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








Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 25: Merry Christmas!!

Dear Family and Friends!!! Can you believe that it is almost Christmas? I can't wait! In Texas, Christmas is exactly the same as Utah except it's 75 degrees and absolutely no snow; it's very sad. It's super weird because the coldest it has gotten here is like 40 degrees, but that was like 1 night. So it is a lot different temperature wise. But we still have a lot of lights and houses decked out and ready for SANTA to come. Plus we have been saying a lot of Elf quotes and The Grinch quotes. So it still feels like Christmas. But the best thing about Christmas is, it is just a time a happiness and joy. So many more people are willing to talk to us. It's pretty incredible!

So I got a new companion and he is super cool. His personality is very similar to mine so it has been a lot of fun. We even payed basketball with a couple of super cocky kids, and we destroyed them. So fun!!!



Tuvimos algunos milagros que pasó este semana pasada. (We had some miracles that happened this past week). This week our Zone Leaders have come out with a commitment for each one of us to do, and that is to invite at least one person to be baptized each day. If every companionship invites at least one person to be baptized each day for 2 weeks we are going to have a zone activity. That's pretty awesome for us because our zone has about 30 missionaries, and can you imagine how many baptismal invitations that will be in 2 weeks. Most definitely a lot! We have already seen a few miracles that have come from doing this as well.

One miracle we had was we went to a part member family's house for dinner and the father (Brother Morris, who is not a member, and the only reason he isn't a member is because he needs to file his divorce papers, and get divorced) started talking about one of his friends who lives close by who is interested in the gospel, and could potentially be someone really interested in the gospel. Brother Morris said that next time we come out to his house, we can go knock his buddy's house. This is called a referral. Referrals are amazing, and have made an impact in my mission because the two people that have been baptized on my mission were referrals. So I am so excited to go knock his door this week. After dinner we started the lesson, and the lesson that we had planned in nightly planning was the atonement of Jesus Christ. So we shared Alma 7:11-14. The spirit was really strong as we bore witness of our saviors atonement how he bore ALL the sins of the world, temptations, pains and sicknesses of every person. At the end of the lesson Brother Morris said that scripture hit him really hard. He realized that he has had so many blessings and he  knows that this is what he should do, is file his paperwork and be baptized. It's so AMAZING! We re-invited him to be baptized on January 31st, and he accepted the invitation. We are so excited for him, but not only him, but we are so excited for his kids to finally have a Melchezidek priesthood holder in the family. I'm positive that the kids (who are members) have been praying for a long time, to one day get the chance to see their father and mother's baptism. This is an amazing work that is happening!!!

Another couple miracles that we had were we went out finding in a trailer park with tons of Hispanics. We call it little Mexico because so many people speak English in Navasota, so it was fun speaking Spanish again. But we went out finding for 2 hours and found 2 families of 4 and one of the families, we had an entire restoration lesson with them and invited them to be baptized. They said that they would, if they know more. It was so amazing.

Last night we had a lesson with one of our investigators named James. We taught him the plan of salvation, and the spirit was really strong. It was funny because Elder Atkinson and I both forgot our English scriptures and I forgot my IPad in the car. All we had were Spanish scriptures but luckily James lives with a someone who is less active and she had scriptures, so we just used hers. But at the end of the lesson we invited him to be baptized as well and he said: "if I know enough I'll be baptized". So we set his date for January 31st 2016. It was super sick!

So we have had a lot of success and we are looking forward. Merry Christmas everyone. I am so excited for this Christmas. Everyone remember what the true meaning of Christmas is. Our Savior Jesus Christ has given us everything, and a second chance. I invite all of you to watch: Why we need a Savior, and share to a friend or put it on social media. I love all of you. Have a great Christmas.

Love Elder Heiner

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 24: Everyone Is Drunk In Navasota.

Dearest Family and Friends

How the flip are y'all doing (sorry for my language)! Everything is just dandy in good ol' Navasota Texas (my Texas accent is almost as good as my sister Maddy's, but I just can't get to that level of awesomeness haha). Random question, have you ever tried talking in scriptural terms? Well it's really fun! Like this: And it came to pass that this week was amazing, the Lord hast blessed us in in our trials, yea he has taken our infirmities and has made them light. Behold it has crossed the mind of our President that Elder Pesci shouldest no longer be staying in the place they call Navasota. So yeah it's really fun. But transfers are tomorrow and it has been a really fun, eventful and amazing 6 weeks with Elder Pesci. So I'm staying in Navasota and I'm so excited to take over the area and help Navasota branch. I get a new companion tomorrow, and I am excited for the lives we will bless together.

We had the opportunity of taking the two priests out in our ward on splits. The first ones name is Clayton. He is a stud. He helped teach our English Class, and did a pretty good job for only being in Spanish 2. I know that if the missionaries asked me to help teach English class, I don't know how willing I would have been. So he did a fantastic job. He also got to go out on a split with Elder Pesci and he got to experience what a missionary does. He got to meet a couple of drunk guys that wanted Pesci and Clayton to preach to them. But E Pesci and Clayton also went to a new investigators house that we have and showed them the Christmas initiative video: Why we need a savior. It was a great experience and the investigators (Poly and Patty) loved it. It is fun to see the experiences that we have as missionaries help bless the youth prepare for there opportunity to serve.

On Thursday we got to take Charlie, a 17 year old priest who was baptized only 10 months ago, out on splits as well (splits are when 1 missionary goes with another person who has the Aaronic Priesthood and is at least a priest, vice versa). Well this time it was Charlie and I who got to go on this split. Charlie is so cool, because he has literally no fear. He will do whatever you ask and more. So we went to an investigators house named Albert. Albert is 17 and has a lot of
great questions about the gospel. Well before we got there I invited Charlie to invite Albert to watch the Christmas initiative video: A savior is Born, and to put it on social media. Well before I tell you what happened, let me paint a picture of what this placed looked like. It is in the ghetto part of town, there were at least 6 African American dudes drinking and smoking. One of them had there car running right next to the house and was blasting some rap music. It was really dark, But it was awesome because Albert was home. We had a really cool
experience. We shared "A savior is born", and Charlie owned his invitation. He even invited him out to church without me even telling him. Right out of the blue one of the drunk guys came over and said: Hey guys I wanna listen to y'all but I'm drinking and smoking right now, so I can't, haha. But then Albert said the coolest thing I heard this week. He said, " I never want to drink or smoke or even drink coffee; because I always want to be in control of my body. That my
friends is the definition of a person being PREPARED by the LORD! After Charlie was telling me how excited he is to go on a mission to find people like Albert who are ready for the gospel. What an amazing night!

Yesterday was a tough day. I was really sick and my stomach was in knots all day long. I was taking a lot of medication but the pain would not stop. Last night I was laying on my bathroom floor and just praying to our Heavenly Father asking for the pain to stop. I swear I heard a soft whisper, that said: " Just be patient". Then 10 minutes later the pain just stopped. It went from excruciating pain to none at all. That moment was so powerful and it gives me the chills talking about it again. Everyone . . . I can testify to all of you that Heavenly Father answers prayers. He loves us. Even in that small moment of pain, he heard me, he blessed me, and he strengthened me. I know that if we are in the face of trials, and we cry unto our Father, if we are patient enough, eventually he will bless us, and take away our infirmities and make them light.

I love all of you. Have a great week, and Trust in the Lord!

Love Elder Heiner

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Week 23: I LOVE MEMBERS

Hello, Hello, family and friends!! How are you all doing.  I love getting all of your emails. I love hearing about your lives. Each one of you has blessed my life and I love hearing how the Lord is shaping yours. It's crazy how time goes by so fast. It's even more crazy when you think about how fast time goes in the eyes of God. 2 years is only a couple minutes in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, and that is why every second counts. This week though time was going really slow for the first few days, but then picked up speed by the end. Did anyone else feel like that, because I'm positive that God tampered with time and made one minute feel like two minutes. Even when I slept during the night I felt like I had the longest sleep on my mission (that was actually really cool, I love when God makes sleep feel longer). God definitely has a sense of humor. But I love Him, because He has opened the way before me and has created a path for success. 

My new cowboy boots from my parents. Now they match Elder Pesci's.

We had a couple huge miracles that happened this week. The first was: we had a huge youth event on Wednesday where the primary, young men, and young woman, were going to be combining and all making Ginger Bread houses. Activities like these are huge for us missionaries because we have a possibility of getting investigators there and less actives. So that was the focus. We were focusing on one less active family in particular. We have tried countless times to get this family to activities, and church, but they just won't do anything. So on Wednesday about an hour before the activity, we went to their house and two of the members in our ward showed up at the same time, we all focused on getting them to the activity. They were both heaven sent. The father and the three kids were all able to make it to the activity, and they had a great time. The only reason why they came though (this is my thought), is because the members were there and helped them feel loved. The members are the key, that keeps recent converts from going inactive. If an investigator gets baptized and doesn't have a good relationship with the members, it will be really tough getting that person to stay active. Well that was one miracle on Wednesday, but something even cooler happened, is we had a investigator come to the ginger bread house making activity, who just showed up out of the blue and brought her two kids. Plus she even brought her friend. Then we had another member pick up another investigator and bring her to the activity, and she loved it. All around it was amazing.

On Friday we had a zone conference. A zone conference is a big training that we get from President on how we can better our efforts in the work. Well the main focus was working with members. It was perfect because it was exactly the training we needed to help better our branch. One of the tips that he gave us that we are really working much harder at, is filling up the "things to do" box on our planner. He told us that box should be chock-full, and if it's not we need to repent. We made that a focus and has really paid off over the past few days. I have seen the blessings come more fully as we are looking for ways to involve members in the work. The Lord is able to bless the missionaries efforts but also bless the Branches efforts, as we unite with the lord in hastening his work.

Elder Pesci and I have created something that is really cool (I don't know if other missionaries have used this, but if they have, then I give credit to you, wonderful missionaries out in the world, haha). Well In our planning studies each night, one of our most common used commitments that we plan to give investigators: is come to Church, Pray, and Read in the scriptures. We know that if people are willing to do these three things it will start a path for success. Well E Pesci and I like to call this your spiritual CPR. How are we reviving our own lives. Are we giving our all by reading, praying and going to church? Or are we casually going to church, dozing off in our reading, and or saying repetitive prayers with no real thought and feeling? As I have been on this journey I have found that the spiritual CPR only works, when we put in our all. This is my invitation to all of you. Are you putting your all into the Spiritual CPR? If you don't feel like you are on the right path, or have a lot of trials in your life; serve a friend or neighbor, or go out with the missionaries, or invite them to your home (missionaries love having dinner with members because it strengthens the bond between them, and the love that is shared is amazing, plus food is always a good thing!!!). I promise that as you go to church (which includes giving service), read diligently and pray sincerely to our loving Heavenly Father; you will see miracles in your life, but also in the lives of those you love. I know when ever I need to be revived from a slump I'm in, I focus on my spiritual CPR, and what needs to be better.

I love all of you guys so much. I hope you have a lovely week and day and hour and minute, and if it gets to that point, even second. Make it a great day or not the choice is yours. Every day is a good day, but some days are better than others, so GO have a better one!!

Love Elder Heiner

Here is an awesome sun rise on the way to zone conference.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Week 22: 5 Months Down! 19 More To Go!


Estimado Amigos Comó estan? (Dear Friends, how are you? Ojalá que ustedes tuvieron un buen semana. (I hope you all had a good week). Anyways, this week was boss. It also made my stomach hurt from all the food. Man, we had a bunch of food, it was crazy!! So the highlights of this week were: Thanksgiving, cash money jack, Albert, Blitz the heck out of Navasota, and Elder Pesci got hit on by an Old dude at an old folks home. Let's jump right into it!

So Thanksgiving was sweet. We went and ate with the Stuart family in our branch. They cooked up some fried turkey, and so much other food. I stuffed my self to the max. I couldn't walk afterwards, and then they said "ok now we have pie!!" I barely scarfed it down!! It was so good but it made me so sick and sleepy. La lucha fue (the fight was) real.

On Wednesday we were going through our area book and decided to go to an old investigators house named Albert. He is like 17 and he is super cool. Well on the way over to his house, we were walking and this guy comes over and he's like: "Hey my name is cash money jack and I want you guys to preach to me". Next thing ya know he is giving E. Pesci and I hugs. After he's like you (me) are super and cold, but you (E Pesci) are super warm (in a super gangster accent btw). Then coincidently Albert came over and we started talking to him, and he said, "I see that you've met the crazy guy who is always on crack. We just laughed. It was so funny. But Albert had so many questions about the gospel that it was crazy. We taught him the restoration, and it was stellar. He has been so prepared, and we are so excited to go back and see him.

On Saturday we had the opportunity to go on a BLITZ in our area. Now what that is, is when other missionaries from your zone come down into your area and help find more people. Well we had Elders Aholele, Jones, Moon and Lee come down, and we all went contacting for 2 hours. One miracle that happened, happened to Elder Aholele and Elder Jones. They were knocking a a door in a trailer park and after they knocked it, the people inside opened the door and quickly said, "come in, come in, it's too cold." Next thing they knew they were seated down at their dinner table and started eating dinner with them. They taught family history, and at the end they said a prayer. The father told them that he was feeling something that he had never felt before, and that he liked it. They told the father that it was the Holy Ghost. He told them to come back. They found an entire family of 6 people!!! It was absolutely incredible! Also on the Blitz, we split up companionships and I went with Elder Moon and we went to this area where there is only people who speak English. Well on one house in general we knocked, a lady opened. We talked to her and she said that she has lost her son, and that actually she was talking to her aunt who is a Jehovah Witness and she was doing bible study with her, but she wasn't too thrilled about talking to her aunt. She said that it wasn't a coincidence that we came over. We gave her a BOM and read the third paragraph, and explained that this book will help you gain more peace in your life. She told us that earlier she was talking to someone about how she can find more peace in her life, because life is so hectic. She was so excited. We got a return appointment for Tuesday, and we are so excited to teach her. She has been so prepared by the Lord to hear our message.

So every Tuesday and Wednesday we do service at the old folks home here in Navasota, and call out Bingo. Well this old geezer went up to Elder Pesci and just was whispering really quietly. Elder Pesci looked really creeped out and went back to calling bingo. Well later he told me that the old man that he was talking to him was completely hitting on him. He said that was the weirdest experience ever. Well miracles keep coming, and it is so fun to see. I love serving. It is amazing! I love hearing how all y'all are doing. If any of you feel like you are struggling, focus on your relationship with our Father in heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ. Those two have been my best friends out here, and I know They will bless all y'alls lives as well. I love you all!!!

Love Elder Heiner