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

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