Cody portrait

Cody portrait

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Has Sprung...

Hello Family!
It seems it's been a short couple of days since I last spoke to. The clock's have sprung forward and the weather is starting to become quite attractive. Today is the first day I've been without a suit coat since last October.  
This week we have taught Herman and he is doing very well. Because of Conference he will have to wait and be baptised the following weekend. This past lesson we spoke about the 10 commandments and keeping the Sabbath Day. With him being a YSA it was a great lesson focusing how the 10 commandments relate to us in our day, and with all the commodities we have at our finger tips. He is feeling ready for his baptism.
Elder Smart and I had a meeting with President this past Saturday and you can tell that President is starting to come into his own as the mission President. I would say it wouldn't be an easy job to take over from President and Sister Bullock, but President and Sister Preston have done a great job. And are now starting to implement their own ideas and personality into it. It has been great to see it up close.
The YSA ward that I now am in, is directly after the Wythenshawe/Manchester South gets out. Therefore I get to mingle with all of my good friends from my first couple of transfers. I cannot tell you how weird it is to be in the same building that you start in.  
Because of the friendships from the Man South ward, Elder Smart and I snagged a Tea Appointment off of an Angolan Family that I know pretty well. Africans always feed you well. 
Because I don't have much else to report on and today we have a bit more time to spend in the office, I'll share a little bit about what I have been studying...
I have been studying the differences and connections between Doctrine, Principle, and Application or Behavior. It is something that President Kopiscke shared with us when he visited, and I believe it originally come from Elder Bednar. He talks about it in his recent book Increase in Learning. (birthday present?) 
It was again touched upon in our Ward Conference yesterday by the Stake President.
Its been layed out a little like this: 
Doctrine/ The "Why"/ The Vision    -- ex. Eternal Families
Principle/ The "What"/ The Goals   -- ex. Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood/ Marriage
Behaviour/ The "How"/ The Plans   -- ex. Worthiness
One of my favorite quotes from Preach My Gospel is from President Packer:
"True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behaviour. The study of doctrines of the gospel will improve behaviour quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."
Truth and doctrines are absolute and do not change. Opinions, beliefs and relative ideas will not change it. It is a straight line, never wavering. On the other hand our behavior seems to wander and change in relation to our understanding. It's no mistake that missionaries on missions are honorable and valiant. We learn, live, and teach doctrine. Therefore our attitudes and behaviors change, simply because for some of us we finally "get it", we start to understand what are parents and church leaders have been trying to tell us all these years.
I have seen this happen in my missionary work with investigators. Earlier on in my mission while teaching a lesson on the Word of Wisdom I would find myself just explaining to the investigator "Don't drink", "Don't smoke". I would try and change their behavior and focus more on their actions rather than stressing the doctrine or the "why". Now as I have explained the importance of the Holy Ghost, and stressing that our body is a temple for it to dwell they start to put in the effort to make changes, sometimes even drastic changes. All because they are starting to understand a simple doctrine. We are to teach doctrine first, because that is what God does. (see Alma 12:32)
To sum it up, here is a quote from President Uchtdorf's talk "Forget-Me-Not" from last Relief Society Conference.. and his thought on the "why"...
"Sometimes, in the routine of our lives, we unintentionally overlook a vital aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ, much as one might overlook a beautiful, delicate forget-me-not. In our diligent efforts to fulfill all of the duties and obligations we take on as members of the Church, we sometimes see the gospel as a long list of tasks that we must add to our already impossibly long to-do list, as a block of time that we must somehow fit into our busy schedules. We focus on what the Lord wants us to do and how we might do it, but we sometimes forget why.
While understanding the “what” and the “how” of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the “why.” When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet.

Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us.
The “what” and “how” of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path. The “why” of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration."
Have a good week!
Elder Eliason
Some Talks I recommend for Dallin: 
I don't remember which ones I have already given but here are a few:
The Candle of the Lord - Boyd K. Packer
Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father - Maxwell
There are some others that pertain to missionaries particularly that were given at various Mission President Seminar's and MTC Devotionals. I'll be sure to give them when get back.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Transferred to Manchester to Serve as an Assistant to President Preston

Before I left I was able to visit with Ben and get this picture.

Elder Smart, Elder Boswell and yours truly. I am replacing Elder Boswell.

My first shout-out goes to Cecily, and that she will start to feel better! It is good to hear that everything as of now has gone well. Love you Cec! Mom, Dad keep me updated!
I know this is quite a late email, hopefully Mom hasn't taken too much of a hit, haha.  The reason for it is because ... again I have been transferred! After just six weeks I have left Preston and have been called to the belly of the beast, Manchester. President Preston gave me a ring whilst I and Elder Nielson were on exchanges in Barrow-and-Furnace, and had us come to the Mission Home. We then had an interview and he extended to me the call of serving as one of his Assistants.  
Since then (last Friday) it has been a frenzy. Immediately Elder Boswell and Elder Smart came and picked me up in Preston and brought me back to Manchester. We had to clear up a lot of things for transfers and so forth. I replaced Elder Boswell, and will now be serving with Elder Smart who is from Sandy, UT.            
The situation that I am in is unique compared to the Assistants a couple of months ago.  The Assistants now have an area in which they serve, as before they would just go on exchanges with a lot of missionaries and not preside over a specific proselyting area. We will still go on many exchanges, but now mostly with new missionaries and Zone Leaders. We will still be watching over our own area, which is the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward newly formed from last year, and only one of two YSA wards in Europe.
This is a very exciting time for me as I will now have the opportunity to be around President and Sister Preston a little bit more than before. We already have had some meetings with them both and I am already learning a lot. They are such great people with a massive capacity to love.  
Now something I want to make clear is that this is nothing different to me than what I have been doing before. A successful mission is not measured by the heights gained in leadership. Success as a missionary is measured primarily by 'commitment' to missionary work and to the Lord. I have learned over and over that this whole missionary work is not about us, it is not about me. I simply serve as a tool in the hands of the Lord to bring about what he would have done.
Before I left Preston I was able to say one goodbye and that was to Ben. I was able to get a quick picture and that was about it. He is struggling a bit at the moment with a couple of things that are related to his illness. He is in good hands though with two of my good good friends Elder Nielson and Elder Hughes. 
We have been able to teach a few lessons here and there here in Manchester. We are teaching a referral from Elder Corbin in Stockport, named Herman who is 19 and from Portugal. He is a hilarious young man and is starting to get close to baptism. He has been able to attend many YSA activities which is always the key.  
Other than him, we have 3 other people with a baptismal date, but with transfer week we have not been able to see them. After the end of this week things should start to clear up.
I wish I had more things to tell you. It has just been a week full of planning and setting up trainings for the transfer. 
I am sad to leave Preston, as one transfer is never enough time for a stay. I will miss many of the ward members and definitely our investigators.
Every Monday, President puts together The Harvester which has the past week numbers, success stories and some news---with other things that President and Sister Preston have to say. The Assistants also put in a little spiritual thought for the week and this past week it was my turn to do that. So I think that will do for my spiritual thought for you this week: 

In the 2012 Mission Vision we have been counseled by our beloved Mission President to “Lose Ourselves in the Service of God”.  Elders and Sisters this is a process of giving to our Father in Heaven the only thing we really can give him; that is our will. What is it that would keep us from allowing our will to be swallowed up in the will of God? Elder Maxwell touches upon one of the stumbling blocks: 

 “So many of us are kept from eventual consecration because we mistakenly think that, somehow, by letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God, we lose  our individuality. What we are really worried about, of course, is not giving up self, but selfish things—like our roles, our time, our preeminence, and our possessions. “
 What is holding you back from walking the path of consecration? Whatever the case may be,  King Benjamin poses a question that provides a remedy for all hesitations.

 “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?”                 
 –Mosiah 5:13

We may turn this into a statement saying: A man knows his master, when he serves him, and puts him into the thoughts and intents of his heart.
If we don’t fully know our “master” then we will not know his will. Why then would we want to allow ourselves to follow it? We will inevitably follow our own desires and appetites. 

We testify that when you choose to forget yourself and put Jesus Christ into the thoughts and the very intents of your heart, you will start to acquire the “Mind of Christ”(1 Corin 2:16) and will see with spiritual eyes. You will begin to see the divine in every soul, including your own. You will then work because you “want to” and not because you “have to”.  You will want to do nothing other than what God and his chosen servants have asked of you. In that decision, the dross of selfishness will start to be consumed and you will start to become the very individual that your Heavenly Father desires you to be, and that is nothing other than your best self.
Love, Elder Eliason

Monday, March 12, 2012

"We get our answers from the scriptures"

My companion Elder Nielson

The District Leaders and their
companions at our District Leaders Council

Lake District photo

The Lake District--didn't think this type of topography existed in England...Beautiful!

Hiya Fam,

This has been a great week, and I'll tell you why...Ben came to
church! We taught him twice as usual this past week, and again they
were remarkable lessons. The first lesson we taught him about faith,
and the Atonement. Our goal was to help him see how the Atonement
could help him in his situation. It went really well, with a lot of
discussion. One of the things that he enjoys is when we answer his
questions with the scriptures. He is just so in line with some
principles, that scriptures just keep popping into your head, so we
look them up. Mainly through that I would say he has himself seen
the importance of the Book of Mormon. I have learned that when
investigators see that we get our answers from the scriptures, they
then turn to it when they have their concerns when we are not there.
At the end of the day that is the goal, to help them acquire an
independent testimony strongly rooted in the keystone of all that we
profess, the Book of Mormon.

The next lesson we taught he was feeling a little bit better. We
watched with him some of the "Mormon Messages" in particular the one
of the father that lost his family in a car crash. It is an inspiring
story of a man who uses the Atonement in his life. It created a
strong spirit and great atmosphere for the rest of the lesson. Our
fellowshipper, Bro. James, who was just newly called to the bishopric,
was able to realate to him with many personal experiences...
Throughout the lesson Ben again was able to identify the spirit, he
continues to say that "this warmth, this feeling is what is turning my
life around."  Ben is just someone who gets it, we dont have to keep
teaching the same principles over and over, he is doing so well!

At the end of the lesson, we talked about church and he said he would
fight through the pain and tiredness and come. And he did! Although
not sleeping at all through the night he came to church and stayed the
three hours. After asking what he thought about the sacrament
meeting.  He replied, "Blown away." He explained how being in a group
of people has helped him to realize just how much he needs to learn...
he was inspired by all the people that were greeting him. It was
truly a spiritually uplifting experience for Ben.

This week we also had Specialized Trainings in Chorley, which was
where the Preston Zone met. Elder Nielson and I trained on
"Progressing Investigators to Baptism." We showed a Mormon Message
video, shared many personal experiences, shared some tools, and had
a great discussion with the Zone. Giving trainings is one of my
favorite things as a missionary.  From that alone I feel I have grown
so much as a person.

This week I have had a big study on using time wisely, and the power
of self-mastery. I read a few talks this past week that really hit
home, and I have seen the results as I have applied myslelf to be even
better with the use of my time. It is an interesting study, and one I
have enjoyed.

You asked a little bit about what the Address Unknown File (A.U.F) project is. It is a
project that is projected to take 10 years to fully complete, and is
being run in the U.K.  I am not sure if anyone else is doing it,
possibly. But basically there are many less-actives in the U.K and
the Europe Presidency are making a big push to find the "Lost Sheep."
When somebody moves or cannot be located, ward clerks have moved them
to the Address Unknown File, and overtime it has built up A LOT of
names. Now since launching this "Find the Lost Sheep" campaign, the church has
now payed a company of some sorts to find their current address, and
then they get passed onto the companionship in that area. Every two
months we get a new batch of names...In Swinton and here in Preston we have seen it work well.

President Preston and Sister Preston talked to me after trainings this
week about coming home to see Dallin. I asked for their advice, and
they said that If I were your parents, I would want you to come home
and take advantage of that opportunity. We talked more about it, and
it 's something that I felt good with. He also emailed me today
saying that he had changed my date to June 30th. So as for now that
is what it will be.

Quote of the week:

This is found engraven at the top of the Preston Library...


That is truth. See D&C 130:18
18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it
will rise with us in the resurrection.

Possibly my favorite part of that phrase is the word "may." This
relates to "agency," and how the choice is ours.


Elder Eliason

Monday, March 5, 2012

Understanding the "Bigger Picture"

Hello Hello!

Can you believe it is March?! The weather here on a few occasions

this week has been quite spring-esque. A great time for missionary

Looks like the weather is getting nicer up in Texas with the picture

dad sent (below). Connor is looking good in that track suit! You could say
he’s looking “English.” Those are the only kind of shorts they wear
around here. They don’t sell basketball shorts in many places, just
running and soccer short shorts.



Ben is doing grand. We have seen him twice this week, with great

things coming out of them. The first lesson we taught the end of the
Plan of Salvation, (this being the third time, as he loves to expound
and ask questions), and then spent the rest of the lesson following up
on what he had done whilst we were gone. He explained how he is
feeling and how it is a pure feeling. He continues to say how hard it
is for him to come out of his “science box” that he has been in for
all these years. Also how from what we have shared he has begun to
understand science even to a greater degree.

In our second lesson he was enthusiastic to share what he read and
pondered over. He turned to 1 Nephi 10:3 which speaks about the Jews
and the captivity they would come under from the Babylonians. Ben
started to expound to us how this connected to the Old Testament.
This comes from his childhood and teenage years when he had a great
love for religion and when he was able to learn many of the things he
has shared with us. After talking about the Book of Mormon and how it
is connected to the Bible, Elder Nielson asked the question: How do
you feel when you read the Book of Mormon?
Immediately he began to
explain feelings that he said he hasn’t felt since his teenage years.
We then asked if he believed the Book of Mormon to be 100% true, with
conviction he said, yes. This was not an avowal of mere belief but a
declaration made from a witness gained through the Holy Ghost. We can
only know spiritual truth through revelation, which comes through the
channel of the Holy Ghost. He had felt those feelings and it only
took him to identify the spirit he was feeling to know that the Book
of Mormon is true. This is a massive step for Ben and his conversion
process. The only step for him is to come to church, that is our next
big hurdle. He desires to be at church and be baptised, it is just
his body that is holding him back.

Roxie is still doing good, although we have not been able to see her

this week. She headed down south for a University interview, and then
on her way back her friend was hit by a car and taken to the hospital.
 So for the week she has been with her, and is coming back today. We
should be seeing her soon.

This week we headed up to Workington, to work with the Cedar City Duo,

Elder Sanders, and Elder Bahr. The drive up there was memorable as we
trekked right through the Lake District. I had no idea something of
that nature existed in England. Needless to say it was a surprise to
me. I took some photos, but I forgot by camera this morning, sorry!

It was a great exchange, with the people there having an accent that

is a mix between a Scot, and a Liverpudlian.

As I said we had Zone Leaders Council this week. President Preston is

slowly making the transition to a 4 week outlook rather than a regular
6 week cycle. We will still be having transfers every 6 weeks, but
Zone Conferences and Trainings will be scheduled a bit diiferent now.
And with all of these tweaks he has moved Zone Leaders Council (ZLC)
to be every first Friday of the month rather than once a transfer.

During the meeting I was asked to train on “Leadership Responsibility”

based on Jacob 1:19.  I was able to stress the importance of “passing
down the culture” and how we are responsible for helping the newer
missionaries catch the vision.  As we read Jacob 1:19 I had them think
of a person they thought represented that scripture to them in their
life. First thing that came to mind when I was preparing was...Mom!

This past Saturday we went to mass with the Thompsons. Clare, the

wife, was baptised over 25 years ago and with the new Address Unknown
File project going on in the UK, we received her info to try by. As we
did they let us in and were very friendly. Clare had loved the
church, but since getting married she resorted back to the
Catholisicm, to suit the rest of her family. John, the husband was
very friendly to us, and we in a way struck a deal with them. We said
we would make time to come to their church if they would return the
favour. Well they agreed and lived up to their word! The family
came to church yesterday.

Scripture of the week: Mosiah 5:13

13 For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is
a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his
How can we expect to understand the things around us in our lives if
we are far from the source of all truth?  No wonder God asks us to
pray and read our scriptures, for that is what will help us understand
the "bigger picture".

D&C 132:24: This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God,

and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore,
my law.

Love you all!

Elder Eliason