Monday, April 30, 2012

email: April 30, 2012

This has been a crazy week for me. It was transfer week so we knew that Elder Faka'Osi was leaving us so that was sad to see him leave. I am so burnt today from playing disk golf all day today. We played 36 holes of it; I can say that I am officially addicted to it. I am actually pretty good at it too!

We rode about 67 miles this week but we have been teaching a lot lately it seems. Jessica and Demetrius that we have been teaching came to sacrament meeting and stayed for all three hours of church!  They are so solid though, we have an appointment with them on Wednesday so hopefully we will have a good lesson with them. We invited them to be baptized so hopefully they will accept it. Mary, our other investigator, is slowly progressing. She is having doubts about things because her daughter is taking the discussions as well but she has stopped talking to her completely. She started to blame it on the Mormon faith but then she realized that it has to be her and not the teachings of the church. She loves us though, she drops stuff of to us all the time! 

I am learning a LOT about using my time wisely. It is weird that every hour of my day is planned. As a 19 year old kid, that is crazy. However, it is a good learning experience to learn how to do that. My mission president puts a huge emphasis on using time wisely so I am making it a priority. I love being a missionary even though it is really hard sometimes.

One funny and scary story though before I finish. Elder Chambers and I were riding home from an appointment with a less active kid that we teach. It was almost 9 when we left his house so we rode home in the dark. As we are riding down the street, we see this huge white dog that started to zig-zag between us when we rode up to him. Suddenly, he takes off after me! He's nipping at my heels, chasing me down the street. I was pounding the pedals as hard as I could! Finally I rode enough to where he gave up but I rode almost a quarter of a mile before he stopped chasing me. I was kinda CRAZY but we laughed about it afterwards. The scary story is that I almost got ran over by a car on Wednesday night... Luckily, I have a good bike so I stopped before she hit me. It was late at night and she didn't see me when I went through the intersection. The lady was NOT happy. I didn't care because I was so happy about our BOMB lesson with Jessica and Demetrius when we invited them to be baptized!  

Love you!

Your missionary son

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Trainer/Trainee Meeting, April 24, 2012

Elder Tonini made another appearance on the California Riverside Mission blog. I have copied the picture here (right) or you can see on the original blog here.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

email: April 23, 2012


Sounds like things are going very well back home, things are busy and everyone is happy. Happiness is a choice and I am so glad that y'all are making the choice to be happy. I have had my ups and downs this week but I am always trying to be happy, no matter how much I have on my mind. I keep thinking of President Shummway's blessing and the promise he gave to me. I intend to make that promise become reality and that everything I go through will be all worth it in the end.

We finally hit 200 miles on the bike this week. We have had a really busy week, from flat tires to inviting people to the waters of baptism, we have done it all. The work is finally starting to come around. We now have ten investigators! We invited Mary to be baptized and she is going to work on achieving that goal on May 6th. She is such a sweetheart, she is my mother away from my own mother. She is going to continue to go to church and learn more so she can be ready for the waters of baptism. We are going to help her as much as we can to get her ready to make that first step.

We got five new investigators this week and they have kept us busy. One of the families that we found has a really cool story behind it. Elder Chambers and I were out tracting when we knocked on this one door and a Hispanic lady answered. She at first said she wasn't interested in what we had to say then she started to open up and told us that her mother and mother-in-law have cancer. We told her we would come back with a Spanish Plan of Salvation pamphlet for her; that was two weeks ago. We went by last Tuesday to drop off the pamphlet but she wasn't there so we gave it to her brother. After dinner, we stopped by to see if she had gotten it. Her husband answered the door. We explained who we are and he invited us in. We ended up teaching the Plan of Salvation to them and gave them a Book of Mormon. On Saturday, we came back to see them and they shocked us; they were reading the Book of Mormon together and really talking about it. What really impressed me was that all week Demitrius (the husband) listened to talk radio on the way to work and all they talked about was how there are things out there that disprove the Book of Mormon. The adversary is working really hard on him and boy does that make me mad! It goes to show that the adversary is really real. Anyways, that didn't faze him and he still kept reading and asked us why people are so hard about the Book of Mormon. We told him it is because the Book of Mormon is they way for people to know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is really Christ's church. Our lesson of the Restoration was a bomb and we invited them to come to church with us. They said they would be there and that they are going to keep on reading. On Sunday, only Demitrius showed up because his wife, Jessica, got sun burnt very badly and wasn't feeling well so she stayed home with her two kids. Demetrius looked so fresh in his suit that he wore! He is a Marine and he cleans up VERY well. We even got him to stay for all three hours of church! After church he told us why he came just by himself even though his family couldn't go. About a week ago, he was thinking and he told himself that he was going to find a church to take his family to. He kept putting it off and putting it off until one day when he was driving home from work, he prayed and promised God that he would go to church that week. He didn't know what church to go to but he is going and then we knocked on his door and we invited him to come to church so he kept his promise and came. NOTHING ever happens by chance. It wasn't by chance that we found the Passmore family or Mary or anyone else who we have found. The Lord truly knows us better than we do, I know that for a fact.

After our lesson with the Passmore's, we came back to teach a family that we tracted into on Friday afternoon. We talked to Andre and he said that he would want us to come back and that his girlfriend would be very interested in hearing what we had to say. So we came back on Saturday but he was leaving when we pulled up. He told us to come back in half an hour and he sound be home from the store. We rode around, talking to people, trying to be effective while we waited for Andre to come back home. At 5 we rode by the house but didn't see his car outside on the driveway. We were about to ride off when his girlfriend's son opened the door and yelled at us to come in. Trya is the mom and she was so so intersted to hear what we have to say. She is good friends with some recent converts and she has been wanting to hear from us for a while. We taught them the Restoration and they asked a lot of questions about the Church. They asked if black people were shunned in the church (they are a black family) and we told them HECK NO! We ended up giving them TWO copies of the Book of Mormon so that they can read as a family. They are an amazing family and they really want to change their lives for the better and turn to Christ. They even have a picture of Him on their wall! I know that they have been prepared to hear the gospel, otherwise they wouldn't be wanting to hear so much about it.

On a funnier note, we came up to this house on Sunday and saw two men outside. One was sitting on the steps and the other one was face flat on the walkway up to the porch. We talked to the man sitting on the steps and asked him if he needs any help. He told us that he needs to get his friend in the house. Come to find out, the guy was passed out drunk! We tried to lift him but lifting 250 pounds of dead weight is impossible. We walked away shaking our heads because it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and that guy was passed out drunk. I also got a flat tire on Sunday... But thankfully one of the members was able to slime it and fix the flat. I got a thorn from taking a shortcut to get to the other side of our area. Goodness, I love riding my bike every day! Oh and I have fallen in love with a new sport: disk golf! We went last PDay with a less-active member of the church  and we are going with him again today. His wife isn't a member and is now opening up to us teaching because we are building a great relationship with that family.

Being a missionary is awesome, I love it! It is so hard but it's the launching pad for the rest of my life as well as the people I have and will meet. I love you and keep me in your thoughts and prayers as we start to have people hopefully coming into the waters of baptism!

Your Missionary Son,

Elder Tonini

Monday, April 16, 2012

email: April 16, 2012

My mileage is up to 144 miles so far. We only rode about 60 miles this week but we taught seven lessons instead! We have five new investigators that we are working with. We are finally starting to see the fruits of our labors coming forth. It is really exciting to see how the Lord works through us to touch other peoples lives. And Dad, I love getting your letters during the week. I love getting mail, it makes me feel like I am loved back home ;). I even got a letter from Taylor's mom! That was an awesome surprise. And do you remember Megan? Christian's girlfriend? She got baptized in February and didn't even tell me! I got a letter from her this week and she finally told me. Everyone in the apartment complains about how much mail I get during the week but I love it :)

This week was a busy one for Chambers and I. I will give you a breakdown on how it went:

Monday- It was the usual P Day with shopping, zone activity, emailing and laundry. However, our Elders Quorum President took us out to the driving range to go hit some golf balls. I have never swung a club in my LIFE so I was pretty stoked to learn how to do it. I wasn't the best but it was a lot of fun. We went to a part members house for dinner and had left overs from Easter. I love food holidays! We then left and booked it to another members house to teach a lesson. We were riding as fast as we could in the dark when a car passed us on the street then flipped their lights on. It was the California Highway Patrol. I about had to change my shorts because I thought for sure that we were about to get a ticket for riding our bikes without a light. But it actually turned out to be one of our ward members that is a CHP Officer! He about gave me a heart attack. He just wanted to say hi to us and see how we were doing. We then taught a bomb of a lesson at the Pratt home with one of our investigators there. It was a great way to end our P Day.

Tuesday - We had a lesson with one of our less actives in the morning. She too is starting to make good progress to coming back to church. After that we went to interviews with President Smart. That went really well, I love my mission president and his wife. We then went and gave service all afternoon. I was so tired but it was well worth it. We mowed a lawn, weed eated, and cut down a tree for a lady that is hurt her shoulder and is having trouble getting better. After that, we went and helped with a Scout service project to help clean up a local road in town. I love giving service and giving back to the community. It was a long day of service but it was well worth it.

Wednesday - Nothing really big happened but we did eat at this really good sandwich place in town. It was super good and members of the church even own the place too so it was good. It rained all morning! We were soaked in the morning but it stopped by the afternoon. Little did we know that there was more rain to come...

Thursday - We taught two investigators! It was awesome. We taught a couple the Restoration and they wanted us to come back and teach them more. We gave them a Book of Mormon and they prayed at the end of the lesson as well. They are pretty solid, all we need to do is help them keep their commitments and feel the Spirit. We taught Victor that night and we invited him to be baptized! That was an awesome feeling to actually invite someone to come into the waters of baptism. He didn't say yes but he is going to pray about it and see what answer he gets. I really really hope he says yes when we go back on Thursday to teach him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love teaching and helping people to feel the Spirit! We are hoping to have a baptism very soon in our ward. Our ward has been dry for about a year... We are hoping that we can change that around!

Friday - Oh Friday... Friday was so miserable! It rained ALL DAY LONG. The work doesn't stop for anything so we went out and made visits all morning. Elder Chambers was in a meeting all day so I was with the Beaumont Ward Missionaries until he got back. We rode ten miles in the cold, freezing rain. We saw one lady and we talked to her for a little about how her family is doing. We came home and were about to die from frost bite. We threw our clothes into the dryer and fell asleep because we were exhausted and feeling miserable. After our clothes dried, we walked in a down pour to see one of my newer investigators, Mary. She let us in and we ended up teaching her about the Restoration and we then invited her to church. She actually said yes! She was so flattered that we would walk in the rain to go see her. It was well worth the walk to go knock on her door. I earned some MAJOR wife points from working all day in the rain. The work must go on, through rain or shine!

Saturday - Saturday was a pretty normal day. We taught a less active member in the morning then went down to a fishing derby that one of our neighbors was running. We didn't get to see him but we stayed busy all day. We talked to a lot of people and visited a lot of members in the ward that we haven't met yet. Overall, Saturday was very productive.

Sunday - This was my favorite day this week. We had beautiful weather and our investigator, Mary, came to church! She even stayed for all three meetings. Even though she might have been overwhelmed, she really felt the Spirit. I was so excited to have her there! WE really feel like she could be baptized very soon. She is a Southern Baptist raised in Texas so it will take some work but she is really starting to open up. I got a really bad headache when I got home from church so that kinda hindered our work... I felt terrible that we didn't do as much as we could have but I really felt horrible. We had a good dinner and then went to visit a part member family. That visit went really well! The husband told us last night that he wants to take his family to church so we invited him to come and he's going to take his family next Sunday! We are actually going to go play disk golf with him later this afternoon :)
That's my week and hopefully we will have another one this coming week. Send my love to everyone. Love you and keep you eye single to the glory of God!
Elder Tonini

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Zone Interviews - April 10, 2012

In case you aren't checking in on the Mission Blog, they had zone interviews this week.  Not a lot of details but there was a picture of Elder Tonini and his companion, Elder Chambers.  (I am not sure if this is before or after he started cutting his own hair).  And is the custom in this mission, they also list each missionary's favorite scripture.  Elder Tonini's are Psalm 23:4 and Ether 12:26-27.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On the Lighter Side

Elder Hay is currently serving in the Mesa Arizona mission and is one of several missionaries serving from our old Bear Creek Ward. His letter this week started out with this funny experience: 

Perhaps I'll start with something amusing that happened to us. We live with some members here in this area. They are about 70 years old and are quite a hoot. We managed to escape from one of their retellings of their life stories on Saturday and get out to our work. We quickly turned down the street and found ourselves in the beloved town homes area of our ward... So as we arrived at the town homes via the secret entrace hole in the wall - Brother Rapier, the owner of the home we live in, calls us. I answer the phone and he tells me, "Oh, by the way Elder Hay, I thought you might want to zip up your zipper before you go tracting today." It was pretty funny at the moment at least.

I am sure Drew will likewise have his share of "lighter moments" on his mission as well.

Monday, April 9, 2012

email: April 9, 2012

Mom and Dad,
That is so awesome that you had such a good week. I love looking forward to Dad's, Grandma Tonini's and Thompson's letters every week. I love it. I actually wrote Grandma back and the Thompson's back today :) I have felt pretty accomplished!
Dad, here is my mileage for the week:

Total distance: 82 miles
Average mileage a day: 15 miles
Top speed: 41.1 MPH
Total time spent traveling: about 1:30 a day

That bike is awesome and that little computer was so worth the 12 dollars! I got my Camelbak on Friday when we had Zone meeting. I LOVE IT! It is so awesome and exactly what I was looking for.
So what happened this week? It was actually a good one! We have worked hard and it is actually starting to pay off. We got a referral for a guy that went to General Conference with his best friend's family. His best friend is serving a mission and he is now starting to investigate the Church. We went over and I taught my first ever real lesson to an investigator! It went really really well. We are hoping that he will want to be baptized soon. Our goal is to get a baptism before the end of the month so we are going to work our tails off to make that happen.

There is a young man in the ward that I have kind of taken under my wing in trying to help him be ready to go on a mission. He is struggling in some areas and we are doing our best to help him turn things around. He is actually coming to a lesson tonight because we are teaching his "girlfriend" that isn't a member so hopefully that will go well.

We had two Easter dinners this week! It was really awesome :). I saw that you got the pictures from the Terry's! She is a Texan so we had A LOT in common. I seriously have the best ward, well my Seminole Branch has every ward I will serve in beat BUT they are a close second :). The members are getting excited about missionary work again.
We had a very good Easter Sunday. We were trying to kill time before dinner so we went and stopped by a family that we met to see how they were going. They were having an Easter party and actually invited us in. We got to meet the family and basically crash the party. There was some drinking so we didn't stay long, just enough to make a presence. After that, we were out tracting before dinner and met the coolest lady ever. We were supposed to teach a family in this apartment complex but instead of me going directly to where their door was, I went the long way. I got talking to a lady that was just about to go inside but she talked with us for almost half an hour on her doorstep. She was really upset and looking for more in life to be happy. I bore my testimony to her that the Gospel we share is a gospel that brings happiness and a sense of belonging. She was really interested and wants to learn more so we will be going by her house again. Meeting her would not have happened if I hadn't chosen to take the long way. The Spirit works in many mysterious ways.

That is about all that I can think of to report home. Hopefully I will be sending baptismal pictures home soon! Love you all!
Your Missionary,
Elder Tonini

Friday, April 6, 2012

In Field Training

We are reminded every week that Drew's mission experience is very different from ours, and not just because he is serving in the States.  For example, we spent most of our time in the MTC focusing on the language and then spent the first three months once we got in country memorizing the discussions word-for-word to further improve our Portuguese.  In contrast, Elder Tonini spent his time in the MTC learning how to effectively teach.  And just because he has left the Missionary Training Center doesn't mean that this training has ended.  Beginning August 2011, a new effort was started Church-wide to bring an additional 12 weeks of training to missionaries who have just arrived in the mission field.  The materials for the in-field training of new missionaries includes three training documents (one for the mission president, one for the trainer, and one for the new missionary) and new companion study video segments.

The four-page Instructions for Trainers begins with this admonition: “The responsibility to train a new missionary is a sacred trust from your mission president and from the Lord. A missionary’s first companion has a profound, lasting influence on the development of the missionary’s attitudes, habits, and ability to fulfill his or her purpose.”
Each new missionary’s trainer will receive a copy of the booklet, which gives tips on being a positive example and guidelines on studying and proselyting together, training a new missionary, the additional 60 minutes of companion study required in the first 12 weeks, and personal study. New missionaries and their trainers are expected to train together daily, explaining, demonstrating, practicing, evaluating, and repracticing principles from Preach My Gospel.
The First 12 Weeks for New Missionaries and Trainers is the third booklet in the new program and the one that is supplied to each new missionary and his or her trainer.
It opens with a call to the new missionary. “You will continue to build on the foundation established at the MTC by understanding and living all of the principles of missionary work found in Preach My Gospel,” it reads. “Strive to become the kind of missionary who could, if called upon, train a new missionary by the end of your first 12 weeks in the mission field.”
For the first 12 weeks, new missionaries and their trainers follow a suggested schedule of study from the manual, which lists what sections and topics to study in Preach My Gospel. It also provides suggestions on how new missionaries can apply what they are learning in their proselyting.

More information can be found here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dinner Appointment with the Terry Family

From: Dan Terry
Date: April 2, 2012 11:43:02 PM CDT
To: Raena Tonini
Subject: Missionary Dinner

We had your son over for dinner and I wanted you to know that we fed him well. I was born and raised in Freeport, Texas, so he loved hearing "ya" and having some bar-b-que. You have a wonderful son and we are lucky to have him in our ward.
Sister Charlene Terry

Monday, April 2, 2012

email: April 2, 2012

Do you think we will eventually get to a point in Drew's mission when we aren't actively monitoring our email accounts on Monday so that we know the exact moment that his email arrives?  If we ever do get to that point, we aren't there yet.  Here are some highlights from his email this week:

This week didn't go as well as last week did. We have talked to a ton of people but we haven't found any new investigators yet. It's been kind of depressing... But I'm not losing faith. It's hard when the other missionaries we live with don't get up on time or follow every rule like we do and they are seeing more success than us. However, it has been a good week with General Conference. Nothing too crazy happened but it was a good, long work week. 

He also included an experience from his first week that he had forgotten to tell us about:

We were out tracting before a dinner appointment and we went to this park to talk to people. We talked to this dad that was part of a group called Rock Autism. So we went and asked if there was a way for us to get a shirt and support the group. I wanted to be a part of it because of Emma [his cousin on the Tonini side] and so we did. The guy that runs the group is actually LDS so we got hooked up with shirts then we went and were a part of their PSA that they were shooting! Its probably on YouTube so you can watch it :)

Now, just in case you think a month in the mission field has already changed Drew, think again.  There is still some of that little kid under that white shirt and tie:

So we went to the store today and I got a computer for my bike so I can keep track of all my miles that I ride. Dad will LOVE all the stats I will send him.  I also bought stuff to make a scripture box out of a cearal box. It's a very popular thing for missionaries to do so I'm going to do it. I will send pictures of it when I finish it. It is going to be SWEET. I have some news for you. Drum roll please....... I cut my hair for the first time this morning! A family in my ward gave me a set of clippers so I buzzed my head :) it was pretty sastifying, if I don't say so myself. It was really easy actually and it looks pretty good!

You may remember last week Drew talked about a freelance photographer asking to take some pictures of him and his companion.  To be honest, it concerned me a little bit but Drew sent us copies of the pictures and they are pretty good.