Cody portrait

Cody portrait

Thursday, September 30, 2010

6 More Weeks In Wythenshawe!

Hiya Hiya!!

I have received so many letters these past two weeks! and every time they give me a lift...I feel like a champ for the rest of the day. You all are amazing.  And I am writing back as soon as I can.

Im sorry this is coming late. I forget to tell you that this week is transfers and our P-Day is on Wednesday this week... But great news! Elder Moss and I will be going round 2 here in Wythenshawe! Another 6 weeks it is...

Wow. It has been 6 weeks. It blows my mind to see how fast it has gone. Reflecting back, It feels like yesterday that I left for the airport. But I sure am loving it here in England. I'm finally being able to understand everybody and their accents. Now it is sounds familiar and I dont even notice. Actually, we have this American family that is in the ward and every time I talk to them I notice their strong Utah accent...speaking of the accent... Everyone loves the American accent here. Kids of all ages come up to us and ask us " you have the time?" just so they can here our accents. It's weird and hilarious. I've told the time to half of Wythenshawe!

But anyways, I have also seen the growth in myself! My scriptural knowledge grows daily. I've gained a great love for study time! There is such power in the scriptures! And with no distractions, I get to fully dive in and get the most out of the time.

Lately most of our Investigators have been African. They are amazing...and then break your heart. We will GQ them on the street and be like "Whats most important to you?" They usually say "God and my salvation..." Elder Moss and I just sit with our mouths open and are like "Woahh......." We are so amazed every time because of the other harsh answers we get on the street...we'll just leave it at that (haha). Then they want to have us over every day! We teach them many times and then they just vanish. They lose contact and lose interest.  Its so hard!

A nearby town of Withington has now opened up for school, some 10,000 students poured into the condensed town this past week. Its becaouse of Manchester University starting up. (50,000 students attend - biggest in Europe). So now we go up there all the time, and students love to talk to us.

We even had a referral up in Withington and went to deliver a Book of Mormon. The student who was supposed to receive it didn't want it but the student who answered the door eventually let us in to teach him. Wow. It was a great lesson.. Daniel (the first referrral guy) eventually came down and loved it.  It's amazing to see the spirit work on people, and people just change. And their desire just grows!

Yesterday we had Training Camp, which is where all the Elders that have finished their first transfer come in and get trained. It was so good to see them all again! We even had my MTC companion Elder Whited, and a couple others stay with us last night in our flat.. aka.. the Mission Hotel. We have like 3 extra rooms, and 5 sinks...because it used to be a dental surgery building.

Lastly, I just love being here and feel so strongly about this gospel! The greatest part about this missionary work is that we as missionaries do not convert or convince people to do anything. We are called to be instruments in the Lord's hands! To work hard and always deliver a simple and clear message so that the spirit can bear witness to them! It's so great to see it unfold.
I continue to press on with faith and look forward to what the Lord has in store for me in this next transfer!

Elder Eliason 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Clean Flat = Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownies

Dear Parents,

During the past couple of weeks, we visited all 61 flats (apartments) in the mission and are happy to report that they were clean and in good order.  For their efforts, we gave every companionship a large box of four Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate brownie mixes.  Our missionaries all have comfortable living conditions located in good neighborhoods.  If we ever feel that they are located in areas of concern, they are moved to a better place.      

Inspecting each flat was only a minor reason for the visit, the real purpose was to see the missionaries in their natural environments and feel of their spirits in the areas where they work.  During our visit, we talked about many things including their progressing investigators, nightly planning sessions and companionship study.  We then had them role play teaching us a lesson and while we see our missionaries teach often, we were once again impressed with the quality of their teaching skills and more importantly, the spirit by which they taught.  Before leaving, we held a  kneeling prayer and left a blessing on each missionary, their areas and their flats. 

Attached you will find a picture of your son with his companion and with us during the flat visit.  We thank you for raising such a fine son and for sending them to the mission prepared to serve.  The England Manchester Mission is doing well and we have been abundantly blessed because of the faithfulness, obedience and diligence of our missionaries.  We love them and are grateful to be serving with them.

Warm regards,

President and Sister Bullock
England Manchester Mission   

Thanks for the brownies President and Sister Bullock!

With first companion and trainer Elder Moss.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Power of Testimony

My Dearest Family!

Its so great to send off another email! If I had the time I would type for days from the many things Ive for the highlights.

Well, I'm continuing to love this area of Wyhtenshawe! Just the aspect of being a "real" missionary still hits me everyday. I have already learned so much and continue to learn from such great materials given to us. Elder Moss continues to be a unbelievable guide and instructing me on the importance of becoming a sacred missionary. I am truly grateful for the opportunity I have to spend with him! We are now working with great flow and unity in the lessons and on the street.  It's something that we have worked hard at and it seems to be paying off!

We were blessed with an amazing "finding" week here in Wythenshawe.  We had 104 "Quality Gospel Conversations" with 23 appointments, which is 29 QGC's over the mission standard and many over our goal! We talk to EVERYBODY, and it seems to be paying off...

We have been teaching all over the place...bedrooms, park benches, next to highways, the floor, etc.  And every time we teach the spirit is felt.  Even when cars are rushing by... just amazing to witness!

Our flat was inspected this past week by President and Sister Bullock.  It took us 4 hours of hands on cleaning to prepare (the fault of the missionaries before us of course:))  But we indeed made it look nice. Our reward was a 5 pound bag of Ghiradelli brownies. I'm set for the next 14 months of my mission.

We also had the surprise of teaching them. How great that was! Even though scared out of my mind I think it went well. Our role-plays are paying off. But what a great example they are! They are amazing people. He runs this mission with such poise and structure. We are truly blessed here in the England Manchester Mission (EMM).

One thing I learned this week was the power of testimony. While reading in my personal study it became a reoccurring topic. I loved looking in to it, especially in (Jacob 7: 7-15) such a great example of how powerful a testimony can be. I know as I work to strengthen and build my testimony I will become a sharp tool in the Lord's hands!

This week we have had the chance to teach the "Doctrine of Christ" (2 Nephi 31) many times. Many members and less actives have loved the reminder of the basics. They continue to tell us how they can get caught up in the little things about the gospel, and how refreshing it really is to here the basic principles again.  I know that as we continue to emphasize the basic principles, that foundation can keep them going strong in the church! By always being able to resort back to their basic testimony of the simple truths from the Doctrine of Christ and Restoration!

One thing I also have found great joy in is bus contacting.  At first it was a fear and a nightmare.  But after studying the power statements, and just speaking to people over and over again, I have found a great love for getting to know people and help them know they are a child of God. One instance this week was when I was at the top of a bus and speaking to what seemed like 5 college kids at once. They seemed to jump in one by one, giving their own religious background.  All I really did was use a power statement, testify, and promise blessings. The basics. But it really got them thinking. It just goes to show how a simple testimony can get people thinking. It makes them ponder the soul searching questions!

Here's some assignments...

Dallin - your already on assignment....

Haley- Umm.. school? I need to hear how it is going...fill me in Bayla!

Conno- Lets go my man.. fill me in as well!


Elder Eliason

Monday, September 13, 2010

Importance of Exact Obedience

Dearest Family!

Another uplifting week here in Wythenshawe!  Thank you so much for the cookies and card! I got such a lift from the card and pictures!

The weeks are speeding up.  Its ridiculous.  I was at this computer it seems yesterday.  But then when I think about the entire week,  I realize how much we have done! Always working makes time fly.

I had my very first Zone Conference this past week. WOW. Such an amazing event put on by the leadership of the mission. First off, President and Sister Bullock are unbelievable. They speak with such power and love.  Everything they say makes you want to run outside and start finding people.  Zone Conference (ZC) gave me such a drive and passion for the people and mission.  They do such a great job of explaining the essentials of becoming the missionary I want to be.

Elder Moss and I were joking before it started about how in his first ZC he had to give the opening prayer and give a talk. I knew that surely wasn't going to happen to me. Well, right when we walked in and sat down, one of the AP's asked me to give the opening prayer. So, opening prayer...check.

After getting over that hurdle, President asked me to speak. So talk? check. Like Father like Son. (Trainer like Greenie). The way they pick who talks is drawing from a hat basically.  Well after they had drawn all of the speakers, the President wanted a new missionary to give a talk. Luckily, I got that opportunity. I know I say that sarcastically, but it really turned into an amazing experience. I was, as you can imagine, petrified to stand up in front of all of those seasoned missionaries and talk about 'Exact Obedience'. Well, on the stand I said a quick prayer of comfort.  Right when I stood in front of everybody I was so calm and collected.  I was able to get all of my points across and just bear testimony to the blessings I had seen from being exactly obedient. (I even shared the scripture and story of Heritage Tours...Alma 57:21)  It was such a powerful moment for me, and my testimony.

This week I also saw my first person finally be dated for baptism. One of our investigators, Abbey.  He showed up and loved his first time at church. We have seen much success when it comes to finding new investigators. Our downfall is getting return appointments. So many times people would feel the spirit, and still deny to see us again.  I've reminded myself that it is because of their agency, and we don't "convince" anyone. Ultimately the choice is theirs. Something I will work on this week is how I can apply ways to make the "chance" less.  I will teach with such simplicity that they will understand all of what we teach, and can ultimately make a better decision.

I lately have come to LOVE quotes. Such profound lessons and teachings can come from so few words.

My favorite lately has been "Pull up your socks, and go to work" - Elder Holland

So simple, yet profound...I wake up, and go to work...because I love the people, because I want to change lives, because I want them to feel what I feel, because they need to know that they are a child of god!

I love this work, and am enjoying every single day!

Elder Eliason   

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Each of the missionaries currently serving from our ward have a plaque that is displayed just outside of the bishop's office. Cody's went up on the wall on Sunday!

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Love This Work!

Hiya Family!!

Hiya is how they say hello here in England.  Just one of the many culture shock differences!

Well, It has been another great week here in Wythenshawe.  A big week for my growth as a missionary. Lessons are running smoother, everything is becoming more familiar, and the no phone is finally becoming easier as well. Oh, and the waking up is becoming easier. (Who would've thought).

But I am really enjoying this great time.  The first couple days were, "When does this end" ... to now when its more like "2 years of this is easy" ... Its turned into that because of my overall understanding of being a missionary. This isn't "My" mission. Its not "My" time.  Its the "Lords" mission, and His time.  I'm just trying to follow his lead and teach the people he leads me to!

This week I have also learned the great importance of keeping a journal, and study journal.  Every single missionary that is leaving tells me one thing to learn... "Write in your journal." So I guess it must be important.  But I can say I have lived up to that, I'm on course to keep it up... I also learned how important a through study journal is... to write and record what I have learned relating to the gospel. 3 Nephi 23: 11-13 really explains it well. It's important to write down what happens to us and what we learn because it shows the Lord that what we experience is important. I know if I show my gratitude by recording what I have learned the lord will continue to bless me with more spiritual experiences!

This week I also had an experience that I will remember for a long time. A woman in our ward was struggling, and needed a priesthood blessing. Elder Moss and I quickly headed over to help as we could.  While we were there Elder Moss spoke and used scriptures to help with her need. I stood in the background not knowing how to help this woman. I felt a little inadequate to use scriptures or personal stories.
Well, Elder Moss asked who she would want to give the blessing. Surprisingly, she picked me. The one that only muttered a few words. This was my first priesthood blessing I had given. I wasn't confident in my ability, but I had this undeniable feeling that it had nothing to with me.  All I had to do was to listen and speak as the spirit directed. I have only a slight remembrance of what was said.  More importantly, I do remember what I felt. I felt as I was nothing. The Lord was truly working through me that entire time.  It was a feeling that I will never forget, and hold dear the rest of my life.

Well, in a lighter note this week at Sacrament was quite interesting. We had our first fast and testimony meeting since my time here. It has now become one of the most tense times. We had this "single" sweet old lady stand up and ask all the single adults to raise their hands. But the best part is the gospel principles class.  Its the class with all the recent converts and investigators. So the only ones with church backgrounds are the missionaries. So the class often turns into an argument, or a tangent about something or another. While I get alot of humor out of it some Sundays, the Sundays when we have investigators there becomes the most tense hour of my life...haha. 

But finally, I love this work! The spiritual experiences, and joys are everywhere when I stop and take a look. I'm still far far off of what I want to become as a missionary, but I am starting to see what it will take to get there!

Love you all dearly!

Elder Eliason

This is the flat in which we live...