Kobe, Japan

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sister Tasha Scheffler, one of Hevynn's favorite companions, together again just moments before church started. 


Hevynn arrived at the airport on Saturday night. She spoke in church 18 hours later...and she did a great job. It was easy to feel of her love for the Savior and her love for the people of Japan. The Moleni Brothers came and sang one of her favorite songs "Another's Burden"
Click on this YouTube link:

You'll love it!  

The chapel was packed with loved ones and ward members. Afterward we had a crowd at the house. It was wonderful. I don't know what we would do without so much love and support. Here are just a few pics of Sunday. 

Hevynn with her brother Helam and sister-in-law Alyssa after church
Stephanie Woods also served in the Japan Kobe Mission and Hevynn adores her
Chris, Cindy and Izzy Boettcher live in Cedar City, but Hevynn met this wonderful family when they lived in Otsu Japan. Their son Nick is currently serving in the Japan Kobe Mission!

One of Hevynn's all-time favorite families drove up from St George. (L to R) Elliot Knox, little Zoe and her mom Emily Tate, Bev Knox, Lauren (holding Saylor) Murray, cousin Tai (holding Finnley) and Alex Knox
Hevynn and Tenney shimai arrived home from Japan together. Scheffler shimai arrived home in December. And it was great to snap a pic of all 3 together at the house. 
Would someone please tell me why, oh why, my kids can NEVER pose for a normal picture?  Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the Heimulis and Johnsons.   
Our daughter and her beautiful sisters-in-law!  L to R: Alicia, Hevynn, Norma and Alyssa. Love these girls so much. Probably too much. Nah.

Soliai cousins - what a good looking bunch! L to R Josh Soliai, Ani Lawrence (holding baby Po'u), Po'u Soliai, Hevynn, Fua Mauigoa, Kastle Soliai, Taeja Afalava and Dakota Soliai

Oh, and check out this video of Hevynn's homecoming, filmed and edited by Helam.
Click on the link below:

It's pretty cool. Actually, it's super cool.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome Home

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Last night at the mission home. Next stop: Home!

Family and closest friends gathered at Salt Lake City International Airport to welcome Sister Heimuli home. Hema waited at the gate for his sister to deplane. 
The rest of the fam anxiously waited at baggage claim with signs, cameras and smiles. 
Bo Bolen and Kastle Soliai
Dad made this sign...pretty great, huh? 
And then she descended the escalator (here are just a few pics) -- home at last!
Hugging Mom while cousin Tai Murray catches it all on camera
Houston gets his sis all to himself for just a second
Aunty Lani
Grandpa Murray and missionary granddaughter share a tender embrace
(Left to Right) Cousin Leah Heimuli and Uncle Hema say hi while Elliot and Alex Knox show off their signs: "Will you marry me?" and "Or me?" Funny guys. 
This sign, made by Hema and Norma, was obviously her favorite! Mine, too. 
Hevynn and Bo
Sister Heimuli with her cousins (clockwise from back row) Terina Semaia, Tai Murray, Kaimana Soliai, Kastle Soliai and Dakota Soliai (with the cool colorful hair)
Lil sis Haley Johnson
The whole fam...not even going to try and list them all here!

Oh those missionary shoes -- only pair she came back from Japan with. 
At the stake center waiting to meet with President Gordon (missing Alyssa who had a track meet in Idaho). 
Welcome home

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Letter 1 - Become a Better Me

My LAST Mission Leadership Conference (MLC) with all Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in the Japan Kobe Mission. I'm in the blue sitting next to President.
``Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellowbeings.`` (Mosiah 8:18)

The word I`ve been thinking about lately was `becometh` in this scripture. As we make this journey through life, we aren`t simply checking off a huge list of should-do`s. We`re here to BECOME something. That something is to become like our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Same with the mission field -- we come out not to fulfill a list of to-do`s or should-do`s, but to become something great throughout the process. God desires for us to BE something. He doesn`t want us to just DO something. The mission has been a perfect place to BECOME a better me.

I`ve received a lot of calls this week from leaders and sisters and they always ask me, `How do you feel? Do you feel like it`s coming to an end?` 

The truth is, I feel normal. This work isn't about me. It's not Sister Heimuli's work. It is the Lord's. When I'm gone there will still be church held on Sundays, missionaries around the world will still be teaching lessons, and those I've come to love will still carry on with their lives. I think that feeling of calm and reassurance that this work doesn't end with my 18 months has been a huge blessing from Heavenly Father. 

We talk about sacrifice, and leaving is just another one of those sacrifices the Lord has asked me to make in order to help these wonderful people in Niihama and Japan progress, to help the next Sister Training Leader in Niihama to progress, and to help myself progress with the next stage of life. I`m so grateful for the time the Lord`s allowed me to have to serve Him with 100% of who I am. I am more tired than I`ve ever been before. I have muscles that have turned into knots -- muscles that I didn`t even know could turn into knots. I`ve felt the full spectrum of stress, sadness, fear. However, I have also felt the full spectrum of true joy, solid joy, indescribable joy that this world cannot give. I`ve seen hearts change and people build their relationships with their Father in Heaven. And I`ve seen myself change and evolve into something that only a mission could`ve helped me become.

``And behold, there were divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ...`` (Moroni 7:24)

I know that change is not possible without the love of our Savior Jesus Christ and His atonement. I know change is good. I know we are able to improve and grow because of Christ`s atonement. I`ve seen that change in the lives of those around me (investigators, companions, members).

I have gained a testimony that our lives are all about becoming who we are. I know the Lord loves His children. He shows His love through many different ways, one being this gospel. I know this church is true, it`s the Lord`s church. I am so overwhelmingly full of love and gratitude for those who have supported me on my mission. You know who you are and I love you. I can`t believe how fast the time`s gone, but I know that moving on is part of the Lord`s plan. I`ve loved every single trial, fun time, and sad time on my mission. I know the Lord has been with me every step of the way, and He will continue to support me. I love you all and hope you can recognize your process of `becoming` and know that the Lord`s got a hand in your life, pulling you up to higher levels everyday. I will sign off here by leaving you with the words of Moroni which resound deep within my heart especially now:

`And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen.`

Love always,

Sister Hevynn Heimuli

I'll miss the long bus rides to/from MLC and exchanges with my beautiful companion!

Some of the sisters who have inspired me:  Daniels & Hunt

Komai & Lawson

Millham (she has a Greek fam in Utah, btw) & Eto

I'll miss the little presents/notes the members always leave me (McDonald's coupons!)

Check out my new companion! She's coming home with me. Look at her tag! (It says "Sister Heimuli")

I love the Ashitani kids!
The branch threw me a going-away talent show...it was SO fun!

The Imabari missionaries all came to say goodbye, too.  I love my little district!

The Ashitani family came to church for the first time in 20 years! 

It was hard to say goodbye, but I'll have my memories of all these wonderful people forever!

My buddy

Photo-bombed by this cute little boy

Last bit of sight-seeing!

Really gonna miss Ichikawa shimai

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Letter 2 - A Year I Will Never Forget

I'm alive! Here's proof, Mom. No worries. I'm healthy and fine.
Whoa. 2015!

I still remember when it was New Year`s Eve 1999 and we were turning towards the year 2000. It seemed like a big deal. So important. I remember how crazy us kids were with Aunty Lani`s family. It seems like forever ago.

I think about how good it feels now to say I devoted my whole 2014 to the Lord. It`s a year I will never forget. With this new year starting and with many changes coming my way, I couldn`t help but appreciate the things that have remained the same, my solid foundation of certainty:

-Family. We are big, we are getting bigger, and we love big. I don`t think there`s a family out there that loves more than ours does, immediate and extended. I`m so grateful for the close bonds we have been blessed with.

-Book of Mormon and Bible. Words from the Lord to us. Words that are constant. And never change. The Book of Mormon I read today are the same words I read when I was 5. It`s an indication of God`s constant love and desire for us to be happy.

-Christ. His atoning sacrifice. In the scriptures it is described as eternal. It is said to be ultimate. There`s no expiration date on the atonement. There`s no pass or fail. We are all able to receive the mercy and grace that come because Christ loves us.

Yesterday was the 1st Sunday of the year. I took time during sacrament to really reflect on Christ and why He is important to me. An investigator`s son (around 9 years old) was the only boy in Primary. He looked kind of lonely and weirded out, so I grabbed my companion and 2 of the brethren closest to us and I said, `Hey, let`s go to Primary today!`

Sister Aoba is the primary teacher and she prepared such a great lesson about Jesus Christ. Here in Japan it is the year of the Sheep. She compared us to sheep, how we have a Shepherd, and He is Jesus Christ. We made goals together and sang songs and laughed. The thing that impressed me most was when we sang `I know that My Redeemer lives` and she explained to this boy why we say `He lives`. It wasn`t her explanation that got to meShe said, `Christ died on the cross and was resurrected 3 days later. That is why we say He lives.`

But it was the reaction of this little boy. He just nodded. He just accepted it. No questions, no gasps, no doubts. I was amazed as I waited for him to ask questions (because that`s our job as missionaries). But he didn`t. His face was calm and it was almost as if he was saying `Okay. I get it.`

Don`t you wish we could all be as strong and solid and as full of faith as little children? How many times do we allow our faith to waver in the Savior because of trials? The Savior said so Himself, `Be not afraid. Only believe.` This little boy taught me how easy it is to just be willing to believe in Christ, to believe that He lives. 

Changes are coming my way, they will come to you as well because it`s a new year. But regardless of those changes, we have a solid foundation, we`ve got a living Savior. He`s just as ready and able to help us as our friends or family are when we give them a call or send them a text. He`s real. He`s there.

`And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.` (Ether 13: 41)

That`s my wish this next year, that the grace of our loving Father in Heaven and His Living Son Jesus Christ may abide in us.

Love always,

Sister Heimuli

With recent convert Airi chan having New Years dinner at the Nakanishi couple's house. I spent NY eve in the hospital...

...but got healthy really quick through Nakanishi shimai's magical cooking.

My Niihama Grandma & Grandpa Nakanishi!

My Imabari Grandpa & Grandma Watabe (from Hawaii)

Went on exchanges with this lovely lady, Zamani shimai!!! Woo hoo for LAX!

My District Mom & Dad, Elder Pace & Elder Roylance. We have waaayy too much fun!

My last District meeting. I love my mission fam!

A member's nonmember husband. He's agreed to come to church next week! He let me wear his kimono while we ate dinner. I love this old man!

Ashitani family and 2 other investigators. I love these people more than words can describe.