Cody portrait

Cody portrait

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

No comments:

Post a Comment