Sunday, October 2, 2016

"As the body grows weaker, the Spirit grows Stronger"

PRIESTHOOD POWER!!! Zona San Francisco... Excuse Elder Cardozo... lol

I am doing great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol hey I am writing the message now! I don't have a lot of time today... LOTS TO DO! I PROMISE I DON'T HAVE THE RESULTS YET LOL that's why we have little time! hahaha

When Elder Hugo Martinez of the 70 came he spoke POWERFULLY of our purpose as Missionaries and of President Monson. As he spoke he said "As President Monson is advancing in age what he does is literally impossible from a medical standpoint , but as the body grows weaker, the Spirit grows Stronger."  This week has been a testament of that... The new diet I have been reduced to is Plantains boiled without seasoning, Ñame (which is a root), white rice without oil, Chicken made in a nonstick pan with little seasoning and Broccoli and LOTS AND LOTS OF PAPAYA lol NEEDLESS to say I miss Momma's cooking! hahaha . I can say I have been more tired this week of my mission than all other weeks... But I have had Incredible Experiences. I want to share just one. The other day as we were trying to get to a cita  (appointment) a STRONG thunderstorm moved in... We could hear the rain on tin roofs moving closer as we started to BOOK IT running. We got into the house LITERALLY right as the rain hit where we were at. As we practically dived in another guy dived in as well! We realized that our investigator wasn't there in the house but his uncle was. Then the man who jumped in with us told us that he was our investigator's brother... He then started to become contentious speaking of our religion. I started to defend our beliefs when my companion stepped in and offered a prayer. After that the Spirit came into the house and I explained the Restoration and then my companion bore testimony. After we both taught in PERFECT harmony defending our faith and testifying of the things we knew to be true... After about a 90 minutes discussion we invited the man to be baptized... and HE SAID YES. My companion and I were so happy that we could help this man break through the "Veil of Darkness" and see the light of the true gospel. It was no chance that he ran into us that day or that the missionaries had already taught him SEVERAL years ago... The Lord set the conditions and we were able to find.. " pues he aquí, el campo blanco está ya para la siega; y he aquí, quien mete su hoz con su fuerza atesora para sí, de modo que no perece, sino que trae salvación a su alma;" (" for behold, the field is white already to harvest; and behold, who puts his sickle with his might treasure for himself, so that does not perish, but bringeth salvation to his soul; ")

My stomach is improving gradually day by day. I understand that you're worried mom but their is very little I can do here in the DR. Hermana Castillo wanted to send me home but Dr. Peña entered and told her that I could hold on 6 Weeks longer. If President tells me I shouldn't I wont, but I think I can without a problem... It will just be very interesting coming home and getting my health back on track...

Thanks mom... Look to be honest I don't know If I am going to be able to finish my mission. I am getting tired. Mom I am in the Lords hands now. I love this work with my entire heart but I know that a man should not walk faster than he has strength... But throughout my mission I have learned that my limits are unknown to me, especially as Celestial help always comes to the rescue. My goal is to end my mission having served two full years but I will return if President Castillo says I should and has received revelation that it is necessary and not a moment before... I love you all a lot. Please keep me in your prayers.. Also say hi to Patriarch Gasque for me!!

Te amo tambien... (I love you too) Voy hablar con Hermana Castillo hoy y ver las opciones...  (I am going to talk to Sister Castillo today and see the options) But while I was sitting in a meeting the other day the Spirit brought a reminder to me... My First zone leader in the mission was a X Games competitor. He actually tore up the muscles in his leg pretty bad. His name was Elder Hudson but I remember that they gave him the chance to go home a Transfer early to fix his leg so that he could keep on Competing... They had the tickets bought and everything but he decided to stay and finish out the mission... he said it was more important that anything else.. His example has helped me continue on and I hope I may do the same as him... I love you all... Hurrah for Israel... Remember the atonement!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Enduring to the end

Me with Elder Martinez of the 70 and his wife who reminds me SO MUCH of MOM! WOW she can give a strong boche IGUAL QUE ELLA!!! jajaja Pero claro con mucho amor! (same as her!!! lol But of course with lots of love)
Hey Mom!! Well everything is going really well.. So Well that we haven't hardly stopped to take a breather in the last week!!! LOL We have had amazing meetings with Elder Martinez and in one of them he commended me for an Idea given to help out struggling wards... So I have good news!!! I am being seen by the BEST internist Doctor in the Country! He is actually world known and the best part is... He's a member and one of my greatest friends... He saw me this morning and took WELL over an hour to go over ALL of my problems and Diagnosed me in one shot! HE HAD A HUGE LINE waiting outside... He truly is a genius with photographic memory... But the thing that gave me the most assurance is that he TRULY has a POWERFUL Spirit and gives his all the the Lord and His Church. I knew immediately that everything he said was true and that the tests I took began to confirm them... The Lord sent me here for a reason. ! I will be taking more test in the next 2 days and we should have a plan of attack by next Monday on how to treat everything!!

FAMILY PHOTO!! My Son and daughter in the Mission!

Yes he is acutally a Blood doctor and internist... he asked several questions but he knew EXACTLY what was going on... I did the Sonogram today and I have 6 stones and a Polip in my Gaulbladder... I am on a INCREDIBLY strict diet... That's one of the few problems I have...
REUNITED ONCE AGAIN!!! with Elder Laureano
I will be taking more tests during the week but I am basically allowed to eat Roots, whole grain bread, Papaya, Chunk tuna, rice and that is basically it... LOL
Me making Sofrito from Scratch!

Bueno no hemos podido predicar mucho por TODAS las reuniones que hemos tenido pero uno de los grandes es que Rafelina acepto una fecha bautismal y también que El Presidente de Estaca y La Patriarca estuvieron conmigo hoy en La Hospital para verme... Me mostraron un apoyo TAN GRANDE y mucho amor... También una familia nueva nos contacto!! NOS CONTACTARON en la calle... Nos gritaron Y CUANDO USTEDES VAN A PREDICAR AQUÍ?!!! Con gusto fuimos para predicar el próximo día cuando toda la familia estaba y aceptaron bautizarse este misma lección!!!! Well, we have not being able to teach due to ALL the meetings that we had but one of the great miracles is that Rafelina accepted a baptism date and also The Stake President and the Patriarch came to see me at the hospital today. They showed me so HUGE support and great love.... Also a new family contacted us. THEY CONTACTED us in the street... they yelled at us "WHEN ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO TEACH HERE?!!! We went happily the following day when the entire family was there and they accepted to be baptized during the same lesson!!!
Me and Elder Sheffield!

bueno Yo Aprendi El amor de Presidente Castillo por nosotos... ERA TAN INCREIBLE.. aun Elder Martinez dio testimonio de su amor y de Hermana Castillo. (well I learned of how much President Castillo loves us...IT IS INCREDIBLE..even Elder Martinez gave a testimony of the great love President Castillo and Hermana Castillo have for us.)
Made my comp and the nieghboors fried Burritos... MMMM
Made Grandma's Hot Dog Casserole for my comp... He was so happy!

PERO (BUT) I need to go!!! I love you mom and dad!! HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!!!
Elder Hefner

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Soooo I can't even describe all that has happened this week...

ME AND TONO!!!! I baptized Tono in my first area.. my companion is ending his mission and luckily served there as well! We met up. They say Tono is the strongest missionary in the ward and helps the missionaries out A LOT, and in his words... I AM THERE EVERY SUNDAY! jajajaja This is also his real son (one of like 18) but I am his adopted son jaja ALSO HE'S GETTING MARRIED! He wants to wait to have his wedding until the family is able to come after the mission!!

Soooo I can't even describe all that has happened this week... It has been a week of SORE trials and AMAZING blessings... Well you have to know that my goal this week was to have more charity... The Lord decided to help... lol In order to teach me to be like Christ he allowed to me to get Parasites again... I am in the process of getting them out right now lol But I have seen SOOOO many miracles this week... Give me a few moments to write a few of them!

So this week we met a sister named Rosa Tejada... Sister Tejada is crippled and her husband suffers from High Blood Pressure and Diabetes... He used to push her in a Wheel Chair to church ...that is 30 MINUTES AWAY on foot... His health finally gave out and now he is unable to... We had planned to go by and visit them with a message. That same morning we got a call that Rosa had been sick for 6 days and needed to go to the Emergency room... In this ward we act as home teachers as well... We called up a member with a car and I had to pick her up out of her wheelchair and put her in the car ( I was the only one strong enough, I AM REALLY GLAD I am doing my 30 mins of exercise every morning!) We got her to the hospital where we waited with her for 2 hours... After several medicines we got her back home. That's when it hit me... They hadn't received the sacrament in a VERY long time. I then received permission form the bishop and brought them the Sacrament with my comp and a brother from the ward... THE SPIRIT WAS INCREDIBLE. We began singing Nearer my God to Thee.. The brother began to cry.. After we talked and he said "This is why Love the Mormon Church... You guys NEVER forget about us, especially the missionaries."
Me and Tono!!!

The next day as I was walking I had the impression to stop a young Haitian boy who was working as a shoe shiner. I asked him to shine my boots... He did so doing VERY WELL. I asked him about his family.. When I did he looked up and told me that his parents had died ... I asked him if he went to school and he said that their was no time... I asked about his brothers and sisters and he told me his only brother died 2 months ago from illness... My heart truly broke.. I gave him extra for the work he did...He then said HEY I know your guys church is right around here... I would like to go someday. We gladly accepted him with open arms and hope to see him soon.

And the parasites, they are almost out of my system completely.. This round wasn't that bad honestly lol and Tono is doing good!! He said he is going to get married soon but wants to know when we are coming first because he wants his "Padrino" ME to be there and the family as well! He lost his job though so he is just trying to get by... Hey I have to go soon... Sorry we got home from Santiago late... I will talk to you more next week.. Elder Martinez is coming from the 70 this week and we will have a zone meeting with him AND he wants to have a special leadership Council... President Castillo wrote us talking about how he REALLY talked us up to the 70's... UGHHHHH lol I am going to have to give reports to him on the zone... :/ lol hey I love you! I will get permission to fill it out this week!!! I need to fill out my application to Valencia only right ? or is it to UCF as well???

Elder Hefner

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Now is the time to lose ALL FEAR

Me and Elder Alatini and Elder Stanisclaus in a Mission Leadership meeting.

Hey mom! Is everything ok?? How is your health and the Health of the family???
Ok Just because Elder Laureano told me to write you today because he has been thinking of you all week... As well I received a blessing that talked about my family so I was a little preoccupied. Hey so Elder Laureano got all of his stuff stolen... Memory, Camera, Money, Cologne EVERYTHING except his clothes... So please take some of the money out of my Car fund to send him a package... PLEASE TAKE IT OUT OF THAT FUND AND DON'T SPEND MORE!!! lol I am eating a lot less and this week we have found 3 NEW FAMILIES THAT ARE AWESOME! The best part is they have received missionaries before in New York and were very receptive!!! We have had almost every Appt fall through but have been contacting like CRAZY! 

Yea I have been as well!! and Yea It is my last push... I don't know how much more my body will give but this is it!!!! 2 MONTHS TO LAY IT ALL ON THE LINE. Several people have accepted Baptismal Invitations. President Castillo told us " Now is the time to lose ALL FEAR. INVITE ALL TO BE BAPTIZED. THERE IS NO TIME LEFT. THE LORD IS HASTENING HIS WORK." It was a powerful Sermon..... I really liked something he said though. He told us " While I was in a meeting with David A Bednar we had the opportunity to ask questions... One President asked Elder Bednar what is the greatest preoccupation of the Presidency of the Church and the Quorum of the 12? President Castillo said that he paused, looked up to heaven and made what seemed like a direct connection with Heaven, looked back down with a literal glow of light and said " In ancient times people stoned the Prophets, Today they are Simply Ignoring them" .... 

FOLLOW THE PROPHET .. truly he knows the way

Thanks mom... Hey got to go soon!!! I LOVE YOUUUU!!!! I love you HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!
Elder Hefner
And Elder Henze is leaving in 4 weeks... We started our missions together in the same District... Its a weird feeling... HOPE YOU ALL ARE WELL!!!

Hey pops!!! sounds good! I am glad all is well! HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!! I don't really have that here and today we worked more than ever! LOL My new assignment is pretty stressful but we are working hard. I haven't slept in awhile but I am pretty much used to it by now... I am glad Grandma is doing good. We had a Leadership conference with President Castillo and in 2 weeks we will have a private conference with Elder Martinez of the Seventy face to face for 5 hours and very personal ! I am trying to work as hard as I can until the end and we have SEVERAL GOALS... one of the hardest things though was that we watched a video from a worldwide leadership conference and the time really hit me in a part when a father is Looking at his mission plaque... It got REAL at that point.. Several of the elders who are ending started tearing up... I love you pops. I pray that angels will protect you all as well. 
Elder Hefner

Sunday, September 4, 2016

President was deciding how I was to "Die" in the mission...

I said goodbye to familia Marte...I really love this family

Hey Dad...
Well I was hoping to end a District Leader.. President hadn't put me as a Zone Leader because in my First Interview with him I told him I didn't want leadership positions if it wasn't completely necessary. I have a much bigger weight on my shoulders. I am in a place called San Francisco de Macoris. I contacted Kevin's friend! He's really excited to come and meet me. HE IS DRIVING ALL THE WAY OUT HERE ON SATURDAY from the Capital. PLEASE PRAY that the Spirit will touch his heart and that his heart will open to ask questions. Kevin Is one of the biggest reasons that I didn't go inactive from Young Men's when I was younger. His true love for us as well as President Seidel's kept us all active and going even though each of us were passing through a rough time. The fruits of their love are seen as several of his Young Men are now Missionaries... I am glad your meeting was so powerful! THE SPIRIT IS INCREDIBLE! I hope this really helps the Kissimmee Ward Progress. Tell Ben that he will be incredible. Good Secretaries are the key to Missionary work... I have A LOT to do here with my companion to help this Ward out... I will do everything Possible to lift it up and strengthen it in my last 3 months... Love you pops. "Let the Holy Spirit Guide" 

Well... Our Last District Meeting EVER IN FRAMBOYANES... I got a call from President the other night that was full of many questions and several laughs... He Was deciding how I was to "Die" in the mission... He decided to squeeze that last bit of life out of me and put me as a Zone Leader of a Zone of All Elders and one of the biggest areas on the entire Island.. Definitely in the mission. Just to get to one of my areas is 2 and half hours on a bus to do intercambios..

Yea... Its the one thing I didn't want but President told me it was time... I got there and the first day I already had to go on Intercambios (Exchanges).. I didn't even unpack my bag until the third day... LOL It has been raining a TON. I have SOOOO much work to do in our new ward !!! Its very small and needs A LOT of help... I will be ending STRONG here. I have an even bigger fire for the work than before. We have seen several amazing experiences with the Spirit this week but my favorite was before I left Framboyanes. As I was leaving we had one last cita with the Aunt of Familia Marte.. I had met her at the beginning of the Last transfer Contacting.. Then a Jehovahs Witness called us over the other day to compare beliefs PEACEFULLY. THEN when we were in a Noche de Hogar the familia Marte gave us the Reference and we told them we had already contacted her.. we had a cita for the last day. Upon arriving to her VERY BIG house She opened the door and at 9 pm at night accepted a Baptismal Invitation because she felt "Empty and unfulfilled" in her other church. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. The family had been trying to bring her into the church for a VERY long time... And with that I left that area in better shape than I had found it... That very same day we also had ANOTHER incredible cita with several Americans that left one of them in tears after hearing the first vision. They all requested copies of the Book of Mormon and had HUGE desires to study it. It was INCREDIBLE I truly cant write half of all that has happened in the past week!!

(Note from mom: I have been receiving lots of Facebook requests) Many of those are Church Members... But Diana Funes was from my group in the CCM SHE WAS AN INCREDIBLE MISSIONARY.  I truly love these people with all my heart... I am glad we live close so that I may Visit them often... Quintin King was in my First District! I CANT BELIEVE HE IS MARRIED!!! Please send them all my real Facebook! hahaha 

and we had a nice hour bus ride to Santiago.. This is my new comp who I will be helping end his mission with honor Elder Montiero...

I am just going to celebrate my birthday with the Elders.. I HAVE A BBQ ABOVE MY APARTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and  Hammock!!! I am so stoked!!!

Also THEY PUT THE ONLY TWO ELDERS FROM FLORIDA TOGETHER IN THE SAME WARD!!! This is Elder Balderamos from Orlando South Stake!!! WOOO.

   Also his "Kid" Elder Fuentes... 
I have to go soon... Sorry as a Zone Leader I have to send SEVERAL long reports to President and that takes Priority... But I love you guys... Tell grandma that I read her letter but didn't have time to reply... HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!! I love you..: ALSO plan where we will be going to church on the Sunday on the Cruise... Figure out which Island we will be on! I want to go to church that  Sunday PLEASE!!!! lol TALK TO YOU NEXT WEEK!! Ok I have to go.. LOVE YOU!!!  Remember for the car think " FORD" or AMERICAN MADE... or if not a 1997 Red Toyota Camry!!!!! I will start a ruta in Florida!!! LOL OK BYE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

His name was Gabriel

This is our house and the Dog that follows us around everywhere (Don't worry she's not our pet... ) lol btw these are my ORIGINAL Mission pants that grandma bought me... they are HUGE but in great condition... LOL Hope you all are doing good! 

Wow mom... I can't even EXPLAIN the tears that have just been shed seeing Elder Ramos back in Action. He is truly the greatest friend I have had here in the mission. As we were praying right before we left the house he came to my mind clear as day. I remembered sleeping on the couch next to his bed Praying during the night for him and fasting that he would at one point be able to serve again. Needless to say my heart has been filled to the brim with Joy and truly the Alma and the Sons of Mosiah must have felt the same after being away from each other for so long a time and to see that they were still Brothers in the Lord having kept the faith. I know Elder Ramos will see many miracles for his incredible sacrifice, you truly can't know how much he suffered while he was here. (Elder Ramos was the companion that he trained but had to go home early for he was very sick.)

To be honest this week has literally been as though the very Jaws of Hell had opened up after us. Every cita (appointment) has fallen, my companion got sick again, and much more but this news had made this week worth it. This week I had the opportunity to Dedicate my first grave. While me and my companion were eating at a restaurant (I had the feeling to eat there that day) A man stopped us and said something about a funeral. That Sunday he and his in active wife showed up to church and asked us to pass by and basically preach as Sermon. We started with a hymn of just four people (everyone else wasn't members) and then she asked me to preach... I shared about the Plan of Salvation to a group of about 25 people... then we went and she asked me to dedicate his grave. His name was Gabriel, he was 17 and a non member, he died of a brain tumor. They found it in March and he lasted until now. Her father also passed away from cancer. As we left that funeral I reflected a lot and I remembered when I had 2 months in the field and Elder Flores did the same. I couldn't help but chuckle and see how far the Journey has been... I love you guys.
 some of the kids from the Primary made us HLJ or CTR Braclets! We attached them to our bag!

I DID GET THE BOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU FOR THE TIES!!! I gave three to my comp... I loved the Puerto Rico hat too! But your face cream exploded from the pressure in the plane... LOL I had to wash everything. I WAS EXPECTING A LETTER POUCH WITH JUST A LITTLE VISINE IN IT!!!! hahahahahaha Thank you for spoiling me.. I took money out again today and got all the suits made.. They will be ready in 15 days! I saw his work and the suits turned out REALLY nice. I may get transferred though so I will have the Elders here pick it up for me if that happens!

Tell President Rivera that his letter really strengthened my testimony and my animo... he sent it in the PERFECT moment. I can't wait to assist the Spanish Ward when i get back... I may make it my home ward...

I have finally learned enough Spanish that I can read a Spanish Dictionary WOOO hahaha

Thanks dad...I also dedicated my first grave today... The only Priesthood Ordinance that I have not performed is literally saying the words for a priesthood ordination, even though I have participated in them... As I dedicated the grave I truly felt The Power of the Priesthood. It's funny how every time I access that Power I truly feel tired afterwards... I can't wait to meet this young man when I get back. I truly loved Brother Grove.. I still remember how every Sunday he would put one hand on my shoulder and say HOW YOU DOING TIMMY?! and then slide sugar free root beer barrels into my hand because I was Pre-Diabetic at that point... Truly his Posterity must be something special. Please tell Sister Grove that I say hi and that I love her. Till this day the first lessons of Primary I clearly remember were from her in our CTR 8 class and the love she showed us. Her Lessons were part of a very large building block leading to the testimony I am able to share today as a missionary. She helped train Future Missionaries.. I love you pops... I will talk to you next week!!

Elder Hefner

Sunday, August 21, 2016


The Baptism of Lowilky! With Elder Dominguez a Seventy 

So this week was full of INCREDIBLE blessings and SUPER hard trials, but It all paid off in the end. Lowilky is a really special kid. I have never had a Baptism that Spiritual in my entire time. We started the Baptism off with Lowilky's favorite hymn "Come follow me" followed by talks by Hermano Thevinin and Aroni. After that the Baptism was done flawlessly without a hitch. We went back in and we watched the 12 minute version of the Restoration. The Spirit sort of settled into the room and all the members felt silent as it was time for testimonies. Two of Lowilkey's friends bore testimony and after followed my comp. My comp bore strong testimony of being a recent convert in an entirely non Mormon family and being a youth (By the way my comp will hit his 2 year mark as a member here in the mission field in the next month) with non Mormon friends. Her shared how he lost all his friends and clung to the gospel and decided to serve a mission. 

Then it was my turn... I don't share this lightly or to brag about what happened but what happened next was an INCREDIBLE Spiritual outpouring. Right before I stood up I prayed that the Lord would use me as an instrument. I got up and Lowilky had previously asked that I share his experience of everything that lead to his baptism. Once I did I shared the Missionary side of it all including our fast for him and how we had to change it. At that point I shared my testimony. I remember looking through Very watery eyes and AT several watery eyes (Including Elder Dominguez) as I testified with probably the greatest Spiritual power I have ever felt that Heavenly Father and our Savior Loved us. I explained that I didn't know why the Lord called youth just out of high school with limited education to be his representatives. I testified of the Book of Mormon and the boy Joseph and what he saw in a grove of trees almost 200 years ago. I testified of this true church and I sat down. The Spirit was INCREDIBLE. Then Elder Dominguez got up and testified of several truths and said " I testify of these four youth sitting in this room with name tags on, They hold the TRUE POWER of the Lord as we have just seen manifest when this young Elder had just testified of the Divinity of the Father and the Son.  YOU ALL FELT IT. That is the power that comes with their calling"  He then went on to share an incredible story. I am being restrained from sharing this story but when I return from my Mission I will share it in a more sacred manner with you all if it is the Will of the Lord. After that we all stood up and sang Joseph Smith's first Prayer. After we concluded singing Praise to the Man. The Baptism then concluded and my companion asked Elder Dominguez for a blessing and I participated con Hermano Thevenin y Penalo. After that Elder Dominguez took me aside and put both hands on my shoulders, looked me square in the Eye and said "Elder Hefner Don't EVER come down from on top of the mountain. Do you understand what I am saying?" At that moment the story of Lionti came into my mind and after the Class President Pratt gave us one day in Sunday School about climbing mountains. I replied that I understood perfectly and then he had a big smile and gave me a huge hug. 

LOOK WHO CAME TO VISIT MY WARD!!!!!!!! President Douglas and Sister Douglas! Talk about a happy reunion!!

The next Sunday was when Brother and Sister Douglas came to church and Lowilky asked me to do my FIRST CONFIRMATION. It was a great day to FORGET my white handbook! haha I messed up the first time but the second time I got it down even though I was shaking like a leaf! hahaha Over all it was an Incredible Experience. 

The La Vega ZONE!
Ok Hey I have to go! I love you guys! MAKE IT A GREAT WEEK! HELP EGGY A LOT!!! HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Hefner