Sunday, March 30, 2014

"I think this is the key of being a leader, knowing the people you serve."

Baptism last week of Margarita and Harold

Funny picture of the comp haha

Baptism pics of Natalia

Heading to Tulua for divisions

Hola familia!!!!

3...2...1... and it´s over! The Green Bay Packers have won the first super bowl in NFL history! Oh, hi there, my name is Vince Lombardi... 

Haha of course I still remember my lines from the 6th grade wax museum! I guess I will participate in those group texts through my emails haha. 

Wow I loved getting that huge email about the Lake Tyler camping trip! I couldn't believe the family would keep trying to get a good experience out of that place... I guess everyone knows how I feel about camping. Everyone should recall the famous camping trip where at 4 in the morning the decision was made to drive to the comforts of our home due to the miserable night we passed haha. But I'm glad everyone had a good experience this time, nothing better than cherished time spent with the family. 

I cant believe Gma and Gpa have finished already! That went by so fast! That's awesome they were able to spend time with you guys for a little bit before they headed back to the tah. And don't worry dad, in three months or so I'll be there to whip those kids in shape... just get ready for family study at 7 am sharp. Yep, you heard me... 

So this week has been equally great, here in the office we have been really busy planning the zone leader counsel for this week and also the special training for interviews next month. We have also been keeping on with the heavy number of divisions and this week was for all of the zones in Cali. I must admit that at first it was a little strange adapting to the new type of work that is required here, but now I feel more comfortable and am loving the experience. And we have also been having a lot of time to proselyte normally so it hasn't been as slow as I might have thought it would have been. 

The ZL Council this week will be a lot focused on training the leaders we have in the mission. In the mission right now there is a lot of dependency on the District leaders, they are basically the motors of the mission because they have the most direct contact with the missionaries and have the tools with the district meeting and being closer to the missionaries. 
We are following the system that was talked about by Elder Tad R. Callister a few conferences ago...  
"In my mind there are at least three key factors that contribute to such dramatic growth in the mission years: (1) we trust these young men as never before, (2) we have high but loving expectations of them, and (3) we train and retrain them so they can fulfill those expectations with excellence."
The Counsel will be based in this idea, that the zone leaders can follow these 3 steps to get the most out of there leaders. It has been something I have been studying a lot as of late and I sure have learned a lot about leadership. There is one scripture that stuck in my mind this past week..  "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you" (1 Thes. 5:12

I think this is the key of being a leader, knowing the people you serve. It is easy to be the type of leader with the title and nothing else, but it something else to have enough love and concern for your people to really get to know them and understand how you can help them. "I have given you an example … do as I have done." (John 13:15) "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister." (Matt. 20:26

We also had a baptism this past week!! Her name is Natalia and her story is really special to us. She was born with a problem in her legs that makes it so she can't walk. But she is super blessed with the gift of faith, that is just super evident in the way she has accepted the Gospel in her life and her willingness to follow the Savior despite her restrictions. The service was incredible because of all the members that came! It was one of biggest services I have attended! I'll attach a picture so you can see her and everything. 

So that is pretty much what's been happening here in Colombia! I'm still loving it here and loving the work that I am doing. This is a very special part of the world, I feel like God has a soft spot for the people of South America. There are a lot of promises to these people made in the Book of Mormon and it is cool being a tool that helps them realize and take advantage of it! 

Have a great week!

Elder Eliason 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"I am as busy as I think I have ever been in my life."

One slide from a PowerPoint we did for training.

Holaaa familia!

How is everyone? It's a little weird not hearing from anyone! I guess the change from Monday to Saturday was just a little too much for everyone to handle... haha

Well this week we did just a ton of exchanges. On Wednesday I had the opportunity to go up to Tuluá with one of the zone leaders there to do an exchange up there. It went super great, it is so fun to get to know and work with so many missionaries and teach a ton of different investigators. We have been focusing the exchanges on managing time well... President has basically stressed over and over that the missionaries are to be using half of their time rescuing and retaining with recent converts and less actives and the other half with the investigators, and with so much to do we have to know how to use our time wisely. 

We set up a scheme of how we can be teaching up to 6, 7, or 8 lessons a day and we have seen some great results. When more responsibilities come the less time we have to put into the field, and it has helped me learn how to use my time wisely. 

I also got to stay here for a day while my companion went up to Zarzal. When we are in exchanges we dont work in the office that day we just spend the whole day in our area. It was fun to see what we could do with an entire day to proselyte. We actually have had quite a bit of success early on in our new area. The recent converts have been presenting us new people in our Actividades Hogareñas (Home activites FHE type thing) and we have been finding new people that way. We actually are going to have a baptism tonight, her name is Margarita and she was found through her son who is a member now for about 7 years. She is a really sweet lady, she was taught by the other elders who were here before us and handed over after the change. 

We also had a great webcast training this past Tuesday for all of the new missionaries and their trainers. We just basically went over the tools that we use in the mission to work with members. It was a little different giving a training looking into a camera but in the end everything turned out great! We actually showed an example of when elder Aldunate and I were in Buenaventura when we found Luis and Diana through the list of old members we had, used member families to provide fellowship and help them to the waters of baptism, and then through them we were able to find another family and do the same with them, I will try to send you the PowerPoint we used. 

The time is going by super fast ever since I have gotten here in Cali. I am as busy as I think I have ever been in my life. But it is great always knowing that I am doing so much to help this work move forward! 

Sorry this is short! Have a great week!

Elder Eliason

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wooh what a week I have had!...It was just a huge blur...

This is the TEAM that makes it all happen

The Office - March 2014
(following photos and captions courtesy of Hermana Prince blog)

Elder and Hermana Aagard...Health secretary and mission nurse
Elder Aldunate...Assistant to the President
Elder Longorio...Materials and Housing secretary
Elder Eliason...Assistant to the president
Elder Mosqueira...Registry secretary
Elder Gallardo...Secretary to the President in training
Elder Sanhueza...Financial secretary
Elder Miranda...Secretary to the President

Our New Assistants
Elder Eliason and Elder Aldunate

With Presidente Prince!

Some recent converts in Terron! 

Hello from la oficina!

Filling out the brackets for March Madness
compared to receiving 27 new missionaries at one time!
The logistics are overwhelming!
Here are a few of the things that have to be figured out...

1.  A bus big enough to move them and nearly 54 pieces of luggage from airport to the various points of drop off for the luggage.
2.  Getting Visas registered at immigration when they only allow 6 a day from your group!
3.  Having enough beds to sleep them the first night they arrive so they can have training the following day...and NOT put the sisters with the Elders.

Meeting their trainers and having enough tables and chairs for everyone to sit and eat together...that was lunch for 68!

Hola Familia!!!

Wooh what a week I have had! It all started getting to the office on Sunday and from there it was just a huge blur....

Monday- was spent learning a bunch of the new duties and tricks on Excel, picking up all of the informs and putting them into the system, Office meeting with president and all of the secretaries, getting all of the logistics ready for when the new missionaries were going to come, and finally heading out to our new area which is called Terron Colorado. It is an area up in the mountains and so it is pretty chilly at night, and we also have some cool sights walking up the mountain of all of Cali. We got to know a few members, a few recent converts and investigators to help us get started in a new area. This is the 3rd time in my mission I am having to open an area (or when 2 missionaries arrive at an area where they haven't been) and I am super excited to see what we can do with it. 

Tuesday- Got up at about 4:30 to go to the airport to receive all of the new missionaries... ALL 27 OF THEM! Took us a good while to get them all set up with their bags in the huge bus we rented to accommodate them all. We gave out a little breakfast that Hermana Prince bought for them, and headed to Cali. We got there and set them up for interviews with President. While they were all waiting we gave a little introduction to the mission and a training about ward council that we had in the last zone conference. We want the missionaries to be able to be a strength for their wards and branches from really early on in their mission. After that we went up to Cristo Rey to sing " Called to Serve." That moment was super weird what with that being my first time being up there since I was the new missionary singing. After that we returned to the office to watch Ephraim's Rescue and then plan with President the training for the new missionaries the next day. Then in the office till about 11 planning logistics for transfers. 

Wednesday- Got up at about 4:30 again to help coordinate transfers in the terminal. That was super hectic, so many tiny details that go into that making sure no one gets left alone and making sure we don't send a group to the wrong place. So that lasted about till 9 and then we headed back to the training of the new missionaries. While the trainers are getting their training we were explaining rules and administrative stuff about the mission. 

Then the trainers came over and the fun part began of shutting their eyes and putting their trainers behind them and then having them turn around to see their new trainer.. a great moment! Then it started to rain SUPER hard and caused the room to flood. It was the first time that had ever happened in the history of the mission. So we called it a day and did everything we could to get everyone out of there and in their areas. We took the ones leaving Cali to the terminal and sent everyone off. After not being able to believe that everything was over, we were able to go to Terron to meet more members and investigators. 

And Thursday and Friday were regular days in the office planning the webcast training for the new investigators to make up for the rain delay we had. Also for the specialized training we are going to give to all the district leaders about divisions, baptismal interviews, daily verification and district meetings. 

I am learning a lot in this new assignment I have been given... it is quite a bit different than what I am used to, but it is also fun thinking of all the ways we can get better as a mission and how to best transmit President's vision to everyone. 

I live in the nicest house in the mission now, with 5 other missionaries in the nicest part of Cali. Cali is just gorgeous, I have been without a camera this week because I left in Popayan.... hahah. But I get it this week and I'll snap some pics of the scenery if I can! 

I am so happy right now and really excited for this upcoming week because we start our divisions with the zone leaders! We are going to be traveling all around the mission these next 2 weeks and I am super excited for it. I am ready to give it everything I have for these last few months of my mission, I have been at it a while now and I know the Lord has saved something special for me in this last part! I love this Work... enough said! 

Have a great week!

Elder Eliason

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Well, there was a change of plans..."

Elder LaBar is the AP in the middle who I'm replacing... and my old and new comp Elder Aldunate!

Saying goodbye to my old roommate Elder Dean who is the new ZL in Pasto, whoooo!

Pics from the baptisms we had last week!

Pics from Zone Leader Council, courtesy of Hermana Prince's blog

Hiya familia camo estannn??

So what a week this has been! Started off great in Popayan. We had 3 baptisms set up for Saturday and 2 others for next Saturday, we had the wedding of Diana and Andres coming up for Wednesday this week and a bunch of branch activities to get everyone excited! 
Well, there was a change of plans...

We had the ZL Council like normal on Thursday, which was amazing. President realizes he has little time left and so he really wants to get the mission running like a machine for the new commander in chief. 
It was at the end of the meeting that President pulled me over to the side and extended me the call to come into the office to serve as one of his assistants. That changed pretty much all of the plans I had because I had to go to back to Popayan get my stuff and head right back to Cali. And it has been pedal to the metal ever since. 
We are preparing for 27 new missionaries who will arrive on Wednesday and that is cause for hectic preparation. There is so much to plan! So many little details that can't be forgotten. It is a little stressful but it's fun planning all of this with the President. 

I am going to be replacing Elder LaBar who is going to be training one of those missionaries getting here tomorrow. My new comp, if you can believe it, is my old comp Elder Aldunate! It will be fun working with him again, definitely an opportunity I am really looking forward to. 

I realize this doesn't change anything, I still have the same purpose to fulfill, just in a new way. Something exciting is that starting this transfer the APs have their own area. Before, they shared an area with the rest of the office. Now we will be doing tons of divisions and we need to have an area as an example. So I am not worried about not being able to proselyte, just the opposite. 

It was super sad to leave Popayan, especially because I didn't get much time to say goodbye to many. I am hoping I will be able to head back down there one time before I leave. I am excited to get to work closely with President right when he is about to leave. I hope to learn a lot and put all I have into these last few months of my mission in the office. 

Well that's all I have time for.. Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Eliason

Oh.. and my P-days are now on Saturdays. So everyone has to write me on Friday night now! Don't forget!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"I love my mission and I regard it as something sacred to me. It will forever be the most important thing to ever happen to me."

Q´hubo familia bien o no??

Wow, what a difference braces make! I agree with dad when he says that Haley looks like she is 25 haha! That's amazing! 

Happy Birthday Dad! You look younger with every year that passes by! I am glad the fam hooked you up with an iPad, you deserve it! And also deserve the title of iDad. We are suckers for Apple products haha...Ever since the first ever iPod Mini I got back in the Christmas of 7th grade! 

Congrats kids with the day off school, those are the best. To be honest I miss the freezing cold weather of winter.. .whaaat? haha. 

I am writing today coming off a very exciting week! We had 2 baptisms this saturday! One of them was Lina Marcela the daughter of the less active we reactivated. And the other was Nicol Medina who is the daughter of Andres Medina, who we are stilllll trying to marry. 

We had another one lined up ready to go but the weather has been really random lately and with a ton of changes--sunny then rainy, sunny then rainy, sunny and then rainy again. And that caused Jennifer to get really sick and unable to attend her baptism. It was a shame because she finally made the decision firmly and surely and that had to happen to her. She was a little sad but said she was firm in her decision and was not going to let this affect her. 

I personally believe it to be a test of faith. Jennifer is a person who has been through a lot in her life and still continues to go through a lot of trials with her family and work life. I feel as though she has been chose to be a pioneer in her family because back where she is from the church doesn't exist. There are sure to be more trials ahead in her life and the Lord is just preparing her. We continue to talk to her and it looks like she'll be ready for this weekend.

There is also great news for this week! Andy and Diana (Andy is the son of Andres, brother of Nicol) are going to get married! We went to take out all the records and do all the notary vueltas this week and it looks like the wedding will be on Saturday! What a joy! Actually having success marrying someone is something difficult to come by in my mission haha. 

We will also be having a ZL Conference this week... (mom will sure be checking the famous Hermana Prince blog) I think it will be my last one! It is almost unheard of that a missionary is a ZL for more than a year, and I turned one year 2 weeks ago... so I think this transfer I will be headed to train someone or to just be a normal missionary! I will be ready for whatever and I know the Lord has an incredible experience for me wherever I go, but I am looking forward to focusing on just doing missionary work. 

I love my mission and I regard it as something sacred to me. It will forever be the most important thing to ever happen to me. I know that a testimony of Jesus Christ is the most important thing anyone can come to obtain in this life and that making and keeping covenants with God is how we see His power affect our lives. I am grateful for this testimony I hold, and understand the responsibility I have to share it these last months of my mission! What a joy to be a missionary in these days! 

Have a great week!

Baptism pics will have to wait till next week, forgot the hooker upper thingamajig.

Elder Eliason