Cody portrait

Cody portrait

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thank You President Bullock!

Elder Harris, Liam and yours truly out on the links.

The form is impeccable, the shoes are too.

Elder Harris got something stuck on the iron

Dear Family,

What a memory filled week!

This past Wednesday we had our final Zone Conference with the one and only Bullocks.

Other than President and Sister Bullock's departing testimonies, my favourite part of the entire Zone Conference was when several older missionaries were asked to shortly speak on what the culture of the England Manchester Mission (EMM) has meant to them. It was evidence of just how much of an effect President and Sister Bullock have had on each missionary.

But not just that, he has changed the mission. He has changed many missions. His idea of Quality Gospel Conversations (QGC's) and Power Statements have been adopted by many European Missions. It has made missionaries accountable for finding. And when people become accountable improvement is seen. 

And as President Bullocks favourite Preach My Gospel line says, "Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach."  QGC's and Power Statements have made street contacted baptisms double, and total lessons increase by 240%. He exemplifies the leader trait, of not just telling someone to "work harder" but to provide a tool that amplifies skills and accelerates the work. That is what President Bullock is all about:  Providing tools.

During the Zone Conference we also played the "How Many?" game. It was a list of questions of how many times they have done something. Like one was how many cookies has Sister Bullock baked in the three years? Another, How many miles has President Bullock driven? We competed in districts, and of course, the RHYL district took the title...

But, that is not all that happened this week!

Update on Liam:

We cooked him some burgers on Saturday for Lunch, then after he started his first fast! I continue to be amazed at his humility, and willingness.

But he is doing so great! He accepted a date for baptism on the 16th of July! It's just a goal, but still so huge! He's come a long way.

We took him out golfing. Liam and I tied. It was a lot of fun...check out the pics.

Every morning we have been jogging over to his area and playing football and basketball in a cage-type thing, with football goals, and a hoop. It has been good for him and for us. He shows us up every time!

Update on Amy:

We taught Amy again yesterday for the third time. And she too accepted a date! She is doing very well, and we continue to see her a lot.

This week we got into a house while tracting and came to find out he was the barefoot skiing champion of the UK. He had pictures of him skiing in Lake Powell...crazy.

I'm sorry this week's letter is so short and all over the place, not much time today, but pics are coming!

In memory of President Bullock I'm attaching the "Sacred Missionary Document," something that has revolutionized this mission. A sacred missionary is something we are striving to "become." Have a look!

"It's not just about going and doing, its about becoming." -- President Bullock. (My favourite quote from him)

I thought I'd include my letter to the President. We send him one every week and this is the last to President Bullock.

President Bullock,

I can't let you leave without telling you how grateful I am for you and your wife!

I am grateful for what you have made of this mission, and what you have made of me.  The day I stepped foot in the mission home I knew what was expected of me. One, to live the "mission vision" and two, to "BECOME" a sacred missionary.

At first I must say, I was a bit sceptical thinking I couldn't live up to it all. I was in a sense scared to change, fearing I wouldn't like what I would become. That all changed when I spent a few days with Elder Moss, and went on a few exchanges. I was able to see in action what this mission can do to someone. I saw missionaries that had a radiant attitude, skills that were refined, and a love for the serving the Lord. I wanted what they had! 

I made the connection and soon came to know that it was through living the mission vision of being Pure In Heart, Exactly Obedient, and a Preach My Gospel missionary.  

Since then I have done all I could to live and exemplify these teachings. They have strengthened my purpose as a missionary. They have helped me form my mission goals of what I want to be and what I want to accomplish.

I am grateful for your example. and your diligence in your calling. I always had confidence that you were working just as hard, if not harder, than we were. I am also grateful for your wonderful wife. She has inspired me through her talks and wonderful analogies! 

In words, I cannot express how grateful I am for your impact on my life. I feel the only way I can show my gratitude is by living, and becoming, all that you taught!

Speak to you soon!


Elder Eliason

President Bullock Says Goodbye

Dear Parents,

As we come to the end of our service in the England Manchester Mission, we want you to know what a blessing and privilege it has been to serve with your missionary.  We have such great love and admiration for them as we have witnessed their faithfulness, obedience and diligence and we recognize that the Lord sent us some of his very special and valiant spirits.  They answered the call of a prophet and did as the Savior asked by forsaking “mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends” (Matt. 19:29) and by so doing they open the door to receiving the “riches of eternity.”  (D&C 67:2) 

Attached you will find a picture that was taken of your son/daughter at our final zone conference the past couple of days.  The picture was taken with their zone in front of the Preston Temple. 

President and Sister Preston arrive from the Mission President’s Seminar on June 28th at which time he will begin his service of presiding over the mission.  We know President and Sister Preston well as they live within the mission boundaries.  They are kind, loving people and your missionary will be in very good hands.  President Preston has been a stake president in the Ashton Stake which is in the Manchester metro area and he has a great enthusiasm for missionary work. 

We extend to you our love and thank you for raising such fine young men and women.  Our lives have been forever changed and richly blessed to have served with them. 

Warm regards,

President and Sister Bullock
England Manchester Mission   

Monday, June 20, 2011

Teaching A lot Thanks to Great Weather...and Time for A Little Golf!

Bore Da!

First of all, Happy Fathers Day to the greatest father in the world!

This week has been a crazy one, with me being on two exchanges in two different areas of Wales. One of them being with Elder Eggers, reunited at last. Oh, it was so good to work with him again. And also with Elder Lintusaari from Finland. This mission has got a lot of diversity I tell you what.

Elder Eggers area (Bangor) has to be the most gorgeous place I have been to. We contacted this university student and found a place to sit down and teach. Well, the place so happened to be a giant hill overlooking a huge valley of the ocean. What a sight!

Serving in a beautiful place like this is such a good experience. It's crazy all the different locations I have been a part of. From the suburbs of Manchester to the hustle and bustle of the one and only Liverpool, and now in the laid-back ocean side town of Rhyl. I love the changes.

We have been teaching a lot, and what a blessing it has been. Again we have been blessed with double digit new investigators. Credit goes to the good weather, and willingness of the people here.

A good chunk of them come from teenagers...we have been teaching in a hotel living room,  a couple of them live in the hotel, and the others are their friends. It's a good sight to see some teenagers wanting to explore a belief in God and their purpose in life.

Update on Liam:

We took him to FHE and tea last Monday with the previous Bishop of the ward. We had a lot of good conversation on the church and how a belief in God blesses our lives. We then watched "Prophet of the Restoration" with him, and he loved it. The only problem is for him to BELIEVE it. He still has his ways of saying, "I just can't believe in God. I keep trying, but nothing happens." 

We found out his concern to be that he hasn't been praying specifically about the Book of Mormon to be true. We explained that specific questions bring specific answers.  So we committed him to have kneeling prayers, and pray specifically about the Book of Mormon each time. 

But Liam is so good!  If you only knew how good of a man he is. He is one of the nicest people I know. He just has been caught up in the traps of addiction, which has caused negative emotions for himself, taking away his self-confidence. 

As we have been meeting with him, his attitude, and most importantly his "hope" has increased. You can just see it in his face as we meet with him! I know that has come because he has been striving to live the gospel.

I am grateful for the power of the message we share. It truly changes lives for the better, and gives them hope. How grateful I am to have it in my life!

We are headed out golfing with him this afternoon. It should be fun, and I'll definitely be taking pictures. (Dallin be sure to take notes...)

This week we had Liam and Amy come to church. Amy is a YSA-aged investigator who we have taught twice. Once on the spot in the street, and once in the church. She has a lot of "deep" questions, but she is a stalwart when it comes to keeping her word...keeping appointments, coming to church, etc.

We also met a less-active member (we meet a lot of them, some 150+ in the Rhyl ward) that was baptised in Ashton 15 years ago. We taught him on the spot, and invited him to church. He managed to wage a deal, that if he came to church we had to go to his new one. 

Well, we complied knowing that one of our investigators would be there, and not full thinking he would show up...

We were wrong, he showed up early, and stayed the entire time! It was so good! So we stood to our word and went with him to his Pentecostal church.  It was a lot different to anything that I am used to, but a good experience to see how others worship...

This week we also got a text on Tuesday inviting us to speak on Sunday. We willingly accepted and I was given the topic of "repentance."

I started my talk saying how as a kid the word "repentance" used to scare me (haha). I don't think I really understood what that meant until my teens. I then transitioned into how now I see it as a tremendous blessing. Repentance is tied in directly to "change." Dad's quote he sent me says it best, "Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become." That's what repentance is all about. Shedding the "natural man" and bit by bit becoming our "best selves." Repentance is that opportunity to receive that forgiveness from our mistakes that keep us from "becoming."

A big part of repentance is humility. We have to be honest enough with ourselves to see how we can improve. Instead of falling into the trap of "All is well in Zion" or complacency.
When we are humble, we bring ourselves to rely on the Lord. Which is where we are able to find who he wants us to be... not as a "mold" into something else, but as our best selves!

Well off to GOLF! A par 3 course for 5 pounds!


Elder Eliason

Monday, June 13, 2011

Proud Parent Moment (PPM)


Elder Eliason's parents here. We received a letter a few weeks ago from England. It didn't say on the outside who it was from, but the Queen on the stamp made us very excited. We wanted to share with Elder Eliason's family and friends what it said:

To the family of Elder Eliason, 
Hi there my name is Elder Gallacher and I am very blessed to be serving in the same mission as Elder Eliason.  Last week I was able to be on exchanges with him for a day and the time I spent with him had a deep impact on me, thus I wanted to express my appreciation to you for the way you have affected my life, through him.  Elder Eliason is good at all things in missionary work.  Although he is still quite a young missionary, he has become a leader and is a great example to the mission.  He has a great work ethic and in the time we had together we were running and speaking to everyone about the gospel.  I am grateful to the upbringing that you allowed and caused him to have.  It has helped him become a sacred missionary and has left an impression upon me, all through the example of Elder Eliason. 
Kind regards, 
Elder Gallacher

Such a PPM (proud parent moment). We are so grateful that Elder Gallacher took the time to write us about Cody and are humbled by his kind words. Elder E told us a week later he is one of the Assistants to the President and hails from Scotland.

Change of Heart for Liam


First of all...WHAT! The Mavs took the trophy?! Well nice...And over James and Wade? Wow. I need a shirt ASAP!

But this week has been fantastic. Elder Harris and I have been all over the place teaching and teaching!

We had our last interviews with President Bullock this past week. He and Sister Bullock also sat us down and let us ask them questions about anything. It was a good session. Learned a lot. They also talked to us about their "Life Advice" and President even shared with us what he looks for in hiring someone. Talk about priceless information...

In the interview I took the opportunity to ask President a lot of questions. Some on schooling, and career advice and some on leadership...It was such a great opportunity. We are going to miss him and Sister Bullock. They are in a class of their own!

Our most progressing investigator Liam has had his "mighty change of heart" this past week. Up to this week he had been contentious in the fact that he cannot believe in a God and was definitely not giving up alcohol.  During a personal study I went looking for talks that may tailor to his needs. Well, I found one that I thought would be just right. It was a talk given back in the 90's by Richard G. Scott,  which was somewhat titled "Lifting your Heavy Burdens."

We were excited to share it with him, but as we started the lesson he brought up many concerns. Some that we thought we could just solve. So we talked with him using analogies and personal experiences. But we soon realized it wasn't working. And so we just started reading the talk, as we had planned, and what I had just felt to share with him.

You would not believe the change that went on while we all read the talk out loud.  Liam settled, and eased his tension. Directly after the talk he was a different person. He pointed out key phrases that he felt were "speaking to him." We committed him to read the talk again and really ponder how it applies to his life. He agreed.

30 minutes after leaving his flat we got a call from him. In a humble tone of voice he explained he had a "tingly" feeling after reading over it again. I of course re-assured him that it was the spirit. He said, "Well, I don't know what it is, all I know is it feels good."

Since then, Liam has read all the chapters of First Nephi (he wouldn't read the B.O.M before, saying it was too hard to understand.). He's been off alcohol for an entire week and has a completely different attitude when we come around. He is excited and willing!

This experience has given me a sure testimony that the "spirit converts," not the flowery words and convincing analogies. At the beginning of the lesson I felt 
Oh, I can take this one. Just a bit of "my intelligence" will solve this concern. Well, that wasn't what Liam needed. Liam needed that specific talk at that specific time.  And after yielding to the spirit and the prompting I was given in the morning I was able to see that proven. I know that the spirit is the teacher!

This week we also street contacted Nicole, a girl from Canada and her soon to be husband, Spike. It was, well, weird with the whole Canadian/sounds like American accent thing. We ended up going over the next day and we taught them! She had much more "solid" beliefs than you usually run into around here. Most people here are just plain catholic or Anglican. They don't really have firm beliefs like they do in the states or Canada. She even brought that up saying how sad it was that religion is waning here. But we are here to change that! But she and spike were very, very solid. We see them on Wednesday!
On Saturday we also took Liam all the way up to the temple in Chorley for the "400th Anniversary of the King James Bible." There were about 1,000 people there and it was a great experience for Liam. We took him up to the temple and he looked around and saw everyone, and he leaned over to me and said, "Everyone is so happy and at peace." I was like you-betchya.
But it has been a great week for him. We are having Tea and FHE with him and a family from the ward tonight!
This week Bro. Donaldson gave us a call checking to see how we were doing and added something that has made our week. He said he had just gotten out of P.E.C. and said that the Bishop was speaking very highly of us, and was telling everyone this is the time to give out your referrals. It was a sign that we have "gained member trust," which is so huge! And we are seeing the fruits of it. We got a text from the Young Mens president giving us a referral for a woman named Jane. She isn't in our area, but she is next door to us. And the Elders taught her, and saw her come to church!
So many great things going on here in this area!
Time is up!
Elder Eliason
P.S. Can you email me that pic from the reunion...the one of our entire family And is there one of just us a a fam?! Could you attach that as well? Thank ya much!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rhyl: A Member Missionary Minded Ward...

Here is my new companion, the 6' 9" Elder Harris from Nephi, Utah. We were in the same MTC group.

Hellooo Family!

I know it has only been a couple of days since I last wrote, but it has been an eventful couple of days at that.

Elder Harris and I have gotten off to a great start. He is just a hilarious missionary that I love working with.  He also is dedicated and ready to work. Nothing else you can ask for. Oh, and he's like 6'9...

This past week was the most teaching we have done in a week yet here in Rhyl. We credit it to the sunshine and the vacationers that have visited Rhyl. Elder Harris and I have been spending  a lot of time on the seafront street contacting people while they sit on the benches overlooking the ocean. In result, on Friday we taught 4 back-to-back lessons on the benches.

The only thing is all of them except one are not in our area, in fact some not even in this country. One was from Romania, another from America,(that was weird). But it's okay, we like being the "referral machines." That's what Rhyl is all about. They come here to be contacted, and go back to be baptised. I know that is true because this past Saturday a woman was baptised in Chester that I street contacted here in the Rhyl town centre.

This past Sunday was the best church service I have ever been apart of, also one of the more unique. Right after sacrament meeting the fire-alarm sounded, in which we all had to evacuate and wait for the fire fighters.  We waited for about 30 minutes, and seemed to be just a minor problem. This situation was a prime time for Elder Harris and I to gain some "member-trust."

So as the fire-fighters were packing up to leave in the parking lot, Elder Harris and I went and chatted with them. We did it just as we would do to someone on the street. They were very nice, and responsive. But declined the invitation to stay and attend church. After we finished, the ward was asking questions about it, and saying "well done."

Reflecting on what happened,  we feel very blessed to have been given that opportunity.  Not to "show-off" to the members or anything, but to show them that we are always working. We are "full-time" missionaries always acting on opportunities that come knocking. That is the key to member work. They are not going to hand over their referrals to the laid back duo who doesn't want to be there. They are going to give their referrals to Elders who they know they can trust with their friends.

But that wasn't it. After heading back in they had everyone gather in the same room for a combined priesthood/relief society meeting. Bad news was that both of the lessons didn't apply to the other. So what do they do? They called on the "nice lads" aka, us, to teach a lesson. It was like an on the spot lesson on the street, just everyone already knows the restoration lesson.

But we did come up with something. We just defaulted to what I did in the Liverpool ward. Teach them all about missionary work, and how to effectively use pass-a-long cards. We started with some "what not to do" role-plays, that they quite enjoyed. Then we taught some principles, and asked for success stories in their lives.

That was the best thing we could of done! That fire for missionary work was heating up big time! They were all sharing simple stories on how they have shared the gospel with their friends. It created a feeling of  "we want more" with all of them!

After it was all over, Elder Harris and I again realized that this was not just a coincidence. This month of June is a special month for member missionary work. A couple of weeks ago the Area Presidency had a letter read, inviting all members to fast for opportunity to bring less-actives and friends to church. They are each to bring one a week! Wow, what an expectation that is, but I will tell you, if anyone will do it. It will be the ward here in Rhyl.  They have always been such a missionary minded ward! 

Update on Liam:

We have taught him three times since we last spoke, and he still is in a stand still. He keeps saying that "I cant believe in a God." He keeps letting doubt creep in and it is getting frustrating, because that is all he is missing.  Just that little bit of faith and he will receive his own witness. Because he is reading everyday, and praying and also continuing to come to church. This next week we will focus on his attitude towards it all, and commit him to open up. 

He just has so much potential, and has been through so much. He's so close to just setting fire and becoming a solid member of the church. It's just that the match is in his hands, and we can only do so much. But we still see him regularly, so we'll see...

Update on Kirsty..

We see her tonight!

What I learned about this week was centered around "Testimony."  One of my favorite scriptures was Revelation 19:10 "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." It helped me to understand that our testimonies are pure revelation. We cannot have a testimony unless it has been revealed to us through the Holy Ghost. We may base our testimony on someone else, or a miracle that we experienced. But that is like buying an American made car, it just wont last long.

To go along with that I have learned their are many things that we can have a testimony of. That is why our testimony is a continual process. Our testimonies are the very essence of who we are. It's what we believe in, and when it is what we believe in, we form our lives to follow and sustain that belief. 


Elder Eliason

P.S - We have interviews with President Bullock this Wednesday...aka the last time. Sad day.

P.S.S- Go Mavs. All they need to do is pass it the big German, he'll do the rest..

P.S.S.S-  Cant believe the Story Elementary days are over...WOW! I still remember the first time I headed in there with Mom... A LOT off memories at that place.    

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Still in Rhyl...and Welcome Elder Harris!

The Woodward Family. Fiona is in the middle, her husband Stanley is next to me.

Football with Liam and his buddies.


First of all lets take a look at the date... June 2nd? That's crazy talk. We are already almost half way through this year...time is a flying!

It has been a great week and a half, a lot has been going on! First of all, after transfers I am still here in Rhyl for another six weeks! Elder Corbin has since departed to Rossendale Valley to serve with an Elder from Spain (he's ecstatic about that).

My new companion is Elder Harris! He is from Nephi, Utah. Elder Harris and I actually came out together!  We have been good friends since the MTC, and were not expecting to serve together any time soon but, hey things change! And this time for the better! So we are excited to work together.

Speaking of Elder Corbin, it was sad to see him go. We are good friends and he is a remarkable missionary, it was so great to train him and see him progress so quickly. 

Update on Kirsty:

We taught her the Restoration again this past week. She has been drifting and seeming to not take it as serious over the past couple of weeks. So we felt the need to help her understand the Restoration once more. She brought up a concern, saying, "I feel like I haven't gained as much faith as I thought I would with all these meetings I am having with you." We responded telling her that we are not her source of faith. Our lessons are simply a template to what she needs to live by in order to gain the faith that she desires. We asked her questions about her reading and praying. She said it hasn't been going as well as she would like. So we made a huge emphasis on how she will gain faith. We went over how vital it is to study the scriptures and how that will spark her faith and sustain it.

She re-committed, and is doing better but it is still up to her. If she gives heed to our commitments then she will see her faith build. If not she wont. Plain and simple. We made that clear to her. It was a bold lesson, but one that she needed.

Update on Liam:

Liam is doing really well! We've had some very bold lessons with him this past week and he has responded very well. We taught him also about gaining a testimony. He feels that he can't believe in God because of the bad things that have happened to him. But he always brings up, "But I want to be a better person, I want to be like the people at your church." We always tie in that it is not a random fact that they all seem "happy." It is because they have gained a testimony of the gospel and have applied it in their lives.

But we continue to see him regularly, and he has come a long way since the first time we met him! We also took him out on the football pitch...and he worked us. At his age of 40, he still has all the footie tricks. Made us look like school children. It was good laugh!

We also had sports day this past Wednesday!  It was a grand ole time! Elder Corbin put on a show on the basketball court, it was good to see...

This week in District meeting it was my choice. We trained on four principles that are a part in "Building Up Zion." The four are Love, Work, Self-Reliance, and Consecration. The one that I touched mostly upon was "consecration."  We went over how it is the process of "becoming", a principle of sacrificing our wills for the sake of the will of God. As missionaries this is what we are all about. We are not about our own work, we are "on the Lords errand," doing his work, his way. Obedience ties in directly to consecration. We have been given guidelines as missionaries that we must follow. They are rules for the benefit of receiving spiritual promptings. Because if we are not living worthy of the spirit, then we have no choice but to rely upon ourselves to see success, which does not happen!

I have gained a testimony of consecration.  I know that it is the only way in which we can enjoy real happiness. Our Heavenly father wants us to enjoy blessings, but they must come through obedience. Which comes through following His will, and His ways. I know that commandments are an act of love, and that they do not restrict, but set us free from things that will be harmful. I know that I am on the Lords errand, and I know that he magnifies me in this work.

How great is this calling!

Elder Eliason