Cody portrait

Cody portrait

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Time is on the move and no matter what I do it just doesn't slow down."

Hiya Fam!
First off, I have to tell you that I passed my driving test!The burden has been lifted... and I now can drive the Merriv!  My test was on Wednesday morning in Widnes, which is the place I have taken it for the past 2 times, with my first being in Chester...yes... I have failed three other times...So in anticipation for the test I couldn't help but think, "What if I fail again...."  I didn't want to spend a year on trying to get a license, and then just not get it... 
So the Sunday before Elder Palmer and I fasted for the purpose of my test (Elder Thomas also did, wow he's so sacred). And let me tell you, I was praying my heart out that the Lord would sharpen my mind and calm my nerves for the test. I also continued to pray that I wouldn't have to parallel park, which is why I failed last time (long story).  
Elder Palmer was so great at keeping things positive and getting me "pumped." He had so much faith in me. Now let me tell you the miracle of it all... When I arrived I soon realized I was going to be tested by the same man the second time I took it, who was just so down to earth, and nothing like "Wayne the Pain" from Chester.  And right before I got in the car he took me to the side and he said, "Look, I know you've got an American license, just show me that your a safe driver."
The best part was as I started the test I soon realized that it was the exact same route that I took just 2 weeks earlier.  Now how could that happen?  There are over 30 different route's that are run, and I got the exact same one that I had, which gave me such an advantage as I always knew where I was heading. Miracle. 
But the scary part was that this was the same route that had the parallel park, which is just not my strong point. And just as I was thinking about this Roy had me pull into a side road and do a 3 point-turn, which is the reverse maneuver that I knew the best, and I nailed it.  From then on all I had to do was drive... When we pulled up to the test centre and he told me that I had passed, it was like I had just won the Superbowl. Pure relief that was!  
I was tremendously blessed with regards to my driving license. From that entire process I have learned how to accept the Lord's timing and not mine. The entire time the Lord was teaching me patience and the importance of resilience through trials. After failing one of my tests I came across a scripture that I felt was directly for me at that time in my mission...
"Therefore, let him contend earnestly for the redemption of the First Presidency of my Church, saith the Lord; and when he falls he shall rise again, for his asacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase, saith the Lord."
--Doctrine and Covenants 117:13
I hope to cultivate this into my own life, and it can be now of me "...when he falls he shall rise again." 
The great thing about me now passing my test is that all the money invested in the license will soon start to pay for itself!  With the respect of the England driving standards, and with having two licenses the car insurance that I will have when I get back will be lower!
This week I also had the opportunity to head back down to Wythenshawe for an exchange! It is a special thing to go back to your first area and spend a couple of days there. It blows my mind that it has been over a year since I was back there. Time is on the move and no matter what I do it just doesn't slow down.
While I was there I had to stop by and see Mike Lohman again. He is doing very well testimony wise, but is having a hard time getting time off work on Sundays to come to church.  He was excited to see me, as I was him - and just loved being able to tell me all the great things that have happened to him. He organized a church study group that went on for awhile and has participated in many of the Church activities, one being a part in the Roadshow.
Also while I was on exchange we went up to the temple with one of the Chinese recent converts of the Wythenshawe ward for a mission wide Chinese New Year celebration.  There were over 50 Chinese people, mainly university students. With there also being about 20% of them nonmembers. And yes, I saw Sam there! She was snapping pictures the whole time and looks like I got in a few (check her Facebook page). I also was able to see some of the Chinese kids from Liverpool that I taught. It was a moment to remember, a coach load of Chinese people coming to visit the temple.
This week Jeff and the family came to church. Mandi, the wife, Loretta, their 17year old daughter, and her friend Elizabeth all came to church and caught right on to the routine.  They are doing very well and keeping commitments. One of the big ones we taught this past week was the Word of Wisdom, it went very well as they knew it to be true.  
This next Monday is transfers, so expect to hear from me on Wednesday! 
Elder Eliason  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Great Week Here in Swinton!

Another week gone and here I am! It's been a great week here in Swinton for Elder Palmer and I!
Congrats Dallin for the new calling as a ward missionary, and as the gospel principles teacher!  Nothing will help you prepare more than going out with missionaries and teaching basic principles of the gospel.  
Maurice is doing fantastic, he came to another baptism this past Saturday and said the closing prayer. And then on Saturday we had a chance to go up to the temple with him and have a look around the complex. We took a picture of him with the temple in the background, once he was looking at it he commented, "Well, looks like I'm a proper member!"
For the past couple of weeks we have been teaching a family of four, Geoff, Mandy, Kieron, and Lorreta. They referred themselves through the website, and were taught some before I arrived. But since I have been here, they had been pretty stagnant in their progress. They were getting caught up in not understanding the Book of Mormon, and it seemed like we were going to have to drop them. 

But Elder Palmer being the great missionary that he is extended them a challenge with a promise, he said that if they were to read from the Book of Mormon for 20 minutes everyday, praying every time before and after, whilst coming to church for three weeks -- they would receive an answer that it is true. They accepted, well Geoff, the father mainly accepted the challenge, and since then he has had a different attitude when we come around.  He was able to explain to us in great detail what he had read, and began to see reading the Book of Mormon a joy. We are excited about this family and are looking forward to seeing them quite a bit this week.    
A couple weeks ago I told you about Bro. Lancaster and him coming back to church after 5 years. Well, he has been every week since, and we continue to see him. Just yesterday we popped around and caught him and his wife in. It was the first time she had been there, and that was great! A couple of years ago she was the Relief Society President and then slowly fell away... We were able to establish a great trust early on and ease into finding out how we could help her. She explained feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with all that was going on at church. What came to my mind was a talk that I read a bit ago called "Believing Christ: a Practical Approach to the Atonement by Stephen Robinson". He explains a story that was related to hers, and he talked about how we need to "believe Christ" when he says what he says, and when he says "Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"  He means what he says... 

And so as we shared some thoughts along those lines you could tell her heart was being softened. Right before ending we felt she needed a blessing and so we offered and she accepted. I cannot even tell you how great it was to leave that lesson, it felt like so much good had happened in that hour we were there. I love being able to teach less-actives, it is just about helping them remember what they that had once felt. 
This week we also taught a family from Pakistan. They were so warm and friendly to us, and such great people. The language barrier is making things difficult, but there is great potential...
The Swinton sisters had a baptism of a mother and her two children this past Saturday.  The ward is really buzzing with all of the blessings of baptisms we have received in the past couple months. It is because the ward is doing so great in bringing new members in!  The Lord knows he can trust them with more.
We went to the Bible study again this week, and it is still going very well!  They are really warming up to us!   
I'm sorry, but today we are having our Zone activity, which is playing sports down at the Manchester South chapel, whilst celebrating Chinese New Year with Chinese food, so my time is short...
I love you all!!!
Elder Eliason 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Glad to Be Back in Manchester...and on Double Decker Buses!

The Kinouchi Family. Bro Kinouchi was the Ward Mission Leader, and this is where we spent most of Christmas day.
Christmas Day!
This is "Big Dave", a convert of 4 years and is the door greeter, ward bodyguard, and the first one to bear testimony every fast sunday. I had a great friendship with him...and I have just found out recently that he is engaged! 

This is Bro. Sumner, also a legend.  He helped us out a lot.

Lorna and the one and only Joan Hill!  We taught them together every time we taught Lorna, Sister Hill is an absolute legend.  She is the main reason for Lorna finding the church.

Hello Family!

Woah, what news that is about SUU. It's sad to see it go down in such a way...Well, I don't know where that leaves me. haha... (Note to family: SUU is disbanding its baseball program. The Big Sky--the new conference they are joining-- does not sponsor baseball and they could not find another conference to play in.)
Well, on to better news...Maurice was baptised this past weekend! It was a great service, ending with him sharing some thoughts, which was the greatest part. He is such a great man, with such a "real" testimony. He is going to be a great strength to the ward. I don't know if I told you, but he actually referred himself from, and was interested in the Law of Chastity.  And after that, hearing about the restoration, and receiving answers to his prayers, he progressed smoothly towards his baptism.
This past week I was reunited with my first-born Elder Corbin! I went on an exchange with him in Stockport, which is where he is currently serving. We were able to reminisce about all of the good times in Rhyl about Liam, the ward, and so forth. It was amazing to see the growth that he has had since we last served together. When you see other missionaries like him, you realize just how much growth can be found in a mission.  
With spending the week in Stockport is was great to be back on double decker buses again.   I haven't been around them since my first transfer, and with being in a car for the last 4 transfers you miss out on the beauty of bus contacting.
This week we had two investigators come to church. Alice is a young mother of two from China, and the other, Franc, is a man from Congo. 
Alice was tracted a couple of weeks ago, and reminds me so much of my days in Liverpool.  She has little understanding of Jesus Christ, or anything gospel related. So our first couple of lessons were very basic, with our main commitment being to pray. Well, she kept here commitment and prayed. She may not say it, but we feel that was a big reason why she was so determined to come to church. The only bad thing is that her husband is not supporting her. We are doing our best to try and establish a relationship with him.
Franc was a referral from Elder Cunningham and speaks mostly french. He is such a humble man that is seeking for truth in his life. We had a great couple of lessons this week with him regarding the Restoration. By the end of the week he had a great grasp on the principles behind it. That came in large measure from us bringing a french missionary serving in Stockport. Franc has accepted a date for the 4th of Feb.
Quote of the week:
"A man is literally what he thinks" --James Allen
Elder Eliason

I forgot to tell you...
We had a great miracle this week... While we were trying by a less active, we contacted a woman that was just outside her door. She was opening up a gate to the church. We asked her what she was doing and she went on to explain that she was setting up for a bible study. Well, we jumped right in saying that we would love to join. She said as long as it is ok with the Vicar (a clergyman in charge of a chapel). We went and asked and our request was granted. It was a gathering of Catholic and Church of England members about 12 or 13, and they were glad to have us.  

On many occasions it was commented how great it was to see people of different faiths come together to worship. Well, the study was on Acts 8 and 9. One of which talks about the laying on of hands. It was a great oppurtunity to teach the group what we believe, one of sorts being the laying on of hands. Many times they would start asking open questions. One regarding to infant baptism, which one lady asked our opinion, and we were able to tell them what we believe, and why we believe it. 

You could tell they had really warmed up to us. Afterwards we were getting talked to by most of them just asking questions about our missions. It was a great oppurtunity to have QGC'S (Quality Gospel Conversations)!  It was a great miracle to be apart of, and with the relationships we have built, I know that this will go somewhere. We are not finished with this group!  Next week, we are handing out copies of the Book of Mormon...

Monday, January 9, 2012

"How great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth. That is why I am a missionary!"

Hello Fam!
What great news it is to hear that Jords and Trista are moving to Tejas! That has to be an exciting move for them, new job, new area... exciting! Where is it that they will be living?
Dallin made a good decision to stay and work. That will also give him some extra time to prepare for the mission. Will he be working anywhere else?  
Well as for my week. It has been a great one. Being pretty much in the heart of Manchester is where I have always wanted to serve, and now being here I am just loving the atmosphere, ward and the investigators that we have.
Maurice is doing very well, like unbelievably well. He is just someone who already understands the gospel. He is like a sponge when it come to learning about the church. We show up and start to teach him and he can pretty much sum the rest of the lesson up. An example being yesterday; we taught him after church about President Thomas S. Monson, and he just started telling us about his background and what his impressions were. His desire to learn and his real intent to act have been the keys to him progressing so fast. He is going to be baptised this Saturday!
We have been working with a less-active man by the name of Bill Lancaster for the past couple of weeks, and on Sunday he came to church for the first time in 5 years! During the first lesson that was taught he became very emotional to the topics surrounding the church, you could see the soft spot that he had from his previous years of activity. And now through his choice, he has committed himself to come back to church. It was fast and testimony meeting and he got up and bore powerful testimony of his way back, and how much it meant to him to be back. It goes to show that people can change!  
We are also teaching a 16 year old by the name of Brenden. We are struggling to find his commitment level, as he has been taught everything, and has had many baptismal dates. A great sign though came yesterday when he got up and bore his testimony. I admired him for his courage to get up in front of the congregation. It shows something!  
This week I was on exchange in Hyde with an Elder from Darlington, which is up north. I'll first tell you that the accent he had was completely different to the Mancunian "twang." It baffles me to see how many different accents they can come up with here in England.  I love it!  Besides all that, it was a proper good exchange. 
The first night I was there, we street contacted a man that was running but was waiting at a stop light to cross the street. We told him what we were sharing, and we asked if we could come along. He said "as long as you can keep up with me, you can share your message." Done deal. For the next 20 minutes we jogged along side him teaching him about the restoration. Elder Ringwood and I would just do what seemed like a "Flying V" in a group of flying ducks. When he would pass it to me, I would come to the front and he would fall back behind us. Sounds a bit nuts, but it was a great lesson. The man was impressed with our willingness, and took to us very well. We'll see what happens in the future.
Side note: Over the past couple of weeks we have been driving around Sister Preston's car, because ours has been in the shop. They said 3-4's been 3-4 weeks. But we aren't bothered, we get to drive around in a 2010 Chevy Cruze! Thank you Sister Preston for your kindness!
There is a talk that I have been studying all week that I would like you to have a look at:  Integrity of Heart by Russell M. Nelson. I could talk all day about how much I learned from it. Share with me next week your impressions.  
Weekly scriptures: (or what I have pondered over this week...)
"..And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father."
Ether 12:37
This scripture teaches me the importance of constant self-evaluation. God gives us weakness so that we can be humble, and ultimately to help us to make them strengths. But if we are oblivious to the weaknesses, or too proud to accept what we are doing wrong, then how could God help us? But therein lies another challenge with "seeing" our weakness. We may feel depressed that we cannot overcome the weaknesses that we see.  I have found the answer to this problem in the Book of Mormon. Just before Moroni seals up the record he gives us this counsel...
"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."
Moroni 10:32
I along with Moroni testify that the power of God will be manifest to help us overcome our weaknesses. When we keep to our covenants and move forward with courage, putting our trust in God, He has promised that all things will turn out for our good. I, along with Lehi say "how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth". That is why I am a missionary!  
I love you all!
Have a great week!
Elder Eliason

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hello Family!

Happy New Year!  I cannot believe it is 2012...

This past week has been unique to say the least. There has been very
limited time for proselyting, as we have had New Years Eve, New
Years Day, Boxing Day, Zone Leaders Council, and Elder Palmer having
kidney stones.

There are many people that we look forward to seeing in the next
couple of days, the holidays are finally starting to simmer down and
so things should start to warm up. In the teaching pool we have many
who have referred themselves through, which already shows
that they have real intent. All in all, I am ready to get back out
and start teaching. Not working for a week has helped me realize how
much I do enjoy the life of a missionary. Lets get back on the

I got to know my new ward very well this past week. I even got to
give a talk on my first Sunday there. It is a great opportunity to
make a first impression.

I spoke on "The Saviour's Role in the Plan of Salvation." I was able
to share some childhood stories, that was able to make the talk more
personal to them and hopefully made it easier from them to know a
little bit about me.

We spent New Years Eve and New Years Day  with most of the zone at a
senior couple's home by the name of the Cannons. It was great for me
to get to know the zone, and to spend some time with some old friends
that I used to serve around.

I love this time of year and the freshness that a new year brings. I
cannot help but look forward with optimism to see what this year will

I am sorry that this letter is so short...because of Bank Holiday on
Monday things have been shuffled around, and we have to head to a
Tea appointment. Speak to you soon!

Elder Eliason

Scripture of the week:

Ether 12:19
"And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even
before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but
truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye
of faith, and they were glad."

I love this time of year, and the freshness that a new year brings.  I
cannot help but look forward with optimism to see what this year will
bring!  This is the time to envision what we want to happen out of the
year to come.  It truly is exciting to think of all the possibilities
that lay ahead and all the goals that we want to set. Just as with the
Jaredites, let us show our Heavenly Father how committed and willing
we are to achieve our goals by our unwavering faith and diligence. It
is a time to act and not to be acted upon. I know that as we put our
trust in God, just as the Jaredites, we will "truly [see] with [our]
eyes the things which [we] had beheld with an eye of faith".  It's
time to make these resolutions happen, and make it a happy and
fulfilling 2012!