Tuesday, November 20, 2012

HOME AT LAST...and first thoughts

November 15, 2012

Elder Heimuli arrived at the Salt Lake City International Airport.  His oldest brother Hema was able to snap this photo of him arriving at Gate C13...ahh, the perks of working for Delta Airlines!

Elder Heimuli smiles as he enters the gate area with traveling companion, Elder "Driving" Nguyen, and sees Hema standing there 
Coming down the escalator, Elder Heimuli makes his way into Mom's open arms.  Harrison will just have to wait 'til Mom gets a hug first!

Mom, Elder Heimuli and Harrison

Elder Heimuli gets a big huge bear hug from Dad

Grandpa Tom Murray, Elder Heimuli, and Grandpa Peni Heimuli

Family photo at the Airport
front row: Lauryn Pili (holding white sign) & Houston Heimuli (the weird one on the ground)
second row: Melisa Heimuli & Aka Heimuli (holding balloons)
third row: Jojo Pili (holding red sign) & Harrison Heimuli
last row: Dad Lakei Heimuli, Uncle Ricky Soliai, Bro Hema Heimuli, Sis-in-law Norma Heimuli, Kastle Soliai, Elder Heimuli, Mom Pania Heimuli, Grandpa Peni Heimuli and Grandpa Tom Murray

Harrison & Elder Heimuli leaving the airport and heading straight to the Stake Center for Elder Heimuli's release
First thoughts that popped into my head when I saw Helam at the top of the escalator:



Stripling Warrior.

Another Good Son.


Headed Home

Doctrine & Covenants 31:

1 [Helam], my son, blessed are you because of your faith in my work.

Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation.

Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.


Two years have literally flown by!  Elder Heimuli's last hours in Atlanta were full of goodbyes, hugs, tears.  

Elder Heimuli in the foreground; classic Atlanta in the background -- greenery everywhere, railroad tracks, beautiful.

Spanish members made this Elder Heimuli shirt, tie & missionary tag cake

Elder Heimuli in front of the Atlanta's Skyline

Saying goodbye to President John and Sister Debra Harding (from Bountiful!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Week 100 - To Close, I Just Have a Simple Testimony

Dear Mother,

I am doing fantastic! The last little while has been SUPER busy and I'm finally getting to rest a bit haha, but not too much:)

I'm sitting in the Saldanas living room right now, waiting for Elder Bakes and his comp to get here so we can echar relajo and have a BIG mexican breakfast! I can quickly just run through all that's happened.

Elder Baugh, Elder Heimuli, Elder Bakes meet up for breakfast
The zone training meeting was good...and kind of a struggle haha. I dont know what it was but there was kind of a dull feeling to the meeting and I struggled to put my thoughts together. I talked about the liahona and how our own personal progress and growth depends on how we heed the promptings of the spirit in our trials or just life in general. God knows what we can become and EXACTLY the route we need to take in life to become such. Our trials and tribulations refine us and the choices we choose to act on will shape our becoming. I still don't feel like I'm exactly where I need to be but I'm striving! I'm super grateful for the atonement and the enabling power that comes through it. I know that I can change and become better as I rely on grace and do all I can to make things happen on my own. That's when we're blessed. After we have done all we can do.

So, things were kinda confusing for a while with Davids baptism. On friday we called Bishop Young and he told us that since he was 8 he needed to interview him, so we had to cancel the baptism until he could do the interview. Then we called him back and realized that David isn't a child of record, so it was counted as a convert baptism. The only problem was that we hadn't done anything for it and the baptism was the next morning--so we set up an interview, a whole program, and called and coordinated the whole thing w the ward. Normally, the ward would set up the program for a child's baptism, but since it was a convert we had to set it up. Friday was CRAZY as we ran around doing exchanges and all this random stuff. Saturday came and the baptism went smoothly. There was a lot of ward support and some good talks and testimonies. David's mom was there (who used to be a member) and I hope that it was a good experience for her as well. I hope she felt the spirit and will decided to come back to share in the gospel with the rest of her kids.

Elder Paxson, David, Bro Hainey, Elder Heimuli & Elder Smith
Saturday night was crazy as well. I had to go and give 4 baptismal interviews in spanish and we had a full night in our own area, so we did and exchange. I went up to doraville with Bro Saldana and Bro Madsen! Holy cow, it was sick!

Elder Heimuli just finished giving Brother Saldana a haircut
We had a little get together with both the Saldanas and Madsens and I was so glad that I could spend time w some of my favorite people in the world!

Hermana Madsen, Elder Heimuli, Maya, Hermana Saldana
Then we went up and did the interviews (which were Elder Bakes' investigators and his first spanish baptism! I am so happy!)

IDK, I'm kinda lost for words right now but just know that I had an awsome week! I'll just tell ya everything in a few days. Write down any questions you have.

As for food...lets eat some poly food!!!!!! pork and rice! and pineapples! and I want to make some otai.

To close, I just have a simple testimony of Jesus Christ. I have learned so many things here in Georgia and I love the people here. Especially the hispanics. I am so grateful for the gospel and how I have come to understand it so much better. I love the testimony that I have of Christ. I cannot deny it. He lives and loves me. Through Him I can become better. Thank you all for giving me this opportunity to serve the Lord for 2 years.

I love you all! See you in a few days!

--E. Heimuli

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 99 - Ending My Mission the Same Way Hema Ended His

Dear Mother,

Elder Heimuli checking in and feeling awake and refreshed! The daylight savings is a real blessing in the fall--I woke up at 530 this morning, only to realize that I could lay my head back down and sleep for another hour. Tender mercies of the Lord, I say!

Yet another blessing that I've had is to have this past week feel like an actual week. It didn't just zoom by like the others and for that I'm grateful. I've been able to enjoy the experiences that we've had on a day to day basis. I've met some crazy people and I've pondered on some great things I've learned.

Elder Heimuli holds a 2-day old kitten found in the closet of a less active member's patio
We had the great privilege to hold our Zone Leader Council this past thursday (my last one) at the Atlanta Temple. Instead of doing a session, though, we all did baptisms and confirmations--it reminded me of the good ol' Stonecreek ward, which was the last time I'd done baptisms for the dead. We did EVERYTHING so that was cool. Then we gathered together and discussed some really great things and ideas--focusing it all on the Doctrine of Christ. Now, we're preparing for a Zone meeting tomorrow where we'll take all the stuff we've learned and teach them to the members of our little ATL East Zone. It's a big deal and we want to do a great job. Pres and the APs will be there so that's a great help. We've been studying non-stop for hours--as well as I'm still trying to finish reading the BoM in spanish before I go home. I've on Alma 41 and I need to pick it up!!!! I'm so excited about the things I've been learning.

It's interesting, cuz I read Alma 40:11-12 probably about the same time as Monica and I felt the same assurance that God loves us. Those of us who wade through trial, sorrow and tribulation are those who don't take the easy way out. They are the righteous. They are those who put their trust in God DAILY and stay the course, no matter how much suffering they must go through--but then, when their time comes, they are taken home to God and enter into a state of peace, happiness, and rest. He loves us and we show we love him when we follow Christ--this wonderful plan He has provided. I feel like Nephi when I say that I don't know everything, but I do know God loves us. It's been shared w me by the Spirit and that's enough.

Tell the Johnsons I love them and I'm praying for them. I'll come see them when I get back.

I got the cards and I was surprised cuz there were TONS. I don't even know that many people haha. Thank you. It's a lot more convenient than writing out my info every time. I appreciate it a lot.

I didn't tell Pres about the musical numbers...but I'll be sure to soon.

I can definately speak spanish with Hema when I get back, I'll need it as well. And tell Dad that he's not allowed to speak english to me either--all tongan all the time! I'm serious! If he doesn't do it I wont answer him :)

It looks like I'm going to be ending my mission the same way Hema ended his. 
May 3, 2008:  Last baptism before Elder Heimuli's brother, Hema, ended his mission in Ecuador.
L to R are Hema's youngest son Elder Richard Peters, 9-yr old Carlos Alejandro & mom Gladis, and Hema of course! 
This Saturday we are going to baptize DR, an 8 year old boy. Then sunday he'll be confirmed. We've been teaching him and he's excited to get into the water. This past week we had to invent a lesson right on the spot. We were teaching him about the gospel and his attention span was very...much like mine hahaha. No, it's hard for a kid to pay attention to someone just talking, so we got creative. He LOVES basketball so we made a makeshift ball out of a wad of paper and then used a bowl as a hoop. We told him to stand back and shoot. As he made the shots he was allowed to move up one space at a time (there were five and they each represented principles and ordinances of the gospel). It turned out very well and he enjoyed it. I'm not super good w kids and I was just glad he didn't completely hate it. Oh man, if I thought that was hard, I'm gonna struggle as a parent trying to teach my kids. JK JK it'll be good.

Thank you Mom, so much for everything. Thanks Dad for being such a great example. I love you both so much and I'm grateful for the opportunity you've provided for me and I don't know how I'll repay you but I'll find a way. I love the gospel so much and I pray for ya'll daily! This boy aint trunky just yet! I got work to do!

--Love, E. Heimuli

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week 98 - I Don't Know if I'm Gonna Come Back

"At first the hours seem like days and the days seem like weeks, but before you know it, the weeks will feel like days, the months will feel like weeks."

On the way to the BYU vs Georgia Tech game sporting his "blue" sweater given to him by the Madsens.
It's not BYU-blue.  Not even Georgia Tech-blue.  It's like eye-blinding "look at me" blue!

This was the prediction given to me in the MTC by...I forgot who, but someone who had already served a mission. Maybe my teacher???  Anyways, this fact is standing true as I'm sitting here watching the sun set on my mission. This past week has flown by and it really did feel like only yesterday I was sitting here recounting to you the experiences of my previous week. I am so grateful for all the things I've been able to do.

The front came in last night and I'm here shivering with my fingers half numb, trying to type out all of my experiences haha. I guess God's warming me up for snow-filled Utah. (It snowed yeah? that's what I heard anyways...)

This week has been one thing after another and it seems like I'll be going full-steam ahead until the end. Monday we didn't take a p-day, we just wrote letters. Tuesday was normal and then on Wednesday we headed down to Fayetteville for a leadership training meeting. There were all the current mission leadership in attendance but as well about 30 other missionaries who I can just assume will be future leadership. They're getting 'em all prepped for when all of us old timers kick it hahaha.

It was really great. Brother Watson came to speak with us. He is one of the people who put together Preach My Gospel and he had some amazing things to say. It wasn't anything new, but the way he put things made it so clear to me and everyone else in the room. He taught the Doctrine of Christ and how it is the center of EVERYTHING. The Atonement and it's amazing capabilities should be the focus of all we do. He and Pres Harding then introduced some things that the mission is going to do a little differently: ie, using creative ways to get our message out there (like concerts or musical numbers or other stuff) and being normal people but representatives of Christ (ie, going to the BYU game!). It made me kinda sad to see that there are all these wonderful things going on...and I won't be a part of it. We all left that meeting with a renewed commitment to continue being obedient PMG missionaries. Pres Harding is kind of a goof (in a great way!) and LOVES symbols and visuals. So he brings out this huge, legit sword to the meeting and asks all of us to sign it and agree to 100% obedience. I signed it, of course!  :)

This past friday me and my boy E Paxson set up an exchange other son Romero!
Elder Heimuli & his youngest son, Elder Paxson
Romero came with me and we just did work. We were able to talk. I wanted to make sure that he recognizes he is here for a reason. I freaking love this kid and I'm so proud of what he's done. I'm planning on visiting with his family once I'm home to let them know how great he is. Anyways, so we had a good time. I know it's been hard for him cuz his very first transfer E. Hansen went home. Then he's here now with me going home soon. And his comp right now is going home next transfer. Not to mention all the CRAZY people here in ATL making it hard to stay positive! Romero will be a great missionary, and when I see him all i can think of is "Ammon." He was a little down yesterday at church, so I called him last night to see what's up.  :)

So, saturday we went to the BYU game and holy cow, I've never been more trunky in my life!!!

Georgia Atlanta East Zone enjoying the pre-game festivities!
The night before there was a fireside and I talked to Brandon Doman, Steve Kaufusi (and Bronson...who is HUGE!) and some other players I recognized from high school. Then, on actual game day I talked to Jason Kaufusi (who was sporting a nice blue uniform hahaha,

[Note from Mom:  Jason would have been Helam's coach at Weber but now is coaching at the Y...good for him!])

Lance, umm?

[ANOTHER Note from Mom:  Reynolds...gosh, these kids need to know who these legendary folks are, instead of just calling them "Dad's coach" or "Dad's teammate" every time!]

(well, you know...Dad's coach...I think that's his name. Anyways, he says hi!), Chad Lewis and they were all talking about how they need to get me to BYU.

And then, oddly enough, one of the cheerleaders came up to me and it turns out it was a girl I went to high school with! That was super weird. I got into this weird mood at the game cuz I just felt like I was back in Utah and it freaked me out!

L to R: Elder Paxton, Elder Heimuli, Elder Romero & Elder Shelly
Are their noses bleeding yet?
Speaking of the Madsens (at the beginning of this post), the blue sweater got attention!
Here are Elder Heimuli, Brother Madsen & Elder Charlesworth
(Elder C's sweet mom, Lacey, sent this pic!)

I don't know if I'm gonna come back, it's just too weird. I like being a missionary here. If you don't see me step off the plane come Nov 15th, you may have to fly out here and drag me back!

Kimberly was baptized Sunday morning and it was great! There was lots of support from the ward and it just set a great tone for the rest of the Sunday. I am so lucky to be here and I feel like I'm finally seeing the fruits of 2 years of struggling in spanish,  hahahhaa.

L to R: Elder Smith, Elder Heimuli, new member Kimberly, Elder Paxson & Kimberly's sons
Oh, and there was a fall festival at our chapel saturday after the game. We got there late and missed all the festivities but i don't care cuz when I got there I heard this shriek "Muuuuliiiii!!!!" and I turn and I see the Mata family from the Chamblee branch there! I ran over there so quick! We spent the whole time cleaning but it was great cuz I saw all those awsome mexicans that I love!!

That's it for my week. I hope it was descriptive enough  :)

Tell Houston that he needs to go all the way to the finals so I can cheer them on! That would be so sick!

Anyways, I love you all so much. Love ya mom!

--E. Heimuli

Monday, October 22, 2012

Week 97 - Hope to See a Mormon in the White House

(Note from Mom: For two years, Elder Heimuli has submitted a small paragraph to wonderful missionary mom Gayla Allen. Gayla's son, Kevin, is serving in the Mexico Merida mission.  Gayla has diligently put together this incredible monthly newsletter which highlights now over 40 missionaries from the same Bountiful High School graduating class of 2010! As Elder Heimuli's mission winds down, this newsletter is certainly something he -- and Mom -- will miss! Here is Elder Heimuli's last and final paragraph to be included in the November newsletter.)

Hey everyone!

This is just a quick (and last) letter to all of my brothers (and sisters?) in the field. Nothing too formal or epic, I just wanted to let everyone know that I am grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve as a full time missionary for 2 years. I have learned and grown in stature as well as in spirit and testimony. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ for the enabling power of the Atonement and the power of obedience and diligence. Please take all that you've learned, all that you've become, and move forward! There are so many great things to do while we're here, but not a lot of time to do them. Use that Spirit you've been able to master to keep making right choices. I love you all lots! Catch ya on the flip side! 
Gayla, thanks for the newsletters. I will miss getting them every month but look forward to seeing you all in person! 

--E. Heimuli 

(Now...on to this week's letter from Elder Heimuli)

Hey Mom!!!

Yes, it's crazy that Week 97 is goners. I keep having these small moments of "Holy cow, you're almost done," but then that wears off in a few seconds and I feel normal -- like I'll be doing this for the rest of my life. That wouldn't be so bad either.

I can't remember any details from this past week. I know that we worked very hard and we have seen some tender mercies for it. Tuesday I went out to Dunwoody and served w E. Baugh for the day...IDK where he's from. Anyways, it was Spanish and I was so stoked! We saw a family that they've been working w for a while. They had a baptismal date but then it fell through cuz they have some marital issues to work out... But they're fantastic and they kept trying to feed us! (There is so much I miss about Spanish, but I don't really miss having to stuff myself everyday.) But we withstood the temptation and taught them a quick lesson. Spanish was a little struggle that day for some reason, but it got better after I was there for a while.

As for our investigators, Ky is still shooting for this Sunday! The ward is so supportive and we're BUSY this week hahaha so we're trying to figure out how to get everything done that we need to before then. Bro. Saldana is helping a lot though, so that's great! D hasn't come to church yet. We saw her last week and she said she's been busy but she'll be coming when she's got a spare moment. J (Marriott girl) was busy when we showed up for out appt last week. We're going by there right after this, so wish us luck. Kn is still awsome, but we are trying to figure out how to get her to church. She is very capable of getting there, and she told us she would go, but she just did not tell us when. least she loves the BoM! So we're just trying to keep on going w our investigators that we have now. Things are a little slow w them, but it's ok.

I got the ballot and I signed it and sent it the day of. Things are getting intense here w the whole elections. Well, intense in a good way. People here LOVE Romney and always tell us that they hope to see a Mormon in the White House. That's been cool to see, but the persecution is gonna come soon -- you know it!

The most interesting thing I'm doing now, in conjunction w missionary work, is trying to read the BoM before I go home. I am so far behind but I'm reading like a beast! I read a while back in 1 Ne. 15:24 where talks of the Word of God and how we must hold fast to stay strong against the temptations of the devil. It connects so well with Jarom 1:10 which talks of how the prophets taught ("threaten" is actually the word they chose to use, haha) according to the word of God. God's way is so clear and exact, and if we continually hearken to those things, we cannot err.

So will the BHS stadium have to be renamed "Bishop Larry Wall Stadium?" hahaha, that would be great! That man is so amazing!! I still remember lessons that I learned from him during those high school football days. As a missionary, I've gained such a great respect for bishops and branch presidents. They do A LOT!!!!! Great men.

Well, everything is going well and we're all doing great. Just trying to do the Lord's work. Thanks for all the love, prayers and support -- and keep 'em coming!!! I love you Mom! Tell everyone what's up!

--Love, E. Heimuli

Monday, October 15, 2012

Week 96 - So Very Blessed to Be Here

Good morning Mom!

I don't know what it is about P-day, but they've been super cloudy and gloomy lately. The weather here has been weird cuz it's only on p-days--the other days of the week are pretty warm and sunny. Falls just acting up over here haha.

Thanks for getting those addresses for me. I appreciate it a lot. I'll be sure to write them or something. Oh, and i did get the packages and I am sharing the wealth! Hahaha way too much sweets for me anyways--I'm trying to slim down to look good for all my fans back home:) ...well, fan haha.

No, this past week has been really great! I don't know why, but we have been really blessed! Things just started to work out.
Final Transfer with Elder Paxson & Elder Smith

We found two super legit new investigators: D (a girl...yeah, she even admitted that it's a weird name for her) and J. We met D just knocking around the neighborhood of a less active member. She answered the door and immediately let us in. She told us that she had been praying for help and we knocked on her door. Classic missionary story, yeah? E. Paxson was freaking out cuz it was such a cool miracle.

J we met knocking a random street in a remote part of our area. It's pretty crazy cuz most of the houses on her street are vacant or super run down. She pulled up to her house right as we were walking by. We talked about the BoM cuz she works for the Marriott and has always seen the BoMs but has never read it. She is way cool and we're going back to see her this week.

Hindulo is good. We saw him the other night and got some good pics w him and his fam. He is really happy and loves that he is a member now! He can feel the holy ghost so distinctly. They're working on going to the temple--so we'll see what happens. It won't be for another year so maybe I'll need to fly back here one day.
The Beautiful Smith Family:  baby Nayhalo, Ghensa, Elder Heimuli & Hindulo

Oh, and last night we had a lesson with Ky. First one in about a transfer. We got in there and asked her if there was anything she had questions about or anything we could help her with. She said no but then said after a short a pause, "I guess we can just get ready for my baptism now." I couldn't believe what I just heard. There was about a 5 second delay until I could say anything. I was able to pipe out, "Wait, do you feel like you're ready now?" and she responded, "Yeah," with a nod of her head. I froze. I'm not use to success like this. I couldn't believe that after all this time of struggling she finally is gonna be baptized. E. Smith was a champ and took over. We set her date for the 28th!

Kn is good and said that she'll come to an actual church service to make up for the conference haha. She is loving the BoM! She even picked her own homework assignment--Mosiah 27, which is a really good chapter.

I'm trying to finish reading the BoM by the end of my mission. I'm in the first chapter of 2 Nephi...I need to pick it up hahha!

Elder Heimuli met up with old friends & companions at his final transfer.
L to R: Elder Perez, Elder Heimuli, Elder Thomas & Elder Searle
I'm so very blessed to be here and I'm grateful for all your support and love and prayers! I'm doing fantastic and just want to keep working hard! Love you all and I'll talk to ya'll soon!

--E. Heimuli