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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cultural Week!!

Here we are with Rosa and her new walker
Monday was quite the adventure because Hermana Mora and I practically spent the entire day in government buildings helping Rosa (who's 90 years old & lives by herself) receive a new walker.  By the end of it all, she was crying for joy ~ which made the 4-1/2 hours worth it.  More and more I realize how many people need help, and the responsibility we all have to fulfill those needs.     Rosa sits in her wheelchair all day with a dislocated shoulder and a fractured hip; sometimes in so much pain that she prefers not to eat so that she doesn't suffer in an attempt to make beans.  But what I love about Rosa and all the other people who are going through challenges (physically, emotionally, economically) is how humble they become and how grateful they are.  I hope we never loose sight of what truly matters ~ not how much money we have, how popular we are, or our career, but following the example of the Savior and helping one another.  One thing I love about the mission, is the happiness I have experienced in doing service.
This is what happens half of the time when we go up a steep hill ;)

Tuesday flew by after our district meeting.  We are teaching an investigator named Javier, who is 18 years old and super receptive.  He asks good questions and likes to learn; which is allowing him to progress quickly.  We invited him - as well as everyone else we are teaching - to go to the church building on Friday night to see the movie, Meet The Mormons.  The movie wasn't shown in theaters here, so the whole stake is getting together to watch it (which is a SCORE for me 'cause I'll get to see it for the 2nd time).

On Wednesday we talked to Juan Jose about his baptism date - since he was out of town Sunday, he would have to wait 'till next week to complete the 5 times in church, but next week is General Conference, so we had to postpone his baptismal service 'till April 11th.  But he's still excited nonetheless.  :)
Here I am in Morelos.  
(sorry about the definition of the camera- we took it at night)

In the evening we went to Morelos and visited an adorable family.  It's a husband & wife with their 7 year old boy and 5 year old girl.  They are such a happy and cute family - especially considering how small they are (the dad is under 5 foot!)  I love teaching them because they are open to new ideas and learning the truth.

Thursday was weekly planning again - which blows my mind how another week has gone by.  We taught Eriberto's younger brother, who is 17.  Although his dream is to become a professional rapper and he likes to show off his tongue piercing, he listened to us and sincerely liked what we taught.  We can "never judge a book by its cover."  We spent the day contacting a lot and visiting several other investigators.

This is where the famous singers perform at night

Friday was the first official day of the Cultural Week here in Zacatecas!  In honor of "Semana Santa" (or Holy Week) the whole downtown / center of the city gets closed for days of celebration.  A huge stage with bleachers and lights and big TV screens are set up for some famous singers to perform; while people from all around gather to enjoy the activities.  There are artists, dancers and stands selling just about anything anyone can imagine.  The closed streets make traffic atrocious and crowds of people push and squeeze past one another to get to their wanted destinations.

In the evening we watched Meet the Mormons and it was just as great as the first time.  Several converts and investigators came and enjoyed the movie as well.  I am so proud to be "Mormon" and to have grown up in the church with the righteous examples of my family members and leaders.  It is such a blessing to understand God's divine plan for His children and how we can find peace and joy in this life.

Saturday was a beautiful day.  I've taught several new investigators and contacted a lot of people.  We were given money to buy our own lunch, so I yielded to my craving and ate a waffle with Nutella and peanut butter.  And I must say, it was absolutely scrumptious.  It was the first time in the mission I had eaten a waffle. ~ I miss making waffles on Sunday mornings with my family. :)  At 6pm was the Relief Society Broadcast, which was really nice.  I especially liked the example of the soda can that's unopened and full of soda [that it] can't be crushed like an empty soda can.  Similarly, if our lives are "filled" with spiritual things, it is easy to resist the pressures of outside forces.
THEY GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Enriqueta, Ximena y Mariela
[from Kiley's last area]
Here they are with Hermana Rivera and Hermana Martinez

So on Sunday we had 3 investigators come to church.  :)  The meetings were uplifting and inspiring.  I am so excited for General Conference next week, and one of the talks was about the importance of listening to the voice of the latter-day prophet.  I am so grateful to have a prophet who receives revelation that leads and guides us on the path back to our Heavenly Father.  Something I've also come to appreciate here on the mission is the difference between watching General Conference at home or at church.  In both places we can hear the talks, but personally, I can concentrate and feel the Spirit so strongly while seated reverently in my church clothes in the sacrament room.  I hope everyone can take notes of the inspirations that come through the Holy Ghost when we listen carefully to the church leaders in the correct setting and atmosphere.

In the evening, Marlen spent 3 hours with Hermana Mora and I!  She's still trying to decide if she wants to serve a mission, and loves being around us.  It's great that she can see exactly what we do throughout the day.  (I now wish I had made visits with the sister missionaries back home!)  But it's definitely something I'll be doing when I return.  :)  We enjoyed a fun and productive time together and even taught two new investigators.  This area is starting to grow on me and I love it more and more each day.  :)

Monday (today) was a blast 'cause we went on the "teleferico", which took us over the city.  It was beautiful and we went with our investigator, Eriberto.  Then we all ate lunch, which was yummy.  Here are the photos of our adventures!
Here is one of the many photos I took in the teleferico today!

I love you all and hope everyone enjoys General Conference this Saturday and Sunday!

Hermana Eliason

[more pictures]

Here are some of the many photos I took in the teleferico today

Me in front of the stage before they finished putting up the rest of the seats

Here we are chilling in a tree :)

Baptismal Program [from Kiley's last area]

Here they are with the Bishop and Hermano Niño who baptized them

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"The Hills Are Alive... With The Sound Of The Gospel"

So, during my first Monday here in Zacatecas, it didn't stop raining!  We returned home freezing cold and soaking wet, but had had a great day, nonetheless.  I'm so happy to be working with Hermana Mora again, and it feels like we were together just yesterday.  I love getting to know the area because it is absolutely beautiful.  Every road is rock or cobblestone and the colorful houses on the hillsides are tall and strong.  Although the scenery from the tops of the hills is breath-taking, it's very tiring at times to go up and down the steep streets all day.  Sometimes I feel like I'm mountain climbing, but Hermana Mora says I'll adjust and get used to it soon.

On Tuesday we had our first district meeting.  Our district is so tiny - just the Elders from our ward and us!  Elder Madsen is our district leader and his new companion, Elder Soto, only has 4 months in the mission.  They are pretty cool and we'll be seeing them almost every day because we eat together at the member's houses.  After the district meeting we ate, and continued working in the foggy weather.  I got to know some of the investigators, recent converts, and less actives in the area.  The people here are kind and welcoming - which makes me all the more ready to start serving and teaching them.

I wish I could just walk around with a GoPro and videotape the whole city

Here we are with Eriberto
Wednesday was great because the sun finally decided to come out!  I can't get over how incredible this city is!  I wish I could take a million pictures because it feels like I'm walking through an old movie!  We taught an investigator named Juan Jose who is most likely going to be baptized next week.  He is a great guy that works at the house of a member.  Also, we taught 19 year old Eriberto, who is progressing a lot - he promised us yesterday that he would finally take out his nose ring and he did!  Hopefully he also can be baptized in a couple weeks.  :)  Hermana Mora and I enjoyed a successful day together and bought ourselves an ice cream.  It's so fun to be working with a friend.

Thursday was a bright and sunny day as well.  It was weekly planning and Hermana Mora explained the investigators, converts, and members to me a little more.  I found out that our area is huge!  We even cover a small pueblito (town) 20 minutes outside the city!  We taught several lessons in the evening and encountered a new investigator :)

Friday was fun.  In the morning, we taught the laundry mat man - who was really receptive.  And also talked with Jose Juan about his baptism.  Since he is going to Mexico for the weekend, he isn't sure if he'll make it back in time for church Sunday morning.  We are praying that he'll come on Sunday to complete the required 5 times in church and be baptized next weekend.  The member that was supposed to feed us went on the ward temple trip and left us money to go eat where ever we wanted. The Elders and we decided on pizza and went to Dominos ... yum!  Afterwards, we taught a new investigator named Lili with her mom, Maria, and it went really well.  Then after teaching a recent convert, Hermana Mora and I stopped by the restaurant of a less active member.  It was the first time we had met her (also named Maria) and she told us her story of how she'd come to know the missionaries and get baptized.  Hermana Maria was so kind to us and fed us dinner.  She just moved here from Piedras Negras - which is about 12 hours away - and thanked us for stopping by.  Before heading home, we taught one last lesson, with a recent convert that came with us. I love that the members here go on visits with us to the home of investigators and less-actives.  Having another person present to bear testimony in the lessons really helps!

Here I am with Marlen. She's 19 & loves going with
Hermana Mora and me to visit people

On Saturday I felt like I was back in San Luis with Teodulo and Maria because we taught a man who also makes bread!  He and two of his nefews [nephews] were making the conchas as we taught them about the importance of a prophet.  They listened and participated, and made us take some bread fresh out of their brick oven before leaving.  In the evening we taught a new investigator named Juanita who is about 50 years old and has a sister who is a member.  She was really receptive and familiar with several of our beliefs that distinguish us from other religions.  In the late afternoon, we made more visits to investigators and headed home.  I have to admit, I was absolutely exhausted and while planning, I had to use a lot of white-out because my dosing-off made my handwriting unreadable!  Hermana Mora told me the first week is the hardest, so I'm hoping she's right.  :)

Here we are with the twins, Melonie and Emily
Sunday was my first time at the church with the ward.  We passed by for some investigators in the morning and the church services started at 10am.  Eriberto and another investigator named Alejandro came.  Church attendance was about 55 people in total - which is less than half of what I was used to in San Luis.  But it made it easier for me to meet everyone quickly and remember the majority of their names.  After the church services we ate at a member's house in Morelos (the town I mentioned about 20 minutes away in bus).  The member's name is Hermana Enrique, and she is so fun and sweet.  She has 5 kids - the oldest living in Utah, and the rest living with her (her two youngest daughters are twins: Melonie and Emily)  Then we made several more visits and arrived home right after 9:30pm.  Once again feeling utterly pooped, we planned quickly and went to bed.  It may be from how tired I've been, but this bed is definitely the softest and comfiest bed EVER! :) haha

I just got the best news EVER!!!  Hermana Rivera emailed me and said that Enriqueta and her 3 daughters and their dad all went to church this Sunday and are going to be baptized on Saturday! When I talked to the President this morning about my ecclesiastical endorsement he said I might be able to receive permission and go to their baptism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is truly incredible here! I wish I could show everyone around all my areas and all the places I have been. Time is flying by and I am so grateful to be a missionary and have learned so much! I love every second!  Hope everyone has an excellent week.  Here are some of the many pictures we've taken (and there will be lots more in weeks to come!)  

Love you all!

Hermana Eliason

[Kiley sent a bunch of photos "to give you a glimpse of my area"]

Me cooking asparagus- so healthy right? ;)


Eating with Hermana Mora

Hermana Mora & Hermana Eliason

Monday, March 16, 2015

CHANGES but not too much of a change

So this week was kinda crazy because on Tuesday right after lunch, Hermana Rivera and I both started feeling pretty bad and super weak. We headed back to the house to grab a jacket and didn't end up leaving because we ended up taking turns going to the bathroom every 15 minutes.  So ya, that was fun. We couldn't leave on Wednesday either, but had to go to the multi-zone showing of the movie Meet the Mormons, which ended up being super cute! I LOVED it!! I would totally recommend it to anyone who hasn't had the chance of seeing it yet :) Immediately afterwards we went to the doctor who told us we most likely had eaten something that didn't sit well with us - and that we would be prone to diarrhea and vomiting/nausea for the next 72 hours - GREAT. 

Not goodbye, but see ya later, alligator!
(This is us in the bus station all sad because of transfers)
Thursday I couldn't bear to sit in the bathroom and our bed all day, so in the evening we made several visits. When we taught Teodulo and Maria, they told us they had kept up in their reading in the Book of Mormon and are right now in Mosiah!  I couldn't stop beaming as Hermana Maria explained to me how incredible she thought the story of Alma the Younger was. She retold us the story and was like, "Alma was mute for three days! And then his dad was praying and fasting for him to be able to talk again and tell everyone he had been wrong. That is amazing!!"   She was so excited about reading the Book of Mormon and I almost cried as she showed me a particular verse she had underlined and shared with us saying "this scripture reminded me of you missionaries." The verse was Mosiah 27:36-37
36 And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer.
37 And how blessed are they! For they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth.

By Friday Hermana Rivera and I started to feel better (and a BONUS - we had dropped 4 pounds each ;)  haha   We worked all day and really enjoyed being out and about with the people again. 
This is me and Hermana Yera

Saturday was fun because Hermana Flores ended up in a trio with us since her companion finishes the mission this week and was going to Agaus for the Sunday dinner with the President.  And what's more exciting is that her companion was traveling to Agaus with Hermana Gonzalez (who also finishes the mission this week) so I got to see her! She and I were so happy to give each other a hug again and talk for a couple minutes before she left.  She promised to write me and stay in touch.

So Saturday afternoon, while with Hermana Rivera and Hermana Flores, we taught Enriqueta and her two daughters.  I was practically squealing with joy when Ximena told me that she is now in Alma in the Book of Mormon and has been reading every day!!  It is SUCH an indescribable feeling of happiness for another person - and on such a level that I had never felt before coming to the mission.  I could truly see that they all are learning and loving the gospel.  My prayer that night was that if I had transfers, that her other daughter Danahi could come to church (which would be the first time she's ever gone and a true miracle).

Here is Enriqueta with Ximena and Mariela

Sunday morning arrived and when we went to Enriqueta's house, she and her THREE daughters filed out behind her and my jaw almost dropped to the floor.  It was the best moment ever!! I know one day they will all be baptized and Danahi is opening up to the possibility of listening to the missionary discussions.  Miracles do happen.

Dinner with the Amaya family

At night, the Amaya family had invited us and the Elders to dinner and there, we received the news of transfers. When Elder King told me I was going to Zacatecas, I wasn't too surprised....but then when he said I would be Hermana Mora's companion I was like "Are you serious?!!!" Yep!  SO I am with my awesome companion Hermana Mora again!!!  It was really hard to pack up from the area that had become like a second home to me and say goodbye to my incredible companion Hermana Rivera, but I know it's not really a goodbye more like a "see ya later alligator!"  We will all stay in contact and be close friends forever."

These are some of my close friends from our ward (Thalia, Adriana, Gabby, Me, Fernanda, Karla, and Hermana Rivera)

On Monday morning I arrived at the bus station in rainy and foggy weather (I guess San Luis was sad I was leaving too).  It was a three hour drive to Zacatecas, but I slept the whole way. When I finally made it, Hermana Mora greeted me with the biggest smile I have ever seen!!  When I told her how happy I was to be with her again, she told me why we are companions here for the second time. What's happening here in Zacatecas is, the only stake here is falling apart and on the verge of disappearing for low church assistance and baptisms.  So in an effort to save the stake here, President Villareal sent his best missionaries to this zone.  Since Hermana Mora and I made such a great team back in SLP he put us together again!  I am pumped to be here and dedicate my last 12 weeks to working my hardest and helping in any way I can.  

This is Hermana Mora posing outside of our house (well actually we only live on the second story) 

My area is the center of the capital and is the most beautiful area I have ever had! It is pure hills here, so we will be walking up and down steep inclines and declines all the time - but I like it.  Everything is colonial and all the streets are cobblestone. As I come to learn more and take more pictures I think you will be able to get a sense of my new life here.   I am happy and healthy and all is well :) 

Love you all and hope you have an excellent week!

Hermana Eliason 

[more photos]

Me and Hermana Perez

Here we are in our sweet hammocks

For our last supper...haha the Amaya family made us lasaña!!

This was 7 of us in Mike´s car when he dropped us off to go eat!

At the Family Yera´s house we took some crazy photos

This is our last district photo

Back with Hermana Mora!