Cody portrait

Cody portrait

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Month? Wow!

Hello Fam!

I know its Tuesday.. it was Bank Holiday yesterday, so we had no access to computers at the library...

Anyway... Wow, its been another unbelievable week here in Manchester... It seems to go by so fast! The people here are very interesting. Some love to talk to you, others would rather jump off the bus.  Nevertheless I'm beginning to learn the ropes and love the area and people of Wythenshawe.

This week started with an exchange with the Zone Leaders.  I had the privilege to go and stay with Elder Driscoll in Stretford.  Outside their window was the skyline of Manchester City.  It was a sight to see... But I learned so much just on those short to days. Mostly on finding, how to be myself, put my own spin on things.  Loud, Proud, and slow! Elder Driscoll reminds me a lot of myself. He came on the mission taking growing up in the LDS church for granted...and when he arrived, he came to know all that he had missed out on.

That is exactly how I feel... I got here and felt like the most underachieved missionary when it came to doctrine, and knowledge... and now all I want to do is read! Jesus The Christ, B.O.M, Our Heritage... I'd say my favorite thing has been personal study.  I learn so much every morning, and it is just a great time to re-dedicate myself to the work.

This last Sunday, we as missionaries (the six that are in our ward), announced the mission plan for the ward.  The ward received new pass along cards and we shared how they could use them.  Elder Moss spoke in Sacrament, and wow, what an amazing Elder he is.  He's been out 6 months, and already has this power and sound knowledge of the gospel. And more importantly why he's here on a mission. Such a great example to me.

Speaking of Elder Moss... Our relationship has grown so much. He reminds me so much of Jordy. Like they must be twins.  He's 6'4, from Chicago, and a basketball die hard.  and makes me laugh constantly.

We also have seen our share of miracles this week... We have 3 (Gladstone, Geoff, Abbey) investigators that we are currently teaching, one was a best friend of one of the investigators, that just happened to come over... Every time we teach a lesson, I get this lift just from the joy that it brings them. It is the greatest feeling.

This past week we have just seen people "fall into out lap." And I know that is not without reason.  Elder Moss and I strive to do everything with exactness and keep all the laws of the mission.  Through doing so and enduring the bumps in the road, we receive those wonderful people to teach... Its been a real testimony builder for me in that it really is only after the trial of your faith, do the blessings come.  Obedience breeds miracles!!!!

Regarding the traffic light incident...haha... Who knew they would have "HD" cameras at a traffic light in Arlington? Someone must have been distracting me, I don't really remember...

Elder Eliason

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wythenshawe it is!!

Dear Family!!!

Wow, it has been a crazy week. I wish I knew where to begin...

We awoke and headed down to the mission home just last Wednesday.  We were picked up by the AP's and a coach bus.  I wish i could explain how I was feeling.. we'll for one it was 6:00 in the morning, so of course I wasn't all there mentally (Dad and Dallin know what I mean)...but I was all there emotionally. I was feeling excited about this finally beginning. Scared of the unknown, if I would like my companion.  Nervous of having to teach a lesson right a-way...I would sum it all up with overwhelmed..but excited.

We arrived at the mission home to a greeting from the mission president, and his wife.  We took a picture (Im sure you have seen it)..(why we took one at 6:30 in the morning, I dont know) haha.  But It was so great to see them.  We started with them introducing their family, and showing some slideshows..  We then  had the chance to view President's huge board of all the missionaries, and the area.  My picture was in the corner waiting for a spot to put. It was a surreal moment to me, and hit me then that Im actually here.  

We then went over the mission binder, rules, with the President.  He's an unbelievable man with a real desire for missionary work. We also had the chance to have a testimony meeting.  Sort of, our arriving testimony.  It was incredible,  its such a blessing to have such great missionaries here to serve with.  Everyone's here for the right reason, and it showed powerfully.

After a 5-7 minute interview with the president, we headed off to the Manchester South Stake Centre.  All of us greenies showed up together to the sound of all the Manchester missionaries singing LOUD hymns lined up down a hallway.  A SKINNY hallway, that seemed to go for days.  I felt like I was getting sized up as I walked down the "gauntlet". It felt like the first day of High School again, and we were the little freshman kids walking in..haha. But it was a great welcoming nontheless... we got right down to business as we sat on the stage as President Bullock would call us up one by one, we would give where we are from, and name.  

My turn came up..introduced where I was from as proudly as I would let myself... Then he announced I would be staying in the area, and same building.  "Manchester South, Wynthenshawe area..with Elder Moss from Naperville, Illinois." He's been out for six months, and attended Utah State before coming.       

This first week has been amazing. Elder Moss and I are settling in very well together, in all aspects of being companions.  We have already become great friends, and continue to grow each day!  Elder Moss is just what I needed as a trainer.  He is compassionate in this work, and conveys very well the different aspects of becoming a missionary.  Elder Moss is leading by example, and I'm doing my best to follow his lead.  He has such a powerful spirit, that I have felt since day one. I even found out that he was best friends with Jake Humphries in Pennsylvania. How crazy. Someone needs to tell Jake! 

Our flat is huge compared to others in the mission apparently.. its the mission "Hotel". Because its where missionaries stay before they go home.. But it works out for us.. because when they are not here, we get it all to ourselves! 

This area/all of England has such a cool feel to it.. I can get used to this place...But I had my first Church Meeting in a real building since being home.  It was weird but so great.. We have six total missionaries in our ward.. and three new ones.  We all had the chance to get up and share our testimony.  I shared D&C 84:87-88.. since it has become my favorite scripture as of late. 

But all in all...The first few days were frustrating.  I was struggling especially in street contacting.  After being denied many many times, I felt like I wasn't doing it right, and would find myself getting stumped, and discouraged.  Elder Moss and I continued to push through and learn the power statements.  At the end of the week, I found myself becoming much more comfortable doing bus contacting, and street contacting.  I think I just needed that confidence in myself.  Its become an amazing turn around, and I'm beginning to see the simple joys of this work!  

Yesterday Elder Moss and I experienced my first "miracle".  On our way home from a lesson, we found our self one QGC or "quality gospel convesration" (you have to 1.testify, 2.invite, 3.Ask a meaningful question to count it.) short of the weekly mission standard of 70.  It was late, and nobody seemed to be around. We were literally 5 minutes from home, when we found a man named Simon.  We had a great flow of conversation and testimony, which ultimately led to us setting up an appointment. At that moment, I felt for as surety that Simon was delivered to us, to answer our prayer to reach our goal.  I know that was because of our faith, and our standard to always be exactly obedient. When we work hard, and with faith, the Lord provides.  Ive seen a simple example only one week in!  

I still have many many things that I need to improve on.  Elder Moss has played a huge role in setting an example, and helping me form achievable goals.  Goals that daily help me improve and become more comfortable in this new environment. 

Love and Miss you all!

Elder Eliason

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Letter from Mission President --- Meets Trainer

Dear Parents,

Your son has arrived to the England Manchester Mission (EMM) safe and ready to go to work as a missionary.  We held a training session Wednesday morning where we covered many things including their mission finances, their first three month training schedule, becoming a “Sacred Missionary” and the EMM vision and guiding principles.  We concluded with a testimony meeting and afterwards Sister Bullock fed the group a warm hearty meal.  I held a personal interview with each missionary and we then transported them to the Manchester Stake Center where they were introduced to their first companion and trainer.

As parents, the most important thing you can do for your son is to be supportive and encouraging.  The first month or two can be challenging for a missionary with many adjustments in their life.  But it normally does not take long until they capture the full vision of their calling, gain a love for the people of the U.K. and get lost in the work.

Please be supportive of the church’s policy on communications which allows missionaries to send and receive emails only with family members which in addition to the immediate family includes grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Anyone not part of the family must communicate through letters.  Occasional efforts by some to circumvent this policy, such as family members forwarding personally directed emails from non-family members, are outside the spirit of this principle.

We often talk and train on the principle of “Becoming a Sacred Missionary.”  While it is good to be an Honorable Missionary, there is higher principle and that is becoming a Sacred Missionary.  This involves many things but it primarily is a commitment by the missionary to purify and sanctify their life and fully commit their heart and soul to their mission.   The happiest and most effective missionaries are those who limit thoughts of their pre-mission life, put the world behind them and get completely lost in the work of serving the Lord.  Your encouragement and support of this will help your son grow personally, gain a greater depth of spiritually and impact the lives of others.

Attached you will find a picture of your son  with Sister Bullock and me in front of the mission home and a picture of his first companion and trainer.  Sister Bullock and I have three sons who have served missions with another one currently in the Japan Tokyo Mission, so we fully understand the emotions and joys that you are going through right now.  Know that we love the missionaries in the England Manchester Mission and watch over them with care.  May the Lord bless you during this wonderful time of your life. With warm regards,

President Bullock

England Manchester Mission

Cody with his trainer Elder Moss from Naperville, Illinois

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let it Begin!

Hello Family!
We only have 10 minutes, so im going to brief! Im sorry I cant read any emails!
Im heading out tomorrow morning at 6:30! I'll be in the mission home shortly thereafter getting debriefed.  I will have a normal P-Day and more time to fully tell you about my final days here, and the start of my experience in the great land of Manchestaaa! (there are no R's in this British language).
But I do want you to know what a blessing it has been to be here!  Im going to miss these guys like crazy.  Because we have grown so much together...  My testimoney has been strengthened as I have come to know the work that is set out for me! Let this work move forward! As Joseph Smith said.. "Shall we not go forth in such great a cause!?!"
Elder Eliason

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 11, 2010 -- Part 2

Hello Family!!
This past week has been one I will remember for a long time.  Its the first week Ive felt settled in, and now I know everyone.  So its been alot easier to get through the day... The days go by so long but it feels like I was unpacking yesterday..but thats not to say im not enjoying my MTC experience! Im learning so much! I know everyone says that, but I reallty have learned alot through the english accent coming from teachers and leaders we have here.  My districts main teacher, Brother Graydon has been of most help to me.  He's been of his mission for only 3 years.. He has so many stories that can relate to what we are going through now, and what we will experiance during the mission..
We also had Elder Donaldson, of the Quorum of the 70 came and spoke to us. He gave a powerful talk about focusing on our mission and how we only get out what we put in... he surely got his message across well...Then this past sunday we had President and Sister Bullock (my mission president) come and speak to us.  How great it was to see them so soon! They gave talks about teaching with the spirit.. They are amazing people with great insight, and powerful testimonies! We even had the chance to eat lunch with them after..  We got to know a little bit more about them, and we got to introduce ourselves and talk about ourselves..They gave us a rundown on what was going to happen in the next couple of weeks.. It was such a blessing to have them here!
We as an MTC also had our first tracting experiance... they gave us train tickets, and we were off.. Before we left, I had confidence we were going to do well, and come back with so many referrals, we wouldnt know what to do.....haha...well that for sure didnt happen. 
When me and my companion got on the train we were terrified.  But somehow we managed to talk to a guy that was headed to texas.. so we had something in common.. the only problem was we didnt talk to him about the gospel.. only soccer, texas, and college.. 
Then we got to downtown and got about 30 no's in a row...and that was after we built up the confidence to actually talk to people.. Luckily we found (real) missionaries that were serving in manchester.. They took us on splits, and sort of showed us the ropes.. It showed me a whole other perspective..  
So after me and my companion got back together we started having some success.. but only for a few 2 minute conversations...until we saw this 18ish year old kid sitting down.. we felt like we had to talk to him.. Well, we just introduced oursleves as excited as we could.. and he seemed to enjoy us. We started right off by talking about his views on reliegion.  He was like a golden investigator..asking allthe right questions.. "yeah, ive always wondered what was going to happen after this life"
Well.. to make a story short, me and Elder Whited traded off bearing our testimonies on our love for the gospel and how much happiness it has brought to our lives.. It was an amzing experience.. with the spirit being overwhelming.. We got his details, and handed him a book of mormon.. he was so excited, and eager to learn. We later found out his full name is Anthony Joseph  He was like, "wow thats weird my middile name is jospeh and last name is smith" .. we couldnt belive it.
Also.... In about 2 hours we are going through our first of two endowment sessions at the temple..during our stay at the MTC!! so cool!
But time is running out again.. it gets the best of us here at the MTC.. just now I love you all so much!! and am loving every second of it!! 
Elder Eliason
ps...sorry for the spelling mom....

August 11, 2010 -- Part One

Gosh its so good to hear from all of you!! Can we just keep these emails going for the rest of my life?? at least through college.....haha.  but oh yeah!! my companion is Elder Whited from Ogden
And duh... basketball is getting dominated by me.. they call me "malone in the 90's"
Im so sorry I cant respond at full length to everybody! they only give us 30 minutes, which is barely enough time to just right my experiances... when i get in the field i can take alot longer.. so thats when i can answer all your burning MTC questions...haha.
Just know that my testimony has grown so much... especially my love for the scriptures! we listened to a devotional from the MTC by Elder Holland.. it was about "Dont you dare leave with a regret".. "simply...PULL UP YOUR SOCKS, and GO TO WORK!" WOW it was such a pwerful message, as it seems with everything we do.. I love this gospel, and love to see the work moving forward! ...Its such a blessing to be here with only 50 other guys.. we all feel so loved by the mission president and everyone else..This MTC is also such a gorgeous place!!!!
Elder Eliason

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10, 2010

We got the following letter today from Cody, written last Wednesday:

Well first off... I'm sorry you had to get like half an e-mail from me! They are very strict here about email time. Tell Haley, Dallin, and Connor I'm so sorry I couldn't respond! I don't even remember all the questions you asked. We were rushed so much and then I just had to start writing. But some things that I wasn't able to tell you about...

Just know that I am doing so good! I love learning more about missionary work every day! This place just gets you fired up to go out and share what you love! The only bad thing is we can't yet. I just want to get out of here and start! I would compare it to sitting in the bullpen, knowing you can play and just wanting to get in the game. But I guess we will get our little preview this Friday when we head into Manchester!

But that's not to say I'm some really "spiritual" wiz  now. I'm learning so much and my testimony is growing. But we are having so much fun too! We play basketball during exercise, and have a blast. Me and this kid Elder Bowlers are great friends. Feels like we have known each other forever. He's not the most athletic person in the world but is hilarious... we have our fun, and our spiritual time as well.
The spirit is unreal here at the MTC. Whenever we are watching a talk or bearing testimony, it's overwhelming. I just love it.

People say the first three months are the hardest part, and then it gets way better. If this is the worst part then I'm going to be alright. It's not too hard now. I found out the more time and effort you put in makes it a lot more worth it. If you have the mindset of complaining and thinking about home... it's just a drag to go on... but that doesn't go to say I don't miss and think about ALL of you! I want to be home chilling with you guys and swimming all day long... but this is my place to be, and I'm so grateful and excited for this opportunity!!!

Just be patient with me emailing and writing you. I will try and get out as much as I can.

Lastly... it's really weird and cool to be in another country. I'm already learning new words and about things they do here in England. I also have two German roommates, one that can speak English and one that can’t. I'm always asking questions about how they do what we do in Germany. It's fascinating to hear. They also have an amazing spirit about them... even though I can't understand them.

Just know that I know I'm in the right place and that I love this work!!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hello Family!!
It is so good to finally be able to communicate! I have so much to tell you but so little time with my slotted MTC time... Ill do the best I can..
Well where to start... I landed in Atlanta to find only one missionary "Elder Hughes" from Oklahoma in the Manchester terminal.  We waited for an hour, until the "Utah" crew showed up with about 30 missionaries.  Where are my other southern states representing at? oh well. we all managed to get to know each other pretty well.  Me and Elder Hughes hung together, and even had seats next to each other on the plane... 
After a never-ending flight, with weird food we landed in Manchester.  First thing we noticed....people driving on the wrong side of the road from the plane.  So weird.  Then we got a greeting from the terminal over the broadcast.  It was in a heavey british accent.  Thats when we knew we had arrived.  We were picked up in a coach bus and drove 30 minutes to The Missionary Training Centre (notice the "re") in Chorley.  
We got here, they tagged our bags, and quickly started getting us everything we needed. We had an interview with the president, Immunizations taken care of, and given all other MTC instructions..  It was a rush, to say the least.  In this session there are about 60 missionaries.. 45 from the states, and 15 from other countries. (mostly Germany).  We have 4 disctricts.  3 american. 1 german speaking.  
On the day we arrived, during free time I was called in by President Clegg.  He gave me the calling of being Distirct Leader of the Ammon District.  It surely was unsuspected.  But Im so greatful for the responsiblities! I have learned so much about myself and others, through this calling.... but this first week has been tough.  Waking up at 630 has been a little different from the norm, but im trying to love it.  
We have class most of the day, and go through teaching other companions to better our teaching skills.  5 months ago the church changed the way we are taught at the MTC.. they dont teach so much the lessons anymore.  They teach us how to teach the person. Mainly focusing on "Listening, and Asking Question" then teaching what lesson fits their need.  Its been great to start to get the feel of it.  
We are actually going down on the train into Manchester on Friday to go around and teach.  Just me and my companion.  The MTC here in England is the only MTC that does that.. pretty neat!  
Today we also had the chance to go around on a coach bus and view and learn about all the historical sites.  It was kind of a Heritage Tours: Part 2, just without Bro. E and the megaphone....but we went to the River Ribble, where the first baptisms where in England.  Then to Downham where Heber C. Kimball was alot! Alot of great things happened there.
But im being pushed out of the room. Im sorry I couldnt explain much
Elder Eliason