Monday, September 18, 2017

Why yes, I have had steak and potatoes six times this week!

Holy Cow! This week has been crazy.

I had a new experience on Monday. A week or two before we had met a man, and we decided to go visit him again and see if we could start teaching him. We went to his home and found out that there was a very difficult thing that was going to happen in his life within the next couple weeks. I would go more in depth but I want to respect his privacy. We talked with him for a little bit about God's plans for us and how they are there to help us grow. We got to teach a bit about the Book of Mormon, and I felt the spirit prompt me to tell him that if he would read the Book of Mormon for 10 minutes for the next 5 days, that this difficult thing would not happen.

I was a little nervous. I've heard stories about missionaries promising people crazy ridiculous blessings, but I had never done it, and I was a little scared of saying something so extreme, but I did it! And I felt the spirit so strongly as I said it that I knew it was a promise from the Lord and not from me. He told us that it was finalized and nothing could change it, but I still felt so strongly that the Lord would bless him if he would read. It was so intense and I wanted him to read so badly!

Not a lot happened the next day. We had district meeting and a couple good lessons with some investigators. We did have dinner with the Treeces and they fed us Steak and Potatoes and chocolate cake. Man, it was good! They sent us home with left overs and I had them for lunch the next two days.

Wednesday was great! We did some service at DI in the morning, and then we went to the temple! I love going to the temple as a missionary. It is so rare to have a minute to sit and relax and just think and I really needed it.

On Thursday we went to the mission office to get a new Tiwi installed (A tiwi is a device the mission uses to track the missionaries'
driving). It was probably the most eventful morning at the mission office I've ever had!

We had planned to use our time there to do our companionship study. As we were discussing our lessons we would have that day, we were asked to go find another companionship that was there that morning. We looked in every room, but we couldn't find them. We did, however, find a broken window! One of the office missionaries called the police, but they didn't come while we were there.

When our tiwi was installed we went outside to get some information from the man who installed it, when another man walked up to us. He asked if he could borrow a pen. We gave him one and he asked when we meet, so we told him and he wrote down the time. Then he started talking about all sorts of crazy things like how there's a planet that is going to hit the earth, and a bunch of other creepy things. Both of us were just standing there wondering how we were either going to teach him the gospel or end this conversation. Luckily, Sister Smith from the office was watching on the security cameras and came out to tell us she needed us for something inside. She even gave me one of her special purple pens to replace the one I gave away!

When the coast was clear we left the mission office and went back to our area. We weekly planned and had a pretty normal rest of the day.

Friday there was a ward party! It was a progressive dinner where each course was at a different house. We had steak and potatoes, and naturally they sent all the leftovers home with the missionaries. We went with our ward mission leader and his wife. We had an investigator who really wanted to go, but she wasn't feeling well. We ended up taking her dinner afterward and we had a spontaneous member present lesson with her! I love when that happens!

Saturday morning we got to help with a service project. There's a family here who recently lost both the mom and the dad. The oldest child is only 23 and he ended up needing to move back home to raise one of his younger siblings. He needed help cleaning up the parents' yard so a giant crew of people came together to put the yard in order, including the missionaries in the Yucaipa Zone. It was a sweet experience to get to serve them and to see people coming together to help.

After we went home and got cleaned up we did our studies. We send out an email to the ward every Saturday, so we went to the church to use the wifi. While we were there we heard a knock on the church door around the corner from where we were sitting. I peeked around the corner to see a man in very ragged clothing. He saw me and waved. We aren't allowed to let anyone we don't know into the church so I panicked and hid around the corner. There were some elders in the building and we decided we should find them and send them to talk to the guy. They were nowhere to be found, so we went back to our email while the guy was still knocking on the door. Then the Elders came out of the room and said, "Do you sisters hear knocking?" We told them the situation and they went out to talk to him.

Long story short, the Elders came back and told us that he was from out of town, was running out of gas, and knew Mormons are good people that would help him. We called a member of our ward and he graciously agreed to bring them some gas. I felt bad for freaking out, but I am very glad that we were able to help.

Later in the day we met a cute mother and daughter. They were standing outside and we asked if we could share a message with them. They invited us in and we taught the whole restoration! When we talked about the Book of Mormon the daughter told us her friend had just barely given her one! They are going to read from it, pray about it, and we are meeting again tomorrow!

Sunday was also amazing. One of our investigators

has come to church with his family before, but he only stays for Sacrament meeting. In our lesson this week, he committed to stay for 2 hours, and after Sunday school, he said, "I think I'll stay." And he stayed! We couldn't believe it!

It has been such a good week. The Lord is blessing this area so much and it is such a privilege to get to be one of His instruments here!

Sister Melissa Heiner

Monday, September 11, 2017

Accountability is the Best!!

It has been a great week to be a servant of the Lord. Exciting things are happening in the Yucaipa zone and also in the mission!

Tuesday was a great day! It started off with the best district meeting ever! We talked about Christlike attributes and how developing them can help us reach our goals. Then we set goals as a district and decided to text the whole district whenever something good happens (someone gets a new investigator, puts someone on date for baptism, etc.). We all left the meeting so excited to teach the gospel. Then we came out and looked at our car and one of the tires was almost completely flat!

We took it in to pep boys to have them fix it and we ended up being there all day! I was going a little crazy because I wanted to get out and work so badly! Afterward we had a lesson with S. We tried to explain the Sacrament and why we go to church. She came away from it with the idea that as long as she brings crackers and grape juice with her into the mountains on the Sabbath, she doesn't have to go to church. We have a bit more work to do there I think.

We had exchanges the next day. I went with Sister Whitehead in their area. They got some really exciting news about one of their investigators while I was there. The investigator had some concerns with baptism that needed to be cleared by the first presidency. They had been waiting for weeks to hear back from President Dixon about it, and he called to let them know that the first presidency said that the investigator can be baptized! It was so exciting!
Exchanges with Sister Whitehead

Other events from exchanges include Sister Whitehead inviting someone to be baptized while we were volunteering at DI. They said yes, by the way. We also found 3 new investigators! It was a pretty eventful exchange. Sister Losee and Sister Jones had some awesome experiences in our area too and had some great lessons with investigators.

All throughout the day we got texts from the zone about exciting things that were happening and it was so motivating to know that the work was progressing in the zone! By the end of the night, the whole zone had found 7 new investigators and put 4 more people on date! It was the best! I love accountability!

Thursday I had MLC, so Sister Losee went on another exchange. We found out that our mission is part of a new "accelerated proselyting test"
starting in January. It was sad for those of us in MLC because most of us won't be here when that happens, but someone made the point that we are here now for a reason, and that is to prepare the younger missionaries for this thing. We don't really know what all it will involve, but it will be pretty exciting, whatever it is!

Also fun news from MLC, everyone in the mission that was in the MTC with me was there at MLC!
Mission Leadership Conference
Friday we planned for a long time. I had a skype meeting with the Zone Leaders to talk about what information we need to pass on to the District Leaders from MLC. It was funny because we were skyping from opposite sides of the church building. Elders and sisters can't meet up when it's 2 elders and 2 sisters, so we couldn't have the meeting in the same room. We just said hi in the hallway then went to different rooms to skype! :)

In the evening we found a new investigator. He grew up in Orem over by 800 north and 500 east! He grew up around the church but had never been involved with it at all. With all the natural disasters and other chaos in the world today, he felt like there had to be more, so he has been wondering more about God. Unfortunately, he lives in Palm Springs and is only here for a week, but it definitely wasn't a coincidence that we met him, and we will definitely be referring him over to the missionaries there.

Saturday was a little rough. I always have a hard time in lessons when the investigators talk the whole time and interrupt us when we try to teach anything. That's pretty much what Saturday was over and over and over. It's just not very fulfilling to sit in a room when I'm supposed to be teaching the gospel and the person I'm supposed to be teaching won't let the missionaries get a word in. We did get to help the former mayor of Calimesa pack up her house to move though. That was pretty fun!

Church was awesome! It was one of those meetings where everything was meant just for me. I love those! We also had 3 investigators at church!

Well, I better sign off now. We have a short PDay because we get to go to the temple this week!

Love you all! Miracles are happening! Missions are great!

Sister Melissa Heiner
With the children of a recent convert. We love them!

Our neighbor Al gave us a watermelon

Monday, September 4, 2017

Good Things Are Happening!

Beautiful sky
Greetings from Yucaipa!

I'm getting tired of starting and ending my emails in the same boring ways. I tried to change it up a bit today so I hope you all appreciated it. :)

We have had quite a week!

Monday we had a relaxing Pday where we got to write some letters and such. The rest of the day was a little frustrating for me. We have a few investigators who are really good at talking. They just keep going and going, and we are lucky if we can get a word in between the opening and closing prayers. We visited a couple of them that evening and I was feeling like not a very good missionary because we hadn't taught very much. I'm lucky to have Sister Losee as a companion though because she picked me right back up and shared a great poem with me about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how he is always helping us in this work.

Tuesday we had a lot of lessons lined up but all of them fell through.
We got to do some service at DI. We sorted clothes again. Later that day, Sister Losee had one of her first experiences talking with someone who thinks we are a cult and wants us to be saved. Pretty much everyone we tried to see wasn't home or didn't want to talk with us, but we had a surprisingly fun day. We kept a positive outlook. At the very end of the day we felt prompted to knock on this one door. As we were trying to figure out how to get past the front gate, someone came out the front door! We talked to him, taught him a little bit, found out he has LDS friends, and he became a new investigator! We were so excited!

Wednesday we had Zone Conference! It was so good. We talked a lot about really worshiping during the Sacrament and helping our investigators do the same thing. Sister Losee got to give a 3 minute talk about the sacrament and she did a great job. At the end of our Zone Conferences, we break up into our individual zones and the Zone Leaders and STL get to take half an hour to go over things with the zone. A couple days before I had asked the Zone Leaders what we were going to do. They said we would talk at lunch during Zone Conference. At lunch they told me like two things, "We'll talk about goals for this month and look at the accountability section of Preach My Gospel". I sort of assumed they were planning to just do it because they hadn't told me any specific assignments. I tried to be as involved as possible to help things run smoothly while we were talking about goals. Then they said, "And now Sister Heiner is going to train us on accountability from Preach my Gospel". So I got up. I turned to Preach My Gospel, and we pretty much just took turns reading the paragraphs in the section and discussing it. I didn't feel like it went super well, and I was nervous because I like to be prepared for things, but President Dixon told me after that I did a great job. Even if he was just being nice I appreciated it.

After Zone Conference, we all got flu shots! People from the Walmart Pharmacy came and gave them to us all. We all just lined up and were taken one by one to a classroom in the church and they gave us shots.

We had an awesome lesson with M that evening. He is recognizing answers to his prayers more and more and he said he is more wiling to read the Book of Mormon than he has been in the past. I love seeing investigators progress!

We weekly planned on Thursday. We had scheduled to have a lesson right after. It had been a crazy morning of calling around to find a member to come to this lesson, and we finally found someone. We got in the car and suddenly it starts raining! And it wasn't just a little sprinkle, it was a downpour that came out of nowhere! Conveniently, the house we are trying to find is on a road that is very difficult to see from the main road, so we passed it and had to turn around. We ended up needed to back up at one point, so I hopped out of the car to back Sister Losee out, and got soaking wet. We got to the lesson a couple minutes late, and the investigator wasn't feeling well. Then the rain stopped and it was back to about 100 degrees except now it was humid too. It was the most random little rainstorm of my life.

In the evening we had a lesson with one of our new investigators. We felt prompted to knock on her door last week. She invited us back, and this was our first lesson with her and her two sons. They told us that they were feeling overwhelmed by the craziness around them that they see on the news. It was cool to see the relief they felt we taught and the spirit filled the room. We have another lesson with them in a couple weeks. They wanted some time to read the Book of Mormon before we come back.

Friday we did some more service. This time it was at the Yucaipa Senior Center. We helped make decorations for their upcoming fall event. We found yet another new investigator that evening! We saw two teenage girls talking outside. We started talking with them and ended up teaching the whole restoration right then!

At the end of the night we stopped by to see C who we hadn't heard from in a while. She was home and invited us in. We were able to talk about some questions she has and she came away from it really excited to read the Book of Mormon.

Saturday we had a lesson with L. A member of the ward offered to have the lesson in her home. L was running very late, so we got to chat with the member for a while. L texted and asked if he could bring a friend. We said of course and so he brought his friend.
We taught both of them the Restoration and we are meeting with them again next Saturday. They stayed behind at the member's home for a while just talking and the member answered a lot of their questions. It was very cool.

After that we were very late to our dinner appointment, but luckily it was with Sister T and her family. She is a recent convert and they love having the missionaries over. Her husband is just barely starting to show interest in the Gospel and we have been teaching him the lessons. It is so cool to see him starting to have some real intent because he was very against his wife joining the church at first. He is coming around and within this past week he has really shown an interest in reading the Book of Mormon.

Sunday was a good day. Nothing that is really interesting happened, so I'm not going to write about it. Church was good though!

Well everyone, miracles are real. We had a total of 6 new investigators this week. Normally we find 0 or 1. The Lord definitely knows what he is doing, and in his timing, he leads us to those who are ready to hear His message.

Love you all!

Sister Melissa Heiner

We had a fire close by

Enjoying the rain