Yvonne Nelson, a pioneer of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Barbados, is celebrating her ninetieth year. Since childhood, she attended the Anglican Church. In 1979, two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited her home while she was at work. Her husband greeted them and explained that his wife went to church, but he did not. He invited them to come back the following Monday evening when she would be home.
“I told them I was already a member of another church,” Yvonne remembered, not sure about her own interest level. “I told them I would listen to their teachings,” surprising herself with her willingness. The missionaries invited her to come to church the next Sunday, and she replied, “I will come after attending my own church,” which started a couple of hours earlier.
“One of the things they asked me about was if I knew where I came from and where I was going after this life.” Sister Nelson recalled of her chats with the missionaries. The answers they gave her inspired her to find out more. Yvonne chuckled as she related, “At age 46, I learned how to pray. The missionaries taught me to pray from the heart. In my other church, we used a book with the prayers already written for you.”
When Yvonne met with missionaries and the earliest members of the Christ Church Branch, they did not have a church building; instead, they met in a member’s home. “It was close to my house and very convenient.” she shared. “I learned more from the missionaries and by going to this church than a lifetime of going to my other church. I decided I would start going all the time to the church where I was fed the most spiritual food. I felt more care and concern from the saints,” she related, “members would give each other a lift if they were walking to church.”
In February of 1980, Yvonne Nelson was baptized as a new member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “My other church just confirmed its members, but I knew that the bible said you should be baptized by immersion.”
Today, in the latter portion of her life, she stays on the covenant path. “I know that this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The apostles and prophets were all killed off from Christ’s original church. I love it when apostles visit our island.”
Yvonne talked about cherished occasions when different church leaders visited Barbados during her many years in the Church. In 1988, Elder Marvin J. Ashton came to dedicate the first Church Building in the parish of Christ Church. There have been subsequent visits from Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, Elder Thomas S. Monson (before he became the prophet), and Elder Dale G. Renlund in 2018. Sister Nelson has autographs from some of their visits.
“If I’m not feeling well, I still come to church, because as soon as I get to the door, I feel lots better. It always makes me feel close to my Savior.” Yvonne commented about church attendance in her nineties. When asked about the best thing that ever happened in her life, she readily shares, “My conversion into His true church is the very best thing that ever happened to me.” When asked about anything she would like to still do in her life, she remarked, “I’m 90 now and I’m still learning more about Jesus' church.”