Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 26: 80 Degrees, 95% Humidity = Christmas In Texas

Merry Christmas and a happy new year! I love the holidays because everyone is so happy. I have met some of the happiest people while finding, who are just full of the spirit. So this week was amazing. We got to eat with members every single day of this last week. For a branch it is a very difficult task for the members to feed the missionaries all the time, but on the week of Christmas we definitely received that kind, present from the branch. I love eating at members houses because we get to know the members better, and strengthen the bond, but we also get the chance to bring more spirit into the home as we are able to share a message at the end. It has been awesome because many of the families we had dinner with have young men and every one has told us that they want to out with us, and prepare to serve a mission. So I'm pumped because this week we have a young man coming out with us every single day of the week. I'm super psyched for the experiences they all get to have.

We had a lot of highlights this week. The first and most obvious one was Christmas. It was awesome. On Christmas it was 80 degrees with 95% humidity! so it was a little bit different than walking in a winter wonderland. But it was still really good. So Christmas morning we had district meeting and we all brought presents for someone, who we chose about a week ago, to do a white elephant gift exchange. It was so fun watching everyone open their presents. I got a super awesome sweat band, and tons of candy that was so good. Then After we went to the Howells (a family in our branch) to talk to our families. It was really cool to talk to my family. It was weird because it almost seemed like a dream. It was really cool to see their faces and hear their voices though. It was a great Christmas present. Then later we ate dinner with the Jarvis family. It was a lot of fun. They have 3 little kids and we were having so much fun with them. This was the best Christmas on the mission I have ever had.

Last Tuesday (sorry I'm jumping all over the place) we had the chance to go finding in little Mexico of Navasota. Throughout the night we had a few contacts, but we weren't having too much success. We decided to knock one more trailer and then call it a night. As we knocked it, a person opened the door, and we did our normal door approach, and he was like come in come in (in Spanish). So we sit down at a table and a lady comes out and she speaks perfect English and no Spanish, but this girl had the perfect questions. We didn't have a lot of time but we were still able to do a run down of the Restoration. She kept asking questions about our church, and every time we answered her eyes lit up and she kept saying: No way! It was pretty incredible to watch the spirit work with her. At the end of the lesson, we even gave her a soft baptismal invitation (a baptismal invitation that doesn't have a specific date on when they will get baptized) and she said yes. We gave her a restoration pamphlet and invited her to read and pray to know that these things are true. Her name is Kelly and the guy's name is Asencion and we are so excited for them. Many times the spirit guides us and puts miracles in our path, but sometimes it won't be until the last moment, luckily for us, we were just patient enough to find a miracle.

One of the things that has been driving me to be better and better is, 4 months ago, Elder Christensen and I were teaching a lesson to our investigator named Joe. It was a solid Restoration lesson, but I was so frustrated because I was so timid to share anything. I remember though, we watched the first vision video with Joe, and the spirit completely took over Elder Christensen. As he was bearing his testimony I felt more at peace and Joe was also so touched. He showed so much love and compassion for him like he knew him for a long time. In that moment I saw God work through my companion, and ever since then I strive to feel that same spirit, love and compassion that I watched E Christensen illuminate. So yesterday, I came very close to having an Elder Christensen-Joe moment. We went over to Brother Hamners house (Elder Pesci reactivated brother Hamner and gave him the priesthood, plus brother Hamner is a flipping stud!!), and his friend Kimberly was there. Well we got talking and it was all just small talk, but then she started asking questions about the church. So we dove right into the middle of the Restoration, and talked about how when Jesus Christ was on the Earth He established His church. She understood, but then we went back to the beginning of the lesson and covered how Heavenly Father loves us, and we explained Prophets as well. She was starting to get it and it was really fun to watch. Well when we got to the first vision, we played the same video that E Christensen and I played to Joe 4 months ago. As I was listening to the words, I got the chills so strong, and a feeling of love swept over me. As we testified that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father appeared to Joseph Smith I could feel the spirit so strongly. We then shared about the Book of Mormon, and I testified that it is true. In that moment I shared with her my own personal conversion story, and how I know the Book of Mormon is true. As I looked into her eyes I saw something, I felt something, and I knew she felt something. The spirit was speaking through Elder Atkinson and I. She told us that she is excited to read the Book of Mormon. We invited her, just like I invite all of you, to pray every night to know that the Book of Mormon is true. As she does this, and as we all do this, we will gain peace in this life and the life to come, but also know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true.

In moments like these, I feel honored by God, that He let me be apart of them. I am grateful for this work. I have seen Heavenly Father help me, and I have seen my savior carry me. I love all of you, and I hope you guys have a great New Years. Talk to you guys next year ;)

Love Elder Heiner

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