Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 9: Trials, TIWI and Teaching With The Spirit

YEE HAW!!!! What a week. It is starting to go by fast. It felt like just a couple days ago that I was emailing last weeks email. Well last Thursday I was really frustrated and hating life, and I wasn't sure why God gave us certain trials, and in my exact words I said, " I don't know why God gives us certain challenges, and that is one question I am dying to find out". Fast forward to the next day, Friday Aug.28,  dololololololue (fast forward noises), Again here is what I said in my journal: "It's funny how it took me only one day to recognize and understand why my trials are so valuable". Because we (Elder Christensen and I) were able to talk to Achilles (18 years old) and his dad (Basilio, who is some age of a dad) on Friday, and Basilio asked this amazing question: How do you come to know God, because I think that he is there, but I'm not sure? So in that moment, I was prompted to share my conversion story to the gospel of how I was going through a lot of trials a couple years ago, and it didn't seem like there was too much light in the future because of my sickness. In that moment of pain was when I came across 2 Nephi 26:23-24 which reads:

23 For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.

24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him.Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.

 I told them, that I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do not let us live in darkness. We are able to have light in our lives, and we can overcome any challenge. The spirit was really strong in the room, and I know that it was the spirit who was talking. They also started asking questions about the Plan of Salvation, like: where are we from, why are we here, and my dad who died was a good man, well . . . where is he right now? I was like: I love you!!! Because we had practiced the Plan of Salvation that morning, and when we shared the Plan of Salvation, the spirit grew stronger and stronger. I am so grateful for my trials. They have helped me so much in my life, and more importantly I am able to easily relate to those in tough situations. I know that through Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ we can overcome any trial, no matter how hard it may be.

I had an amazing day Yesterday!!!! We had 5 investigators come, to our Spanish and English ward (I don't know if I have said this, but that I am in a Spanish and English Ward, entonces I get to speak English and Spanish, but that I get to speak English, so yeah I like English, not saying I don't like Spanish, cause I do, but Spanish is difficult, and when people are talking a million miles per hour in Spanish, it just goes over my head. But yeah English is good)!!! It was amazing. I think the best part about the whole thing was the talks in Sacrament meeting. The talks were based on overcoming trials, and how we can do it with the help of our Savior, which was perfect for me and Achilles. Then the Sister speaking shared how she deals with heart problems every day, and how she has overcome this trial by building a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ. It was peeeerrrrrffffeeecccctttt. The spirit was so strong, and I was literally glued to the speaker. Oh my goodness, I still can't believe how perfect it all worked out.

This week has been fun as well as spiritual. Some of the fun things that are happening are that Elder Christensen doesn't sing very often, and I do a lot, (Elder Bell he is exactly like you). But if this plays out like the Elder Bell situation, he'll be singing by next week, I'm sure of it. Another funny thing is that we have this thing in our car that can track our speed, tell us when to slow down, tell us if we are driving aggressively, and a couple others. Well, when we get 3 aggressive drivings we lose our driving privileges (3 per person). So last week, I was driving, and it was raining and I didn't see this bump, and I hit it hard, and it was crazy, and TIWI (is the name of it) was like (read this in a super low male voice) Aggressive Driving, so that was fun. But then E. Christensen was driving and the same thing happened to him but that he got two in one day. So basicamente we have been driving extra careful because apparently TIWI doesn't like us.

One more thing is that knocking doors is super fun but so scary. It is so weird just knocking up to some random persons door and talking to them about the gospel. I get so uncomfortable, and one time Elder Christensen and I went to this one door, and right as the person opened it up, Christensen ran around the corner. He is just the kindest buddy ever. But all is well, all is well. Basicamente I'm Giddying up like a cowboy. But it is fun.

I love the mission. It has new things in store each week. It is tough, spiritual, fun, crazy and full of light. It is so amazing seeing the light come into people lives. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us. We are here to make a difference in our families, friends and random peoples lives. I love you all. Remember who each one of you are. Recuerda quien es. Nos Vemos.

Sincerely Elder Heiner

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week 8: Miracles and The Best Coach Ever!

Oh man the weeks are flying in the hot Texas weather. This past week has been tough, amazing, and so spiritual. Last Tuesday we had a zone conference, and it was aawweesssommmee. There were about 40 missionaries who came to one of the church buildings and we all learned how we can better ourselves as missionaries. It was really cool, and it was also really cool getting to know a lot of the missionaries, cause I know literally no one here, except for the people in my zone. So 'twas fun.

The reason that it has been tough is because missionary work is like learning how to play an entirely new sport (this could also be related to life but right now its relating to missionary work) that I call the MWA, or missionary work association. I have definitely dribbled the ball out of bounds quite a few times, but it's awesome because practice makes better. But don't worry, cause I have the best team. I have an amazing coach who's name is Jesus Christ who has set the perfect example and is helping me become the better me, and helping other people become better, through me. The coach is always working hard at keeping me on the straight path. He has been conditioning me all my life, with my trial conditioning, High School Sprints, and Temple Tuesday water breaks. I love him and he is helping me so much. But I love how he is not the only one helping me. I have an amazing assistant coach, President Mortensen, who is helping me fulfill my missionary purpose. But I'm most grateful for the coach for giving me an amazing trainer. My fitness trainer, Elder Christensen, has helped me so much. He has worked me out, but he has also gone through the tough times, and has relied his faith on the coach for guidance, so it is easy for me to look up to him. Then when I know that times are really tough, I know that I have fans back home cheering me on. So I have nothing to worry about. The MWA is tough and sweaty, but it sure is fun.

Elder Christensen and I have had a few miracles this past week. The first one was, that last Wednesday Elder Christensen were both out on our back porch. Now to give you a visual, we are on the 3rd floor of our apartment building and the back porch sticks out about 5 ft, and it is about 10 ft wide. Well I was studying and role playing with E. Christensen who was fixing his bike, when a guy about 20 years old came out to his porch about 30 ft away from ours to the right. He was jamming out to rap music, and then looked over to us. I had this overwhelming feeling to wave, then he waved back. Then he got up and started talking to us about bikes, then one thing led to another, and I was talking to him about the gospel. He knew a lot, and he wants a change in his life. So we gave him a Book of Mormon and gave him our number. So the most important part of the story, is always listen to the spirit, and be kind to people. Because you never know when one wave can change a persons life. 

2nd miracle is that our primary progressing investigator, has been improving so much. He has gone to church the last 3 weeks, and yesterday he agreed to be baptized on the 13th of September. It was amazing. He is so ready. He even told us yesterday that we are on this Earth not to do what we want, but to do what God would have us do. It was amazing. 

3rd miracle: Elder Christensen and I were out biking on Saturday and we went up to this house and there was a girl outside. We started talking to her, and she was a little bit interested. But not really. But as we were getting ready to leave, I saw someone who was laying on the ground of a porch. He wasn't wearing a shirt, and he kind of looked a bit sketchy. But something told me to go talk to him. This time I blew it off, because I didn't want to talk to him. But I finally decided to go. I went over to him and started the normal  door knock approach. Come to find out that he is 18 years old, just got done exercising, and the reason he was on the ground was because he was praying, and right when he got done was when I went up to him. His name is Achilles, and he wants a huge change in his life. He has had a problem with drinking beer, and drugs, and he has been to a lot of churches, and all of them (he said) wouldn't help him with his problems. So when we said that we are here to help you change your life, he told us:"This might be the one I have been looking for". Overall it was an amazing event, and again moral of the story, is listen to the spirit, and even when you don't want to listen, do it anyways. 

So it has been a great week, and I am excited for the next one. Side notes. I love my ward. They are all so happy. We have been doing a lot of service and that's fun. We have been dying in the heat and that's been fun too. But today was a party. We played ball with two zones, and it was so fun. #totesfun. And then we played volleyball, with our zone and the AP's and that was even funnerer. But literally I don't think I have sweat more in my life. But you know what they say, when you sweat, your going to want a cookie to go with it. 

Hasta Luego mis amigos. y nos vemos.

With much love from above and from me,

Elder Heiner

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Week 7: Stray Dogs, Cockroaches, 106 Degrees = Houston Texas

Just a quick heads up, many of you are talked about in parenthesis. K that's all I needed to say first.

Did y'all know that everything is bigger in Texas? It is true. Right when I stepped off the plane in Houston, it was 106 degrees and felt like a sauna. I think I was sweating in the first 3 minutes of getting outside. Another thing that is bigger is the lightning storms. We had a small lightning storm last night (what I mean by that is that it was only for about an hour) but the lightning strikes were huge, and literally felt like they were right next to you (or me, which ever one you choose). Also, we have had a few members feed us, and the food is amazing. Just one side note, that McDonalds actually tasted really good at the airport, after having straight MTC food for 6 weeks, so that was just peachy. Entonces One week down on the mission and everything is really real. I know its crazy its actually real, its no longer fake. 

Here are two pics of my new comp. I'll send more next week. Lo siento, I have been slacking a bit on picture taking. Also my new P-day is Monday, if you didn't know already

My new companion is awesome. His name is Elder Christensen, and he we are like the same person. He played basketball in High School, and soccer, is a huge NBA fan, says cute a lot (I can't believe that one, because I had never met anyone who says it as much as me, but he says it even more, so it's totes cray cray). So basicamente (basically) it's been really funny but don't worry Elder Fitt he's not as cool as you, cause he doesn't just do what he can, plus he is not as crazy as you, frankly I don't know anyone who could be as crazy as you with the exception of Elder Craig, but ya it has been fun. I also got one of the nicest apartments in the mission. It has two separate bathrooms, a really nice kitchen and living space. I also have my own closet, entonces I feel pretty spoiled on those parts of the mish. So I lucked out. This part of Houston is crazy though, and in a way I think I lucked out being here than anywhere else. I am right at the very bottom of my mission boundaries, and am actually in the city of Houston, I am about 5 minutes from downtown, so I can easily see the skyscrapers from the area I'm at, just to give y'all a good perspective. My mission is called the Ghetto of the mish. I can't believe what I have seen in the past few days. Some of the houses are just held together by a little bit of stucco, a roof that in many areas looks like it will fall over. Don't get me started on the yards, oh my Elder Gosch, if y'all saw these yards (mom if you saw these yards you'd go crazy) you'd want to do a giant service project (Teddy get down here and do a service project for the city of Houston, I know you'd get so many hours for your eagle, but you know it might take a little while, and plus you only have like 20 days left, unless you got it) sorry random little side note. I have wanted to do so many service projects, but Elder Christensen said that the people here just don't care about things like that. Another thing is that in this area there is trash everywhere, there is also a huge amount of random stray dogs that just roam around. A funny thing is that I have started counting the amount of white people that I see. I have only seen about 7 white people (who are not missionaries) in the whole last three days. It is crazy! But on Saturday, we had a FHE activity with the ward, and it was scripture Family Feud, and it was so much fun. The ward is so fun. All of them have very sweet spirits and they are so kind and loving, and also so patient with me, because my Spanish is very bad (and by very bad, I mean, very bad, like awful) (Dad remember how learning Spanish was tough for you, well I think that I just started on the same boat as you, so now we are sailing together) (But I'm sure it won't be harder than speaking Japanese and Chinese like Elder Fongy and Elder Merrill, I'm sorry Ethan and Cuerdan). Oh one thing about Mexicans is they talk so flipping fast. I thought Hermano Mecham talked fast (yes I am talking about you Hno Mecham).  But no, these people talk insanely fast. I feel that when I'm finished translating one sentence a person just said, the person has already said 3 different things, and then I get really lost. Like even if I had a map I would still be lost!!! So veryyyyyy lost. So that has been fun (sarcastic British accent is how I said that, but if you don't want to read it that way you don't have to, because God gave us agency; so you can choose) (Brin I am not sure if I use a semicolon there, let me know I did it right K?) So overall it is worse than Santaquin (that one is for you Tessy).

That being said, I am so glad I have the opportunity to be here. I want to help these people so much. Yesterday we had the opportunity to teach a man named Lorenzo. He looks like he is his 50's and he is a super nice guy. A member took him to church yesterday for the first time, so he already knew a little bit of the doctrine. So that same member (Hno Robles, the ward mission leader) was present when we taught him. As we taught (let me rephrase that, Elder Christensen taught most of the time, because I can't speak Spanish, but don't worry I did bear my testimony, which might have helped a little bit) the spirit was definitely there. We shared with him how the Restoration could help him in his life. It was an amazing lesson because of the fact that Hermano Robles was there. He talked just as much and maybe even more than Elder Christensen did, which was amazing, because we then had 3 witnesses of the same doctrine. By the end of the lesson, we could really tell that he was focused. Elder Christensen looked at him, and asked him if he would like to be baptized. He said that he would. It was a great testimony builder to see the spirit work that great for Lorenzo in that moment. It really is true that the spirit is the teacher. 

One more experience that I would like to share, is that last night we had the opportunity to do service for a member and help move their house, because it was being evicted. It is so sad to see people who have so little, who are members of the Church. It has really changed my perspective, of how I can impact people. We had two other Elders from our district help us out: Elder Walker and Elder Awong, and it was a great opportunity to help a family out, who have so little. I know I am here for a reason. Heavenly Father has sent me here to help bless these peoples lives, and I am excited. I know that the spirit works in so many ways, and will help me bless these people. I know that the Book of Mormon is the key of our church. It really does contain the fullness of the Gospel. I know that Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God, and that today we have a living Prophet even Thomas S. Monson. I know that Heavenly Father really does love us. He is watching out for us, and is there to help us when we fall. I love this church. I am grateful for all of you. The MTC was amazing, and looking back on it, it was actually easy. But now I am here, and am excited to go serve, and with the Lords help, change peoples lives. I love y'all. Always remember that God blesses those who ask for help. Do what us priests used to do in Sunday School, ask the Bishop for money (those of you in the mission field, that might not work as well as it did with my home ward bishop, but if you want to you can try it:) . Even though some times he wouldn't give us money back, there were always those times where he would. Our Heavenly Father is the same. When we actually ask for something with a pure intent, Heavenly Father will find the right time to give us what we need. My favorite scripture is 2 Nephi 26: 23-24 (Bryce this for you), I know that Heavenly Father loves us. Because He sent down his only begotten son, for the purpose of loving us, and saving us. For Behold I testify to all of you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness. He loves all of us. I leave that testimony in the name of Jesus Christ Amen. 

I love Y'all. Hasta Luego.

Love Elder Heiner 

PS I have a little side note, for the people who were in my district in the MTC, I never got Elder Flake's Email, and it saddens me to the bone, that I don't get to hear from him, or talk to him. So if one of you could get me the Email, I would love you forever.

PPS Elder Bell have you seen your girl friend? You know I kinda miss saying that to you every night. But don't worry, I say it to you over Email. 

PPPS I would love to hear how all y'all are doing. But if you don't write me, then I just cry. Not literally but maybe figuratively. But whatever works, works, you know, cause I don't know. K anyways Nos Vemos. 

PPPPS Sorry I thought I was done but I am not. Actually I really think I am this time. K Recuerda Quien Es:)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Week 6: Elder Heiner is Officially a Texan

Written by Sarah (mom):

Elder Taylor Heiner was unable to write home this week because his P-Day fell on the same day that he flew out to Houston, Texas. However, he did email a few pictures. The highlight was talking to him on the phone while he was waiting to board the plane. We talked about how the first week in the MTC was the longest week of his life and the last 5 weeks in the MCT were the quickest 5 weeks ever. He said how much he loved his district and was very sad on Monday when most of his district left for the mission field. He said how much he couldn't wait to get out to Houston so he could get to work and start helping others. He said he needed 3 more shirts (which his grandma bought for him), and thanked us for all the support, letters and goodies he's been getting while he was in the MTC.  He spoke to me in Spanish and it sounded so awesome!! His first letter will be on Monday, August 17th and I am so excited to hear about what fun adventures he has been on. It was so great talking to him and I am so proud him. I only wish I could have reached through that phone to hug him again. I love Elder Heiner!

Final district photo with almost everyone with here. Including our teacher Hermano Mella.
We are right outside of our classroom (which is on the left).

I bet this is the cutest picture you have ever seen. This is Elder Freeman and I a few weeks back. It's sad all the Elders have already left, and now it's just Elder Fitt and I in the MTC, from our district. So its getting crazy.
But this pic is totes cute right?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Week 5: Last Week In The MTC

Here we go. It's crunch time!!! Can you believe that this is the last week in the MTC for me. I can't believe it. ITS CRAAAZZZZYYYY. So this past week I got my flight plans, so basicamente (basically) it's getting real. I am still not sure if I can call you before I get on the plane, but if I do, it will probably be from 7-9 am next Wednesday. Lucky for me, I get to wake up at 3:35 am next Wednesday, so I'm just super pumped. I was actually really, like super, muy (very) excited when we got our flight plans. I was jumping up and down, and just going crazy. Everyone in our district was an emotional high. Great times great times. 

Here is our whole zone on Sunday at the temple. 

So yes this past week has been the basicamente (basically), and its even better because my new favorite word is basicamente (basically) and it's super much fun to say. This last week has definitely had it's ups and its downs. Everyone is trying to stay focused but it is definitely really hard, because we are so excited to get out in the field next week. So our teachers have been trying to drill it into our heads that we need to keep working hard. I love seeing my friends around the MTC. It's awesome. I see Elder Fongy all over the place, I've also seen Elder Lister (JJ), Elder Chase (Jacob Ryan), Elder Okelberry (Steven), Elder Baxter (Dimitri), Elder Beeson (Buzz), Elder Frost (Colby), and a bunch more people from school. It's great to see them all out here, getting ready to go serve the lord. 

Here is our whole district, and both of our teachers who are on the top row edges.

So there have been a few events that have been really great. In both of the devotionals this week, both of the speakers were amazing. So the first one on Sunday was Sheri Dew, I don't know if you know her, but she is one of the best inspirational speakers in the church. She taught a lot about how we need to let the spirit always be the teacher. She also told a story of how this kid in preschool was so crazy at recess and so nice in the classroom. Always picking up his classmates when they were feeling down, and the teacher asked this little boy, why are you so nice? The little boy gave a confused look, like you should know this. Then he said, the reason I am so good is because Jesus has Rules, and I need to be good because he has rules. Jesus does have rules and when we follow those rules, God and Jesus both, bless us. She also taught a lot about engaging God in a spiritual wrestle. Because we need to wrestle with God to gain a pure and sure knowledge that he is there and ready to help us. On Tuesday (yesterday) we had another speaker. I don't think you'll know him, because very few people actually do. His name is Russell M Nelson. Yeah I didn't know who he was either. But I bet y'all know him, cause I hear he's pretty popular in the church for some reason. But yeah we got to hear him talk and right when he walked into the gym, you could feel the spirit illuminate. It was absolutely amazing. Anyone who was there could have known without a doubt that he is an apostle of the lord. Him and his wife talked and I loved one of the points his wife (Wendy Nelson) made. She said, " whenever you are feeling down as a missionary, just remember that there are 15 million people all around the world who are praying for you". She also said, " As missionaries you are all preparing the world for the second coming". Two really important concepts that she said and I know it touched everyone. President Nelson said something that was really amazing as well, he said, " Many and most of us have been wounded (as all of the 2000 stripling warriors were) but as you repent, you can overcome past temptations, doubt and behaviors; because God isn't disappointed with an of those who are willing to repent". The rest of his talk was amazing as well. When it was over, we were able to get out pretty fast because we were on the floor, next to the door. So we got to watch him get into his car and drive away. It was amazing because we were literally 10 feet away from him, and I know we made eye contact. Entonces, basicamente (Then, basically) it was a really cool experience. 

So why are you all doing such fun things right when I leave. It sounds like every week you are all doing something super fun. Also tell the Merrill's I say hi. Dang I was hoping that Cardon comes into today, I couldn't remember the date he came in, so it's sad that I won't get to see him. But it's great hearing from all y'all. I love getting the letters. You are all so awesome. That's awesome that Maddy had a really spiritual experience with her priesthood blessing. They are amazing. I have been able to give 3 blessings while I have been here, and been apart of 2 more, and they are all so amazing. This past week I had one of the most spiritual experiences while being part of a priesthood blessing. I love them so much. Well I hope y'all have so much fun in AF. I'm praying for all y'all. It's kinda crazy that the next time I send an Email, I'll most likely be in Houston. So remember who you are all are, and what you stand for. 

Adios y'all.  Stay cute always.

Love Elder Heiner