Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 30th, 2013

Dear family,
      You all rock! It was great talking to each of you this last week! I wish it would have worked out better and we all would have been able to skype so on Mother's Day lets make it happen! I am sure my app will be up to date by then hopefully. Or maybe we can just do google hangout and I can plan on being at a members home with a camera and good speaker system to talk into! Either way let's try to make that a smoother process next time!
      Sorry I'm lame to talk to haha I don't know what to say! It is just great to see all of your faces and hear you talk! It will be fun to be with you all again in person. I can't wait to play with all the nephews and niece!!! They look so fun!!! They are growing so fast!! Tell them to slow down!
       So something pretty awesome coming up is that we get to go camping again!!! But only the leaders!! In I think two weeks we will be going to camp liahona with all the  zone leaders and sister trainer leaders for three days! It will be so cold but super fun. We are really excited.
We had a good week this week. It was slow because of Christmas but it was good. I think it was probably a little slow for most missionaries. So   We are looking forward to getting some good work done here with the Christmas season coming to a close and New Years almost past. It will be nice to get back into the rhythm of things and actually have people home and not busy! So that will be great!
     So in my studies the other day I read 2 nephi 2:2

2 Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain. (2 Nephi 2:2)

I was interested in the last line. Consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.

To consecrate means to make or declare something sacred or to dedicate formally to a divine purpose. So The Lord has a Devine purpose for our trials sometimes. I found this quote by Richard g Scott

"Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain."

I love that quote!! So often we think when hard times come that woe is me I must be disobedient and a horrible person or we might think that of someone else because of the hard times they are having. But often the hard time come because god knows that we are prepared and that this will help us grow more and become more like him. I know that is true. I have also learned that as we show gratitude in All things like the scriptures tell us too that we will see our trials in the context that we are supposed to. That we came here to learn and be tested. Opposition in all things. And when we do learn from that opposition we are taught ourselves and we are then because of our trails and experience, able to help those around us going through the same trials.
     I love the scriptures and the gospel. They teach us so much. All we have to do is open them and begin to read and any sincere seeker will find truth and answers.
  The church is true. I love all of you! Happy New Years!!
   Elder Nelson

December 23rd, 2013

Sent this to a friend and got caught up in what i said and it turned into a decent letter so I thought I would send to you as well! 

Everyone always asks me if I miss Utah and i always say Not one bit!! I don't miss the snow or the cold at all! The weather has been really nice here, it gets cold at night but not too bad. It doesn't feel like Christmas really because there is no snow and we have been so busy that it has just snuck up on us. Two days till Christmas say what?? I don't even know where this last month went. I am glad you were able to come home for Christmas. If there is something I have learned on my mission both from being here and from understanding the gospel, it is that Family is everything! 
    My companion is the bomb. we were in the MTC together and now we are both Zone leaders and companions so we are just doing work. It has been great! We are quite different but we make it work and it is fun! 
    I am doing great and I am just so thankful for all that God has given me. On this last Thursday we had our all mission Christmas devotional/PARTY in Santa Rosa. It was a fun day but I had a really spiritual experience. Before everything got started and we were waiting for everyone to get there we had time to just walk around and mingle and talk and and stuff (250+ missionaries in one church! it was packed!) I was able to see many of my old companions and talk to them along with  many of the friends I have made and served with and around over the past 17ish months. I was also able to meet new missionaries and get to know them. after a while of this I sat down in the chapel for our devotional. As I sat there I just felt so full of love and joy and felt the spirit very strongly!! It hit me then How BLESSED I am and have been on my mission to come to know all of these amazing elders and sisters and to work alongside with them and grow with them and to help them and train them  and watch them grow as well! I have made eternal friends here. and it is just the best. Simply the best time of my life. It was a sweet experience. I am so thankful for this time i have to serve and for the people i have served with! I know it was no accident that we are all here together at this time! I LOVE my mission. I love the Savior and my Heavenly Father. I Love my family and friends. I love Christmas and the spirit that is upon the earth during these weeks. IT is truly the most wonderful time of the year as the song goes. 
Anyways, in this spirit of love I now need to go ball up all of the young elders in our zone! peace! 
Love Elder Nelson! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 16th, 2013

Dear family
     Here I am in Vacaville!! So far it seems like a really good place! I have met some great members. I have missed arcata and I will miss being there when Christmas and New Years rolls around but I think I will probably make friends by then.
       Did I tell you elder Boswell is my new companion? Well if I didn't now I did! It's kinda cool because he came out with me so we have both been out the same amount of time and we are Zone Leader companions! So that has been really nice so far! We are both on the same page as far as obedience and working and how to do the work and so it is just flowing nicely! I think it should be a great transfer! We just moved into a brand new apartment and we have a ton of room because it is just us two in a two bedroom apartment! So we have tons of space! It is really nice!
      It has been a fun first week we have been really busy but it's weird because it hasn't been normal. When we got back Wednesday night we had to help the sisters finish moving into their apartment and build a bed frame for them and we had to pick up a desk and chair for them from another missionary apartment. The next day Thursday was our planning day and so that takes awhile and that night we had a stake blitz where all the missionaries come into one wards boundaries and blitz it. It was pretty sweet I must say but took up the night. Friday we had zone meeting so that ate up much of the day and we had to finalize our weekly plans and so Friday night we were able to go out and work then Saturday it got normal and we had a full work day. The joys of being a zone leader. Haha. You have to deal with everyone elses issues and areas as well as your own. It is fun though :)
      Ohhhhh so I started writing this earlier and just got your package. Thanks for the
stuff! The amino acid looks really good. When I'm out of stuff I will let you know what I want and you can get it off of that website but I'll be good for a month or two now. I didn't know if it was for Christmas or not but either way I wasn't going to wait so I opened it haha. Thank you though!! And thanks for the smoothie book!
      So we had our ward Christmas party this Saturday. It was fun! I got to meet some cool people. It is a very old ward not many young families. But it is a strong ward. At least for now until everyone dies haha after the dinner there was a ton of leftover ham so we got to take a lot home! We have ham for weeks. It's great!
      We had a really cool meeting with our stake presidency on Sunday! Once a transfer they meet with all the missionaries and talk and teach deep doctrine of the church haha we went deep into the temple! It was pretty awesome. I learned a lot. I hope I will know as much as they do someday about the temple.
       Well I love you. It seems like this area is not very busy right now so we will have to be changing that. The members are sweet here. It is like mini Utah. So it should be a good experience! It will be the most member involvement I have seen on my mission easily. I can already tell.
       I have been having some awesome success on facebook! I have been able to send a preacher in Africa a copy of the Book of Mormon, find a girl that wants to be baptized in the Philippines but that didn't know where a church was, and find a solid investigator for the arcata elders.
      The preacher was a friend suggested to me by this weird member I have never met who does tons of missionary work online haha I messaged the preacher and we introduced ourselves. I asked him if he had ever read from the Book of Mormon before ad he said no but that he would like to! I got his address and was able to send him a Book of Mormon at his request! He also requested a second Book of Mormon so that he could share it haha pretty cool. I need to find out if there are elders in his area so they can deliver it.
      The girl in the Philippines was a random person that added me. I accepted her request and messaged her and asked if she was a member of our faith! She said no but I would really like to be!!!  I was then able to help her locate a church and invite her to sacrament and to be baptized! They said yes! I just need to call in the referral to the office today! After that I was able to teach her part of the restoration.
      The solid gator was the friend of a member in arcata. I messaged her and we had an awesome conversation about what the gospel is and what it could mean for her and her family! I sent her a link to the restoration mormon message and a link to Mormon.org about the restoration and when I got on the next day and asked her if she read she said she had read both of them and that it was exactly what she wanted in her life! I invited her to be baptized and she said she wanted to go to church first with her friend harmony who was one of my favorite people in arcata :) so she was excited to hear about that! I'm still gettin it done in arcata, Well, I love you all and I look forward to talking to you in like 9 days haha.
Have a great week!

Andrew's new address:

Elder Andrew Nelson
159 Aegean Way
Apt. 48
Vacaville, CA

Monday, December 9, 2013

                                         Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl

                                            Crescent City

                                          Elder Nelson's Angels  LOL

                                       Medford Oregon Temple visit

                                         The Golden Bear Ride

                                              Floyd Family

December 9th, 2013

3:29 PM
To: Mark and Diane Nelson
Well i havent gotten any mail from you this week. but it has been a great last week here in Eureka. Yes, I am once again being transferred. I'm heading to Vacaville 1st ward I can't say I'm very happy or excited but I'm sure that will change when I get there. I always leave right as things start booming. It's lame. And once again I am leaving before Christmas so that is also a bummer. When I told bishops wife that I was leaving she started crying haha. I love this area and ward and people. It has been so much fun and we have done so much work. And now it's on to the next one. Well anyways I won't waste your time hearing about how dumb getting transferred is sometimes.
      This week was so fun. I got to spend it with elder Cartwright and we drove all over haha. As I said last week we went to crescent city to exchange with the elders up there. Oh I don't know if I mentioned this but on Monday elder Cartwright and I went to a gym in arcata with a couple of free passes. Best pday of my mission. We played racquetball and basketball and lifted weights. It was great. Then we drove up to crescent and stayed the night. Tuesday and Wednesday we were on exchanges. We saw a lot of miracles and taught a ton of lessons. As we set a few dates. Pretty exciting!
      So on Thursday we went to the Medford Oregon temple! A member drove up our companions, picked us up in crescent city and we headed to the temple. It was the most spiritual experience I have had probably on my mission. I have been changed.
       We arrived at the the temple late and missed our session so instead we did initiatory. While doing them I posed a question to one of the temple workers in regards to some of the words in the initiatory. He left after that and came back and told me he has asked the temple president and the temple president gave him an answer and he gave me the answer. It was nothing special haha. But I think because I asked that question the temple pres was curious so he came out and found elder Cartwright and I sitting waiting with our names to go back into the initiatory thing. We had an opportunity to talk with him for a few moments and we posed the question, how do you gain a strong testimony of all that goes on in the temple?  He told us we just needed to keep coming back and learning and that we would come to understand more basically. But he did mention some things that were very powerful in reference to the temple itself and the purpose of temples. He said many people take for granted our
temples and treat them like a church. But they are far greater than a church. They are literally houses of god. People misunderstand the word LITERALLY. He then told us to come into his office after we had finished because he had something he felt like he needed to share with us.
       Now finally I can tell you that this is and was a defining moment in my life. For ten minutes we sat with a temple president and he taught and bore witness to us of the reality of this work and the importance of the temple. Unfortunately I cannot tell you all of what he told us. He made that clear. Before he said anything else he said , "now elders what I'm about to share with you is something I have not told very many people. It is a special and sacred experience and is not meant for the public. Only for special times when you feel prompted like I have today. He told us then a very powerful story. What I can tell you, is that the spirit was so strong. Even as I write this I am almost  brought to tears at the thought of that moment. Pres. Puente I think was his name. He bore us his personal witness of Jesus Christ, and of the ministering of angels, specifically his LITERAL Personal experience of them. It will be a cherished memory of mine forever. And it came at a pefect time in both mine and elder Cartwright life. I love the temple. It is truly the whole point of being here. To be sealed together as a family for eternity. That's it. That's the goal. That's why we are here.
     Interestingly enough,following that experience on Saturday at missionary leadership council we had our area authority and a member of the second quorum of the seventy come and teach all of us about the new family history pilot program that we are doing in our mission. We are testing out to see if it is an effective tool in missionary work! so that wil be a lot of fun. There is a very stong spirit connected with it and as missionaries we are trying to harness that spirit of elijah and use it top help non members come closer to christ. Basically what i have goten this past week is that the temple is everything. We are here on earth to go to the temple to be sealed. Not only to our families forever but to God. The GA Elder Richards specifically said we are sealed to God as well as our families when we go to the temple...I need to study that one to learn more but the spirit was strong when he said it. so i will tell you more about that as we go. They didnt tell us much just the basics and that we are to just go use it in the best way we can. Invite people to learn more. It should be sweet! 
      well, that is about it for me. ill send some pics! Love you all!! 
Elder Nelson

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2nd, 2013

Dear family,
      I just have to say once more that hoopa is still booming. We went out there on Tuesday and did work! We set another baptismal date! Three of our eight dates our in hoopa! So things are going really good! It was cool on Tuesday when we were at a less actives house teaching them towards the end one of their friends came over and the member asked her if she wanted to know more about the church and she said yes! So we set up a time to go see her next week! It was great. Next thing that happened is that we went to visit another non member to teach him that we found through sacrament and when we got there one of his daughters who is a less active member was there at his house! They were busy but we talked and when we left we asked for referrals. They have us two more names to contact! Plus the guy, bro Marshall who is not a member said next time we come we would sit down and talk about who we could teach!! Haha it's just crazy. God is placing people in our path left Nd right!
      This week is going to be NUTS! Today elder Cartwright and I are driving up to crescent city to exchange with the elder up there so we will be staying for three days and going with each companionship! On the way up we are going to spend our p day fishing ;) im going to catch a massive salmon! Then we will exchange and sleep up there from Monday to Thursday. On Thursday our companions will be coming up with a member and picking us up in crescent city and we will be going to the Medford Oregon temple! So that will, be really fun! I can't wait to be in the temple. After that we will come back and drive home. Friday we will be in our own areas for a few hours until about 5:00 when we have to drive down to Santa Rosa for missionary leadership council the next morning on Saturday. We will be there all day and staying the night because president doesn't want us to drive through the night to get back. So we will be driving back home on Sunday! So I won't be in my area all week basically. I think scalese will be able to handle it though. I have been letting him lead out the whole last week and he will do a good job..I hope hAha. So it is going to be a fun last week of this transfer.
       On that note, onn the way to the temple there is this place where you can buy beef jerky in Oregon that is AMAZING. Best jerky I have ever had in my life. I plan on buying a good amount....sooooo if you can hook me up with some funds that would be great....otherwise I'll be starving all transfer because my money will have been spent on jerky haha. Not just any jerky though.the best jerky in the world! Maybe I'll send you some so you can try it!
       I really really hope I stay here. I don't want to get transferred at all. I'll be quite angry if I do get transferred actually. I love this place! And the work is going awesome! And I don't want to get transferred before Christmas again....that would be lame. So I'm nervous about that. I really have no idea what is going to happen. Plus I just love this area. I am really emotionally tied. It is like Clearlake except amplified. We didn't have much when I came in. Zero baptismal dates nothing going with the ward. Now we have 9 dates spread over December and January and the ward is really getting involved  through bringing friends to church and giving us referrals. I have come to LOVE the people here so much. I think having elder Cartwright as my zl comp plays a role because we are like long lost brothers and best friends,an d that has made a huge difference. Huge. I love him. But also the member here are so fantastic and I have built such a strong spiritual relationship with them as We have taught their friends with them in their homes. It has been wonderful. So I already foresee leaving here will be so hard. I want to stay so bad. But with how things are playing out in our zone I think I will be leaving. The miracle will be that I stay in the same apt and area but just get transfered over to be with elder Cartwright for a transfer in the YSA branch haha. It will be interesting. So yeah I felt like telling you about that. It is especially heart wrenching because I will, be gone basically the whole last week of this transfer like I said earlier. And I might miss church. So if I leave I won't be able to see very many peeps. Sad. So anyways, I'm very attached. I could spend the rest of my mission here. I think also it is due in part to my maturity as a missionary and realizing how time is flying by. I only have probably two more areas after this before it's over. I don't like thinking about that at all. So I'm moving on.
         So thanksgiving was pretty sweet. Much better than last year! We played some football in the morning with some of the missionaries and a few members. My team tore it up!
         After the games we chilled at the apartment for a little bit and changed and then we went out to go eat dinner! We ate with the Lindsay family and two of our investigators! Quinton and Kelsey! It was super fun! I ate waaay too much! But it is okay. Something I have learned is that your weight depends on how you eat most of the time. Like 80% probably. Maybe more. But one day will never kill you, nor will one piece of pie! But when you eat pie everyday you have a problem. So I had a piece of my favorite, pecan pie.
        It was an interesting day a little bit because before we had left for dinner at the Lindsay's elder Cartwrights companion had what seemed to be a ridiculous breakdown and was in pain. (Like Stewart, low pain tolerance, so when he is in pain it seems obnoxious!) so we left and elder Cartwright said he would call if we needed to switch so he could go to his dinner. But it turns out he was really sick because he threw up and so we had to leave our dinner and come exchange with elder Cartwright so him and I went to his thanksgiving dinner at his investigator sky tinseths house. If you remember sky is the investigator that I found online and that is really solid!! So we went over and met her whole family and all her friends and one of the families from our ward was there. It was a huge party. I wish I would have got some pictures. But it was super fun. We had a good time.
       All in all it was a super sweet thanksgiving except for the fact that I ate way to much and I felt horrible! I weighed this morning though and I'm down to 202.6 so I finally have bounced back after three days. And I will tell you what, I am so sick of turkey and thanksgiving food! And mom no one makes as good of food as you. Seriously you need to start a restaurant and a cookbook and you would be a millionaire haha sound familiar? One of dad's schemes.
       So before I forget, yes the hoopa sacrament is once a month and the rest of the time there is just no church for the hoopa peeps unless they come to mckinleyville which is an hour and a half drive and no one can afford gas out there or is too lazy to drive. So it is tough I wish we had it every week out there but we don't yet. But Soon. If they get 30+ people every months for another month or two I bet they will seriously start thinking about getting a branch going! That would be sweet!
      Well that is all for me. This week will be really fun! I'm looking forward to it. We have a meeting like I said this Saturday with a general authority who is going to teach us about our new family history pilot program! I'll have a lot to tell you about! We'll I love you and I missed you over thanksgiving!  Have a great week!!
Love Elder Nelson
P.s. for pday this morning elder cartwright and I used two day passes to HealthSport which is Gym and we went and played raquetball and Lifted weights and played basketball with a bunch of cool guys one of them being our stake president! ha ait was AWESOME. Seriously, best Pday ever. Working out in the morning is never going to be the same again now. I have been ruined! I miss the weight room!!!! Great day. Off to Crescent City!!