What a week it has been here! It has been an unexpected week here no doubt! I had thought I was going to be in Colombia right now but the Visa people had other things planned. Oh well, I know there is a reason why I am still here and there is nothing I can do about it so I am just going to make the most out of whatever I get! And it means I get to spend more time with my district who I have grown to love so much! It is crazy how I feel like they have been my bestfriends my whole life and yet we have only known each other for 3 weeks. I am glad you have seen some of them through Chelsea's pics. It's so fun to see her everytime I have gym time! It was also fun to talk to Codes and Mom for about 4 minutes last friday too. But also weird haha...
So this week we have been focusing on how to help our investigators receive revelation through prayer and in our lessons Elder Whitney and I are having trouble getting them to feel comfortable to pray. So we prayed about it and focused personal and comp study to figure out what we can say/use to get them to pray for us. It is SO important that they pray with us there and not just by themselves so that they can have a spiritual experience right then and there, and also to feel of the spirit while we are there teaching of truth.
For we know that we can not come to know truth without prayer. What we found was a story in the B.O.M. that fit our investigator perfectly, the story of Aaron teaching the father of King Lamoni in Alma 22. Verse 18 really caught my attention and I knew that I should share it, so I did and it couldn't have gone better. He acknowledged that he 'felt' that it was true! And we also got a soft baptismal commitment.
After the lesson Hermano McCallister told us that he was amazed at our Español! During the lessons I just think in Spanish better. Even though the lessons are somewhat "pretend" the Lord really sends His real Spirit there when we are testifying and it is so wonderful that I get to experience that here in the MTC. I just love teaching the lessons. I need to keep studying the PMG lessons to make sure I teach the doctrine that it tells me to. I find myself going off on tangents too much and that is something Hermano McCallister has told me. If you would have told me that I would be teaching full lessons totally in Spanish in only the 3rd week I would have been really scared, but it is amaxing how far I've come already!
I actually ran into a native Colombian today in the laundry room who is going to Vegas, he saw the Colombia shirt I got at the bookstore and told me he was from there! He knows very limited English so we just spoke Spanish. It was SO cool. Natives sound SO sweet. I can't wait to be surrounded by them! He spoke really fast but I was able carry on the conversation even though I'm sure I said some things wrong haha. He is from Bogota and I asked him what came to his mind when he thinks of Cali and he said, "Las drogas y las mujeres" which means drugs and women, haha. I got a good laugh out of that.
Well looks like my time is up, I have so much to say but such little time to say it!!! I just want to let you ALL know that I am so excited each and every day to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes I think I am unqualified for such a sacred calling, but then I remember that it is not us who is at the head of this work. In Him I can do anything. And that includes invite His children to come unto Christ and partake of the blessings that this gospel brings. I love my Heavenly Father and am so grateful for my time as one of His servants. Anyways got to go. We get to go to the Temple for the first time today because it has been closed!
After Elder Eliason had sent us his last letter on Friday telling us he would be leaving for Colombia on Tuesday, July 24th, he called us on later in the day to say their visas have been delayed. He went on to say that he and his district will most likely remain at the Provo MTC for two more weeks... Stay tuned!
Well I have received my
travel itinerary for my flight to Bogota! I wake up at 3 am on Tuesday,
and head to the airport in SLC for my flight at 6:00 to none other than DFW!
I am glad I get to say bye to my beloved Texas one last time. From
there we fly to Miami where I will have a 3 hour layover, that is when I
will be able to call you guys! Expect a call around 1-3 pm Texas time.
From there we head to Bogota where we will get in around 7:45 local
time! We will then be picked up by the MTC president and he will take us
to the MTC!
I am so excited for a change in venue but it's also really sad because I had just started to feel the real brotherhood that
you form in your district. I have real close friendships with a lot of
them and we will miss them for sure! There are 11 total people in our
group going to Colombia--2 from my district, Elders Whitney and Curtis,
and we have met 2 others going to Cali as well. They are all super cool
and I hope I get to serve with them in the future! I cannot wait to get
to Bogota and hopefully take my Espanol to the next level with all the
natives that we will be surrounded with. We are thinking of having all
the Americans challenge them all in futbol, we know we'll get wrecked
but it's all good...haha.
As for this past week in Provo it has been grand. We
have been teaching 2 new investigators (who are our teachers acting as
someone they taught on their missions) named Jose and Santiago. It is
truly amazing how far I have come in teaching in such little amount of
time. I am getting to the point where I can lead a lesson entirely in
Spanish, especially lesson 1.
Memorizing the First Vision in Spanish for
my farewell talk has really paid off! I absolutely LOVE learning more
Spanish. I truly have developed a love for the language. I am always
trying to speak it even when I have no idea what to say! I am so
grateful for the oppurtunity to learn a language!
Other than that the
MTC gets really repetitive after a while. You do the same things over
and over again. I am learning SO much about the gospel it is just
ridiculous! I am getting so pumped each and every day to go out and
shout this wonderful Plan of Happiness to the WORLD. During study time I
am still trying to focus on my purpose but I have also added reading
the Book of Mormon in Spanish. I read the pages until I find a word I
don't know and then write it down in my planner and learn what it means,
it is really helping me develop my vocabulary!
I'd love to share with you something I learned from the scriptures this week...
was studying the topic of Service and I found something really cool. We
read in Mosiah 26 that we need to come to know God in order to be at
His right hand and return to Him. (see Matt. 7:21-23) And we read in
Mosiah 5:13 that one needs to serve his master in order to know Him. So
how can we serve our Heavenly Father in order to know Him? The answer is
found in Mosiah 2:17 which says that he who serves his fellow beings is
in the service of their God. So we need to know God by serving Him and
we do that by serving our fellow beings! That is why service is so key
in missionary work and that is why so many RMs say that they were
closest to God on their missions. Because of their non-stop service of
their fellow beings!
Well I love you all and appreciate your prayers, they
are felt everyday! I love showing the card that you sent of pics of the
family to my district because I am so proud of my wonderful family! You
all are my motivation and inspiration and because I was so blessed with
such a great family I want to help others feel of that same thing!
Talk to you Tuesday!!! And my next letter will be from Colombia!!!!
Whata joy it is to hear from EVERY member of the family! I now know what joy a missionary feels to hear about everything going on at home while am out here! It is weird being taken completely out of the world here in the MTC but I guess that's what makes it so great!
Well, what a week it has been! A lot of ups and downs. This week we taught our investigator completely in Spanish 3 times. The second time we taught him was awesome! We taught him how to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and how important it is in finding out the truth. Elder Whitney has had no previous Spanish training so it is really difficult for him and he was struggling a bit in the lessons so I teach most of the lesson and he bears his testimony usually at the end and says the prayer.
The third lesson didn't go well at all. I learned a valuable lesson though. I went in to the lesson thinking we were going to teach about baptism but quickly found out that we hadn't even taught him about Joseph Smith or the restoration. The second mistake I made was relying on myself for everything. I didn't involve my companion very much and that is not how the Lord wants us to teach. I was trying to answer all his questions by myself and didn't rely on the Spirit as much as I should have. I ended up teaching him a watered down lesson on the restoration that I hadn't prepared for and I think Elder Whitney only said 3 sentences. Needless to say I felt pretty bad after the lesson. But I learned such a great lesson that I am glad I learned while I am still in the MTC!
I am so grateful for such a real life teaching experience so soon in my mission! The last lesson we taught Ismael was the complete restoration, we wanted him to have a firm grasp on it to help clear his questions like, Why is your church different? Why do we need a prophet? Why his baptism doesn't count in the Lord's eyes? I made sure this time to have Elder Whitney teach a lot more and he did pretty well! He would say something and if it didn't make sense to Ismael I would just translate for him. The Lord has really blessed me early on with the Gift of Tongues. I am so grateful for His help with Spanish. And so the lesson went wonderful and he committed to baptism! Awesome feeling!
I was surprised this past week with how much we have been role playing in our classes. I was very skeptical at first just because it made everyone feel a little awkward and it was hard to take seriously. But I have come to realize that it is such a great tool to practice teaching. It has REALLY helped me and when you take it seriously it can be a powerful experience!
This week's study has been focused on the missionary purpose. I really want to make sure that I understand my missionary purpose thoroughly before I get out there and start putting it to use! There is so much to faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end that I quite don't understand yet! I spent an entire week studying repentence and I am just shocked at how much you learn when you study by topic and focus on one thing! Repentence isn't something we do to erase our sins off of some heavenly chalkboard. We repent to be "born of God" and make our will His will. And we use Christ's Atonement to make ourselves better and at-one with God. I wish I had time to share all my impressions with you! But we are only permitted 30 minutes!
But my district is getting along wonderfully and are learning together at such a rapid pace! The MTC is such a firehose when it comes to spirtiual knowledge. I can't get enough! It is so great to be here with so many of the Lord's servants and have run into plenty of HT and SUU friends as well! I would send pics but we can't here in Provo. Sorry for not responding to the family... I really don't have time but when I get to Colombia in 10 days I will for sure! I love you all!
The first 2 days of the MTC
experience have been great! I am starting to get used to the tight
schedule that we have here. Ever since Jordy dropped me off it seems
like I have been going 100 mph!
My district that I have been assigned to is just grand.
We have 3 elders going to Colombia, 4 going to Lubbock, Texas, 2
going to Portland, Oregon, and 2 going to San Fernando, California all
Spanish speaking. My companion is Elder Whitney from St. George, Utah.
He and I have been getting along great and have learned a lot from
studying with one another. The other elder going to Cali is Elder Curtis
from Arizona, he too is awesome and our Colombian trio is really
working. We all our loving it here but can't wait to get to Bogota!
Class the past two days has been really awesome! I am
having so much fun learning Spanish! the entire lesson that Hermano
McCallister teaches is in Spanish and we have to take notes and
everything in Spanish. yesterday he taught us how to begin lessons with
investigators and how to bear our testimonies. After the lesson we were
told to go outside and find a random elder and practice bearing
testimony to them. It was great because some of the Elders are still a
little shy about approaching strangers and it got them to stretch and
get out of their comfort zone a little.
Luckily I learned from Cody that
talking to EVERYONE is totally necessary to be a great missionary so I
wasn't bothered too bad. I am getting pretty good at saying prayers and
bearing testimony in the language although when it comes time to teach
today I think I may struggle a bit. Yeah I said today! We teach our
first "fake" investigator, we go into the TRC (Teaching Resource Center)
and teach our investigator entirely in Spanish. I am pretty excited
because even though I might be overwhelmed, I feel that Hermano
McCalister has prepared us well. I had no idea that we would have to
teach so soon!
So I am loving my time here already even though the
days seem very long. Elders who have been here longer always say the
first 4 days or so are very long but once you get passed them the days
fly by! Also the food here is amazing, I am going to be careful not to
gain weight because I heard an Elder say today that he has gained about
20 pounds since entering and he's been here for 11 weeks! Haha luckily
we get gym time everyday. I have been playing basketball most of the
time, we have tournaments between European and South American
missionaries. We have won both times because we have a 6'8 elder who has
a scholarship at Utah State. Just feed the big man.
My Spanish is really coming along! I'll be fluent in no
time, I l know that with diligence and hardwork along with the Lord's help I
WILL learn this language and be able to declare to the people of Cali
the good news that this gospel brings. I am so honored and humbled to be
one counted worthy to wear Jesucristo on my chest everyday and be
trained in the Lord's bootcamp to be enlisted in the army of His work. I
feel the spirit so strong everyday and I am getting pumped to get out
there and work my heart out to extend the Kingdom of God!
Love, Elder Eliason
Ps. I am officially serving in the Cali mission, and my Pdays here in Provo will be on Fridays