Cody portrait

Cody portrait

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's been a crazy week!

Leadership Training

A Samoan, Fijian, Tongan and Kiwi---all in one place...had to get a picture

Swords in the office?

Dear Family,

It has been a crazy week! 
On Tuesday we had a Mission Leadership Training, where all the Zone, and District Leaders, Trainers and follow-up Trainers came to the Man. South chapel. President gave us a training on the A to Zed of Leadership. He instructed us well on some of the basic principles, including Doctrine and Covenants 121. Elder Smart and I then trained on "Jesus Christ: The Perfect Leader". We went through a PowerPoint of pictures of the life of Jesus Christ, and had a discussion on what leadership traits he emulated in each of the pictures.  It was a very productive meeting, that included great insights from great missionaries!   
On Friday we had Zone Leader Council which is always a treat, we discussed upcoming trainings and other things.
Sorry I'm being so vague, the reason is because there just isn't much time.  President Preston has asked the entire mission to submit to him their "conversion story". So that is where most of my emailing time has gone.  
Good news is that next week I will be going to the Isle of Man! President has asked that we go over and do a couple of things. I will be going with one of the Liverpool Zone Leaders with their car on the ferry. It takes about 4 hours or so. The Zone Leader I am going with is none other than Elder Fawcett! Who I served with in Liverpool.
Gotta go, love you!
Elder Eliason

Monday, April 2, 2012

General Conference: A Spiritual Feast!

Hello Family!!
This has been another event-filled week!  
This week we had three separate Zone Conference's and Elder Smart and I attended each one. The "main-event" of the Zone Conference 's was the Scripture Chase. Which has not happened since my third transfer. Elder Smart and I competed in the first Zone Conference. We hit the books in all the spare moments we could find to prepare ourselves. Back when I first was apart of the scripture chase, I did pretty well, but was not able to get out of the first round. This past time I did much better, and it was a great moment for myself. I remember coming into the field and the thought of being a "scriptorian" was one of the first things that motivated me. Although I am by no means now a scriptorian, I feel that I have started to achieve that goal I set for myself so long ago.  
In one of the Zone Conference's Elder Jin shared his departing testimony. He will be my third companion to depart. It was a very special thing to see who he has become. He coming from a non-christian country, as a convert, and speaking little to no English. He shared powerful testimony of his conversion, which he shared came as a missionary.   It truly is remarkable what can happen on a mission. I am confident he will be a strong link in the growing of the church in China. We have become great friends, it will be sad to see him go soon.  
This week we were able to see Herman twice. He had a bit of a concern whilst reading this past week. He interpreted some scripture to imply that black people are cursed. We filled to and read 2 Nephi 26 :24,25,33. It helped him to understand that the love of God covers the entire human race, and therefore was able to resolve his concern. We also in his lessons put a big focus on conference, and the opportunity for him to bring questions and receive heaven-sent instruction through God's chosen servants. He became rather excited and even came to the Saturday night session. He affirmed that his questions found answers. Herman is doing well, we are just dealing with the typical 19 year old concerns... "Herman your ride will be there in 5 minutes?" "No, come on.. but what if I get there to early and I'm lingering about with old folks?" haha. Herman is quite the character. We are only left to teach him Tithing, and as of now he is ready for baptism.. He has experienced his "change of heart" and is acting like it. 
General Conference was just as it was anticipated. What a SPIRITUAL FEAST! I had a few favorite's Elder Bednar, Elder Holland, and Elder Richard G Scott's talks were among my favorite's. 
Here are some of the things I took from it:
  • The why of the Priesthood = fire, passion, power. It inspires and transforms.
  • The what is needed and informs
  • Doctrine ignites the gospel flame.
  • It is possible to be active in the church and less-active in the "gospel
  • Personal fulfillment comes through sacrifice and service. (This is so true, I have not felt remotely as fulfilled in my life as I have on my mission.)
  • The key to maintaining our faith when the going gets tough... is through personal integrity. Forged through daily righteous choices.
  • In the eternities righteous yearnings and longing will be fulfilled
  • Come boldly to the throne of grace
  • "Brethren, step up"
  • When you live to lift others burdens, your own seem to be lightened.  Your attitude changes, your gratitude grows, and your spiritual capacity is enlarged.
  • See the present with fortitude, the future with confidence.
  • Sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life
  • Do not float along the currents of life, the way of least resistance.
  • Thanks be to God
  • Gain a sure witness that Priesthood keys are real
Favorite scripture of the conference. D&C 6:14-15. Shared by Richard G. Scott, absolutely loved it.
What a tender mercy the final hymn I heard was. The final hymn I will hear in England  was Come Thou Fount, my favorite song...
Here is this week's corner.. 
John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach at the University of California, Los Angeles, was a man who understood what it takes to succeed. In his 40 years of coaching, he worked at UCLA for 27 years, during which his teams never had a losing season. In fact, he led his teams to 10 national championships in his last 12 years at UCLA.
Coach Wooden cited some of the reasons for his success:
 “I emphasized constant improvement and steady performance. I have often said, ‘The mark of a true champion is to always perform near your own level of competency.’”
Champions are not born, they are made. The same with missionary work--great missionaries and fulfilled missions do not just happen by chance, they are built.
Each day of your mission is a brushstroke on the canvas of your character. Not all companionship studies, or full days of finding may appear to be journal-worthy or memorable. But just as simple strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to striking spiritual results. You might say the brush is in your hand, and you have the choice of what you make your painting.
One of the hardest things to keep consistent throughout a transfer is the full-potential of our planners. Here is what we call “the four point touch”, a template of what has helped us to be consistent with the use of all of our planner, and therefore maximize our time effectiveness.
1.Personal Study (5 min)
         a.   Review commitments left to me.  Do I need to study or focus on something?
b.         Investigators to study for? Fill in Personal Study Box with the plan.
c.          Add anything that may have been looked over in nightly planning  to the To-Do list.
d.         Fill in “Goal of the Day”, and assign “vocab word” of the day.
2. Lunch
a.         Ring 5 potentials
b.         Start going through the To-Do List, checking off when finished
3. Tea     
a.         Exact same as Lunch
4. Nightime
a.         Review the day with red pen. Writing in New Inv.’s names and putting a check next to appointments if they went through, and an “x” if they fell through for future reference.
b.         Transfer Un-done To-Do’s to tomorrow.
c.          Account for daily personal goal.
d.         Finalize all details of the potentials in the back of the planner, transfer to P.I sheets.
Let us commit to cultivate a reputation of excellence and consistency in all that we do.   
Thank you for all the pictures you sent.  The stadium is looking good! 
Enjoy the week!!!
Elder Eliason