Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 103... Jesus the Christ.

Hello everyone!
The time has come. This is my final email sent home to all of you as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have so many stories and experiences. It's crazy to think I have been away for 2 years. The Lord has blessed me with a strong will. I never felt home sickness. The mission has so much to tell. I could almost write a short novel. I say short because I'm not the best writer haha! But these last 2 years have been a great time of trial, joy, hardship, exhaustion, diligence, peace, love, learning, experiencing, and so many other things that are indescribable. I never thought that I would be where I am. 

At the beginning of my mission it all just seemed like a dream. Now it's a reality and I'm just getting started. My skills are sharp and I have become an effective missionary in the hands of the Lord. I can't explain it all, you almost have to experience it yourself. All I know is it has been the best 2 years of my life so far, with so much more to enjoy. So much more hardship and happiness to come. It's a great blessing to know that the Lord has entrusted us with the mantle of the missionary. I love my mission more than I can describe. If you have served you know what I mean. If you have yet to serve you better get ready to serve because the things you will learn as a missionary are so invaluable. There's only one way to learn it. That is serve. Serve with all your heart might mind and strength. BE a missionary, don't just go on a mission. If you are not going to be a missionary there's not a point in going. We don't go on missions to repent. We go to preach repentance. Don't go and return in vain. We go to help our brothers and sisters come to Christ. That is our purpose. To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. 

I have served faithfully. Not perfectly, I cannot and will not claim that. But I have served an honorable mission and pray that Heavenly Father will accept my sacrifice. Brothers and Sisters, some of you reading this are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Some of you may not believe in him at all. But I want you to know that I know that Jesus is the Christ, he is our Savior and friend. He knows each one of us. 

To quote the scriptures in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah chapter 14 says, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." 

He is the Christ. He has called a prophet in our latter day that is the prophet Joseph Smith. After years of being lost, the true gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to its fullness. with all the authority, and power to perform the ordinances thereof. I testify that the Book of Mormon IS the word of God, and evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet in these latter days, and that President Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today.  Our Savior is real and he is our King. Jesus is the Christ, our shadow by day and our pillar by night. I know that through Gospel of Christ, we can find true happiness. Christ loves you and knows you as his own son or daughter. This is my final testimony I leave with you as his Disciple in his holy and hallowed name, even the name of Jesus Christ AMEN. I love you all and will see most of you soon!!!!!
-Elder Heaton

Philippines Bacolod Mission

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week 102...Thanks.

This week has been a week of joy, yet a week of mourning. Joy in the work of the Lord, and mourning for the loss of our grandpa Grant. His influence was great among missionaries, family, friends, members, converts, and everything in between. He loved that I was sent here to serve in the Philippines. He once told me before I left, "Its better that you were called to the Philippines because the history of the church in Asia is not in Hong Kong itself. It is [also] in the Philippines. The Philippines will bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the rest of Asia."  

With thousands and thousands of youth here, preparing them to serve a mission will be vital.  One day these youth will serve in mainland China and through out the rest of Asia.  Grandpa had a love for this work that cannot be understood. He lived for it. It was his lifeblood. I'm sure he got so much joy just in hearing news about the progression of the work in China. He got calls from his missionaries once or twice a week I'm sure. 

His love for the work has come also to me. The work is progressing. We had 11 investigators at church on Sunday. It's a great blessing to be a missionary now and I can't explain all of my thanks in words. I praise our Heavenly Father for allowing me to serve him. I have only a little time left so I will use it to the best of my abilities. I wasn't able to attend my Grandfather's funeral but I will celebrate his life by doing what he loved, that is serving the Lord with all my heart might mind and strength. I love this work, I love this gospel and I know it is the restored gospel of Christ. I love you all!!  

-Elder Heaton 

Philippines Bacolod Mission

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 101...Even This Shall Pass Away.

This has been not the easiest week of my mission. Plenty of trials thats for sure. But Spencer W. Kimball once said. "We will know the progress we are making by the tribulations of the adversary, this has been the lot of the Lord people before it will be no different in our time." 
So I testify satan is real and when we are truly making progress then come the whirlwinds and storms to try to knock us down but let us remember the Saviors promise in 3 Nephi 11: Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. 

With the passing of Grandpa Grant and the other trials that have come, I have remembered one of the most priceless lessons ever taught to me by Grandpa himself. It's from a poem. 

Once in Persia reigned a King,
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before his eyes,
Gave him counsel, at a glance,
Fit for every change or chance:
Solemn words, and these are they:

'Even this shall pass away!'

Trains of camels through the sand
Brought him gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to rival these.
But he counted little gain
Treasures of the mine or main.

What is wealth? the King would say;
'Even this shall pass away.'

In the revels of his court,
At the zenith of the sport,
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests,
He, amid his figs and wine,
O loving friends of mine!
Pleasure comes, but not to stay:
Even this shall pass away.'

Lady fairest ever seen
Was the bride he crowned his queen.
Pillowed on the marriage-bed,
Whispering to his soul, he said,
Though a bridegroom never pressed
Dearer bosom to his breast,
Mortal flesh must come to clay:
Even this shall pass away.'

Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield.
Soldiers with a loud lament
Bore him bleeding to his tent.
Groaning from his tortured side,

Pain is hard to bear, he cried,
But with patience day by day,
'Even this shall pass away.'

Towering in the public square
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue carved in stone.
Then the King, disguised, unknown,
Gazing at his sculptured name,
Asked himself,
And what is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay:
Even this shall pass away.'

Struck with palsy, sere and old,
Waiting at the Gates of Gold,
Spake he with his dying breath,

Life is done, but what is Death?
Then, in answer to the King,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray --

Even this shall pass away.

I wear a ring similar to this, as does he and my father. My ring has worn down and I can no longer read the words even this shall pass away but I know the significance of the ring and what it stands for. I know that though we may go through hell and back again, the Lord will be with us and these trials will be but a small moment, and even these shall pass away.  This lesson has brought peace to my heart and I know it will for you as well. I pray that we may remember the kings ring and stand stong no matter what. I love you all as does our heavenly host of angels. 
-Elder Heaton

Philippines Bacolod Mission

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week 100... An Unsung Hero.

This week has brought a bit of bad news, and another trial to be faced. Another challenge to be met. Herald Grant Heaton Sr, my grandpa, has passed away. It's indescribable. Almost hard to believe. I cannot thank him enough for what he has taught me. He has helped launch me to the point that I am now. He got me going. Because of him, I am here on my mission. 

I speak of a man that learned to live the law of sacrifice. A man that was called as one of the first full time missionaries to mainland China. A man that at age 25 was given the responsibility of the the preaching of the gospel in southern Asia for 5 years. Within that 5 years the things he did for the missionary work and for God's kingdom were enormous. He helped take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every major city in southern Asia. He taught hundreds of people the gospel. He helped many people, myself included, understand the gospel. He lived a legacy of hard work and strong faith. All of these things he did, though known only to a few, will be known to every person who has accepted the gospel from the time that he was here. 

He truly is an unsung hero to the continent of Asia. He was unable to send full time missionaries to the Philippines in 1955-60. From that time hundreds of missionaries have served here. But he didn't send his first one until 2009. I now have the honor and privilege to take the gospel that he preached among the same people here in the 1950's. The tears of joy he expressed when he learned I was assigned here were tears that I now understand. This place is the miracle of Asia. I had the opportunity to be here during the 50th anniversary of missionary work in the Philippines. I never once heard the name Herald Grant Heaton, but I know that the people whose lives he touched remembered him. 

He now rests in the paradise of our Heavenly Father. Waiting for a great reunion. I am so grateful that I have the Honor to bear not only his name but my fathers name. It's been a blessing that I will give thanks for into the eternities. 

I heard a story of a man who had a dream. In this dream he went hiking through the woods. Until he saw a man he recognized as his grandfather. When they came close by each other his grandfather asked him, "I want to know what you have done to dishonor my name." The man replied after seeing the works of his life " I have not done anything that would disgrace your name."  The two men embraced and rejoiced. My father and I now carry the name of our Unsung Hero. Herald Grant Heaton. I will do my very best to honor that name in word and thought and deed. And I pray that we may all honor our father and mother by our good works. I love you all and know that our Father in heaven has a great plan for us. May we all honor and cherish the time we have with our father and mother. For it is only a short time while here. May we all remember our own Unsung Hero.

-Elder Heaton

Philippines Bacolod Mission

*If you are interested in seeing a link to the newspaper article announcing the calling of President Herald Grant Heaton in 1955 in the Deseret News, click HERE.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 99...He That Loses His Life...

Hello everyone this last week was good. We had a baptism which really lifted the spirits in time of need. haha! We watched a father who had come out of inactivity, a life of gambling and drinking, to a new life of scripture study, steady church going, and true happiness and joy in experiencing baptizing his daughter as well confirming her into the church. What a blessing. This man will also become the new elder quorum president. It's a great blessing to see the gospel illuminate their lives. It's a great blessing to wear Jesus Christ's name on my heart. Its a blessing to be able to serve. Some may consider the loss of 2 years in serving a mission. For example in those 2 years, you could have gotten an associate's degree in college and some on the job training. Could have gotten married. Could have done a lot of things. But all of these things have been sacrificed. A sacrifice of time effort and talents just as a lamb to the slaughter. Serving a mission isn't so much a sacrifice as it is a blessing. Yes I may have lost my life before but that's not important. Christ said " He that findeth his life shall lose it and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." I still don't know whats in store for my life but I know that I am serving the Lord with all my heart might mind and strength and I will find my life. I love this work and it's been such a blessing to me and the lives of my family and those that we have taught and brought into the fold. I know that all missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have been called of God through a living Prophet. Thank you all for your prayers and support I hope and pray all is well with you! Love you all!!!

-Elder Heaton

Philippines Bacolod Mission

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 98... The Plan.

Hello, this week has been great! We will be having another 3 baptisms this week, which is great! We will be able to see the fruits of our labors. Our only problem is, we gotta get to finding those next souls that are waiting to hear the gospel. I feel like Alma of old visting the zoramites. "Grant unto us that we may have success among these our brethren" This has become my greatest desire to help these people accept the gospel. 

The gospel is the plan and its what Heavenly Father has decided to be requirements for us to return to him. The plan is universal, and is for all people. We all need it and must all follow it for our salvation. Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and finally enduring to the end. This is the plan. I know that if we follow it step by step, precept upon precept, we will obtain exhaltation. I love you all and pray for your happiness. 

-Elder Heaton

Philippines Bacolod Mission

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Week 97...Challenge.

Well this week I want to just talk about a little saying I like. "Where there is no challenge, there is no growth." This is a simple phrase that I've pretty much talked about many times but it seems like we always are facing more and more trials each day. I know that the Lord knows our trials. He gives them for our benefit. He won't give something that we cant handle. Only through Christ, can we overcome all. That is really the essence of my message. 

I just want to remind you that he is fully aware of what you are going through. He knows you and loves you. He only wants one thing. "our immortality and eternal life" with him in his kingdom. He has given us the way. The way is simple. The way is Jesus Christ and his gospel. "I am the way the truth and the light. No man cometh unto the father but by me." I pray that as we find our struggles in life and face things that are difficult we will be able to overcome them through the grace of God. I love you and pray that we may keep on keepin on!!!

-Elder Heaton

Philippines Bacolod Mission


Elder Heaton getting ready to come home in the suit he left in two years ago!