Cody portrait

Cody portrait

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I will not lie in saying it is hard to leave...but I look forward to what comes next in life."

We are the last missionaries to drive Ashley the Astra... our tribute pic to her..

However, she isn't going away without a bang. We were hit by a Merriva as we were inside some missionary's flat.  Not our fault...

A day at the office...

Last Father-Son pic
What a weird experience this is..  My last email in the mission field!  But lets not focus on that part, it was a brilliant last full week...
First off yesterday we had our Parrs Wood School experience with a school of 17-19 year old students. We arrived at 9:20 after picking up President and set up our room for the group sessions. The students had previously selected what three religions they wanted to learn more about, and were divided accordingly. 
We had 3 groups for about 50 minutes each with each group totaling around 15 people.  We opened it up with a little icebreaker and introduction and then asked for questions.  We then transitioned into sharing the Restoration and answering questions that they had.  They all were quite impressive with their thought provoking questions and curiosity.  In one of the session their was a girl named Olivia who during the entire presentation obviously looked interested. After the group was over she talked to Sister Smith (YSA ward Relief Society President - who we had come along as the female rep.) and said that she was really interested. We were not to be recruiting but Olivia took action to recruit us. She set up an appointment to see us on Thursday in a member's home! 
After the group session we had lunch with the students and found it better not to sit amongst the religious leaders but to sit with the students. With us being around their age it was easy to relate and answer questions. President Preston was a stalwart example of this just plunging into the middle of the cafeteria talking up a table full of students. Loved it.
After Lunch we headed to the Auditorium for the 'main event' - the question and answer segment. We sat in a row of chairs on the floor and the students filled the bleachers, around 200 students I would say.  The religions that were represented there other than us were : Quakers, Jehovah's Witness's, Unitarianism, Humanists, Anglican, Buddhism, Hinduism, Seekism, Baha'i Faith, Pentecostal and Christian Science. 
The questions then started coming, they ranged from homosexuality, to describing your faith in one phrase: What evidence do you have that you are the true church? What has your religion done for the world? Does your religion take away freedom?  And many other great questions... Not all religions had to answer and some questions could be directed just to a specific religion. I was able to answer the one about describing our church in a phrase.  I simply quoted Brigham Young by saying.  "Our religion is to seek the will of God, and to do it."  It was a little bit more nerve wracking than I was used to. Simply a great time to bear testimony to people of the same age range. All in all it was a great experience to be apart of as we were able to see young people desire to know more about what religion can do to influence their lives for good. 
On to another note...
We had a complete miracle happen this week with a man named Divine. Yep, his name is Divine. Classic. Well, it started with the MTC missionaries street contacting Divine in Piccadilly and referring him to us. Well it was hard for us to contact him so we didn't think he was too interested. Well after a lesson fell through Sister Smith rang us and told us she had a lesson for us. She said to meet her in Middleton. So we did and there we met up with Divine, whom she had contacted. 
We then taught him on the spot and everything was great. After the lesson we get talking more, and he finds out that I am from Dallas Texas. He says "Hey! I have family in Dallas.." To make a long story short since then he has called them up (they live in Mesquite) and told them about the church. He then told me that I need to go and see them, and that they want us to come. So I now have their number to call when I get back. Talk about a one in a million shot. I, from Texas meet a man that is over from Cameroon for 4 weeks, and end up getting his cousins number in Mesquite... God lives.
We then had another great experience happen at Family Home Evening which was held at the CES couple's home. One of the YSAs  brought a friend that she had been telling us about for awhile and we were able to meet her and get to know her really well. She then wanted to meet up with us and learn more, so we set up a time for the next day. We taught her and she is incredible! She is renowned in her Bible knowledge and was easily able to see the reason for a Restoration of Priesthood power. We will teach her again last lesson in the field.
I want to just say how great it has been being a missionary. There is nothing quite like the routine, the responsibilities or even the feelings of a "brotherhood" amongst missionaries. I will not lie in saying it is hard to leave. I believe God opens new doors of opportunity and I believe that is what will happen to me, and I look forward to what comes next in life.  
There will be good time for reflection in the near future but as for now I am excited to get back to work. 
Tomorrow my companions and I will head to the Chester Zone meeting then head to teach my last lesson, that being Karen. Then in the evening we will all eat at the Mission Home.  Then I will have my exit interview with President Preston and a little testimony meeting.  Then the next morning Elders Hughes & Jackson will take me to the airport...
I hope you know how excited I am to see you all! 
See you soon!
Elder Eliason

Monday, June 18, 2012

10 Days Left...

My last Companion Photo: (L to R) Elder Jackson, yours truly, and Elder Hughes

With Elder Nielson

My Trainee Elder Corbin and his companion

Dear Family,

First off, Dad!  Happy Fathers Day! 

M. Russell Ballard has said:
 "There is no other relationship quite like that which can and should exist between a boy and his dad. It can be one of the most nurturing, joyful relationships in life, one that can have a profound impact on who boys become and also on who dads become. You see, we’re all on a journey. Dads are a little further down the road, but none of us has yet arrived at our final destination. We are all in the process of becoming who we will one day be. Fathers and sons can play a critical role in helping each other become the best that they can be.  Fathers, you are the primary model of manhood for your sons. You are their most meaningful mentor, and believe it or not, you are their hero in countless ways. Your words and your example are a great influence on them."
Dad, this is how I feel! I hope you know how grateful I am for who you are. I now more than ever recognize the effect that you have had on me as your son. I hope that I too can develop some of the great qualities you possess that have blessed so many of our lives.   

Some Memories of Dad...

1. Saturdays hitting at Story Elementary. I remember the phrase "grip it and rip it".
2. Watching Dad play Adult Rec Softball and Basketball, inspired me to be just like him.
3. Car rides in the morning to seminary
4. Every good moment to Dad is a picture moment. I will always remember Dad and the camera. 
5. Trip to Rice University with Jord and Uncle Jeff. I felt like one of the 'boys'.
6. Dallas Mavericks game: Buzzer beater by Dirk to beat the Jazz.
7. Speaking on the phone after the Utah baseball series.
8. Trips to the dump.
9. Ping pong sessions, and the Korean paddle hold.
10. Watching you work hard for the family's sake.
11.  Receiving inspiring Priesthood blessings before starting school.
12.. And many more...

Dad, I love you!

As for this week, it has been a very memorable!  I'll tell you why...

This week I had my last Zone Conference, which included the last training of my mission, and my departing testimony. I wish I could describe to you the feelings I had as I stood at the pulpit. I was on the stand with my brothers, those that I have come out with and have worked shoulder to shoulder with throughout my time here. It was a humbling experience to try and put to words what a mission is like and the feelings that I had towards my own.  All I could do was bear testimony and express my love and gratitude. I will always remember that moment, not because I enjoyed, but because of the multitude of feelings and emotions. Needless to say I'm glad it's over and that it only happens once!

In the Zone Conference we also had the England MTC President and his wife speak to us.  The Preston MTC President is President Walker (former Salt Lake City Temple President) and his wife, Sister Walker, is Gordon B. Hinckley's daughter. They spoke to us for about an hour about how a mission reflects the rest of your life. He told stories of how he still gets calls from fathers asking how their potential son-in-laws were on their missions. (He used to be a Mission President). Sister Walker told some stories of her father and his attitude of optimism and perseverance. They also spoke about the polluting word "almost." Referring to Acts 26:28 where King Agrippa says to Paul, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."  They went on to say we cannot be "almost missionaries."  Serving an "almost honourable mission" or being "almost obedient." I loved the way they were able to share personal experiences and make it very clear to us that a mission is about putting your whole heart and soul on the line.

Elder Hughes and I went on exchanges this week up to Preston and spent our time there for a couple of days. While we were up there we were able to go to Preston's Stake Conference. And at their Stake Conference was Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and also the Church Historian. He and his wife gave incredible talks. On the Saturday session they both talked about families and some points that make a solid family. I loved the way how specific they were in their points. It was not general or overlapping, but something that people could easily go away and apply. On the Sunday session Elder Jensen spoke on the Holy Ghost and receiving Personal Revelation. I took some notes that I will always treasure. With him being the church historian, he knows his stuff. He told a couple of stories about specific church History events that tied in perfectly with his topic of the Holy Ghost. Such an inspiring individual, that just makes you want to be better.

After the meeting was over things got interesting... Sister Preston, came up and asked where we were going afterwards, and so we told her. She then asked if it could be an option to take Elder and Sister Jensen back down to Manchester to their hotel. We of course said that would be fine. A couple of minutes later, Elder Jensen walked up to me and shook my hand and asked if we would be able to take him and his wife. We agreed. 

When we met him at the car, he said "I'll take what we used call the "hump" in my family.  Whilst saying this he climbed into the back of the car and sat in the middle seat. Because we only had 5 seats and 5 people, we had to fill every seat. He was the first to nominate himself for the "hump." His wife then sat in the back as well, letting Elder Jackson who is 6'7 sit in the front.  And me?  It wasn't my day to drive. So there I was sitting in the back of a car rubbing shoulders with a General Authority. What an experience!!! We of course took the opportunity to ask him questions, and so did he. He asked about our mission, and our own personal service.  We asked him what advice he has for RMs.  It was an incredible experience that I will always remember, and one that I did not anticipate!

Here is my last contribution to The Corner:
There are two challenges that we must cross with our investigators relating to the Holy Ghost.

Challenge #1 - The Holy Ghost is ineffable. (D&C 121:26) “the unspeakable gift”.
(Definition: ineffable adj.– unable to be expressed in words)
 No one can know what salt tastes like until one trys it. The same goes for the Holy Ghost and its effects. To know it one must feel it and identify it.

Challenge #2 - Investigators can experience the influences of the Holy Ghost and not know it. 
3 Nephi 9:20 “Whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite sprit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.

Solution – You must “understand the doctrine of conversion and also...experience conversion: “The better you understand how (people) feel when they receive the witness of the Spirit, the better you will understand your own role.” --Preach My Gospel pg.92

Your role is to be a guide. You need to remember that we are guides and our investigators are the trailblazers. A guide is one who knows the way, shows the way, and goes the way. A Trailblazer is one who is looking for the right way.

You are the most important convert on your mission. Why?  Because you cannot convert other people beyond your own conversion. You cannot lead a path you have not trod yourself. You cannot describe or identify something that you have not identified yourself.

This is a process of learning the “language of the Spirit”. 

Thomas S. Monson has said, “There is one language … that is common to each missionary – the language of the Spirit.  It is not learned from textbooks, written by men or letters, nor is it acquired through reading and memorization. The language of the Spirit comes to him who seeks with all his heart to know God and keep His divine commandments.  Proficiency is this language permits one to breach barriers, overcome obstacles, and touch the human heart.

When you understand what one must do in order to feel the Holy Ghost you will be able to recognize and identify with an investigator when they are of feeling its heavenly sustenance.    

As you fulfill your purpose as a missionary and help others identify the Holy Ghost, we offer this promise:   

“The Holy Ghost bears witness of the truth and impresses upon the soul the reality of God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ so deeply that no earthly power or authority can separate him from that knowledge” --Preach My Gospel pg.99

Your converts will reach a level of distinguished zeal and be “firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.” Alma 27:27

This upcoming week we have a conference at a High School where all religious leaders of different faiths are coming together to give presentations, and then have a massive Q+A with all the students. We will head over with President Preston on Monday of next week.  So I will email you Tuesday!


Elder Eliason

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Many people call the New York area the 'Cradle of the Restoration', I say the cradle lies here in the lands of Manchester, Liverpool, Preston... the England Manchester Mission." -- Elder Kerr of the Seventy


Well, it's only been a couple of days since I last wrote, so I'll try to muster out a couple things...

As for the couple of things that have happened in the past couple of days...

We had a great Zone Leader Council this past Friday with many new Zone Leaders that added a lot of new dynamic experience. We also had one dynamic individual join us, that being Elder Kerr of the Seventy. He took the morning and taught us by principle and by personal experience, and most of all through the scriptures. I have now seen a couple General Authorities come through here, and every single one teaches thoroughly from the scriptures. They teach while teaching. Whilst teaching us principles of the Gospel, they teach us through actions the importance of letting the scriptures answer the questions. It is incredible to witness and inspires you to know and understand the scriptures more. 

One of the comments he made, made me quite proud. He said something to the terms of "Many people call the New York area the 'Cradle of the Restoration', I say the cradle lies here in the lands of Manchester, Liverpool, Preston... the England Manchester Mission."  I must say that I too am partial to this area. Not only to me is it 'The Cradle of the Restoration', but to me it is where I found the bedrock of my testimony. Needless to say, I will always be partial!

Everything else that we have been doing is just preparations for trainings, some meetings, and church. This week we have two Zone Conferences to attend, and then we have a couple exchanges. 

Scriptures of the week:

Revelation 12:10-11

10 - "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."

11 - "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."

How did we get from the pre-earth life to where we are now? "By the blood of the Lamb" and by our testimony of Him. How incredible comforting that is as a missionary.  We are not here to instill something that has never burned within, but to kindle the fire that they do not know is there. There are hopeful contacts everywhere!

Have a great week!

Elder Eliason

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A little what goes on during transfer week...

Hello Family!

Sorry I am coming to you so late, I forgot to inform you of the unique 5 week transfer we were having this transfer.  

The news as for me, if you have not already heard is that I will be staying in the same place for the last couple of weeks. President felt that would be the best move for me, and for the mission.

That though makes Elder Hughes and I leave in the same transfer, so President has called for us to have another companion to make the transition easier. Our new companion is Elder Jackson from Sacramento, CA. That makes us a trio, and how fitting that is with all of the other trio's I have had throughout my mission.  

I cannot believe another transfer has come and gone, it seems the more I try to slow down the time the quicker time seems to go. We dropped off a big group of departing missionaries this morning at the airport, included were a lot of my good friends and companions. Elder Smart, Boswell, Misbach, Palmer, Ashcraft, Okeson... just to name some. These are powerful missionaries who have done so much for the mission, and for me as a person. 
Elder Eggers is still floating around the mission with his parents, whom we got to meet last night when they came to see him at the mission home. Right when they met me, they acted like they had already known me; after a few questions it became apparent that they did know me quite well. They responded with a response that has been somewhat of a theme on my mission.. "We've read your blog." Haha. 

I talk about how crazy transfer week is, and I'm guessing you wonder what does go on. Here is a little bit of what has taken place this week so far...
On Sunday we had to do some work at the office in the morning, then we went to church at 1:00. After church we had a fireside at the mission home with about 80+ people, so we were there from about 5-9. 
On Monday, we finalized all the transfer travel plans and booked coaches, buses, trains, etc., for all the travel. We also completed all of our normal Monday duties with sending numbers to Salt Lake. That night we had tea and a meeting with President & Sister Preston regarding the transfer planning. We also lost our key card that night and were stuck outside for a few hours. 
Tuesday morning we went shopping, picked up another car we needed for transfers, and then finished some more work at the office. That night we had another meeting called "Train the Trainers" with the President and the trainers of the new missionaries. We then went straight from there to Chorley to the MTC to drop off a missionary transferring to the Scotland/Ireland Mission. We then stayed the night in Chorley with the Zone Leaders.
Wednesday morning we woke up at 4:45am, picked up the 10 new missionaries from the MTC, and then went to President Preston's home for a meeting with the new missionaries. There they were interviewed by the President, whilst we trained them on some basic skills, and had Q&A. Then at 2:00 we traveled to Manchester South to meet all the missionaries being transferred. We then had our Transfer Meeting and all the new missionaries were matched up with their trainers. We then stayed and helped the departing missionaries weigh their bags and finalize all luggage. We then took them all to the President's home and spent the night there with them and the Prestons. 
We then took them to see the Mission Office and then to the McLaren dealership that is nearby that is often wanted to be seen. We then took them back to Manchester and dropped them off at our flat.  In the end we got home at about 2:30am. There were 12 of us all staying in our flat that should only room 3. 
Today, we woke up at 6:00 this morning and took them to the airport. We then went home and napped for a couple of hours, and then now are here preparing for Zone Leader Council tomorrow with Elder Kerr of the Seventy. (An Area Authority from Scotland). All in all it has been a very busy yet exciting week! In total Sister Preston fed us 6 times this week and is feeding us again tomorrow, so you could say  we are being taken care of...

I hope that sheds a little bit of light on what has been going on this past week and a half! Needless to say I am ready to be out of the office and out in the field this upcoming week. It will be a week filled with exchanges.

With the preparation for transfers you can tell we have not had much time to proselyte. But Stella and Stephen are still doing very well. We make contact constantly and the ward does great at pro-actively fellowshipping  them, which is a huge help. Stella came to church this past week, and again loved it. 
Quote of the week:
"No man can know himself unless he knows God, and he cannot know God unless he knows himself."
                                                                                               --Brigham Young
Elder Eliason

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now." -- Bradley R. Wilcox

Climbing Mt. Snowden: We didn't make it all the way to the top...ran out of time. Nonetheless, it was a good little trip.

Hello Family!
Well, these last couple of days have been sunshine filled. There hasn't been a cloud in the sky for days and everyone is starting to tan up....except Elder Hughes and I, it seemed we were in all week, whether it was teaching or in the office.  
We've had a great miracle unfold over the past couple of weeks with a man named Stephen in our area. Last week I received a voicemail from a number I did not recognize. He spoke of wanting to take the lessons back up and expressed his testimony of the Gospel. It took me a few days to reach him, but after we did we came to find out that he was taught a couple of transfers ago by Elders Boswell and Smart. He was a referral, and get this, he lives in Knutsford. That is where the mission office is and where we travel to all the time. The crazy thing is that Knutsford is a small town, and the fact that he is actually a YSA. Plus, was so interested in learning more that he bought a quad (scriptures) on the store.
Elder Hopper and I were on exchanges together when we first taught him. He was incredible. He had questions ready and took it all in. The greatest part is when we talked about baptism, which he accepted but then said, "When do I get to enter the temple." That is what our aim is as missionaries and Stephen has already got the mindset. We are planning to teach him as much as possible this week. 
On the sad news front, Stella is no longer wanting to meet with us. We saw her this week  and even got her to institute. She loved all of it and all things were going well. That was until Helen Smith went to pick her up for church yesterday. We got a call from her boyfriend who wasn't too happy with her decisions. You could tell it was causing some contention between the two. So long story short, she sent us a text explaining this to us and said it would be better if we stopped coming around.
It was something we were not expecting, but know this isn't the end. We will be trying to get in contact with her this week.
Shout-out to Dallin: I finally stumbled across that talk you suggested a couple of months ago titled His Grace is Sufficient by Bradley R. Wilcox (the link goes to his talk which is available both in video and text). It has set Elder Hughes on fire and his personal studies.  It pretty much has been deemed the talk of the transfer. "Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now. It is not the finishing touch; it is the Finisher's Touch
Love, Elder Eliason

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"time doesn't seem to ever be in our favour"

Here is Rees at baptism

Exchange with Elder Starr in Chester

Here's Nicky, I stopped by and said hello to her, she is doing very well!

TEXOMA - Elder Hughes and I finally got our picture....
Hello Family!!
What good news that is that Aunt Cindy was able to meet President Bullock! I told him that I had family in that area when he was here, good to hear they have met.
As you can tell from the pictures, Rees was baptised this past Thursday before institute. He had a great showing of support that included his non-member mom and uncle. They had told him at first that they would not be coming. But after his  persistence they showed up right before it started. At the end of the program he stood up and bore his testimony, it was aimed towards his mom, it was the highlight of the program. 
This week I also had an exchange in Chester! It is the best feeling to be back in an old area. The Elders kindly scheduled us to see Lorna in the evening. We had a great lesson with her, honestly such an incredible feeling to see accounts of how she is doing within the church. She is doing incredibly well. She was asked to speak at Stake Conference and gave a great talk. President Preston gave me a ring after to tell me about it. When I left her apartment, she gave me the hand-written testimony she wrote for the Stake Conference. A priceless gift. 
I'm sorry that my letters are not as good, time doesn't seem to ever be in our favour.  Today that is by choice as we are headed to climb Mt. Snowden in Wales! I've wanted to do it my entire mission, and today is the day. I'll send pics next week.
It was my turn again for The Corner
Obedience is the way...
The saying goes, “To get no where, follow the crowd.” Jesus Christ is not a crowd-pleaser, and invites us to forsake the paths of least resistance. Obedience is an act of faith. When we are obedient a great sense of confidence can be found. We can be sure that whatever is happening is for our benefit, for God is bound by eternal law. (D&C 82:10) Everything is underpinned by obedience. (D&C 130:21)

Faith is the power...
Faith is a principle of power. Joseph Smith said, “Had it not been for the principle of faith, the worlds would never have been framed, neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute—for it is an attribute—from Deity, and he would cease to exist.” Now we see why “nothing happens in missionary work, until a missionary asks in faith.”

Love is the motive...
Thomas S. Monson has said “Only good that is done for the love of doing it counts for righteousness.” Through the channel of the Holy Ghost, God can bestow this gift through our desire to receive it.  

The Spirit is the key...
When we teach without the Spirit, we teach by the power of intellect. We will speak to the mind and not to the heart. True conversion happens when hearts are changed, hearts are changed when the influence of the Holy Ghost is felt and acted upon. The Holy Ghost is central to all that we do. F. Enzio Busche, a former seventy mentioned two elements that separate us from the Spirit. 1) Lack of desire to repent.  2) Lack of desire to forgive.  

Christ is the reason...
Why do you do missionary work? Why do you speak to people on buses? Why have you left the comforts of home and family?  The Apostle Peter gives us his reason. After healing a man lame from birth, with boldness Peter declared : “Be it known unto you all, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand before you whole”. (Acts 3:10) Peter knew by what power this miracle happened.  Peter knew where his confidence lied.  Peter knew that Christ is the reason. It is written, “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14) So when the question of “Why?” creeps into our work, remember that Christ is the reason.
Skill of the Week:
Do not be afraid of silence.  Silence in lessons and on the street not only allows investigators to be taught by the Spirit, but for you also to be taught and given “that portion that shall be meted unto every man.”

You don’t know everything, but you know enough,

Elders Eliason & Hughes

Monday, May 14, 2012

Great to talk with you family!

It was so great to speak to you all yesterday!  It's a bit unreal that will be the last time whilst in England. It's good to hear that so much is going on in the Eliason household! 
Cannot believe that Dallin has gone through the temple! What a special occasion...good thing we will get to go before he heads out.
Some quick tid bits:
This past week, Elder Hughes and I attended both sports day's. One half of the mission on one day, and the other on the next. Around about a total of 8 hours of sport. I cannot fully describe the soreness that was felt Thursday morning. Needless to say it has given me motivation to keep my fitness up, so that the same thing doesnt happen come gym time in the summer. Overall it was a good day for the missionaries to let off some steam. 
As for us in our area, things are really starting to pick up. It has been a refreshing feeling to be out contacting more. I was back on the buses for the first time in awhile...glorious. We are teaching 4 investigators consistently that have great potential to be baptised. One of which, Reece, is getting baptised this Thursday before institute.  He has come a long way, and is now fully engrained in the YSA ward.
Love you all!
Elder Eliason

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A quick note before Mother's Day

Katrina, a recent convert
Hello Family!
I am excited for this upcomming Sunday! I will be calling around 5:30 my time, which would be 11:30 your time. With that being the case, and with some things coming up today, I'll save my week info for the phone call. A little added anticipation for you...
But it was my week for The Corner:
Missionary work is filled with setting goals, and making plans. Every week we have the same amount of time to achieve them, 168 hours. The variable is us and what we choose to do in that time. 

Throughout our week we must have in our minds continually a vision of what we desire out of each situation. This starts with asking ourselves questions such as: “What is my objective in this lesson? What do I desire to be better at this week?  What do I want to get out of church? What do I want to learn on this exchange?  What do I desire to learn in this personal study for the benefit of my investigator? What will I accomplish during this service project? Who do I want to have become at the end of my mission?” These few of many possible questions put us in the mindset of expectation.  Mastering this skill will provide increased desires and added power to act.

With having such objectives and goals comes the accountability to make things happen. Here is a story to illustrate:

Once upon a time there were four missionaries named EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, and NOBODY. There was a great and marvelous work to come to pass and EVERYBODY believed that NOBODY would do it. ANYBODY could do it, but NOBODY did. SOMEBODY became irritated with this because he thought that the responsibility to do the work was with EVERYBODY. EVERYBODY thought that SOMEBODY would do it, but NOBODY imagined that EVERYBODY would not do it. At the end of the day, EVERYBODY blamed SOMEBODY when NOBODY did what ANYBODY could have done.

 Skill of the Week:
When following up on commitments ask questions with expectation. For example ask: “Since we have last met, what have you learned from your Book of Mormon reading?”. This will show forth your faith in them, and help set the tone that you expect them to keep their commitments. A bad example would be: “Did you get a chance to read the Book of Mormon?”. Same principle applies to all follow-up. 

What desirest thou?

Elders Eliason & Hughes
Love you all!

Speak to you soon
Elder Eliason

Another transfer is here...not many left

Guess who got locked out of their flat? We did. Not because the key was lost or forgotten, but because the lock broke. Elder Smart is on the phone with the Bishop from Swinton who is a locksmith.

Another beautiful sunset in Manchester

The mayhem that are transfers
Coming to you a bit late I know, but it has been another day of transfers already. I now have a new companion, as Elder Smart has been released for his last transfer. I am now serving with Elder Hughes, who I may or may not have told you about in the future. He is from Stillwater, OK and came out with me in my group. In fact he was the first missionary that I met in the Atlanta airport. He is now the 5th missionary that I've served with from my group. We have been waiting for this Red River Rivalry to finally happen, and now it has. Manchester now has a little 'Tex-Oma' to deal with. 
Now with it being transfers week, many things to do...
Some of the people we have been teaching:
We have still been teaching Reece from Wythenshawe. He just walked into church one day and has been every since. The gospel has given him great opportunities and also challenges that have helped him to grow. He works with 3 members now, and is doing well with having friends in the YSA. He is excited to get baptised in a couple of weeks. 
JJ is another we have been teaching. He is from Kenya and is over here for school and for football. Since day one he has impressed us with his desire to learn. His curiosity about the Book of Mormon started his teaching process, he is doing well.
Juan Carlos is a young man from Venezuela! He has investigated the church in Venezuela and has even been to church there a couple of times. I'm getting a little taste of what Dallin will experience in the coming months.   
Another is Stella is a YSA from Hyde. She is from Nigeria and referred herself from A friend told her about it, she looked it up, got interested, and referred herself to meet with missionaries.  A member-missionary success story.
Yesterday I said goodbye to my good friend Elder Jin. He worked the day with us in Manchester and then we took him to the airport. It is a weird feeling saying goodbye to my ex-companions. I learned a lot from Elder Jin and will always be grateful for him, such a rich experience serving with a native Chinese missionary.
Elder Eliason

Monday, April 23, 2012

3 Days Serving on The Isle of Man

The ferry ride over from Liverpool Port

The Sayle family, our hosts for the three days on the Isle of Man

Nice follow through eh?

Hello Family!

Elder Fawcett and I just got back from the Isle of Man (circled red island on map), this morning we left the island at 9 and got to Heysham Port at 11, then drove all the way down to Manchester. So with all of that, our P-Day is cut short, but we still have the same duties. So time is quick today...

I'll send some pictures, that will hopefully explain some of the story.

Elder Fawcett and I left Friday evening from Liverpool port, and then stayed the night with the Sayle Family, whom of which are recent converts, and baptised when Elder Cunningham was there a year and a half ago. We stayed with them for all 3 days. They were the greatest family to stay with! So welcoming! I have included a picture of them...

For all of Saturday we went from appointment to appointment and taught 7 lessons. All to either active members, less-actives, or recent converts. Elder Fawcett has served there, so they all were excited to see him. It is incredible to think of the growth of this church. On an isle in the middle of the Irish Sea there is a ward of 80 or so members.

I'll spend most of the time telling you about a miracle we saw happen:

Well first off the entire time, everyone was asking,"Why are you here?"  With Sisters already serving there, they wondered why we would be sent over. All that we told them was what we were told to. We were told to come over and be of service.  

In particular, during a baptismal service we attended, an older woman, leaned over and whispered to me "Why are you two here?" As I began to give the same explanation, she interrupted me gently saying "I know why your here." I replied, "Why?" She then said, "You followed my husband over here. He is living in Liverpool, and is a nonmember. You are here to see him." Amazed, I quickly asked when the best time would be for us to come around that night. She told us to come over at 7 o'clock.  

That night we went over and taught her husband Stephen the Restoration. We quickly found out that he was currently reading the Book of Mormon, and was in the 20th chapter of 1st Nephi. The entire lesson was just powerful. His desire to learn coupled with the heart-felt testimony borne by his wife made for a memorable lesson. He will be returning to Liverpool in one month and will have to then be taught by the Elders in Liverpool, which will be Elder Fawcett. 

All in all, the Isle was great!  Beautiful place. Incredible family to stay with. Great ward.  Great companion....

Elder Eliason

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another productive and fulfilling week!

We needed a companionship photo, so on the way to the office this morning this is what we came up with...

My "21" Birthday mug

Meeting with our Chinese missionaries

It's a joke of how quick things are going, here is what went on this week:
This transfer we have specialized trainings and interviews with President Preston. Each Zone meets together and has trainings done by the Zone Leaders and ourselves. This week we were able to go to half of them, and then next week we will go to the other half. 
We have been training on "The Pathway to 20 Lessons" and how it comes through the phase of self-mastery to planning. We have been challenged by Elder L. Tom Perry to teach 20 total lessons a week. We feel this is something that needs to be emphasized so we have made it our training. 
It is a weird thing to give the same training over and over. You would be surprised to know that each of them has been a little bit different. I've learned that each Zone or District or companionship has its own "feel" to it. And with that comes different points to emphasize. We are not just planning and giving trainings, we are preparing ourselves and then following the direction of the Spirit to draw upon what each individual Zone needs.
This week we also had a landmark meeting. In the next couple of months we will be losing just about all of our Chinese speaking missionaries. And they have done fantastic work, and have learned much being the "pioneer Chinese speaking missionaries" of the England Manchester Mission. So President had them all meet together and work on compiling a binder. Of which has 10 main points of missionary work that they want to pass on to the next 10 Chinese speaking missionaries that will be coming later this year.   It was an inspiring meeting to be apart of, mostly because I have been apart of it. 
This week we also have been able to get many exchanges in. I spent most of the exchanges here in Manchester. Elder Smart and I have decided that the best place to catch students is on buses. So that is what I did on exchanges. We dropped the car and rode the bus back and forth from the University bus contacting the young single adults (YSA). We found great success! 
An example: After Elder Rodgers and I jumped off a bus we spoke to a YSA girl from Africa, we had a great conversation and set up an appointment. While we were doing that two YSA gentlemen came up and asked what we were doing. We told them to hold on tell we were finished. They patiently waited for another 2 to 3 minutes. We then got talking to them and found them to be interested. We invited them to sit down at a cafe with us so we could teach them a bit more. They agreed! It was a great miracle of not us just speaking to people, but being spoken to. What a rarity.
I also was on exchanges with Elder Hughes from my group. In fact he was the one I first met in Atlanta, and then sat next to him on the plane ride over. He is from Oklahoma, and we have become great friends. 
Elder Smart treated me this week...for my birthday he took me to a Thai restaurant.  Overall it was a great day. 
It is my week for The Corner:
Aldous Huxley once wrote, “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”
Abraham Lincoln had this in mind when he firmly spoke out to the entire United States:

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in number, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us.”

We too have been “recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven”. We are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are living in the dispensation of the fullness of times. We are the inheritors of a tremendous heritage.  -- “Thanks be to God”.  

Joseph F. Smith said, “the key to possessing gratitude is through living a prayerful life.”  When we offer prayers of gratitude we acknowledge God as the true giver of our blessings. It is also a sign of humility, showing God that we know greatness is not in us but through us. When this counting of our blessings occurs we start to see the hand of God working in our lives.

We invite you to ponder the question;  What are you thankful for? -- and then to act by offering genuine prayers of gratitude.

Skill of the Week:

At the end of a QGC, and after gathering details ask: “From what we have discussed, what is it that has caught your interest?”  From that question you can 1) see their interest and 2) testify that they will learn more of that principle. If they say “I don’t know” or “just because” help them to set an expectation for the lesson. They need to have a reason to keep the appointment, help them find it. Also, don’t forget to write their expectations and interest in the notes section of your planner. This will help you plan to meet their expectations, and thus “Teach People, Not Lessons”. 
Whom seek ye?
Elders Smart & Eliason 
I will be heading to the Isle of Man this week!
Elder Eliason