Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 35: Finding, Finding, Finding

This week was a very inspirational week. We worked really hard. Most of our investigators that we used to have were not progressing so we have almost no investigators, which means we got to go find all of them! Quick shout out to all those who got mission calls in American Fork. All of y'all will do great!

The first few days were very much the same! We went contacting for a few hours, and then went to see a lot of the potentials that we had found. We had literally no success! No one let us in! The funniest part was that we met a lot of people who were like, you should come in and I'll tell you why you shouldn't be Mormon, haha. We meet a lot of those kind of people and every time I talk to them it strengthens my testimony even more, because when we give our answers and questions, the person responding can never answer confidently. Even though we didn't have too much success I know that the Lord is going to bless us for our efforts.

Thursday is when things started to get fun. We had the chance to talk to a lot of Pastors in our area about how we can help the community. It was really fun going around and meeting the religious leaders of our town. We also got donuts and it was one of my first donuts in a long time. So good!

Friday we went on exchanges. Elder Thorne who is our district leader only has one week left so we have been doing a lot of exchanges in this transfer. So I went up to Bryan with Elder Aholelei and we had a really good day. We taught a lot of lessons with members and it was a ton of fun. The spirit was super strong. Elder Aholelei was tricking me because he didn't tell us who our members were so I just about contacted them. I was so confused when they were acting normal around us! But overall we had great lessons.

Saturday was funny because we got way lost trying to find a less active in our branch. We went into two different areas until we realized that we were lost. We finally found our less active but they were gone. It was so sad! But we got the chance to go ranch contacting and we found a pretty good contact. It was a lot of fun!

Sunday we had a tough day. Half of our branch was sick and I had a hard day. But at the end of church we had an amazing lesson with Andrew Pruitt. At the end of the lesson he told us that he wanted to share his testimony. In his words he said, "I know it's all true, the evidence is there, I read the verses and I know they're true, when I ask a question the answer is always there, there is no way that it can't all be true". The spirit was so strong, it gave Elder Atkinson the chills and it made his wife cry. They hugged and it was such a happy and spiritual moment.

Spiritual thought: I found a diamond in the rough this week. I listened to a talk by Jeffery R Holland from the April 1983 General Conference. In this talk it is so powerful and it talks about the love Elder Holland has for his son, wife and daughter. It was amazing. The coolest thing about this is that Elder Hollands son Matthew (who is a senior in high school at the time) gave a great talk as well. I invite all y'all to watch them. Both talks are so powerful. I also love this quote, Selective Obedience brings selective blessings.

I love all y'all, have a great week!

Love, Elder Heiner

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 34: I'm Pumped for College!!

Howdy y'all!! This week was fantastic, we had amazing experiences. The blessings really poured down this week especially on Sunday. The beginning of the week was really slow and we didn't have too much success but from Thursday on amazing things started to happen. Quick shout out to Maddy Heiner for making Chamber Choir! I knew you would make it! Also another quick shout out to Tyler Edman who is ready to set out on his mission to Raleigh North Carolina on Wednesday! You’re going to kill it Ty! Alrighty, let’s get to it!

Martes (Tuesday): We had a lot of lessons fall through, but that is the life of a missionary. We tried visiting a lot of the people we had found the previous week, but to no avail we had no luck! Later that night we taught one of our investigators named Serafin. We read with him in Mosiah 3 which talks a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ (really great chapter, I encourage y'all to read it sometime). I'm so glad we planned to read with him because there were little kids in the room who were playing tag and going crazy, it kind of reminded me of Family Home Evening back home haha! He is learning so much and we hope that he can make the Gospel of Jesus Christ a focus in his life.

Miércoles (Wednesday): So many new things we learned happened on Wednesday, and some that were really funny. President Mortensen has given us guidance to find all possible service opportunities we can do in Navasota. So we got the chance to talk to the Service director from Navasota in our City Hall building, and she gave us a ton of ideas on how we can give service. It's awesome, we are really looking forward to the service that is coming up in the next few weeks. One of the biggest church organizations in Navasota is the first Baptist faith. So at 8:00pm there were a lot of people outside of the First Baptist church, and we went up and started talking to them about how we could help them in any way. We talked to 4 main guys and we even talked to the youth pastor. It was a completely new experience for me, but it was so much fun getting out of my comfort zone. These people were so nice! They do a lot of service, so we are excited for the future blessings as we serve others from different religions. I know that service leads to friendship which leads to relationships being strengthened, which allows hearts to be softened!

Jueves (Thursday): We had a very inspiring day. We had Zone Conference and we learned so many things from President. I absolutely love hearing from President, he is so inspiring and he has helped me personally so much throughout my mission. We talked a lot about our body language when teaching investigators. Body language is key, because no one is going to us when we aren't engaged in the lesson. During the Zone Conference we got the chance to role play and practice what we taught. We had the coolest experience. We got the chance to role play with the ASL missionaries. Elder Boekweg is deaf and his companion Elder Roberts were signing everything to us and talking at the same time. It was so cool. It was a once in a life time experience, so cool. Those guys are studs, and they both were so much fun to watch with all their facialexpressions, it was so amazing!

Viernes (Friday): I am so pumped for college because I got the chance to go on an exchange with Elder Renaurd up on the campus of Texas A&M. We first went out contacting and it was a blast contacting college students. I contacted this one girl named Sabrina who is super cool, and she spoke fluent Spanish as well as English so I got to talk to her in Spanish. Her whole family lives in College Station and they all can only speak Spanish, so we are definitely going to have the Brazos Elders teach them. Then later I contacted this student from China. He was so hard to understand! I wish I had Elder Fong with me so he could just go off in Chinese, but his English was good enough that I could get the just of what he was saying. It was so funny because he was walking with someone and when I stopped him, his buddy just kept walking haha. He finally realized that his friend was gone after like 200 yards and then looked back. It was really funny. Elder Renaurd couldn't stop laughing! His name was Song Zhai, and he was a really cool contact as well. We had a couple of lessons. One was with a girl named Diana. She is really cool and understands a lot about the Gospel. I love exchanges because I get to learn how other people teach. Elder Renaurd and I were teaching the Plan of Salvation, and we both taught it very differently so it was an adventure, but a good one at that. She even accepted a baptismal date. I'm so excited for those elders. Later we taught a guy named Adam. He has been taught by the missionaries for a while and the lesson we were going to teach him, he knew already. So it was a on the spot lesson. Elder Renaurd has a few weeks left in the mission and he has definitely learned a lot, and he slayed the lesson. The spirit was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The most chilling moment of the lesson was when Elder Renaurd said," Adam, the Lord needs you on his side"! It was an incredible lesson. Side note: we had a member present and he was a return missionary of a few years and one of his companions in his mission was Kyle Collinsworth, so we got to talk afterward about that, it was pretty sweet! Every Friday the YSA do a Friday fun night, and the missionaries can join if they get an investigator to come, and we did get an investigator to come. So we played capture the flag with these nylon socks filled with flour in them. The only way you could get someone out was you had to throw the flour balls at people. It was so fun. I was covered in flour afterwards. It was an amazing day and made me so excited for College!

Sabado (Saturday): We taught an investigator named Kelly. She was having a lot of Adversity in her life, and she didn't really understand the, WHY, of the Book of Mormon. So explained the BOM in detail and the spirit brought tears out of her eyes. It was an incredible moment. The Book of Mormon changes lives and brings the spirit more fully into our lives. We also taught the Gonzales family (They have 5 people in their family and the Father and the son are baptized but the mom and daughters are not). They are a family we have been working with for a long time, and they have never come to church. We committed them to come to one hour of church on Sunday and we promised them that they would be able to accomplish everything they would need to on Sunday. The spirit was also very strong in that lesson as well.

Domingo (Sunday): The definition of Sunday February 21, 2016 is Aaaawwwwweeeeeeessssssoooooommmmmeeeee! Is was one of the best Sunday's I've had on my mission. I had some extra time before church and I was reading the Book of Mormon and I felt the spirit so strongly. At church though, we had 9 investigators show up. Usually every Sunday we have 4 Eternigators that show up, but yesterday none of them showed up, rather we had 9 of our focus investigators show up to church. Also the whole Gonzales family showed up. I was talking to a member and he told us that he has never seen the entire family come to church! It was definitely a miracle. Kelly and her husband came to church, along with Serafin and his Sister. We also had Andrew Pruitt our investigator with a bap date, and also a person we are teaching from Clases de ingles. Overall we had 80 people in attendance. The highest I have ever seen is 71. It was so fun to watch everyone come in. The blessings were so great. When you put hard work in, the Lord is going to bless you, and we saw the blessings as we finished out the week.

I love all y'all. If you have any trials or concerns in your life, dive into the Book of Mormon. It has blessed me immensely this week, and it has blessed me and so many others in times of difficulty. Have a fantastic week!!

Love, Elder Heiner

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Week 33: Happy Valentines Day

Dear family and friends. This week was fan-flipping-tastic! We saw a lot of great blessings from putting in some real hard work. We found 6 new investigators, set a baptismal date, and got to go to a birthday party! I'm pumped to tell y'all about it!

Tuesday: We went finding for a long time and we got the chance to see some of our investigators named Kelly and Asencion. They didn't read but we talked a lot about repentance with them. We got the chance to take out a priest in our ward named Clayton. He shared a powerful testimony about repentance. He is going to be an amazing missionary. All the kids here in Navasota are going to be amazing missionaries.

Wednesday: Since finding has been a huge focus in the mission right now, we did all that we could do to get our contacts. People were driving really slowly and we would slow them down and talk to them. We are doing everything possible to find people to teach. We found a Hispanic family that we have a lot of high hopes for. There are 4 of them and they have a lot of potential we had another set appointment with them for Saturday. We are so pumped!

Thursday: We went finding again, like always! And we tried to do some car contacting. That is when we pull up to someone and talk to them about the gospel. Well we pulled up to this guy and we were like: Hey how are you doing, well he looked us with big eyes and bolted in the other direction. It was literally hilarious. I think he thought we were going to jump him. I promise I wasn't going to to jump him. I was going to give him peace and happiness. But that's ok!

Friday: We went on an exchange and I was with Elder Thorne here in Navasota. We went finding and we found some potentials. While finding we went up to this house and there were super creepy pictures in their window. Then out of the blue this black cat came out of nowhere. It was literally the creepiest house I have ever knocked on in my mission. We also got to teach a less active named Derek a baptism/Restoration lesson. He is a stud, he really wants to be baptized again, so we talked a lot about the sacrament and when we take the sacrament we can be clean once again. He committed to come to church. But didn't make it to church which was so sad.

Saturday: the exchange ended and Elder Atkinson and I got the chance to go to a birthday party. The Fair family's daughter, Emma turned two and we had a big party at Pizza Hut. The Fairs had a lot of their family there and we had the chance to talk to all of them. The Fairs parents are all really nice, and they are all not members of our church, so it was a great opportunity for us to talk to them and just get to know them. Also we had the chance to see the Nava family again. They were the Hispanic family we saw earlier in the week. We taught them the Restoration and it was a really good lesson. Three of the people in the family loved the message, but the Mom who is really Catholic, did not like it as much. But they have a lot of potential. We are psyched!

Sunday: Was absolutely a stellar day. Probably one of the best I've had in a long time. During church there were a lot of blessings. I felt very honored to be able to renew my covenants with the lord, and start anew. After church we got the chance to teach Andrew Pruitt the 2nd part of the Plan of Salvation. We talked about how the Celestial Kingdom is our highest goal. Andrew said that that would be his ultimate goal. He has actually been praying and fasting for help from being a better father. As he shared that I felt the spirit so strong. In that moment we got the chance to set a Baptismal date with him for March 20. We weren't planning on setting the date for him in that lesson but I really felt prompted to set the goal for him right then. It was an incredible experience and a great lesson. We are so excited for his potential. Later that night we went finding and we taught 5 lessons throughout finding. We found another Hispanic family and taught the first part of the Restoration. It was a great lesson again
and they have a ton of potential.

It was an amazing week. My spiritual thought for the week is I encourage you all to read Ether 12 again. It really hit me hard in personal study this week as I read that chapter. As we have faith in Jesus Christ I know weak things will become strong. I love you all, have a great week!

Love, Elder Heiner

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 32: "I Aint Reading No Book Of Baptist!!"

Que onda mis amigos!! This week was amazing! We had a sluggish start to the week and then a bomb way to finish it. I definitely saw some growth in myself and in the companionship of Elder Atkinson and I. We are working so hard here in Nastysota (that's what the College Statioians call it), and I'm excited to share the fruits of our labors with all of you today.

I'll start on Tuesday. Like I said, the week started really sluggishly (I'm not sure if that is a word) but I read a talk called Landing Safely in Turbulence, By Dieter F Uchtdorf. It talked about how sometimes we can't control the wind that is agitating the plane. All we can do is hold tight to the controls and eventually reach our destination. The winds of life will begin the blow harder and harder and unless we don't hold fast to the controls (prayer, scripture study, church, service, etc.) we will be torn apart and thrown into the depths of sea. I felt a great love to be able to find that talk. It is short and brief but gives a lot of great advice. Throughout the day we continued to work hard. At the end of the day we were talking to one of our members who is slipping out of the gospel. We tried to comfort him. We shared our testimonies, but nothing seemed to work. He made his decision to go to another church with his family. It was sad, but the spirit helped bear witness to me that everything will be alright. I know that all those who lose their way will eventually find it once again.

Wednesday: Everything fell through except for 1 lesson. We got the chance to teach Pablo and Lupe how to teach us the Restoration. It was hard because I have never taught someone how to teach the restoration in Spanish. It was an adventure, but they really understood how to teach it. I'm pumped to be taught this Wednesday when we go see them. Pablo was also helping with my Spanish. He also taught me some slang words like "Bale" (Bah-Ley) which means dude. So I have been using bale like crazy. I love learning the culture and the slang of Mexico. It's really cool being in the States because we get the chance to learn about the cultures of Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Argentina.

Thursday: was a very inspiring day. We had the chance to set a vision for Navasota. We had set goals but we had never set a firm vision for our area. As we set it, it gave a new confirmation and hope for the things that are yet to come. It's time to harvest the vineyard, and now we have the right tools to do it. I realized this week that we are all harvesting the vineyard in one form of another, but if we don't have the right tools to prune and graft back the trees of the vineyard, it will be very difficult to bring forth the good fruit. Once we had found our tools, blessings started to arise! That night we had the chance to go contacting. The third door we knocked we met this guy named John, we were doing our door approach and before we said anything else, he said, "Hurry come inside and tell me because it's too cold out there". I was like, Yes sir we sure can do that, haha! We taught the restoration and it was definitely a tender mercy! He is a pretty good potential and we are pumped to teach him again.

Friday: we had zone meeting and it was centered on having a positive affirmation, and also how we can react better in contacting situations. Being positive is so vitally important. There are so many things that don't go our way. But that's ok because that was satan's plan, for everything to go our way. We all have agency, but when the hard times arise we need to remember the positives. Take five minutes of the day and tell yourself in the mirror how amazing you are. This builds confidence in ourselves. We are all children of our Heavenly Father and he has blessed us with so many gifts and we must give back by showing that we love the gifts he has given us. I loved what was shared. Later during the day I went on an exchange with Elder Aholelei. He taught me a lot. He is a great leader, friend and missionary. We were able to go finding, and we came into contact with this girl named Lena. We invited her to church and she was so excited. She told us that there was nothing stopping her from going to church. It was cool to see the excitement on her face. But what's even better is she came to church on Sunday. It was so cool. It is very rare to invite someone to church on just an invitation, for them to actually come. It was increíble.

Saturday: We exchanged back and we got the chance to go see the Morris' family. It was Richey Morris' birthday and he turned 4. We had pizza, had a Spider-Man piñata, and had some cake. It was a lot of fun. We also shared a tree of life lesson, and it was perfect. Later we got go see a less active named Sister Rhoton. The drive to her house was so pretty. I'll send send some pics. We shared with her a lesson on CPR: How we are going to revive our lives spiritually. It was solid. She is still reading and praying every day, but the next step is to come to church. I know the Lord will touch her heart in the future and she will partake of the blessings that church brings into all of our lives! Later that night we ran into this guy. He called us over and he said his name is Detroit! He got out of prison 4 days ago and he was kind of a funny bale (dude)! We talked about the Book of Mormon and he kept calling it the "Book of Baptist" haha. He wouldn't say Mormon. We told him Mormon is a person not a religion, but nevertheless he still said the book of baptist! He was super funny! He told us that he would read the Book of Baptist when he had the time! It was so funny!

Sunday: Before Church, in my studies, I read a talk from last general conference entitled: What lack I yet. A quote I liked from it said: "Every one of us, if we would reach perfection, must [at] one time ask ourselves this question, ‘What lack I yet?’" On his journey through life we are trying to become like our Heavenly Father. Sometimes there are things that we need to change, or do differently. Yesterday in my personal prayers I asked this same question. I felt a wave of the spirit flood over me as I did so. I invite each of you to ask our Father in Heaven: What Lack I yet? He will make you perfected!

Church was fantastic!! Like I said earlier, Lena and her mom came to church, and so did one of our prime investigators named Andrew! Andrew is the son in law to an active family in our ward, so he is a blessing sent from Heaven above. He has a lot of knowledge about the gospel and his family is helping him understand even more! During Sacrament meeting everyone was talking about the temple and how they feel so grateful for the opportunity to live with their families forever. Oh, how I am grateful that I can receive the gift of living with my family for all eternity. I feel so blessed knowing that this is my fate! We got the chance to go by Andrews house and share with him The Plan of Salvation! The spirit was really strong and it was one of the best lessons that Elder Atkinson and I have taught in a long time! I could feel the spirit guiding our words as we taught. Brother Jarvis (a member in our ward who was able to come to the lesson) gave a powerful testimony of the atonement and how it has blessed him and his family's lives. As we concluded I was so giddy and excited for Andrew! He is improving so much and we are so excited for him!

Part of our vision for Navasota is to always remember this quote "come what may and love it"! Whatever comes whether good or bad, love it! I love all of you! Have a great week!

Love Elder Heiner

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 31: I Want Cookies!!!!

Hello family and friends. This week had some highs, 1st time experiences, and some spiritually mind blowing events. So here we go, "let's get down to the nitty gritty."

Let's start at Monday. Last Monday, after P day had ended we went and ate with the Johnson family. They are so nice and really fun. They also have a son in law named Andrew who is not Mormon, who wants to take the lessons from the missionaries, so we were pumped going right into it. So we taught him the restoration and his whole family of like 7 people were there to help him out if he didn't understand something. The lesson was great and each person of the family gave great input. My favorite thing that was said was from Junior (he's 15), he said that the Book of Mormon is like eating cookies, if we read only a little bit of the Book of Mormon it's like we only get 1 cookie, when in reality we want the joy of eating many cookies forever. For that reason is why we read the Book of Mormon every day so we can have that happiness every day of eating a lot of cookies. It was perfect haha. Junior made us all laugh, but he was also spot on. The Book of Mormon DOES give us that peace and happiness that each one of us needs, just like cookies.

On Tuesday we had a lot of things fall through. We still had Jingo though (bible bingo). We play Jingo and Bingo every Tuesday and Wednesday at an old folks home here in the thriving Metropolis of Navasota. It is really fun. Unless the old geezers start fighting, then it gets a little scary, and we have to break it up. Bingo is a serious sport now a days;) After Jingo we tried seeing some Potential investigators, and one of them is a 19 year old girl who is just so nice and happy named Wendy (she acts Mormon, even though she's not Mormon haha). She didn't have a lot of time but her mom said that she talked to us before, and she comes out with a restoration DVD that she received from missionaries at least 10 years ago. Elder Atkinson was like, that video looks really familiar haha. Then her mom said, " Wendy you should watch it, it's really good".  I'm pumped to teach Wendy now cause her mom still likes the church and they have a lot of background. So we are really excited! Later during the night we taught an investigator named Amelia. She talks off the wazoo. Every open ended question we gave her, we were just sitting there and listening for at least 10 minutes on things not related to the question. She is nice, but man she knows how to talk. We finished the Restoration with her though and gave her a Book of Mormon and she said that she had one when she was younger but didn't know what it was, and now that she knows what it is, she is excited to read it.

Let's skip to Thursday. We got the chance to eat at the Jarvis' and it was really good. They made us wings and salad. It tasted amazing. I definitely pounded them. It was wonderful. After the Jarvis' we went and picked up a Priest in our branch named Clayton, he was excited to come out with us and help out. We got to go to a potential investigators house and teach them the restoration. It was even more memorable because last week when Clayton and I went finding, Clayton is the one who knocked on the door and talked to these potentials first. So it was great to have him come out with us again to see them. Their names are Bruce and Casandra. We taught them the restoration and it was a really good lesson. They understood everything and by the end they told us that they were really excited to read the Book of Mormon. These types of lessons are the best, when the investigators are involved and want to learn more. It was really funny because they have two little boys who are 5 and 3 who were just all over us. They were so cute and were actually reverent in the most important parts of the lesson. Clayton shared great inputs too. They accepted a soft baptismal invitation, and they seem very interested. The only problem is that Casandra works every other Sunday so that could be a struggle but they seem pretty solid.

Friday is one of those first experience moments. Friday morning Elder Atkinson and I got the flu really bad. So bad, that Elder Akinson felt nauseous in his sleep and woke up and didn't make it to the toilet, if you know what I mean. So at 4:30 in the morning I got to act like a dad and cleaned up puke off the carpet. It was a lovely experience, but it didn't smell too good. Through out the rest of the Friday we didn't do much. I was a little nauseous all day, mainly because I couldn't get the thought of the puke, and the smell out of my mind. Twas really gross!!!

Saturday is when we had the most spiritual mind blowing event. We had the opportunity to go to a Tri mission conference. All the missionaries from the Houston Texas mission, Houston Texas East mission, and Houston Texas South mission, all joined together and we got the chance to hear from President Russell M Nelson and Lawrence E Corbridge from the 70. Every one of us also got to shake their hands. It was so awesome. So now I can say that I have shaken hands with the President of the quorum of the 12 apostles, and a member of the 70. How awesome is that?!! It was really cool because Elder Atkinson were still overcoming the flu, and through out the meeting I didn't feel bad at all, but then after the symptoms came back. It was incredible. One of my favorite things that he said was "The lord loves the unlikely to win the impossible!!  Isn't it pretty incredible that when the church was restored that their were 6 members of the church in a world which had at least a billion people in it, and we were sitting in heaven getting ready to play for the team that was getting beat 1 billion to 6. But we knew that we would win in the end". He gave great insights like this one. He was super funny too. He was making us laugh so much. One of the biggest and most important things he talked about was the doctrine of Christ in 3 Nephi 11. The spirit was so strong and powerful. When he shared his testimony about how he knows the savior loves us and is here today, the spirit was so powerful! I know he is an Apostle of the lord. It was sad to see him leave because it was such an edifying experience.

Sunday was great too but not too much happened, we had a lot of lessons fall through. We also weren't able to have the baptism of James yet. We are still working on getting him married. But good things are happening here and I'm glad to be apart of them. I love you all and hope that you have a great week.

Love Elder Heiner