Kobe, Japan

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Week 42 - What Kind of Question Would You Ask?

You`ll never guess who I met this week...Elder D. Todd Christofferson! He came to our mission and held a special meeting for all the missionaries. The night before, we had 2 other sisters staying in our apartment. We got emails from our leaders saying that Elder Christofferson wanted to shake hands with all of us. That night we couldn`t sleep! We just kept squealing and repenting...we didn`t want to burn when we got into his presence or anything, haha. As we patiently took turns walking up to shake his hand, I thought that this was probably how it was like when the Nephites were visited by Jesus Christ. And He loved them enough to give them all a chance, one by one, to feel the prints in His hands and feet and side, and to enjoy just a little bit of time with Him. Through Elder Christofferson, I could feel his love -- and God`s love -- for us. He smiled at every single one of us and complimented us. His testimony was so powerful and his apostolic blessing he left on us was indescribable. At the end of our meeting he left time for some questions and answers. One missionary asked, `As a mission we`ve been focusing a lot on Christ and who He is. What can you add to our understanding of who our Savior and Redeemer is?` There were many questions asked in that meeting only an Apostle of Jesus Christ could answer. What kind of question would you ask a Member of the Twelve? He had us turn to D&C 19 together and read:

16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

Elder Christofferson taught that this is one of the rare times Christ talks in detail about what He suffered. As He atoned for our sins He asked God 3 times to `take this bitter cup` from Him, yet always ended His pleas with `Not My will, but Thine be done.` Christ`s motivation, for EVERYTHING He ever did, was always to follow God`s will. His strength and His ability to accomplish the Atonement came from His desire to follow God`s will. Without that determination to follow God, none of us would have a chance to repent, be forgiven and progress in this life. I found that very interesting as I thought about the things we members endure. Whether it`s being subjected to ridicule, sacrificing valuable time to fulfill callings, or making bigger sacrifices like selling all you own to go to the temple, we do these things because, in the end, it`s the Father`s will. Following His will strengthens us. Relying on the Atonement empowers us.

I needed this strength yesterday as we were streeting. I was really tired and just beat down from the day. Sometimes I think Satan does a good job of making us feel even more tired than we really are so that we get lazy or grumpy. We knocked on doors for a little while and everyone was really rude and wouldn`t let us say a word. As we turned around to head home, I prayed that I would be able to pep up and not be such a downer because I knew this was what God wanted me to do. As I did, this really sweet lady pulled up behind us on her bike. The light turned green so the 3 of us biked together. We talked and laughed and before we went our separate ways I handed her a flyer with the address to our church and our names and number on it. I invited her to church next week and she said she wanted to come! She lives by herself and she gets lonely sometimes. And she said Sunday mornings she doesn`t do anything so she wants to come. We parted ways and I said a quick prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father for giving me the strength to talk with her and for putting her in our path to invite her to church. I know this is just a small example but I also know that regardless of our situation Christ`s Atonement is always there to help us. It`s amazing how His Atonement is a gift that just keeps on giving! We think we understand it, and then we discover there`s even more power we can receive from it.

Last week was a blessing to learn from an Apostle himself in a room full of missionaries. It was nice to have all 250 of us gathered together in one place. That was an experience I will never forget!

So just really quick, I got Heels' wedding invitation and LOVED it! Hall shimai and I were laughing so hard because people in japan hardly hold hands or have any PDA and we couldn`t believe how much hugging and love there was coming out of that invitation! It`s been almost a year since we`ve seen stuff like that! Hahaha! But I adored their invitation. I hope wedding preparations are coming along okay. As for me, I`m just workin ;)

Love every single one of you people to the moon and back,

Sister Heimuli

 Me & Sister Woods from Weber area. She`s like my best friend out here. Her dad hired Bo for an internship. Crazy, small world, right?

Got caught in a freak rain storm last week and didn`t have umbrellas or anything. Here's how we looked when we got home.

We  found this cute little old man who looked about 90 and spoke a little bit of English. We invited him to church and he said he`d come. Then he told us to `wait just a moment` and walked us out into his hatake and cut out flowers for us to take home. Besides my many flowers from dad and the boys, it was the best bouquet I`ve ever gotten in my life!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 41 - This Amazing Promise

Hello everyone! Yes talking to you last week was great, but I am so happy I didn`t have to talk to you today (no offense, mama!). We made time to explore a Shinto temple so that was a lot of fun!

After we poked around for a little bit and went shopping for food, I felt someone tap my shoulder while we were walking in the store. I turned around and heard the cutest little giggles. It was Bishop Hayashi`s wife! I love Hayashi shimai. She calls me Daughter Heimuli instead of Sister Heimuli. She helped us read some lables and she left before we did. When we went out to our bikes to put our groceries away and head up to the Church to email, we looked in our baskets and she had put yummy cookies and treats in there for us! She`s such a sweet woman. I hope I can help the missionaries out as much as she does when I return. She`s so loving and such an awesome lady. I really am not being biased when I say Ootsu, in the Japan Kobe Mission, is the best place in the world. It really is.

Cake decorating with investigator Ootani

Speaking of Ootsu, we went on exchanges again this last week! I worked with Sister Griffin who is from California. She`s one transfer ahead of me and so adorable. I love exchanges because I always walk away with a million more ways to improve and it blesses my life and my investigators' lives. Something Zinke kaicho really focused on this last Zone Conference Meeting was being prepared. He taught from Alma 49 when Captain Moroni and Helam fortified the city and prepared for the Lamanites who were coming to attack them. All their preparation, together with relying on the Lord, led to them being successful and not losing a single one of their men.

As we spiritually prepared for the Sister Training Leaders to go on exchanges with us, I decided to take what he said seriously and do a little extra planning for the next day. As a mission, we have from 10:00 pm - 10:30 pm to spiritually prepare for the next day. During this sacred half hour, there is no showering, no music, just meditation and prayer to boost our spiritual tenacity. We finished planning at 9:15, I jumped in the shower, and was ready for bed in 10 minutes. I took the rest of the night to map out exactly where we were going, what streets we were going to take, everything. I wrote everything both in Kanji and in Hiragana so that if we did get lost, I could ask people around me for help. I also identified the buildings and land marks in the areas of the places we wanted to go, to be sure that we were in the right places. It was kind of a hassle, time consuming and a little frustrating as I tried to decipher Kanji and map out where we wanted to be at specific times, but the next day during exchanges it made it all worth while!

Sister Griffin and I biked for 2 hours to the furthest away location I felt that we needed to go. We found the house we were trying to visit, but unfortunately no one was home. We made our way back home and arrived safely and quickly to all the different houses we were determined to visit -- which is way weird because it usually takes Sister Hall and I a million years to find one house! But that whole day, because I had taken the time the night before to prepare really well, I felt totally confident and comfortable. And because I had put in more effort, the Lord guided me that whole day. It was a huge testimony builder to me that preparation isn`t just important, but it is crucial if you want to do the Lord`s work His way. I also learned that if every needful thing is prepared, the Lord truly does take care of the rest.

"Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God. Therefore, if you will ask of me ye shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you." (D&C 14:4-5)

I think this is the coolest promise we have, other than that if we will follow the commandments we will have Eternal Life. All we need to do is prepare, ask God for whatever is out of our control, and He says so Himself that we WILL receive. Do we all take advantage of this amazing promise?

As always, it was another great week here in the JKM. (Japan Kobe Mission). I am a part of the greatest work on Earth, we all are! I hope the weather at home is as beautiful as it is here in Japan! I got the cutest wedding announcement for Tia Mauigoa and Spencer Saena`s wedding...when am I going to get one for Helam? I better get one from my own brother. Remember Kyle Armatage? He emailed me and he`s only got 6 months left! Time goes sooooo fast. Elder Mauigoa also emailed me from Australia and told me life on his mission is going by just as fast as mine is. Time is something we never get back, so use it well! I love you all and I look forward to hearing from you next week!

Love you!

Sister Heimuli

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 40 - Don't Worry Mama!

[Note from Mom:  Best. Mother's Day. Ever. My wonderful husband cooked an amazing dinner, joined by our Moms, Hevynn's favorite Aunty, our children, soon-to-be-our children, and like-our-own children. To top it all off, everyone got to speak with Sister Heimuli...which explains the super short email and no new mission pics...but Mother's Day still doesn't get much better than this.]
Two-week-old Hevynn Pania Ku'ulehualani Heimuli & her mother (1993).
Mom, it was SOOOOO good to talk to you and hear your voice! I was so happy to hear from the whole fam bam. You had a crowd over there! So great to talk to my brothers, the girls, Aunty Nei and my grandmas and grandpa, too. Yes, I busted out my whole Tongan vocab for Grandpa H (all 4 words I know, haha). Too bad Grandpa M is in NZ, but I'm sure he is having fun with the family over there. It was good to hear from Bo, too -- thank you.

Oh, the video I sent you for the wedding is hideous, mom. I am so sorry I don't look any prettier. No time for that. Sorry there`s no song. No time for that either, haha. Guess the boys will have to represent me.

Sorry to hear about work. I shouldn`t have brought it up! It`s okay, just do what you always do and follow the spirit. I promise, any difficult situation will fall away if you just listen to the spirit. I have to open my mouth and struggle to put japanese words together every day, but I've learned that if I just do what I feel, it always works out! Don`t worry Mama!

I LOVED talking to my Daddy. I have the best dad in the world! He`s always got my back. I'm so glad he made your day so special. I will email him what team our bishop`s son likes in my letter next week.

Tai emailed me last week and told me he loved me and missed me. Sent me pics of their new baby, and pics of Finn, beautiful Lauren, and of his ugly face. Haha, I love Tai.

The boys sound like they`re growing up! Except Harry wouldn`t say anything to me, haha I love him though!

Well we`re headed to go get our bikes fixed since these mountains are really tearing up our wheels. Here`s a pic from the ward bbq we had this past week. It took us 2 hours to bike there, most of it up hill. I thought I wasn`t ganna make it, but then I thought about all the yummy food we would have there and it kept me going! Haha

Love you Mama. Happy Mother's Day!

Sister Heimuli

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Hump Day (9 Months Out)

Hump Day in the mission means
That she is now half-way.
9 months she's served with all her heart,
9 more after today!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Surprise Messages: Golden Week & Interviews

[Note from Mom: Just got this quick note and a couple of pics from my-now-best-friend-in-Otsu, Cindy. No wonder Hevynn's so happy to stay in Otsu for another transfer!]

Dear Pania,

We had a ward BBQ yesterday during Golden Week.  It was delicious, of course, and so much fun!  The Sisters had investigators there, too!
Sister Heimuli pictured with her companion, the Elders and some investigators at the ward's Golden Week BBQ.
Sister Hall & Sister Heimuli happy to still be together. This transfer will be 6 months that Sister Heimuli has been in Otsu!

 [Photo below was just posted by Sister Zinke, wife of Hevynn's Mission President]
Kyoto Zone

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Week 39 - Two-Minute Offense

WOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!! We just got transfer calls and I am STAYING IN OOTSU!!!! I am so excited that I get to stay here one more transfer. This will make my 4th transfer here in Ootsu. Sister Hall and I are staying together, which is good, because it always feels like the last week of transfers starts to pick up and lead right into the next transfer, and since we`re both staying it won`t kill any of the momentum. Yes I hit my half way point this Wednesday but I still feel like I left the MTC only yesterday. There`s really no way to slow down the time or make the time speed up. Time is time, you get what you get. The Lord allowed us only so much time here on earth to do what we need to do in order to prepare to return to His presence. Same with missions -- He only gives us so much time out here to be fully dedicated to Him, and when our time`s up, our time is up. All we take home are the memories we made and the things we learned. Like Dad wisely told me, I`m on my two-minute offense right now. There`s only time to speed up and work a little harder. There is no time to slack off.

A big lesson I`ve learned this transfer is how to set meaningful goals. Goals push us and make us better people, but if we set a really good goal and never work towards it, then we`ve just lost a chance to become that much better. As missionaries, we set daily goals, weekly goals, transfer goals, but many missionaries forget about them and at the end of the transfer, all of a sudden they say, `Wow, that was a goal of mine?` I was guilty of that my first and second transfer as a trainee because I was just trying to make it through a whole day! But now that I`m a middle-aged missionary, I have seen the value of setting good goals.

One day this past week we set a goal to contact 2 less active members, teach 1 lesson and get 1 new investigator. Now, these numbers aren`t amazing, but it`s not about the numbers. It is about the people behind those numbers. With these 2 particular less actives, we wanted to be able to spend time with them, maybe go out to eat or something. We were lost forever trying to find these less actives houses. Time was running out before we would have to bike back home. About an hour later a really nice lady stopped us and asked us in English where we were trying to go. We stopped and talked with her. She told us she wanted to hear more about the Church, and she even knew where the less active sister was that we were looking for. So we eventually taught her a lesson, she became a new investigator, and we were able to contact both our less actives within an hour and a half window! If we would`ve given up and thought it was just too hard, or even gotten frustrated, we may not have ever found the kind woman who had interest in the gospel, or found our less actives houses. We left our apartment that day determined to accomplish the goal we had set the previous night. 

In the scriptures the Lord says, `If ye believe these things, see that ye do them.`  He says it dozens of times! If we believe we can accomplish something, then we must see that we do it. Sometimes we think maybe we were just too optimistic when we set a certain goal, but I know that goals stretch us, help us grow and make us happier. All kinds of goals, not just gospel-oriented ones. As we set goals and do our best to accomplish them, prophets have promised, `...put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.` (Alma 38:5) What a great promise. Do all we can, put our trust in the Lord, and He will help us through everything so that we can accomplish anything.

Late one night while we were studying, I was shocked to get a package from you guys! Thank you so much for that box of love. I have the best family in the world, and I am not even biased! 
Sister Heimuli's loved ones sent letters, goodies and fun photos to celebrate her Hump Day (9 months along in her mission).
A peek inside the Hump Day Book (everyone looks about 9 months...get it?).
I look forward to talking to you all next week. Dad, good luck at the Jet Pull in Atlanta! Set a goal to take 1st place. Whip your team into shape and accomplish it! Haha, love you guys!

Love always,

Sister Heimuli

One more pic:
This bird landed on me while we were at our investigator's home yesterday. I was fasting at the time. It took a lot of will power for me to keep from eating that little thing, haha, just kidding, thats gross.