Monday, June 25, 2012

email: June 25, 2012

I have had a really good week. Elder Larson and I are working so well together. We teach really well and we get along even better. Even though he is quite different from me (he is very artsy and musically inclined) we feed off of each other. We now have four people with a date for baptism! We found this young guy that is really interested in what we have to teach. We came back and we invited him to be baptized and he accepted! Daniel has had a rough past; in and out of prison, drugs, gang banging, the whole nine yards. He really wants to change his life and we told him that this is a way to do it. We are really excited about him and want the best for him. 

Remember Victor? Well we finally have him a baptismal date as well! He were super excited about it because we have been working with him for months and nothing has happened. We finally got blunt with him and told him that if he wants all these good things in life (a family, a good wife, ect.) he needs to be baptized. He is a southern boy and he is very stubborn but he finally recognize that this is something he needs to do so he accepted it. We are super excited about it all. 

Jessica and Demetrius are doing well, we didn't meet with them this week but hopefully this next week. We also went to a wedding for a guy in our community. We helped him out a lot and he invited us to his wedding. It was super crazy but we were glad we went. I will send pictures :)

Elder Scoffield went home today... That was super rough for me because I have gotten so close to him. He was the person I turned to for everything at home. It was hard to see him leave but I know that he was needed at home. For some reason, President told him on Thursday he will be going home on Monday. That threw all of us for a loop. So needless to say, last night and this morning have been rough for me to see him go. He is such a good guy, he is someone that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. 

Mary blew up on us these past two days... And it is mainly my fault. We told her that we would come over two days in a row and we didn't because we got tied up in other things. I felt so bad and apologized to her for it and she still blew up on me. It kinda got me angry but then again, I deserve it because I wasn't doing what I was supposed to do. So needless to say, I will be trying to fix that whole mess this week.

On a positive note, we went on a hike today into the mountains and it was BEAUTIFUL! I loved it! I got so many cool pictures. I will send them to you. Other than that, I am doing okay, working hard. Everything else is going well, no more bike issues. Keep me in your prayers and thoughts. I love you all!

Elder Tonini

Monday, June 18, 2012

email: June 18, 2012

So I got my new comp this week. His name is Elder Larson and he was actually trained by Chambers! So we do a lot of things the same way. We have had an interesting first week together. We taught 10 lessons, had two drunk people yell and swear at us saying that we are frauds, gave a lot of service, found three new people to teach and I confirmed three people in sacrament meeting. Needless to say, we have been running around being as productive as possible.

The first drunk guy was actually Adam's cousin (a less active guy we have been teaching). Adam told us to come over that evening for a lesson with him and his girlfriend. When we got there, he wasn't there. His cousin then pulled up with Adam's buddy and he started to talk to us. He was using the F-bomb every other word and swearing like a sailor. He told us that he was super unhappy and how Mormons are always happy. He was pretty drunk and we just listened to him rant and rant. Then the next day, we were over at Mary's for dinner and she had one of her "friends" over. She sees us and started to LAY into us. We sat there and took it all. She told us that there is no God, He doesn't exist and how Mormons are so wrong. Elder Larson read her one of the articles of faith that talked about how we let everyone worship and honor as they please and that lady blew up. She told us that she spits on the church building when ever she walks by it. Mother, you have NO idea how close I came to standing there in her face and going off on her. Luckily, I listened to the Spirit and He told me to keep my mouth shut so I did. I came so close to doing something I shouldn't have. I guess I am growing up because I wouldn't have held my tongue like I did.

We seem to attract a lot of service. We love doing it and it is really starting to show in the community. Random people will honk and wave at us and we don't even recognize who they are! Something kinda weird though happened when we were helping Adam move out of his house. His girlfriend kept flirting with me and it made me SUPER uncomfortable. So needless to say, we will limit the amount of time that we spend there. Giving service is something I love to do. Me enjoying service? Haven't changed one bit ;)

We have taught a lot this past week. While we were out tracting, we found a family that we are going to start seeing. They invited us back and we had a really good lesson with them. We are really excited to see them progress in the Gospel. They are three brothers ages 9, 11, and 34. The 34 year old brother is actually a movie producer and a nurse. He has written two movies that will hopefully becoming into real productions soon! We have met all sorts of fun people here. We had another lesson with Jessica and Demetrius. We took a member with us to the lesson, which was a HUGE help. He helped us analyze the lesson afterwards. Jessica isn't progressing like we want her too but Demetrius is still going strong! I did, however, run the idea by President about him baptizing her. He said that we are discouraged to do that so that they can make those covenants on the same day. However, they are still excited about being baptized. I think we are going to focus our efforts on Demetrius so we can get him ready for July 13th.

So on Sunday, I confirmed for the first time on Sunday. I didn't only do it once, but THREE TIMES! Oh boy was I nervous! I thought that the Bishop was going to do it but when we got ready to do it, he told me to do it. My heart was going to literally pound out of my chest! I don’t think I have ever been that nervous in my life. The blessings went well, I just have never been that nervous in my life! 

I sure did miss Dad on Sunday... I always do but it was hard to not be there with him. Hopefully he got my card in the mail this week!

Things are going well here and I am starting to see myself become into the missionary I want to become. I am actually learning how to play the ukulele at night. I love it! It is super super fun. I also learned how to back flip on flat ground today too! Luckily, I didn't hurt myself too bad ;). Have a great week!

Elder Tonini

Monday, June 11, 2012

email: June 11, 2012

It sounds like it was another up and down week for our favorite missionary serving in the Riverside California mission: 

We had four baptisms this weekend: Mary and the M***** boys! It was a super busy week but I am so glad that we are finally seeing the fruits of our labors. Mary has made such huge strides to be committed to making her baptismal covenants. She has literally made changes in her life that has flipped her 180 degrees. We taught her a lot to get her ready for Saturday but she made it. We are so happy for her and the changes she has made. After her baptism, I felt the Spirit so strongly that I was almost in tears. I loved that feeling.

We then had the M*****'s baptism on Sunday and we had a HUGE turnout. There were 40 people there to support them! It was a 12 year old, a 10 year old, and an 8 year old. All three boys are such good boys. We loved teaching their family. It took some work to get them ready but that family is now complete. 

On the teaching front, during our lesson with Jessica and Demetrius, we proposed the idea of him baptizing her on July 13th. Jessica's eyes got so big and asked if he could really do that. We told her that he could, he would need to get baptized in the upcoming weeks but it could happen. It was super exciting to see the progress that they are making.

It has been difficult for him as his companion gets ready to go home.  There has been a lot of talk about home which can be a challenging for a missionary who has only been out just over three months.   He is ready for the new challenges that having a new companion will bring as well as being the companion with the most time in the area.  Through it all, he keeps thinking about the blessing that he received when he was set apart the promise that is in it. 

He concludes this week letter with this request:

Keep me in your prayers and thank you for all of your prayers in my behalf. Hopefully this week will be a better week and not be so focused on things back home. I love you all, send my love to everyone.

Elder Tonini

Monday, June 4, 2012

email: June 4, 2012

This week has been really good actually! I got my bike fixed and it is working better than ever. I am still not feeling the best but I am making it through. I am not dying yet so I don't think I will need to go to the doctors. If I don't start feeling better, I will call the mission nurse and see what she says. I love hearing from the kids about the week and all the stuff that is going on. Stay busy and you won't think about me too much.

I seriously love being a missionary. This week, I really felt the love for the people I am serving and the people that are progressing in the Gospel. Jessica and Demetrius are doing well. It will be cool to see how when they follow the commandments, it will only strengthen their marriage and their love for one another. We meet this guy by where we live that we have given a lot of service to. He is getting married at his home and asks us all the time to come help. His name is Crazy Ray because, well, he is crazy! He even invited us to his wedding on the 22nd so that will be interesting.

We taught Sonia and Elias again. They barbecued for us and cook some AWESOME steaks for us! We then had another bomb lesson with them. They are making so much progress! They ask so many questions which is super good. Their two daughters leave for Mexico this week so we will only be teaching Sonia and Elias. Oh, we are teaching Mary again! Her daughter just got baptized in Marietta and she has been such a good influence on her mom. Mary is supposed to be baptized on Saturday so hopefully we can get her ready for it! We have a baptism on Saturday and on Sunday! We are so excited for it. We had five investigators at Church on Sunday. I taught the Gospel Principles class and has a really Spirit-felt lesson. I have seriously felt the Spirit so much this week. Everything is starting to fall into place. I seriously feel like a missionary now and not some fresh greenie.

There was something very cool that happened this week. We had our zone meeting on Friday and I was chosen to recite Joseph Smith's Standard of Truth. I stood in front of about 20 missionaries and recited it to them. I told them that I loved the Standard of Truth because it reminds me of what being a missionary really means. Whenever I said it, I said it with such great power and feeling that there was a change in the room whenever I said it. I seriously felt the Spirit hit me like a train on my chest. 

Good things are happening here in Beaumont. It will be weird to see Chambers leave but it will be up to me to keep the work going. I love y'all so much.

Elder Tonini