Martha has been teaching at Buffalo High School since December of 1984.
I teach mostly freshmen and sophomores, physical education and health, sometimes an elective aerobics and fitness class for upper class students.
Martha and her husband Dean Nelson joined Zion when they were married in 1995. Prior to that, Martha belonged to Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley. Martha knew of Zion from coworkers Julie Swaggert, Rick and Sue Toso, and Jill Hanson, and she had taught Pastor Ed Blair’s children Nathan and Carmen.
I have also been the head or co-head girls gymnastics coach all of these years. I love coaching. Many of the gymnasts come onto the team as 8th or 9th graders and I get to watch them mature into fine strong young women through their senior year. Many of the ones from the earlier years now have families of their own. Some have become coaches or officials themselves.
Dean works for Hansen Spancrete Midwest in Maple Grove. Martha and Dean have two daughters, Annika (18) and Ingrid (14). Dean’s sister, Mona Nelson, is part of their family, and they also have two “people amusing” dogs. They live just inside the city limits of Hanover.
At Zion, Martha has served on the nominating committee, been involved with VBS since 1998, and taught 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old preschoolers in Sunday school for 8 years.
That was really fun. Annika and Ingrid are teaching the preschoolers now!
Martha started playing handbells in 2008 when Annika started confirmation.
It seemed silly to drop the girl off and try to find something else to do for 90 minutes. I was looking for some way to be useful at church each Wednesday night.
Martha had always loved music, having taken piano lessons for 8 years and playing trumpet, then French horn in the school band from 3rd-12th grade. She loves the sound of bells, and noticed that Sherilyn was looking for ringers.
My singing is so-so; I didn’t think the senior choir would want me. But, I could read music. We play a variety of old hymns and newer songs like “In Christ Alone” and even some pieces from other cultures.
I think music adds a lot to the worship experience. It allows us to connect with God and praise Him in a whole different way which I think is spiritual. Sometimes it is amazing to stand out in front and just listen to everyone play!
Bell Choir truly is a team effort, which appeals to Martha. It takes everyone to make the music, since each individual plays just a few notes within a limited range. She also enjoys the fellowship that develops among the bell players.
In Joyful Ringers we have adults and senior high students working together. It has been fun to work with some great adult and teenage bell players like Sue Foster, Emily Bengtson, Maria Squadroni, and Kayla Clifton who have also played the part C6 and D6 which I usually play.
My daughters Annika and now Ingrid have joined the bell choir after their confirmation. They seem to like it and its fun to “be on the same team” each of us playing a different position! I also like the fact that they play next to some other great adult role models.
Another thing that Martha enjoys about bells, is that for the hour when we practice each week, she is paying attention to the music rather than feeling the usual need to multitask.
Martha also enjoys anything outside, including walking, biking, swimming, yard games, yard work, and boating. She loves to travel, especially to national parks.
I have a child-like streak; Disneyland and Disney movies are the best, unless we are talking Harry Potter, which is just as good. I also love to read historical fiction. Some of Ken Follett’s medieval tales and the Century Trilogy are great! I like books about Biblical times too.