Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Once you find your way to the hidden testimony and find a way to reawaken it, you have gained yourself an excited missionary as well."

Goodbye to Elder Edwards, a good friend.

Elder Joglar and I with Andres Medina for his birthday.

Today after playing soccer at a recent convert's house with a part of the Zona.

Hiya family!! 
First of all, Happy Anniversary mom and dad! WOOH! 24 years and counting, that is something to be proud of! I love you guys so much and for the almost 21 years that I have been a part of the family I can say that I had it good with goodly parents who taught me to love the Lord! I loved the foto dad sent me, reminds me of old times! Looking great for #25! 

I will also be praying for Hayla Bayla this week! Good luck and enjoy the smooth mouth feeling after you get your braces off haha its the best.... and wear your retainer! 

Well here in Popayan it has been getting pretty hectic! We finished the month of February with 4 rescued members. That means that we have taught the 5 lessons to 4 less active members, had them come to church at least twice, and got them an interview with the branch president! Yeaahhh! 

We were working towards that huge goal this whole month and we were able to accomplish it thanks to the members! We were also the best zone when it came to rescued members as well! The baptisms we were going to have this week fell unfortunately due to badly timed travel plans and just not feeling prepared, but we are still thrilled to have so many people to work with. 

We have also been finding through the less active members we've been teaching, for example we found a great little investigator through one of the rescues this week. She has a 14 year old daughter we are looking to baptize this week, another one is a friend of a rescue and another is a family member! We have realized that an efficient way to work is finding less actives. Once you find your way to the hidden testimony and find a way to reawaken it, you have gained yourself an excited missionary as well. 

We are still progressing with Jennifer, Sara, Andres and the rest of the people I told you about last week. With Jennifer she realizes if she makes the decision to get baptized her life will change 100%. That isn't a bad thing because she shows her true intent that when she makes the decision she will be committed to stick with the Gospel. But she doesn't yet understand the order of how the covenant works. She has received a spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon is true, and has recognized the Spirit on numerous occasions, but fears failing after baptism. After a great lesson with the District President she felt a little better and was able to put the goal for this Saturday along with her friend Natalia who we are also teaching. Hopefully we can help her a little further on in the week so she feels more sure about things.

Sorry this is short... but just know that I feel so at home right now. I feel as though I should have been born a Colombian, haha! No, I love my home country and my family but I am so happy here with these great people. I think that is in great cause to the fact that I have gained the bedrock of my testimony here in this great country. 

I have fallen in love with God's plan and the wonderful message of the restauracion (restoration) while I have been sharing it here. It's true what it says in the call letter that you will be blessed with increased knowledge and testimony of the restored gospel, and that you will find more happiness than you have ever experienced. The mission is the best!

Thanks for the support!
Elder Eliason   


Friday, February 21, 2014

I am just loving my mission right now, I am super happy to be where I am at right now.

Hey familia!

Great to hear everyone had a good Valentine's day! I agree with mom that day is for everyone you love! haha That is another one of the holidays that Colombia doesn't celebrate... just like last year it just passed right by without my knowing it had passed haha, oh well. 

Well we had another great week here in Popayan! We had a ton of investigators in church Sunday and that always is great to see with who we need to work with the most, and to have a lot of people to work with is always great. 

We had 2 Rescatados, or rescues this week! We finally got Andres (the little one) and his wife Diana an interview with the Branch President and everything went perfectly to get them back integrated with the branch! We also got the ward council to commit to come with us on a visit this Wednesday to celebrate Andres' birthday.. we are really working hard with that family because they are really special and could lead to a lot real growth to the branch. 

In fact, this week we had a great lesson about what we think that family can become. We shared 4 Nefi 1:10-18 to help them realize what this pueblo did to thrive in peace for so long and how they could use the same principles to help their family. We proposed the idea of the "perfect month" 30 days with perfect attendance at church, every lunes doing their FHE, scripture reading every night with family prayer, and just loving each other. We knew it would be tough but with increased vision, comes increased motivation. We are still trying to get the big Andres married with his "wife."

We had a miracle happen with one of our investigators this week. Her name is Jennifer and we had been really trying to help her gain a testimony for a while now. She had let a few doubts take away the faith she needed to receive the answer. We taught her on Tuesday and it was chaos. Doubts from baptisms for the dead, to polygamy, to the history of Joseph Smith and whatever you can imagine. It was a chaotic lesson just trying to resolve the doubts. 

Then we realized we were going about it wrong. We were just giving answers to temporary doubts and not helping her solve the real problem. We testified of the Book of Mormon. That if one gains a true testimony of the Book of Mormon one can resolve whatever doubt by themselves. She needed to trust God more with a spiritual understanding and less of trying to convince herself with the carnal mind. So we challenged her to be baptized the next Saturday if she got a response to that question and she agreed. 

We met up after church on Sunday and she told of us of her experience, she said it was the most sincere prayer she had ever offered and was sure of the truthfulness of the church. It was a different Jennifer, I almost wanted to ask "and all the doubts you had....?" but I thought better. We immediately set up an appointment for this week's interview baptismal. Isn't it great being a missionary!?

We are also teaching a family that I told you about last week. Sara and Mireya. Well, Mireya, the mom of Sara, had to go to Medellin so that was a downer but we are still progressing with Sara. She still has the fear of failing after baptism but we planned a sweet lesson for her for this week about grace and how the Lord really feels about our weaknesses and really believing His promises. 

Too many people have the idea that it is better to stay out of the strait and narrow way because of not being able to fulfill and receive a punishment for not fulfilling. But Christ tells us that that punishment has already been lifted from us and that we should use His great gift to become a better person, no matter how many "do-overs" we need! He just asks for effort, and persistence, not perfection. He sees weakness a lot different from rebellion. People literally cheat themselves out of the most wonderful opportunity and gift of all time just for fear of a punishment that was taken away from us almost 2,000 years ago!

And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

We are going to try to help her understand this this week and help her accept the "arms of safety" that are extended out towards her. 

We are also trying to work with a few others for the end of this month or early of next month but there is no time to tell you about all of them, sorry. 

I am getting along super great with my comp Elder Joglar, he has a ton of great ideas to implement with the zone. It has been a lot of fun, it is definitely one of the most united zones I have been a part of. We work together a lot and everyone knows each other's investigators and prays for them. It is a big but super effective and fun zone to be in. 

I am just loving my mission right now, I am super happy to be where I am at right now. It is strange I am already going to finish my 3rd transfer here! Goodness! I hope time slows down just a bit before I head into my last area! Thanks for the prayers and que Dios les ayude a dedicarse aún más a Su gran evangelio!   

Nos vemos! Chau!

Elder Eliason 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"With investigators we are creating fertile territory for a brand new testimony and conversion. With inactives we are digging through old soil trying to find the lost seed of faith."

Ping Pong P-day! I've still got it! Beat my comp today, who is also pretty good.

Baptism of Christian 

Hiya there familia! 

Wow thanks Dad for sending me Haley and Connor's talks! That was such a treat to be able to read those! It amazes me the youth these days, such spiritual maturity in such young people. They are going to be that much prepared for the mission field! And your guy's group text things are just too funny, I'm sure that is just a ton of fun now that everyone is all iPhoned out, haha. And also was great to hear from Con man after just about a year's drought. I can always count on that kid for some great updates and some laughs for sure!

Well to get everyone caught up on where we are in the work... we had another great ZL Council this Thursday. Had to say goodbye to another one of my good friends Elder Edwards who goes home in 2 weeks. I looked around this council and realized that all the missionaries that were with me my first council are now gone! What a weird feeling that was... haha. Anyways in the council we talked about what will be taught in this month's zone conference and what we could include to implement our new vision of baptisms with rescued members. I shared my feelings about how I believe that it is a little different teaching inactives than teaching investigators. 

With investigators we are planting something new and creating fertile territory for a brand new testimony and conversion. With the inactives we are digging through old soil trying to find the lost seed of faith. We thought it would be great to have a practice to help the missionaries learn how to better teach the inactives. 

We also got to Skype with a legend of the mission, Elder Lynn Myckelson who when he was here the mission had their best accomplishments. It was a treat to be able to pick his brain on certain things that we could apply to help our mission.

We also had a baptism on Saturday! Christian was finally able to take the step. We had the interview on Tuesday and he felt great about it. So we set everything up for Saturday and everything went as planned! It was really cool because he invited a friend whose name is Alejandro and he felt the Spirit during the meeting and wanted to know more about our message! So we taught on the spot in the baptismal room with Christian. What a great lesson that was, the restoration was just what he needed to hear to spark his interest in the Gospel. 

We also have 2 new progressing investigators named Sara and Nancy. Mother daughter combo who we found through recent converts. We had been teaching them but they had trouble coming to church because of studying and work and what not. But they finally came and we took advantage that night to go watch the DVD of the restoration with almost our whole district to help them accept baptismal dates. It went so great and the Spirit was super thick at the end. Good future with these two.

Another thing that I have been studying this week is the power of the mind and how God wants us to use this tool to show our faith. It is hard as a missionary to train your mind to be 100% focused all the time. It becomes easier with more time in the mission and with more responsibility but is difficult. 

With all the planning and study sessions we do as missionaries a lot is required of our minds, "heart, might, mind and strength..." It takes faith not to let our minds wander and get thinking about other non important things. What has helped me is to think every morning as well as various times throughout the day... "what activities do I need to complete today?" And I write them down. Then I think, "How can I do that activity better than I did it last time?" And then make the according plans. It is this way that we can get the most out of our day and make sure nothing gets left undone.

Thanks for all the support!

Chau, Chau 

Elder Eliason 

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Dear Elder,

We have just received notice from the missionary department that your release date from your full-time service as a missionary will be on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

The missionary department has also requested that President Prince do your final interview in June before our departure.

You will have your farewell dinner with the New Mission President and his wife.  
(a wonderful opportunity for you!)

Please send this date home to your family and let me know ASAP if there are any problems.
We are expecting to receive the itineraries shortly.

We love you and are so proud of each one of you!

Give it your all to the very end...live so that you can see miracles!!

Hermana Prince

Friday, February 7, 2014

"I know the Lord knows me and knows what mission experience I need to become what He wants me to become."

Q´hubo familiaa! 

Good to be writing again! 

First of all I will tell you all about the key investigators we are working with...

Familia Medina: This is Andres who I have told you about before, we have been working a lot with his whole family. We are trying to help his son get married and him as well. We really want to focus on them because they are a family with such great potential. I feel like one of the reasons I was sent here was to help this family accept the Gospel. Andres keeps going to church as if he was already a member, he also applies scripture reading and family prayer to keep his family united. 

This week we shared a special scritpure with him to help out with his frustration that he can't get baptized yet. (Mosiah 21:33-35)

 33 And it came to pass that king Limhi and many of his people were desirous to be baptized; but there was none in the land that had authority from God. And Ammon declined doing this thing, considering himself an unworthy servant. 
 34 Therefore they did not at that time form themselves into a church, waiting upon the Spirit of the Lord. Now they were desirous to become even as Alma and his brethren, who had fled into the wilderness. 
 35 They were desirous to be baptized as a witness and a testimony that they were willing to serve God with all their hearts; nevertheless they did prolong the time; and an account of their baptism shall be given hereafter.

This people also could not be baptized at the time they wanted to. But they waited "upon the Spirit of the Lord." They were patient in tribulations and did what they could to show God their faith and willingness to keep on. We applied it to his life and he understood what was needed to be done. If he got frustrated it would have been hard to stay faithful, but we have faith he will be okay.

Cristian: He had left on a 3 week trip with his dad who is a truck driver and just now got back. We went and went over ther interview questions and helped him out with a few questions he had on the Book of Mormon. He is going great and is excited to be back in church. He is ready to be baptized but we aren't sure if it will be this week or the next. 

Also President Prince has made a few changes with our recent goals as a mission. With the new "Work of Salvation" plan the Prophet has put into action we will be focusing a lot of our efforts on the rescue. We now have goals for rescued members as well as confirmations. This is exciting as missionary because we know that the members are going to be way involved in this process! We are going to see a great increase in real growth here in Colombia. 

It is super weird how time is flying by so fast... I feel like I was just a new missionary. I feel somewhat apprehensive about where I am now at in my mission. I am so grateful for being sent here, I know the Lord knows me and knows what mission experience I need to become what He wants me to become. I have felt impressions about certain things, I have experienced that have been personal lessons from the Lord. These don't always come at once, but as I strive to learn what He wants me to learn the things that don't make sense usually become clear. I feel like some of the people I have met have been people just for me and my comp to find and teach. I feel like I have known them for a long time. It is amazing how your vision of life and God can change so quickly when you lose your life in His service. 

I hope everyone knows that I feel the prayers on my behalf! Thanks for everything! 

Elder Eliason

Birthday party for Ivan and Camilo the converts! 

New comp Elder Joglar!

Elder Muñoz with his long hair, he is from a tribe in Ecuador and he is allowed to have his hair like that, cool huh?

Good friend and roommate Elder Dean from Provo