Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Elder Nelson and former Elder Nelson
at the Provo Temple just prior to entering the MTC
Dear Familia                                                                                February 20, 2013

Thanks so much for all the support I know you are giving throuh prayers and through letters and packages. Yes Mom I received the package without any issues. I was thinking about how I really only have 7 months of razor blades, so maybe I will just send those back to you when I leave and they will be there when I get home. Also the snacks are perfect as my district is in the temple on P-day morning at 6:50 and so we don't get breakfast, so that was what my companion and I had. My companion’s name is Elder Cazier, he is from Logan Utah. There’s a lot more details in my first letter home, but I will tell you that he is super strong in the spirit, he was called as district leader and he is about 8 inches taller than me. (Pictures to come when I remember to bring my cord to the computer lab.) Our district bonded really fast and really well. About 8 are from Utah and 2 or 4 from other places. I am the only one going to Peru, the rest go to Argentina, California, and Chile. I’ve seen lots of Tri-City people and my teacher knows roomie Brent from his classes at school.  Everything seems pretty settled in our room and schedule, but that could all get tossed up in the air if I get my visa. My little card when I came in said I was expected to leave on the 19th, which was yesterday, so I guess it's just wait and see. I don't know any other Peruanos in my zone or elsewhere in the MTC, so I'll take that as a good sign that they usually don’t stay long.

I got Melissa’s dearelder last night, and loved the update on the world of sports that she’s immersed herself in. Melissa I love you and I'm proud of how you choose to keep your standards high.

I promise I won't skinny dip in the Amazon, really! I'm doing really well with my Spanish and I know that I wouldn’t be as successful as I am right now if it weren’t for the blessings of the spirit that I was given by Dad and President Powell. Thank you so much Dad for being a righteous priesthood holder, I guess I’m finally realizing how much that means to a family, especially in the eternities. I'm grateful for the way our family is set up to be eternal and I loved when Braden and I talked about being a team and not letting anyone of us get left behind because of a lack of effort in fellowshipping.

Kolby, I know that you are determined to be righteous on your own. I love you and the quiet example you show to everyone. Keep being that example and it will serve you, even when you get to the mission field. Even in the MTC, there are elders who don't quite understand the dignity of a quiet example.

Mom, thank you so much for being there for me as I prepared on the final approach to my mission. I love you! My valentines package made me teary eyed and I probably will keep the foam backed ones and a few of the other special ones to remind me that Valentines can be about how we love the Lord and he loves us in a way that we can't even fully comprehend yet.

I hope everything is going really well there, the one dearelder from Pamela Nelson I think is one I will be taking back to the mail office because I really don't think that Mom sent it. (I wrote about that in my paper letter home).

I love this Gospel and the blessings that it gives to us. As I was being set apart and blessed by dad and everything leading up to my mission I felt like the one word other than Spanish that stood out to me was JOY. Then when I got here, I learned that word near to the first one I learned. To have true joy is to be with your family in the celestial kingdom. When I walked into the celestial room of the temple today I could picture what it was like on my first time, seeing all of the family and friends who had come to be there on my first. That’s what real joy is. It's living righteously enough to live with your family forever. It's being obedient to every command that the Father has for us. I hope that that’s a goal for all of us.

I hope I didn’t miss anything to write about as I wind down. I love you all and pray for you often. Tell grandma I’ve been safe so far and that the blessings that families receive when missionaries are out extend to her too!
With Love and Joy,

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Reason Why

Mark Zuckerberg was at BYU last year I think. As I anticipate my mission call, I can’t help but think his words to the BYU students at his forum are truly applicable to the Gospel—even if he didn’t mean them to be that way:
“You have to really love and believe in what you’re doing. I think that’s the most important thing. If you start to build something … it’s hard and you encounter a lot of challenges. If you don’t completely love and believe in what you’re doing, it actually ends up being the rational thing for you to stop doing it or succumb to some of the challenges, because there will be huge challenges that you face.... Most people have something that they’re super passionate about, and I would just encourage you guys to find that thing.”

When applied to the Gospel I don’t think I could ever not serve a mission. It’s just too important to me not to share it with people I know I will come to love.
I wrote an application paper on why I want to go on a mission for mission prep. It’s supposed to be written to a non-member audience. I’m going to post it below just so it might reach somebody looking for truth.
Application Paper #1

Going on a mission is one goal that I’ve had since I was very small. I knew back then that it was the right thing to do because the prophet said to. Specifically, President Spencer W. Kimball (prophet from 1973 – 1985) said,
“Certainly every male member of the Church should fill a mission, like he should pay his tithing, like he should attend his meetings, like he should keep his life clean and free from the ugliness of the world.”

It’s important to listen to the admonition of the modern-day prophets because they are the Lord’s mouthpiece here on Earth. We know this through modern revelation found in the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of scripture written by God through his prophets in the early days of the restoration of the church. In D&C Section 1, verse 38, (commonly denoted D&C 1:38) we read,
“What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (emphasis added.)

This means that whether I hear the voice of God Himself, or a prophet gave me the charge to go on a mission, it is the same thing, or it should have the same effect on me. This same reason to go is usually the most base reason given by young men of the church for their choice to submit the necessary paperwork. It is their obligation to go as holders of the priesthood. Beyond this basic explanation, the desire to serve a mission comes from a love for the Gospel, a desire to spread its happy message, and a respect for the infinite power of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
As I have grown older and matured in the gospel, I have recognized that the decision to serve a mission should come from those reasons, rather than a sense of duty, if I am to become an effective missionary. I know that this is the one true Church upon the earth today. I know this because the spirit testifies it to me when I hear the truth spoken in meetings, when I sit in the baptistery at the temple, and when I read the scriptures. The spirit is described in D&C 9:8,
“But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”

This is not to say that the spirit always manifests itself as physical warmth. The spirit is felt in different ways to different people. I feel sudden inspiration enter into my thoughts, while others say that they feel a general idea of what is the right thing. However the spirit is felt, it always testifies of the truth when truth is given.

The Gospel holds so much joy and happiness in its different doctrines. For those mourning the loss of a loved one, the Gospel includes the belief that families are sealed for time here on earth as well as all eternity afterward. For those who feel they have sinned or transgressed the laws of God, the prophets teach that no sin falls outside the repentance process.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I will spend my mission preaching, includes five key components: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Confirmation, and Endurance to the end. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believe that faith precedes miracles. In other words, one must believe in Christ and his Atonement for our all of our pain and sins before the miracle of true conversion can occur. The second principle, repentance, relies on the desire of members to progress towards a Christ-like perfect life, free from sin or transgression. Repentance is the process by which we use the Savior’s Atonement to cleanse ourselves of our human flaws. Baptism is the first ordinance that a convert to the church receives. The first part is baptism by water, in which the convert is completely immersed in a font of water by a worthy priesthood holder, and then brought forth, having been washed of all their sins. It is important now to note, that baptism comes after the first two, faith and repentance. Next comes the second part of baptism, the baptism by fire, or confirmation. The term baptism by fire doesn’t refer literally to fire, but it refers to the spirit that it invokes. The confirmation gives the convert the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost if he or she lives worthily to keep it with him or her. All the member then has to do within the Gospel to receive exaltation is to continue to progress, or endure to the end.

It’s really that simple, and the most important part is that Jesus Christ himself has invited all of his spirit brothers and sisters (us!) to partake of the blessings associated with coming into his fold. In Matthew 11:28-30 we read,
“(28) Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
(30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

As I have prepared my mission application and delved deeper into the scriptures as well as the words of the living prophets, the Gospel light has begun to burn within me. I feel the desire to teach the Gospel to those that I haven’t before considered. I know that the happiness and peace it will bring into their lives is exactly what they are looking for. Walking out of the Stake President’s office after completing me final interview I wanted to start right then and there. The Gospel has such an incredible power to change us for the better and I want that for all of God’s children here on earth.

Christ lived a perfect life and died for every individual person who ever lived and ever will live on the earth, that’s what it means when I say it is an infinite Atonement. The leadership of the church has published a testimony of Christ, called The Living Christ, which in part reads,

“We offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice…He gave his life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.”

His atonement, which includes the suffering in Gethsemane and the subsequent trial and crucifixion upon the cross of Calvary’s Hill, encompasses all of human error, discomfort, and suffering. It is personal in that He suffered for each of us individually, to satisfy the eternal law of justice with his mercy. His gift makes it so that all of mankind has the potential to enter heaven with visages “as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18.) It is that power that I want to let the world know about, that it is accessible by all and He stands ready to receive all who come unto him.

I know that this Gospel is true. I know my Savior gave his Atonement for me personally, and that without it all of the earth would be in a sad state. I know that the scriptures bear the truth, and all who read them will feel the Holy Spirit testify of the truth to them. I know that the Gospel has power to change people for the better and that it brings lasting joy into the lives of those who accept it. I know that Joseph Smith Jr. was the instrument by which Christ restored his Gospel to the earth in these latter days and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet who carries that work forward today, under the direction of the Father and the Son.
This, my testimony, is the greatest reason that I have for going on a mission. With this knowledge, I cannot keep the message to myself. It demands to be seen in the “eyes of all the nations” (1 Nephi 22:11.) I will willingly give two years of my life to the Lord for the perpetuating of His work because I know it is true.