Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 13: Lions and Panthers and Bears...Oh My!!

Oh my goshness, I feel that all the days keep blurring together. Elder Christensen has the same problem, because we were teaching an English class, and E. Christensen told everyone (this is like 25 people): Hey the next class will be on Thursday he said it like 3 times, and then I told him, Hey, you know today is Thursday? For the next 15 minutes he was telling me: How is it Thursday, there is no way that it is Thursday, like it can't be Thursday. I told him it would be ok, and that was that. Anyways this week was sad and happy all at the same time. Since it is a new transfer, two Hermanas (Sisters) in our transfer left. It was sad, because we were the closest district in the field, and it felt like the MTC all over again. Elder Christensen was feeling down too. He was telling me that it usually doesn't feel this sad when you switch districts, but it was. We lost Hermana Marlowe, and Hermana Perry, who were both awesome, but that's ok, cause we got Hermana Tate and Hermana Bues. I don't have any pictures of Bues and Tate, so you are just going to have to imagine them. Hermana Bues just came in and it feels weird because I'm not the newest one in our district anymore. But it still feels like I just got here. Gosch time flies!!!! One thing that was awesome that didn't relate to missionary work, was we got to go to the Houston Zoo for P day last week. We took the tracks, and got to go see some aminals (yes I misspelled that on purpose). Twas a fun P day for sure. 

Anyways this week we got the opportunity to teach Raul. He is a new investigator from English Class. We taught him about being baptized, and we asked him: why do you think Jesus Christ was baptized for us if he was a perfect being? He told us: Well he first had to set the example, because if he didn't do it than why would we have to, so yeah its because he had to set the example. We were both astonished because we were about to tell him the same thing. We told him that: it was by the correct power and authority from God in which he was baptized, and for that reason, is why he went to John the Baptist. We asked him if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by that same power and authority that was was used when Jesus was baptized? He told us that he would love to, but that he wants to make sure that he is ready. We made him feel loved and told him that we are there for him. So now we got another baptism in October. Estoy muy animado!!! (I am very animated)

On Thursday we got to teach Raul again and we taught him the Plan of Salvation, and we had a member present named Juan. Juan is like 23, and is a couple years off his mission, and is an amaaazzzinngg teacher. I was struggling to teach in my broken Spanish, and then Juan finished it and made it beautiful. So awesome. Having a member in a lesson is amazing, because they are another witness, but also they are the key for that investigators future, because us missionaries won't be in this area forever, but the members will be there for a while, so it is awesome to have members to be a witness and a friend. 

Wednesday was a great learning day. It had its ups and its downs, and I learned so much. Elder Christensen and I had some pep talks too. I was struggling because I felt that nothing was happening that day, but Elder Christensen has a talent, at listening and lifting someone back up. In missionary Lingo, when a trainer gets a trainee they call them their son, and I get to call him dad. Usually the trainee stops calling his trainer dad within the first week, but I still do it all the time. He really is like a father figure, because he has been serving a mission for 20 months. We have had at least 2 or 3 long talks together each week in the 7 weeks he's been my comp. We also had dinner at the Castillos on Wednesday, and they were getting back late because they got a flat tire, but they stopped by a food truck, and got fajitas, and I can honestly say: I believe that it was the best fajita meat I've ever had in my life. My first bite, I literally said OHHH MYY GOOOSSSHHH, super loud. Someone asked if I was ok, and I was like: this is the best thing ever!!! It was pretty great. 

Well this week I have had my challenges and my miracles. I have been praying for a certain thing on my mission, and yesterday I finally received the inspiration and the revelation that I was searching for. I can testify to you that Heavenly Father really does answer our prayers. I have become best friends with my savior Jesus Christ and also my Father in Heaven. I know they are watching out for each and everyone of us. 

Heavenly Father is waiting to answer your prayers, so for that reason, is why you must first pray. I don't know if I have shared this yet, but I have a favorite quote from a movie, that says: If you build it, he will come. I turned it around to make it say: If you seek it . . . IT will come. If you are willing to go for something, it WILL come. I know this to be true. 

Have fun all you fine people and I love all of y'all. 

Love Elder Heiner

P.S. The movie is Field of Dreams if any of you didn't know.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 12: Mexican Food, Service Projects and The Houston Temple

This week has been really good. There are a few things that I would like to share, that really stuck out but everything else just seems to blur together. One thing I would like to share that doesn't get enough credit is: THE FOOD HERE IS AMAZING. It's all Mexican food and it is really good. But like, it's really good, but for reals, its good. And it isn't just good, but every house we eat at makes so much that I feel like I'm dying from all the food I just ate. We ate with the Maldonado's on Tuesday and they made fish and chips with tortillas and salsa (so British and Mexican all in one), and I ate so much but the amount of food that was on the table seemed to grow larger every bite I took. Hermana Maldonado was just frying up more and more, and I was thinking to myself, when is she going to stop? Finally she did!!!!! Also shout out to the Castillo's for doing the same thing every week. They are another family in our ward that feed us way to good, luckily I had to use the restroom before Hermana Castillo could offer me another plate. Twas a close one for sure. 

So what is Fun? In Spongebob they ask the same thing. Well on Saturday we got to do a huge service project for a guy who has hoarded sooooooo much junk. His wife asked us to come clean it out because the city was going to sue her if it wasn't cleaned out. Well while we were cleaning it out, Elder Murdoch (one of the Elders in our zone who was on an exchange with Elder Bonzo) and I started singing: F is for friends who do stuff together U is for you and me, N is for anyone and anytime at all oh here in the deep blue sea. After all three verses we switched to: I call this one the campfire song song. Good times, good times!
Here is a picture of the garbage from the service project we did.  We were working on it for 3 hours and only made a dent. They kept going and worked on it for the whole day and maybe finished half of it. We filled up 3 giant dumpsters with that stuff, and still have a ways to go.

Another pic from our service project.

 The last one is of Elder Christensen, me and Hermano Galleano at his house.

In every email I usually talk about dogs, I don't know why. But this week I got Elder Christensen to touch a dog. I was holding a tiny dog at a members house and Elder Christensen actually shook the dogs paw. It was incredible. Sorry I just had to put that in. Cause I have been waiting for that moment for a good six weeks. Speaking of six weeks, I cannot believe that my first transfer in the field is over. It feels like I just got here, and it's weird because all the days are blurred together. If you are a missionary and you are reading this, I know you would agree. But one transfer filled with learning and amazing experiences is in the books, and this week was a great way to end it. 

There were four events that were probably the best of them all. First: We have the opportunity to teach an English class to a bunch of people who don't speak English, and it is a great way to meet people, help them, invite them to activities with the ward, and eventually get them to Church where the spirit can be the teacher. Well we were able to teach one of our English class member this week, whose name is Raul. He is about 25 and just moved here from Mexico. He has a really bright future, and has a lot of knowledge. We were able to teach the Restoration to him. The spirit became the teacher, I know this for a fact. When we were sharing the First vision with him, and had the Restoration Pamphlet picture turned to him, and as Elder Christensen quoted the first prayer lines: vi una columna de luz, mas brillante que el sol, directamente arriba de mi cabeza; y esta luz gradualmente descendio hasta descansar sobre mi Al reposar sobe mi la luz, vi en el aire arriba de mi a dos personajes, cuyo fulgor y gloria no admiten descripcion. Uno de ellos me hablo, llamandome por mi nombre, y dijo, senalando al otro . . . Este es mi Hijo Amado: Escuchalo! We asked Raul if he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and he said: "yes". The spirit was teaching, not us. He wants to come to church, and learn more. The lord works in marvelous ways, and its amazing that I have the opportunity to see that right now. 

The second event that stood out, was temple tour. Once a transfer, our mission does a temple tour of the Houston Temple. If we are able to bring an investigator to the temple, we are able to go. We also got a ride up with Mario and Rosi Castillo, which was fun, and crazy all at the same time. The whole night was incredible. The temple was so beautiful, and it kind of reminded me of Temple Tuesdays back in Utah. We were able to take Lorenzo, who was just baptized last week. He loved it!!! It was perfect, because in a few more weeks we are going to have the opportunity to go do baptisms with him for his own ancestors. Man this work is absolutely amazing!!!

Houston, Texas LDS Temple

Me, Rosi and Mario right next to the temple, with an awesome sunset.
Last two spiritual events: yesterday Lorenzo was able to receive the Holy Ghost in sacrament meeting. He is amazing. I love him. He is so incredible and every time I see him now he has a smile on his face. I'm grateful for him and for the opportunity that he had to get the gift of the Holy Ghost, who will comfort him in his trials, but who will also bring him peace and joy in his greatest moments of life. The last thing that happened, was on Thursday Elder Christensen got the opportunity to give 3 priesthood blessings of healing. It was incredible. The spirit was oh so strong, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that experience as well. 

I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ, and that I can be a representative of Jesus Christ. As a representative of Jesus Christ I would like to ask each one of you a question: who do you want to be tomorrow? I feel that we stress so hard on thinking what I want to be like in a couple of months or a couple of years, when all we need to focus on is the person we need to be tomorrow. I know that as we come closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ, tomorrow will be better and better. 

Thanks everyone. I love you all and am grateful for each one of you. Have a lovely week. Hasta Luego and Recuerda Quien es.

District Swag #1
District Swag #2
District Swag #3
Love Elder Heiner :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 11: A Cute Dog, Lorenzo and Dia De Hispanidad

It's really weird to think that It's already been 2 1/2 months since the start. Time flies, on a mission, it really does. Well I'm absolutely loving the missionary life. Its fun, hard, hot (but finally cooling down), sooo spiritual, nerve racking, a little bit scary, and fun, and really spiritual for some odd reason;) The reason it is fun is because every day is so packed. We have appointment after appointment after appointment, and the time just flies because there are so many people in Houston, its so cool to just talk to people all day. It's like a dream come true. I also see dogs everywhere. Like each street I will see at least 1 or 2 dogs. Like for reals y'all. But most of them aren't very cute, but don't worry I did find one cute dog this week, and I picked him up and held him. It was totes preciousness.

There are not very many cute dogs here in Houston, but don't worry I found one.
And he was just supo cuwte. I woved him supo supo mucho.

Also going along with the dog subject, Elder Christensen absolutely hates dogs, and one of them went up to him and he was like Elder Heiner come play with the dog, cause I'm not touching it. Entonces this week just flew right by and it felt like a #blur to be honest, but there were some really cool events of the week that I want to share. 

The first one was that on Wednesday I got to go on an Exchange with Elder Sellers. We got to go out and ride bikes, and hang up English Class flyers, and talk to people for like 3 hours. And it was funny because Elder Sellers is super shy, and won't talk to anyone. So I felt like the senior comp a little bit and was making all the decisions. So that was fun. We also got a lot of contacts, who said they would love to come to church. Sadly none of them came yesterday, but it's that one invitation that can really change someone's life down the road. 

The second one is that we are still teaching Achilles. He is 18 years old and how we met him was he was laying on his front porch praying (a couple weeks back), who I spotted out biking, that I was prompted to go talk to. Well we were teaching him on Saturday, and reading with him in the Book of Mormon. He was loving the book and chapter we were reading, when out of the blue he asked us:" When can I get baptized"? I was kind of stunned. It was awesome. He then told us that he knows that the Mormon church is the one, and that he knows that he will die a Mormon. So we got a baptismal date for him in the middle of October. So we are excited for him, and the path that he is taking.

The last event that was awesome and was by far the biggest highlight, was our investigator Lorenzo got baptized yesterday. He has definitely come a long way. It's amazing because he is the first investigator that I started teaching in the field, but it was also the first time E. Christensen had taught him as well. I remember my second day in the field, we had the opportunity to visit him, and he had a tiny little apartment that was really cluttered, he had no chairs so we had to stand, but was just ready to learn. Now his apartment is clean, he bought some furniture and is nice inside, and he now has this light in his eyes; that is incredible. The person who baptized him was Hermano Robles (our ward mission leader, and also Lorenzo's neighbor). When he went in and out of the water he just stood in the font for like 10 seconds and then made his way out. In that moment I know that he was taking in that moment where he was perfectly clean. For the rest of the day he was smiling so much (except for in pictures, in his culture they don't smile in pictures) but he was absolutely soooo happy. He had a bounce in his step and was just so filled with the spirit.

Our first baptism: On the far left is Elder Christensen, then Hermano Robles then Lorenzo and me on the right.

Here is Hermano robles on the far left, Lorenzo in the middle, and me on the right. First baptism was
and absolutely amazing.

I love you all. Keep being amazing. Remember to always look for opportunities to change someones life, because there are always those people who need help, and you may not know it, but you are the person who will impact their lives the most. My sister Maddy was able to realize that last year in her first year of High School. She impacted this kids life who was really going through a lot of struggles, and she helped him feel loved, in a time when he was stuck in a rut. People need your help, and all of you are chosen by our Heavenly Father to be here for a reason. I have a testimony of this. I also know that you can be a missionary no matter what. Every member a missionary. This girl in my ward who is like 15 said: "goodbye, have fun being a missionary", and I said "you too". She looked at me a little bit funny, but it is true, because every member is a missionary and is part of Gods plan to help someone. Always listen to the el espiritu santo (holy ghost) because He will lead you to people, and help you, in ways that you can't imagine. You are all children of our Heavenly Father and he loves you. He will not give you a trial that you cannot overcome. 

I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I am grateful to have the opportunity to be serving. My testimony has definitely been strengthened each and every day, on the mission. I can definitely see how Heavenly Father blesses his children. He has helped me so much, but also helped so many people here in Houston. I am grateful for my savior Jesus Christ who has paid the price for all the sins of the world. I know through him that all of us, no matter the struggle or trial, can live with our Heavenly Father again. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost, and the comfort he brings. 

Once again I love you all, and am excited for the paths that each one of you are taking. You are all amazing. On to another week. See y'all next time.

We were setting up for dia de hispanidad. A party that happens once a year, where everyone from different cultures brings food. So this is us posing in or sombreros. On the far left is Hermana Perry, then Hermana Larson, then Elder Sellers, then me, then Elder Bonzo, then Elder chin chin chin  (Christensen).

Funny sign that says: I'm glad when you're here, but I'm more comfortable when you leave :)

Love Elder Heiner

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Week 10: First Baptism, Moving, and GPS

OOOHHH my goodness this week has been good. It also went by really really fast, like it feels like it just started. But it didn't entonces, that's fun. But this past week we had the grand opportunity to move apartments in the same apartment complex, fun right?!!!. We switched from a big apartment to a much smaller apartment, and it was a blast, because we got to go down three flights of stairs, then carry everything into the truck (that is our mission car, it is actually super awesome, I'm not going to lie), then drive to the farthest apartment complex and unload everything, into our much smaller apartment. The best thing though was we were on a split, so E. Christensen didn't get to move anything, so another Elder, Elder Pogroszewski got to have the funnest time of his life (sarcasm) and move our apartment. But yeah, it took us a good 6 hours. But, we had good bonding experiences. Also a couple other funny things that happened that same day, was I was driving back to the apartment (this was before we started moving), and I took the wrong exit to get off the freeway, and I thought I knew where I was going (because Houston looks all the same), but turns out I didn't. So Elder P. (sounds like pro-gress-key) put our final destination into the GPS, and the GPS told us that we were 7 miles away from our final destination. That being said, we were at least 5 miles out of our mission boundaries. So I felt special, because I got to out of the mission boundaries this week, but just not on purpose. It was great. 

On Wednesday, I got the opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Bonzo. It was so much fun. We quoted kid history, Elf, and sang Bromance, and other songs. It was so fun. But besides that, we went out contacting and we talked to these two guys who didn't have very much interest in the church, and then by the time we were done talking, they were really interested. It was a really cool talk (which was in Spanish, so I understood about half of it) but it was awesome. Then we found these other guys sitting outside this little shop, who were smoking cigarettes and drinking beer, and we started giving our street contacting introduction, and this guy named Dan, was going off about how he had already studied our church. He kept telling us what we don't believe, and what we should believe, but the funny thing was, that what he thought we don't believe is actually what we do, so a lot of the time I was just agreeing with this guy. I was like yep, yep, yep, we believe that too. I think his goal was to kill my testimony, because he was like: have you prayed about these things, and again I was like yep, and they are true. It was funny because, he was trying so hard to defeat me, but he never did.

Spiritual moments of the week: This week we have been working a lot with Lorenzo Escobar. He is about 50 years old, and is absolutely amazing. We have been teaching him for the last 3 weeks, and he absolutely loves the gospel. In our last lesson he was teaching us about why Heavenly Father loves us so much. He was sharing about how when he was in the army he should have died, and that he knows that everyone has a plan. We also gave him a pamphlet and told him to write about his parents and his grandparents. He ended up staying up until 2 am filling it out. This guy is absolutely incredible. He is getting baptized this Sunday, and he is planning to go do baptisms for his family in about a month in the temple, and we are planning to go with him. I'm so excited.

We haven't been able to find very many new investigators, but it has been amazing serving the lord. This past week I was feeling sick, like 3 days in a row, and throughout the day, I kept asking Heavenly Father to please help me overcome my sickness, and I always felt better, and very loved. I have been happier this week on my mission than I have yet. So its getting even better every week. Also, last night I was studying in PMG (Preach My Gospel) and I completely read a sentence wrong, but the message is exactly what I needed, It basically said: you first need to find the spirit before you teach it. If you are expecting to feel or teach with the spirit, you first need to seek it out before the activity you do. That hit me hard, because on Wednesday we had a lesson, and I wasn't able to feel the spirit as well as I usually do, and I realized that it was because I wasn't first able to seek the spirit before hand. So amazing. Heavenly Father really is there, and is there to answer our questions in our lives. 

Oh and the reason I put the Elf quote in the subject, is because there is an Elder and a Hermana that quote Elf with me all the time. So basicamente it is a party. I love getting everyone's emails. Mom I love all the pics. Everyone is so cute. I also love getting emails from friends. Let me know how college is. It is probably so awesome. See you all later. Remember to always have faith, even when times get hard. Even a small ounce of faith in Heavenly Father will help you through anything. Alma 32:21

Love you all. Remember who you all are and what you stand for. Because each one of you are children of our Heavenly Father. 

Love Elder Heiner