Cody portrait

Cody portrait

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