Thursday, March 20, 2014

Grace’s Testimony–Gift of Hope

gift-blue box 

I was home-schooled up until middle school, but I had many friends in church and in our neighborhood. When I went to public school in seventh grade, I noticed that many of my friends there seemed different. They were tired, hopeless and desperate.

When I was fifteen, I went on my first mission trip to Ukraine. My dad asked me to explain to the students in our English class how Jesus Christ had changed my life. I was scared and nervous because they were all college students, and I felt that I didn’t have an impressive testimony. But, I did find myself with an overwhelming desire to tell them all about the hope, freedom, and forgiveness that I had and wanted all of them to have as well. This verse expressed my hope….

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13. I wanted them to have that hope and peace throughout their lives. That was the first time I recognized how truly awesome and beautiful the relationship I had with Christ was. God wants you to have that same relationship with Him. We all have pasts, baggage, and sin, but God says that it is "by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8. A gift by definition is free and simply received. It is the same with God’s gift for you. "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9.

I would love to talk with you more if you have any questions. My email is :

Your friend,


Nelson Newsletter March 2014

A Personal Testimony This month we included our daughter Grace’s personal testimony tract. She and her husband, Ward, are a vital part of our house church. Grace and Ward have been building friendships with their neighbors, sharing their testimonies (verbally) and the gospel in the comfort of their living room or while walking in the nearby park. Please pray for these precious lives to be transformed by the power of the gospel!

House Church Last Sunday our house church had a Spirit-led discussion about how to win our lost friends and family members to Christ. Danelle and I were greatly encouraged to hear the practical ideas and Scriptures that were shared for each unbeliever we discussed. Here is one verse we discussed that shows the loving heart of God, “Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign Lord? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live? Ezekiel 18:23 When was the last time you had a discussion with a fellow believer about how to meet the specific needs, or answer the specific questions, of your unbelieving friends? Strategizing about how the Lord can use you to speak into someone’s life is worth the effort.


Clemson Past Isn’t it fascinating to find out something you did in the past that had a positive effect on someone? Here is such a story from my days as a student at Clemson almost 40 years ago! I played soccer and our goalies were Greg and Jeff. I received this note from Jeff just this week…

Steve --                                                                                                                                                                                 I just joined a new church a few months ago and as part of the covenant with the church, I got to give my testimony. You were part of that story.
Joyce (you may have met her at Clemson) and I have been Christians since a few years after we left Clemson. Part of our conversion story was the witness we experienced while at the university. In my case, that was you. I specifically remember a conversation you had with Greg in which you were arguing the validity of the Bible. After he vented his disbelief, you asked him if he had ever read it -- he said no.
It is the classic example of planting a seed. Your conversation with him may have had little effect on him, yet to me, an innocent (really bad choice of word there) bystander, it had a life changing effect.
Anyway, thank you for your stand for Jesus. I appreciate the difference you made in my life. 
- Jeff

                                                                                  Prayer Request

Pamplona, Spain Finances Danelle and I believe that God wants us to go help missionary Dominic Marrone and the young church in Pamplona for two and a half weeks in May. We will also train the Americans involved in LINC. It will cost $3,000 for this mission trip. Please pray and give as God leads you. You can use the GCM website if you wish. Thank you to all who support us regularly!

Yours in God’s love,

Steve and Danelle

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Leadership Lessons from the Sandhill Cranes

“We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16

My friend Neil introduced me to the majestic Sandhill Crane many years ago on a cold sunny day in December. He said, “Look up! Do you know what those are?” as dozens of large birds soared overhead, almost out of sight because they were so high. They made a constant, distinct, high pitched gaggle as they flew south for the winter.

So when I was running last week, and heard the familiar high pitched gaggle, I knew I would see the cranes when I looked up. Have you ever tried to run and stare up in the sky at the same time? I probably looked like I had been drinking to the other runners on the trail. It was worth the inconvenience, because God reminded me of how the growth of body of Christ, the church, depends on “the proper working of each individual part.” As I studied the cranes, I noticed how they constantly changed leaders. The first bird, or leader, does the most work by breaking the air/wind for the other birds. Therefore, God designed them to constantly rotate the hard work of leading, just like God designed His church to function.

We attended a Christian gathering recently where one of the young men was greatly relieved to learn how to share the leadership of the group with everyone, just like the Sandhill Cranes. Everyone was learning to practice their priesthood, bear one another’s burdens, listen to the Holy Spirit and rest under Christ’s headship. Remember and imitate the Sandhill Cranes!