Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"With 2 gringos a Mexican and a Bolivian in the same house it can get pretty interesting"

Hola familia!!

¿Como les fue esta semana?! 

I am happy to report that my week was great in humid, humid Buenaventura! It has been quite the adjustment to the climate here. You sweat as you sleep, when you wake up, and all day as you work haha. And all of your books and papers get ruined easily because of the humidity, but its all good because the work is great!
 I have been getting used to a way different work-style here as well! I was very accustomed to working almost exclusively with the members back in Cali to find new investigators and in my area right now we only have about 3 active members, so it is basically all contacting and our own initiative, which I have loved because of openness of the people here. If the people don't contact us, it is pretty easy to contact them because they are always staring us down as if they wanted to know who we were haha. 

My comp Elder Aldunate is just great to be with, the experience in teaching is something I really missed and he is a machine when it comes to missionary work, things just flat out get done. We work HARD and it feels great getting home every day just knowing you gave it your all. It has also been great living with 2 other elders, that was something I wanted to experience while in the mission. The house we have is awesome, about 50000 times better than the one in Valle Grande haha!! It has been a lot of fun and benefit for all of us.  
It is amazing how many different cultures there are in this mission. Every country is a different culture and personality. With 2 gringos a Mexican and a Bolivian in the same house it can get pretty interesting. It has also been interesting with all of the new responsibilities. There is a lot more administrative things to do now like revise the houses, collect key indicators, verification every day, baptismal records and interviews, visa renewals, reimbursing money and all of that jazz. We are really having to use all of our time really wisely. I think that is one of the priceless lessons from a mission, learning how to plan and use all the time in the day. I believe that was just foreign to me before the mission.

We have been having a lot of success recently with the other areas, we have been focusing a lot with the people who have came to church more than once, had a baptismal date, and for some reason or other have stopped investigating the church. We had some really miraculous things happen and more than a few of them will hopefully be getting baptized this week! I have learned quite the lesson working with these types of people. If they have assisted church more than 1 time you know they have felt something that caused them to keep coming.. sometimes a doubt or a bad experience will cover or overshadow a testimony. It is our job to reawaken that desire and help them realize that something that they don't know should never affect something that they DO know! 
It's the same with less actives, something is there, you just have to listen to them and care about them, and the revelation usually comes about how to help them. Another miraculous thing I love about being a leader is baptismal interviews. Sometimes when an investigator has one doubt that they cant get over we set up a baptismal interview with either one of the district leaders or zone leaders. The goal is to help them through whatever is holding them back from baptism, more times than not the interview helps them see what they know, and helps them selves see that they are prepared to get baptized. We are just there to guide them to that conclusion, it is amazing what the Spirit can do in a situation like that.

As for my area, I haven't really seen much of it to be honest. It is absolutely massive and I have probably only seen a small bit of it. We have been preparing a great couple named Luis y Diana who were contacted just 3 weeks ago. They have progressed super rapidly and are just about ready to enter the water this Saturday. We actually had a really powerful lesson the other day, Luis was struggling a bit. He is in the military and he was feeling bad for all of the war that he is involved in and the things he is asked to do as a military. We read Alma 43 with him about Captain Moroni and the fact that he fought for the right reasons and he was justified by them. The verse that hit him the hardest was verse 9...
 And now the design of the Nephites was to support their lands, and their houses, and their wives, and their children, that they might preserve them from the hands of their enemies; and also that they might preserve their rights and their privileges, yea, and also their liberty, that they might worship God according to their desires.
We helped him realize that the sin is not in defending yourself and your country, it is what is in your heart and your motive for doing those things. It seemed to help a lot and it created a Book of Mormon hero for him as well. I also look up to Captain Moroni as a hero, and have learned a ton from his leadership examples. When the Nephites were discouraged, he lifted them up. When they forgot about Who they were fighting for, he always reminded them of their duties and responsibilities to God. He was not a coach who just directed from the sidelines, he was in the midst of the battle doing everything he could for his people. That`s what I try to implement in my mission, I am here to serve the people of Colombia and help the missionaries in this mission fulfill their responsibility to God, to lift them up when they need it and serve them just as well. 

I just love what I am doing here in Colombia, especially with this new branch in Buenaventura. I am more grateful than ever for what I get to do everyday. Christ is at the head of this Work, that becomes blatantly true to every missionary who dedicates 100% of his life to this work. I feel so luckily and privileged to be a part of such a great cause. 
I believe a great deal that we were foreordained to our mission calls and that the fulfillment of that sacred calling depends on us and our drive to serve. Satan is always trying to get us to fall, if he wasn't, this wouldn't be the work of God, but the one thing that will never change is Who is leading this mission and this work. I find great responsibility and comfort in this scripture...
 And this is the manner after which they were ordaine—being acalled andbprepared from the cfoundation of the world according to the dforeknowledgeof God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to echoose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great ffaith, are gcalled with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such."
Alma 13:3

Have a great week! I love you all so much! Que pena por no tener las fotos! La próxima por seguro!!!!

Elder Eliason

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