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

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