Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"This mission is the greatest thing to ever happen to me"

Hey Familia!!!
Wow thanks Mom and Dad for the letters! Its always a nice boost to hear from both the padres! I get a nice look at both sides of what's going on back home. That's such great news about the Rangers, Yu Darvish and Matt Garza make a sweet 1,2 punch, and the Braves are running away with the whole thing! Gotta love late season baseball! That's amazing that Haley saw Ashley and Thomas on HT, and  thats good to know that she got home good, too bad she got sick though. Feel better Hales! And a congrats is in order for the blessing of Tenley Michelle Eliason! Still can't believe it, but Jordy and Trista look like very proud parents! Can't wait to finally meet her! Looks like Bear Lake 2014 will be the occasion!
Well as for me in Ipiales, it has been another great week! It seems I have been all over the place doing splits with other missionaries. 3 of the past 4 days have been with different missionaries, and it has been amazing. Divisions are so great because you get to know a lot of different people who are getting to know the Gospel, and also pick up different tips from other missionaries to improve. 

I worked with one Elder Canevaro this week who gave up a 3 year professional soccer contract in Argentina to come on his mission. It was cool to see such dedication from someone who gave up so much to be here, there was much to learn from him! He said there is no sacrifice too big to be apart of this Work. It is as Jesus said,  "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." I think we all think missions are sacrifices at first, but then it quickly converts into an honor and a blessing. We had a great lesson with an investigator who had been wrestling with a baptismal date, and we were able to help her realize the need to act in faith instead of waiting for a concrete answer, it was a powerful lesson.
In my area we have been working a ton with less actives and with the people in their homes who aren't members. We ran into a case where there was an entire less active family and a mom who hadn't been baptized, her name is Sandra. She has been an avid member of an another church her whole life and never wanted anything to do with the Church. Well, she hadn't spoken with us yet so we gave it a try and surprisingly, received us well. 

So many missionaries had passed by her home over the years and have always tried to convince her of the truth. We decided to just ask questions and find a way to get her to want to accept the Gospel. Too many times as missionaries we are too quick into the lessons that we forget to ask what matters to them, what they want in life, and what kinds of fears or what they lack in life. Before we can reach their interest, we must connect with them and let the Spirit guide. Well we found out that she had never asked God if the Book of Mormon was true because she feared that God would not answer her. We read Matthew 7:7 along with Moroni 10:4-5 to help her build the faith that it can happen. It was a great lesson and we are following up daily to help her gain a testimony.
Another experience I will share is really special to me. On Saturday we got a phone call from Elder Inga in Buenaventura asking me a favor. he said that one of our old investigators named Jonas was about to be baptized but was having last minute doubts and that he wanted me to talk to him to help him through. So I called him up with permission of President to do what I could. This investigator was really close to my heart before I left there and to hear his voice again was just incredible. I basically just told him that we both knew what he had to do and told him to look up Ether 12:6 and say a prayer to feel sure in what he would do. He said it was just what he needed to hear and was baptized on Saturday. I was grateful for Elder Inga and his comp acting on a prompting.
And that same day we were in a lesson and I get a call from President saying he had some friends he wanted me to talk to. He passes the phone and I about dropped from hearing such a familiar voice pronounce my name wrong, "Hola Ailison" haha. It was Marcely Banguera from Valle Grande! She was getting married and told Pres. Prince she wanted me to be there, which was obviously impossible being so far away. But Marcely and Edilton finally got married, and baptized this weekend, to complete the family of members. I had a permanent smile the rest of the day. Another part is that the missionary who baptized them was my dad, Elder Matos who is serving there right now. I just about died for that experience and I was so grateful for President's kindness.

This mission is the greatest thing to ever happen to me, I can't believe the person I have become here. Colombia will always be close to my heart for what the Lord has done to me while being here. It still is the hardest thing I've ever done, but the most gratifying as well. Thanks go out to Mom and Dad for always pushing me to go on the mission even when I had no idea why! I cant wait to get back to work tonight!
Have a great week! And thumbs up!
Elder Eliason

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