Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Choir Devotional Was a Hit!

Hola Familia!

Wow, I am glad to hear that you were able to see the Choir Devotional! I laughed at the pictures (see attached), and Dad, sorry about the picture quality, we are really spoiled in the US with our HD haha. What can we do... it is Colombia. But I am glad you got to enjoy some Colombian flavored Christmas cheer! 

And what news about the Allen Eagles, back to state for the first time since back in 2008!!! Wow I am really getting old because that seems like just yesterday! Vamos a ganar sin duda! (We will win for sure!)

Well this week was limited in large part to the choir, we had practice in every stake center in Cali, and took up a ton of time in travel and practice. But the end product turned out to be a huge blessing for the people of Cali. There were tons of non members who showed up to those things and all were blessed enough to feel the spirit of Christmas through song. It was pretty amazing to be a part of! And best of all, despite the distance of travel, we had 5 investigators show up to the show!! I was so happy that night to see the people we are teaching show up. They all had great experiences that will not be forgotten, 4 out of 5 were in tears. So despite all of the time taken up, I would say that it was all worth it. It was also broadcasted to every country in South America, the US, Spain, Canada and most of Central America, so it was a huge deal and a huge blessing to about half the world!!

brief update...

Luis and Sindy had the baby this week! We haven't been able to see them but they are very excited and even more excited to get married and have it be a real family! They are excited that their child will grow up with a knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, something they never had. It was such a blessing to find them how we did!!

Ruben is still having trouble with smoking so we have moved his date back a bit, but at the devotional one of the members who had difficulties with the same thing was able strengthen him and give him some encouragement, SO key. He has committed to not smoke another cigarillo for the rest of his life. He is committed and has shown the faith necessary to quit smoking, he has stopped relying on himself to overcome the addiction and has appealed to God, and that is what we had been trying to get him to realize. Vamos muy bien with Ruben!

And a new progressing investigator to tell you about is Merlin Octado! She is a friend of Sebastian the son of the bishop and has come to church 2 times in a row and is reading and praying. She had never before believed in a God but after feeling the Spirit in our 1st lesson has felt that there is a God who wanted her to know Him so bad that she sent us there to help her find Him. That is what she told us and it is so great to hear something like that as a missionary!

My Spanish is really getting there! My companions have really helped me out with that. Elder Kendrick (the other gringo in my district) and I were talking the other day and laughing at all the words we are forgetting and how often we replace English words randomly with Spanish words while speaking English haha. It has also been interesting catching myself thinking in Spanish and dreaming as well. I have a long way to go still but the Lord has really blessed me with this language! 

I have been pondering a talk by Ezra Taft Benson called, "Beware of Pride" and it has changed the way I think about my mission. Pride is the universal sin and gets us all at one point or another. I have been asking myself more if what I am doing is according to God's will or my own. These questions I have been asking myself, like why am I on a mission? To fulfill an obligation or to fulfill my duty as a Priesthood holder to share the Gospel? Why am I taking the Sacrament? To gain approval of those around me or to take upon myself again the name of Christ and commit to God that I am willing to try harder this week? Why am I working hard? To get good numbers to gain the recognition of men or to feel good that I have used His time wisely? The sin of pride is not as much in the action as much as the motive for the action. Is what I am doing because I want to look good in the eyes of men, or to please God? I love the attitude of Ammon in Alma 26:12. I recommend everyone to read that talk and share with me next week what you think!

For the Christmas call, I will call Saturday at 2:00 clock my time! So I guess that is 1:00 your time. Can't wait to talk to you all! I will try Skype but if it doesn't work right away I will have to just call on the phone, my account is dallin.eliason. I will have 45 minutes so have all your questions ready! It will be weird being on the missionary side of the Christmas call haha. Cant wait!

Have a great week and Merry Christmas!!

Elder Eliason

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"I am trying to help others see why we celebrate Christmas!"

Hola Familia! 

Wow what great news this week! Connor becoming a Teacher, and the Allen Eagles passing on to the Semi-finals! Glad to see the curse of the second round has been broken.. and in a year where we were sleepers! How bout that! Too bad there is no other good news in the sports realm haha.

As for here in grand ole Cali Colombia, Navidad has arrived! There are lights literally everywhere you look, people really get excited down here for Christmas! I mean really excited.. I knew Caleños loved to party but during this time of year is definitely is on a different level haha. It is very strange to be at Christmas time and still be hot as can be outside! Certainly the weather doesn't reflect the time of year haha. And Choir has taken up a ridiculous amount of time! But the Christmas special devotional will be something spectacular! I have been told there is a transmission for the Saturday show the 15th, and that you can watch it from there if you have a code from the bishop or something like that. Maybe they`ll let me email when I find out more details! But for the Skype call the 22nd sounds great!!

Update on Investigators..

Luis Alfredo is progressing rapidly, the progress of his girlfriend has also helped him a lot! He has made so many changes in his life in just this past month it is crazy, not to say it has been easy but that he is willing to sacrifice and change some things because of the faith he has cultivated! We are going very well with Luis!

Ruben Cano is still trying to get over smoking, and it has proved a little difficult. He is still reading an praying like crazy an trying to depend on the Lord to help him. We have also arranged a member to visit him this week who was able to overcome a similar addiction, and that will be such a blessing to him to know that it can be done. I admire Ruben`s faith and determination. Keep him in your prayers!!

Sindy is the girlfriend of Luis and has recently received a testimony of the Restoration. We were able to teach such a powerful lesson and help her understand the need for a gospel centered home for the family that they have started. She read the B.o.m. that night and had a powerful experience with Luis there. They prayed together and said that they were overcome with what they knew was the Spirit. The baby is expected this week! It has been such a miracle that we foun them at just the perfect time.. I mean perfect timing!! 

Flor is the women we contacted from the friend of the former investigator we had, and we havent been able to meet with her that much since our first lesson and are still waiting to meet with the husband. But she is reading and praying and we hope to see her this week.

Elder Celaya and I are doing great! I am learning so much from this new responsibility! It is interesting to see how far I´ve come in 3 months.. from being afraid to talk for lack of Spanish to now having to talk all the time to back up my companion. The Lord has presented me with challenges and trials that have prepared me to help another one of His missionaries. I am so grateful right now in this time of my mission!

I have been pondering a lot this week about difficulties in life and why it is so crucial to our eternal progression to have trials... And I found some things in the New Testament that have enlighten my understanding...When the Savior was about to heal the blind man on the Sabbath, His disciples asked Him, "..who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" He answers them "Neither... but that the works of God be made manifest in him." (John 9:2-3) Later the Savior is about to raise Lazarus from the dead and declares, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." (John 11:4) I have learned that we are given challenges and trials in this life so that we can overcome them. Not by our means or how we want, but through Him who conquered it all, to glorify His name. We just need to be humble enough to recognize our inability to overcome them on our own, have the faith to believe that He can do what He says He can do, and literally submit ourselves to His will. Then, we will see Him work miracles in our lives and be able to fulfill our purpose which is to "become perfect in Christ." In this Christmas time I want to testify of my Savior who makes it possible or me to do what I do, He lives and is an active advocate that is always helping us along the way. His grace is sufficient! 

Love you all an even though I am far away from family this Christmas, I am always there in Spirit! I am trying to help others see why we celebrate Christmas! Have a great week!

Elder Eliason

Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm a Trainer!"

La zona Villa Colombia at transfers

Saying goobye to my 2 gorditos Elders Ruiz and Suarez

Baptism of Naomi
 Riding the Jeep around while Elder Malca was saying his goodbyes.. this is how we get around here in Valle Grande.

Grandfather, Father, Son...

 This is an iguana that we found at a members house, I held it in my hand and it climbed and found its way onto my head haha.

The Villa Colombia Zone

Getting our new companions what we call "hijos"  (sons)

Hola familia!

Well first off this week was transfers and for the second time in a row I was stunned by the call I got, but in a different way. I received word that I would be staying in Valle Grande and Elder Malca would be leaving to Palmira, and that I would be training a new elder straight out of Bogota. And that I would be asked to take responsibility of being district leader in Valle Grande. 

Yep, 3 months in the field and I get my first hijo (son)! His name is Elder Celaya from Senora, Mexico. He is full of desire to work! From day one he has always been itching to get working. Couldn't ask for more in my first experience as a trainer! Needless to say I was pretty nervous to start training so early in my mission, knowing that everything I do is an example an that I do not yet know everything about being a missionary just yet! But the good news is that I am not alone, the Lord will guide me to make sure that I can lead this missionary the way He wants to! And so far so good! He speaks really fast and has a really different accent than what I am used to, but other than that we have been doing great! 

As for our week, we had a baptism yesterday! Naomi Mosquera had made the decision to take upon her the name of Christ and enter the waters of baptism!! However, it was not an easy task. In fact, it ended up being a miracle that she was baptized! The night before the baptism there was a big storm that took out the power in half of the Decepaz, Pizamos area, and when there is no light it is too dangerous to be walking around so we couldn't fill up the baptismal font.

 So we woke up at 4:45 to go fill it up for the baptism at 8. (It takes 3 hours to fill up) Well we got there with the Bishop to find out that it was completely broken. Someone had broke in and done some serious damage to thing that retains all the water from outside the chapel. So we had no way to fill it up. After trying numerous times to try to plug it from the outside an failing, the bishop and I were about to call it quits when a thought came to our mind to find some plastic and rock to plug the font so that it would retain the water, it was a long shot but it was all we could do, we said a prayer and tried it out. And miracles do happen because there was not a drop of water that got through the font. We had done all we could do and left the rest up to the Lord, and the font filled up in about an hour and a half. God lives! Naomi got baptized and we were all amazed at how far she had come. It was such a joy to be there. 

As for the others, Luis Alfredo and his girlfriend Sindy have decided to get married! And we are now teaching Sindy as well! They both came to church yesterday and both had a great experience in testimony meeting. Sindy had never wanted to believe in God, but after hearing what He could do for their family to be, she quickly lit up and gained a real intent. We are going to teach them both tonight the wonderful message of the Restoration, which message I have come to love with all off my heart. It is why I am here and why we are all so happy. It is a message of God's infinite love for His children, a message of opportunity, and a message of hope for all of us.

With Ruben we have hit just a bit of a speed bump, he revealed to us that he has trouble smoking. He has more desire than ever and has come along way in his progression, but this seems to be the last hurdle that he needs to get over before baptism. After a powerful lesson on the Atonement, he has committed to not smoke a single cigarillo again. We have moved his baptism to the 22nd. 

Everyone else we haven't had time to visit due transfers and a desembarco in Villa del Lago. But I have received word on the Christmas call. I will get to Skype you guys on whatever day from December 20-31, and President has advised us to not call on Christmas Day because of the business and craziness of that day. Get back to me which day you guys would want. I will have 45 minutes to talk to you guys! Cant wait!

Well that's it! It`s Christmas time but it still feels like summer here! And with the rain it is pretty humid as well haha. But we are hanging in there! Have a great week!

Elder Eliason