad as the people out here are when it comes to that. But I have told people to turn after the junkyard at spot on the hill where you can't quite see the top of it. I think street signs might be a good investment out here.

One thing I haven't become Kentucky on is the weather. Ooh, Buddy. I'm in for a rough go of it this winter. I bought some boots today but I have a feeling I'm going to need to get another pair once the snow really starts to fall. Why? Why do people choose to live places that get cold? I just don't get it. You have to adjust EVERYTHING. You have to adjust your driving and the time it takes to get places and your clothing and your food and your activities and your meaning in life. It's miserable. Winter is the worst.

Otis is set again for December 9th and he's the biggest BYH. We set a baptism date with Logan (the guy in the wheelchair from last week who prayed us to him) and we needed a member to pick him up and take him to church and we couldn't find any members with a truck who could and then we remembered Otie and he was happy to pick Logan up and they're already really good friends and Otis is going to go hang out with him today (he came all the way down to Corbin just to take us to lunch, BYH squared). He's doing really well. He can't wait to be able to bear his testimony in testimony meeting "once he's a member". He's adorable. Logan loved church and he's excited for baptism. Grubworm is progressing really well. He found
out that he DID break a rib and he's in a LOT of pain especially since he's trying to quit tobacco right now and his newborn grandson is dangerously ill and in and out of the hospital all the time. He's being attacked on all sides by Satan. I'm really impressed with him though. He's struggling but he's hanging in there. He insisted on buying me that pair of boots I got today. He had given Sister Clemons some money and made her wait till I went to pay for them and then she held out some money and I was like, "What are you doing?" And she told me that they were Grubb's treat. Also,

Otis cut down a large Cedar tree this morning and is making me a cedar chest that he's going to deliver to me in a year when he comes out to Vegas to visit. Are you kidding me? Too many blessings. Too, too many blessings. How did I get so lucky to meet people like this? I miss them already.

We tracted into an awesome couple that are golden and prepared and I can't wait to get them married and baptized and sealed. The woman told us right away that she was skeptical but wanted to hear what we had to say and the next time we came we taught the first lesson and she started out by saying that she didn't think that anyone but God could have written the Book of Mormon! That's one of those moments where you and your companion try not to jump out of your seats/grab each other's hands and start giggling. She works Sundays and has already put in to get at least every other Sunday off, hopefully all Sundays. Her boyfriend has lung cancer and they are so in love. They're in their 50's and met 3 years ago and can't hardly help from beaming at each other and hugging. It's adorable. They've already had plans to get married and this is going to be the last push they need to follow through on it. After only our first meeting with them they invited us to have Thanksgiving with them. Such sweethearts.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. From what Mom and Dad said, I'm assuming it was. I love you all and I was thinking about you all day. I miss you. Please pray for me. This Christmas is going to be hard on me. Not only will it be my first Christmas away from the family, but it will also be away from my Home Away From Home: Corbin. I'll have barely gotten to my new area and instead of comfort and family on Christmas I'm going to spend the day meeting people who miss their old missionary who used to be there before me and me telling them the boring get to know you questions about me and pretending to laugh as I tell them that, Yes, there are Christians in Las Vegas and No, I won't be correcting their grammar just because I'm an English Major. Can't wait...

But seriously. I'm so blessed to be here. These next few weeks are going to fly by, I can feel it. Hopefully they'll be filled with Baptisms, but as the Kentuckians LOVE to say out here, "We'll see."

Extra Blessings: Mom
Word of the Week: ort, meaning ought. I ort to be nicer to people. You ort to write me. Everyone ort to get baptized.

The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson

Monday, November 21, 2011


I never know where to start these things. I don't want to say something trite to start it off. Something typical and predicted like, "What a week!" but I also don't want to just jump in and start talking without saying hello or something.

Otis was all set for baptism on this last Saturday but his sister passed away on Tuesday morning. Her funeral ended up being the day that his baptism was scheduled for. It's so frustrating trying to get him to baptism. Satan is working so incredibly hard on him. He's going to do so much for the Lord and his children here in Corbin. UGH! SATAN! Otie's been really sad this week (obviously). This is his third sibling in 5 months to pass away. There's people here that I meet and I just don't know how they handle everything that life throws at them. Charlene is one of those people. She just has one horrible, traumatic event after another and she's not asking for trouble or looking for it. Satan just won't let her breathe. Ugh. I don't know how they keep going. Otis will be ok, but for now he's very sad. We don't want to rush the baptism too much because he's still grieving but we don't want to wait too long. We'll see. We did have a good time with Otis on Monday night before everything went bad. we ate fried turkey and that stuff was GOOD. Then we went fishing at sundown. Last week I told you I was going to catch three fish. I didn't. BUT, I caught a fish that was bigger than three bluegills combined which is what I've been catching the last two times. I caught a huge catfish. When he bit my hook I had to rearrange and put the pole between my legs and use both my hands to try and reel him in. Sister Clemons caught one and Autumn caught one and I caught one. Otie would have if he had had another pole. (Don't worry, MY fish was the biggest: about 28 inches and 6 pound). We threw them back once we caught them and I'm glad we did because I've only eaten one catfish here so far that didn't taste like mud. Mine definitely would have.

Willard talked to Mom on the phone on Tuesday and basically is set on us adopting him into the family. He said that Mom and I sound just alike and he could hardly believe that he was talking to her and not me. He loves our family and hasn't even met you all yet. He didn't end up getting his teeth fixed this week and I'm secretly happy about that because I like his smile the way it is even if he doesn't.

Grubb committed to baptism on the first lesson. We haven't told anyone though because he wants to make sure he can quit chewing before he tells everyone the date. But we have it set for December 17th if he is able to quit within this week. He's so awesome. He sits in Gospel Principles and listens so intently and nods his head and agrees with everything. After we taught him the first lesson on the Restoration I called him later that night for something and then asked him what he thought about the lesson. He said he didn't know how to explain it but all of the things we told him were things that seemed like he had already known before deep down. He knew he hadn't ever heard those things before but when we taught them to him he felt like he already knew and agreed with it all. That's the same way Bob, the truck driver is. It's been so easy for him to accept that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I asked him to pray to know if he is and he said he would but that he didn't need to pray because he already believed he was a prophet. I just hope we can get him on a schedule where he won't be driving his truck every Sunday so he can come to church and then get baptized. We also met a new guy this week who had a stroke, like Willard, and is in a wheelchair (named Logan) and he told us that he can't believe that the media says we're not Christians. We gave him a Book of Mormon when we tracted into him and when we met with him for our first lesson he was already at the end of Mosiah. He said that he'd been praying for God to send him some people to teach him and be his friends because he's so lonely and then the Lord sent us to him. He's awesome. We're going to commit him to baptism on our next lesson. Oh, also, Grubb was talking about gospel music this week and said his favorite gospel group is the Crabb Family and I was like, "I'm related to them!" He looked at me all funny, "Well! I knew there was a reason I liked you!" Grubb fell off a horse this week and we're pretty sure he broke some ribs but he won't go to the doctor. He's in a lot of pain. But he still came to church yesterday and did his best to sit still even though sitting is incredibly uncomfortable for him right now. He's great. I'm so astounded that the man that I met on the 4th of July who's first words to me were rude and dismissive is now getting baptized. The Spirit is so wonderful. Changes of heart are so wonderful. These hillbillies are so wonderful. But seriously, heads up, if I don't call on Christmas it's probably because Grubb and Sherry have kidnapped me. Don't worry. I'll be well fed in my captivity.

Something that we've started doing with people who are struggling lately is when they tell us they can't come to church or they can't put down their cigarettes or whatever it is we tell them that Satan is trying to stop them from coming to Christ and if they'll do what Christ asks them to do it will be like round-house kicking Satan in the face. Sometimes he jabs back at us, he can nip at our heels but we can crush his head with our kicks to the face. It helps to think of that imagery for me. Especially when he's just had a tiny victory. Instead of sitting down and crying, just kick him in the face! Grubb's doing that. Willard's doing that. Sherry's doing that. We all can do that. He doesn't have as much power as he thinks he does. He only has the power that we allow him to have.

I love being a missionary. It's such a privilege. I don't know why, but it upsets me when people say that I've sacrificed to be here. It's not a sacrifice. Nothing about it is a sacrifice. It's just a bunch of blessings. It's an honor and an opportunity to be on a mission. All it is out here is blessings. I can't think of anything that is a sacrifice to be here. It's like looking for work and finding an ad in the paper saying, "Looking for people willing to find joy and fulfillment. All are welcome. Call if interested." How can someone say it's a sacrifice to feel the Spirit, to be able to focus fully on the gospel and to watch happiness come into the lives of the people around you and to yourself? It's not a sacrifice. And it's not hard work. It's constant work. It's constantly trying to live worthy of your privilege. But it's not hard work. You study and you prepare because you love the word and because you love the people. But it's not your study or your preparation that converts. It's the Spirit. You don't have to have the Bible memorized to convert someone. All you have to do is love them. When you love them they'll recognize that. Love is a gift of the Spirit. If they feel your love they feel the Spirit. Once they feel the Spirit, they're ready and open for the messages He has for them. It's really very simple. It's very easy. It's so uplifting to have my whole job be to love those around me. A mission is all about love. It's not a sacrifice. It's a chance to feel God's love for you and for His children. Everyone should serve a mission.

Extra Blessings: Paige & Grandpa Rex & Grandma Bonnie
Word of the Week: Tore up. If something is broken it's tore up. The washer is tore up. Grubbs back is tore up. Satan's about to get tore up: Kick to the face!

I love you all and I'm sorry that these keep getting shorter and shorter but time seems to be going quicker and quicker out here. Time doesn't move in a straight line; it spirals. The older I get the farther in the spiral I get and the less amount of time it takes to make a revolution. Years, months, weeks, days. They're all getting faster. I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving. I can't believe it's already Christmastime. I love you all and I'll be thinking about you this week and though I'll be missing you, I'll be here with family, too. Love yuns!
The Church is TRUE! Share it!


Sis Nelson

Monday, November 14, 2011


Hail the conquering hero! Dah na nana na, nana na!


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mom & Dad. For those of you who don't know, Mom & Dad paid for a hotel for two nights and Sister Clemons' parents paid for another two nights this week because of our bed bug dilemma. And it was wonderful! WONDERFUL! I never thought that as a missionary I'd be able to stay in a hotel, but I've done a lot of things as a missionary I never thought I'd do. This just adds to the list. And, we each got queen-size beds! It was glorious. Even though it was awful and horrible to have bed bugs and it slowed down our work a lot this week because we were dealing with them for a big portion of our time, we had some tender mercies from Heavenly Father. 
Our Corbin, KY Hotel
Note from Mom: This is the 2-Star Country Inn and Suites where they stayed.  I had tried to book another -
kept coming back to this one, called the front desk and talked to the nicest man, knew he'd be good to
the sisters, and went ahead and booked it online because he told me they have better prices. Tender Mercy, indeed!
The best tender mercy was that first night that we checked into the hotel. There was a man at the front desk named Bobby Monday (cool last name, huh?). As soon as he started talking I could tell he wasn't from around here. He had a "Yankee" accent (meaning he wasn't from the south). He looked at my check-in information and said, "You're from Las Vegas?" "Yep." "So am I!" "Really? Awesome! What brought you all the way to Corbin, KY?" "I should ask you the same question." We started talking and then he told me that originally he was from California but had moved to Las Vegas to be a chef. I told him I was born in Glendale, CA and he said, "No way! I used to live in Glendale!" "Woah!" So we talked some more. He asked if we were Mormons and we told him we were. He said, "I attended a Mormon church out in Las Vegas for two years when I lived there."

Ok, now this was getting too crazy to be a coincidence. We automatically launched in to questions like how he met the missionaries and what he thought about our doctrine and asked him why he stopped meeting with them. This launched him into telling us that he loves the Bible and he is really into the lost ten tribes and how he thinks it's awesome that we have a book proving that the people in America are from the tribe of Manasseh because he has believed that for a long time and then he started talking about Lehi and Nephi and I was dumbfounded. We talked for an hour that night, just right at the front desk. The next night we had a lesson with him at the front desk. And the next night and the next night and even the next night after we had moved back to our house on W 4th St. Huzzah! How great is it that Mom is obedient? When we're obedient the Spirit can whisper the smallest things to us like which hotel to book a room in. Mom had no idea what she was doing when she chose a hotel. She was just doing something nice for her poor, pitiful daughter. BUT, the Spirit was able to speak to her because she is a righteous woman. And there went another thing that I never thought I'd be able to say happened on my mission: my mom found me an investigator! Awesome.

Things were great at the hotel and we didn't want to go back to the bug house, but Elder and Sister Lewis (office missionaries) drove down all the way from Louisville (3 hours) in a 15 passenger bus named Gus with the GKLM trailer behind it just to pay the bug man, bring us new mattresses and take us out to eat. They're such sweethearts. Elder Lewis also put these special bed bug cover things on our new bed springs and our new mattresses and the beds are so comfortable and the bug guy said we did such a thorough job cleaning before he ever came that when he sprayed he was pretty sure that they won't come back but if they do he'll come back again. It was such a relief to be able to sleep soundly and not wake up even itchier than the day before. The Lord really does watch out for all of His children. He watched over Sister Clemons and me this week.

Speaking of Sister Clemons and I: We are the Champions, my friend. And we'll keep on fighting till the end. No time for losers cause we are the champions of the world! Or at least we're the champions of the Baptizing Lexington Zone! Woot-woot! So, every transfer or so there's a challenge that the Zone Leaders put on for the whole zone. This last transfer we had a challenge based on key indicators which are the numbers that tell missionaries which areas they need to improve on to help bring others closer to Christ. You got certain points for certain results in the key indicators and it's hard to explain but long story short, thePromised Land Sisters blew everyone else out of the Water! The prize was a pair of gold medals that the zone leaders had made that have the baptism symbol on them and say our zone name. It is probably the best prize I've seen up for grabs since I've been here. AND, the zone leaders put on an awesome awards ceremony at district meeting on Thursday where they gave us crowns and the medals as they played a song they'd recorded for us with one of the zl's playing the piano and the other singing about the Promised Land Sisters to the tune of "As Sisters in Zion". I have a recording of it. I'll send it to you. It was really, really cool. Haha.

Willard got a haircut this week. He looks adorable. He's also getting his teeth fixed this week. CRAZY.

Otis has been really back and forth about baptism ever since we set the date. I was determined on Sunday to push back his date again because I just didn't feel like he was ready. BUT, Otis FINALLY got his answer. He got a blessing from our High Counselor who I call Father Christmas (he lives an hour and a half away and drives down for church and always brings people food from the Amish place near where he lives. He always has candy in his pockets and all the kids come up to him on Sunday and wait for a piece. He always brings us our favorites, too. Whole packs of cookies and his homemade jerky that he always calls roadkill. He's awesome. He's the same guy who drove Sister Ralph and I to the temple this summer.) The blessing was beautiful and Otis was crying at the end. During the third hour he asked if he could talk to us for a minute and told us that something that Brother Brown said in the blessing made him feel the spirit really strong and it was the exact same thing that I had said to him during a lesson last week that I guess had really made an impression on him. He started doing this little dance he does and pumping his fists and saying "glory" and everything else and said that he was ready to fully commit to baptism!

Glory! He's going to be such an outstanding member! He still has a lot to learn but he is so willing to do anything he can for the Lord and once he's set his mind on something, you can count on him completely. Speaking of Otis, he's frying us a turkey today! I've never had fried turkey but I did eat a fried pickle this week. It's actually pretty good. Anyways, he called this morning and said, "Hey Sis! When are you coming over. We're taking you fishing and then having fried turkey!" Haha. Awesome. They're putting the entire turkey into the fryer and then pulling it out, I guess. I'm curious to see how it looks. I'm excited to go fishing again. I really have started to like it. Hopefully I keep my trend. This is my third time so this time I aim to catch three fish. Also, Malachi LOVES church and he apparently has a girlfriend in his church class but he won't tell us who she is. He's six. He wants to be a missionary when he grows up. Well, he wants to be a missionary, a cowboy, a policeman and a rodeo rider. He's so cute.

Sherry's brother came to church yesterday! (Sidenote: Sherry and I call him Grubworm because his last name is Grubb. Also, he has some dogs where he lives and his favorite dog's name is Rex). He's one of those people who pretends to be mean but if you aren't afraid of him and quip back to him then he cracks a smile and likes you. Also, he's a tough old man. He doesn't have any teeth but he can eat an apple without cutting it! He just bites into it with his gums! It's ridiculously crazy! I was anxious to see how he liked church because he was quiet the whole time. Our Ward Mission leader took a liking to him and he knew our bishop and another family in the ward so he felt pretty fellowshipped, I think. Afterwards Brother Maguet said he hoped Grubb would come back and Grubb said, "Oh, I definitely will." Hurray!

 Later I asked him if he liked it and he didn't want me to win the battle (I had been pretty persistent in getting him to come that day) and he responded with as little emotion as possible:"It's different." (He must not have known I heard him tell Brother Maguet he'd come back) Sister Clemons frowned. Then I said, "But different is good, right?" He smiled. "Different is very good." Haha. What a brat. You always have to coax things out of him. Then we went to Sherry's and ate and I showed them some magic tricks and Sherry got really mad because when she'd ask how I did them I'd tell her I was magic and she said that I was breaking a commandment by lying. HAha. Then she gave me a sweater that means a lot to her because a lot of people in her family have worn it and I started crying on the inside. She expects me to wear it now that it's getting colder and I can't describe it to you other than to say that it's so far from anything I'd ever wear EVER that if someone tried to get it on me even if I was cold and dead I'd come back to life and haunt them. Also, to top it all off it has shoulder pads. I don't know what to do. Sister Clemons of course thinks it's hilarious.

But back to Reid. Even though he pretends he doesn't like the church ("I think I'll try the Catholic church. They go to church on Sunday and then do whatever they want the other days") he'll be coming to church again and I'm excited! And yesterday in a rare moment where he was being nice/serious he said, "Wanda, you have a heart the size of Las Vegas." It was sweet. Then he followed it up by saying something mean to balance it out. At one point Sherry said after crying because I'm leaving next month, "Even when you leave here you'll never find another family that takes you in the way we've tooken you in." And it's probably true. She has us call her Mama and she calls us her daughters. Her grand-daughter April told someone at school that her ma-maw has two sons and two daughters and they got confused because they know Sherry and that she only has two sons. We're her two daughters. Grubb is heading the family committee to kidnap me before transfers. Haha. We're having Thanksgiving with Sherry and her sons and Grubb and all their extended family and Willard. They're also going to have an early Christmas because I'll leave a few days before Christmas. They're so wonderful. I can't wait for you to meet them. All of them. Heads up, Mom: I've invited them to Thanksgiving in Las Vegas next year. Surprise!

Word of the Week: Done. Done means already. I done told you what to do and you didn't listen. I done did that last week. I done knowed that would happen.

Extra Blessings: Kiera, Cami, Grandma Bonnie & Grandpa Rex , Gr'pa Buck & Gr'ma Frankie, Sister Ralph

Well, I've got to go change into my Jean Andersons and go catch me some fish. I love you all! The Church is TRUE! Share it!


Sis Nelson

Monday, November 7, 2011


So much to say, so little time to say it.

First things first: There can be miracles, if you believe: I'm staying in Corbin for another 6 weeks! Thank you for all your prayers! It was a very stressful couple days leading up to the transfer call, but the Lord has been watching out for me and is allowing me another transfer in the Promised Land!

Second things second: We have bed bugs. And I know I said we had bed bugs a while ago. But this time we REALLY have them. Not just small little things. They're BIG and full of my blood and every time I kill one, MY blood gets splattered everywhere. I hate it! I've been really itchy lately and I just thought that it was the poison vine that I got a couple weeks ago, but I keep getting more and more bumps and today we found a red bed bug and we looked again on our sheets (which we do all the time and never find anything) and this time WE DID. And they're really, really scary! Sister Clemons and I have been crying and screaming all morning. I know it may sound funny to some people, but we had to kneel down and say a prayer and cry through the whole thing because we really don't know how to handle things. It's the worst thing ever. It's like my own Fear Factor except that I don't get a million dollars at the end. We both really wanted to call our moms because it's awful. We have them in our mattresses and our box springs and they're probably in our couches and our clothes and our backpacks and we hate our life right now. WHY? Why would Heavenly Father create things like this? Why? They're awful and I've been terrified all morning and we have to go back in a little bit and do even more and I hate it, I hate it, I HATE IT! And we're expected to sleep in our same bed tonight! We called Sister Woodbury and she said that if we spray it really good and do what we've been told that they should leave and that other missionaries have slept in their beds again and again. NO! I have a feeling Sister Clemons and I will be sleeping on the floor in the other room for the next week or so. It's awful. I hope a lot of people feel sorry for me right now because I do but I need more people to feel sorry for me because this is the scariest thing I've ever had to do. Seriously. We've been crying and screaming and laughing because we know it's ridiculous to act this way, but we've been mostly crying. Ugh.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: After receiving a separate email regarding the bed bugs, Brooke spoke to mission staff and Sis. Woodbury and as of this writing, she and Sis. Clemons will be staying for a couple of nights in a hotel while the home is treated and mattresses are covered, etc. Her reaction is no surprise to anyone in our family - we just didn't know she'd find a companion who was so compatible!  They are being well cared for] 

Third: I don't think I can ever have children. This week we had a big crisis occur with one of our "sheep" and Sister Clemons and I have had two sleepless nights and lots of prayers and crying and worrying and trying to do other missionary work, but it's been really stressful and draining and tiring. And this person isn't even my own child. I don't think I can handle the stress that would come with worrying this much about my child that I carried for 9 months and nurtured and raised. I might just remain an aunt forever and never change the title to mother. It's too, too much. Things with this person are settling down a bit, but still, I don't know how moms do it. I don't know how dads do it. I know people are supposed to have their agency and that it's a sin to want to take that away from people, but sometimes I just wish we could have a little more say in the choices that people make if they're making wrong choices. UGH.

This week hasn't been all bad. We had some great lessons. Bob, the truck driver, told us that he knows Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he thinks he needs to get baptized. Now we just have to get him to come to church, quit drinking coffee and get his wife on board. Piece of cake, right? Also, Wayne said that he wasn't going to come to church too often because he has stuff to do on the farm and for the house they're building and he didn't want us to bug him about it, but I did

anyways. We came to an agreement to perform an experiment: We told him that if he'd read from the Book of Mormon every day and do all the work he could Monday through Saturday and then come to church on Sunday and use that day as a day of rest, to see if his arthiritis in his hands would lessen. I also told him I wouldn't tell him if I was getting transferred or not till Sunday morning at church. He agreed. Yesterday he didn't come because they had a water leak he had to take care of (SATAN!) but this week we'll try. I'm excited for him to see the blessings that await if he'll show some faith and be obedient. Also, now that I'm staying, we have had like 5 offers to come to Thanksgiving already. We've only said yes to 2, but still, we're going to be FOUNDER'd on Thanksgiving. Yikes.

The Berea Sisters came down for a blitz this week and it was fun to be with them. They're great. Sister Noakes and I got a picture together for Aunt Marianne and Sister Noake's mom since Sister Noakes and her mom know Aunt Marianne.

Danny Decker is praying about December 10th for baptism and things are still a go for Otis on the 19th of November. Sherry Taylor's brother has started reading the Book of Mormon and we have an appointment with him this week. Things are moving along here!

Quirk of the Week: people here will mouth the last sentence that they say under their breath or silently after they quit talking if there's silence. The only way to get them to stop is to break the silence. Willard and Otis both do this a lot. They'll say someting like: "We were at the Honey Holes and we saw a fish as big as Malachi, no joke, Buddy." And then you'll see Otie's lips going "no joke, Buddy" over and over till we comment back.

Extra Blessings: Aunt Suzanne.

Bed Bugs, Stress, Cold and all, I'm glad and GRATEFUL to be here in Corbin. I love my mission and I love Corbin. I love my Heavenly Father for allowing me to come here. This week, as I was up late into the night, pleading with Heavenly Father and then as I was consoling my good friend about what had happened and all of the sadness and pain was penetrating me, I realized something pretty wonderful. I love my Savior and have always been grateful for him. But sometimes it's hard for me to remember how great a thing He did. Why do billions of people worship Him? Why do we center their lives around Him? Why do we look to Him in times of trouble. It's more than the fact that He overcame death. It's more than the fact that He paid for our sins. What He did when he overcame death and paid for our sins is what provokes all of our adoration and awe. What He did was make it so that anguish and pain can be swallowed up in mercy and love. He removes pain. He removes the sting of death. He removes the sorrow of sin. He, and only He, could do this. That's why we call him our Lord. That's why we take upon us His name. Sometimes people out here mistake missionaries as saviors. We're not. Jesus Christ is their Savior. He's my Savior. It is He and only He that can turn sadness into happiness, sorrow into joy. What a wonderful, glorious God we have. What a gift prayer is. We can communicate with the God of the Universe. And we've been told to communicate with him always. He's always there to turn to. His Son overcame pain and sadness by suffering all pains and sadnesses. How can he allow me to bear His name? How can He allow me to represent Him? I don't know exactly why. But I know that I can be better with this honor. Thank you for your prayers and your confidence in me. Thank you for your advice and your love.

I'm off to battle more bugs. Wish me luck. The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Way out in the land of the setting sun, where the wind blows wild and free, there's a lovely spot, just the only one that means home sweet home to me. If you follow the Old Kit Carson Trail, 'til the desert meets the hills, oh you certainly will agree with me, it's the place of a thousand thrills! HOME MEANS NEVADA, home means the hills. Home means the sage and the pine. Out by the Truckee, silvery rills, out where the sun always shines, there is a land that I love the best, fairer than all I can see... Right in the heart of the Golden West. HOME MEANS NEVADA TO ME!

Happy Nevada Day! I sure wish that I could be enjoying the warm weather out in Nevada right now. But, it's a great time to be in Kentucky, too, once you get over the wind and the temperature and the rain and the ice! (Sidenote: there's a lady who just walked into the library who looks just like Jean Anderson. What a special treat! Just another great reminder of my golden, western home!)
Also, Happy Halloween to all others who read this and don't have the privilege of calling themselves Nevadans. May your costumes be scary and may your pillowcases be heavy at the end of this blustery eve. Today, I'm going as a wizard from a muggle family, dressed as a muggle, but in a way that no one around me knows that I'm a wizard because of my muggle upbringing and my ability to match my outfit and put pieces of clothing on the right way. My companion, who is a squib, isn't dressing as anything.
Things here in Corbin are moving along. Mollie got baptized on Saturday and it was fun to have a younger person be baptized because her siblings and cousins were there and I love being around the kids. Cooper (or "Fireball" as Willard likes to call him) is a really loud little boy and quite disobedient at times. A couple weeks ago his mom took him to a checkup and they found out that he has hardly any hearing because he had a bunch of ear infections. They put tubes in his ears a couple days ago and he is much quieter now and responsive when you talk to him. He's still naughty and hilarious and cute though. I've attached a picture of him. Mollie's grandpa tried to take a picture for me of Mollie, Sister Clemons and I but actually didn't because he's old and doesn't know how to work cameras. So, I'll see if I can steal the picture Sister Clemons got.

We've moved back Otis's baptism date a couple weeks because we don't want him to feel rushed and I'm not quite comfortable with where his testimony is in regards to Joseph Smith yet. He's on his way though. He's going to do a two day fast this week and he really hopes that he'll get some solid answers. I hope that he'll have the faith to rely on the answers he's already been getting. It's hard to see someone with so much potential attacked by Satan like this. I just want to shake all of the anti-Mormon people around here and tell them to stay away from our investigators. Especially our top investigators. I still feel like he'll get baptized though. And when he is baptized, he'll be of great worth to this ward and stake. He's so great. He's just like a little child as he learns things. He gets so excited. Last week at church the priesthood had a lesson on the gathering of Israel and afterwards he came up to me and was like, "Did you know I'm part of the gathering of Israel? ME! I'm a part of it!" Haha. It was so cute. ALSO, he only has three teeth on top and he's getting ready to lose them and usually makes his roommate pull them but I asked if I could and I might be able to which is one of my favorite things to do (as any of my younger siblings can attest to). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get to pull at least one. He has a special set of pliers he bought just for pulling his teeth. And they're BIG. It's going to be awesome.

I went fishing again this week. This time it was at Wayne & Judy's. Last time I went fishing I caught one fish. This time I caught TWO! If this trend continues, my third time will yield three fishes! I might just be a master fisherwoman in the making.
We had Zone Conference this week and it was wonderful. I was put in charge of the musical number and even though it was a little stressful I think it went well. We did something I've been wanting to try for a while which was to have a Sister sing the first verse of Ye Elders of Israel and then have the choir join in on the chorus and then we did some other stuff with the other verses. President and Sister Woodbury of course gave great talks and they're so fun. Sister Woodbury is so cute I can't stand it. She had all of us go through a line at the end of the day and "trick or treat". She made President, the Assistants and the Auto Elder and the Referral Sister stand in a line and hand out candy.
Us with Sisters Noakes and Edgerton
(and Elder Murphy 
from my days at the MTC - he's in our Zone).

Sister Woodbury gave a wonderful talk on faith. In it she shared a poem that was sent to her by an LDS acquaintance of hers on Peter when he walked on water. I really liked the message behind it so I'll type it up here for yuns: (spelling and all punctuation are how they appear on my paper)

Think of Peter
by Donna Moyers
When we think of tempestuous Peter we think of how he fell
We think not of his triumph but on his failure we dwell
But, Peter alone waked on the waves towards God's own beloved Son
The other eleven stayed in the boat wen the Savior bid them come
The others remained within the ship hoping to stay afloat
Peter alone stepped out on the sea venturing out of the boat
Peter alone got out of the boat, Peter the only one
Peter who walked on towering waves to the sacred, holy Son
Let me be like Peter who through faith walked and yes, fell
But he reached the Savior's outstretched hand and on this we must dwell
Let's be the one that gets out of the boat whether we walk or sink or swim
Let's reach for the Savior's outstretched hand and do what it takes to reach him
So, when you are floundering out on the sea and few has you by the throat
Think of our faithful Peter and get ye straightway out of the boat.
Don't think of the heaving sea below don't look down at your feet
Look up to the Savior's loving face and meet what you must meet
He'll lift you up from the foaming deep to the shelter of his arms
He will keep you safe in his tender care, safe from destruction and harm
Remember Peter for what he did do and not that he failed in his task
He walked as far as his faith would go, then was safe in the Savior's grasp

There's so many times here where I'm looking at an investigator and wanting them to exercise faith. They need to act. They're afraid of failing but I don't care if they fail, they just need to start. They need to try. The Savior will be there to help them when they fall. I'm reading in Matthew right now and in Chapter 22, Jesus tells the story of two sons that are asked by their father to go work in the vineyard. The one says he won't and then repents and does go work. The other says he will but then doesn't go do the work. Jesus goes on to teach that harlots and publicans (sinners) will get into the kingdom of God if they repent and humble themselves over those who are in the church and say they love God, but don't show it. Do the publicans and harlots mess up? Yes. They've messed up. BUT, they act on faith and try to go out to meet the Savior. I know that He will and does lift us up when we fall. If we will put forth our faith and come unto Him, He has promised to take us, safely under his wing. But we can't stay in the boat and wait for the seas to calm. We must come to Him. We must at least start to come to Him. He will save us and strengthen us despite our weaknesses if we act in faith.

We brought Willard with us to the library today to have him look up housing online while we were doing our emails. NEVER AGAIN. He doesn't know how to use them so he gave up and won't stop talking/"whispering" and pointing out cars that pass by and people in the library and he won't go get a book to read and I feel like I have a four year-old with me. Haha.

I got another wave of birthday greetings and presents this week and it was wonderful. The cards and the presents were amazing. Paige, I tried the handshake buzzer on Willard and it didn't phase him. BUT, I did it to Bishop Barton and he about jumped plum out of his socks. It got him GOOD. He said, "If you weren't a missionary, I'd slap you!" Haha. Hurray for being a missionary!
It's getting COLD here in Kentucky. I actually put on TIGHTS the other day. TIGHTS. It was crazy. I live a dichotomy. Every morning I wake up, freezing & hating my life and go to bed, heart warmed & loving my life.

Extra Blessings: Paige & Nick, Carly & Brynn, Aunt Syd, Corey, Tyler & Aunt Marianne, Emma & Aunt Suzanne
Word of the Week: Humble prounounced "umbull". Just ask Sherry and she'll tell you how sweet and umbull she is. Willard describes the Spirit as a umbull spirit. I'm the most umbull person I know.

I love you all! Next week will either have me staying in Corbin or off to a new area. Pray for me! I know whatever happens, the Lord is in it!  ...But, still, I'll need your prayers this week.

The Church is TRUE! Share it!

Love Yuns,

Sis Nelson

It ooks like I'm holding dirt, but this is a picture of the tobacco
 I took from Willard. He chewed for over 50 years.
 His flavor of choice was peach.

Judy and Wayne

The Noe Twin Brothers = one with hair, one with hat