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, October 27, 2014

Teaching People, not just lessons :)

On Monday, I felt like I was back home, because Hermana Mora & I worked outside in our garden!  We did a lot of sweeping and cleaning up & it's so adorable now.  We have some pink flowers, a lemon tree & other plants.  

Our lemon tree in the front yard/patio
We ate out with a member family and I must tell you that for $4.50 I was served soup, beans, rice, chicken with cactus & lettuce, bread or tortillas, and dessert!  I am really going to miss these prices!  In the evening we visited the Toledo family and taught them about the Word of Wisdom and how important it is to take care of our bodies.  It was great because their aunt (who isn't a member) was in town visiting from Los Angeles, California and when we likened our bodies to a temple, she said, "Oh, I've seen the temple in L.A., it's so beautiful."  We told her that when she returns next week, she can go to the Visitors Center of the temple - which I invite everyone to do back home too, if they want to learn more about the Church or the temple.

On Tuesday, all of our lessons were with investigators, because we have so many people to teach.  It's just so awesome when the ward members are active and involved, because then we can work with them to fellowship those investigating the church.  :)  I love seeing these investigators progress!  It's the best feeling when you see something "click" or make sense to them, and they're learning.  I am so happy here.

We did exchanges on Wednesday, and I spent the day with Hermana Morales in her area.  She has 16 months in the mission and in December will be going back home to Sonora, Mexico.  We just had a fantastic day together.  She used to be a Sister Training Leader and I felt like we were on the same wave-length.  She and I taught a lot of lessons and contacted a lot of people in her area.  One thing I won't forget her saying is, "Hermana Eliason, the mission will literally fly by and be over before you know it.  Enjoy each day here."  And it is so true!  I remember, back in April, when she was in my zone and we all went out to eat pizza together - that's when she had 10 months in the mission (which is how much I have right now!)  CRAZY!

On another note, it's fun to see a lot of people putting up decorations for Halloween :)  Lots of stores are selling masks, jack-o-lanterns, and candy.  And it just started getting chilly here, so it really feels like Fall to me.

Then on Thursday, we taught Jose Guadalupe with his neighbor Irma (who both have a date to be baptized in November!)  They both have such pure hearts and I love helping them learn.  In the evening, we visited another investigator named Corina.  She's 22 and very smart - majoring in mathematics at the University.  So, she's able to grasp the lessons we teach really well, but then asks super deep questions.  I know that if she reads the Book of Mormon, she will gain such a strong testimony that what we're teaching her is true.  The Book of Mormon is so incredible and can answer all the questions we have!   I invite and wish everyone could read the Book of Mormon.

Friday, two other investigators accepted a baptismal date for late November!  During a lesson with an investigator, all the little girls (her nieces and daughters) were intrigued by my hair and english speaking abilities.  In this house there are literally, like 15 little girls between the ages of 2-12 years old!  It is a house shared by the whole family and there's always tons of people!   haha  But the mom/aunt kept telling the girls to leave me alone, because during the lesson two or three of them were running their fingers through my hair - which of course attracted the attention of the others who then also wanted to touch my hair!  :)  haha  They are all super cute  (I'll be sure to take a picture with them next time).

Saturday flew by!  In the morning, Hermana Mora looked at me funny as I ate 3 tomatoes raw, and I had to explain to her that I missed eating raw tomatoes from my Mom's garden  haha  :)  I found out that in Ecuador, she used to eat turtle, until it recently was outlawed!  Hermana Mora has explained a lot to me about the different food and culture of Ecuador.  In the middle of the night we had the time change, and got to sleep an extra hour - which was GLORIOUS!    I can't wait to take naps again  :)

On Sunday, we had several investigators attend and everything went well.  I have gotten to know almost everyone in this ward and I think they're all so great.  At lunch, we ate with a member family and, get this, the dad (in his late 20's) trained a missionary from Chino!  He said his name was Thomas Simons, but it doesn't ring a bell - however, it made me realize what a small world [this is]!  Then we visited this amazing family we've been teaching.  The dad (Teodulo) makes / bakes bread from home, and we got to see him in action.  It was way cool!  He has the huge brick oven and let us make our own personal breads.  :)  His wife (Maria) is so thoughtful, and their son (Pedro) is super intelligent and grasps the concepts of all the lessons so well.  I love their family.

Our investigator Teodulo in the process of baking

Here I am before making my work of art
(I won't have the finished product till later today)

I'm doing great here and starting to bundle up for the cold we started feeling this week.  I hope everyone back home enjoys Halloween and the last days of October!  Where is the time going?!  I'll be sure to include lots of pics of the Day of the Dead, which will be celebrated here next Sunday  :)

Thank you for all your prayers, love and support!

Hermana Eliason

Monday, October 20, 2014

An incredible week - full of amazing experiences

Celebrating my birthday with our district :) super fun!!
Last Monday I seriously had the best birthday!  Thank you so much!  I received tons of letters and emails and felt so loved.  I feel extremely blessed to have so many amazing people in my life.  I truly appreciate all your prayers and support  :)  And I can't wait to see, hug, and thank you all individually when I return.  Time keeps flying and I am amazed at all the changes I continue seeing - in myself and others.

In our Tuesday District Meeting, my district surprised me with a birthday breakfast!  We all enjoyed pancakes with Nutella, bananas, powdered sugar or syrup  :)  It was super yummy and super fun.  They even put some candles in 3 Costco chocolate muffins for me to blow out.  It was all so thoughtful and nice.  We took pictures with some funny hats we encountered and all had a good laugh  :)

We encountered an amazing family to teach!  Last week we had contacted a man who makes and sells delicious bread.  He accepted a pamphlet and said we could return.  So Tuesday, we felt like we should go to the other side of our area and see him.  He warmly invited us in and we met his wife, Mother-in-law, 2 grandchildren, and 3 of their 9 children.  He said he had read the pamphlet and looked at me and asked, "Is it true?  Did this Joseph Smith really see God and Jesus Christ?"  I testified that it was all true, and that he could know for himself if he prayed and asked God with a sincere heart and real intent.  He then explained that several years ago, two young men had given him a Book of Mormon, but he'd only read a little of it.  We then taught about the Book of Mormon and the Spirit was so strong!  We gave 2 more to their family and they said they'd read the introduction  :)  Before leaving he gave us each a bread and thanked us.  Hermana Mora and I both were beaming the rest of the day!
My district, Hermana Nakken, Hermana Hernandez, Elder Luciano, Elder Summers

On Wednesday, a similar situation happened.  There are so many incredible people, experiences, and feeling here - there's not enough time or space to write about it all.  But I know this is the Lord's work and He is preparing the hearts and minds of so many people to accept this gospel.  I am so grateful to be a missionary.  I love each day and learn a ton.
This is Irma our investigator who gave me  a bag of her homemade potato chips for my birthday :) 

Thursday flew by because we had weekly planning in the morning.  Hermana Mora and I set a goal to memorize a scripture a day.  We write the scripture of the day on one of our post-its and put it in our agenda, so that throughout the day we can test each other.  :)  In the evening we had an appointment with a lady we had contacted last week.  She wasn't home, but she'd put the pass-along card of Christ on her door for all to see.  :)  We decided to contact her neighbor, Lulu, who was sitting in her hair salon.  Since she didn't have any customers / patients at the moment, she invited us in.  We taught her the first lesson.  She agreed to be baptized if she came to know that these things were true, and accepted the invitation to come to church this Sunday!  Wow!  It was an incredible lesson, like Preach My Gospel says, "So many people are looking for the truth but just don't know where to find it."  I know that this is what they are all looking for.  This is the only church that has all the answers to the questions each of us have, and can offer so much peace of mind.  I love all the answers I have personally found through prayer, scripture study, and church attendance.

These dogs love me :) haha
Friday, as we were about to cross the main road, I saw a little old lady with her walker and light purple hair on the other side.  I thought we should help her cross, but she quickly crossed over to where we were and Hermana Mora said, "Hi, Sister Campos, can we walk you home and share a message with you?"  Hermana Campos said, "Of course, and then proceeded to walk quite quickly towards her house (which ended up being like half a mile away!)  I was absolutely amazed at this 93 year old woman who lives by herself, cooks for herself, and has to go up and down the stairs in her 2 floor house to use the bathroom & sleep at night.  We watched a movie about eternal families and she expressed her gratitude for visiting her. She said sometimes she feels lonely, but then remembers that we always have our Heavenly Father to hear us, comfort us, and guide us.  She's an incredible lady.

For lunch, I tried the "Macho banana", which is a big banana that's bitter, so they fry it and dip it in honey and then it's like a dessert.  It tasted yummy.  :)  In almost all our visits, the people give / offer us food.  Sometimes, it's a fruit, but usually it's sweet bread with milk, cookies, or candy.  So I've officially determined that it's almost impossible not to gain weight as a missionary.  :)

Saturday was when I spent the day with Hermana Barlow, here in my area for exchanges as the Sister Training Leader.  Hermana Barlow is from Nevada and was in my ward for 2 semesters at BYU  (She was living on the floor below me in the dorms!)  Small world, right?  She's super awesome, has a strong testimony and is very humble.

During the day together, Hermana Barlow and I made a lot of visits.  I now understand why they never put 2 American sisters together - because we definitely stood out and called a lot of attention together.  Everyone stared at us as we passed and when we contacted people, they would ask with a puzzled look on their faces, "Where are you girls from?  And what are you doing here in Mexico?"  ha ha ha  But it was a great day and I am so thankful for exchanges with the other Hermanas because I learn a ton.

Sunday was fantastic!  Six investigators came to church!  Jose Guadalupe and his neighbor, Irma, were ready at 7:45 am when we passed by for them.  Then Maria Samarron showed up all on her own, and Calvo too.  Two other husbands of less-active families also attended.  I was so happy that they all came - and let me just say, it is the best feeling ever when your investigators come and the ward members warmly welcome them and are actively engaged in asking their names and befriending them!  :)

For lunch we ate hamburgers with a super fun family (Yera family) and set up a date to teach some friends they'd invited.  LOVE getting references from members!

In the Tangamanga II Park
In the evening, the people we'd planned to visit were not home so we crossed the street and decided to contact in the Tangamanga II Park.  It was a brilliant idea because on P-days the park is closed, so I'd never seen it.  Hermana Mora and I walked through the park, talking to everyone we came across, but also enjoying how beautiful it was.  There were so many trees!  Everything was green and there was even a mini-zoo with animals.  We saw llamas, deer, peacocks, ostrich, wild boar, etc.  I loved it.  We met tons of people and are going to visit several of them this week.  It was a great place to contact because we encountered families spending time together - and they were people more receptive to the message of the gospel.

Here I am with some sort of bull. I tried taking a picture with the ostrich, but it kept moving.

All in all, I had an incredible week - full of amazing experiences.  I love being a missionary and each day my mind, eyes, and heart are opened to more understanding of God and our purpose here as His children.  I love you and all and hope all is going well.  :)


Hermana Eliason

Other pictures from this week:

Monday, October 13, 2014

HOLA mi familia y amigos!

HOLA mi familia y amigos!

I experienced a great week and it seemed to fly by!  I am seeing the hand of the Lord in everything here!  For example, on Monday we used a taxi to arrive at the house after eating lunch in the Elder's area (pretty far away) and since we "contacted" the taxi man and were talking to him about the gospel, he didn't charge us.  He said he would await a visit from the missionaries and read the pamphlet we gave him!  There are people all around us that are ready and anxious to receive the truths of the restored gospel.  I know if we do our part, the Lord will help us encounter those who are willing / wanting to hear this message.

Tuesday we had our first district meeting and I have the same district leader from Fresnillo, Zacatecas.   Elder Luciano and his companion, Elder Summers, are the only two elders in our district, but then there is Hermana Nakken and Hermana Hernandez; so there's 6 of us in total and we all get along well together.

Exchanges with Hermana Nakken 
On Wednesday, I spent the day with Hermana Nakken in her area (my first exchange with one of the sisters as the Sister Training Leader).  It was fantastic!  Hermana Nakken is an outgoing and optimistic missionary from Cedar, Utah.  We clicked so easily and had an awesome day together.  I learned a lot from the exchange and I love seeing how other missionaries teach.  It gives me ideas on how I can improve, but as their leader I also have to be setting an example and give them counsel.  During the day we taught some excellent people and I could really feel the Sprit in the lessons.  Hermana Nakken and I are crazy similar and became close friends during the 24 hours together.  :)

Thursday went really well, until we returned home in the evening and discovered there was no electricity!  So we bought two candles to use for the evening and that was fun.  :)  We planned to visit the Centro in the morning and pay the electricity bill that was due.

Early Friday morning I went to a part of the Centro of San Luis and was amazed and in awe!  All the old stone buildings and old Catholic churches made me feel like I was somewhere in Europe.  There were cobble stone streets, fountains, statues, and several beautiful gardens we saw.  I loved the atmosphere and Hermana Mora and I snapped several photos.

On Saturday things went well and we taught several great lessons.

On Sunday we had 3 investigators come to church! It was so amazing to see them feel the Spirit (especially because this week was fast and testimony meeting).  I am so excited when I can see others learning!

Today was my birthday!! It was the BEST day! Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who took part in writing me a note or a letter I felt so loved and couldn't stop smiling all day Hermana Mora and I went to the Centro and took a short 50 min. tour of the city and saw a ton of historical sites and old buildings We bought banana splits to celebrate and just had a fun time together. 

Happy Birthday Banana Split with Hermana Mora

I miss you all and cannot express my gratitude and love for each one of you!!!


Hermana Eliason

[Kiley sent a lot of pictures this week that I have included for your viewing pleasure below.  "All of these photos are from downtown or the Centro! IT IS SO AMAZING!!!  I seriously felt like I was in Europe!  The architecture is great"]

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Best Weekend Ever!

Me and my new companion, Hermana Mora
On Monday, I said goodbye to Hermana Perez and took the bus with other missionaries to San Luis Potosi (3 hours).  When I arrived I was warmly welcomed by my new companion, Hermana Mora!  She is just so great and I love working with her.  She comes from a family of 4 in Ecuador and is 22 years old.  After we arrived, I unpacked and got settled in our house.  I really like our home, because we have a small garden in our front patio (including a lemon tree!)  Everything is great!

The scenery on the way to San Luis! It was so pretty
Then on Tuesday, I got to know the area and some investigators in the morning / afternoon.  We had a very powerful lesson with an investigator named Marta.  We watched the video called "Finding Faith in Christ" and the Spirit was felt so strong in her sewing shop.  She said she'd accompany us this Sunday in one of the General Conference sessions - which I am super excited about and encourage everyone to watch  :)  Then in the evening, we boarded another bus to return to Aguascalientes.   As Sister Training Leaders (STL) we have special reunions with the Mission President and the other STL's and Zone Leaders the first Wednesday of every month.  But since the reunion is at 9am in Aguascalientes, it is necessary that we travel the day before, and then spend the night in a big house of the mission with the other STL's from the other 2 zones in San Luis & Zacatecas.  It kinda felt like a big sleep over  :)  We arrived at the "Colinas house" with 8 other STL's and ate dinner together.  It is so exciting to hear how the other sister missionaries are doing.
Eating with all the other Sister Training Leaders 

So on Wednesday, we all gathered from 9am - 2:30pm with the Mission President to receive instruction.  It was incredible and I learned a ton!  I left feeling super spiritually uplifted and motivated.  I loved the meeting and all the other leaders.  And after lunch with everyone, we took photos and headed back to San Luis.  On the bus ride I enjoyed the beautiful scenery and practiced hymns in English with Hermana Mora - she loves to sing.

Thursday flew by!  We planned our talks for the zone meeting with the other missionaries on Friday - I was super nervous.  And our lessons went well in the evening.  It is an exciting challenge to learn a new area and new people.  So many names and streets to remember, but I like it  :)
Here we are with Hermana Crosby and Hermana Branaley
(the two american sisters I arrived with)

Friday was the zone meeting and it was fantastic!  The zone leaders (Elder Turgenien & Elder Fuentes) and Hermana Mora and I each talked for 30 minutes about our assigned topics.  I spoke about the importance of using our time wisely.  I learned a lot from preparing my talk and am so grateful for this time to serve those in this zone as the Sister Training Leader with Hermana Mora.    I learned the names of the new missionaries and got to see some familiar faces of missionaries I know from other areas I've served in!  My talk went well and Hermana Mora said the Spirit was strong, and my Spanish was great  :)  I know the Lord is helping me every step of the way.

In the evening we visited the church building to wish a little girl & her brother a Happy Birthday.  They were celebrating with music and food, and there were a ton of people that showed up.  We ended up contacting a bunch of non-member friends and neighbors who had shown up and received a lot of references!  It was actually really fun going table to table and talking with everyone about the gospel.  We made several appointments and invited all to the conference this weekend and our church services on regular Sundays  :)

Hermana Mora and I with the Spider Man from the birthday
party where we contacted a ton of people

So basically - BEST WEEKEND EVER!  I LOVED Saturday and Sunday because of General Conference.   https://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2014/10?cid=HPSA100414463&lang=eng  The talks were so inspiring and spiritual and just what I needed to hear.  I hope everyone got to listen  :)  We had 6 investigators attend on Sunday!  It was so awesome. This week we committed 3 investigators to a baptism date and contacted like crazy!  Our area is small (and half of it is Tangamanga Park)  but there are a lot of houses.  San Luis Potosi is different than my other area in Aguascalientes.  Some observations:
*     the taxi's here are green instead of red - so that keeps throwing me off when we're looking for a taxi  :)
*     it is way more expensive here!  I used to buy bread for 3 pesos and here it's 6 (the double!)
*     it's a lot cooler here.  I have started to use my light sweaters and am no longer worried about sun burns.
*     I'm working in neighborhoods with houses, not in sectors with apartment-style living.
*     It is cleaner here - less trash in the streets and less stray dogs roaming around.

Fun facts about my area:
*     there is a train that runs through the center of town.  So I can always tell where I am based on the train tracks.
*     There are also lots of mini parks for little kids and lots of green.  There are more trees and plants and vine covered walls  :)

All in all, San Luis is beautiful.  I love my new area, my new companion, and all the new people I am meeting.  I have a firm testimony that this is the true church and we can all encounter the peace that comes from knowing about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the plan that our Heavenly Father has for each of His children.  I am proud to be a missionary and have the privilege to invite others to come unto Christ.  I love you all and keep you in my prayers, always.  Hope you have an outstanding week!

Love always,

Hermana Eliason

Other photos:
Hermana Mora and I together with the sisters that are living in the Colinas house
(Hermana Miner and Hermana Canales)

Me & Hermana Mora
My beautiful area!