Elder Nalen has a wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord in an unusual circumstance. His dedication to serving is an inspiration for all of us. Thank you to the Nalen family for sharing his beautiful story:
Elder Nalen is the oldest child of four in the Nalen family in the Highlands Ranch ward and the first missionary on both sides of the family as both of his parents are converts. Bill and Christina joined the church before his first birthday in Westlake Ohio. The Nalen’s moved from Massachusetts 8 1/2 years ago to be closer to a temple and more members when James was 11. He went to BYUI for one semester, and having all recent return missionaries for roommates, he said he was trained very well by them for his mission before even being called.
Elder Nalen was set apart for 24 months and left September 8th to serve full-time in the Colorado Springs mission for a two-transfer mission. This is a great opportunity for him to continue to prove his dedication to the Lord, and with His help, can show his ability to manage his Aspergers as he has in many other areas in his life. In the past, most applicants with any degree of autism would not get this chance. He loves the gospel of Jesus Christ and is excited to be sharing the Plan of Happiness with service in an honorable full-time mission in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Colorado Springs and wherever else it may take him.
Here is a snippet of his latest letter which I post on his Facebook page “James R Nalen” each week …
Our lesson on Friday was probably the best day we had last week. We are teaching a member that wants to come back to church and have the lessons. We just taught the restoration and there was an awesome spirit there! Elder Jordan and I flowed back and forth so well, and Brother Christensen had some great things to add. He had served a mission in Brazil so when we related the first vision he said he heard it in Portuguese! Totally crazy!
I did have my interview with the mission president on Friday and it went really well. We talked about how I am doing. I feel like I am doing well, as does he, as did Elder Guy, and Elder Jordan feels I am doing well too. My last day here is December 2nd or 3rd. I told him that I am willing and able to serve for an additional 21 months. He said that’s awesome and he doesn’t think there would be anything stopping me from doing that.
A few days ago, I felt prompted to start writing a talk that I’m calling spiritual body building. We hear the comparison between the gospel and working out all the time but I’m taking it a little further than that. It addresses three parts of body building that have a spiritual twin. The diet, the workout, and the supplements. It’s coming along super well
I got a copy of my patriarchal blessing and I’m keeping it in my quad. I try to read it everyday because it inspires me to be worthy of it like nothing else I’ve read! And, after teaching with the Spirit, I want it all the time!!
for an article from Lds Living about an elder who served a two transfer mission due to Aspergers.
Elder Nalen is serving from the Highlands Ranch Ward. UPDATE FROM ELDER NALEN:
We got permission to drive down to Co Springs to be with Elder Nalen this week amongst a whole room full of enthusiastic missionaries to hear him read his new mission call to the Cleveland, OH mission. This is a special place indeed as James was born in that area and both Bill and I were baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in that mission about 18 years ago. We were also sealed to each other for time and all eternity and sealed as a family to James, then two years old, and Eliza, then 6 months old, in the Toronto temple, the closest temple there at the time. We lived in the Cleveland, OH area for four years. Elder Nalen will come home Dec 2 as that is his last day in the Colorado Springs mission and he will be home for two weeks due to Christmas timing. He will report to the MTC December 17th. Elder Nalen is just elated. We are feeling so blessed and grateful!