Hermana Kiley Eliason

Prolongación Adolfo López Mateos #98A

Colonia Trojes de Alonso

C.P. 20116 Jesus Maria,

Aguascalientes, Mexico

My email address: kiley.eliason@myldsmail.net

Monday, February 24, 2014

Traveling around Mexico!

This week was so fun!

On Tuesday I had to travel to Aguascalientes (a 3 hour bus ride) to complete some immigration papers. I went with a couple of other Americans, and it was actually really weird for me to hear and speak in english for the day! The city of Aguascalientes is way different from my area in Fresnillos, Zacatecas.  It is much more developed and modern, with paved streets and tall buildings - oh and some restaurants I actually recognized like Jack in the Box and McDonalds.

On Thursday my companion and I had a meeting in the city of Zacatecas (only an hour bus ride). The buses are like riding the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland! Super bumpy but kind of fun and exciting :) Zacatecas was beautiful and more colonial- and the entire city is built on hills! Lots of exercise and stairs!

GREAT news! Our investigator Victor accepted the invitation to baptized next month! He is so sincere and interested in the church and works at the local silver mine. We also gained a new investigator named Carlos, so this week I felt the Spirit so strongly in our lessons!

This week we also attended a baptismal service for an investigator of the Elders in our area. Although the electricity was out in the church building, everything went well. We had to call a truck that had a big tank of water on the back, to come fill up the baptismal font - so the water was a bit chilly. And since the service was at 6:30 pm, it really didn't start until 7:00 pm, which meant it was dark. We used one of the elder's flashlights to see the speakers, but the Spirit was really strong regardless! I loved hearing the testimony of the investigator after she was baptized. She said she felt to happy and clean :) I love this work!

This week I was under the weather and a little sick; not too bad though - I think it was because it is super windy and dusty here. But I am all better now and just a little sun burned ;)

Oh, one night for dinner we stopped by a little shack where a lady had been making GIANT hamburgers for over 30 years! It was so cool to see her prepare them and we talked to her about the church while she was making them ... so extra bonus! They were delicious and the next morning I couldn't even eat breakfast because I was so full!

Church was amazing this Sunday! Victor showed up, and we sat near the front; which was also a bonus for me because I could hear and understand the speakers better. Then, afterwards we ate lunch at a member's house and she showed us how she made fresh flower tortillas.  She made the dough, rolled them out, cooked them, and they were delicious!

We continue to teach the people here everyday and I love it! My Spanish continues to improve but "language is not a barrier to love!" SO TRUE!

I love you all and hope all continues to go well!

Hermana Eliason

[We asked Kiley a few questions that may be of interest to everyone...

Do you have running water for your showers?  You mentioned once that you take two bucket showers - are they cold? 
Yes we finally have some running water for our showers in the mornings! A man came by and "fixed" the problem. Usually it is warm but I have definitely learned how to shower really quickly. Also they don't use conditioner here, so i only have shampoo. But since I don't blow-dry or straighten my hair, it is pretty healthy ;)

Do you feel safe as you walk around?
Yes I feel safe as i walk around, but in all honesty, EVERYONE stares at me. I am thee only white person around and usually Hermana Ortiz and I get a lot of whistles or comments...but they dont bother me and I feel safe.

What does a typical breakfast / lunch / dinner look like?
Everyday for breakfast I either have cereal or oatmeal! yum! Lunch is with the members; which 90 percent of the time consists of beans, rice, LOTS of meat of some kind, and sugar water. I am drinking lots of natural water though, so don't worry! Dinner is usually a sandwich or another bowl of cereal :)

Do the people look more European or more typically Mexican?
The people are legit Mexicans! No european resemblance whatsoever! Maybe in Aguascalientes or other parts, but here in Fresnillo it is very hispanic.

Have you gotten any letters from the states yet (except dearelder.com ones)?
I haven't gotten any letters or packages from the states yet...still waiting :( But I do get a lot of emails each week, so thats exciting!

Are there any customs that may be of interest to us?
Customs...hmmm everyone kisses each other on the cheek to greet one another. We have had a couple close encounters with some men trying to salud us with a kiss, but Ive dodged them each time ;)haha But its kinda fun with the women!]

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love In The Air

This week was centered around Valentine's Day here! Apparently it is a super big deal.  When we visited the center of the city to buy fruit and vegetables, it was as if a box of pink hearts and stuffed animals had exploded!  Everyone was selling things for Valentine's Day the entire week.   As for Hermana Ortiz and I, we had our own little Valentine's gift exchange with two other hermanas in our zone.   I received an elephant and some chocolates, so of course I was a happy camper!

We got dropped by one of our investigator families which was depressing, because they were really progressing and enjoying the lessons a lot.  But they talked to their Padre of the Catholic church who told them to stop the lessons with us.  :(

But, the good new is that we gained a new investigator named Victor.  He is a friend of one of the members, and already has a Book of Mormon and has been reading it!  He attended church with us on Sunday, and even stayed for the baptism service of someone afterwards.   He said he felt the Spirit really strongly (as did I) during the baptismal service, and we are going to teach him this week and invite him to be baptized!

We have been having a lot of success with less active members too! I have come to realize that they are just as important to visit and teach. We had 5 less active members show up to church this week, which totally made my day! The amount of joy I felt for them was indescribable and I am loving being a missionary (especially when I can witness the lives of others changing for the better!)
Here I am with Luna (which means moon).
She is so sweet! She stays on the property
with us and howls at the moon at night!

Hermana Ortiz and I have started running for 15 minutes each morning, which really does give us a ton more energy during the day.... plus we have to work off all of those tortillas!  It is so weird here, because when we eat at a member's house, I eat everything on my plate ... then they ask what I want more of. And if I do not get seconds, it is considered an insult or they say "You didn't like the food Hermana Eliason?" So they are stuffing us with so much food!

My Spanish is improving and each night we read a story from the Liahonna (a magazine of our church) out loud in Spanish and then in English for Hermana Ortiz.  I wanted to include this quote that I really enjoyed from one of the articles about character:
"God uses your faith to mold your character. Character is woven patiently from threads of doctrine, principle, and obedience. Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming. Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trails and testings of life. Your continuin exercise of faith will forge strength of character available to you in times of critical need. Such character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation. That is when it is used.The bedrock of character is integrity." Richard G. Scott  
I know it is kind of long, but I just love the way he describes character!

The Bishop's daughter and son.
The son is almost 3 and so adorable!
The super attractive tan lines
that I am developing! haha

I love this gospel and I love being a missionary!

I hope all is well and everyone had a fantastic week including Valentines Day!

Hermana Eliason

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hospital (don't worry, not for me)

This week we made several trips to the hospital. The first time was for my companion, Hermana Ortiz, because she was experiencing pain in her mouth from her molars. We arrived right when the hospital opened at 7:30am and were given the number 49! The consults here are free, but you have to arrive super early and wait until your number is called. In any case, we waited for over 3 hours! But at least I got to study up on the spanish and practice with Hermana Ortiz. She received some medicine and another appointment for next week.

Me with a local donkey
The second visit to the hospital later in the week was for another Hermana who has been experiencing kidney problems (because she rarely drinks water and has been having kidney stones and inflammation) Ouch! Hermana Ortiz and I accompanied them to their appointments and they stayed in our small house for two nights, since they were from another city about an hour away. It was fun to have some company, but due to the extra people and appointments we hardly got any sleep and I have been exhausted! 

Oh I have a new favorite fruit! Guayabas! I am addicted to them and we bought about two dozen the other day along with all of our other fresh fruits and vegetables! The mangos, avocados, tomatoes, and bananas are fantastic here!

My spanish is improving and I am participating more and more in each lesson. In fact, I led four of the lessons this week! The people here are so patient with me and love it when I try to communicate with them; even though I mess up a ton. But, I truly can feel the love from our investigators, members, and the other native missionaries. 

Today was awesome! It was preparation day and our entire zone got together for a fun filled day! We walked up to the Fresnillos silver mine and took a tour.

Fresnillos Silver Mine Tour
We walked through the entire mine, which was over half a mile long underground! It was at an incline, so we ended up on top of the mine/mountain and had an amazing view of the city.

 Then on the decent down the mountain, we got to see a ton of animals! It was literally a mini zoo and we were walking over the exhibits on wiggly wooden bridges. I saw tigers, bears, water buffalo, bob cats, tons of birds, and much more! Then we all went out to lunch and ate pizza :)

I miss random things sometimes- like being able to take a nap in the middle of the day, a warm bath, jumping on a trampoline, watching a movie with the family, etc. But I am having fun here and try to make the most out of every day!

Me & my companion, Hermana Ortiz
My companion and I are adjusting to the language barrier but I am learning the importance of communication for sure. My brain is mentally drained all the time, but I learn so much each day. My testimony is strengthened each day because Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost have become my closest friends. 

Oh we watched The Other Side of Heaven the other day. What an incredible movie! My mission must seem like a vacation to the main character who served in Tonga. You and the family definitely need to watch it!
This is what the streets are like here - tons of clothes!

I hope all is well and I appreciate all the love and support I receive! Thank you so much!

Hermana Eliason

Monday, February 3, 2014

Adjusting and loving life!

This week went by SUPER fast! 

On Monday after cleaning all my clothes by hand, we went to the center of town to buy a backpack and some groceries. We really don't need to go to the grocery store much though, because it is like a farmer's market, swap meet, and garage sale all day, every day here!  The streets always have vendors trying to sell things for super cheap!

On Tuesday, I taught a lesson all by myself in Spanish for about 15 minutes to my district!  I felt like a two year old because I've only been here 2 weeks and they are all fluent natives!  But my companion said I did well. We had lunch at a member's house and ate the usual - beans, rice, tortillas, and some sort of mystery meat!  And for dessert we had an orange with chili powder. I actually really liked it!  It was a spicy yet sweet taste!

On Wednesday, as we were walking home from an appointment, I heard a baby crying.  When we turned a corner, I looked to see where the crying was coming from ... but it wasn't a baby!  It was a little lamb on top of some person's roof!  haha   I was crying because I was laughing so hard with Hermana Ortiz whenever it would bleat (is that the right word?)  There are tons of animals here!

On Thursday, we watched the movie called The Testaments with one of our investigators. The Spirit was so strong and, yes, I did cry!  The people are amazing here. God truly is preparing the hearts and minds of the people to accept our message about Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel. We have picked up three new investigators. And the timing has been no coincidence!  One of our new investigators named Salvador lived in Utah for 25 years, read the entire Book of Mormon, has a testimony that this is the true church, goes to church, prays, and even pays tithing!  He had to return to Mexico 3 years ago because his mom is sick and he doesn't have his papers. He hasn't been baptized because he knows it is a big commitment and is nervous that he isn't ready. But hopefully this week we can visit with him more.

On Friday, we met with more investigators and encountered two new people in the streets.  I am learning more and more Spanish every day. My companion has a lot of patience with me, and helps me a lot.  I am starting to speak more in the lessons and the conjugations of all the verbs are still difficult, but coming along as well.
Me & my companion Hermana Ortiz

On Saturday, we watched The Other Side Of Heaven! Wow- love that movie. We watched it with a recently converted family and it was super powerful and also fun!

On Saturday, I was a little sick and chugged down my Pepto Bismol. No bueno!  Lots of the food here is new and giving my stomach a rough time. Plus it is considered disrespectful if we don't eat ALL of the food that a member offers to us when we eat at their house. 

On Sunday, we fasted and I almost died of thirst!  I crave water all the time here and there hardly is any!  Plus it is windy, so my mouth dries out and I feel like I can drink an entire swimming pool!


Here I am enjoying a few puppies!

Our elegant room
*It gets really cold here at night but is really warm during the day. Also very windy. No bugs! Thank goodness, but my companion said there are cockroaches in Aguascalientes because of the climate! But here I am safe from nasty big bugs! So I am super grateful
Boots, belt buckles & hats are super
popular here among the men
Old colonial structures here in Fresnillos are super cool!

I am doing great - definitely learning to have patience with the language, but I am being forced to learn quickly (which is nice). I am also getting sunburned almost every day, so soon I won´t be so white anymore! I am adjusting to all the new ways of life here and the Lord is humbling me, for sure.

I love you all and am so grateful for your support and prayers. 

'Till next week

Hermana Eliason