Cody portrait

Cody portrait

Monday, September 26, 2011

Great Things Happening in the Chester Area!


I can't tell you how great this past week has been! We have been flying all over this place, and with that being the case, time just seems to run...

This week I spent 4 days out of the area due to some exchanges. From Tuesday to Thursday I was in Wrexham, and from Thursday to Friday I was in Birkenhead. 

I need to tell you about a great young woman I met while in Wrexham by the name of Asa. 

With Wrexham being a bike area, we biked all around town. Well, when we were biking to an area we decided to pass through the town centre (a.k.a. downtown). Once doing so I just honestly felt like I should stop this young woman who was a little to my left. So I just did. I stopped my bike, got off and stopped and talked to her. 

She was from India but spoke Chinese, and was not Buddhist nor Hindi, she was Christian, and spoke great English. I was like, “Great! well, we’ve got a great Christian message we would love to share with you!”  She agreed, and we sat on a bench in the middle of town and taught her about the restored gospel. She was so prepared to meet us and it honestly was a miracle to meet and teach her.    

I've got another… 

With Elder Cunningham and myself having a car we like to “car contact.” Which is just when you pull up to red light, you roll down your window and either speak to a person in the other lane or if next to a sidewalk, street contact someone. Usually you only have time for a couple of words and to invite them to look at the Website. 

But this past Thursday Elder Cunningham and I pulled up to a red light near the University.  Myself being the permanent co-pilot with no license, I rolled down my window and spoke to a large group of college students to my left.

One of them actually responded and came closer to the window. He was quite interested in what I was saying, and I just said, “When are we meeting up to share more?” He quickly responded saying, “Yeah, give me your number, and I’ll text you.”

Usually that’s the polite way of saying no, as I have given out our number to countless people, with only one person actually calling us. And that was Cathy (who was baptised). So, with the little time we had, still sitting in a car at a live stoplight, I just scribbled down our number and told him we’d be expecting his text. 

Well sure enough two days later who texted us?  “Joe, the believer from India” which is how he introduced himself in the text...haha. Well, we called him up and he wanted to see us the next day. So we met him on the campus and taught him with a member we brought. And it was such a good lesson! He is so down to earth and has such great faith in Christ.

How amazing is that?  A stoplight conversation turned into lesson, and new investigator.  We take it very literal when in Preach My Gospel is says “speak to EVERYONE”... Well, we did, and look what happened!

As for a quick update on our 5 dated investigators… (all came to church on Sunday)

Richard and Bianca:

Wow, still doing so great! We are still seeing them four times a week and have scheduled to have their wedding at the end of October. Which means they will be baptised on the following Saturday! It is amazing to see the rapid growth they continue to show. They have demonstrated great faith as they have courageously cut out all addictions. They express how much happier they are and it shows! We will still be seeing them quite often...

Nicky and Mathew:

They are doing well. She is coming from a background that has no foundation in God. And so things are moving a little bit more slowly for her, as she has been an atheist her whole life.  A lot of changes for her, but she is doing so well! We taught them 3 times this past week, and accepted a baptismal date!


Wow, this woman is amazing! She was not feeling well on Saturday, and so she rested all day and prayed that she would be able to come to church. Well her prayer was answered and she testified to us that she was strengthened to be able to make it. We then taught her after church in the evening in a members home. There she expressed her love for church, and how she knows that it is true. She spoke with such conviction and surety. She accepted a baptismal date for the 15th of October! But she is just so solid!  She is so down to earth and just on top of things. She is proactive in class and keeps all of her commitments.   

One great scripture I liked this week Alma 4:19-20. It describes what I strive to be as a missionary.  One who brings clarity, by “pulling down” pride and contention through the word of God (the Book of Mormon) and through “pure testimony.” While also keeping in mind the devotion or diligence that it takes to do such a thing. Verse 20 shows us how Alma is the perfect example of this: “[Alma] confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy.” That’s what I call consecration!

So many great things happening in the Chester area! And serving with Elder Cunningham has just been a blast!

I hope you're excited for Conference!


Elder Eliason 

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Love Missionary Work. Period.

Hiya Family,
What a week here in Chester. We have been blessed immensely this week and I'll do my best to convey how much fun it has been to see so many great things happen!
Well for starters, this was an excellent week with sacrament meeting attendance.  We were blessed to have 6 people come to church and stay throughout! The ward did such a good job of making them all feel welcome and comfortable. How we got them all there was also a credit to the ward. We asked for some help from a few of them and they all were so willing to swing by and pick people up! 
Nicky and Mathew:
We taught them twice this past week, once in her home and the other time was in a recent convert's home. The first lesson was just a review about the restoration and to check for understanding. She understood it all very well, and the rest of the time it was great just to hear the members bear testimony. Specifically about how the gospel has helped them to raise their children and keep them safe. Throughout the lesson, Matthew was able to answer questions and was a huge part throughout.
We then asked Beverly, a recent convert of a about month, if she would be willing to let us teach Nicky in her home. She loved that we would let her be involved, and was so pro-active in getting Nicky to her house. Before we even got to teaching, we followed up on her Book of Mormon reading. She said that the print was difficult to follow in the book, and so she pro-actively downloaded the LDS app and read the Book of Mormon up unto 1 Nephi 18. We could not believe it.  When investigators are doing that so early on, you know that they have commitment, and they truly are there to learn and not just enjoy your company.  
We then taught her the Plan of always it was a powerful lesson. We were able to expound upon the scriptures with her and teach to her how they apply to her situation. 
Beverly was able to the powerful testimony of her baptism and how she came to know how the Plan of Salvation was real.
On the way back home she said that Matthew had a treat for us. Mathew gave us two cup-cakes that he had made the night before. What a stud he is!
Matthew was at school at the time, and so we planned to call him later on to thank him.  We also were going to follow-up and see if she would be able to come to church. She was hesitant because she didn't know if her daughter would want to go and she would have to take care of her over the weekend. 
So when I called later on and while I was speaking to Matthew he said, "We are coming to church on Friday.. oh wait.. Catherine! Do you want to come to church tomorrow?" She them asked him questions (she's 12) .. and he told her how much he liked it, and so she agreed. He came back on the phone and said "Yep, we are coming to church tomorrow." I didn't even have to ask!  So they indeed came to church and loved it. During gospel principles, Nicky showed me her iPhone, and that she had gotten up to 2 Nephi. Wow! Investigators just don't do that! It takes people along time to make it there. It honestly just shows her desire.
Lorna is an amazing woman who was taught on the spot, on a park bench a couple of weeks ago as she was walking home from shopping. Due to her vacation, she has been out of touch until recently. She lives in a retirement home with a member from the ward. And so this past week we tried by and found them both in, so we taught them both! Lorna was really keen on the Book of Mormon and had been studying it for the past couple of weeks..  She then willingly came to church and described it as "marvelous!"... so English. She is doing very well! Seeing her many times this week.
Mrs. Lawson:
Mrs. Lawson is quite the miracle. She is 78 years old and was found in the last minutes of tracting at night. Upon opening the door she said, "I was wondering when you were going to pop round." She had seen the church being built and was expecting us to come around. We then found out that our church is actually quite familiar with her. 40 years ago she investigated the church and even attended for some time. But she was not baptised because her parents were opposed. We have been able to teach her 3-4 times, and this week she came to church. She is doing well. The only concerns we must resolve are that she is not too old to be baptised! haha she thinks she just cannot change at this age, but she is great, and we'll see her a couple of times this week.
Richard and Bianca:
They are picking up right were they left off last week. Making huge steps towards baptism. Bianca has cut out almost all of her W.O.W issues and even bought a wedding dress this past week! Oh and she has read all the way to Jacob 2... no big deal...haha, yeah right, huge deal!  And she is understanding so much of it. Richard is also doing very well. He continues to be a rock and already has a testimony of its truthfulness. All he needs is to finish off smoking, and then to get married. They as well came to church!
It honestly is the best thing as a missionary to see the "change of heart" in an investigator.  To see what the effect just these past 3 weeks have had on Richard and Bianca are huge!  From that alone, I cannot but testify of the truthfulness of this work! 
This past week I had my first Specialized Trainings as a Zone Leader. For the first hour and a half we train the zone on something that has been decided at zone leader council. This training was on "Quality Gospel Conversations (QGCs) and Power Statements." Wow, what a great first. QGCs and Power Statements have shaped my mission! With that being the case it was easy to find things to say, and to bear testimony to the younger missionaries who still are being introduced to them. Elder Cunningham and I did a fun little role play of what we called "The Evolution of Finding." We started with our experience in Piccadilly for the first time as new missionaries and the thoughts that came with that. We then moved onto the "Robotic" stage of just repeating the same thing, and then flowed into what it is now, being personable and creative in finding while also still sticking to the structure of the QGC...Teach. Testify. Invite.  
Since QGCs have come into the mission (2008), which made finding time accountable and not just "floating time," the work here has accelerated. Other missions from the Europe area have also adapted them in! It's hard to share my feelings about them on here because I know that you may not fully understand them. haha. 
In the afternoon session, the Assistants introduced "Member Efforts" the point system that we have been doing the past couple of weeks. It was a huge hit and hopefully it will have the same effect on member work, as QGC's have had on finding. 
Last night we put on a fireside for the ward called "A Night in Lehi's Dream." We gathered them all in a room and introduced it, and then one by one they put on a blindfold and were given some rope to cling to aka iron rod, and then had them start! We had made a trail throughout the building filled with tempters (the grandma, and grandpa's of the ward) haha and they were hilarious! The trail finally led to a plastic tree, and then they were handed some fruit. We then gathered them all and bore testimony of what we all enjoy as members of the church. Then touched upon how they felt as they staggered along and compared it to their friends who don't even have a rod in their life.
All in all it was a great turnout and they seemed to enjoy it. We tried to do something different from the norm of just talking to them in a room, we wanted them to remember the night. Hopefully we achieved our intentions.
I love missionary work. period.
Much Love.
Elder Eliason

Monday, September 12, 2011

Love Teaching Families!

Hiya Family!
"..Just one of them things id'n it..." --British Saying of the Week.  
Bianca and Richard (the Scottish couple with two kids) are progressing ever so smoothly. We were able to teach them 4 times, which is a huge blessing because we are able to keep that spiritual high throughout the week. We found out on Wednesday that Bianca had read all the way to 2 Nephi! It is a huge step for her considering that she has never had a belief in God. Richard is also doing very well and feels and knows that it is true, he has been the rock throughout all of the lessons. When Bianca feels hesitant he just simply shares how he knows it is true. He is stellar.
As for church this Sunday, Richard was not able to come because he had to go and pick up their daughter but Bianca decided to still come! She still says that church is very new to her but she enjoys coming, and now is even committed enough to come on her own.
We were able to teach them in a home of a wonderful lady in the ward by the name of Sister Turner. She is a single lady living on her own and so we try to stop by and say hello every once and a while. And now with Bianca and Richard living so close she has been able to be a huge part to friendshipping them into the ward. I cannot tell you how amazing she is, and how huge of a role she has played on Richard and Bianca!
The main thing that we will have to talk about this week is marriage. They already have the desire as Richard even bought Bianca a ring this past week!   
This week we also were able to teach a mother and son, Nikki and Mathew. Elder Cunningham street-contacted them in Flint and I was able to get home from and exchange just in time to teach them. Nikki comes from a background where she was taught not to believe in God but she says that it has always interested her. 
With Mathew, her 8-year-old son there we took most of the lesson teaching him the Restoration. Nikki loved the fact that we included him and even directed most of the lesson to him.  In doing that we were able to teach simply, which allowed Nikki to learn along side her son. 
We taught them Saturday night and invited them to Church the next day, Nikki asked Matthew, Matthew said "yep" they came! Mathew at first was quite nervous, but after a bit of encouragement he joined the 8-year-olds for class. He came out of the class looking so happy. He ran up to Nikki saying, "Mom, look! We built temples today, look at mine!" As he held it up, you could just see her face light up! One of her main reasons for going was because she wanted to see how he liked it... well, he loved it! It was a great first impression for the both of them. We'll see them again this week!
Carol and her daughter Claire are doing well. The only hold up is the Word or Wisdom at the moment. Elder Cunningham and I were able to make a 'countdown' calendar to help her cut down. We were able to teach her in the Sumner's home, which is always the best environment to teach in! She was not able to make it to church with her being sick... Nevertheless, we still see her often and through her determination and her choice, she will be baptised. 
I cannot tell you how enjoyable it is to teach families. When you see families such as Richard and Bianca's and Nikki's growing closer together through living the gospel, it makes you want to be nothing other than a missionary. 
How grateful I am for you, Mom and Dad for raising me up in a gospel centered home!
This week I was privileged to go on an exchange with Elder Kuchar from Germany. He is a rather young missionary with a lot of potential. I loved the exchange so much because of the fact that I got to just ask him questions. Elder Kuchar was baptised 3 years ago, and is now on a mission despite no members of his family being members. That is what we call an example of a testimony that is based upon faith. He knows that this is where the Lord wants him to be. What a great example he is to me...
On our exchange we were able to set and pray for an "expectation" that we had for the exchange. Through our obedience and diligence we wanted to see an 'on the spot' lesson come to a Young Single Adult (YSA)- aged investigator. Well, this miracle that we felt that we could achieve became a reality as we met an 18 year old young man by the name of Jordan. Jordan was very interested in our message and sat down with us to hear us out.  When those moments happen you cannot help but feel a great sense of gratitude to God.  He learned and answered our honest prayer to find someone to teach. Miracles such as these happen every day, and I know that they are from God.  
I love being a Zone Leader because of all the exchanges. I get to know all the members of the zone so quickly and I get to learn from so many different Elders with different backgrounds and cultures. 
Lots and Lots of Love.
Elder Eliason

Monday, September 5, 2011

Two Years to Write My Own History with Clarity, without Regret

Visiting the Ashton 1st Ward Bishop and family from my last area.

Attending our recent Zone Leader Council

Elder Cunningham and me on the bridge of the River Ribble, where the first baptisms in England were performed. 

Elder Cunningham gets up and close with a ram or ewe?

Dear Family!

Wow! So much is going on in the Eliason home...and it's good to hear! I love the updates! Tell Connor congrats on the football news. I remember wishing that I had played football at Ford Middle School, such a good choice! He’ll be in tip-top shape come basketball season...
As well with the Duke ACT invitation! Wow. I didn’t realize he scored a 100% on all of his TAKS testing...stud!  Keep up the good work!

As for my week...

We had the Church History Tour this past Wednesday and were picked up at the Liverpool chapel by a massive coach bus. We started with the Liverpool Docks, toured the museum and looked at the church monument that was given to Liverpool signifying the leaving of many people for America.

During the entire tour we had a man who is good friends with the President teach us about all the sites, who I found out was the man that I sat next to in the temple on Monday! He knew everything there is to know about UK church history. 

We then headed to Preston, and viewed the River Ribble, which is where the first baptisms were done and then on to Downham. I wish I could just explain all the things that we were taught while visiting those places! I will have to send you our church history packet that we received about it…

More importantly than just the information was the motivation that the tour gave me to continue to fulfill my missionary calling. I felt humbled as I walked in the steps of some of the early apostles and prophets. I could not help but feel grateful for their sacrifices and the mark that they made on this land.

It’s an amazing thing to think that all of us here are continuing to write that history. We have a lot to live up to but the organization is still the same. The Lord is at the head of this work and is leading us to His children just as He did to the missionaries here of old. It's an amazing thing to think that we are now continuing to write to that history! The Lord has given me two years to write. I know that I must write with clarity, and without regret!
The history is so rich here!  Everywhere I go!  Whether church history or just plain history!
Ahh! So many good things happening here in Chester!

This week we also have been teaching a couple from Scotland, Bianca and Richard. They have two kids and are so amazing! Richard expressed in our last lesson that he was able to pray specifically to know if the Book of Mormon was true, and that he received a unique witness that it indeed was! We taught them three times and even saw them come to church! It was definitely something new to them, but they commented how much they loved it, especially the friendliness of the members. We will be seeing them regularly this week, and are progressing very well!

This week we also have been spending a lot of time with Carol and her daughter Claire. We did some service for them by cleaning out a fish tank, and then taught them 4 times this week. They are doing's just that Carol needs to work on giving up smoking. She is doing well in working on it and so we’ll see how it goes this week. 

Claire was able to spend an entire day with the young women (she’s 12) at a water park in Stoke-on-Trent. She loved it, and it was so key to have her go! She made some good friends and is really getting used to church.

It is such a blessing to be teaching families. They have immediate support groups and are able to do it as a family. So good!

This week we were also able to start on our "Member Efforts," which is a new system that we will be implementing into the mission in a couple of weeks. It is broken down into 5 sections:

1. Teaching in a Members Home : worth 10 points each
2. Service for Members : worth 5
3. Asking for Referrals: worth 2
4. Variety of Different Fellow shippers to Lessons : 5 each
5. Acts of Kindness: 2 each

The Zone Leaders for the mean time are "test-running" it. And let me tell you this week was filled with member work! 

We are to hit the standard of 100 points each week and Elder Cunningham and I were blessed to earn 106. The point system is to ensure accountability and drive missionaries to work with members. Well, it did just that this week!  Elder Cunningham and I loved doing some "acts of kindness" for the ward such as thank you cards and delivering treats. It's such a great way for us to give back to the members who do so much for us, while also knowing that their referrals are what we need to "earn"!

President Preston is bringing such a new spin to member work and it has gotten off to a great start! Again I cannot say enough of how grateful I am to learn from two Mission Presidents. They both are remarkable men and I just know that I am supposed to be here to learn from them!

Lots of Love,

Elder Eliason

New address:

54 Wemyss Road