Thursday, July 24, 2014

"I am excited to make the rest of my life reflect what I have come to know these past two years."

What a difference 2 years makes...

"I hope I will get the opportunity to tell each of you in depth what my mission has meant to me... I am grateful for the opportunity I will have to show with actions what I have learned."

Hola Familia!

Well thanks for all of the letters! It is a little strange knowing that this will be my last letter from the mission field. It still hasn't hit me that I am going to be leaving. It is true that we have been way busy this past week and really haven't had time to think about it too much, but to be honest there is still a ton of work to do before I leave haha. 

So this past week started off with a ton of planning and practicing. Yeah, that's right, practicing. We are talking about practice. We were spending a lot of the time working with the upcoming transfers and reception of the 24 missionaries that get here Tuesday. It was a great experience being with President during the transfers, even though he doesn't know anything about the missionaries it is obvious that he receives revelation where they should go. There were many times during the process that we just gave him a bit of information to study it out in his mind and he would just say "I just really feel he should go there..." 

My testimony of Priesthood keys grew a lot during that process. What a comfort to know that the church is directed by inspired men with keys to guide and direct the Lord's Work. The part of practicing was for the Leadership Council we had this Thursday. President and Hermana Pricoli came to the mission well trained from the mission president seminar in Provo. We spent awhile going over new ideas and new training methods that all came from the 12 Apostles and other general authorities. It was just marvelous to be able to learn from them and I sure felt lucky for the opportunity to learn so closely from 2 different mission presidents.

After the council on Thursday the new assistant got here. His name is Elder Walker from Holliday, Utah. He is a great missionary and will do great in the new position. I went on an exchange yesterday to Buenaventura and I cannot even explain how amazing it was to back there. During the busride there it felt like coming home as we were approaching the city, I started to feel the sticky heat enter the bus and everyone started to sweat. It was a familiar feeling that I hadn't felt for a while. It was really amazing to see a few of the members that I grew to love so much when I was there. The Branch has grown a ton since I have left as well! I am confident they will have their chapel soon.

The council was also a pretty emotional event for me. I have been through 17 of those things over the course of my mission and it has been my favorite meeting of them all. I love how the Church is built so that we receive revelation through council. It was weird looking around and not seeing one single face that was there my first council, not even president! It was a great meeting and I know that the mission will keep going strong over the next few years. 

I remember in one of Cody's final letters of his mission talking about how he would miss the brothership that is felt in the mission field. I was able to feel that same way this past Thursday with all of the fellow missionaries I have worked so hard with over the years, some of them I will probably never see again in this life. Definitely a special moment being able to take that in during the final hymn that we sang, "Called to Serve." (Llamados a Servir) I will worry about feeling sad on Tuesday, but for right this second I am excited to get back to work. We have two baptisms tonight! 

So I guess I will be seeing everyone on Tuesday. I know it will be hard to leave Colombia, especially because I don't know when I will be back, but it is exciting to see what the Lord has in store for the rest of my life. I really I hope I will get the opportunity to tell each of you in depth what my mission has meant to me, I really find it hard to do in words and especially on the internet. However, I am grateful for the opportunity I will have to show with actions what I have learned. I am excited to make the rest of my life reflect what I have come to know these past two years. 

Me duele el hecho de que tengo que salir de Colombia, pero feliz para estar con la familia nuevamente, NOS VEMOS EL MARTES! 

Translation: It pains me that I have to leave Colombia, but happy to be with the family again, SEE YOU ON TUESDAY!

And I can't wait to mow the lawn Dad...

For the last time,   

Elder Eliason 

"It has been such a pleasure learning from a different mission president and hearing the vision he has for us missionaries."

Heyy there! 

Sorry for not writing this week, I'll tell you why...

Well we were in Pasto for the mission trip with the new president and we had the conference Saturday in the morning and were going to fly back in the afternoon no problem. Well it turned out that the flight got cancelled.... that's right, my luck with flights has become international and has followed me to Colombia. The flight that was going to come in couldn't land because of the heavy winds in Pasto so they cancelled all of the flights for the rest of day. And so when the secretary tried to get us another flight they were all booked for Sunday in the early morning and so the only option was to go back by bus haha. It reminded me of the days in Ipiales when we had to travel by bus 12 hours to go to Cali for council haha. And that's why I couldn't write this week.

There really isnt much to write about were just basically getting ready for this week's leadership meeting and preparing ourselves for all of the new missionaries that get here next week. I appreciate everyone writing me again, it is the best hearing how everyone is doing! 

I'm still going strong, it looks like we will be having 2 more baptisms this Saturday. Finishing strong with baptisms is something I have been working hard to do these past weeks! President is going to call the new AP this Thursday so we will be in a trio for my last few days here. It was really sad to hear that Colombia lost this week, but at the same time really great because of all the trouble the games caused the missionary work down here haha. We had to stay indoors during the game and 2 hours after the game ended to avoid all of the havoc that these Colombians cause when their team plays. It is nice to know that we can now focus 100 percent without any futbol related distractions. 

It has been really fun working with the new president. It is true what Cody says about him not knowing much about how things work, we have to be super on it with all of the little details about just about everything that goes on. Driving around the different cities has also been a pretty good adventure as well hahaha. I can now say that I know my way around the mission pretty well! But it has been such a pleasure learning from a different mission president and hearing the vision he has for us missionaries. 

That's it, sorry for being so short!

Until next week!

Elder Eliason

Goodbye Presidente Prince, Hello Presidente Pricoli!

Introducing Presidente and Hermana Pricolo, our new mission president

Saying goodbye to Presidente and Hermana Prince.

Hiya familia!

Haha Im glad you all got to see the video we did for the goodbye of Presidente and Hermana Prince. It was fun making that video with the entire office crew, I hope you were able to understand what was said. It is very true that we will all miss Hermana Prince's banana bread, haha, especially the Latinos because there is nothing like it down here. It also a joy that everyone wrote me today! I appreciate the group chat where that was established that everyone had to write me. You're the best Mom! I told everyone that I expect one every week until I get home! I hope that isn't too much to ask! It is just so great to hear how everyone is doing! 

Well we are still doing great here in Colombia. We now have a new commander in chief, the mantle has been passed and  officially we are under the direction of a new mission president! President Prícoli got here yesterday and the festivities started by having an office meeting with the whole crew. I was chosen to conduct the meeting and we were all favored by getting an explanation of what was shared in the Mission President's Seminar in Provo this past week. It was incredible the Spirit that was felt during that meeting. He expressed his love for us and then shared a special experience the new mission presidents had in the seminar when President Eyring spoke about the way missionaries are assigned their fields. He says that when he was assigned to assign missionaries he would envision the Savior going across the world choosing missionaries personally and assigning them to a field. He then testified that that is really how it happens. The Lord chooses His servants personally and specifically, perfectly according the needs of the missionary and the people he will teach. It was an incredible experience for us.

We then took him to proselyte...... what? Haha,  yeah,  all the mission presidents were told that the first thing they should do when they get to their field is work with the missionaries! So we took him to Terron to visit a few of our investigators along with a few members to get his feet wet. He taught us as he was with us. It was amazing how he made everyone we talked to feel like they were really children of our Heavenly Father, the love that radiated from him was incredible. He also committed the people in such a unique and effective way that it was almost like I wanted to take notes of how he did it. It was an awesome experience and I was humbled by the opportunity we were given. 

Yesterday night we went with the Prince's to the airport to say goodbye. It was pretty sad to see them go, it was like saying bye to your parents who are going off to another country or something. I was able to thank them for all they had done for me in these past two years. It was also really special because the area assigned the final interviews of all my group to President Prince. So a day before he left he was able to give them my final interview and that was really special indeed.

This week we are going to be going on a tour of the mission having all of the missionaries meet their new president. It should be really interesting as we share the new vision for the mission. We are really busy planning for that and also the 25 missionaries that will be getting here this transfer and also helping President with transfers and what not. Should be a great week!

That's it.. I guess I will just share the pics I have when I get back! haha no just kidding next week I should have some good ones! Sorry I haven't been on that!

Have a great week!

Elder Eliason 

"I am still having a great time here in Colombia and love the people more and more every day!"


How is everyone?? That was really fun to hear about all of the traveling dad did this past week! Wow 3,000 miles huh? Looks like Dad's still got it! Can't wait for the next 3,000 miles going up for the reunion! Good to see that Haley is all situated up in Utah, I can say that that experience was weird for me. The moment Dad said goodbye left me like an empty feeling like I was on my own abandoned in Utah, haha, but everything turned out great. 

In other news, we are very busy getting everything ready for the Prince's departure. Organizing the final meetings and programming all of the interviews is calling for a lot of logistic planning, and with 12 missionaries finishing the mission this week we are also having transfers in the middle of a transfer! So it has been a little crazy here this past week but the best of the best was being able to be in the area and on divisions with the time we had this week. 

In our area we our having a great time, the members keep helping us out a lot, the less actives are getting reactivated, the converts are being retained, and the investigators are committing themselves more and more. We found a new family this week that looks like gold, we were looking through the list of members and searching the less actives when we found one house where the members had long since moved and the house was occupied by new people who had never heard about the church. We contacted them and had a great lesson. It wasn't what we were looking for but the Lord knows where he needs guide us so that we achieve his purposes. Something a missionary learns very wuickly in the mission is that nothing happens by pure chance, if we are worthy and obedient the Lord guides us to the people He has prepared. It has been a fun week indeed in good ole Terron. 

I had a pretty great experience on a bus ride going from Buga to Tulua last night. Some guy named Fabian got on the bus with a Miami Heat shirt on and I thought that was a pretty great opportunity to start up a conversation. We started out talking about what missionaries do, basketball and little by little we got on to the topic of the gospel. He said that his whole life his family had raised him in a Christian church but that later on in his life he felt like there was always something missing. He talked about how everyone tells him that Christ can change him and help him get over his weaknesses, but he never found out how to make that power effective in his life. 

I was grateful for the opportunity to testify of the power of covenants, and how keeping those covenants is the way to access the power of the Atonement in order to change all of our weaknesses to strengths. We also testified that only in the Church of Jesus Christ is found the authority to administer those ordinances associated with those covenants. A strong spirit was felt and a sincere desire to learn more was sensed as we said goodbye. We passed the referral and will be attentive to his progress. There have been so many times where those bus conversations havent resulted at all but that experience helped me understand that the Lord is always in control of His work.

Anyways it looks like we have got to get back to work! I hope everyone is doing well! I am still having a great time here in Colombia and love the people more and more every day! 

Have a great week!

Elder Eliason

"I wish you all could see how crazy Colombia is during the World Cup, it is like the U.S. during the Super Bowl but like 10 times worse."

Hey Familia! 

So to get everyone caught up on what´s been going on this past week...

In the area we had another baptism! Alberto Cuero who is a neighbor of one of the recent converts got baptized yesterday! He has been progressing really quickly over the past couple of weeks and making a lot of changes in his life. He really started to progress when he saw the change in the life of Marta who got baptized a few weeks ago. He saw what the gospel can do in someone´s life. It is like what happened to the lamanites when they saw the conversion of the anti-nephi-lehies. When after burying their weapons of war, they are attacked by the Lamanites and basically give up their lives rather than pick up their weapons of rebellion. 

"Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword—
 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done. (Alma 24:23-24)

It was a great baptismal service as well. President and Sister Prince had the chance to attend and a lot of the members came to support. We have noticed a huge increase in the excitement of the ward lately. It had been a while since they had seen new converts and now with all that there have been lately, they are recognizing the fruit of their labor and are getting a good grasp of the Spirit that is felt in a ward who is committed to missionary work. 

One investigator we have been working a lot with is named María Eugenia, she is the sister of Marta who is the convert from a few weeks ago. She has been having a lot of trouble getting over the fact that if she gets baptized she will "belong" to a church and no longer have a certain freedom or liberty. She is one of the most converted investigators I have ever had, she fulfills all of the commitments with ease and has recognized a ton of spiritual witnesses. 

We had a lesson the other day while on a division with the ZLs where we taught how being baptized is like being set free instead of being tied down as she thinks. 
"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Nephi 2:27)
I love this scripture because it shows that we are free to choose what we want, to be happy and free through obedience, or miserable and captive through choosing sin. We taught that our sins are what keep us tied down, and only by accepting Christ through baptism can we be freed. She is at the door of a new life and a new path that will surely lead to eternal life but in order to enter we have to be baptized by proper authority. We left her a commitment to go to church with a question or specific doubt and to look for the answer at church. 

We have also been finding a ton of new investigators as well, mostly because of all of the great and excited members. We have had a ton of time to proselyte this week because the Prince´s were in Peru this past week and because there are no zone conferences or interviews this month. So we have been doing divisions a ton! 

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I somehow manage to forget my camera every Saturday. I will have to send a good 20 next week!

And I wish you all could see how crazy Colombia is during the World Cup, it is like the U.S. during the Super Bowl but like 10 times worse. EVERYWHERE you look there is a yellow jersey and people screaming like crazy. You always know when Colombia scores a goal for the annoying horns that go off and the bells and I don't know what else haha. Also because of the guy who screams GOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, COLOOMBIAAAAA! haha

The mission is getting ready for the Prince´s departure, they only have 13 days left. President is getting pretty sad to leave the country he loves so much. I am also getting really sad to say to goodbye to President, but also excited to see how the new commander in chief does things. 

Anyways that's just about it! HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD! Love you! Thanks for all that you have done and do for me!

Que disfruten la semana que viene! Viva Colombia! 

Elder Eliason 

"I feel great where I am right now in my mission! It is the time where I have felt I have done the most."

We take all new missionaries up to the Cristo Rey statue when they first arrive. 

The view from the Cristo Rey is awesome

June 2014 Leadership Council

Hey Familia!

Wow what a week huh?? Graduation looked just fantastic... I really wish we would have gotten the opportunity to graduate in the American Airlines Center, haha! North Texas was great at the time but now I see what could have been! Cody and Christeen also look great but that shirt Cody had on..... not quite so sure haha. It is crazy how the time flies, no? I have said this before but it feels like just a few months ago I was graduating from good ole' Allen High! A few deja vu moments have definitely happened viewing those great pics dad sent me! 

Anyway so we have just passed through the busiest week I have had since coming here to Cali. Monday was a pretty crazy day planning for the whole week and getting all the details set up. Tuesday was just as crazy with the new missionaries arriving and getting them all through their first day adventures. Wednesday was transfer day, and what with it being the last transfer with President Prince, there were a TON. We even had a few troubles with the security in the Cali Terminal of buses because there were so many missionaries and bags and what not blocking the way. It took a good 2 hours to get everyone where they needed to go haha. Then we had to go back to the training of the new missionaries and also of the trainers, and we had to fly because we got out a little late from the terminal. 

This was the first time I got to be in the training for the trainers because usually one AP is with the new missionaries and the other is with the trainers until they all come together. It was really great, I remembered the feelings of when I was first called to train. It was fun sharing all of the things I learned from that experience. After the joint training with the new missionaries we went up to the mission home to discuss final plans for the leadership council with President. 

On Thursday was the Leadership Council, and for President's last council we decided to set one last mission goal for June. We also shared a few things about becoming a Preach My Gospel (PMG) missionary, based on the talk by Elder Bednar. And at the end, President decided to share a scriptural lesson with us about the Atonement of Christ. He left his testimony on the Work and then invited everyone of us to bear ours as well. It was a very special moment that I will always treasure, the power that is felt when pure testimony is shared. 

Yesterday we had a pretty normal day, working in the area and getting ready for the baptism and activity that will be going on tonight in the chapel! We are very excited for what is happening right now in the area, it was a little hard to find time this week but the good members were able to help us out a lot. 

Well I guess that is it! I feel great where I am right now in my mission! It is the time where I have felt I have done the most. Before the mission I had no idea how much could be done with the time that one has! I think that is why I am most grateful for the leadership opportunities I have been given. With more responsibilities comes more need for proper time management. The Lord really has taught me a lot in this time in the mission, I am so grateful for such an opportunity to stand for the Savior and teach His word to the people of Colombia. I'll never get tired of saying that.

Well I hope everyone has a great day! I hope everyone doesnt get into bad sleeping habits for the summer! haha 

Elder Eliason

"We are already preparing for President and Sister Prince´s departure."

Me and Cristiano Renaldo - people are going crazy down here with the World Cup

These are the "rich" house of Cali

Saying goodbye to Elder Aldunate.

My new comp's name is Elder Henao, he is from Medellín, Colombia and is the first Colombian I have had as a companion my whole mission!
Add caption

More baptisms!

Pretty cool edition of the Contamelo we did this past week to help the missionaries plan how to start their month on a good note!

Hiyaa! Hemos llegado otra vez al final del mes... increíble no?? 

First of all I would like to excuse myself for not writing these past few weeks! I think Mom had to face her two worst fears these past weeks... flying and not hearing from her missionary haha. What happened was these past two Saturdays we had zone conferences in cities outside of Cali, and when we got back we had baptisms, so there was no possible chance to write.

So I'll try to get you all caught up with the time that I have...

Well I'm sure you all know via the Hermana Prince blog that I have a new companion! Yes Elder Aldunate left last week and wow was that really sad, he has been one of my really good friends here in the mish and it seems like just about all of my good friends are now home! My new comp's name is Elder Henao, he is from Medellín, Colombia and is the first Colombian I have had as a companion my whole mission! He is just great, a boost of energy for just about anyone and brings a lot of maturity and experience to the work. 

We have been really blessed lately in our area, we have had baptisms every Saturday for the past 3 weeks and 2 more tonight! We are working just great with the members in our ward. The Lord has taught me a lot in my mission about how to work with members in order to share more effectively the Gospel. It's fun to go around handing out pamphlets and knocking doors all day long but I feel like when the people are prepared first by activites and member fellowship, they are more receptable to the Spirit and it´s teachings. Just like the parable of the sower we are not just throwing out seeds to dry ground, we prepare the soil first so that the seeds have a good place to grow! If only I would have figured this out earlier in my mission... haha. 

We are already preparing for President and Sister Prince´s departure.. we have gotten the opportunity to speak with the new mission president and his wife through Skype and let me tell you they are super excited to come to Cali. They are from Uruguay and a little fun fact is that the new president is the former stake president of my former comp Elder Menendez. I am sure Elder Menendez has told him all about Cali and what to expect when they get here. It has been a little sad though just because this past round of zone conferences was the last time President will see a lot of his missionaries and let´s just say he is taking it a little hard. It will be interesting to be able to see the change of the guard when the new commander in chief gets here! 

This next week will sure be a little crazy, we have 9 new missionaries getting here on Tuesday and that means the trip up to Cristo Rey, taking them to see a baptism, interviews with President and teaching them the geography of the mission. We have transfers on Wednesday along with the initial training of the new missionaries and the training of their trainers, that is always a hectic day, and then to top it all off we have the leadership council on Thursday, the last that President Prince will be a part of. 

So that is a brief update on whats going on here, glad to see Mom´s flight went okay! I was praying for her and I think the answer to that prayer was Hunter who had the Christ-like act of the day on the plane! I am happy that Mom gets an opportunity to be with Grandma, I treasure the last moment I was with Gpa and Gma Ford, right before heading into the MTC receiving such great support and comfort from them. 

I just want to say that I know God´s plan is true, everything will be okay in the end. All of our anguish of soul and sadness through hardships and trials we face in this life will be overcome with the joy of having an eternal family thanks to the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the knowledge of this plan and for all the time I have had to teach it here in Colombia. I hope Grandma knows I love her and think about her a lot. Send her my love while I finish the work to which I have been called here in Colombia! 

I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Eliason 

Monday, May 19, 2014

"Sorry, I can't write this week."

Hola Familia, 

I am just writing to tell you that I can't write this week... I'm really sorry we just got back from the Zone  Conference in Palmira and now we have to go set up in the chapel for a baptism. 
It is possible I will be able to write either tomorrow or Monday...


Elder Eliason 

Happy Mother's Day - Skype Highlights - COMING SOON

Skype You Tomorrow!

Hey Family!

Sorry I can't write much today, we are in Popayan for Zone Conference and right now I am in the terminal waiting for a bus to get here to head back up to Cali!

I just wanted to set everything up for tomorrow, I will be calling at 6:00 Cali time... I will be on Skype again making it 4 for 4 with the Christmas/Mother's Day Calls! You might get a chance to get to know a few Elders from the office as well because we have permission to use the office computers and the Internet is great.

Oh well, I guess we will be seeing you tomorrow then! Thanks for the pics of prom Dad, Bayla looked gorgeous! See you all tomorrow!

Elder Eliason 

"The Spirit is the real teacher, and when it is present hearts are touched and lives are changed."

Hola familia como les va?

With the news of Connor in the hospital with stomach pains I can imagine that being a little bit scary for everyone! I remember the time I ended up in a hospital after taking a dive off a mountain trying to ride a bike! The good part of this story is that Connor was conscious while entering the hospital and he was in Texas with the comfort of having Mom at his side! But I am sure glad everything is okay!

Well I will very briefly detail what has been happening this week so I will have time to write a few of you individually, it has been a while since I have done that!

This past week was really great, we are working with a wonderful family we found about 3 weeks ago. The Murillo Family! It is a little strange how the family is made up because it is actually 3 sisters and each of their 1 daughters. The whole family has been to church 3 times now and have also been going to the activities we have been doing as well. They are progressing spiritually as well as socially mixing with the ward. 

A great experience we had with them was when we went to verify the first time they read the Book of Mormon. They had all read together and when they did, they all started to share with each other what they had learned. We had given them 2 Nephi 32 which talks a lot about prayer and we felt that it would be perfect for what they needed. Well when we asked them what impression they had had while reading they commented to us that they had had the feeling that baptism is what they needed to do to enter the true path. This was a little striking to us because to be honest the chapter doesn't mention the word baptism even once. 

I instantly remembered something that Elder Bednar had taught us while he was here about a year ago, he taught us that the Spirit is the real teacher, and that it is possible to receive personal inspiration for your own needs that has little or nothing to do with what the speaker or teacher is teaching. This is true conversion. We helped them understand the answer and then helped them put a baptismal date for next Saturday! The Spirit is the real teacher, and when it is present hearts are touched and lives are changed.

In the mission right now we are getting ready to start the last zone conference tour in the President Prince era. The focus this conference will be "the method" by which we teach, the Holy Ghost. We have good practices and trainings set up that should make it a special conference for every one. 

I have learned so much being at president's side, it seems like I have a journal full of wisdom that has helped me in a lot of ways. We are also planning the Mission Leadership Council and that will also be a great meeting. I have learned something about setting goals, we have tried in the past to think of the best possible ways to set our goals to the point where they are reasonable, and stretch the missionaries. However, we learned that the missionaries respond better when they are the ones who come up with the goals. Instead of putting ones on them, they come together and commit themselves to a goal. When it is their idea they respond better. So that is what we will try this time to hopefully get everyone pumped up for the last 2 months of President Prince! 

Alright! Thanks for everything, see you next week! 

Elder Eliason 

"It is always important to remember the 'why' to everything we do and not just the 'what.'"

Hiya familia! 

How is everyone?

It's kind of funny all of what is happening at home right now! Connor starts driving and Haley is finishing high school! Those are two monuments in a teenagers life and I remember them both so well when I went through them. Shout out to Conno for rocking my kanye west shirt, what a classic. Thanks mom and dad for all the updates on everything, Go Mavs!

Well my week was a pretty hectic one as you can probably see from Herman Prince's blog. It was transfer week so that means a lot of planning and not a lot of sleeping. Tuesday started at 4:45 in the morning taking the old missionaries who are finishing their missions to the airport and waiting for the new missionaries to get here. This time we only had to receive 8 so that was so much easier than last time with 27. 

It is a really fun process getting to know the new missionaries and seeing their expectations of how their missions are going to be. It reminds me quite a bit of the experience I had. I remember expecting excitedly for what my mission experience was going to be. I thought I knew what to expect but I learned quick it was nothing I had imagined. I remember the first day wanting to contact everybody I saw, didn't matter who I just wanted to do missionary work. I see this excitement in the face of almost every missionary who gets here, and it gives me that "new excitement" every time. The proselyting training we gave was really amazing as well, their was a lot of energy and passion at the beginning of these missionary's missions. 

It also reminded me of the importance of enduring. We have seen so many missionaries have that same excitement when they get here and then burn out when they face challenges. It's like the converts that when they first get baptized everything is exciting, but then the "burdens of discipleship" come and they would rather not "take up the cross" (Mark 10:21) and end up burning out as well. It is always important to remember the "why" to everything we do and not just the "what." I believe that is the difference between those who endure and those who burn out. I believe they both face challenges, but the ones who look forward with an eye of faith being transformed by the 'why' of the work, always find the way to keep going. That is something I try to apply even today, never forget the first day of my mission and the 'why' I came out in the first place.

Anyways sorry for the rant, after the great day with the new missionaries going to Cristo Rey, watching Ephraim's Rescue and going to a baptism, it was transfer day! We got up around 5:00 to get the terminal and await about 100 missionaries getting to the terminal from Pasto, Palmira, Tulua, Popayan, Buenaventura, and Zarzal. The preparation for that day is pretty intense, what with all of the logistics of where is everyone gonna stay and who has to go with who and where everyone is going and what not. There can't be a mess up or someone ends up where they shouldn't or bags get lost and a whole bunch of things. After all the craziness in the terminal we went for the training of the new missionaries which I already said was really really great.

And so now we are here planning for the zone conferences that are coming up. A big thing in the mission right now is putting the Lord's commandments in the place of being our own. For example in the 13th article of faith we state, "We believe in being honest, true, faithful...." but for all of us it says a lot more if we say, "I believe in being honest, true, faithful, benevolent...." We don't look at mission rules or commandments as outside forces that are being imposed on us, we see them as our own rules that become part of us. 

So that is basically what has been going on here, still having a great time in the mission. I love this time I am able to spend here, what a blessing it is to be able to serve with all of my time and attention.

Thanks for all the prayers, they are truly felt every day!

Have a great week, 

Elder Eliason   

Friday, April 25, 2014

"I know now is the time to give it all I have."

Pic of three crosses. 
There is a place at the top of the 3 crosses to do exercise, and I took advantage to start getting the strength back! Gettin' back to the Elder Eliason before he was elder.... haha 

This is Toro, the security guy from our apartment building, he’s hilarious.

Elder Belnap, the first missionary I met when I got to Cali, came back to Colombia with his wife and stopped by the office to say hi.

First airplane ride in the mission.

Los Prince getting on the plane.

Hola Familia, 

Como me les ha ido!

Great hear from the family every week, it gives me the boost I need to keep going strong! Thanks Dad for always being so good with the pictures. It is really weird to be hearing about Haley's Senior Prom? I feel like it wasn't that long I did that! Anyway, that should be  super memorable night for her! Looks like Conno is still ballin' hard! He sure has grown up quite a bit! 

So this week was a great week full of training interviews and more training. We finished up the whole mission with interviews and it was really a fun time getting to know literally all of the missionaries. We started the week going up north, I had never been up there so it was a good experience getting know more parts of Colombia. My companion and I also take advantage of always being in the car with president to ask tips and gain doctrinal insight on missionary work. It is really amazing how smart he is and all he has learned in his time here in Colombia. 

In other news, we had limited time in the area this week but we managed to use the little we had well. What happened in our area when we got there was what inspired the training in the interviews. We got there and realized that there were a ton of families that were investigating! It sounded great until we got there and taught the first lesson. We realized that the families we were teaching didn't understand the purpose of why were teaching them. They really weren't interested in committing themselves to the Gospel, they were just interested in the missionaries coming over and having a good time with them. 

We came to realize that they weren't the prepared investigators we were looking for, and that the missionaries had spent a lot of time there without any type of progress. The importance of talking about our objective as missionaries with the investigators is great because it gives them a vision of where we see this process going. we can also tell a lot quicker if the investigator is really interested in committing themselves or not. 

So that is what we did, and we had to stop teaching a few of those families and focus the little time we have into finding the people prepared of the Lord. And this week we were blessed with a great family of 6 that we found through a contact when I first got here. Turns out that the hotel in Cali we use to shelter the new missionaries when they first get here had a worker that we contacted and finally were able to teach! They are really great and the first lesson we were able to talk a lot about our purpose and how the Gospel can bless their lives. We taught them the Restoration and immediately it was evident their interest in our message. You can tell the interest of an investigator when you are clear and direct with the commitments you extend them and how they react. 

We have also been using the members a ton here. With us traveling this month, they have helped us out quite a bit. We have had a ton of FHEs this week with the new families we have found. We basically gather about 10 or 15 members and go around house to house doing FHE with messages of Easter and games to get the members well involved and well entrusted with the families. We call it the Mormon Portable Party (MPP), it is a great tool to establish trust with the investigators and help them feel well fellowshipped. 

We headed up the mountain of the 3 crosses this morning with a few members of the MPP. It was fun about a year ago when we did it as a council, but this time I feel like I was in better shape so it wasn't as hard haha. I'll attached some pics.

Well that's it for now, I hope everything is going well back home! I feel like I am at the peak of my mission, with all of the experience gained and lessons learned, I know now is the time to give it all I have. I am really looking forward to what the Lord has prepared for me in these last 3 months of my mission. I realize I will never get the opportunity to be a missionary again and that the time will go by fast, that is what fuels me to give even more!

Thanks for the prayers and support!

Elder Eliason  

"I know it is not easy to be a disciple of Christ in these days but as Elder Holland said, "it's worth it."

 Freezing on the bus (forgot sweater) from Pasto to Ipiales with the comp.
In Ipiales with a convert family.

Our mission logo!

Hola Familia! 

I already wrote Codes to say Feliz Cumpleaños but I think it's appropriate to start the letter with another shout out! Happy Birthday Codes! You are the best big brother anyone could ever ask for! 

Another shout out goes to the fam for going to the Final Four! That is a wonderful check mark on the bucket list dad! The picture you sent me was breathtaking, I remember going the first time to the stadium and thinking that there are people who would probably buy a ticket in the nosebleeds just to watch the game on the bigscreen! Haha 

Also, I don't know how I feel about changing the tradition of Saturday night priesthood session. Dad, you don't fix what's not broken. Haha!

But what a great session of conference! I loved the talk by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom who invited us all to change as a result from what we learned in General Conference. The phrase "That's just the way I am" doesn't cut it on the road to discipleship. We are believers in the Atonement of Christ and as such, we should believe in His enabling power to help us change what is not right in all of us. Let's put that into practice! Without application, General Conference is just one weekend of fine talks that comes and goes every 6 months! 

I was also impacted by Elder Christofferson's talk on the Resurrection. I had never taken into a count all the wonderful things that we know and depend on as a result from the fact that Christ arose on the third day. 

 “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” 

I also loved Elder Ballard's talk about following up, he was teaching us while teaching us. Especially as missionaries we have such a great need to follow up with our investigators to help them progress. It is the same for everything else, we should all be people of commitment, committed to God and to living His Gospel, and constant following up with ourselves and others is the way we keep ourselves honest and measure progress.  

I could go on all day about conference but there doesn't seem to be enough time for that. As for what has been going on here in Colombia.

We started the week diving head first into interviews, Tuesday we started with Palmira which is a town located just about 20 minutes from Cali. As I said before we are giving a training to the whole mission about teaching more directly and being able to express our main purpose as missionaries and giving them the vision of where we see them going. It went really well, we feel like the practice is really helping missionaries to understand the importance of helping the investigators understand. It is also really fun getting to know and working with so many missionaries. And it is also great because Hermana Prince makes the greatest banana bread ever and when there is some left over after the interviews we get to take advantage! 

Wednesday we did two zones in Cali and then Thursday we took my first plane ride since arriving here to Pasto. It was insane. I felt uneasy the whole plane ride what with the plane we flew on being the smallest ever I had gotten on. The turbulence was just crazy, especially arriving at the Pasto airport. The runway getting to Pasto is like in between two mountains and the start of the runway is at the edge of a cliff. Haha it was definitely an interesting experience. 

It was great to feel the cool air of Nariño again but was also not too great because I forgot my old sweater I used in Ipiales, needless to say I suffered until a missionary lent me one of his haha. The cool part was I got to visit Ipiales again and the see the new chapel they built there! Easily the biggest and prettiest chapel in the mission. I've included a pic.

We just got back about an hour ago from Pasto and are facing a brand new week of interviews and planning for what is to come in the zone conferences and webcast trainings. 

I am feeling great right now, it is a wonderful time to be a missionary and I am just trying to get everything out of it I possibly can in these last 3 months!

I hope everything is going great back home, I love you all and want you all to know that I love this Work. I know it is  not easy to be a disciple of Christ in these days but as Elder Holland said, "it's worth it." I testify that that is true, it is true in the mission field and everywhere else. We must be able to endure tough trials of our faith with our ever so sure desire to give everything for Him who we love, Him who gave everything for us.

 I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Eliason