|Helping build a dirt floor house in the mountains! For one of our investigators|
A message from Father to Son
I wanted to tell you about an experience that I had in the hospital.
The last Sunday I was in the hospital I asked if the priesthood could come and give me the Sacrament. Tanden and another young man with short brown hair... he is one of the newer move-ins... You used to bless the sacrament with him once in a while.... Anyway... they came into the room... they were very solemn and serious... When the said the Sacrament prayers .... I wept... almost uncontrollably ... Just to hear the words of the covenant spoken... to feel the spirit of the Lord in the room...it was overwhelming. I couldn't partake of the bread ... but I was able to drink the water... the feeling that rushed through me... was a complete affirmation from God that He was helping me to carry my burden... I knew I was yoked to my Savior... and that everything that I was experiencing was part of the eternal plan that my Father in Heaven ... needed me to experience for some future time, whether to help someone or to give me a memory of such immense suffering that future trials would be pale in comparison.
I have to tell you son, I have felt pain before.... I have broken arms, collar bones, teeth, smashed my face in to concrete multiple times, sliced my throat open on the inside...knee surgeries and such and never shed a tear.....
But my acute Pancreatitis..... I cried like a baby... it literally felt like someone reached inside me and was ripping my organs apart while stabbing me with a knife..... I can't even begin to describe it and do it justice.....It was so intense that I had broken capillaries all over my chest and shoulders.
At one point I was so near to death that I began to feel myself lifting off of the hospital bed and it felt like I was moving toward the door.... At that point I heard the Spirit whisper to me to ask your mom to give me a blessing using my priesthood that I hold.... Immediately I received calmness, and peace, and some of the pain went away... Carlos later came and gave me a blessing also (your mom had been inspired to call him earlier)
I thought I knew before what real pain was.
Why am I telling you this? Because in a moment of true clarity... I began to understand a small percentage of what Christ went through for me. Imagine... he felt every type of pain imaginable (cancer, 3rd degree burns, etc) ... every sorrow ... fear ... mental and physical...anguish...
He bled from every pore.
It is incredible to think that He had each one of us in mind, the promise that He made to each of us... that He would not fail us... That He would be our advocate, our mediator, our messiah, and all the Glory, and praise would be given to the Father without reservation, without remorse, without envy.
I think I had to pass through this, so that I could become a better tool in the Master's hand. More empathetic, more loving, more caring, more understanding of the suffering of others. To know what it feels like to have REAL health problems. To understand PATIENCE in affliction....
While thinking about all these things I came across this scripture:
"Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth."
Then I thought of you.... and all the trials, suffering, testimony challenges that you faced and passed so that you could serve a mission. And I realized that even to approach a resemblance of worthiness to serve the Lord, we must pass through the refiner's finer, and purge ourselves of ungodly characteristics, and replace those with Christ attributes in our lives. Yes, that FIRE is painful, it pushes us to our limits, and it will continue to push the boundaries of those limits for our entire lives. Until at the end, we will no longer resemble our natural man we used to see in the mirror.... but we will have received Christ's image in our countenances.
My sticky note attached to that verse reads:
How is it that a person becomes a true instrument in the Lord's hands?
Only by passing through much tribulation. The Lord has a masterful way of heating, bending and pounding us into a usable and useful tool. Only by that purging through the refiner's fire do we rid ourselves of impurities, ONLY, through the heavy hand of the Master Smith are we shaped and molded into what we must become if we are to return with honor to Him.
Son, I am so proud of you, If I could I would return to serve a mission in a heart beat. I am so glad that you are experiencing losing yourself completely on the Lord's errand.
He will teach you, guide you, train you and prepare you for every event that will follow your mission, if you pay attention to what HE is trying to teach you through the Spirit.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you will learn and sharpen on your mission is the ability to listen and follow the Spirit .... no matter what the situation is.... develop that trait, and always remember, many times the spirit inspires us to do something... and many times that inspiration comes just to see if you will listen and obey. You may not understand why you were inspired to do something ... but it always has an eternal reason behind it.
I love you son, I miss you.
May God's hand be upon your shoulder, May you walk in the Lord's
footsteps, and may you be guided to those you promised to find before you left your pre-mortal state.... they are waiting for that promise to be fulfilled.
A response from a Son to a Father
Dad you have no idea how much that helped me. In my 2 weeks meeting with all the missionaries from the CCM and their companions I had an amazing spiritual experience. I sat down and the spirit was very heavy in the room and All of the sudden in a minute of Silence the Spirit Rushed over me. I can only describe it similar to the waves that would hit me at the beach back home, and would send me tumbling like a sack of rice. It overcame my being and EVERY DOUBT PROBLEM AND FEAR I had was gone in an instant. I felt complete and absolute peace. I have only ever felt that way in the Celestial room of the Orlando temple, and that was only one time. It was amazing to experience and It testified to me that any place we go, we can make it a holy place. ¨Stand ye in Holy Places and Be Not Moved¨ It was amazing to experience and I want you to know that your Story has touched the lives and penetrated the hearts of about 45 people. It has allowed us to teach with power and on a very personal level with these people. I NEED you to know that because of what you have gone through you have helped begin the process of saving all of these souls. You will be able to see them again at that last day and I know they will say thank you to you and not me. I have realized very quickly that this is not my mission. This is the Lord´s. I am only an instrument that can be played solely upon the merits of virtue, humility, diligence, obedience and Faith. The People are so ready for the gospel here. Thank you for your trial dad. You have helped save souls. ¨How great shall be your joy if you can bring save one soul into the kingdom of Heaven¨ I love you. I know I am the First Hefner to have the Title of Elder in a very long time. I will be the Last until my son goes on his mission. I hold our family name Sacred and I am doing everything I can to Honor This name. I bear it Humbly Right next to the name of the Savior. I promise you can count on me. I love you dad. I miss you more than you can imagine. But I know I am here for a beautiful work.
One of this week's miracles - Oh MORMONES!
"So we were going to go teach a very excited convert named Tono. I don´t know why but he reminds me a lot of Abuelo just shorter and skinnier. It was his first time to Church and he said he wanted to be baptized on Saturday! We told him we would come by to talk about it then set a date. When we went by three days later he was waiting for us on the front porch, like a little kid on Christmas Morning and JUMPED when he saw us and exclaimed ¨ ELDERS ! ¨ With a huge smile. We walked in and began teaching the Restoration. THEN he brought his 40 year old daughter into the lesson and we taught her as well as his grand daughter, which was a Miracle. THEN TWO MORE random people just walked in ( Tono keeps his house open to anyone who wants to come in) and they both came in 10 mins apart and the first woman said ¨ Oh MORMONES! I was baptized a Mormon 20 years ago but I haven´t been since.¨ Then another man walked in saying ¨I was baptized a mormon 7 years ago but haven¨t gone in YEARS¨ It was so amazing we are actually going to go teach them right after this. But miracles like this have been happening CADA DIA mama (every day mom). It´s insane! After I left the house the Spirit spoke to me and testified that This was a promise from my Patriarchal blessing that says ¨You will plant Deep Seeds in the Hearts of the People¨ and Tono( WHOS REAL NAME IS TONY) Will be one of them. Furthermore we were teaching in a Noche De Hogar (Family Home Evening) and We taught about temples to 2 Investigator families and I was Given the Gift of Tongues and I Spoke PERFECT Spanish as I shared my experience before the mission in the temple with our families and part of the talk I gave in Stake Conference. Mom I can´t even write 1-20 of the Miracles I have seen."
This week's Service, companions, trainers and P-Day
This week we helped build a house in the mountains for one of our investigators. You can see from the pictures how humble this house is.
Elder Henze is in my district. He is now one of my greatest friends and Brothers. I can´t even tell you how strong his testimony is. He came out one transfer before me. He is amazing I love him to Death.
Elder Henze, Elder Flores and Elder King
That is elder King helping cook up a master piece of eggs for lunch. He is Elder Henze´s ¨Dad¨ Elder Flores is my ¨Dad¨lol
This was us playing monopoly on P-DAY today... I won. I am Zone Champ. Everything with a Hotel is mine hahaha WE PLAYED FOR 3 HOURS!!!! lol I talked allll about our games back home lol Notice the houses are yellow and not green!!
lol ok hey I have to go mom :( I love you though!!!!! Until next week...