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, January 26, 2015

Lots of Exchanges ... and a Guitar !

On Monday Hermana Gonzalez wasn't feeling too well, so while she napped, I died my hair and cleaned the house.  Then we ran some errands and ate lunch in a cute cafe.  It was a beautiful day and in the evening we visited several less actives.

Here is the Yerra familia. They always treat us so well and when
we eat with them it is like a Thanksgiving feast.
"always the best for the missionaries" they say.

Tuesday's district meeting went well and we learned about the importance of having companionship inventories.  I am so blessed to have had great companions.  When we have unity in our companionships, the area is more likely to have success.  Each day passes so quickly because we have fun together and we focus on the work.  In the evening we had exchanges with Hermana Avelino and Hermana Bingham from Terrazas.
Me being crazy with money
Wednesday was scorching hot - pretty sure I got a little sun burned.  I worked with Hermana Bingham in her area and I learned several things from her.  She and her companion are being really obedient, but not seeing results - which is rough.  Hermana Bingham taught me how important it is to be humble, patient, and trust in the Lord's timing.  I loved how much energy and enthusiasm Hermana Bingham had, despite her difficult circumstances.  Her example motivated me to be better and I really enjoyed the day with her.

Thursday flew by after weekly planning and we visited Brandon with Hyrum, and Enriqueta and Mariela with Hermana Nino and her daughter.  I love lessons with members!  Right now we have been inviting everyone to the stake activity we have on Saturday.  I am so excited for the activity because one of the members in our stake is one of 23 people in the entire world that knows (fluently) 9 different "dead languages".  His name is Brother Roche and he is going to historically prove that the Book of Mormon is true and that Jesus Christ visited the American continent.  Aside from his incredible conversion story and strong testimony, Brother Roche has studied over 30 years in ancient languages and religions.  (Not long ago he converted and baptized a well-known Jewish Rabi!!)  Anyway, I'm pretty pumped to hear what he has to share with us.  In the evening we went on another exchange with Hermana Carreto and Hermana Leo from the area of Independencia.
Here is Jose Guadalupe with his corn plant! He has a cool garden
in front of his house with chilis and tomatoes and melon.

I spent all day of Friday with Hermana Carreto in her area, just like last time.  We click really easily and I like being around her, because she teaches me so much.  One thing I really love about Hermana Carreto is how humble she is.  We made lots of visits and enjoyed the day.

Saturday, for the first part of the day, I was still with Hermana Carreto for exchanges.  And then in the evening at the activity, Hermana Gonzalez and I were reunited again.  The activity was really interesting and Hermano Roche explained a lot about the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.  He used lots of photos and visuals to capture our attention - smart.  I learned a lot.  After the activity, our lesson plans fell through, so Thalia bought us hot chocolate in a cute restaurant.  Oh, and it rained - the weather is so bipolar!

Sunday night it rained again, but throughout the day it was nice.  Teodulo and Maria received the gift of the Holy Ghost during the Sacrament Meeting.  They also gave Hermana Gonzalez and I new shoes and asked us when "it was their turn to feed the missionaries!?"  haha  They are incredible.  I love them so much!

Enriqueta, Mariela and her other daughter, Ximena, came to church and the Bishop announced Brandon's baptism for this Friday.  :)  In the evening, we had the meeting with the zone and district leaders that went really well.
Zone leaders on the left (Elder Cusworth and Elder Flores) and the district leaders (Elder Geddes, Elder Pico, Elder Espinoza, and Elder Summers).  They are all fun guys

We are going to print and laminate a big copy of our area and use push-pins that are numbered to correspond with members, less-actives, and recent converts.  It's kinda hard to explain, but I'll take a picture of it when we finish.  :)

**Fun fact:  One of the investigators that the Elders are teaching owns a big clothing knick-knack store.  She loves Hermana Gonzalez and me, and one day when we passed by to say hi, she invited us to look around and see what we liked.  She ended up giving us two beautiful dresses and before leaving, I saw a cute guitar in the shop window and asked how much she was selling it for.  "$50, but do you like it?" she asked me.  I told her I always thought it'd be fun to learn how to play, but didn't know how to read music.  She just smiled and handed me the guitar saying, "If you really like it and want to learn how to play, it's yours."

So, yea.  I now have a guitar  :)  And when I told Brandon, he gave me a guitar pick (since he plays the electric guitar and had extras).  Hermana Gonzalez and I have been having fun intenting [attempting] to play it  :)

All in all, another excellent week.  The people are so kind to us and I feel great.  I hope all is well for those back home.  Enjoy the last week of January!

Hermana Eliason

[more photos]

Me and Hermana Gonzalez

Hermana Gonzalez being funny with money

Monday, January 19, 2015

Teodulo & Maria's Baptism

Monday evening Anais came with us to visit Enriqueta and her daughter, Mariela.  The lesson went really well and they accepted February 14th as the date of their baptism.  So, we are going to work with them to be ready by then.  They are amazing.  Oh, and during Christmas Break, Anais got engaged!  She is planning on having her wedding in July - and since Hermana Gonzalez and I will have both completed our missions, she invited us.  I think it would be so fun to come back and visit her and all the people in this area.  :)
Hermana Gonzalez and me

Tuesday was just an excellent day!  After lunch, Hermana Nino came with us to visit Teodulo and Maria - they finally accepted the invitation to be baptized on Saturday!  I was so happy for them and the choice they made :)  Then when we taught Lulu, she told us she had felt so amazing that it's been hard for her to sleep these past 2 days!  haha  And when we told her that Teodulo & Maria decided to be baptized, she lit up and said, "I am so excited for them.  It's the best decision."  Afterwards, we went with Issac (Anais' brother) to teach Brandon about the importance of commandments.  It all went really well, and he's been reading all the pamphlets we give him.  Then, Hermana Gonzalez and I quickly taught Jose Guadalupe before heading to Retornas to do exchanges with the other Hermanas.

Wednesday I spent the day with my old/ex companion Hermana Flores!  We worked in my area of Avacion and had a fun time together.  She told me everything that happened in Fresnillo when I left and we just caught each other up to date on life  :)  Hermana Flores has such a strong spirit and always tries to look for the good in others.  I loved being with her and can learn a lot from her example.  In the evening we had all our plans fall through, so I checked in our book of people we've contacted, but never visited.  After skimming through several pages, one of the names caught my eye:  Maria Luisa.  I remembered contacting her in the street about a month ago with Hermana Mora - and she seemed really interesting.  When Hermana Flores and I knocked on her door, one of her granddaughters said she was sick and couldn't attend to us.  But I told her it was very important and that we wouldn't take up too much of her time, so the granddaughter turned back into the house to tell her grandma.  A couple of minutes later, Maria Luisa came out to greet us.  She recognized me and said, "I've been waiting for you to come.  I wasn't going to see anyone today, but when my granddaughter told me there were 2 pretty girls who had skirts on, I knew it was an answer to my prayer.  I was beginning to think that you might never come."

Maria Luisa was thrilled to hear our message and anxious to start reading the Book of Mormon.  It was a sweet experience for me; to listen to the prompting of the Holy Ghost and encounter someone who has been looking for the truth.

On Thursday we made the programs for Teodulo & Maria's baptism, and they were interviewed by Elder Summers.  Brandon said he's going to come to their baptismal service to see what it's like (since he is most likely going to be baptized next Saturday).  And in the evening, Enriqueta and Mariela also confirmed that they would really like to come to the baptism too.  We taught them with Hermana Nino and her daughter, who is the same age as Mariela.  All went really smoothly and everyone seems to be happy.
Hermana Gonzalez eating her super yummy crepe! haha

Friday was another excellent day.  After lunch we finally had our interviews with the Mission President (we have interviews every quarter - or every 3 months).  Then we visited Maria Luisa - she had not only read the introduction of the Book of Mormon, but also the testimonies of the 3 witnesses, the 8 witnesses, and testimony of Joseph Smith!  She said she is going to see the baptismal service tomorrow and also try to attend the Stake Conference on Sunday!  Oh, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized in February  :)  She's a golden investigator.  For dinner, Hermana Gonzalez and I treated ourselves to crepes!  There is this cute little "crepes, coffee & churros" stand near our house, so we enjoyed Nutella & whipped cream crepes together.

Elder Summers and Elder Rosas with
Hermana Gonzalez and me on the day of the baptism
Teodulo and Maria`s baptism!!!
Here they are with us and the bishop

Saturday was the long awaited baptism!!  Everyone on the program arrived and Teodulo & Maria brought their granddaughter, Joseline, with them.  Our musical number was great!  We (Hermana Gonzalez, the Zone Leaders, and I) all sang "Oh, My Father" - the first verse was in Spanish, the second verse in English, the third verse in Portuguese, and the last verse in Spanish.  Elder Flores accompanied us on the guitar and several people in attendance cried.  Guess you could say it was pretty professional  :)  Teodulo and Maria were baptized by the Bishop and afterwards they were even happier than before.  I loved seeing them smiling and socializing with the members.  Brandon and Maria Luisa both attended and said they liked the baptismal service.  Hermana Gonzalez and I gave them a framed picture of Jesus Christ and other members gave them a hymn book, the Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and other manuals.  We were grinning from ear to ear the whole rest of the day.

In the evening was the first session of Stake Conference.  There weren't a ton of people, because it was a Saturday night, but the talks were nice and uplifting.

On Sunday, for the Stake Conference, there wasn't enough room for everyone.  It was so packed!  I was thrilled to see so many of our recent converts and investigators show up!  Teodulo & Maria sat in the first row and shook hands with our Mission President afterwards.  Lulu arrived all on her own and was proudly singing from her new hymn book, Enriqueta and her daughter, Mariela, sat with the Ibarra family.  Brandon sat with Hermana Gonzalez and me, and Maria Luisa showed up with one of her daughters.  :)  It was so fantastic, and everyone said they had enjoyed the conference.

Our área limit is the freeway which we call The River. 
And there are always super cool bridges to cross. 
Here are two different bridges :)

Add caption

Instead of waiting for the bus, Hermana Gonzalez & I decided to walk from the Stake Center to the Nino family's house for lunch.  It was quite the adventure, because we crossed a super cool bridge and walked on the cobble stone road that runs parallel to "the Rio" - which is their freeway.  Their freeway used to be a river, and now it almost looks like a park because of all the green trees and grass that is on either side of the 4 lanes.  It only took us 15 minutes and walking is always good reflection time.

After lunch we visited Jose Guadalupe, who didn't go to the conference because his ride never passed for him.  Although he had woken up early to get ready.  He was pretty bummed, but we told him not to worry and that there would be more meetings in the stake center soon.  Jose Guadalupe has such a tender heart and is always thinking of others.  When his ride didn't show up, he waited on his porch for 2 hours, thinking that maybe something had happened with their car or maybe they had gotten lost.  He never gets angry and never blames others.

I continue to learn so much every day from the amazing people here.  I am happy and healthy and enjoying every moment in the mission.  These 18 months are flying by and like another missionary said, "What is a year-and-a half or 2 years of service, compared to an eternity?"  He is so right! 
After the mission, I'll have plenty of time to hang out with friends, work, study, go to the beach, etc.  But these 18 months are the only time I have to give all my time, energy, and talents to the Lord and missionary work.  I am so thankful for all the blessings I've received and all the miracles I've seen.  I love being a missionary and helping others come unto Christ and embrace the Gospel.

Sending all my love and lots of hugs,
Hermana Eliason

More pics:

Me, Maria & Teodulo at their baptism

Here we are again with Maria & Teodulo.  
The Little girl is their granddaughter, Joseline

Monday, January 12, 2015

Baptism :)

So on Monday we basically spend our P-day in the bank trying to pay this month's rent.  Hermana Gonzalez and I waited in several different lines for 2 hours and we were so tired afterwards, that we treated ourselves to Subway  :)  In the evening, we taught Arturo and Brandon and confirmed Brandon's baptismal date for the 24th of this month  :)

Tuesday morning we taught the last lesson to Lulu about temples and family history work.  She was so excited to hear that once she's baptized, she can go to the temple.  After lunch, Hermana Gonzalez and I did some last minute packing and then headed to the "central bus station."  We met up with the other zone leaders and a pair of STL's (Sister Trainer Leaders)  before buying our tickets - so that way we could all sit next to each other on the 3 hour bus ride.  It was fun and for a while we all talked, but then since Hermana Gonzales and I were exhausted, we slept for the last hour and a half.  It felt so nice to sleep!  When we arrived at the Colina's house, the other pair of STL's had already arrived from Zacatecas, so we all ate dinner together.
These 4 elders in my zone are absolutely hilarious! (Elder Geddes, Elder Pico, Elder Mendez, and Elder Garcia)
They all bought matches outfits and always make us laugh. 

Wednesday we spent the day with the Mission President, his wife, his assistants, the 4 other companionships of STL's and all the zone leaders.  It was a great council meeting because we discussed the mission's goals for the New Year of 2015.  The assistants talked about how we can be successful missionaries and improve our numbers.  Sister Villareal talked about how we can lower our stress and have a positive attitude.  And the President touched on the importance of hard work.  All the leaders participated and I learned a lot from all that was shared.  The monthly leader council meetings are so motivating and always inspiring.
With Hermana Flores at the zone conference

With Hermana Carreto

Thursday morning, Lulu was interviewed by our district leader for her baptism and in the evening we made her programs.  On her program is one of my favorite photos of Jesus giving John the Baptist a big hug after being baptized.  I love how happy he looks.

In the evening we taught our "progressing" investigators; or those that are preparing for baptism.  With Teodulo and Maria, we talked more in depth about Joseph Smith.  With Arturo and Brandon we explained the Plan of Salvation.  And with Enriqueta and two of her daughters, we watched The Restoration Video.  All of our visits were just so amazing.  I literally feel like I'm busting with joy.  Even Enriqueta noticed it and told me, "I love how expressive your face is because you are always so happy and that kind of happiness is contagious."  Her comment was so sweet and made me reflect on how much the mission has changed my attitude and my perspective.

Friday, Hermana Gonzalez and I spoke in the zone meeting with the zone leaders.  All went really well and I feel like the missionaries in our zone left more motivated than they'd arrived.  Our zone truly has a lot of potential  :)  I received several envelopes / packages from family members and friends.  Thank you all so much for thinking of me and sending me your love and encouragement.  A simple letter or card or candy really brightens my day!  I asked the mission president why some packages or letters never arrive and what postal service would be best.  He told me that whatever is sent is more likely to arrive through the "United States Postal Service"
Lulu's Baptism

Saturday morning was Lulu's baptism!  It started at 11:00am, but Hermana Gonzalez and I were in the church a lot earlier to set up and get everything ready.  There is a lot of work and preparation that goes into planning a baptismal service.

Everything went beautifully - the speakers gave heartfelt talks, our musical number didn't sound too bad, the water in the baptismal font was warm, and most importantly, Hermana Lulu took an important step in our journey home to our Heavenly Father.  After being baptized, we asked her how she felt and she said, "I feel really good.  I feel renewed."  I know she felt the Spirit and I am so extremely happy for the decision she made to be baptized and follow the Savior.

Sofia and Kenya (two of the granddaughters of Teodulo and Maria).
They always follow us around and ask to put on our missionary tags ;) 
After the baptism, we made several visits throughout the day.  We had a Family Home "Afternoon" with Teodulo & Maria, which was fun.  We shared an article in the Liahona and then played "Basta", which is basically the game Scattergories.  I really enjoyed laughing and spending time with them. They have 3 little granddaughters who are always around and when we arrive they shout, "Hermanas  Hermanas!!"  They are adorable.

In the evening it rained again, but this time since it was so cold, it started to hail  :)  Luckily we were inside the house of a member, because we hadn't brought our umbrellas.  Our last lesson was with Brandon and his dad, Arturo.  We talked about the five things we need to do in this life to return home to the presence of God:

  1. Exercise faith in Jesus Christ
  2. Repent
  3. Be baptized by immersion
  4. Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost
  5. Endure to the end

They were super receptive and learned really quickly.  Before heading home, they served us chamomile tea - which I guess is some sort of flower  :)  But it was yummy.

Sunday was another fantastic day!  Lulu was confirmed a member of the church and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  She was beaming!  Brandon came and sat with his new friend from church named Hyrum, who has been accompanying us in the lessons.  Oh, and Teodulo payed his tithing again!  Enriqueta and one of her daughters came for the first hour and received a warm greeting from lots of the members.  It was just incredible!  This ward has really helped us with our investigators and everyone is so friendly.  Teodulo asked the Bishop if he could baptize him (most likely this Saturday) and I almost cried tears of joy.  I've never felt so happy for other people.  :)

After eating 8 tacos for lunch, we visited a less active member and her daughter.  We had a spiritual lesson about the importance of prayer and scripture study.  It is so much easier to know what decisions we should make when we've prayed and searched the scriptures.  In the evening, we met with the zone & district leaders.  They shared a short message with us about where our heart is.  It was great and made me reflect on where my own heart is.  Is our heart focused on the Savior, on our families and on helping others?  Or is our heart focused on our popularity, body weight, and material possessions?  I hope everyone can do a self-evaluation like I did and ask ourselves where our heart is.

"for theLord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." Samuel 16:7

All my love,
Hermana Eliason

I thought this sign was funny "limite de seguridad" haha

Monday, January 5, 2015

A New Year!

Monday night we had a Family Home Evening with a member and her newly married daughter.  We discussed a talk given by one of the apostles a few years ago called, "You Are Important To Him"  It was really touching and spiritual.  Then we all chatted and ate dinner together.  :)

Here I am with an adorable puppy
Tuesday we had our district meeting in english.  It went well and I kinda miss my native language because I can express myself so easily without thinking twice.  But don't get me wrong - I am still in love with Spanish!  We visited Lulu and we confirmed her baptism for the 10th  :)  Then with Teodulo and Maria we watched an excellent video called "How Rare A Possession" which shares 2 stories about the conversion of two men, thanks to the Book of Mormon.  Afterwards they both promised to read the entire Book of Mormon in 2015 and we asked them if they had reconsidered a baptismal date and they told us they want to be baptized sometime in January.

On Wednesday, although it was the last day of the year, we actually encountered a lot of people in their homes.  In almost all the visits, we were offered food!  We had to get back to the house a little early, due to "safety".  But that was okay because we watched a movie called "The Errand of Angels" about the life of a sister missionary serving in Austria.  Hermana Gonzalez and I enjoyed our last bit of junk food because we promised to help one another with one of our New Year's Resolutions to drop some weight  :)  We had a fun night together and went to bed fairly early.
This is a typical dish here. they are called
red tacos (pretty much enchiladas) super yummy!!!

Thursday:  Happy New Year   !!  2-0-1-5 !  Wahoo!  Today, although there weren't too many people home, and all the shops were closed, we still had a great day.  The few families we visited fed us lots of food - including a huge Huasteca Tamale!  A Huasteca Tamale is cooked in a big banana leaf and tastes amazing  :)

This is our christmas tree with the cute
little nativity that Teodulo and Maria gave us

Friday, Hermana Gonzalez and I visited many investigators.  With Teodulo and Maria, we read the Family Proclamation - which they loved.  I liked what Teodulo told us, ... "I'm never too old to learn something new that will help my family."

Then another sweet experience occurred in our last visit with Enriqueta and her 13 year old daughter, Mariela.  It was our second time teaching Mariela and after explaining the importance of the Book of Mormon, her Mom nudged her saying, "Tell the missionaries what you felt when they first came."  Then with tears in her eyes, Mariela explained how great she felt when she first listened to us.  She said in a shaky voice, "I can't describe it very well, but when you both come to our house, you bring peace and happiness.  I feel good when you teach us."  I was moved to tears because of how strongly the Spirit could be felt.  There is no greater joy that I know of, than to see another person feel and be taught by the Holy Ghost.  I am so incredibly grateful for this time as a missionary where I can see miracles each day.

I spent my Saturday with Hermana Cuque again in exchanges.  We worked in her area in Sausalito.  When lunch time came around and the member wasn't home, we all ate pizza.  I must say it was the best pizza I've tasted so far here!  We had a fun day together.  I love being a Sister Training Leader because I get to know the other sister missionaries pretty well.
Here we are with an investigator named
Monica in front of her christmas tree

Here we are with Aida Jr. (the one whose english
papers I always correct) She gave us scarves for christmas

Sunday we started our church services at 12pm because it's a new year - and we start later now.  :)  It was an incredible meeting because so many less-active members showed up.  The sacrament meeting was full and the testimonies were powerful.  Brandon and Maria came and the Bishop announced Lulu's baptism for this Saturday!  Lulu was so excited and during the testimony meeting she was crying because as she told us, "I can feel the Spirit."   The evening was full of meetings.  After a late lunch we met with the Bishop and then in the stake center with the zone leaders and district leaders.

Here is Hermana Gonzalez and I pointing to our homes (as you can see...mine doesn't appear on the map) haha

All in all, it was an excellent week.  I love you all and hope this year will be a good one for all of you.  :)


Hermana Eliason