BROOKINGS – Fighting fear by spreading love, light and joy – and doing it anonymously. That’s the mission of Kristy Nelson, a native of the Bruce area, now living in rural Sinai with her husband Dan and their son and daughter, both students at South Dakota State University.
She’s helping others do it, too, through her business and ministry, Surprise Sparkle Deliveries.
“What got it started was the (coronavirus) pandemic, in 2020,” she explained of the genesis for her mission. “In 2019, I made bracelets for family members at Christmas. Then the pandemic hit. Everything just collapsed, shut down.
“And I knew that everybody was at home; just not a very good state, what was going on around us. And I’m a giver; I’m a helper; I’m a heart-based type of person. I just couldn’t sit there.
“So I sat at my kitchen table and made about 50 bracelets and delivered them anonymously to my neighbors’ mailboxes. The response was overwhelming.
“People would open up their gift, make pictures, throw them on Facebook and say, ‘Whoever did this, thank you, thank you.’”
“Sooner or later, they did find out it was me,” Nelson said, laughing. “I am a giving person. I’ve made cookies for neighbors and for the bank in Sinai.”
Then in August 2020, she “got injured. I landed on the couch for about three months. I had two MRIs, three X-rays, doctors couldn’t figure it out. They blamed it on ‘turf toe.’” (The WebMD website describes it as “a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint.” The condition is usually associated with sports played on artificial turf and “caused by jamming the big toe or repeatedly pushing off the big toe forcefully as in running and jumping.”)
OK, God, what now?
“I must have been doing too many walks,” Nelson added, again laughing. “I literally couldn’t enjoy my outdoor walks anymore, the sunshine. That’s how I re-energize. I do a lot of walking. I love health and making sure that my body, mind and soul are good.
“It really brought me down to a depth that I’ve not been down before. I was lying on the couch thinking, ‘OK, God, you put me here. What do you want me to do?’” She “wrestled with that.”
What came about from all of this was Nelson’s “heart-based business/ministry, Surprise Sparkle Deliveries.”
Each delivery comes in a golden-colored package and contains a handmade bracelet or key chain and uplifting messages and Christian-oriented Bible verses. Everything the giver – who remains anonymous – needs to know is explained on www.kristynelson.com.
The giver places an order for a bracelet (cost $25) or keychain (cost $15); Nelson packages everything up and sends it anonymously to the person named by the giver.
“They tell me who to send it to,” she explained. “They don’t even touch it.” She envisions what she calls “blessing forward,” in a “pay-it-forward” fashion.
“Once somebody receives it,” she added, “they’re filled with joy and they want to pass that on to somebody else that they know. That’s where the ripple effect comes into play. You receive something and you give something back out.
“What if you just had other people join you? All these gold envelopes just coming into people’s mailboxes and spreading love, because that is what we need right now.”
Dan and Kristy Nelson are into farming, a cedar-fiber business, and a camping business. Son Brent is a senior at South Dakota State University; daughter Makayla is a sophomore there.
Nelson said she does all the work herself and has made close to 200 bracelets. She noted that she had worked as an executive assistant and learned entrepreneurial skills. She now processes orders across the U.S. and to Canada. Her intent is to go international.
Nelson sees her work as “kind of a ministry; my intent of the whole project is to spread the love of Jesus to others, a ripple of kindness going worldwide.”
“These gifts have changed, have transformed people’s lives,” she added.”
Contact John Kubal at [email protected]