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, May 25, 2015

David A. Bednar Visits!

So, P-day was a lot of fun because we went to the mine.  

The mine was a big source of gold and silver and other minerals here (called the Mine of Eden).  

It was fun to learn and explore the mine. (We were in the 4th of the 7 levels.)  

Afterwards, we ate the famous Gigantic Hamburgers - and I couldn't finish because it was seriously a MONSTER!  

Then in the evening we taught the Sanchez family about the importance of prophets and having the same organization of the church as in the times of Christ with a prophet and 12 apostles.  They are really great and receptive.  Then we talked with Alejandro about obedience.  "If ye love me, keep my commandments." [John 14:15]  It's actually super simple - if we truly love God, we will do whatever it takes to obey Him.

Eating at the famous Gigantic Hamburgers
Tuesday, Hermana Cuque and I woke up at 4:00am to arrive at the church in Mineros at 5:00am and then take a bus with our whole zone of Zacatecas (and also the zone of Fresnillo) to San Luis Potosi.  We arrived around 8:30am and for the first and only time in the mission, ALL the missionaries were gathered together to hear David A. Bednar speak to us!!  We were about 200 in number and took a group photo with the Apostle Bednar before he spoke with us.  

It was an incredible afternoon and the Spirit could be felt so strongly.  The meeting (that lasted about 3 hours) was similar to a question-answer discussion.  We had the opportunity to participate and Elder David A. Bednar has a gift of connecting with the youth.  We all were edified and uplifted by this once in a life-time experience that I will never forget.  

After the meeting, we had a few minutes before our busses left to take pictures.  I got to see and hug all of my former companions that are still in the mission, for the last time.  It was a bitter-sweet moment to see EVERYONE - all the sister missionaries and all the Elders I've ever associated with.  An excellent day for me.  

We arrived back in Zacatecas in time to visit Sofia, Fatima dn Corina and then Hermana Perrata.  The lessons were very special because we tried teaching in a better manner and could definitely feel the difference.  Elder Bednar shared with us the importance of asking inspired questions during lessons and not just talking on and on until our throat dries up.  When we are constantly talking, we aren't letting the Spirit to its job in "bringing the message unto the hearts" of others.

Here I am with ALL my companions that are still here in the mission!!! (Hna. Rivera, me, Perez, Flores, and Cuque)

On Wednesday, we taught Antonio and his sisters - who at first ignored us - have come to love us and fed us brunch.  When someone is consistently kind and friendly, it is hard to have enemies (something I've learned here).  Then in the evening we went to Morelos.  I know I say this every time, but I just love that little horse town!  The people, in general, are very humble and hospitable.  We taught Cristina and Jose about our pre-earth life (or where we came from).  They were super attentive and interested in this subject that they had never heard about before.  I personally love teaching about the Plan of Salvation because I can see the faces of others light up with joy, hope and understanding.
Thursday was overcast and cloudy, which allowed my skin to take a break from being sunburned.  After a delicious lunch with the Santoyo family, we taught a new investigator named Erica and her two teenage sons.  Erica is a lawyer and her sons, Adolfo (15) and Eric (14) compete in martial arts!  It was Erica's birthday the day before and they invited us to join them in a bowl of the left-over pozole!    Then we had a fantastic first lesson with them.  In our last lesson of the day with Alejandro we explained the Word of Wisdom.  He took it all well, except for his coffee ... but we'll be working on that.  :)  

In the Mine of Eden

Friday flew by way too fast!  We taught the Sanchez family (and thanks to Hermano Sanchez' birthday, the day before ... we were invited to another bowl of left-over pozole!)  Hermano Sanchez knows the Church is true and would be baptized, but he's not legally married to his wife.  And Hermana Sanchez still hasn't asked for herself in prayer if what we've taught is true, so doesn't want to get married until she's certain.
Cruz Torres amazed us again with the amount he had studied and read and researched at lds.org!  He's seriously more than the common 'golden investigator.'  Although he works full time all week; he wants to learn, and is willing to put forth the effort to do his homework.  He studies the scriptures, the pamphlets and listens to General Conference talks online to find the truth.  And as he continues finding his answers in our doctrine, he gets so excited and always shows us his pages of notes.
Me & Hermana Perez
Some of my closest friends, Hermana. Nakken and Hermana. Fullmer
(they can both make me laugh SO hard and they both are from Utah!
All day Saturday, Hermana Marien was with us visiting and teaching others.  At the end of the day (after we had walked a ton) she asked us, "How can you guys do this every day?  I'm exhausted!"  haha.

We talked with Sofia and Fatima about the Great Apostasy and the Restoration, then watched the 20 minute video about Joseph Smith.  They both really liked it and are progressing really well.  :)

Sunday flew by and in the evening I taught the entire first lesson to a guy in English!  He lived in Texas and spoke perfect English and had taken a religion class that left him with confusion about Mormons.  As we spoke, he became more and more interested and said he wanted to come to church with us to see what we believe in and what we do.  We also left him 2 pamphlets to read.  It was so great!

Like always, it was an incredible week!  I love the mission and being a missionary  :)  I love you all and am grateful for all the prayers and support I've received from my dear friends and family members.
You guys are the best!!  Can't wait to see ya soon!
~love always,
Hermana Eliason

[more pictures]

Me & Hermana Rivera

Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden
Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden

Mine of Eden

Monday, May 18, 2015

Owl City!

After a laid-back P-day [on Monday], we visited some investigators in the evening.  We contacted Fatima last week and she introduced us to her aunt Corina and her grandma Sofia.  All three of them have become interested in our message and are very kind.  And Alejandro is still considering his baptismal date.

On Tuesday we had our first district meeting with the Elders and it went well.  Then we spent the afternoon contacting and searching for new investigators (we ended up finding three!)  I actually really like teaching the first lesson to new investigators.
This is my "really tired" face after climbing up a gigantic hill to visit one of our investigators
On Wednesday morning we went looking for a new investigator named Eloisa, who, when we found her, kindly invited us into her house.  Turns out, her granddaughter, who is about 50 years old, listened to missionaries about 25 years ago!  When we started presenting the Book of Mormon, she excitedly exclaimed, "I remember that book!  I read it before I had children, but I can only remember the name Joseph Smith."  They both listened attentively and were really receptive.  It's amazing how the Lord prepares each of us to accept the gospel at exactly the right time.  Then we visited Antonio, who keeps asking us about his baptism and started reading the Book of Mormon from the very beginning.  And, in the evening a less active member and his "girlfriend" (the've been living together for 10 months now and we've been teaching her the gospel) fed us dinner.  Oh, and they (David and Sonya) have 2 pet owls!! Apparently, it is illegal to have owls as pets, but they hide them in a cage behind their house to scare away the rats.

Thursday, we walked all over!  After teaching a recent convert named Bryan, we taught Hermana Rivera, who is a less active member.  Hermana Rivera used to be super involved in the Church and was always the first person to arrive at the Sacrament Meeting.  But when her husband became really sick, she stopped going to church and reading the scriptures.  It made me see that even the strongest members can become inactive when they stop doing the little things (prayer, scripture study, church attendance, etc.)

Friday was an excellent day.  In the morning before lunch, we visited Eriberto and Antonio.  Then we went looking for a family we had contacted earlier in the week.  The Sanchez family warmly welcomed us in, and to our surprise, in their living room, an owl was quietly perched on a tree stump!  Hermana Cuque thought it was stuffed, but then it moved and made a clicking sound.  It was so cool, because Luis (the dad) works at the zoo in the Encantada Park and has the hobby of training wild birds.  Before the owl, he was training a falcon and a messenger pigeon.  We taught the Sanchez family the first lesson and found out that they are from the DF (districto federal) and listened to the missionaries there!  After a great lesson, Luis asked us if we wanted to hold the owl - named Morico - with the special leather glove he has!!  So, of course we excitedly let Morico perch on our arms and snap some pictures  :)  His eyes were huge and yellow and he was kinda heavy!  haha
Here I am with the owl!!!

Then in the evening Cruz Torres fed us a "second lunch" and we taught him the entire Plan of Salvation.  He was so interested and wrote down the new words he learned (Premortal life, The Fall, Atonement, Spirit World, Celestial, Terrestial, Telestial, etc.)  and their meanings / scriptural reference in a notebook.  It is so fun to teach an investigator who truly appreciates and pays attention to the lesson.

Saturday was a pretty easygoing day.  We were looking for less-active members and found the sister of a less active, who had moved away several years ago.  She was really nice and we taught her and her husband.

Sunday was a really hot day, and not a cloud in the sky.  I am starting to miss beach days and swimming in a cool pool!  Alejandro and Antonio came to church and the classes were great.  Afterwards, we ate with the Enriquez family in the church (since they actually live in Morelos and didn't want to make us go all the way over there and then travel back for our appointments).  We ate pozole (a chicken soup with corn and vegetables.)

Then Marlen made visits with us in the evening.  We met a man who has dedicated years to building a house that depicts a timeline of earth since the creation of Adam and Eve.  It was really interesting 'cause the walls were covered with paintings and 3-D clay scenes from the Bible.

All in all, I had another excellent week and I hope everyone else did as well.  I love you and pray for you all each day! 

Till next week.
~Hermana Eliason

Monday, May 11, 2015

Got Hare? / Happy Mother's Day!

Monday was another laid-back P-day for Hermana Cuque and I.  We deep cleaned the apartment, found a new healthy place to eat called Natura, and did some window shopping.  After email time, we bought some things for the apartment and set off to work.  We taught a husband and wife, who accepted everything we explained, but aren't willing to continue listening because they "will never change religions."  It was sad to see older people who understood and believed in what we shared, but because of deeply-rooted traditions, would truly never make the changes necessary to follow the truth.  We always must be open-minded and humble to self-reflect and put ourselves in harmony with God's will.
Me with Hermano Leopoldo (notice that he is sitting
down in his chair cause he can´t stand up)

On Tuesday, we visited Eriberto!  He confirmed to us that on Sunday he had received the Aaronic Priesthood!  He continues improving and learning so much.  :)  On our way to our appointment with Juan Jose, I contacted a man selling strawberries!  Is it strawberry season?  I have no idea - but they were red and juicy and made me think of the strawberry fields back home.  In the evening we met with a 16 year old recent convert named, Arath, who just moved here from another state.  His conversion story was really similar to Eriberto's and his enthusiasm about the gospel made me excited to continue teaching him.  I love seeing the miraculous changes that the gospel works in others and myself.

Then, when we went with a less active member, Martin, I thought of my dad because, like him, Martin LOVES to run.  Each day he has a different hilly route that he does and told us that he can run from the cathedral (in the bottom of the valley) to the top of the Bufa in about 10 minutes!! Crazy!

Wednesday was special because Hermana Cuque and I received a very interesting gift from one of our investigators named Antonio.  When he was younger, he lived in the dessert and always has interesting stories to share.  Now that he's in his late 60's and, due to a stroke, can't move the left side of his body, he never leaves his house.  At the end of the lesson, he said he had a surprise for us and sent his niece to bring us the "gift".  A minute later I was handed a dead, skinned and frozen wild hare in a plastic bag!  haha  Apparently, rabbit was one of his favorite foods and a "dessert friend" of his had brought it to him - but since he wanted to show appreciation for our visits ... we ended up walking home with the poor thing  (eyes, teeth & a little of the cotton-tail still attached).  Hermana Cuque and I had no idea what to do with it (or how to cook it if we had wanted), so after a couple of photos, it was carefully disposed of.  :)

The "Wild Hare" gift!

Thursday flew by.  We ate lunch with the Bishop at the church because he actually lives on a ranch on the outskirts of the city about 40 minutes away.  He is a very kind man who was baptized 8 years ago with his wife.

In the evening we taught Alejandro, who is progressing and reached page 300 in the Book of Mormon!  We are praying that he will be baptized at the end of this month, or the first week of June.  He is in a band with several older men who sing classic rock in English and Spanish.  He played us one song and they actually sound pretty good.  :)

Me and Hermana Hernandez
On Friday we had the zone meeting for the month of May.  One of the Zone Leaders told us that our real goal for everyone is the temple and not just the baptismal font.  I liked that.  We should always be teaching and inviting members, less actives, converts and investigators to prepare to go to the temple.   I love the temple and can't wait to visit the nearby temples back home.  After the Zone Meeting, we had exchanges with the STL's (Sister Trainer Leaders).  It was my last time having exchanges and I enjoyed the evening with Hermana Hernandez.  She and I were in 2 of the monthly councils with the Mission President (she was with Hermana Brannelly and I was with Hermana Rivera), so we were already friends.  :)  We had an excellent lesson with Cruz Torres, who had read his pamphlet and advanced in his reading of the Book of Mormon.  He quickly understands all that we teach him and truly wants to learn the truth.  We also encountered 3 new investigators that were very friendly and receptive.  All in all, we had a fantastic and successful day.

Saturday morning after teaching Juan Jose, we finished the exchanges and met back up with our companions.  It is kinda weird to hear people make comments about my work ethic, as if I've already finished the mission, such as "Thank you Hermana Eliason for all the work you've done and the example you've been."  I think to myself, "But I'm not done yet!  I still have 4 more weeks!"  When others ask me how long I've been in the mission and I reply 17 months, they look at me with excitement and tell me "I'm almost done."  But as I near the end of my mission, there are a lot of mixed emotions.

After lunch, Hermana Cuque and I taught Crista with Hermana Marlen.  Crista is already half way through with the Book of Mormon and loves to read, so it was a pleasant surprise when she started telling us how much she enjoyed reading the Book of Mormon and also the pamphlet of the Family Proclamation we had given her.  She accepted a baptismal date for the middle of June and is progressing rapidly!

Sunday was a beautiful day.  I gave one of the main talks in the Sacrament meeting and Alejandro and Antonio came to church.  We wished all the women a Happy Mother's Day and in the evening Skyped our families.  :)  It was so FUN to chat with my Mom, Dad, siblings, aunts, uncle and cousins!  They made me laugh so much and the time we had talking together flew by too fast!  I have been so blessed with my family and I love them and miss being with them.  They are my best friends and am grateful for all they have taught me.

I would also like to express my gratitude for all my other family members and friends that have been so supportive.  Each Monday, my inbox is flooded with emails of love, encouragement, and some of life's happy updates from these family members and close friends.

I love you all!

~Hermana Eliason

[Kiley will be giving her homecoming talk,

Sunday, June 14th at 9:00am
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
3354 Eucalyptus Ave
Chino Hills, CA

*Note:  there are two buildings in the same parking lot.  She will be speaking in the Stake Center; the larger of the two buildings and the one furthest from the corner.]

Here is what the outskirts of the city look like :) run down or half built houses in dirt roads with stray dogs ;)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Still Lovin' It All!

On Monday after Hermana Mora and I said good-bye, I waited in the bus station with other missionaries for 4 hours and then my new and last companion arrived.  Her name is Hermana Cuque.  She's 20 years old, has 2 other brothers, is from Guatemala, and has 10 months in the mission.  After we dropped off her things at the house, we ate at Subway and returned so that she could unpack and I could clean.  Pretty easy-going P-day.

My new companion, Hermana Cuque
On Tuesday, we didn't have a District Meeting because we will be having a Zone Conference with the mission president on Friday.  Hermana Cuque and I have been walking non-stop and trying to find more investigators that can progress in this area.  One thing I love about Hermana Cuque, is that she has a positive outlook on life and always tries to look at the bright side.  We taught several lessons and had a good day together.

Wednesday morning, the Bishop came with us to visit Leopoldo and it was perfect!  The Bishop is a convert and currently 71 years old, and Leopoldo is going through the conversion process and is 73 years old.  So they became quick friends and although he's still a little hesitant, we're hoping Leopoldo will get baptized this month.  :)    Then we went to Morelos in the evening and taught Cristina and Jose.  Cristina told us that they want to be baptized and knows that what we've been teaching them is true, but they're going to wait till June or July because they're going to move to Tijuana!  But, by all means, they said I would need to attend their baptism in Baja California, since I live only 3 hours away.  :)  They are an incredible family and I can always feel the Spirit really strongly when we teach them.

The wide open fields on our bus ride from Morelos, to Zacatecas

On Thursday after weekly planning and lunch, we visited some less active members and recent converts.  It is starting to get hot here - pure short-sleeve shirts and sunscreen!

Friday was the Zone Conference with the mission president and his wife.  I could really feel the Spirit as President Villareal spoke about sacrifices.  He explained how the law of obedience goes hand in hand with the law of sacrifice (which are both laws of heaven).  In the scripture dictionary, it says "we must be willing to sacrifice everything for the Lord and His kingdom."  For some of us, we may have to sacrifice working on Sundays or some material "treasure".  But we also may have to offer a "broken heart" and give up our pride or selfishness.  I realized that there are a wide variety of sacrifices we can offer to the Lord, to shake off our dependance of worldly things that may bring pleasure, and find the continuous happiness that Gospel gives us.

Marlen and I posing in front of this sign with our scripture bags ;) haha

Saturday flew by!  In the morning we taught Leopoldo and he always has the deepest & most interesting questions.  Then we ate brunch with our Jehovah's Witness investigator (it was his birthday).  He said he was researching online at our church's website [lds.org] and became really interested in the doctrine of baptism for the dead.  Cruz told us it was something he had never heard about before and wanted to learn more!  He lit up as he said "Just imagine all the good we could do for our ancestors!"  I had never seen someone get so excited over family history work.  Cruz is definitely right - we can do so much good for those who have passed away.  They are depending on us to perform sacred ordinances in the temple.

In the evening we found some new investigators and taught a less active member about why it is important to go to church.  We told him that in his house we can sing, socialize, read, learn, pray, teach, and feel the Spirit (which are all great things we do on Sundays) but we can't bless an administer the Sacrament.  Partaking of the sacrament (the bread and water which represents the body and blood of Jesus Christ) is the most important part of Sunday Church activities.  It is our way of remembering the sacrifice of our Savior and showing gratitude and love towards our Heavenly Father.  When we righteously partake of the sacrament, we receive the promise to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost with us throughout the rest of the week.  It is so important to go to church and receive all the promises and blessings that our Father in Heaven is waiting to bestow upon us.

A cool museum that was once a cathedral

After an incredible testimony meeting on Sunday, Hermana Cuque and I had a lot of people to visit.  My favorite lesson was to a young single mother named Crista.  She works during the week (from home, making videos) and is studying Law in the University on weekends.  Her two little children are adorable and I could see that she loves them a lot.  She was someone Hermana Mora and I had contacted last week and was very interested in our message.  She has never been religious or attended any church.  She listened attentively and we explained about the immeasurable love God has for each of His children (just like she loves her two children immensely).  It was a beautiful day and I am so happy to be a missionary.  I love each moment and am learning new things daily.  I know this is the true church and that the gospel brings us happiness.

Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support!

~Hermana Eliason

[Kiley will be giving her homecoming talk,

Sunday, June 14th at 9:00am
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
3354 Eucalyptus Ave
Chino Hills, CA

*Note:  there are two buildings in the same parking lot.  She will be speaking in the Stake Center; the larger of the two buildings and the one furthest from the corner.]