Thursday, July 24, 2014

"I am excited to make the rest of my life reflect what I have come to know these past two years."

What a difference 2 years makes...

"I hope I will get the opportunity to tell each of you in depth what my mission has meant to me... I am grateful for the opportunity I will have to show with actions what I have learned."

Hola Familia!

Well thanks for all of the letters! It is a little strange knowing that this will be my last letter from the mission field. It still hasn't hit me that I am going to be leaving. It is true that we have been way busy this past week and really haven't had time to think about it too much, but to be honest there is still a ton of work to do before I leave haha. 

So this past week started off with a ton of planning and practicing. Yeah, that's right, practicing. We are talking about practice. We were spending a lot of the time working with the upcoming transfers and reception of the 24 missionaries that get here Tuesday. It was a great experience being with President during the transfers, even though he doesn't know anything about the missionaries it is obvious that he receives revelation where they should go. There were many times during the process that we just gave him a bit of information to study it out in his mind and he would just say "I just really feel he should go there..." 

My testimony of Priesthood keys grew a lot during that process. What a comfort to know that the church is directed by inspired men with keys to guide and direct the Lord's Work. The part of practicing was for the Leadership Council we had this Thursday. President and Hermana Pricoli came to the mission well trained from the mission president seminar in Provo. We spent awhile going over new ideas and new training methods that all came from the 12 Apostles and other general authorities. It was just marvelous to be able to learn from them and I sure felt lucky for the opportunity to learn so closely from 2 different mission presidents.

After the council on Thursday the new assistant got here. His name is Elder Walker from Holliday, Utah. He is a great missionary and will do great in the new position. I went on an exchange yesterday to Buenaventura and I cannot even explain how amazing it was to back there. During the busride there it felt like coming home as we were approaching the city, I started to feel the sticky heat enter the bus and everyone started to sweat. It was a familiar feeling that I hadn't felt for a while. It was really amazing to see a few of the members that I grew to love so much when I was there. The Branch has grown a ton since I have left as well! I am confident they will have their chapel soon.

The council was also a pretty emotional event for me. I have been through 17 of those things over the course of my mission and it has been my favorite meeting of them all. I love how the Church is built so that we receive revelation through council. It was weird looking around and not seeing one single face that was there my first council, not even president! It was a great meeting and I know that the mission will keep going strong over the next few years. 

I remember in one of Cody's final letters of his mission talking about how he would miss the brothership that is felt in the mission field. I was able to feel that same way this past Thursday with all of the fellow missionaries I have worked so hard with over the years, some of them I will probably never see again in this life. Definitely a special moment being able to take that in during the final hymn that we sang, "Called to Serve." (Llamados a Servir) I will worry about feeling sad on Tuesday, but for right this second I am excited to get back to work. We have two baptisms tonight! 

So I guess I will be seeing everyone on Tuesday. I know it will be hard to leave Colombia, especially because I don't know when I will be back, but it is exciting to see what the Lord has in store for the rest of my life. I really I hope I will get the opportunity to tell each of you in depth what my mission has meant to me, I really find it hard to do in words and especially on the internet. However, I am grateful for the opportunity I will have to show with actions what I have learned. I am excited to make the rest of my life reflect what I have come to know these past two years. 

Me duele el hecho de que tengo que salir de Colombia, pero feliz para estar con la familia nuevamente, NOS VEMOS EL MARTES! 

Translation: It pains me that I have to leave Colombia, but happy to be with the family again, SEE YOU ON TUESDAY!

And I can't wait to mow the lawn Dad...

For the last time,   

Elder Eliason 

"It has been such a pleasure learning from a different mission president and hearing the vision he has for us missionaries."

Heyy there! 

Sorry for not writing this week, I'll tell you why...

Well we were in Pasto for the mission trip with the new president and we had the conference Saturday in the morning and were going to fly back in the afternoon no problem. Well it turned out that the flight got cancelled.... that's right, my luck with flights has become international and has followed me to Colombia. The flight that was going to come in couldn't land because of the heavy winds in Pasto so they cancelled all of the flights for the rest of day. And so when the secretary tried to get us another flight they were all booked for Sunday in the early morning and so the only option was to go back by bus haha. It reminded me of the days in Ipiales when we had to travel by bus 12 hours to go to Cali for council haha. And that's why I couldn't write this week.

There really isnt much to write about were just basically getting ready for this week's leadership meeting and preparing ourselves for all of the new missionaries that get here next week. I appreciate everyone writing me again, it is the best hearing how everyone is doing! 

I'm still going strong, it looks like we will be having 2 more baptisms this Saturday. Finishing strong with baptisms is something I have been working hard to do these past weeks! President is going to call the new AP this Thursday so we will be in a trio for my last few days here. It was really sad to hear that Colombia lost this week, but at the same time really great because of all the trouble the games caused the missionary work down here haha. We had to stay indoors during the game and 2 hours after the game ended to avoid all of the havoc that these Colombians cause when their team plays. It is nice to know that we can now focus 100 percent without any futbol related distractions. 

It has been really fun working with the new president. It is true what Cody says about him not knowing much about how things work, we have to be super on it with all of the little details about just about everything that goes on. Driving around the different cities has also been a pretty good adventure as well hahaha. I can now say that I know my way around the mission pretty well! But it has been such a pleasure learning from a different mission president and hearing the vision he has for us missionaries. 

That's it, sorry for being so short!

Until next week!

Elder Eliason

Goodbye Presidente Prince, Hello Presidente Pricoli!

Introducing Presidente and Hermana Pricolo, our new mission president

Saying goodbye to Presidente and Hermana Prince.

Hiya familia!

Haha Im glad you all got to see the video we did for the goodbye of Presidente and Hermana Prince. It was fun making that video with the entire office crew, I hope you were able to understand what was said. It is very true that we will all miss Hermana Prince's banana bread, haha, especially the Latinos because there is nothing like it down here. It also a joy that everyone wrote me today! I appreciate the group chat where that was established that everyone had to write me. You're the best Mom! I told everyone that I expect one every week until I get home! I hope that isn't too much to ask! It is just so great to hear how everyone is doing! 

Well we are still doing great here in Colombia. We now have a new commander in chief, the mantle has been passed and  officially we are under the direction of a new mission president! President Prícoli got here yesterday and the festivities started by having an office meeting with the whole crew. I was chosen to conduct the meeting and we were all favored by getting an explanation of what was shared in the Mission President's Seminar in Provo this past week. It was incredible the Spirit that was felt during that meeting. He expressed his love for us and then shared a special experience the new mission presidents had in the seminar when President Eyring spoke about the way missionaries are assigned their fields. He says that when he was assigned to assign missionaries he would envision the Savior going across the world choosing missionaries personally and assigning them to a field. He then testified that that is really how it happens. The Lord chooses His servants personally and specifically, perfectly according the needs of the missionary and the people he will teach. It was an incredible experience for us.

We then took him to proselyte...... what? Haha,  yeah,  all the mission presidents were told that the first thing they should do when they get to their field is work with the missionaries! So we took him to Terron to visit a few of our investigators along with a few members to get his feet wet. He taught us as he was with us. It was amazing how he made everyone we talked to feel like they were really children of our Heavenly Father, the love that radiated from him was incredible. He also committed the people in such a unique and effective way that it was almost like I wanted to take notes of how he did it. It was an awesome experience and I was humbled by the opportunity we were given. 

Yesterday night we went with the Prince's to the airport to say goodbye. It was pretty sad to see them go, it was like saying bye to your parents who are going off to another country or something. I was able to thank them for all they had done for me in these past two years. It was also really special because the area assigned the final interviews of all my group to President Prince. So a day before he left he was able to give them my final interview and that was really special indeed.

This week we are going to be going on a tour of the mission having all of the missionaries meet their new president. It should be really interesting as we share the new vision for the mission. We are really busy planning for that and also the 25 missionaries that will be getting here this transfer and also helping President with transfers and what not. Should be a great week!

That's it.. I guess I will just share the pics I have when I get back! haha no just kidding next week I should have some good ones! Sorry I haven't been on that!

Have a great week!

Elder Eliason 

"I am still having a great time here in Colombia and love the people more and more every day!"


How is everyone?? That was really fun to hear about all of the traveling dad did this past week! Wow 3,000 miles huh? Looks like Dad's still got it! Can't wait for the next 3,000 miles going up for the reunion! Good to see that Haley is all situated up in Utah, I can say that that experience was weird for me. The moment Dad said goodbye left me like an empty feeling like I was on my own abandoned in Utah, haha, but everything turned out great. 

In other news, we are very busy getting everything ready for the Prince's departure. Organizing the final meetings and programming all of the interviews is calling for a lot of logistic planning, and with 12 missionaries finishing the mission this week we are also having transfers in the middle of a transfer! So it has been a little crazy here this past week but the best of the best was being able to be in the area and on divisions with the time we had this week. 

In our area we our having a great time, the members keep helping us out a lot, the less actives are getting reactivated, the converts are being retained, and the investigators are committing themselves more and more. We found a new family this week that looks like gold, we were looking through the list of members and searching the less actives when we found one house where the members had long since moved and the house was occupied by new people who had never heard about the church. We contacted them and had a great lesson. It wasn't what we were looking for but the Lord knows where he needs guide us so that we achieve his purposes. Something a missionary learns very wuickly in the mission is that nothing happens by pure chance, if we are worthy and obedient the Lord guides us to the people He has prepared. It has been a fun week indeed in good ole Terron. 

I had a pretty great experience on a bus ride going from Buga to Tulua last night. Some guy named Fabian got on the bus with a Miami Heat shirt on and I thought that was a pretty great opportunity to start up a conversation. We started out talking about what missionaries do, basketball and little by little we got on to the topic of the gospel. He said that his whole life his family had raised him in a Christian church but that later on in his life he felt like there was always something missing. He talked about how everyone tells him that Christ can change him and help him get over his weaknesses, but he never found out how to make that power effective in his life. 

I was grateful for the opportunity to testify of the power of covenants, and how keeping those covenants is the way to access the power of the Atonement in order to change all of our weaknesses to strengths. We also testified that only in the Church of Jesus Christ is found the authority to administer those ordinances associated with those covenants. A strong spirit was felt and a sincere desire to learn more was sensed as we said goodbye. We passed the referral and will be attentive to his progress. There have been so many times where those bus conversations havent resulted at all but that experience helped me understand that the Lord is always in control of His work.

Anyways it looks like we have got to get back to work! I hope everyone is doing well! I am still having a great time here in Colombia and love the people more and more every day! 

Have a great week!

Elder Eliason

"I wish you all could see how crazy Colombia is during the World Cup, it is like the U.S. during the Super Bowl but like 10 times worse."

Hey Familia! 

So to get everyone caught up on what´s been going on this past week...

In the area we had another baptism! Alberto Cuero who is a neighbor of one of the recent converts got baptized yesterday! He has been progressing really quickly over the past couple of weeks and making a lot of changes in his life. He really started to progress when he saw the change in the life of Marta who got baptized a few weeks ago. He saw what the gospel can do in someone´s life. It is like what happened to the lamanites when they saw the conversion of the anti-nephi-lehies. When after burying their weapons of war, they are attacked by the Lamanites and basically give up their lives rather than pick up their weapons of rebellion. 

"Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword—
 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done. (Alma 24:23-24)

It was a great baptismal service as well. President and Sister Prince had the chance to attend and a lot of the members came to support. We have noticed a huge increase in the excitement of the ward lately. It had been a while since they had seen new converts and now with all that there have been lately, they are recognizing the fruit of their labor and are getting a good grasp of the Spirit that is felt in a ward who is committed to missionary work. 

One investigator we have been working a lot with is named María Eugenia, she is the sister of Marta who is the convert from a few weeks ago. She has been having a lot of trouble getting over the fact that if she gets baptized she will "belong" to a church and no longer have a certain freedom or liberty. She is one of the most converted investigators I have ever had, she fulfills all of the commitments with ease and has recognized a ton of spiritual witnesses. 

We had a lesson the other day while on a division with the ZLs where we taught how being baptized is like being set free instead of being tied down as she thinks. 
"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Nephi 2:27)
I love this scripture because it shows that we are free to choose what we want, to be happy and free through obedience, or miserable and captive through choosing sin. We taught that our sins are what keep us tied down, and only by accepting Christ through baptism can we be freed. She is at the door of a new life and a new path that will surely lead to eternal life but in order to enter we have to be baptized by proper authority. We left her a commitment to go to church with a question or specific doubt and to look for the answer at church. 

We have also been finding a ton of new investigators as well, mostly because of all of the great and excited members. We have had a ton of time to proselyte this week because the Prince´s were in Peru this past week and because there are no zone conferences or interviews this month. So we have been doing divisions a ton! 

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I somehow manage to forget my camera every Saturday. I will have to send a good 20 next week!

And I wish you all could see how crazy Colombia is during the World Cup, it is like the U.S. during the Super Bowl but like 10 times worse. EVERYWHERE you look there is a yellow jersey and people screaming like crazy. You always know when Colombia scores a goal for the annoying horns that go off and the bells and I don't know what else haha. Also because of the guy who screams GOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, COLOOMBIAAAAA! haha

The mission is getting ready for the Prince´s departure, they only have 13 days left. President is getting pretty sad to leave the country he loves so much. I am also getting really sad to say to goodbye to President, but also excited to see how the new commander in chief does things. 

Anyways that's just about it! HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD! Love you! Thanks for all that you have done and do for me!

Que disfruten la semana que viene! Viva Colombia! 

Elder Eliason 

"I feel great where I am right now in my mission! It is the time where I have felt I have done the most."

We take all new missionaries up to the Cristo Rey statue when they first arrive. 

The view from the Cristo Rey is awesome

June 2014 Leadership Council

Hey Familia!

Wow what a week huh?? Graduation looked just fantastic... I really wish we would have gotten the opportunity to graduate in the American Airlines Center, haha! North Texas was great at the time but now I see what could have been! Cody and Christeen also look great but that shirt Cody had on..... not quite so sure haha. It is crazy how the time flies, no? I have said this before but it feels like just a few months ago I was graduating from good ole' Allen High! A few deja vu moments have definitely happened viewing those great pics dad sent me! 

Anyway so we have just passed through the busiest week I have had since coming here to Cali. Monday was a pretty crazy day planning for the whole week and getting all the details set up. Tuesday was just as crazy with the new missionaries arriving and getting them all through their first day adventures. Wednesday was transfer day, and what with it being the last transfer with President Prince, there were a TON. We even had a few troubles with the security in the Cali Terminal of buses because there were so many missionaries and bags and what not blocking the way. It took a good 2 hours to get everyone where they needed to go haha. Then we had to go back to the training of the new missionaries and also of the trainers, and we had to fly because we got out a little late from the terminal. 

This was the first time I got to be in the training for the trainers because usually one AP is with the new missionaries and the other is with the trainers until they all come together. It was really great, I remembered the feelings of when I was first called to train. It was fun sharing all of the things I learned from that experience. After the joint training with the new missionaries we went up to the mission home to discuss final plans for the leadership council with President. 

On Thursday was the Leadership Council, and for President's last council we decided to set one last mission goal for June. We also shared a few things about becoming a Preach My Gospel (PMG) missionary, based on the talk by Elder Bednar. And at the end, President decided to share a scriptural lesson with us about the Atonement of Christ. He left his testimony on the Work and then invited everyone of us to bear ours as well. It was a very special moment that I will always treasure, the power that is felt when pure testimony is shared. 

Yesterday we had a pretty normal day, working in the area and getting ready for the baptism and activity that will be going on tonight in the chapel! We are very excited for what is happening right now in the area, it was a little hard to find time this week but the good members were able to help us out a lot. 

Well I guess that is it! I feel great where I am right now in my mission! It is the time where I have felt I have done the most. Before the mission I had no idea how much could be done with the time that one has! I think that is why I am most grateful for the leadership opportunities I have been given. With more responsibilities comes more need for proper time management. The Lord really has taught me a lot in this time in the mission, I am so grateful for such an opportunity to stand for the Savior and teach His word to the people of Colombia. I'll never get tired of saying that.

Well I hope everyone has a great day! I hope everyone doesnt get into bad sleeping habits for the summer! haha 

Elder Eliason

"We are already preparing for President and Sister Prince´s departure."

Me and Cristiano Renaldo - people are going crazy down here with the World Cup

These are the "rich" house of Cali

Saying goodbye to Elder Aldunate.

My new comp's name is Elder Henao, he is from Medellín, Colombia and is the first Colombian I have had as a companion my whole mission!
Add caption

More baptisms!

Pretty cool edition of the Contamelo we did this past week to help the missionaries plan how to start their month on a good note!

Hiyaa! Hemos llegado otra vez al final del mes... increíble no?? 

First of all I would like to excuse myself for not writing these past few weeks! I think Mom had to face her two worst fears these past weeks... flying and not hearing from her missionary haha. What happened was these past two Saturdays we had zone conferences in cities outside of Cali, and when we got back we had baptisms, so there was no possible chance to write.

So I'll try to get you all caught up with the time that I have...

Well I'm sure you all know via the Hermana Prince blog that I have a new companion! Yes Elder Aldunate left last week and wow was that really sad, he has been one of my really good friends here in the mish and it seems like just about all of my good friends are now home! My new comp's name is Elder Henao, he is from Medellín, Colombia and is the first Colombian I have had as a companion my whole mission! He is just great, a boost of energy for just about anyone and brings a lot of maturity and experience to the work. 

We have been really blessed lately in our area, we have had baptisms every Saturday for the past 3 weeks and 2 more tonight! We are working just great with the members in our ward. The Lord has taught me a lot in my mission about how to work with members in order to share more effectively the Gospel. It's fun to go around handing out pamphlets and knocking doors all day long but I feel like when the people are prepared first by activites and member fellowship, they are more receptable to the Spirit and it´s teachings. Just like the parable of the sower we are not just throwing out seeds to dry ground, we prepare the soil first so that the seeds have a good place to grow! If only I would have figured this out earlier in my mission... haha. 

We are already preparing for President and Sister Prince´s departure.. we have gotten the opportunity to speak with the new mission president and his wife through Skype and let me tell you they are super excited to come to Cali. They are from Uruguay and a little fun fact is that the new president is the former stake president of my former comp Elder Menendez. I am sure Elder Menendez has told him all about Cali and what to expect when they get here. It has been a little sad though just because this past round of zone conferences was the last time President will see a lot of his missionaries and let´s just say he is taking it a little hard. It will be interesting to be able to see the change of the guard when the new commander in chief gets here! 

This next week will sure be a little crazy, we have 9 new missionaries getting here on Tuesday and that means the trip up to Cristo Rey, taking them to see a baptism, interviews with President and teaching them the geography of the mission. We have transfers on Wednesday along with the initial training of the new missionaries and the training of their trainers, that is always a hectic day, and then to top it all off we have the leadership council on Thursday, the last that President Prince will be a part of. 

So that is a brief update on whats going on here, glad to see Mom´s flight went okay! I was praying for her and I think the answer to that prayer was Hunter who had the Christ-like act of the day on the plane! I am happy that Mom gets an opportunity to be with Grandma, I treasure the last moment I was with Gpa and Gma Ford, right before heading into the MTC receiving such great support and comfort from them. 

I just want to say that I know God´s plan is true, everything will be okay in the end. All of our anguish of soul and sadness through hardships and trials we face in this life will be overcome with the joy of having an eternal family thanks to the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the knowledge of this plan and for all the time I have had to teach it here in Colombia. I hope Grandma knows I love her and think about her a lot. Send her my love while I finish the work to which I have been called here in Colombia! 

I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Eliason