On Tuesday we got an evening call from the Mission President in Knoxville Tennessee saying that he was looking at a handsome Elder ..... YAY! The missionaries got out! He put Eli on the phone and we all gathered around it just like Christmas!!! He was exhausted but sounded good. First thing he said was that there are a lot of white people. The Mission President knew he was an AP so he showed Eli his charts and things which was great.
Eli was one of 7 missionaries that returned to the U.S.A. probably because he has less than 6 months to go on his mission.
We are so thankful that the missionaries were able to get away from the epidemic safely and pray that West Africa will conquer ebola so that they may return.
Here's our first letter from Tennessee:
Hello Mom and Everyone!!
Thank you all for your prayers. They were much needed and its truly been a crazy adventure. I wouldnt know really where to begin with explaining how the past two weeks have been. In Liberia there was a lot going on. We were being held inside for a while to make sure the missionaries were safe and out of the way. It was crazy to have the meeting with all the couples and President to figure out the best way to get us out of there. We left so much behind and I will always pray for the people in Liberia and hope that they will be protected in the Lord.
When I was told I was going to Tennessee it was pretty shocking. No clue how to communicate or teach with white people. I got here to find out that there are some Liberian communities to teach!! So teaching is really slow here and the missionaries have a different attitude of the work. When I had my interview with President Griffin I thought I was going to be assigned as a junior companion to finish my mission like that. We talked and he told me I was being assigned as a Zone Leader! He said he knows who I am and what influence I can have on others. He also stated that he didnt know who it was but he knew he was receiving an Assistant from Liberia. It was great to feel welcomed and Its great to have the assignment of a Zone Leader. Otherwise I would have been super annoying to my companion.
I have two companions right now, Elder Roberts and Elder Russo. We also have a car. . . and hot showers. I dont have a bed yet but I get one tomorrow!
Tomorrow is Zone Conference and we are giving our instruction there. I am trying to give all my knowledge of missionary work to others so it is exciting to give an instruction in a different mission. Because you can get so involved in missionary work in Liberia I did gain a lot of skills in working with the Ward and teaching lessons.
I also think because I was involved so much I have had a weird time adjusting to America. I feel like im wasting so much water, there are too many things to eat, nothing has mold on it, no mosquito nets, and no Koloqua which is sad. Everyone is saying I have a thick accent. The good thing is that we have one Liberian member in our ward that speaks it! So we are gaining investigators off of him which is nice. I feel as if I have a connection with every black person here so we are gaining a teaching pool of black people. I miss them like crazy so its still hard for me to want to find a white person to teach. I will learn!
Anyway, I love you and am thankful for the prayers and for the life that I have. A lot less stress on this side of the world but I will try to make missionary work on this side busy. Tell everyone I love them and am safe! Pray for the Liberians and the Church.
Elder Elias Dahlin