Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My First Baptism! & Meet Elder Malca...

My first baptism! Meet Viviana Inestroza

Ready to go!

Viviana, her cousin and my companion Elder Malca

We're ready!
 OCTOBER 29, 2012
Hola Familia! 

Wow, a new addition to the family! Lucy looks just like the dog that my mother and sister have always dreamed of! haha, I don{t know if the all dogs go to heaven thing is true but if it is, the Eliason Family will have quite the bunch. I hope Major isn't jealous! 

As for my week here in Colombia, Presidente Prince has introduced a huge theme of the month of November. It is called "Pon tu hombro a la lid" and we are trying to have 3 baptisms per companionship in the month of November. This kind of thing has not been achieved in over 25 years here in Colombia. Here in Cali, we think BIG. I love the attitude in this mission, we love setting our goals high and thinking big to motivate maximum effort to show the Lord that we are fully committed. And with His help we can bring great things to pass. With this idea we will be pretty busy this upcoming month, with finding, teaching, and baptizing and confirming. I sure am excited to accomplish this goal! 

We have 3 baptismal dates placed for now... one being 14 year old Daniela Sanchez, she is the cousin of Viviana who got baptized last week. She understands the lessons really well, and has been reading the B.O.M consistently since she got it. She had a great experience at the baptism of her cousin, she said that she saw how happy it made Viviana and that if a baptism could mean that much to someone, and make such a change in someone´s life, the church had to be true. Such great faith from such a young girl!

The other 2 fechas (baptismal date) we have placed is a mother and daughter. The mom is named Vicky and the daughter Daniela. We found them as referrals from a less active. They are great and have tons of desire, the problem is understanding. They have a difficult time understanding what is being taught, and we are not sure if they fully understand what the commitment of being baptized means. This troubled me because I wasn't sure if we should place fechas or not, knowing that they probably don't know fully what it means. But I prayed and studied and was led to Alma 32:27, and realized that all the Lord asks is just a small desire and that we let that desire work in us to grow into strong faith. We placed fechas and decided that their desire was there, and if they have a desire the Lord will help them understand.

We have others ready to place this week as well, we weren't able to teach Naomi this week because of her crazy study schedule!

Another thing great about the mission is the oppurtunity to work with different missionaries, Elder Malca and Matos are completely opposite types of people. Elder Malca is 25 years old so he brings a ton of wisdom and experience to the work, he teaches really well, and has a desire to work. It has been fun getting to know him and work with him too. I feel like I have more teaching chemistry with him because of his experience. It has been really interesting learning from someone else. Companionships are something I really enjoy about the mission.

As for my Spanish, I feel like I am really getting there! At first, during the lessons I would just try to make sure what I was saying made sense and that I was fulfilling all of the points of doctrine that had to be discussed, but now because I feel more comfortable with Spanish I can listen more to the Spirit during the lessons and form the lessons to the needs of who I am teaching. The words are finally coming to me in the lessons! I am so grateful for the blessings the Lord has given me in this regard. I am grateful for the troubles and trials that I have to go through with Spanish because I have learned to trust in the Lord, and my faith has grown because of it. As for the street talk, that is another story... In Cali the accent is a little weird and I still have trouble with the really quick speech mixed with all the slang. But it is coming haha. Elder Malca always tells me that I speak the best when I am teaching, and we all know why that is! :)

I was studying patience this week, and found a scripture that can help us all.. Romans 8:24-25 

 "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?. But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
This really stook out to me because it applied so well to my mission. I cannot see the blessings of all the hard work we put in every day, but I do have hope that the Lord always fulfills His promises. If we could always see the light at the end of the tunnel we would not need faith or patience to endure the trials. 

I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who tries us so that we can develop faith and patience. I know that God lives because I see His hand in this work every day! I have a hope to be with Him again through His Son Jesus Christ, that is what I am doing here, helping others to gain this very hope! 

I love you all! Thanks for all the prayers, I feel them every day!

Elder Eliason

 NOVEMBER 6, 2012
Hola Familia qué más?

Wow, I just love getting email from family! I heard from just about everyone today, so great to here about how the fam is doing! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! Also happy to see that the rest of the fam is working hard and doing well, I'll try to write all of you but I'm not sure haha!

As for me, I am writing you from a brand new area! Yup, I got a call last Monday from my Zone Leaders that I am now to serve in the area Valle Grande, in the Villa Colombia Zone. Needless to say I was shocked, definitely a curveball I wasn't expecting. I was informed that because the mission split back in June, the mission lost a ton of missionaries and in order to rebuild they are sending tons of new recruits every transfer. It looks like they need a ton of good trainers and they needed Elder Matos to train a new elder. 
So here I am in Valle Grande! My new compañero is Elder Malca, he is from Lima, Peru and he has been out a year! So far we have been getting along great! He is a really great teacher and I have already learned a ton from him in the lessons we have had. I have to admit that I do miss Elder Matos a ton. We were great teammates and I was really blessed to have him as my trainer. It was also tough to leave the ward that I "grew up" in. I was just starting to get used to everything and everyone and I was outta there haha. But  I do know that the Lord's hand is in these changes and I am excited to see why I was sent here and the people that I am supposed to find!

In my first week here I was welcomed with a baptism! 15 year old Viviana Inestroza made the decision to take upon herself the name of Christ and enter the waters of baptism! I had the opportunity to be in the last little bit of her lessons and I could see the light in her that was the desire to live a new life in Christ. 
We taught her about covenants using Mosiah 18 and she was so ready to take upon her those covenants. I had the honor of baptizing her! She is the first person I have baptized here in the mission, it was quite the experience! She bore a real powerful testimony at the end of the service and I marvelled at the strong commitment of such a young girl! The service was amazing! A lot of members showed up and made it really special. That is something President Prince has implemented here in the mission. When someone has a memorable and powerful baptismal service, it is something that they will never forget and can always recall how they felt that day.  It was a real blessing to be a part of it all.

I have also been getting around getting to know all of the members and investigators and building new friendships that I hope will last a little longer than a transfer haha. The weird thing too is that I am only 20 minutes away from my old area! I didn't move very far but it seems like another part of the country! It is really developed here, and a lot more land. It's on the very outskirts of Cali. 
But anyway I really love the ward here! There is a ton of "Nido" here! Nido means nest, and it is another thing President has implemented here in the mission. When investigators have friends in the ward and friendships made, it provides a protection system for their growing testimonies. And this ward truly understands that and applies it! 

We also have quite a few progressing investigators! We are preparing quite a few of them for baptism and we are hoping to extend 4 baptismal dates this week! One of them is named Naomi and she is from Buenaventura. Her only problem is that she is so occupied with her studies we can only see her on Sundays. We had a powerful lesson with her yesterday about the restoration and how it applies to her and receiving blessings of the Atonement. She accepted baptism but she thinks it better that she waits until she is a little less occupied with school. 
This week we will try to help her realize that when we know something, we act on it. And that blessings of the Lord aren't things to delay. There are also a few investigators waiting for their papers for marriage, of course... haha but other than that I don't think I have much else to tell you.

Anyways know that I am doing great and loving my new area! I am excited for a new start in a new place with new people! I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a missionary. these experiences that I am having are truly treasure to me, and it seems like I have already had a years worth in just these 4 months or so. 
How great is my calling!
Have a great week!

Elder Eliason

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