Elder Te'o to the End!
From Ethan: Mon, Feb 16, 2015 11:42 am
Transfer calls this week and I really had a feeling I was going to leave Burley but alas I will be staying here with Elder Te'o yet another transfer! He will leave home in April so I am with him until his “death” on the mission :) Pretty sweet cause we get along super well and are seeing lots of success in our area. Staying with him till the end might mean I will be here another 3 months on top of the 6 I have already been here. Looks like Burley Unity will be the area I will serve the longest in.
I have some sweet news! Ron and Shirley Hiesinger are being baptized this Saturday Feb. 21st at 4:00pm. I am super excited for them. They are two golden good people :) They have really come to gain strong testimonies in the Restored Gospel and renewed faith in Jesus Christ. They have embraced the ward as their family and it's really awesome to see how happy they are now compared to 6 months ago. I love that aspect of the gospel, how much happiness it brings into people's lives and how much joy it brings! I know for myself, I am way more upbeat whenever I am choosing the right and following the Lord. Ron and Shirley have that desire to follow the Lord and that is why they are getting baptized! I will have the honor of confirming them as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as giving them the Gift of the Holy Ghost on the day after their baptism. What a blessing!!
I am super excited for the next couple of months. First of all the weather has been amazing here and we will start to do more yard work for people and giving service all the time! Secondly, the work here is awesome and I truly love the people here in the Burley Unity area. We are looking forward to Taggert Patterson, the adopted 13 year old boy from China, being baptized in the upcoming weeks as well as a couple of younger boys who have recently come back to church with their families. All is good in Burley Idaho :)
- Your friend, brother, son, fellow adventurer, first mate and missionary,
Elder Ethan Howard
From Ethan: Mon, Feb 23, 2015 10:44 am
This week was awesome because Ron and Shirley Heisinger were baptized! The story of how they received the gospel in their lives is a pure testimony to me of how our Heavenly Father has a hand in all things as it says in 2 Nephi 2:24, "But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."
Ron and Shirley Heisinger, in their seventies, have lived in Burley, ID just three years. Both from Oregon originally, they were married there about ten years ago. When they moved into the Unity 1st ward boundaries, it just happened to be right next to a field where Neil Thomas, our ward mission leader, farms. Over a couple years they started talking over the fence like Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor and Wilson on the show Home Improvement. After those couple of years Brother Thomas kept getting impressions that he should approach Ron and Shirley about the gospel. However he kept putting it off and putting it off until one day about six months ago Ron told him that he was having hip surgery and Shirley needed some help around the house. Finally it clicked in Bother Thomas' mind! He asked if the missionaries could come and help her out by cleaning the yard, mowing the lawn and various other miscellaneous jobs. They accepted! To add a point of interest, Bother Thomas didn't invite them to church off the bat but he took the opportunity to help us fulfill our calling by simply giving service. Well the time came for Ron's surgery. We got to have fun doing house work and getting to know Shirley! (Thank you mom and dad for teaching me how to do some good house work).
When Ron was in the hospital he got to know his therapist, Andrea Farfan, quite well. Andrea is a member of the church in town and at the time she was pregnant. Being far from family, Ron asked Andrea if they could be "adopted grandparents" to the new baby and the other kids. Having a good relationship, Andrea accepted and they became like family. When they had Christmas together and other fun times, they started noticing something a little different about the Farfan family and their happiness.
After we helped Ron and Shirley for a couple weeks, we invited them to hear the lessons. During the space of a couple months of teaching lessons and the Heisingers affiliating with the Farfans, I guess the Spirit touched them because they gained a desire to find out if the church was true. They have attended church for four months and have read most of the Book of Mormon. Through diligent prayer and reading they gained testimonies that this church was true! It is really awesome to notice how the Lord placed us, Brother Thomas and the Farfan family in Ron and Shirley lives at different times and in different places to help them learn about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter--day Saints. Funny enough we didn't even know about the Farfan family, much less meet them until just a month before Ron and Shirley got baptized. Coincidence?! I think not.
On a different note, Elder Te'o and I got to cook for a family instead of them cooking for us! We fried Salmon in a secret receipe :) I really love all the families in our area! Sundays are my favorite day because we get to visit and spend time with some awesome families. I am lucky enough to be serving in the USA so I can visit all these people for the rest of my life with ease! I'm just a lucky guy to be serving in such a great place. Sorry to all my friends in crazy places like Chile, Australia or Madagascar, but Twin Falls Idaho is the best mission in the world!
Love, Elder Howard!