25 August 2014

Week 63: We bike a lot.

August 25, 2014
Geliefde Familie: 
We finally found a charming part of Lelystad!
That back there is my fourth bike on my mission...
Hello you beautiful people. This week was crazy. Our branch president has wanted us to be knocking doors less and seeking service opportunities more, so we did some window washing this week for some people who don't quite understand the Word of Wisdom and smoke. So as we were washing them with a squeegee, all of this brown water would fall onto the window sill. I looked at Zr Adams and said, "Never, ever, ever start smoking." She was like, "OH THAT's why it's brown." Yes. Nasty.
We decided to get 72 hour kits today. You never know. This country needs humbling, and maybe the dijks will break to make that happen. So I purchased a water purifier and food storage, among other things.

We biked a TON this week! And miracles were attached. We needed to go to Dronten for a dinner appointment, which is about 15 minutes on the train away. A while ago, the leaders told us to use our public transport card less, so we decided we'd bike there! Plus, we had other work to do in the city, and we didn't want to have to walk around all of Dronten. So, we printed off directions at the library and took a bunch of pictures of a map, since we don't have one of Dronten and have no idea where to get one. It took a long time, but we made it, and had miraculously beautiful weather. We had, luckily, prepared for the worst though. So we got there, and the first look-up wasn't home. The second one (it was a wonder how we got to their address) had moved, so we decided to ask one of the neighbors if they knew what had happened to them. We went to the last door on the street (because that's where we had left our bikes) and they said that they were the only ones in the area that knew where they were. So they told us they were in an old folks home. But they had no idea where in the facility. So we went. Reception desk: closed. Nobody could help us. In Nederland, you can just walk around freely in those places though, so we did. Finally a worker asked if she could help us and she didn't know where she was, but after a few other workers, they led us to another place that DID know. And then we found this old couple! They were so sweet and you could tell that they hadn't had visitors in forever. They were so happy to see us. It was definitely a miracle that we found them because the branch didn't know they had moved or where to find them.

After biking to Dronten...

The charming part of Lelystad!
We were told at our dinner appointment that we were the first missionaries to have biked to Dronten from Lelystad in 12 years. Now I know why haha. We made it home safely though. Right at 9:30.

Then the next day nobody was at church. No investigators, no inactives. Ugh. So we started weekly planning after church and it was really cool to see how we were led through the process. We texted some of the people that didn't come and found out that they needed service (WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR!!) so we're going by this week to help!

We had a pretty funny experience too. Zr Adams had found a lady to whom she gave a Book of Mormon, and we had a follow up appointment this week. We went by, and she brought the BoM to the door. We were thinking, "crap, she wants to give it back to us," but after talking to her for 45 minutes about it (at her door), and feeling prompted to ask about her family and show a picture of my own, we got a follow up appointment and we committed her to reading in the BoM! The best part about it (besides the fact that she wants to learn about the Book of Mormon) is that it's a dinner appointment. Woo.

I had a really cool exchange with Zr Watkins this week. She was in my MTC district, so we're friends. She's awesome. She is so real, and I just love it. I needed the exchange with her. She's a great missionary, but she has also mastered the art of relaxing and not taking life too seriously. She helped me chill haha. It's easy to get caught up by the rigors of this work and to lose your personality. I don't want that to happen to me. I love Zr Watkins. She helped me see again that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. We're sent here to learn and go through hard things, definitely, but the test is if we can be graceful through trials. I was reading Bednar's "Bear up their Burdens with Ease" and he talks about how we sometimes think that happiness is the absence of trials. That's not true. Trials are completely necessary, and if we didn't have them, we'd be cheating ourselves of learning experiences. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. We can do hard things because we can share the burden with Christ. Matt 11:28-30.

I love you so much. Thank you for the love and support. Mark Richards is in my prayers.  I know Heavenly Father has a plan.

Also, OUR Mark...I can't believe how big he is. And Annie's a babe. Spencer, you should send me a first day of school outfit picture too!

Zr Heilner

My companion makes great cobbler

When the ZLs came to help us find!
 We found a bunch of brony stuff in our apartment.

We have found a bunch of 'Brony' paraphernalia in our apartment...including a pencil-drawn depiction of two my little ponies reaching for each other with tears in their eyes. So on an exchange with Zr Watkins, we wrote, ''I, the undersigned, do solemnly swear that I will never marry a Brony'' and then we signed and dated it.

More brony stuff we found...
It was cold and we found a bunch of candles.

18 August 2014

Week 62: Miracles

August 18, 2014

Geliefde Familie: 

I'm just going to start out with the coolest miracle of the week (and we've had a lot...Heavenly Father is really blessing us here--it's wonderful. I think opening up a city is what He does when He really needs people to rely on Him and commit to seeing miracles.). Last Saturday night. We were looking up the potential investigators that were written in the area book, and in one area, we saw a guy outside and decided to talk to him. So we had a cool conversation and shared a scripture and left. Actually, we got to teach two little kids how to pray also, which is one of my favorite things (and probably one of the riskiest because of scary parents) about missionary work. But before we left, the guy told us to go visit his daughter, who lives in a foster home. So we went on Monday night. Miracle #1: It didn't even rain a little while we were biking. We luckily found the place (the dad drew a dot on our map because he didn't know the actual address), and miracle #2: Charlie was home. She's 17, and spoke to us in English because she's actually from England. She invited us in (even though her foster mom wasn't exactly stoked, but since we had permission from her real dad, and she wanted to talk to us, we got to go inside), and we taught an AMAZING restoration lesson. Probably the best of my mission. Zr AA and I had great unity, we used a bunch of Visuals so that she could understand, and we asked her how she felt. The biggest miracle: listening to her try to explain the Holy Ghost. It was so cool. She was like, "I don't know! Happy? Excited? Like you two are my best friends? Curious?" We were able to take that opportunity to bear our testimonies that we knew that it was the Holy Ghost and that He testifies of truth. She was blown away. We asked her to be baptized and she said that she wants to learn more, but she loves learning more so probably later. We had another lesson with her on Friday, and she had kept all of her commitments AND she had to work to get to the appointment (it wasn't at her home this time), so I think she's really serious. She loves the Plan of Salvation. It really hit her that we can become like God. We have more lessons with her this week, so there will be updates to come! We love Charlie!

The after math of a giant torrential downpour!
 So you got the picture of us drenched. Actually, we were dry in the pictures. I had puddles in my boots. Not lying. It was disgusting and I don't know if they'll ever dry, but we were really close to the ocean and it was almost like we had just jumped in. The poor member that had to give us towels and socks when we showed up to her house. There was nothing to be done except laugh.

Pictures sent from a very kind member
I am actually starting to enjoy Lelystad. It's still the ugliest place ever and I don't necessarily like the feeling here, but I am enjoying the work. I really do like finding, I'm just scared that we'll actually be able knock the whole city. However, on that note, we talked to our Branch President yesterday (he's so cool) and he wants us to be doing a lot more service than we are doing. So I'm looking forward to that.

The Zone Leaders came last Saturday to help us find more potentials, and at one door, the guy stopped us and told us that our testimonies will have diminished by the time we're 25. So I asked him for his email so that I can email him in a few years to tell him that I have an even stronger testimony of the restored gospel. He gave it to me and as we were walking away, he told me that I'm too spontaneous and that I need to be more "rustig" like Elder Bitters, whom I was with. It was kind of funny, especially because I don't think I was being especially spontaneous, but oh well. He wasn't being mean, he was honestly giving me advice haha. I just wanted to write on my blog that I have to email that guy because maybe someday when I’m reading this, I'll remember and do it.

I sent you a letter of more details of my life here.

I love you people. I hope you're taking time every day to not just read the Book of Mormon, but to LEARN from it. There is so much we can learn that goes deeper than just the story. Dad, I'll never forget your example of scripture study for me. Almost every time I would walk into your room, you were studying in your scriptures. Not just reading, but you also had a pen. I love looking at your scriptures too. You can tell that they're the most important thing you own. I hope someday my kids know that about me based on my scriptures.

Don't forget that being chastened is a good thing. Chastisement leads us to repent, which then leads us to deliverance. We can't be saved without it.


Zr Heilner

Also...thanks for the study abroad research, Mom. And for updating the blog. Love you love you love you

11 August 2014

Week 61: I am here. Lelystad.

August 11, 2014
Geliefde Familie: 

The district (Den Haag)
This city is ugly. This city is small. But we are seeing a ton of miracles. Zr AA is a really hard worker, and we are praying for miracles frequently, so they're coming. Our ZTL called and said that miracles always happen when you open a city. It's true! A small example: we didn't have a dinner appointment last night, and we also don't have a lot going on investigator-wise, so our whole day would be just finding. But before church we were like, ''Let's have the faith to get a dinner appointment tonight!'' so we changed our plans to allow for time for a dinner appointment. Well, we got one with the coolest family ever. One of the sons is going on a mission to Nebraska and all the other kids are inactive, but it was such a fun appointment. AND it was raining like nobody's business, so we were happy to not be going door-to-door. 
Megan's birthday is tomorrow so everybody should email her a happy birthday. 
This transfer is weird. I've decided to study temperance and self-control. It's been interesting. Since we don't have any investigators to study for most days, I can just study what I want for most of personal study. The gospel is all connected. I've been learning that temperance is not being passive. It's an action and it takes work. It also takes a lot of faith, which is how I know the gospel is so interconnected. Because faith is also the driving force for spiritual gifts and miracles and results. 
Can I just take a moment to bear my testimony of the Atonement? I know it's real. I know that when we truly want to change, Christ will help us. We all do things that aren't right. If we didn't we would be assumed into heaven already. We are here to learn and make mistakes and learn from them and SEEK forgiveness. But the Atonement is long suffering and it works for us all. I'm so grateful for that.
We have had some really weird things happen, such as people coming to help us with yard work and asking us on dates, getting lost hopelessly because of this WEIRD address system, but we've also seen so much success. We decided we were going to have a ''power hour'' before dinner one day, so we went out, taught a lesson, got an appointment, met people from St. Martin (my favorite island in the Caribbean based on how friendly the people are), and didn't get lost! This is going to work.

So...4 months from today I will get to see you glorious people. Weird, huh?
Have a great week,
Zr Heilner

Saying goodbye to Estrella
Dead man Ipson, one of my favorite ZLs
Cutest kids in the den Haag ward

04 August 2014

Week 60: Heavenly Father Is Aware Of Us!

August 4, 2014

Geliefde Familie: 

Het strand :)

So yep, I'm getting transferred. I sent Mom the address so if anybody needs it (I LOVE LETTERS) email her at rheilner@gmail.com. Lelystad, here I come! It'll be interesting because me and my companion are new, but I hear Zr Adams (we'll call her Zr AA I guess because her first name is A) is a really hard worker, so I'm glad. I also got released as ZTL. I'll miss getting to go on exchanges and going to mission leader council, but I know Zr Spencer is going to be amazing. I'm still in den Haag zone, so I won't be super far I guess. Zr A is going to Turnhout in Belgium and Zr W is coming here with een groentje!

How I feel about not being Zr A’s comp

EVERYBODY is leaving. Some of my favorite missionaries are going home this transfer, and then if you can believe it, my trainer is going home next transfer! Well, she extended three weeks, but...I told myself I wasn't allowed to freak out until Zr H left, and here we almost are. She just got called to Maastricht. She's gonna love it. I'm so excited for her. That's such a great place.

We had a few really cool miracles this week. We have been working a TON with less active members, and one of them has been really struggling--she's even suicidal. I may have told you about her last week. But anyway, she wanted a blessing, and we went over there with the Elders to do that. So after the blessing, we decided we wanted to show her a Mormon message, and lo and behold, there's a new one! So we were like, well, it'll probably be good, so we played it. It's the story of a guy who was suicidal and how he found the Savior. It's beautiful, and it was EXACTLY what she needed. I'll share the link of it, because it's awesome and you should all share it on Facebook or something.

So we were fasting yesterday, and I realized how badly I miss Mom's pulled pork sandwiches...can I request to have that on the first Sunday when I get back? I know it's random, but I don't want to forget it.

Another great miracle: We were at a dinner appointment, and it was going awesome. They're this young couple that is just really fun. Anyway, we were leaving, and they asked if we had any appointments. We told them no, but we had some people to go look up....unless they knew anybody that needed a visit. Then they gave us this referral of two Brazilian ladies that are SO CUTE! We went over there and they invited us right in and we told them we had a book to share with them in Portuguese. We of course bonded over me knowing a city in Brazil--Campinas. Anyway, we called the Elders to see if they could meet us with a Portuguese BOM so that we could give it to them right then, and they did and we brought it back and taught them about the Book of Mormon and they said they'd read. It was so cool! We planned on stopping by again this week...we will have to tell the new sisters to do that. Oh man, soo much to do before Wednesday!

The subject line is that Heavenly Father is aware of us. I know He is. There is a sister that served here and went home about 4 months ago who is sort of a legend here. She's awesome. She has something called "vapor trails," or some sign that you see that lets you know that God loves you. I thought that was so cool, but I couldn't figure out what mine was until a few weeks ago. I actually prayed to know if there WAS something that He did when He just wanted me to know He's aware. And in the middle of the night, I was woken up by a thunderstorm, which is one of my favorite things ever. So I considered that an answer to my prayer.

Love this woman! 
Last night, I was kind of upset about transfers. I know it'll be fine, but I was just sad to be leaving. I COULD NOT fall asleep, which isn't usually an issue for me, but Wendi Self-taught me that when you can't sleep, it's because God wants to talk to you. So I was just prayin'. And then I heard rain! Yep, thunderstorms in the middle of the night. Love it. He's aware of us. AND THEN, I had a prompting to open my scriptures this morning as I was packing my desk, and I flipped to a section in the D&C that basically says, just go. It'll be okay and I don't want you to tarry here forever. He knows.

Well I love you. I challenge you all to look for a way that the Lord lets you know that He cares this week.


Zr Heilner

Someone hit me last week on my bike...HIS FAULT
Zr Kelly!

We had fun in primary this week.