Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Jake is officially in Hungary! The missionaries were able to see a few landmarks in Budapest, and then were able to make their first Hungarian contacts. They were then given their new city assignments and departed with their companion the following day. His new P-Day is on Monday's, so we look forward to hearing from him then! 

President and Sister Smith - Jake's first Hungarian photo

Friday, July 27, 2012

Letters about Jake

We were fortunate enough to have some insiders watching over our Jake while he was in the MTC.  
The first ones are friends of Patriarch and Sister Greeves from our stake and were keeping an eye on people from Salem for them. They are in the branch presidency of the branch that Jake is part of in the MTC and wrote an email to the Greeves, who then forwarded it to us, and here it is! 

Dear Ruth and Eldon,

On Mon, July 30, one of my favorite missionaries at the MTC leaves for his field of labor in Hungary.  It is Elder Nelson from Salem, OR.  (He's in the Turner Ward.)  Please let his parents know what a fine, young man he is and how well he has done at the MTC learning a very difficult language.  He is always happy, cheerful, and concerned about others. His smile lights up a room when he enters!  He shares his talents humbly--he sang a solo in our branch Sacrament Meeting last week and always is one of the first to share his testimony.  We will miss him but are so excited for his mission president to get such a wonderful missionary.  Thanks for passing this message along to his family. :)                  

 Love, Kathy

And here is another one! Autumn Papritz is in our ward and just finished serving in the same mission in Hungary.  She was in Utah and able to get us the scoop on Jake!

Sister Nelson! 

I went to the MTC today and saw JAKE! I was so lucky to be able to watch him teach a lesson in the TRC (where they practice teaching to returned missionaries). He did an INCREDIBLE job he is really a very impressive speaker and an amazing missionary.  You should be very proud. I was also able to be sneaky and get you a little video of him teaching! SURPRISE!! I hope you love it and I'm sure you will watch it hundreds of times.  It is too large to attach to the email, so I posted it on youtube:
They are teaching a returned missionary and that is his companion on the right and the "solo" sister in the middle, she was teaching with them. In the beginning there is some background talking, but then you can just hear Jake. Here is the translation of what he is saying:

"I am very grateful for my testimony and for you. There have been a lot of trials in my life and a lot of times I didn't know what to do, I just knew it was hard but I know that Jesus Christ loves us. He loves me and he loves you. He wants the best for us. He wants every blessing for us. I know that it is very important, I know that I don't speak very well in a short amount of time, but I know that through Christ everything is possible. I know everything I do is for Christ and Christ did this for every person on earth. We can know how to love and how we can give our love and show Christ's love. I know that Christ loves you."

The best part is, he was so sincere and really just spoke from the heart. I don't know if you can tell in the video, but he was emotional through most of it and there were little tears streaming down his face. The spirit was very strong. He did so good. We were able to talk afterwards and he is just SOOO excited to get to Hungary. He will do so great, don't you worry!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

10 hét (week 10)

FIVE DAYS!!!!!!  I'm so excited to finally go to the field!  It's finally here.  Don't get me wrong, I love the MTC, but I am excited to serve the people I love so much ALREADY. 

Consecration week was crazy!  It was so rough, but I could actually communicate.  I realized my biggest problem with the language though.  I am determined to tell stories about things I don't even know how to say.  Az nem jo, but it's all good.  Can't know until I try right?  An upside is that I began thinking in Hungarian!  My prayers just automatically go to Hungarian, a weird feeling, but awesome one at the same time.  It was also a great week for Gould elder and I.  We have just become so much closer it's ridiculous.  We talk more, teach better and just want the best for each other.  I'm so lucky to have him as my tarsam (companion).  Life is just so wonderful.

So I leave Monday at 1:30 for the airport in Salt Lake City!  I then fly at 4 to Paris, Chas De Galle.  Two hour layover and then Budapest here I come!  When we get there we are going to be picked up by the mission president and with our companions we will hit the street and hand out some Books of Mormon.  We will also get to see some of the sites in Budapest.  We stay the night in the mission home which will be awesome.  The next day we will get our companions and get shipped out to our first areas!  I'm so ridiculously excited I can't even handle it.  Oh and some bad news for those who are writing me, I only get mail every 6 weeks.  BUT!  I can write every P-Day so it's still a happy day!  Just let me know if you want me to write you consistently.
So my eyes were opened this week to what the gospel really is for.  It's not just a gospel for individuals, but for families.  I just have really come to understand this as I have pushed through these past couple weeks.  I know that my family is the reason why I wanted to go on my mission so bad.  I want more than anything in the world for them to know how much I know that my Savior lives.  This is not the Church of the Book of Mormon; it is the Church of Jesus Christ.  The Book of Mormon is here only to bring us to Christ.  To bring us to love others more.  To love our families more.  I know that I wouldn't be the man and missionary I am without my family. 

I already missed the birth of my nephew and I'm about to miss the birth of my niece.  It's so hard to realize that I'm going to get home and they won't even know "Uncle Jake," but I know this is the place I need to be.  This is where I need to be for my niece and nephew.  This is where I need to be for my family.  This is where I need to be for my Savior. 

It's my last Wednesday in America for a while so I'm going to give my testimony in English.  I know my Savior lives.  I know that this church is the most wonderful message to have touched the world.  It's so we can know our Savior.  It's so we can understand the why.  I know that miracles happen.  I know that I can make miracles happen in Hungary.  Lives change through the gospel.  Most importantly, I know my Savior died for me.  He knows me and he sees me hurt.  He sees and knows all of our hurt.  I know more than anything that through Him, we don't have to hurt.  Through Him, is a smile. 
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Nelson elder

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

9 hét (week 9)

11 days until I am leaving to be with the Magyarok!

This is an interesting email this week considering the fact that I'm officially in consecration week!  Meaning, just like our ussi (older missionaries), we are speaking, hearing and doing nothing but Hungarian this week.  On top of that we consecrate what else we see fit.  For me, I am praying, even in my head, in nothing but Magyarul, waking up an hour early, at 5:30, to study the language, read my mail, use some of my gym time to seriously work out and I am determined to learn a minimum of 250 new words.  It's going to be an awesome week and with the Lord on my side I'm sure to succeed.

I can't even begin to describe how excited I am to get to Hungary.  The teachers have finally started to unleash the stories on us about their crazy experiences in my otthon (home) for two years.  I found out, on average, it took my teachers about 6 months to fully understand the language and a year to feel a hundred percent comfortable, but hey missionaries can talk about the gospel as soon as they get out of the MTC hahaha.  If anyone wants to hear about the restoration in 11 days when I meet them, I'm on it!

Although my entire district is stoked to finally get to Hungary, there seems to be some sparks starting to fly between some elders in my district.  We have one of the smallest rooms in the MTC for our classroom and everyone is on different levels with their Hungarian so it’s causing a wee bit of contention, but hey!  Success is 75% attitude, so I`ll just do all I can to share that loving attitude that the Lord has blessed me with to help these elders.

We had the coolest devotional this week!  We got to see Elder Oaks daughter perform, a world renowned violinist.  Jenny Oaks Baker, a Julliard graduate, light up the room with her beautiful music.  It makes me miss music so much!  In the MTC and as a missionary in general, there isn`t much down time to listen to music, but you just have to savor every moment you are blessed with music.

Just wait, 11 days and the Europa stories begin.

Tudom hogy Jézus Krisztus által minden dolog lehetséges.  Jézus Krisztus evangélium a földön.  Isten szeret minden emberek a földön. Jézus Krisztus neveben, Ámen.

Szeretlek minden emberek ki olvas ez level.

Nelson elder

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

nyolc hét (week 8)

Great week this week.
Being here for so long, you realize the importance of making the most of each and every second.  You see people who come in and just hate being here from day one and you also see the people who see this place as a refuge from a life that has been nothing but a struggle.  You make the MTC the greatest or worst experience, it is all dependent on you.  You come across people on all all ends of the spectrum when it comes to the gospel.  Those who have a testimony, but aren't converted in their actions.
I think this has been the hardest part of the MTC for me.  I came here expecting everyone ready to put everything they have got into the work.  I expected everyone to feel as passionate about the gospel as I am.  I guess I was wrong.  Some people come here not even knowing why.  Not even knowing the Book of Mormon from the Bible.  I think that is what I've learned the most as well, God loves all of his children no matter where they are on their path of life.  God really is our Heavenly Father and loves us and is looking after each one of us even when we aren't looking for Him.
This last week was interesting.  I got to step outside the MTC for a bit to go to the hospital for some tests on my stomach, which I passed with flying colors.  I got to see my brother there.  To remember how much I loved and missed him.  How much I love and miss my family, friends and all those I love so dearly.  It was a little rough, but at the same time I realized how blessed I am.  Not only blessed to have the family I have, but to be here.  I get to bring other families the truth I know.  I get to make more families eternal. 
Fun fact of the e-mail, the average age to lose your virginity in Hungary is 12.  That means people above and BELOW.  Csak fun fact.  Good thing I know the erkolcsi tisztasag (law of chastity). 
Either way, just know how much I love and pray for all of you who may be reading.  I appreciate all the mail, love and support. I know I am here for a reason and I can't wait to tell you all of the adventures in Hungary!
Sorry for the short entry! I will give the juicy details next week.
Nelson elder (Jake)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Another great week here in the MTC!

You have just got to love a place where everyone is trying so hard to do their best.  I mean what other place in the world do you know that has a group of 3,000 nineteen year old boys and twenty-one year old girls striving to keep rules.  Last week was a stellar week, or some might say kivalo (excellent).  It was entertaining, spiritual and just a memorable week. 

I got to meet my mission president!  Smith elnok is so wonderful I can't even contain how excited I am.  He just has this presence about him that makes you trust and love him.  He is just a wave of spiritual power that seems to impress me the more and more I think about him.  Before his call he was a partner in a major law firm in Salt Lake City.  When we all heard he was a lawyer, we were expecting this man that would be one of the most stringent and serious mission presidents we could have had.  Turns out we were wrong.  I am so excited to serve by his side and change some lives!
Nelson Elder and the mission President and his wife
I am officially released!  Zone leaders are only allowed to serve 3 week terms in the MTC and I hit that term last Sunday.  More time to focus on those erdekledok (investigators) now!  Although I'm excited to spend and serve in other capacities now, I'm going to miss it a little bit.  I never realized the difference I made until my release.  Three elders were going to go home and give up, but because the love Gould elder and I, along with their districts and companions, changed their minds and more importantly strengthened their knowledge of the importance of missionary work.  I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to help these elders and change lives even here in the MTC.  I know the Lord is watching over this place and I couldn't be more grateful.

Although this week was great, it did have a heart breaking moment.  One of my good friends in my district lost his older brother.  It broke my heart as I saw my friend and brother hurt for his loss.  He was such an example to me though.  Despite this trial, this elder decided to stay because he knew why he was here.  He knew that through this gospel there is hope.  He knew that there are people in Hungary waiting for this same good message.  I see glimpses of Christ every day, here in the MTC.

Gould elder's and my lessons have been growing every day.  Everyone just gets us more excited to finally see the people we have been waiting to change the lives of.  One lesson in particular stuck out among the rest, our one with Edit.  We have been teaching this wonderful woman for weeks, but she just has had a fear of praying in front of us.  Gould elder and I just wanted her to feel the power that lies within prayer.  At the end of the lesson we kneeled in prayer and Gould elder and I let out two of our most sincere prayers.  Although she didn't pray, I know the spirit was felt.  Although it's important to speak Hungarian, it is not half as important as speaking with the spirit.

I know for a fact that the Lord answers prayers.  I have had a lot of hard times in my life and have had to rely on prayer.  I thought that I had a testimony of prayer and I did, but not half as strong as my testimony now.  I know that the Lord speaks to us through prayer.  I know that through our faith and through sincere prayer we can move mountains and more importantly, change lives. 

Tudom hogy Jezus Krisztus es hit altal, minden dolog lehatsegest.  Tudom hogy Isten beszel nekunk ima altal es Mennyei Atyank szerett minket es minden ember.  Szeretem Jezus Krisztus es minden dolog ad nekem.  Jezus Krisztus evangelium igaz.  Jezus Krisztus neveben, amen.

I got some stories, but I'll save them for next week.  I miss each of you who read this and I pray for each and every one of you every day.


Nelson elder.