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, November 24, 2014

Perfect Timing

P-day was fantastic, because Elder Summers had a Costco card and took all of us in the district [there]!  It was the first time Hermana Mora had ever been (and the first time in 11 months for me)!  I seriously felt like I was back home - seeing all the familiar food / products.  Costco is starting to sell Christmas stuff, which made me happy, but also a little homesick.  And afterwards, we all ate Costco pizza :)  Then we went to the church building and watched the movie about the 2 Elder missionaries that got kidnapped in Russia  [The Saratov Approach]!  It was so incredible and, yes, I cried.  Everyone should watch it!!  In the evening, we visited a less active family, and they already have their Christmas tree set up!   Ahh, I am just so excited for the Christmas season to begin  :)

Tuesday, we finished teaching about the Plan of Salvation to Teodulo & Maria.  They are so smart and can learn so fast!  I love teaching about the Plan of Salvation, because it all just makes sense to me, and I know the answers to the questions, "Where are we from?  What is our purpose here in life?  and Where are we going afterwards?"  And this Plan gives me so much peace and helps me make better decisions.

In the evening, it was SO cold!  Hermana Mora and I felt like we were in a deep freezer!  We arrived to visit a less active family & they hurried us into the house and fed us chicken noodle soup with tortillas.  So then, I was a happy camper again  :)  haha  But really - it is getting really cold.  I even started playing my Christmas music around the house in the morning  :)

Wednesday morning we had a zone conference with the Mission President & his wife.  I really liked the conference because they spoke about the importance of setting goals and then making specific plans to achieve the goals we set.  Goal setting is vital if we want to see results and progress.  I made some personal goals for myself, and Hermana Mora and I made goals for our area.  We taught several investigators in the evening - and one of them gave Hermana Mora and I each a sweater.  The people here are so kind and, although they don't have much, they always give what they can.  I have learned how to be more thoughtful and giving.

Thursday, when we taught Teodula and Maria about the temple and family history, they were super interested.  They commented on how beautiful the temples are, and asked where the nearest temple is.  I think I always took for granted how close I live to temples - because the nearest temple here is in Guadalajara (a completely different state several hours away).
This is our gospel principles class (lulu is next to Hna Mora) and (Jose Guadalupe is in between the elders) they were our two investigators that stayed for the class :)

On Friday, I spent the day with Hermana Bingham.  She is from Ohio and was attending BYU the same year as me!  She was living on the other side of campus, so we never knew each other beforehand - but after the mission it'll be fun to see her again.  She has a lot of talents and an outgoing personality.  During the day we contacted a lot of people and taught many investigators.  It was rainy, but not too cold, so that was nice.

Saturday we went to a house where we'd contacted an elderly lady several weeks earlier.  When her granddaughter, who is 21 years old, answered the door, we asked if her grandma was home.  Then she got a puzzled look on her face and asked, "You aren't looking for me?"  We then learned from her, that she and her mom are members!  They live with the grandma, who's not a member and they have been inactive for years.  And we had heard of them, but the Relief Society didn't have their address, so we never knew how to visit them.  It was a miracle and evidence of God's perfect plan to help all his children.  They told us that they'd been wanting to return to church, but felt hesitant because they didn't have contact with the missionaries or members.  All they needed was an invitation  :)

On Sunday we had 4 investigators attend church and 2 of them stayed for all 3 hours!  Hermana Mora and I taught the Gospel Principles class and I realized how much we can learn from the Sunday classes.  For me, the 3 hours fly by!  After lunch, another incredible experience happened.  Hermana Mora and I wanted to visit a man we had contacted last week, whose wife was listening to the missionaries before she passed away.  He gave us his address "106-A", but we only found the number "106".  So, when an older lady answered the door, we were informed that she was his sister-in-law and also his neighbor.  She told us that he lived next door, and we almost left to see if he was home, but I felt like we should talk with her.  I asked if we could share a message with her, and she invited us in her house.  Her name is Dolores, and she is 62 years old and a widow.  We started explaining that we were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  She exclaimed, "Oh, you are Mormons.  Wait her a moment."  She entered another room, and then returned with 6 Books of Mormon in her arms!  Each was different and the oldest dated back to 1970!  She then unraveled a long and amazing history of her visits from missionaries.  She had a light in her eyes when she described the church building being constructed 40 years ago and the Elders and Hermanas that had taught her and her family.  She never was baptized, although she attended church like any other member and told us, "I am almost ready to be baptized.  I don't lack much now."  Delores said, "It is incredible that over the years, whenever I am going through a really hard time or feel alone, you Mormon missionaries always knock on my door.  Always."  I was in shock and Hermana Mora and I could barely believe everything she told us.  We scheduled another day to visit her and before we left, she said with total sincerity, "Thank you for coming to help me.  I have never met a better people than the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

This week was amazing.  It is a privilege to be a missionary and see God perform miracles.  I wish I had enough time and space to describe all the amazing experiences I've had here.  I am so happy and grateful for all that I've been given.  I know that this is the true church and that the knowledge of the restored gospel can change lives.  This gospel offers answers to our deepest questions, [provides] comfort and true joy.

I love you all and hope each of you can experience the happiness I've felt in this gospel.  I pray for your progress and success each day and can't wait to see each of you again soon.

Con amor,
Hermana Eliason

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sano, fuerte, feliz (healthy, strong & happy)

So Monday night I was served 6 COW BRAIN tacos ... yum  :)  It actually wasn't that bad.  Sister Toledo had prepared it with cilantro, tomato, and onion and once it was fried and smothered with salsa, it tasted just like other meat.
This is Sister Toledo in the process of making the cow brain tacos

This is me with two of her kids
Also on Monday, we also taught an investigator who was about to drop us, but after a super spiritual lesson, she said we could come back on Thursday  :)  It is so great when the Spirit opens up the hearts of those we teach.

On Tuesday morning we met the new members of our district.  Hermana Nakken's companion is Hermana Cuque (who is super cute & from Guatemala); Elder Summers is now our district leader and training Elder Rojas; and we have Elder Burns (from my generation in the CCM) training Elder Tlaxcalteca.  So, there were a lot of changes, but I'm excited for our new district  :) 

Oh, it rained non-stop and was super cold!  My companion and I didn't bring our cameras with us, but the streets became rivers and it was flooded more than I've ever seen before!  The rain is always fun, but I was layered like an eskimo - tights, socks, boots, sweater, coat, gloves, scarf, and a fuzzy headband to cover my ears!  Ridiculous.  When we visited a sick member and her brother, the power went out.  So we used the cell phone light to encounter some candles and drank a cup of hot chocolate until it turned back on again.  :)
This is by the freeway that they refer to as "the River", because it used to be a river before,
and even now when it rains it gets super flooded

Wednesday it also rained, but on and off throughout the day.  We encountered a new investigator named Olga today, who is super kind and receptive.  And after some other visits and a yummy lunch, we visited Teodulo & Maria.  It was perfect, because Hermano and Hermana de la Rosa (recent converts) accompanied us and have been known Teodulo & his wife for years because of their bread.  In fact, on the Sunday that Teodulo & Maria visited church, they knew about 6 members!  Everything is going so smoothly with them  :) 

This is when we had the family home evening
with a member and her friend from zumba
Then we had a Family Home Evening with a member named Maria & her friend from Zumba, named Isabel.  We watched the movie about eternal families, and then Marta shared her conversion story.  We all had a fun and spiritual time together.

Thursday we had an excellent afternoon.  All of our lessons were with a member and an investigator!  One lesson we had was with Monica, but before we started, her son & his girlfriend arrived.  We found out that his girlfriend had heard a little from some other missionaries that were visiting her brother about a year ago.  And, turns out that one of these past missionaries was Hermana Mora's trainer!  Such a small world!! Anywho, they accepted a Book of Mormon and said they'd read the introduction before our next visit  :) 

Then we had our visit with an investigator named Maria Zamarron (the one who was about to drop us).  A member her age who used to be Catholic - and actually almost became a nun - accompanied us and shared her conversion story.  The investigator and this member clicked so well, and I could feel the Spirit so strongly during the lesson.  The investigators progress so much with the members present in the lessons.

Friday I spent the day with Hermana Cuque in exchanges in my area.  Hermana Cuque is just so sweet!  She is the youngest of 3 and is from the capital of Guatemala  :)  We had an excellent day together and taught a lot of investigators.  She and I were previously in the same zone and it'll be fun to have her in our district now.  In the evening before she returned to her area, we taught an investigator whose sister was visiting from Laguna Hills, California!  We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she'd like to hear from the missionaries when she returns home next week.  There are definitely no coincidences!  I love encountering more and more people who are ready to receive the message of the restored gospel.

Saturday actually wasn't that cold and I tried to soak up every ray of sunshine, because everyone here keeps saying that i's going to get really cold.  When we visited Teodulo & Maria, we were talking about the Plan of Salvation.  As we explained some of their questions, I showed them a list of definitions at the end of the pamphlet they have and Teodulo got all excited and said, "Look!  Here are all the answers!"  hahah  It was as if he found the answer key to a bunch of hard math problems.  :)  I love it when the people we teach get what I like to call the "light-bulb face"  (like something finally clicked for them and things became clearer.)
This is us with Jose Guadalupe

On Sunday we had Stake Conference!  Maria & Teodulo showed up 20 minutes early to get a good seat and Jose Guadalupe came with Hermana Mora and I.  We heard from the Stake Presidency and Brother Piper.  Their messages were uplifting and motivating, and the Spirit could easily be felt.  Teodulo & Maria told us how much they enjoyed it before they headed back home.  I felt so happy the rest of the day.

Here I am with Beautiful Hermana Mora  ;) 

I am doing great here in Aviacion with Hermana Mora.  We make each other laugh daily and have become close friends.

One thing that I love about the mission is that I've learned to see the good in others.  It's easy to be happy when one can realize all the good there is and all the blessings we've been given.  I hope you all have a fantastic and happy week!

Sending all my love and hugs,

Hermana Eliason

Here are some super fun YSAs that we totally click with, Fernanda, Anais, and Gabby
Hermana Mora in Costco for the first time!!
This is Brother Bernal who leaves this week to live in his
 house in Arizona for the next 6 months


Monday, November 10, 2014

Life is just so GREAT!

 [lots of pictures!!]

 On Monday we had a district trip to the Capital, which included a super interesting mask museum!  I took a ton of pictures and there were billions of masks.  We all had so much fun and the day flew by.
Here is our district! We all went to the center of the capital and did another tour of the city together, then went out to eat! We had such a fun day and they are all so great!!
Here I am at the mask museum.  I took a TON of pictures here!
Yeah, we had a good time ;) hahaha

This was a cool statue of a man playing with his two children
So if you give this man dressed as a statue a coin he lets you pick a little piece of paper from this box that tells your fortune. 

It was super cool :) and we all chose our fortune
These pictures TOTALLY describe each of us SO well ;) haha

In the evening, we planned to visit a man who we had contacted the other day outside his house.  He wasn’t home, but his 18 year old daughter accepted a message from us - and it turns out, she has a Mormon friend.  But what really amazed me was that 2 days ago she told us that a man from work had given her a Book of Mormon and told her that she should read it!  It was a strong testimony builder that God is truly preparing people to hear and accept this message.  She was very open and interested and promised to start reading  :)  Afterwards, we had a Family Home Evening with 2 families and watched a short Mormon Message about prayer and then discussed the topic and shared some experiences we’ve had.  It was great.
Tuesday we helped our district leaders look for a house or apartment for rent, because next week we’ll be receiving 2 new elders in our district.  These new elders will be working in a portion of our area, because there is just a ton of work and people to teach.  Then afterwards, Fernanda made visits with us.  It was fantastic, because she just got back from her mission a month ago and I could still see the “missionary glow” in her.  She helped out in the lessons and even offered to pick up some investigators on Sunday before church!  Around 4:30 we arrived at the bus central to catch the 5:00pm bus to Aguascalientes.  I’m not a huge fan of sitting on buses for long periods of time  :/  But, I made the best of the 3 hour trip by listening to General Conference talks from my iPod - so that was good.  When we arrived at the Colina’s house with the other Sister Teacher Leaders, we all were so happy to see each other again and catch up.  We ate ice cream and pretty much just hung out in the kitchen telling stories and laughing  :)  They are all so fun  (There are 10 Sister Trainer Leaders in total for the entire mission.)
All the sister training leaders

Wednesday we had the reunion with the Mission President, his wife, his 2 assistants, and all the zone leaders and other Sister Trainer Leaders.  It was a great counsel meeting that inspired us all.  We set goals for the mission, and talked about how we could all improve.  I loved the Spirit I felt and everything I learned.

We all ate breakfast and lunch together - and since Hermana Mora and I sat next to the President & his wife, we got to hear about some of the plans they have for Christmas!  I can’t believe that Christmas is coming so soon!  Wow.

Thursday, after planning, we visited several investigators.  It was really saddening when we visited Irma, because she said she didn’t want to get baptized anymore  :(  Apparently, her sister (who is a Jehovah’s Witness) put a bunch of crazy ideas into her head and now Irma said she won’t be coming to church anymore.  It was so heart-breaking.  And even though we explained that the real answers come from God, she had already made up her mind to stick with her sister’s opinion.
Me and Hermana Barlow

The zone reunion on Friday went well.  I talked about how to encounter more people to teach and the importance of contacting everyone.  And I also learned from the topics that Hermana Mora and the zone leaders discussed.  We set several new goals as a zone and it was easy to feel the Spirit.  I love our zone and am bummed that several of the elders and sisters will be having changes next week.  I took a few photos with the sisters who I had exchanges with during these past 6 weeks  :)  Friday night we taught a young mother with 2 of her daughters for the first time.  She was totally open and receptive to the message we shared and it all went so smoothly.  Then we visited the Relief Society activity that was taking place at the church - our sisters in the ward are so amazing.
Here I am with Hermana Crosby and Hermana Brannelly 

Saturday morning, Thalia accompanied us in a visit.  I love her because she’s an ex-missionary and has great tips and advice.  And as a Sister Trainer Leader, we are always counseling the sister missionaries, but no one is counseling us!  

I actually liked hearing constructive criticism from Thalia and set some new goals for myself  :)  She is a great example of the type of ex-missionary I want to be one day.  She is always willing to make visits with us, and is involved in all the church activities.  She is dynamic and witty and has a positive outlook on life.  Then another member accompanied us in a visit with one of our investigators named Lulu, who has a hair salon.  Oh, and get this - apparently Lulu remembers the member (Hermana Olga) who came with us, because they both were in the hospital at the same time when they gave birth to their children, who are now 6 years old!  Crazy cool how the Lord works  :)

SUNDAY WAS THE BEST!  Teodulo and Maria and Lulu all came to church!!  I was literally bursting with joy!  All the members welcomed them and made them feel right at home.  Hermana Mora and I gave the sacrament meeting talks. (I spoke about the importance of the members working with the missionaries.)  Teadulo Maria, and Lulu stayed for the whole 3 hours.  In fact, Maria almost made me cry because of a super sincere and sweet comment she made about Hermana Mora and I in Relief Society.  It was just so perfect.

In the evening, we made several other visits and received the news that Hermana Mora and I don't have changes!  woop woop!  We get another 6 weeks together  :)  Lots of missionaries in our district and zone had changes, so it's sad but kinda exciting because we'll be seeing some new faces  :)

Oh, fun fact:  this week I finished reading the entire Book of Mormon in Spanish!  It took a little over six months, so I've started at the beginning again in hopes of reading through one more time before I come home.  It was such an amazing experience.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I wish everyone could take the time to read this incredible book for themselves.  It contains so many answers to life's questions and contains the history and communication from God to the ancient inhabitants of the American continent!  How cool is that?!  Hope you all have an excellent week.  I love you and miss you all!

Hermana Eliason

[more pictures]

My district

Here I am in front of one of the theaters
Kiley took a ton of pictures at the mask museum, where she would often mimic the expression on the mask.  

The museum itself, was beautiful
there were a billion masks!!! 

Here we are playing with the statue man
Here we are on the top of the tour bus again :) but this time as a district! 

Me and Hermana Avelino

Me and Hermana Mora

Me and Hermana Morales

Me and Hermana Anderson

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Celebrating the dead?

Monday we encountered a new golden investigator named Guadalupe.  She had read the pamphlet we gave her, and was super excited to start reading the Book of Mormon  :)  Oh, and at Walmart, I bought myself a pillow!  (The first pillow I've had in the mission!)  I slept extra-well that night  :) 

It's weird to hear how the lives of my family members and friends are changing while I'm gone.  I keep thinking I'll return home in a couple of months and everything will be exactly how I left it - but man, am I wrong!  All the kids are growing up, all my friends at BYU are getting married, and I feel like I'm in a bubble here in the mission.  It's quite bizarre, and the more time I'm away, the more I realize that things and people will be very different when I return.  I must admit, it makes me kinda nervous.

This is our bread that we made ourselves last monday
District meeting in english on Tuesday was fun  :)  Our district gets along really well, and we even planned an activity together on Monday (the 3rd of November).  I'm excited!  Then we visited Teodulo and Maria and after the lesson, received our bread!  They turned out super cute!  In the evening we had exchanges with the Hermanas from an area called Terrazas.

Wednesday I spent the day with Hermana Avelino in her area.  She is from the Dominican Republic and has 13 months in the mission.  We got along well and learned a lot from each other.

Thursday we had all our lessons with members!  A young member accompanied us to visit Teodulo and his wife, Maria, and another investigator.  Then our missionary leader helped us visit some less active members.  It all went great and I LOVE working with the members, because they help so much!  Teodulo & Maria did their reading and are progressing a ton!  And I am just SO grateful and happy to be here.
Here we are on the bus

Okay, Friday I spent the majority of the day seated on the bus!  We had to go to Aguascalientes to renew Hermana Mora's visa.  So, we woke up at 5am, left the house at 6am, and boarded the 7am bus to Aguascalientes.  Three hours later, we arrived, and then drove with Hermano Jasso to a fancy building - where we sat for about an hour.  After all the finger prints and paperwork, we ate lunch.  Then, later in the afternoon, we made the 3 hour bus ride back to San Luis.  By this time, my legs were like jello from just sitting all day.  And in the evening, we had exchanges with the Hermanas from Jardin.  Hermana Rodriguez would be working with me in our area  :) 

But, HAPPY HALLOWEEN to everyone back home!  I hope everyone got dressed up and ate a lot of candy  :)  I tried to be somewhat festive and wore an orange skirt with a striped black-n-white shirt and my spider web earrings!  haha

Saturday I had a great day with Hermana Rodriguez.  She is from Lima, Peru and has the most contagious laugh!  Although a ton of people weren't home because of the celebration of day of the dead, we taught several investigators and it was easy to feel the Spirit with her.  We saw a lot of orange and yellow flowers and altars around the city.  (This was the day they remember the young children who died).
Some altars for the celebration of day of the dead

Sunday was the 2nd day of people celebrating Day of the Dead.  (This was when they remember all the adults who have passed away).  Close to our area is the cemetery so we saw lots of people walking around town, walking to & from their family grave sites.  We had a Family Home Evening at night and watched the movie Together Forever - which explains that we can all have eternal families.  Afterwards, we had bread with hot chocolate (which has a different taste from the hot chocolate back home).  I also tried camote for the first time today.  It's a typical food during this time of the year.  It has pumpkin, sweet potato, and guava with sweet milk.  It was yummy and new  :) 

All in all it was a great week.  I'm pretty tired, but I also know that this next week is going to be even more busy!  But I love it all and continue learning a ton.  (For example, the other day I was reading in the Old Testament & found out that Goliath was about 9 feet tall!  Crazy, right?!)

Anywho, I love you all!

Hermana Eliason

[although a missionary, she's still the same ol' Kiley]