Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Picture!


Well, this isn't a picture of Grandma in California, but it was taken of her during her mission! (Thanks to Jake and Nicole's blog for the picture of Mom with the Jake Heaton kids at McDonald's in Phoenix) P.S. don't forget to read dad's post below.

Mission Update December 22, 2009

December 20, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

What stands out most when you are on a mission is not how much you miss your loved ones, and you do, but rather how important it is for you to be doing the work of the Lord. I have recently become aware of some things that clarify why Sister Heaton and I are here.

First of all, Sister Heaton had an opportunity to go to Phoenix and take care of her mother for about a week while she convalesced from surgery on a broken arm. On the way to the airport, just prior to coming back to the mission, she was talking to our youngest daughter Sharice.

Through her tears, she expressed to Sharice how difficult it was to return to the mission field and leave her mother and loved ones behind. She told her to be sure and tell our grandson, Kael, how difficult a sacrifice it was and how much she missed them. Sharice replied that at least we were willing to go and serve. She said that that is what would really matter to him and her more. This moment helped bring a clearer vision of the wonderful blessing of serving. It helps those that you care for most see what matters most in this life and the next. I think of Christ as a young boy in the temple asking questions of the clerics of his day. With his mother’s worries, after being lost to his parents for three days, it reads:

Luke 2:48-49

48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (italics added)

That is the question you ask before you go and leave your family on a mission and that is the response that you give to those that do not understand how two people can leave their children and grandchildren for 23 months to serve full time in the Father’s kingdom. “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

We have learned since coming out here exactly what our Father’s business is and who we really are if we stay true and faithful, enduring to the end.

Moroni 7:29,31

29 And because he hath done this, (Christ ascending into heaven to be our advocate) my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

31 And the office of their (the angels) ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.

We learn from this scripture that angels go before His missionaries and prepare the “chosen vessels” of the Lord so that they can bring them into the fold. Then we find out what the “chosen vessels” are supposed to do when they are gathered up…..”bear testimony of him (Christ)” to the world as directed by the Lord.

In essence, the chosen vessels gather other chosen vessels to testify of Christ to the world. There will come a time when “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind, the Savior of the world.” They will see him as he is! Sometimes missionaries get discouraged because of the lack of success in baptizing and bringing people into the church. Those that feel that way are not justified in their thinking. What they little realize is that everyone is going to need to know who Jesus and His Father purport that they are; glorified beings that organized this world and worlds without end and that they have a plan for us, His creations. Everyone taught by missionaries and other members of the church and every lesson on the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ stands as a testimony of the Savior and who He and His Father are. When Christ comes the second time in all of His glory everyone will have had an opportunity to see Him as He is. His angels and His missionaries carry that message forward to fulfill the covenant that our Father in Heaven has made to all mankind, that of providing a Savior to this fallen world. We help Him in His work. Not all will accept his gospel, but they will know who He is. For those that do, the chosen vessels of the Lord, will receive all that the Father has…..worlds without end.

Just to show how one of those chosen vessels impacted the world, I quote from Paul’s conversion and how Ananias, the Lord’s disciple (missionary), reacted to this challenge…

Acts 9:10-17

10 ¶ And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

What I have learned since coming out to serve is that the chosen vessels are not always packaged as I or anyone else might think that they should be, that I should not be shy to testify to anyone that the Lord has in mind for me to speak to, that all that I testify to whether they accept the message or not will recognize the message when the Savior comes again.
I ask myself, “What if Ananias had not followed through because of his fear of Paul?” About a third of the New Testament would not have been prepared for us to use in our day. Clearly the Father’s work would have been slowed.

Here in our mission we see similar things going on all of the time. Today we had a group of people that wanted to come to church. Before we could get someone to help bring them to church, they decided to go to their old church. Sometimes it becomes discouraging when you see what could be and then what is. The saving grace is that the Lord has his hand in all things and we know that he gathers His chosen vessels. Some chosen vessels are born into the church and others are gathered through the efforts of his disciples or missionaries after the Lord has prepared them. His work moves on whether we are willing or unwilling to do our part. The choice is ours to either be those chosen vessels that testify of him to the world or not.

Miracles have not ceased! Angels do go before us in the mission field. I know because we get to see it with every baptism that takes place. We see the Holy Ghost help people feel the truth of who the Savior and His Father are as we lend our witness to those in the scriptures and others as well. My prayer is that we might be true and faithful in all that the Lord has us do and that miracles will not cease and I add my testimony to that of Moroni…

Moroni 7:35-37

35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay;

In the name and love of Jesus Christ our Savior.

Amen

Elder and Sister Heaton

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A NOTE FROM "THE DAUGHTER"

My apologies to dad and all of his readers for not getting this most recent post up in a timely matter. As a side note, thank you to everyone for your prayers during Grandma Sapp's surgery. For those who don't know, Grandma's arm had broke again and she had to have major surgery on it again the day before Thanksgiving. Mom left the mission for a little over a week to get Grandma through the surgery and is now back and serving the Lord in Oakland/San Francisco. I might get "Sister Heaton" to give us an update on how things went in Phoenix once she gets a little more caught up with all of her other mission duties. There are two new posts that I have put up so keep reading until you've found something you've already read.

Love,

Shell -aka- "The Daughter" :)

Mission update November 23, 2009

Will you please forward to anyone that you think might be interested.

Thanks,

Elder Heaton

November 23, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

Time moves on as we approach the conclusion of six months in the mission field. We can no longer call ourselves “GREENIES”. After six months in the mission field, if we were young missionaries we would have been through about three transfer periods and are getting the routine of missionary work down. They all have taught some type of lesson to prospective members, less active members or encouraged members to fulfill their calling as member missionaries. They have been met with disappointment as people break appointments and commitments and deny themselves the blessings of the gospel in the process. But most have rejoiced in seeing progressing investigators and some the miracle of conversion, baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and the joy that it brings to those that receive it. Then they, the missionary, experience that great joy as it is found in the scriptures:
D&C 18: 13, 15-16

13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
• • •

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

The blessing of success encourages them to move on to an even greater joy…

16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
More than one fourth of the missionaries that were here when we arrived in the mission field have gone home. To those that thrust in their sickle and labored with all of their strength, they were the ones that realized the great blessing of serving in their Father’s Kingdom and did not want to leave. They are the ones that understand what sacrifice and consecration really means and this great joy that comes from living it. They were the ones that the angels went before them to prepare the way

31 And the office of their (the angels) ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.

32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

How wondrous it is, as a missionary, to find these chosen vessels of the Lord and to help our Father In Heaven fulfill His covenant with the children of men.

I have spoken in the past about a group of refugees from Bhutan that were in the camp in Nepal for seventeen years and somehow found themselves here in America. We have been actively teaching about 40 of these good people. Last night we baptized the first two. Moni and Raj Magar. What sweet spirits they and their two young children are and to have survived in such miserable circumstances is truly a miracle in itself. Just before they were baptized Sister Heaton and I went over to their humble apartment to break bread and enjoy the food of Bhutanese cuisine. While there, Raj told us that he had a plan to bring many of these people into the church. He wanted all too now have what he has and to know what he knows. That is the way with the truly converted; they can’t help but share the true gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone that they come in contact with, as the Lord directs. They are truly chosen vessels of the Lord.

I reflect on William Heaton receiving the gospel over in England; he being the very first convert and missionary on my Heaton side, and how much Raj is like him. I reflect on the joy William must be having as those he brought into the gospel of Jesus Christ have met him on the other side of the veil. How he must rejoice in his posterity and the missionary work that they have been involved with and how those that passed on before him have had their work done for them in the Holy Temples of the Lord, and how literally countless numbers have been affected by his choice to hear the word of the Lord and serve as a missionary for the Lord. He was a chosen vessel of the Lord that I will be ever grateful for. Now Raj has that same opportunity to bless his family and countless numbers that he will come in contact with both the living and the dead and how his posterity will call him blessed.

“ And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!”

I cannot express enough the gratitude that Sister Heaton and I have for each and every one of you that have touched our lives. You have given us great perspective and joy in our service here on our mission and you are a great part of anything that we do here. We feel your love every day and we hope that you feel ours for you as well. We have a constant prayer for you all that the Lord will bless and protect you. We also pray that the Lord’s great work; even a marvelous work and a wonder will roll forth until we kneel at Jesus feet and say, “Lord, here am I.” And that He who is all merciful will say, “Well done my true and faithful servant. I have prepared a place for you, enter in”

With all our love,


Elder and Sister Heaton

Personal

Please share this with those that have helped.

Good Bishop, relatives and friends,

I wanted to send a personal note to the leaders and the Saints that have contributed to our mission. I wanted them to know that through their contributions we remain here and that without their help that our contribution would not happen in this area of the missionary effort. So far people seem to be pleased with our effort and we hope and pray that the Lord is pleased and accepts our offering.

We pray for your every blessing. I know from personal experience the blessings that come from assisting missionaries in the field. Most of your burdens get lighter and usually personal matters get better. More importantly you know that what you are doing is the Lord's will. This is such an uncertain time when it comes to money matters that it makes me even more appreciative of those efforts. Tell these great Saints that the Oakland/San Francisco area is now the largest mission in the church. Tell them that the brethren must feel the Lord's guidance as we do his will. That there must be more souls to harvest, lives to be touched and more opportunities to gather the elect here than any other part of the world or why would that be?

We feel the Lord's hand in all that we do here. It is a struggle at times especially for Sister Heaton to sometimes even get up in the morning. Sometimes the nights are long as we receive calls from ailing missionaries or President Wade. The Lord knows our limits and as missionaries he tests our metal I think to see what our resolve is. As we sacrifice all that we have, even every ounce of strength, he continues to show us that with the divinity of our Heavenly Father within us that we can do things far beyond our natural capacity for such things. All we have to do is show the faith and resolve to follow Him.

We have been very frugal with those sacred offerings that we have received. Many of the senior missionaries out here are pretty well off financially and even they feel the burden. This is one of the very most expensive places to live but one of the most rewarding for missionary work. I would like to share with you this scripture taken from the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. Our bodies are temples of the Lord and with our spirits, the Lord can dwell therein. We can be that light shining on the hill as the Oakland temple is. But it takes many to bring that light to shine. You are the ones that help us try to be that shining light.
D & C 109:77-80

77 O Lord God Almighty, hear us in these our petitions, and answer us from heaven, thy holy habitation, where thou sittest enthroned, with glory, honor, power, majesty, might, dominion, truth, justice, judgment, mercy, and an infinity of fulness, from everlasting to everlasting.

78 O hear, O hear, O hear us, O Lord! And answer these petitions, and accept the dedication of this house (or our mission) unto thee, the work of our hands, which we have built (or served) unto thy name;

79 And also this church, to put upon it thy name. And help us by the power of thy Spirit, that we may mingle our voices with those bright, shining seraphs around thy throne, with acclamations of praise, singing Hosanna to God and the Lamb!

80 And let these, thine anointed ones (those that have contributed to our mission), be clothed with salvation, and thy saints shout aloud for joy. Amen, and Amen.


With eternal gratitude for your sacrifice,


Elder and Sister Heaton

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mission Update October 18, 2009

Sorry it's taken so long to get this up dad! By the way, I spoke with mom and dad yesterday and told them their blog could use a little "color" with some photos of their mission. I even taught mom how to use their camera, so everyone please join me in hounding them to send us some pictures!

Thanks!

Shell


Mission Update October 18, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Family and Friends,

Once again we are inspired to write a few lines and relay our love and concern for each of you. Our prayer is that this letter finds all of you well and progressing toward our heavenly goal.

Proverbs 27:10 reads:

Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

This is what we neighbors, friends or members of the church become to each other. We often are closer to each other as members than relatives are. A young man (a convert of about a year) and I have been visiting one of his home teaching assignments, a lady that is bed ridden. Her closest relatives live in the Midwest and she has no one to look in on her. This home teacher rarely misses a Sunday and makes up for it on other days if he does. He suffers from audio and visual hallucinations that are as real as you and I are to each other. He calls them the adversary. Since joining the church his whole life has changed. Before joining the church, he was on the street and a real mess. Today we met with the Bishop to see if we could get the sacrament taken over to this sister and to see if she might be able to receive her patriarchal blessing. His love is unparalleled for this sister and the church. As he reads the Book of Mormon to her, I see her relaxing and gaining more confidence in Heavenly Father. This example gives me great faith that we all have some worth to our Heavenly Father and by living up to the covenants that we make at baptism to lift each up and share each other’s burdens we become more like our Savior and Heavenly Father. We literally become His friend in the process.
Last Sunday we had a double baptism in the Oakland 9th Ward. Tiffany was baptized by Elder Dim Dim as I mentioned she would be in my last letter. I baptized Pearl, a lady that Sister Heaton and I have been taking to church regularly. It was a blessed event. After Tiffany was baptized (Elder Dim Dim is 5’5” and maybe 100 lbs. dripping wet and Tiffany about 6’ and a large woman, it was a struggle for him to get her back out of the water, but he did it) she came straight up out of the water and began to shout and clap. She was so happy and filled with joy that she couldn’t contain it. This reminded our ward mission leader, Derek Flourek, of Mosiah 18:8-11 in the Book of Mormon from which he quoted;

8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.

This was most definitely the desire of Tiffany’s heart. Everyone that was in attendance felt that same joy and excitement. The miracle of true conversion humbles us as missionaries to the very soles of shoes as we act as a conduit for the Lord’s will in bringing the elect back to the path that leads to eternal life and salvation. What greater blessing in life is there than to touch others with the Savior’s love for them. We share this love in our families and as missionaries we share it with those that have “ears to hear and eyes to see.”

The Oakland Stake celebrated its 75th year of existence this week with a multicultural food court and display of past years and events. They have a rich heritage. Some of our Bhutan/Nepal investigators brought a rice pudding that was very good. Afterward, Sister Heaton and I met with the head of the house and others and gave a lesson on the dispensations of time and the need for the restoration and a modern prophet to guide the church. He wondered why there were so many different churches. Now he knows that there is just one. We are hoping that they will be the first fruits for this group of people that could lead to many, many more.

There are many, many more things that are going on all of the time. It is virtually impossible to write it all down. My poor journal is about worn out and I suffer from writer’s cramp. You just don’t want to forget any of the daily events as the Lord’s servant. Please share the gospel with all that you come in contact with. It is our prayer for you and them. As my son Joshua pointed out, “it might be the only time this person comes in contact with the church. What you do with it really does matter!”

With our love,

Elder and Sister Heaton

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mission Update 10/07/2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Family and Friends,

We are entering our fifth month in the mission field. The Lord has blessed us with health and strength to continue on in His work here in the Oakland/San Francisco area. What a wonderful experience to watch our first General Conference while serving the Lord full time on a mission. We have always paid attention to conference in the past, but it just seems more poignant at this time. Sister Heaton believes that she knows what President Monson’s moniker is going to be. “Love and Service” seemed to be his recurring theme throughout his talks and the rest of a lot of the talks during each session.

I was also particularly impressed with Elder Holland’s talk on the Book of Mormon’s authenticity. Why he would have to direct that talk to us, the Saints, is a little amazing to me. One knows that he must have had to field many concerns from members about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon to be so fervent in his talk. It begs the question, “When are we as church members going grow up spiritually?” I have a hard time believing that we people in the church do not humble ourselves enough to get an answer to the authenticity of this book that is the hallmark for the church and Christianity. I understand that this can be a real challenge for us people that have been born in the church. We take things so casually some times. We sometimes coast along and the reality of the Book of Mormon can be ASSUMED from birth until someone puts a doubt in our heads from some old dog criticism or new found scientific supposed evidence to the contrary. We have not had to work for our membership in the church by living outside of it. Many of us have not seen the miracle that happens when someone reads it for the first time and fervently prays to know whether it is of God or man. When, watching the change in investigators as they follow its precepts and Moroni’s challenge to pray to know puts a whole new light this conversion process and the blessings that it brings. I was at a teaching appointment with Elders Dim Dim (Pilipino) and Folsom ( Japan) teaching a lady by the name of Tiffany. She had already committed to baptism and they were teaching her the law of tithing and chastity before her baptismal interview and subsequent baptism this next Sunday. When we spoke about the Ten Commandments she said, “you mean you believe in the Bible?” She was genuinely surprised that we believe in the Bible. I said, “Elders you have not taught her what the standard works of the church are?” They said, “No, we wanted to emphasize modern revelation and somehow the Bible never came up.” What a testimony to the conversion power of the Book of Mormon! This good woman had prayed about the book to know of its truthfulness even without the Bible and found the answer as all of us can. That it has the whole gospel of Jesus Christ in it. That we really can come closer to our Father in Heaven and His Son by living by its precepts than by any other book, and finally, that it is true, just as Joseph Smith and all of the witnesses and tens of millions of others have testified, that it is. Thank you Elder Holland for your fervent and apostolic testimony to the same.

On another note, appendicitis surgery, Gall bladder surgery, dislocated fingers, bad ankles, dietary restrictions, belly aches of all kinds, acne, bad eyes and occasionally one companion not getting along with his companion threatening to do some sort of bodily harm to him seem to be plaguing the missionaries health along with the H1N1 flu virus. Needless to say, Sister Heaton has more than her share of challenges trying to keep the shoes on the ground and the missionaries out teaching. She was really disappointed when she broke her record of not putting anybody in the hospital with two hospital surgeries within 5 days of each other. Occasionally she gets an opportunity to go out and teach with me or the Sisters. This seems to recharge her and get her head out of all the sickness. She is also in charge of setting up Zone conferences with President Wade and the Stakes. It can get interesting if there are last minute changes made by the Priesthood leaders. Last Zone Conference we had Elder Hinckley scheduled to come and visit and of course he as presiding authority dictates what is going to happen. Unfortunately just days before his arrival, his office secretary called and said that something had come up and his schedule had changed. He would not be able to come. There was a mad scramble and somehow Sister Heaton was able to get everyone on board with the changes.

Missionary life is full of surprises and not too many dull moments. What a wonderful blessing it has been to experience the Lord’s work up close and personal. Our young Elders and Sisters, for the most part, are so magnificent in teaching and finding. Their dedication to the work is unparalleled. Elder Schmutz (from Kanab) and I along with Sisters Tu’ivai (Tonga) and Kaetler (Canada) were over teaching a group of people from our Nepalese refugee investigators. One of the ladies had requested a blessing. We had been trying to get her to go up to the visitors center by the temple but she said that she gets deathly car sick. I as mouth and Elder Schmutz anointing gave her a healing blessing. After that, another lady that had pneumonia and depression requested a blessing as well. I suggested that Elder Schmutz be the voice. He pronounced a wonderful healing blessing as well. Afterward I asked him if he had given a blessing before, “No,” was the response, “not as the mouth of the blessing.” You would never have known that he had not blessed thousands of others. I went back a few days later and this good lady was doing much better. Previously she was resistant to being taught and now the door has been opened. The lady that I blessed however has not had the courage to get in the car and go. Oh well! The Lord’s will be done.

I will leave you with what I hear the Tongan Elders say after they have had a wonderful spiritual experience.

Simply put, “The mission is good! The church is true!”

With all of our love for you and gratitude for your unbelievable support, prayers, concern and love for us,


Elder and Sister Heaton

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mission Update August 30, 2009

Dear Ward Members, Family & Friends,

Time passes way too quickly in the mission field. Transfers are coming up as they do every six weeks and that is how missionaries keep track of time. It is interesting to talk to the missionaries that are on their last transfer. It usually comes with mixed feelings and emotions and the great missionaries finish with a sprint to the end to do as much as they can before their departure. It is sad to see some go home early and you pray for those a little more fervently.
Heavenly Father has been blessing us with good health and enough time to recuperate when we need to. It allows us to perform what is needed of us and more. Recently we have been having success working with a group from Bhutan/Nepal. I may have mentioned this before, but for those not familiar with the situation I will describe who and what they are. About 18 years ago in Bhutan the king decided to crack down on people that were not staying as conservative as he would like. The king is Buddhist and wanted his kingdom not to change. So he gave what he would term radicals (especially Christians) an ultimatum. Either you sign off that you are not a Christian or you lose all you have and have to leave the country. Many were tortured with all kinds of abuses from the government. About 100,000 left the country and headed to India seeking sanctuary. They were met at the border with machine gun carrying Indian Government troops and were told not to unload the trucks. Some were killed as a result. So they headed for Nepal. Nepal is the second poorest country in the world, but they had some inclination to help because many of these people many generations ago were from Nepal. Now comes the interesting part at least for me. After 18 years, the United Nations finally passed a resolution to help those that were in these refugee camps (squalor) who wanted to an opportunity to relocate to a third country. About 60,000 want to.

Shortly after we arrived in the mission field, one of the missionaries got a referral from Elders Gardner & Fisher in Florida. It was for one of these refugees that had been relocated in the Oakland area. Raj Magar is his name. It was a member referral from Manoj Rui who had joined the church in Florida and wanted all of these refugees to have an opportunity to join as well, Raj and his family being the first. Manoj was over about 20,000 people (kind of like a mayor) in the refugee camps and had some influence. I called him for the Oakland Elders to confirm what was going on and to seek some guidance and help and understanding as how to proceed. Manoj said, “Le me talk to them and I will tell them to stop worshipping monkeys and cows and join the church.” With that instruction we went to contact them. It turned out that at exactly the same time, the Sister missionaries Kaetler and Tu’Ivai tracted out another one of these families. We started teaching them but had a great disadvantage with the language barrier. Most understand the Hindi language and the Book of Mormon is translated into Hindi, but not Nepalese. I called Manoj back and asked if he would help if we put him on speaker phone at some of the lessons. He agreed, but it was very cumbersome. We learned that Elder Rimal’s father, Savat Rimal living in the Salt Lake area was from Nepal. Unfortunately his son does not speak Nepalese, but does very well on his Spanish speaking mission. I asked permission to talk to his father and gave him a call. We put him on the speaker phone as well with about the same results. Better than nothing, but very cumbersome. We started teaching more and more refugee investigators so at a district meeting we decided to fast for an interpreter. I found a banker that was not a member referred from a guy at the pharmacy that we use that speaks Nepalese, so we prayed that he might help us or whatever Heavenly Father could do for us. It was tough on some of the elders because they had dinner appointment s with the Tongans and they always put on a great feed. To their credit they agreed. While fasting I did a lot of research and found out that there was a group that wound up not only in Florida and here, but in Salt Lake City as well. And that there were between 300-400 in our area and a boatload more coming. Talking to these people showed me how humble and prepared they are for the gospel. We read in 2 Nephi 1:5-7 that all people are led by the hand of God to this promised land and that they are all entitled to the same blessings as Father Lehi’s family upon conditions of righteousness. It is very true with these people that have washed up on the shores here in Oakland.

Two weeks after our fast, the banker did not call back, but a miracle was in the making. I received a call from Elder Clyde (ironically on a Spanish speaking mission who had tracted into some of these people) who had been serving in this area but had been transferred from Oakland to San Francisco. He said that he had a man by the name of Ramesh Shrestha from Nepal that might be able to help us. I said you’ve got to be kidding. Not only that but he is a member of the church. He gave me his contact information and I called him. Turns out that not only is he a member, but he served a mission to India and then it even gets better. His home town in Nepal is one kilometer from the camps and some of the people recognized him here in Oakland at a McDonalds. Now Ray (Ramesh) has a great conversion story that I will share some other time, but it seems as though not only are these people here, but Heavenly Father keeps dragging us toward teaching them the gospel. 28 had joined in Florida from what the Elders told me. We are actively teaching about 30 with many more interested. We take them up to the temple grounds and the Visitors Center and they just don’t want to leave. Many are attending church which is difficult because none of them drive. Bus fare is $5 round trip and if you have a family it is often out of their budget. So we do the best we can trying to get them to church. Overcoming culture barriers is still going to be difficult, but at least now we are on a level playing field where we can actually communicate with them and know that they understand what they are being taught. We currently have commitments for 5 baptisms and many others on the cusp. Teaching materials in Nepalese is not readily available other than the Gospel Principles manual and a few other items. I would like to ask you all to take the time and pray that the Book of Mormon will soon be translated into Nepalese. It will bless thousands of lives.

Our mission is truly a reflection of the world wide church. Heavenly Father continues to open the doors to missionary work. When one closes He opens two more. I pray that as a people that we are prepared for these opportunities. I have been rereading an article from BYU Studies publication, Volume 47, number 2 2008. In that article, President Kimball’s son, Edward, in researching his father’s declaration on the Priesthood stated that one of the reasons given for the delay was that the people in the church were not ready for it as opposed to the black’s not being ready or worthy. 15,000 African would- be members and thousands more had to wait years to become members because of that. And now look at how the Lord has blessed these people and the church.

May the Lord bless His church and His Prophet with the wisdom and the guidance to continue this great work. We love you all and pray for Heavenly Father’s blessings on you as well.

With Love,

Elder and Sister Heaton

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No longer Strangers! August 13, 2009 Mission Update

No longer Strangers!

Sister Heaton and I have been hard at work. Many of the things that go on in a mission become a bit repetitious after a time. We are in the process of finishing up our second set of Zone Conferences. I believe that we are finally becoming somewhat familiar with what the Lord wants us to do. I love this scripture that President Eyring used in his First Presidency Message this month.

“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13)..

It is as though we are beginning to know the Lord and what His work is as He uses us for His purposes and we humble ourselves to His command. I was talking to an African man the other day that was very familiar with the difference between Christians and Muslims. He being a Christian man that had been raised around both said, “the difference between Christians and Muslims is that Muslims are slaves to God while Christians are His sons and daughters. I thought that was profound! We have an inheritance of the Lord as we work in His kingdom as sons and daughters where a slave is nothing but an indentured servant.

We go to our District Meetings every week to plan for the week and hear each other’s reports. We talk about our experiences and how people are progressing. We set times for baptisms and follow-up lessons. This is a wonderful place for missionary work. Of the entire mission the Oakland area is by far the easiest to talk to people and teach the gospel. The outlying areas are a little more affluent and not as receptive to the Lord’s messengers.

One of the things we have really enjoyed is on the 2nd Monday of the month all of the Senior Missionaries get together for what is termed a family home evening. There are about 12 sets of missionaries and usually the Mission President and Temple President and their wives attend. This is a nice intimate group setting. We have various speakers come and usually have a nice dinner. This last Monday Brother Lorenzo N. Hoopes spoke. For a very nice article about him from the church news, go to:

http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/51040/Oaklands-Temple-Hill--A-beacon-for-members.html

He is now 95 years old and is an icon here in Oakland. He was here during the Patti Hurst ordeal with the symbianese Liberation Army fiasco and was on their hit list of people they wanted to kill. They killed one and injured another one day in the building that he had just left. He was here during the Black Panther movement and was also present at Eldridge Cleaver’s baptism into the church. Eldridge was one of the founding members. He was also here when Gladys Knight performed and brought in around 1500 referrals for the missionaries because of it. He has had a life full of service for the Church and community.

Heavenly Father continues to bless us with health and strength even though Sister Heaton struggles at times with stamina. The beauty is that as Senior Missionaries we get to take as many breaks as needed. Sister Heaton would never tell any of you this, but I will. The Missionary Medical representative for the area said that he wished that he could clone Sister Heaton about 80 times. I don’t know what that means, but I think it was a compliment.
We love you all and pray that you continue in the love of the Lord and His work wherever you are and whatever you do.

With our sincerest prayers for you,

Elder and Sister Joel & Shawn Heaton

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mission Update July 26, 2009

July 26, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Sister Heaton and I made it through our first transfer and guess what? We still have the same companions, even though Sister Heaton was campaigning for a new one! The young missionaries on the other hand had to sweat it out to see if they were staying or leaving. There have been a lot of happy/sad moments. Another result is that we have had many baptisms which seems go up around transfer time. The really good missionaries try hard to reap the harvest of their labor. Today we had five baptisms at the inter-stake center from 3 different wards and a Chinese baptism.
Our new Mission President has been baptized in the mission with fire. He has had a “Meet the President” meeting with all 4 zones, Zone Conferences, interviews with 204 missionaries not to mention the Senior Couples. He has had speaking assignments almost every Sunday with virtually all of the Stakes. He replaces two old Mission Presidents. We had a record 22 missionaries arrive just before he arrived and now transfers. Then it all starts over! And we have a new mission computer program that Salt Lake gave us that we are trying to implement. He has held up remarkably well considering that he has 3 young children ranging in age from 3 to 14.
Sister Heaton continues to save lives and tithing funds. We had a frantic call at about 9:00 pm the other night. There were 5 Elders coming homein a car from a ward function. One of the Elders was vomiting and going into a spasm. The Elder on the line thought he was going to die and wanted to rush him to the emergency room. Sister Heaton asked what they had been eating and determined that the food was a little suspect. Finally another Elder got on the phone and took control and asked what needed to be done. She told him that it sounded like it might be food poisoning and that it would have to work its way out of his system. He said the Elder was light headed and tingly all over. She asked if they had a bag of some sort that he could breath into. They did and she told them that he was hyperventilating and that it would soon go away. After hanging up the phone, about an hour later we get another call. This time it was from a member that these Elders went over to see. Turns out it was the Bishop of the Ward and seemed to have some type of medical experience and he wanted to send him down to the Emergency Room. Sister Heaton patiently went over again what she thought the problem was and that it would have to run its course. That taking the Elder down to the ER would not help the problem, but that she would call the area medical Doctor and have him call them. When the Doctor called back he confirmed what Sister Heaton had thought that it was and sent them home to let it run its course. He also mentioned that the Bishop was a Vet for animals. When she talked to President Wade the next day about what happened and she got to the part that of the Bishop wanting to send him to the ER he asked what did he do, feel the Elder for a wet nose or check to see if his tongue was purple. We all had a pretty good laugh. The Elder survived and was back out on the street a day later.
I have been out on several teaching appointments. My Elder and Sister bait of offering them Reeses Peanut Butter Cups seems to be working well. I am now over phones and have named myself the “PHONE CZAR”! I have the dubious task of checking phone logs to make sure that mission rules are being complied with. I have called all of the violators with the same approach. I let them know that I am the newly appointed “Phone Czar” and ask them if they know what a Czar is? They usually say no, so I explain to them that the Czars were leaders in Russia that united the people and made them comply with the rules. Then I asked if they knew what the Czar did if they did not comply. They usually said, “Kill them???”. Yes I would say. That is correct. Then I asked them if they knew what mission policy was for phone use. They said, yes. Then I asked, “Well so that we are on the same page, what is your version?” They would rehearse the policy and I would fill in the blanks. Then I would say that we have a few policy violations that I am sure there is a good explanation for because President Wade is going to see this log and I need to tell him about it. Most of the time they cleared it up and promised to use the phones for their intended use. If it was bad or they would not confess, then I asked if they needed to talk to the President. Usually that got to the bottom of the problem. However, I did have two that needed to talk to the President. So much for the Phone Czar and so far I haven’t had to kill one of them.
Our District fasted this last week for the Nepal Refugees. Miracles are happening with this group and we have had our first commitment for baptism and teaching appointments with several others. I had the opportunity to help teach Berindri, Mon and their son Bimal last week and what a lovely family they are. We need your prayers that we help these people understand and live the gospel.
I went out teaching with the Spanish Elders too and committed a recent convert get his Patriarchal Blessing and start coming back to church. Unfortunately he did not show up to church this week. My heart just bleeds for those that Satan continues to blind and sift. There are other experiences too numerous to mention, but we still are enveloped in the work and loving it. Other than our family and friends, it is the best, but isn’t it all just one composite anyway?
We love you,

Elder & Sister Heaton
P.S. I have been reading in the missionary journal of William Heaton my great, great, grandfather who served for 5 years in England before he migrated to Utah. He was the first missionary on the Heaton side of my family. Interesting to me is that we have had at least (3) descendents from him serving in this mission. Myself, Sister Caroll Gubler Jensen who just recently went home with her husband to Canada. Her mother is Genevieve Heaton Gubler from LaVerkin and newly arrived Elder Matthew John Schmutz from Kanab whose mother or grandmother is a Heaton I believe. I will ever be grateful, especially at this time when we revere our Pioneer Heritage. They literally provided this opportunity to have the eternal gospel in my life and now so many others. I hope that my mission somehow pays part of the debt.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mission of Miracles July 11, 2009

Hello Family and Friends from the great California Oakland/San Francisco Mission,

From the Temple Hill that looks out over the San Francisco Bay and down to the masses of God’s children in these two wonderful cities. We hope and pray that all is well with you. Sister Heaton and I are doing quite well and the Lord blesses us on a daily basis. This is truly living the Law of Consecration, according to Elder Hales, where you put all worldly affairs aside and give all of the time, talents and everything that the Lord has given you or will bless you with to the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth. There is nothing like it in the world. Our children that served missions used to get after me when I would try to describe missionary life because I had not served one and didn’t have the perspective and now I see why. Until you have done it, there is no way that one can fully tell people about it. Heaven has to be shown not described by human lips. I believe that this is why some of the prophets were relieved of the responsibility of writing some of the most sacred things they saw and experienced because of the inadequacy of human language.

We see miracles almost every day. Our mission President when we arrived said that it would be like that. I kind of put that thought aside thinking that it might be a slight overstatement, but it is not! The miracle of conversion goes on every day and these missionaries that dedicate themselves are sometimes the miracle. We have just finished our first Zone Conferences. In our mission there are four zones, where the leaders of the mission give training and the missionaries come together and see former companions to talk and eat. If it is a missionary’s last time to be at Zone Conference, they are asked to bare their testimony. It is like hearing angels reporting to the Savior and Heavenly Father. No eye is dry, no heart not touched as they describe their progression in the mission and some of the sacrifices and physical challenges that often motivated them to serve. Most of all, many want to stay. They know that they are being sent back into the lone and dreary world and all of the challenges that come with it. Some of them may not even recognize what they have done until they get home and some will fall and some will continue on, but they will all know where they have been. Blessed be the name of the Lord for agency. Please help all of these returned missionaries to transition back into life as we know it.

One of the most heart-warming experiences is before the missionaries go in to eat at zone conference. They invite all of the people that prepared the meals to come out and stand in front of the whole zone, usually on the stand in the chapel, and ask them if they have anyone that they know that is serving or has served missions. Most do and share little blessings that they have received. Then our mission president tells them that the missionaries would like to sing to them. We then sing “Called To Serve”, and then what is called the lunch song that goes like this:

"We have been born as Nephi of old
To goodly parents who love the Lord
And on this day, we thank you a bunch
For fixing us this fantastic LUNCH
We are as the Army of Helaman
And when our mission is through
We’ll thank the Lord, for all who have
Helped us, especially people like you
Your Christ like love has shone through"
I have not been able to emotionally get all of the way through the song yet, as you watch good people that have fed the Lord’s servants react to these young men and women giving thanks in song.

Sister Heaton gives her presentation on medical after lunch and tries to encourage them and gives instruction on how to stay healthy so they can continue to keep their shoes on the ground and their mouths teaching. She also tells of missionaries she has raised and missionaries that our children have married into and because of that experience how much she loves and cares for each one of them. She lets them know that they can call 24/7 (and they do) if they have a need.
Missionary life is not easy. It is filled with sacrifice and sometimes brief moments of doubt and always concern for those at home. We also know that Heavenly Father is taking care of all of you and blessing each of you. Our prayers are for each of you every day.

Well, we need to get off to English for the Chinese class. Then pick up a person to be baptized today and an investigator tomorrow that is going to our “Why I believe” fireside that has recent converts telling their story. God be with you ‘till we write or hear from you again.

With all our love,

Elder and Sister Heaton

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mission Update July 4, 2009

Dear Family, Friends and our Wonderful Kaibab Ward Members,

Sister Heaton and I have officially been in the mission field for our first full month. We cannot express enough gratitude for the support and love that has been extended to us from all of you. You have been a blessing in our lives that we will never forget and you have made our journey here in the California Oakland/San Francisco Mission even more enjoyable. We pray for you daily and hope that you all are planning on serving in whatever capacity Heavenly Father has for you as well. We are all Brothers and Sisters and we feel a deep commitment to our Father in Heaven through your examples and dedication to His Kingdom.

This last month has been a whirlpool of emotion and chaos as we acclimate to missionary life and prepared to bid farewell to President and Sister James and Trudy Beck. They blessed our lives with such a warm welcome to the mission field and truly showed us how to love. There were many tears and heartfelt thanks before they left and what a legacy they did leave behind. Not one missionary was sent home to a church court in the three years that they served. Their love for each one of the missionaries was overwhelming. In their parting prayer with the office staff I listened as the President wept for those missionaries remaining behind that they would remain clean and faithful and obedient to the Lord. I have seen Christ-like love before. This was on even a higher scale. It could have been the Lord himself praying for them.

We welcomed President and Sister David G. and Debbie Wade. Very capable people. We were very humbled when they told Sister Heaton that they had prayed her here. President Wade worked in the Missionary department that oversees mission applications and prepares them for the Brethren. He would sit in the meetings as an Apostle of the Lord determines where missionaries are to serve. He bore testimony in our “Welcome the President” meeting that every calling is inspired and that we literally receive a call from the prophet of the Lord and the Lord Himself.

Sister Heaton has been very busy with her calling as the Mission Medical Advisor. She continues to save the church literally thousands of tithing dollars. This was the highest cost mission in the church for medical needs. She truly is helping to curb that aspect of the mission. To give you an idea of some of the problems that missionaries run into, here is a list: Sprained ankle (soccer injury) bad rash that turned out to be an acne breakout, many flu type symptoms that would have been an emergency room visit have been avoided, diet requirements that were not being followed closely enough, emotional problems and eating disorders and sometimes just plain old stress and first time away from home symptoms that really are not physical health problems. Sister Heaton handles them professionally and with the help of the unbelievable medical help from Church Area Medical Doctors. The missionaries have the best health care available. It helps them keep focused and in their field of labor. More boots on the ground translates into more baptisms and more lessons being taught and the kingdom moving forward in this area. She is also the Mission President’s wife’s best friend. (-:

My responsibilities have not been well defined yet, but as they told us in the M.T.C. that we all are proselyting missionaries after our other responsibilities and I have taken that to heart. We have been tracking down lost sheep for the Oakland 9th Ward. I have also been bribing missionaries to take me out on teaching appointments. I have found that Reeses Peanut Butter Cups are the best bate. Last evening Elder Orr from Oklahoma and Elder Fearnely from Utah invited me to go. I told them that they had to teach someone in order to qualify for the Reeses! Of course as it would happen our first appointment did not want have us see them according to the children. So like good missionaries they had a back up plan to go teach a recent convert a follow-up lesson. This did not pan out either and they were a little disappointed so I asked them what the backup to the backup plan was. He said that they had some referrals from LDS advertising that people request free material or a visit from the missionaries and I said, “Great, lets go track them down”. The first one had requested a free Bible but was in a huge apartment complex of maybe 200 units and we did not have an apartment number. I said, “Have no fear; lets go!” and I marched up to the first door not knowing who was behind it and knocked. A male voice in a gruff voice said, “who is it?” I said we were members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and he said to go away . I asked if Tiffany French was there. Our collective jaws dropped when he said yes! We told him that she had requested a Bible and we wanted to talk to her. She came to the door and of course we didn’t have one to give her, but told her that we would go back to our apartment and pick one up for her and that we would be back with it. She said that she could not study with us tonight but that she would set an appointment to at a later time. She has no affiliation with a church and has a 3 year old son and a fiancĂ© that probably lives with her (we’ll work on that one). The rest of the evening went on like that with the Holy Ghost guiding our every step. We ran into Jose’ working on his car at the apartment complex when we went back for Tiffany’s Bible. I asked if he belonged to a church he said , “Yes, Catholic.” I asked if we could come and talk to him about church? He said, “Which one?” As I tried to tell him, Elder Fearnly took his name tag off and showed him. With a smile on his face he asked if we spoke Spanish. We said a little but we would get our friends if he preferred Spanish. We set an appointment for next Monday. After we delivered the Bible we went looking for an address that they had tried to find before. It led us to a Catholic Church so we went in and asked if they knew Israel Perez. The Priest did not know him, but he wished God to be with us and we bid him the same. Across the street there were some apartments so we went there. There was an open window on the second floor so I yelled up to a girl in the window and asked if she knew him. She said no so I asked her if she knew any Mormons? She said yes she had a friend named James that was. I asked if she would like to know more about Mormons and she said yes. We set an appointment up with Paola. Then we went to the used car lot next door and asked a man in the back if he knew Israel Perez or the address. He said no. I asked him how business was and he said that he was just filling in for the owner who was away because his 27 year old brother had been killed a couple of days earlier in a motorcycle accident. Elder Fearnely told about how families can be together and asked him if he thought that would help his friend. He said yes so we left a pass along card with our contact information and got his information as well to teach him as well. He is Egyptian with 3 daughters that really likes soccer. Lastly we went to Vera Johnson’s. She is an 81 year old woman that has an adopted daughter that lives with her that is a member of the church. The missionaries have been working with Vera for a long time. We talked about baptism and the end result was Elder Fearnley challenged her to be baptized on the 25th. I told her that we had another lady her age in the Chinese Branch that was baptized this last week and she survived. We will pray for her’s and the missionary’s success.

Words cannot express what missionary life is like. It far exceeds what my puny expectations were. We bath in the Spirit and the love of the Savior virtually every hour and minute of the day. Elder Hales said that full time missionary work is living the law of consecration and now we know why.

May you all stay true to the faith is our prayer for you.


With Love,


Elder and Sister Joel and Shawn Heaton

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mission Update June 18, 2009

Dear Family and Friends, June 19, 2009 My brother David sent me an email asking for our mailing address and askedthe Lord to watch over us and bless us. Sister Heaton and I have officiallybeen in the mission field 13 days now and I can attest that the Lord iswatching over and blessing us. It is an amazing thing to watch the Lord'skingdom moving forward using the humble, weak and meek souls of the world.Elder Packer in a talk that the new Apostle Elder Anderson was at said, andI paraphrase, "I am not anything and then looked at Elder Anderson and saidneither are you." Anyone that has served the Lord on a full-time missionunderstands that concept. We are totally dependent on the Lord foreverything we do and say, we are nothing. It has been a happy sad time for our Mission President Jim Beck and hiswife Trudy. They just receivedtheir last set of new missionaries from theM.T.C. ; twenty-two beautiful, young faces with a testimony of the Saviorin their hearts and in their voices. As we sat in testimony with them withmist in our eyes and the Spirit of the Lord so thick that we could not denyit, I thought of the young man that came to Jesus and asked what else heneeded to do as he had kept all of the commandments from his youth and theLord said sell all that thou hast and give it to the poor and come followme. He could not , but these of the Lord have. They have strippedthemselves of all worldliness and come to follow the Savior. What awonderful blessing they are. For the Becks, they have been untiringlyfinishing up three wonderful years of miracles as they put it. They told usthat we would see miracles on this mission and we have. If we and theseyoung ones can finish as the Becks have I believe that the Lord must have aplace for us. They are great examples of strength and perseverance. On FlagDay Sister Heaton and I were down at the English school thatPresident Beck set up about a year ago. There sat 38 Chinese students mostfrom communist China trying to learn enough English so they can pass theexam to become a U.S. citizen. I thought it would be fun to sing the StarSpangled Banner so I began to sing spontaneously. All eyes fixed on me andthen to my surprise an older gentleman that speaks virtually no Englishbrightened up and said, "I know! I know!" Together we sang word perfect andwith great feeling and zeal through the Rocket's red glare then giving wayto the HOME OF THE FREE. Never, in all the times that I have sung thatsong, has it meant more to me as I looked into the faces of those mostrecent immigrants and they all broke out in applause. The Lord guided anddirected Lehi and his family to a promised land and the Lord continues toguide and direct His people to this Promised Land to hear the restoredgospel and restored hope in a world of woe. The wardwe are serving in is the Oakland 9th Ward an inner-city ward.Bishop Linford was called from another ward by the stake to serve a missionas the Bishop. Same thing with the High Priest Group Leader and ReliefSociety President. Sister Heaton and I have been assigned to find some ofthe lost sheep. On our journeys we have had the privilege of meeting FlossyGrant a non-member, Frederika "Freddie" Waters who taught the gospelessentials class Sunday, and Williamson "Chilly Willy" St. George and hiswife Shelley a less active family. These sweet souls are evidence of why wewere called here. To proclaim the restored gospel to those that have notheard it, support the active in their callings while strengthening them andrecover those that have been ignored far too long. Our ward is a beautifulbouquet of faces from around the world. Sister Heaton has been busy with her calling as the Mission MedicalAdvisor. This mission, as was pointed out in our training in the churchofficebuilding by those that know, has the highest cost for medical carein the whole Church. The Church does not have insurance when it comes tomissionary work. The church pays for all of it out of tithes and offerings.Usually any medical is handled by the Mission President's wife who isusually not trained. This mission has not had a mission medical advisorbefore. This has been a further testimony to us of why we were inspired toput our papers in when we did. This is the perfect transition period forher call with the new mission president coming in at the end of the month. I cannot tell you how much we miss our family and our Kaibab Ward family.Your prayers and support have been felt every day that we have been away.We want you to know that we pray for your welfare every day and we knowthat the Lord will bless, guide and protect you in all of your righteousdesires. In the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen Our address is: Elder Joel and Sister Shawn HeatonCA-Oakland/ San Francisco Mission 4945 Lincoln Way Oakland, CA. 94602

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mission Update

Dear Family,

It is about time that we sent you an update on the California, Oakland/San Francisco mission. First interesting point, at least to me, is that there is another descendent from William Heaton my Great, Great, Grandfather, who was the very first missionary for the church and our Heavenly father, serving with us here in Oakland. Sister Jensen and her husband from B.C.. Canada Her mother is Geneveve Heaton Gubler who is still alive in Laverkin. Her mother lived in our ward when we were in the Laverkin first ward. Her Great Grandfather was Christopher Beilby Heaton Williams first born son who was born while he was on his mission in England. Sadly they are going home on the 15th of June.

After meeting with the Jensens they recommended that we stop by AAA and get some maps so we obediently did. While on the way I about ran into a car on the freeway so Sister Heaton suggested that we make sure our accidental life insurance policy with AAA was still in force because if we wreck and I die she wants some money out of it (I guess spiritual blessings aren't enough!). While getting the maps they sent us back to a life insurance agent accidently (we only wanted accidental life insurance not whole life or term life which was this mans department). Mike Movaghar after seeing our name tags got so excited that he asked we someone sent us to him. Turns our that he graduated from S.U.U. in Cedar City. He had a great experience there and in S.L.C. He raved about how Mormons and Muslims are very close and how wonderful we are and how decidant society has become and please take the gospel to the black people because they need it the worst. I asked if he had a B.of M written in Farsi his Native tongue? He is from Iran and I thought it might help in his understanding of the gospel. He said no so I told him that I would bring him a copy, which I did yesterday. He is not ready to join the church, but he said that if we need any help to just ask him. I asked for some referrals, he offered none at the time but will. We are going to stay in contact with Mike whose real first name is Ishmael which means "God Heareth". We know that God has heard him and that we were sent to offer him another chance to hear the gospel message and invitation to be baptized into the true and living church.

We are living in the Temple apartments. small but in our budget ($20 per night). I found out that the Temple President Richard Hunter is Howard W. Hunter's son. His wife is a joy and he is a wonderful man. Nice to have good neighbors!

Sister Heaton is working hard learning her calling and I am moving furniture and inspecting apartments. We have been assigned to the Oakland 9th Ward, an inner city ward with a Bishop tha was assigned from outside of the ward by the Stake. About all are ethnic other than caucasion. It's a beautiful boquet of Heavenly Fathe's children. One of the members is a former member of the Genesis Ward. This was a ward set up in S.L.C. before Declaration 2 in the D &C for black members. Wonderfull people with wonderfull spirits. truly God's humble elect.
President and Sister Beck our mission president and wife are making the most of their last couple of weeks. they are a most wonderful couple and have Quite inspiring! The highliter for me was when one of the elders totaled a car and when Pres. got there the officer was about to throw the book at the Elder would have charged him with wreckless drive etc. When it was our turn to speak, I told them tha while we were in training at the church office building and elsewhere that when we asked about the Becks everyone had nothing but great things to say about them and the mission and then when we arrived and got that great welcome by the whole mission it made us want to say in our loudest voice, "HOORAY FOR ISRAEL". Everyone laughed.

Well that is all for now. We will try to keep you all informed. We are having the best experience that missionaries this old can have. the gospel is true and please don't miss any opportunities to share that wonderful message.

Elder and Sister Heaton (Mom and Dad)

Monday, June 8, 2009

WE LOVE OAKLAND

Ok, so this is really Sharice, but I was able to talk with Mom and Dad on the phone the other night, and they had LOTS to tell me! They wanted to make sure that it was posted on the blog too!

They left from Provo, UT on Friday afternoon and had a long drive ahead of them! They called Shellianne and asked her to book them a room in Nevada that wouldn't be too expensive. Shellianne called and said that everything looked pretty pricey, but she found something in a small town that looked pretty good.
So they booked it. Mom and Dad pulled up to the hotel around 2 am in the morning, and it had been a long drive to get there. They had to go through the casino to get to the desk to get the room key. They got a key for room 112 and went to find their room. When they tried to put the key in the door, however, it didn't work... They fought with it for some time before Dad decided to go find the "right" key. He walks all the way back to the desk through the casino and they guy at the desk said it was the right key.... So, he walks back and they try it again when the door knob starts to turn. A gentleman came to the door and politely said, "This one's occupied..."
OOPS... They tried the next door down room 118 I believe, and the key worked, so that is where they slept for the next couple of hours before heading on the road again.

Mom and Dad said it wasn't that bad Shell, just FYI, and thanks for getting the room!

The next story came the next day. They pulled up to the mission office and nobody was there. It was right next to the temple, so they went for a walk over there, and they found everyone getting ready for a picture with ALL the missionaries in the entire mission. The mission president had EVERYONE say "WELCOME ELDER AND SISTER HEATON"! It was an amazing welcome! They felt VERY special.

They even got to sleep in the general authorities room for the night! Mom said that Dad behaved himself even!!!

They are right next to the bay with a beautiful view! The weather is AMAZING!
So all in all they are there, they are safe, they are having the time of their lives!!! I can't remember any other stories, so if you want them talk to Joshua because he knows!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cassandra LaRae Day

Born: 6/6/09
Time: 10:48 pm
Weight: 8 Lbs 8 Oz.
Length: 20 1/2 inches long.







Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Goodbye breakfast photos.

These are some pix from our breakfast with Joel and Shawn just before they went to the MTC for their mission. We had a good time and enjoyed seeing those who were able to make it and missed those who couldn't.
























Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's official!

They made it and are having a great time.
Hopefully more pictures will be coming soon.

Sister and Elder Heaton, tags and all.

Josh says goodbye.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

A mission update.

Our Mission is merging! It will now be the Oakland/San Francisco Mission!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Oakland here we come!


Where are we going????


We leave for the MTC May 25th.
Can you guess where we go from there?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter 2009

The little kids.

The big kids.

Altogether egg hunting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Very interesting....

I'm just sure this is what she thought as she was looking in all of Grandma & Grandpa's boxes. She's had fun with all the new "toys." And yes we moved the cleaners right after the picture was taken. ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Kaylee Isabella visit.



So Kaylee came to visit while her parents helped get some stuff moved. Grandma said her hair looked like something out of Star Trek which made Janice laugh. Grandpa had earlier said that he calls Kaylee his little Geek. And I guess she is with parents like us. She had fun playing with her Grandpa, and snuggling with her Grandma.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa visit the Nybergs!


How do you keep Grandpa from posing like this in EVERY photo you may ask? By threatening to put it on HIS blog of course! :)

Grandma feeding 3 babies at once! She really IS Super Grandma!

By Sharice...

Ya ya Grandpa I love you too!!! Love Kael!!!