Cody portrait

Cody portrait

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goodbye Chester, Hello Salford!

Hello Family!

I am coming to you from a new area! I am now living in Salford, which

is in west Manchester. I am serving now as a Zone Leader of the
Manchester Zone with Elder Palmer from Sandy, Utah. He came out one
group before me and is a great missionary.

So the last couple of days have been filled with many good-bye's to

the great people of Chester. I was able to see Lorna, Barbara, Nicky
and company and many of the ward members. I will say that Chester is
a hard area to leave. Well, every area is hard to leave, but Chester
has a special place in my heart with all of the things that
happened there.  And being in a four-man flat made it that much
better. I was around Elder Hopper for 4 and a half months, and Elder
Thomas for 3. I also came to know the Chester Stake very well,
serving there for a total of 9 months. But now I am grateful for the
fresh start, and the new experiences that will come from my time here
in Salford.

I don't know much about the area that I am now in---I've been here for

about an hour. But it is exciting to be back in Manchester. Another
exciting thing from transfers is that Elder Eggers and Elder Fawcett
are now serving as Zone Leaders in Liverpool. One year ago at this
time, I headed to Liverpool and teamed up with Elder Fawcett, and then
a couple of months later Elder Eggers, and so my former companions
are now serving together in that same place... just now as Zone

There is not much else to report on...everything else was mentioned in

the Skype.

I will have pictures and a lot more to talk about this next Monday!


Elder Eliason

Highlights from Our Chat with Elder E

Monday, December 19, 2011

"It has been a crazy week, but one of the best I’ve had on my mission."

Doing the Haka (part 2) at the Christmas Party at the Mission Home

From left to right, Elder Rapata, Kirsty, Nicky and Mathew

Elder Cunningham came back from his AP duties to see Kirsty get baptized.

Hello Family!

It has been a crazy week, but one of the best I’ve had on my mission.

This past week Nicky, Mathew, and Kirsty all got baptized! 

We saw Kirsty three times before her baptism, and throughout the week she was filled with excitement for her baptism. She was making sure everything was taking care of, etc.. She is just someone that is so pro-active and outgoing. Through being so outgoing she has found herself fully involved in Institute and YSA activities, which is THE key to her lasting conversion. And it has all been her. We invited her the first time, and from then on she has been pro-active about getting there. She is such a great convert!

Now with Nicky and Mathew, I cannot begin to tell you how far they have come since we first met them. Nicky especially, has really blossomed over the past couple of weeks. She went from really shy, and reserved to being more confident every week. Nicky has been through many trials as she has grown up, and it is amazing to see the joy that she now expresses that has come through living the gospel. 

Nicky’s feelings about her baptism really showed, when she came up and asked me after church, “I want Catherine to be baptised, how do we make that happen?”

Catherine is her other child who lives with her Dad, but has been to church with her many times. The only problem has been that she is never there on weekdays so it is hard to teach her. But Nicky said that she would move some things around. With her request, last night we went up and taught Catherine and committed her to baptism in January. It was a memorable lesson with her because of the testimony of Nicky that she constantly was sharing to her daughter.    

These four people are very close to my heart. And seeing the three of them be baptised and confirmed this past week is the true joy of missionary work. It is very special and difficult to find words to explain.  

I think back to the dreams that I had as a new missionary. I wanted so badly to see people accept the message that we had. I wanted them to feel what I had felt, and know what I knew. Seeing that now come to pass in the lives of three individuals is truly a special experience. It was what I had envisioned as a new missionary. I am grateful that the Lord has placed me here at this time to be apart of their lives. The Lord is directing this work, and we are simply the tools. It is humbling to sit back and realize how the Lord has blessed this Chester area in the past couple of months. Truly remarkable.  
This week at church we had two new people come by the names of Stephanie and Chris.  They are a couple that we have been teaching for a couple of weeks, and actually street contacted whilst we were finding with President Preston a few weeks back. This Sunday was the Children's Nativity, and they really enjoyed the fellowship that they received.  They have great potential, and we will continue to see them!

Lorna is doing so well! I forget to write about her because she practically is a member.  We see her once a week, generally on a Sunday evening and she just explains what she has learned in the week. She is now becoming an expert on family history.

The training that Elder Rapata and I gave at the mission home was on “Loving others as the Saviour does.” It was my favourite of all that I have been apart of thus far. One of the main things that we focused on was this phrase:

I love you if...
I love you because...
I love you even though...

In regards to others, sometimes we may think I’ll love you if you do something for me, I’ll love you if your nice to me. I’ll love you if you get here on time, etc... We let the way they act towards us determine how we feel about them. 

Then others times we may say I love you because you made it here on time, I love you because you are always nice to me. love you because...It is still conditional upon what it is that you like about that person or what deed’s have been done to you.

Our mindset should be: I love you even may not set up an appointment with me. I love you even though you do not understand why we are here and slam the door...

It applies great to missionary work, but also to all relationships that we have. Even sports teams, Dad!

The way the Saviour loves is unconditional. There is not a contract or an ultimatum to the love that he has for each of us. He sees past our faults and desires us to love him and keep his commandments. Let us all recommit to love unconditionally and show it through our service to one another.

Our day in the mission home was one to remember. We did many things, skits, gift exchanges, and watched 17 Miracles (if you haven’t see it, wow, get it and watch it).
We all got a temple recommend holder, that is soooo English, and has our mission motto on the back. It is top-notch and a lifetime gift that I will cherish.  

We also had one of the best dinner’s I have ever had. See the thing is that over here they bring out their “Thanksgiving” cooking on Christmas. Sister Preston really impressed us with a proper English Christmas Dinner.

I will speak to you on Christmas Day, I will hopefully call around 3 or 4 England time.

Speak to you then!


Elder Eliason

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Spirit is in the air here in Chester!

Doing the Haka for Christmas program

Elder Rapata, the Kiwi

Singing Away in a Manger to the tune of "Come thou Font of Every Blessing.

This is our Beatles Abbey Road album cover shot (below)...except we are going the opposite direction

Howdy Family!

It is good to hear that the tree is up! The Christmas spirit is in the air here in Chester and it is making for a lot of fun.

Elder Hopper and I were on exchanges for the weekend, and we decided to carol whilst we tracted. It turned out to be a good idea, as we set an appointment with 5 people in under an hour’s time. It must be the southern accent...

Speaking of singing, this week we had our Ward Christmas Party. Nicky and Mathew, and Kirsty were able to come and enjoy a good time. All of us missionaries ended the night with “Away in a Manger” to the tune of “Come thou Fount”. I tell you, it's like we are on contract or something, because after singing in sacrament meeting we have been asked to sing in the Christmas Party, Primary Christmas Social, and the Christmas Carol Concert on Christmas Eve. I’m not complaining. It’s a great way to get “established” in the ward. 

At the Chirstmas Party we were also assigned by the Elders Quorum to come up with 5 minutes of “entertainment.” And as I told you last week we decided to bring out the Haka.  Let me just tell you it was a show stopper. Elder Rapata trained us well, and we performed! It was a lot of fun and the ward really enjoyed it. Nicky even said that we made a childhood dream come true. She is a big Rugby fan and has always wanted to see a live Haka. Well, dream accomplished… in a church celebrating Christmas time. Haha. We are doing round 2 in the mission home this Wednesday, as President has asked every companionship to prepare a skit for our “Christmas in the Mission Home.”   

We, being the Chester Zone will be going to the Mission Home for a Christmas Dinner, some “White Elephant” gift exchanges, a training that Elder Rapata and I will give, and whatever else President has planned. Should be fun.  


Nicky and Mathew are doing so good! They are all ready for their baptism this upcoming Saturday! Nicky has had such a big change in her countenance and is opening up so much to the ward. Mathew has just been her rock through the teaching process, as he has been determined to be baptised since our first lesson. 

Through reading the Book of Mormon and attending church every week since we started teaching her in September she has gained a testimony that what she is hearing is true. 

Kirsty is also on fire. She is ready and excited for her baptism this upcoming Saturday as well.  She has been going to all YSA activities, and has been so pro-active in everything... lessons, keeping commitments, etc. Since her experience of gaining a testimony of the reality of God she has just sailed through the teaching process. She is just so teachable and humble to the teachings.  

So as you can see, this could be quite the eventful weekend!  We are planning on having all three of them baptised at the same service.

This week I have pondered a lot over Alma 43:45-50

Such a great example of what leadership is all about. One can only think the words that Captain Moroni said to “inspire the hearts” of his soldiers. I would imagine him to be a powerful example that the soldiers all looked to and knew cared for them. We are all leaders in our own way, and what we do, people notice. You are always teaching through your example!

I'm sorry that I couldn’t spend as much time as I would like on this letter. Pictures take up quite a bit of time! 

Plan on Skype! That’s how I will call home on Christmas...

Love you all!

Elder Eliason

Monday, December 5, 2011

Failed Driver Test...Doing the Haka for Christmas Party

Hello Family!

I cannot believe it is December, but I am loving this time of year! The lights and the Christmas tree are up, and Josh Groban is on repeat...

So I can get the bad news out of the way… I failed my test, yep...failed. Why? Because I was going too slow. Yep I guess I was being a little too cautious? Who knew that could even happen. When I got there I found out I was being tested by the head honcho,“Wayne the Pain” as they call him (no joke). He was the one I went with, and he failed me with the reasons of “undue hesitation, and slow progress.” My instructor said it was a bogus way to fail a test and he hadn’t seen anything like it...haha. But it's all OK, I'm going to take it again in a couple of weeks.

As for the good news… well, everything else that has happened..

Yes!  I did see Sam last night at the mission home. She and some of the Chinese missionaries and about 12 Chinese either investigators or recent converts sang, “I Believe in Christ” and “As I have Loved You.” It was really good. You’ll have to call up Sam and have her do an encore.

To the fireside we took Nicky and Mathew. They have just really needed to hear the testimonies of other converts. And let me tell you what, it was the best mission home fireside I have been to yet. President had some recent converts share some testimonies, and then we had Elder Kerr of the Seventy speak to us. He is one of the most passionate people you would ever meet. He didn’t even need the microphone. He shared some powerful stories that were geared towards Nicky’s concerns. Afterward, in the car ride home she just kept saying home much she loved it.

At the fireside I not only saw Sam, but I saw many other people from Liverpool, and Wythenshawe that I haven’t seen in ages. It just takes you back to all the memories that you have from an area.  

On Tuesday we had Zone Conference up in Chorley. In the afternoon we were able to go through the temple. This was just after I had failed my driving test and I was still a bit agitated. But the temple just worked its magic and put that all in the backseat. I was able to leave that all outside and put things back into perspective. I don’t know if I was supposed to go through that so I could gain that understanding of what the temple can do or what, but I do know that whatever may be going on in our lives the temple can align our priorities and give us the confidence to tackle all things that the world throws at us. Even a driving test. Haha!

Chiorstadh or as I have said before “Kirsty”, (Yep that is how it is spelt, it’s Welsh) is firing on all cylinders.  This week we taught her twice, Law of Chastity, and Alma 47. She has been keeping all of her commitments, and went again to YSA this Tuesday. She came to church and loved it. And even invited her friend and sister to come along. Although they didn’t accept, she is already exemplifying the member-missionary purpose, which is to “invite” others to partake in the gospel. How is your missionary work going during this Christmas season? 

We are having a Tea with her at a members home where there are two YSA in the family, and after that we are watching “Prophet of the Restoration.”  Cannot wait!

This week I was on two exchanges and whilst I was in Wrexham I was able to teach Mary, who is a Chinese YSA investigator that they have been teaching for a couple weeks and has been coming to church. The great thing about Mary is that I street contacted her the last time I was in Wrexham! It was so great to see her, and she remembered me so well. She even thanked me for stopping her that day. Oh what a blessing it is to see the fruits of your labours! We had such a powerful lesson, and she even accepted a baptismal date. She had been describing the feelings she had been having whilst coming to church and praying, and so we showed her where those feelings come from. We used Helaman 5: 30, 45-47 to let the Book of Mormon do the teaching and help her understand that those feelings come from the Holy Ghost. You could tell that it had touched her, and so we then extended a date, and that is when she said I know it’s right, and accepted. 

Everything else is going very well!

This week we have our ward Christmas party. We have been assigned to be the “Half-Time show” of sorts. We are doing the Haka...Enough said…

Have a great week!


Elder Eliason
I would of had some pictures for ya'll, but the Library has lost the card week!

Monday, November 28, 2011

"How grateful I am to be able to share these simple truths."

Hello Family!

First off,  talk about a blind-side email! Dallin is life-flighted on a vacation in St. George. Haha, what?!? I'm glad to hear that everything is ok. Thank you for the pictures uncle Paul! I’m glad I wasn’t the one to tell mom...   

Well, we indeed celebrated Thanksgiving this past week. The other set of missionaries and ourselves were invited over to the Worthington's home for a first time celebration of that glorious day. Sister Worthington emailed one of her friends from America and asked for many Thanksgiving ideas. They were all put to the test, and I can tell you it was a great meal. We were very grateful top the Worthingtons in helping us have a Thanksgiving. They enjoyed how we would go around the table saying what we were grateful for, and for the idea of cornbread. (not heard of around these parts)
This past week we had our Zone Leader Council, and as always it was great to see all the buddies: Elder Moss, Elder Cunningham, Elder Fawcett (new ZL...trained him in Liverpool) Elder Hughes (from Oklahoma, first person I met in the airport) and many others that I have become good friends with. 
Kirsty accepted to be baptised on the 17th of December! We had a lesson on “Questions of the Soul” and found answers in the Book of Mormon. A testimony of the Book of Mormon is what we have been working towards for awhile now, and as we taught this lesson we asked, “Do you believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God?” The answer to that question has repeatedly been “I don’t know” until this past week, she finally answered a resounding “Yes, I do.”
We then had to figure how. And so we asked and she explained herself by telling us how her prayers had been answered. She related to us feeling a peace and warmth after praying. She went on to say how she now believes in a God, and knows that he answers prayers. 
I cannot explain how those moments the room it was just calm, and you could feel a confirmation of what she was saying. I know that this conversion process she has been going through, has come through her desire to know truth, and her diligence in reading the Book of Mormon.  
Bianca was able to attend a Relief Society activity this past week, and there was able to create a lot of new friendships. The Relief Society has really taken her under their wing and has helped her out tremendously in terms of making her an established member of the ward. 
She was also able to meet with Bishop to finalize wedding plans for January.
Nicky and Mathew are still moving along. Mathew really wants to be baptised, but Nicky is still cautious.  The ward has been a great help with them as well. The Wilcox family had her and Mathew over for Dinner last night without us even knowing! I honestly cannot say enough about how great the Chester Ward is. They are just all go for missionary work. 
I told you about the musical item that we were preparing for. Well, it went through and apparently it didn’t sound too bad. How do we know? We have been signed up for the Christmas Carol concert.
This week we have been teaching many Chester University students. And the doctrine that we keep hitting is the “purpose of life.” I would have to say that 90% of the students we meet on the street do not believe in God, or are agnostic. They give the glory to science and pure chance rather than point to a divine origin. This has given me a chance to think about that very subject-- the purpose of life. Scriptures that I have been reviewing have been from Alma 34. It speaks of how this life is a preparatory state, a time to repent.
I know that there is purpose to our lives, and that there is a meaning to our existence. We each are sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us. And we have been given the opportunity to become like Him.  We have the gift of free will and the light of Christ. Through our righteous actions and keeping commandments we come to know God more completely. With this knowledge that we gain, the answers to life great questions begin to be unraveled. We start to understand why we go through hard times and see the errors that are in the world. 
But I would say more importantly, we start to see our need for Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice in our lives. We see that it is only through Him that “real” happiness can be achieved. 
As I have been on my mission, I have come to realize these things in more clarity. How grateful I am to be able to share these simple truths.
This upcoming week is a big one. On Tuesday I have my driving test, and we are having a Christmas Zone Conference up at the Temple with Elder Donaldson.
Have a great week!
Elder Eliason

Monday, November 21, 2011

Teaching with the Mission President

Saying goodbye to Elder Cunningham

Our sweet ride, the Opel Meriva

Tena Kotou!

E pehea ana koe?! 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! This week we are showing these Europeans what it is all about. A family in the ward has already booked all four of us down for Thursday to celebrate. Time to break out the pigskin and to find anyone who will sell pumpkin pie…

The past four days have been quite eventful. Elder Rapata is starting to get a hang of the Opel Meriva (our car that is pictured above) and the “manual” capabilities. With him coming from New Zealand he only had to send in his NZ license and they sent him a British one.    

Speaking of eventful... On Thursday night we got a call from the Assistants (Elder Cunningham) saying that we had to be at the Mission home the next day at 10 in the morning. We were to pick up President Preston and take him back to Chester with us to take him teaching and street contacting. Yes, like our Mission President...President Preston. Haha.

When President Kopiscke came to the mission he had each of us set a goal for baptisms by the end of the year per companionship. It was a very inspiring and revelatory experience we had with him while he was here. And afterwards he promised us that he would do everything in his power to help us with our goals. And so he lived up to his promise. He was in Manchester to reorganize a stake and asked President Preston to set up some people for him to teach. With that President Preston and Elder Kerr (an Area Seventy from Scotland) joined in with him and headed out with missionaries for the day to help in any way that they could.

So at 9 am Friday morning we headed up to Manchester to meet up with the President. When we got there it was just us, the Assistants and the Manchester Zone Leaders. When President Kopiscke and Elder Kerr arrived it was straight to work. They said their greetings, we said a prayer and headed out. Each of them going with a different companionship. 

So in our car we took President Preston back with us to teach some of our investigators. I cannot tell you how great of an experience that was! For 5 hours we got to pick his brain on many things about the gospel and see him in action working with investigators. 

We first went up to Flint to see Nicky but we got there a little early, so we got to do a little street contacting and tracting. Whilst street contacting we even met a woman that knew him! She and her mom had investigated the church some time ago, and still remembered him! President Preston asked her if we could come over and she happily accepted. How about that, an on-the-spot lesson with your mission president? Haha. I’ll just say it was a unique experience..

Afterwards we taught a really good lesson to Nicky, and helped her to be more at ease with Tithing. She also wasn’t feeling well, and President asked if she would like a blessing. She agreed.

We then headed over to Kirsty and taught her about prayer. It also was a very effective lesson, that helped her to understand how we cannot know spiritual truths without prayer. 

I learned a lot from teaching with President. He taught me the importance of ministering to the individual. By example, he was able to show absolute interest in every person we came upon.

Afterwards, he talked to me and Elder Rapata about that very principle, and related it to being Zone Leaders. He said that leaders need to focus less on administering, and more on ministering to the individual. As leaders we are not to just over-see and “manage.” We are leaders to lift and inspire individuals to become their potential. 

We then took him home, he invited us in to make some lunch and chat some more, then we were out and headed back to Chester! What a day!

We saw Lorna this week for the first time in a week or so. It’s hard to book ourselves in with all the visits she and Sister Hill are getting. Bishop and his family went up for FHE on Monday, our WML (Ward Mission Leader) went up on Tuesday, and a Sister from the ward was up Wednesday to teach her about family history. Then on Saturday she headed to the Preston Temple to do baptisms! And let me tell you she just loved it! Come Sunday Morning she was just so excited to tell me all about her week, and temple trip. 

Later on in the day went up and taught her, and again talked about her experience. I’ll say that I’m pretty lucky to be in the situation that I am. Usually after you baptize someone, you are out of the area before temple trips, and post-baptism lessons start. Well, that is what it has been like for my mission. 

But now, I get to see Lorna continue to learn and grow in the gospel. It is the most rewarding thing I know of! She is just doing so well!  She honestly is such a strong addition to the Chester Ward.

As for this week we have Zone Leader Council tomorrow, which is always a highlight. And then on Sunday us four missionaries have the musical item. Thank you Elder Hopper...

Around this Thanksgiving time, I just want to say how thankful I am for all you! For the support and the prayers and all things that you do for me. It is such a blessing to have such wonderful people apart of my life. Know that I love you all!


Elder Eliason

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome Elder Rapata from New Zealand!

Kia Ora Whanau!

That is “hello family” in Maori, for the sake of my new companion from New Zealand.  After transfers I am still serving in Chester, and now with Elder Rapata from Auckland, New Zealand.
Elder Rapata and I came out together, and were even in the same district in the MTC. We have long been wanting to serve together. He’s a very talented missionary, a hard worker, and knows the Haka. What more could you want...
Elder Cunningham has since left and gone to the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward up in Manchester. It has been different with him not being around, knowing we have now spent 4 and a half months together in the past year. 
As for everything else... the work is going great, and the temps are starting to drop. It’s getting to be that time of year! Chester is now covered in Christmas lights... I forget that they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. After Halloween it is just a straight shot to Christmas...
Kirsty, the YSA from Chester is doing very very well. She came to church this past week and really enjoyed it.  She also has gone to Institute twice, which is so key! She is getting to become friends with them all, and is an active participant in the lessons. We are really excited about the steps she is taking.
This week we were able to teach her about the Sabbath Day and the 10 commandments.  With her coming from an agnostic background, we were able to apply to her how living these simple commandments can benefit her. It was a great lesson for us to just teach her about the purpose of commandments, and how they provide protection.
She has read up to 2 Nephi 6, and is starting to move towards a belief in God. She still won't say it, but says that she is willing to keep commitments to find out for herself. That's all we can ask! Kirsty is just a very consistent person, with a true desire to find out if what we are saying is true. 
Richard and Bianca have now sent out wedding invitations for their wedding, and so we are so excited!  Bianca has now read up to Mormon 4, and has filled her study journal with her favorite scriptures and thoughts. They continue to amaze us with their progress and desire to learn. 
Speaking of her study journal, Bianca has said how much she loves keeping one. She explained that when situations of doubt arise, she is able to open up the journal and remember the strength that a particular scripture had given her.    
They even now have home teachers, which is such a great help with integrating them into the ward. 
This week we taught Nicky tithing, and it didn't go down as well as we had thought. She didn’t seem to grasp the doctrine behind it, and that caused her to have a bit of a hiccup. 
Matthew was quite sad to see Elder Cunningham go. During church he wasn't his typical lively self saying he missed Elder Cunningham. But we did go up and see him a couple days after, and is feeling much better.
We are now focusing on helping Nicky to understand the doctrine of tithing and how it ties into faith. This will be the last hurdle before baptism. 
But she is still doing well. She pro-actively calls us up in the beginning of the week to schedule the appointments for the week. We believe that tithing was so difficult for her because she knows that what we have taught her is true. She has a testimony and knows it’s a commandment. But she thinks it will be too hard to keep. She has overcome other obstacles in the past, and this hopefully wont be any different.
Barbara Lawson is going in for surgery this weekend and wont be back home for a week or so. She came to church this past week and continues to get to know the members well.
As you can tell, we continue to teach and teach and it is such a blessing!
This week I stumbled across one of my favorite scriptures that I hadn't been over in a while. It is 2 Nephi 9:50-51. Early on in my mission it helped me to understand how to make priorities. 
Driving lessons are still going well, I have the driving test scheduled for December 20th. 
Have a great week, and I’ll speak to you Monday!
Kia Kaha,
Elder Eliason
P.S. Good luck Conno on your games!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Keeping Busy in Chester!


Oh hello!

Time is short this week, as Elder Cunningham and I will be heading to Bangor this afternoon for an exchange, but I'll get in as much as I can!


Nicky has really caught on this week. After last week, I didn’t really know where she was at. But this week she has been pro-active and is feeling much better about baptism, and overcoming her fears. Matthew is a great motivator for her, and is really helping her along. 

Barbara Lawson is doing marvelous as always. We continue to see her 3 times a week, and that has really helped her to get into a groove of keeping commitments. She also came to church this past week even though her boiler broke in the morning! We then took her up to the Mission Home fireside last night and she really enjoyed it. 

We went up to the fireside also with Lorna, and President Burgon (mission presidency, he is serving in our ward). Lorna came to the mission home fireside to bear her testimony, as President Preston asks a few each time to do so. And Lorna did very well. One of the things she said has stuck with me.

Speaking about the first time we met her, she thought we were crossing the road to ask her for directions.  After setting the scene she added: “They we’re not coming to ask me the way, they were coming to show me the way, the true way.”

I cannot tell you how many times she just whips out these great lines. She has such a firm testimony in the gospel, and she has no problem in sharing it either. She has shared her conversion story with just about every person in the Abbey Fieldhouse Apartment complex; she tells us the stories every time we come over. She even met someone who had investigated the church a couple years back. I tell you what, she is a solid missionary!

We celebrated Halloween inside this past week, but enjoyed having many trick-or-treater’s come to the door. 
This week I was on exchange with Elder Birliba from Moldova. Almost exactly a year ago we were on an exchange in Wythenshawe. It was a great experience to see how much growth comes to a missionary in a years time. I hope that I too can continue to desire to learn, and become better day by day.

Just know that I love my time here, and miracles happen. I continue to see them here in Chester!


Elder Eliason

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! we are celebrating the best way we know how: Pumpkin Pie and Pancakes! 

Wow what an event filled week! I'm sorry to hear that the Rangers blew it... and BYU... and the Cowboys. haha. That’s too bad.  Everything else sounded good though!  Haley got her permit, looks like she is having better luck than I am. I keep telling my driving instructor how easy it was to get a license in Texas. He just laughs...

Everything else though is going great! It was a memorable experience to learn from President Kopischke this week, and then to finish it off with Lorna’s baptism on Saturday. 


Well, Lorna’s baptism was just great. She was so excited and ready for her big day.   There is always a special spirit at a baptism, and you could really feel it at hers. The ward was great at getting up early and coming out to support. At the end of the service she was invited to come up and bear her testimony. Let me tell you, she is a professional. She was able to tell everyone of her conversion story. It is just one of those moments that you cant fully explain. 

She is doing so well and is already making so many friends in the church. You need to meet her!
Nicky is struggling a bit at the moment. From what happened last week, we still cannot fully see where she is at. But she still continues to read, and pray. This week we will be a bit bolder with our lessons to see if we can get a feel for her commitment.

Mathew on the other hand is doing very well.  He pretty much was the star of the Primary Program that was put on yesterday. He had like three parts and a talk! 

Barbara Lawson, Grandma #2 .. is on fire!  She came to Lorna’s baptism and it really touched her.  She has been asking questions about her own baptism and how things will go. And when we saw her last night we committed her to completely go off Tea the next day.. she responded, “Well, I guess I'm drinking a gallon tonight!” haha. She later promised us that starting Monday she is off of Tea “forever and ever.”

We also met just about all of her family this week. They all live in her area. During each visit this past week some other parts of the family were there.  So it was great to meet them and invite them to church. 

Barbara is such a great lady and also hilarious! - It's always enjoyable to teach her. She is set to be baptised in two weeks.

Bianca put down her payment for her wedding dress this week. And so this wedding thing is happening!  She is getting really excited and so is the ward. The ward has just come out in full force to see how they can help. Sister Cummins has offered to do her make up, others want to help with pictures, and Sister Turner even gave Richard a bike! Not relating to the wedding at all, but still you see the point. The Chester ward just loves missionary work at the moment and because of that the work continue to progress. Richard and Bianca see how much they are welcomed. 

We are still seeing them quite a bit, helping them with establishing FHE has been our latest focus. But they are just great! 

Well as I said President Kopischke came and spoke to us this week. He taught us for about 6 hours at our Zone Conference and mostly just answered the questions that we had. He is just the most fun and loving man who has so much wisdom to offer when it comes to missionary work.   

In Zone Conference he mainly touched upon Goal setting, and having a “dream”.  I quoted him saying “If you bury your dreams, you’re dead.”  It was an inspiring couple of hours as he taught us from the scriptures how we are to carry out our “dreams/goals”. 

In Zone Leader Council it was a bit more personal. He sat down with us and discussed more about the mission. Where we are at and where we want to be. He then opened up for a Q and A. And to every question that was posed he answered with the scriptures. It was something else and I mean not just a scripture that is closely related, it was direct. 

I sat there thinking, how much I want to be like that!  It goes to show why we are to study the scriptures. The answers we are seeking are literally there for us to find. 

His visit and council is something that I will long remember.

This morning we saw quite the miracle. While driving into to town we spotted Dennis, a member of the ward, walking with a man with a bike. Dennis flagged us down and had us come over to see him. He introduced us to Steven, who he had met on the street. He said that Steven was willing to meet with us and so there on the side of the road we taught him. It was so great! It's not everyday that you get a member referral while your driving down the road and then teach a member present lesson on the spot! Wow...    

P.S. Congrats to Tanner on the mission call! I've heard some great things about that mission. There is an Elder from Moscow in the mission, he is great! Elder Zakarov is his name. Look him up when you get in the field. He'll be home.

Love you all,

Elder Eliason

Monday, October 24, 2011

Roller Coaster Week

Hello family!
This past week has been quite the roller coaster. Elder Cunningham and I say that we would be the next best companionship to put on the “Preach My Gospel” DVDs with all the drama we had this week. (The Preach My Gospel DVD’s are just a live filming of some companionships in the San Antonio mission a few years back).
We taught 25 lessons this past week, and we have been all over the place. But I am so grateful to be busy!
Lorna was a part of that roller coaster. When we sat down with her the second time this past week she told that she had some thing to tell us. Well right when she sat down she said.  “Elders,  I am afraid I cannot join the Church of Jesus Christ.”... My heart sank, and I had no idea what had happened! This was the biggest shock I have come across on my mission.  She was so solid!  What happened!
We of course began to try and understand what happened. She began to tell us that she felt a burden to the other members who give her a lift. She also then went on to say how she wouldn’t be able to keep the Law of Tithing, she believed in it, she just said she wouldn’t be able to meet it.
Immediately we asked her some testimony questions: “Do you believe the Book of Mormon to be true?” “Yes.. I do.” .. Then you believe that this is the Church of Jesus Christ?  “Yes, and that is what makes it so hard! I know that it is true, but I feel that I cannot live up to it.”
She then went on to explain how hard the past couple days had been. She mulled over a minor problem with a lift to church, and then it seemed to be blown out of proportion.  And with that, came feelings of inadequacy.
We went on to resolve her concerns using the Book of Mormon. We first turned to 1 Nephi 3:7, and told her that God is in control, and will take care of all situations through our obedience.  
As we went through the lesson, her burden seemed to lighten, and that was because the spirit was so strong in that lesson! 
When we got near the end she seemed to still be holding back a bit, we didn’t know how much we had fully resolved so we turned to Alma 7 and read the following verse with her…
 “Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth abeset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.”
We then boldly asked her “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized this upcoming Saturday?” ...“Yes” she said, with great relief. Joan Hill (our fellowshipper, and good friend/house-mate of Lorna)  then said... “Oh yes! Oh yes! I knew you would pull through.” And then got up and gave her a big hug. It was a good way to end the lesson.  Joan Hill is 90, by the way and the most hilarious person in the Chester Ward. She has been so key in Lorna’s conversion.
So Lorna pulled through, and overcame the “trial of her faith” it seems. She is looking forward to her baptism this Saturday morning! And so are we!
Nicky also rode along in the roller coaster, but not until a lot later in the week. In fact, yesterday.  
We had stake conference with President Teixera (2nd Councilor in the Europe West Presidency) from Portugal, and Elder Wright of the Seventy who is from the U.K. They were in town because the Chester Stake was getting a new Stake President. This was a great opportunity to get our investigators to see the strength of the leadership in the church in person. The conference was held at a university in Wrexham, and we were set up in the Auditorium.   
When Nicky showed up, we could tell something was wrong.  She just wouldn’t go in. She wanted to wait in the lobby for a second to try and pose herself. She explained that she has a fear being in big crowds. We tried to help her in any way that we could. But she just wasn’t able to go in.
 After 10 minutes had passed, we still stood with her, and then the conference began. Shortly after that there came a point where I think she just decided that she wouldn’t be able to handle the large crowd. She of course felt bad, in that she thought she was letting us down. And so she started looking up train times on her phone, and then just started to walk out. And I mean literally, just started walking out. 
We did our best to try and help her see that we could find a way to get it done. But she just didn’t seem to be in her right mind. The fear took over, and she had her mind on heading back home…
After doing all that we could we headed into the conference...
Later on in the day, after we were back in Chester she gave us a call. She said that she “just froze up.” We asked if we could come around later in the afternoon, and she agreed. 
The lesson we had with her went very well. We basically just looked over the fact what had happened, and focused on her conversion.  
She was still a bit hesitant with accepting fully the things that we had taught her. And it is frustrating! Because we feel like we need to do something more. But we knew that wasn’t the case. We teach and simply invite. She is to walk the path and see the blessings that will follow. In the end it is still her choice to walk the path.
I feel we got this point across very well to her and she agreed.  So we committed her to read more from the Book of Mormon and to pray with specifics. 
It was quite the day with her, but we feel it ended well. This next week will show a lot. To see how she responds to the commitments we have set.
Richard and Bianca are doing extremely well. I cannot begin to explain the transformation they have gone through. They keep commitments like it is nothing! We continue to await their wedding in January, and see them quite often.
Barbara Lawson came to the Saturday evening session of stake conference. And she absolutely loved Elder Wright and his talk. And so afterwards we took her up and introduced her. We told him that she was an investigator, and he just took her by the hand and bore down in testimony to her. It was quite epic. But she seemed to love it!  Haha.
After that session, we project things to speed up with her. We’ll see her this week twice.
I am beginning to be a little frustrated with this whole Drivers Licence thing. Haha. I need to take the test soon, but my instructors have not been the best. They keep wasting the time with some pointless instruction to try and prolong the time I need to spend with them.  And the lessons are expensive! My plan of action is to just take two more lessons, then sign up for the driving test, and pray for the best! The good thing that comes from this is that it will make my insurance much cheaper back in the states, with me having two licences and one of them being in England, which has really high standards.
This week is going to be a great one. President Kopishka: the President of the Europe West Area, and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy will be doing a mission tour. We will have a Zone Conference with him tomorrow, and then a Zone Leader Council meeting with him at the mission home on Thursday. I'm excited!
Quotes of the week:
“Not only has the Savior suffered, but so have most of the prophets and other great men recorded in the scriptures. The point is this: if you are having a bad day, you’ve got a lot of company – very, very good company.  The best company that has ever lived.       
-- Elder Holland                                                                                        
“That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but our power to do is increased.”  
--Heber J. Grant

Have a great week!
Elder Eliason