Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Area, New Companion...and Conference!

Hola Familia Qué mas!!!!

What a great sight to see! All the priesthood men of the family all gathered at IHOP, that is such a great memory from back home. The tradition goes on! And will never cease! 

By some pure miracle I was able to watch conference in English again! For the Saturday session all the gringos went to an internet cafe to watch the first session, but after that all of the internet places closed. We scrambled and scrambled until we found a member with a laptop that we were able to stream the conference from. They had a pretty cool set up in the casa capilla for all the Spanish watchers, while we went upstairs to put it on in English. It is just not the same when you hear the voices you have listened to for years through translators. It was such a blessing to watch it in my home language! 

The priesthood session was pretty special this year for me! I loved the talk about teaching leadership skills to young priesthood holders so that they arrive on their missions even more prepared. I would say that the mission is where I have learned the most about how to be a leader. Being a leader is an opportunity to serve and minister to help others in need. In the mission, 24 hours a day you are trying to help all the people you can. Can you imagine what would happen to missionary work if missionaries arrived with these skills?! Also President Eyring gave inspiring council that we are all missionaries, no matter if we have a tag or not. How is all of your missionary work coming along? As a missionary I know how the work improves when the members are involved and motivated. 

Other talks I liked were President Monson's and Elder L Tom Perry's about obedience. As a missionary I have really come to understand obedience and its importance not only in our life here but eternally speaking as well. Seeing as how learning how to be obedient is the reason of our existence, I believe the biggest lesson a missionary should learn on his mission is how to be perfectly obedient. How can we expect investigators to be obedient to the commandments if we can't keep the mission rules? It can´t be done! 

Also, President Uchtdorf came in clutch with talk about the Light that Christ is in the lives of those who accept Him. I see that in every investigator that keeps commitments. When they exercise faith you can see and feel Christ in their lives. Their entire countenance changes, and they experience conversion. But of course my favorite was Elder Holland's talk about faith, how we shouldn't diminish the faith we have, for the faith we think we don't have. It reminded me of what I heard Grandpa E say one time on HT, "Never let something you don't know, effect something you do know." Those words hit me then and hit me now as I listened to an apostolic testimony of what he knew. The story of the boy who could only believe also touched me. We face so much of this as missionaries. You try to help them so much to trust in the little bit of faith they have gained, to help them not fall when a conflict or doubt comes up. Faith is like a little seed, and it needs to be nurtured instead of cast out by unbelief. I could go on all day...

But as for the past week we have had a ton of things to do with the new house that we are trying to get: Elder Aldunate's visa that is expired, and helping out a family set up a funeral for a recent passing. A lot of administrative things. But we still did a lot for the zone and for our investigators! We are teaching a couple named Ulysses and Erika, they came to conference and had such a great experience. They live in very modest conditions and lately they have been reading praying and now assisting to church! They are examples of that little bit of faith that started when we contacted them saying our message could bless their lives, turning into action and evidence given by the Spirit. They want to get married as soon as possible and be baptized! 

We are also teaching a family of 4 named familia Zulaga who also came to conference! President Jose gave us the reference and have been progressing rapidly! And the miracle is is that they were already married when we got there!! What???

In other news...

the short 4 week transfer is over and they changed my area and companion.. I will miss Elder Aldunate a lot. In these 4 weeks I have learned so much from him. He has been here 6 months and he is not looking forward to the goodbyes. He already got emotional when we got the changes haha. Also I will be headed away from the downtown part of Buenaventura to the outer and upper part called La Independencia. This is the place where ALL of the members are, so I am very excited to get there and start breaking it! 

President thought it would be better for the zone leaders to have the area with the most members so we would have time to maintain our area and at the same time help everyone else. My new companion is Elder Inga de Peru. He is the trainer of Elder Chase and I know him a little bit. He is really great and I think he will do great here! The sad part is my companion, Elders Hogan, Chase and Matos are all leaving. I only got 4 weeks with them all but it was great and I loved every minute of it. The good news is that Elder Musselman is coming! My old Provo basketball co-champion and companion from Bogota! That is exciting. 

Anyways, cambios (changes) are always hard nut necessary. Elders are called to this mission for a reason and have keys to certain people's hearts in other places. We trust in our President who leads the mission by pure revelation. I am excited to begin with the new team here in Buenaventura. 

I invite you all to hearken to President Monson and study the General Conference addresses over and over again, I know I will be!  We have the special privilege to hear God's Will and Word every 6 months! What a miracle and blessing!

Que les vaya bien! 
Elder Eliason

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