Monday, July 30, 2012

email: July 30, 2012

Isn't going to teach with the missionaries the best? That means sooooo much to them to have you go out with them to teach. Coming from a missionary, I know how much that means to them! I felt that way and not wanting to go out with them but now I really regret not doing it more often! Let me know how that couple does! I love hearing how much success y'all are seeing out there. Tell those Elders to keep the work going!

This week was a very dull week. Our teaching pool has shrunk and we hardly have anyone to teach. And when we do set something up, it falls through. We are supposed to teaching 20 lessons a week and we are only getting seven to ten... However, we are not letting that get us down. We spend a lot of time tracting and talking to people. On Monday, we went to a regional park with Robert and his family to go play disc golf. We spent all day there with them. After that, we went and taught Victor that night the new member lessons. He is making so much progress. He comes over every morning to workout with me. That is helping me so much to get into the habit of getting up on time.

Tuesday was DDM day and that took FOREVER. We didn't start it until almost noon when it was supposed to start at 10 AM. After that, it was another day filled with tracting. We talked to as many people as we could. We did teach Victor again though and we taught him about Preach My Gospel and how he can use it. He is thirsting for knowledge that we can't keep him fed for long!

Wednesday was another day FILLED with tracting. That is what I feel like we do all the time now. We did have a pretty funny experience while we were out knocking doors. We knocked on this one door and this teenage girl came out and we started to talk to her and invited her to hear out the gospel. She wasn't interested and neither was anyone else in the house so we moved on. That house was on the corner of a circle so we went and knocked the rest of those doors. When we got to the opposite side of that house, these two girls come out of the garage and flag us down. They said they wanted to talk to us so, naturally, we went over there to talk to them. Come to find out, the girl that we talked to at that door step wanted Elder Larson's number and thought that he was super hot! Only problem is that 1) we are missionaries and 2) she has so many piercings all over her face, even some in her gums! We told them that we can't date and they responded with "you guys can't even hook up?!" SUPER AWKWARD! They even asked for our number but we didn't give it to them. We did though explain who we are and what we do. It opened my eyes in knowing that I am apparently not attractive! Oh well :). After that, we taught the M**** family again and the kids taught us the Plan of Salvation. They knew it surprisingly well! After that, we taught Victor again. He is such a stud!

On Thursday, we had Richie come over and we taught him about Preach My Gospel. We went over the first lesson with him and started to get him ready to go on a mission. He is only 17 but it doesn't hurt to starting learning the discussions. That is one thing I did right before my mission. Learning the discussions helped SO much to prepare to go into the mission field. After our lesson, we went and ate lunch with Vic at the Sandwich Stoppe again. We went and tracted after lunch and dinner.

Friday was our weekly planning day. We had some lessons set up but AGAIN they all fell through... We did teach a lesson to the family that we were having dinner with so that helped. After that, we walked around and talked to people. We are trying so hard to find new people to teach. I really hope that the Lord is seeing our efforts and will put someone in our path.

On Saturday, we went to the swap meet here in Beaumont. I was AMAZED at how much stuff was there! We OYMed people and I got a few stuff. I lost Jake's knife when I crashed one day... So I needed to get a new one. I got this super sick black knife for super cheap! I also got a new CD case because I needed one pretty bad. I didn't spend that much at all and got some good stuff! All of our lessons that we had planned fell through... All we did was tract. Tracting is becoming a common theme here now!

Sunday was really good. We had a new family talk at Sacrament meeting and they blew me away! The wife is a convert to the church and she used to be Buddhist! She is Vietnamese and her study was incredible. They have such an awesome family. They actually just moved here from Fort Stockton, Texas! We talked a ton about Texas and all the AWESOME things there. I love my mission and California but nothing matches the standard of Texas! One kind of depressing news, Kim and Karen dropped us... They aren't ready to claim a religion right now. That was super discouraging but I cannot let it affect my work. I will keep on trucking and working my guts out. We then went and talked with Robert and his family. We didn't teach but we set something up to teach them this week!

That's all the news from Beaumont! I love the shirt stays, they work awesomely along with the insoles. They work wonders on my feet. My old ones had NO support so walking is now super comfy. Dad, they are shirt stays and not garters! And that room we painted pink was for someone else in the community, not our own apartment! However, we did give our apartment a SUPER good cleaning. It looks amazing now. If I can learn how to stay clean and not be a slob, I will save my future wife SO much grief!

Sure do love y'all! Have a wonderful week and cannot wait to hear from y'all next week!

Elder Tonini

Monday, July 23, 2012

email: July 23, 2012

My week a good one. On Monday, we did the usual and went to play Disk Golf with Robert. After that, we went and ate dinner with a family that was super fun. They have four kids and they are such a handful! They are so full of energy. After that we went to our lesson with Kim and Karen. Victor went with us and had a super bomb lesson! He was able to teach and to bring the Spirit there. We then went to a member's house to teach one of our investigators. She is dating the oldest son of the family so we taught the entire family in the process. It was a really good lesson and we had such great discussion!

On Tuesday, we went to DDM (District Development Meeting) then went out to eat with Austin. He took us to Tacos and Beer, which was really good! We then had to wait and get our A/C fixed in the afternoon. That in itself took the all afternoon because the guy took forever to show. We then went shopping because we ran out of time on Monday to do it. I have decided that I am going to do everything I can to loose some weight. So every morning I have only a protein shake and something small for lunch. We will see the results and how things will turn out! We taught Victor another lesson, he is making so much progress that it is awesome to see him make such great strides.

On Wednesday, we had one of Larson's recent converts come visit him. Her brother is also really good friends with him so we talked for a good while in the morning, making sure that they are doing okay and staying active. We then went tracting then off to teach another recent convert lesson. We taught the M**** Family about the Prophet Joseph Smith. We watched Prophet of the Restoration with them. They actually learned something new from it so that was a successful lesson. We then had dinner with a family and taught them a lesson about Ammon and the lessons we can learn from him.

Thursday we went to finish a survey that we had to do for the mission. Paul P. Pieper is coming to talk to us and he wanted us to complete this survey about Preach My Gospel. That took ALL MORNING! The library was so full, it was crazy. After that, we went to a less active's house to have lunch with him. He loves missionaries but is having a hard time coming to church. He did tell us though that he will come to church next Sunday with us! We then went and taught Daniel a lesson. We stopped to help him in the yard after we finished, he went inside to grab him Book of Mormon and wanted a lesson. We are trying everything we can to help build his testimony. After that, we went to Victor's again for a lesson. He told us that he missed getting into the police academy. He was bummed but he then told us that he is now thinking about going on a mission. How legit would that be! He continues to amaze me every single week.

On Friday, we met this really super family that were having a garage sale. They remembered us because we helped them randomly when we walked by them in the past. We ended up getting some things ( I got a Holy Grail shirt!) and offered to help paint a room for them while they were out doing the garage sale. We went to the Sandwich Stoppe to eat lunch and it was SO good! Members own it so they gave us 50% off :). That night, we went back to start taping the room to get it ready to paint in the morning.

Saturday was transfer calls! I am staying in Beaumont along with everyone else in the apartment. It was super crazy but exciting. We painted the room bubblegum pink. WAY too pink but that was what they wanted. After that, we went and cleaned Brother D**'s pond and then ate lunch at their house again. They were out of town and they asked us to clean the pond and feed the dogs. In return, they told us to eat the T-bone steaks that were in the freezer! They were sooo good, I barbequed them and they were super tasty.

Sunday was pretty awesome as well. As I was talking with another member, I see Kim walk in the chapel! I stopped the conversation and got up to make sure that she sat with us and that she felt comfortable. I taught Sunday school and that went really well. Kim liked church and we will talk to her today about how things went. I came down with a SUPER bad migraine that afternoon so I was out of commission almost the whole afternoon... We did though have dinner with Vic and then taught one of his buddies. He feels that the Church is true but he is scared that his family will disown him. We will continue to work with him and see if we can get him ready for baptism!

That was my week, not as eventful as y'alls but all in all a good one.

Sure do love you all!

Elder Tonini

Monday, July 16, 2012

email: July 16, 2012

This week has been a very, very good one for me (besides the A/C going out!). The Lord is blessing the area beyond belief and it is cool to see how things are progressing. Elder Larson and I made a plan to find new people to teach so we came up with the plan to tract two hours a day. We need to find new people to teach so we devoted two hours a day to find people. We finally saw this effort pay off when we had a return appointment that we actually taught at! It is a mother and a daughter and we found them tracting. Karen is the mother and Kim is the daughter. They both were interested and want us to come by again today so we are and we are bringing Victor with us too :).
Nothing really exciting happened on Tuesday except that we did do some Bishop business and made visits. We went out with a recent convert and the young men's president. We actually were pretty productive while we were out making those visits.

We had another lesson with Victor on Wednesday, we started the new member lessons with him. While we were teaching him, his buddy Chris came over. We have tried to teach him before but he didn't listen to us and talked about aliens the whole time he came over last with us. To our amazement, he actually wanted to listen. We changed the lesson from Victor to Chris. At the end, he asked us for a Book of Mormon. That surprised the heck out of me! We marked four chapters for him to read so we could talk about it when we came over again on Thursday. When we talked to Victor on Thursday before the lesson, he told us that Chris had read all four chapters before he went to bed that night and then he read them again when he woke up the next morning. And I was doubting anything would happen... That was very humbling to me to see how the Lord can soften someone's heart.
When we came over to Victor's on Thursday, we see his non-member sister sitting in his living room when we walked in. She wanted to listen to us while we taught Victor! She usually sits in his room while we teach him. Her ex-husband was a member and she did not like the things she did so it gave her a bad impression about members of our Church. But now she sees the type of man Victor is becoming and she wants to learn more. We watched the John Tanner story and Only A Stone Cutter with them while we waited for Chris to get off of work. She was in tears after both movies. We started the lesson and taught about the Plan of Salvation when Chris came over. We finished the lesson and we asked Chris if he knew that the Book of Mormon was true and everything about the Church is true, if he will be get baptized. His answer kind of surprised me. He said he might but he doesn't want to make the lifestyle change. But we are not giving up on him, he wants to keep studying with Victor and start reading from the beginning.

Nothing exciting happened on Friday but some crazy stuff happened on Saturday. We went over to help Mary and Tammy move to Lake Elsinore. Their landlord was supposed to wire money to their account so that they can get a truck to ship all their stuff to the new apartment. We didn't get the truck until the afternoon so we moved everything into the garage. They went and got the truck and we came back to help finish. We moved everything into the truck and we set off a bug bomb in the truck so that their things could be bug free. Their landlord told them that they could take anything they need out of their old apartment and put it in the new one. The window A/C unit in their new place didn't work so they took the smaller one they had in the old apartment.We took it to the truck and were in the process of loading it up when their next door neighbor came out and accused us of stealing her A/C unit. Mary said it wasn't hers and explained the situation. Berta (the next door neighbor) told another lady in the complex, the so called manager when there actually isn't one, and they tried to call the landlord. They couldn't get a hold of him  so they called the cops on us. The officers made me open the truck with the bomb going off and I inhaled some of the gas from the bomb. We weren't involved with what was going on so nothing happened to us but Mary got a report written up on her about stealing an A/C unit. Super crazy situation but needless to say, they needed to get out of there. It was hard to see them leave but it was for the better.

Sunday was probably the highlight of my week. Victor picked us up in his old green truck and took us to church. Come to find out, he was to receive the Aaronic Priesthood after church that day. I had no idea that he was going to get the Priesthood on Sunday! So after church, we all gathered in the Bishop's office to give him the Priesthood. Bishop asked who he wanted to do it and he asked for me to do it. So we laid hands on his head and gave him the Priesthood. That was the coolest thing ever to see my convert, someone I taught the gospel to, to receive that. The only thing that tops that is giving Carson the Priesthood. It was so hard to choke back tears when I was giving the blessing. We rode home with him and the Spirit was still super strong with me. It was insane. It was seriously the coolest thing I have seen while I have been on my mission. This really IS Christ's Church, I know it is. No one can take that away from me! Even though mission life is hard, it is so worth every pain and tear.

That's been my week! Sure do miss you all. How did you like the picture from Robert? Pretty cool huh? :) He considers me to be a son to him. Next step is going to get him back to church and everything like that. Send my love to everyone, y'all are in my prayers.

Elder Tonini 

Subject: Another picture of your son

From: Robert
Date: Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 5:37 PM
To: Greg  

Very good overhand throw.


From: Greg 
Date: Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM
To: Robert 

Is a tomahawk throw a good thing or bad thing?

From: Robert 
Date: Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 2:10 PM
Subject: Another picture of your son

This was how the disc landed after a tomahawk throw!

Monday, July 9, 2012

email: July 9, 2012

So this week has been another up and down week for me. This is starting to be a common theme on my mission. We had started to have a falling out with one of our investigators again. She started to say stuff behind my back to the Beaumont missionaries and to my ward mission leader about how she wants to switch missionaries, how we aren't spiritual enough for her and stuff like that. She has said rude stuff about how my parents didn't raise me right and how her baptism didn't mean anything to Chambers and I. We have now fixed everything but she seriously made me feel like a failure of a missionary. Needless to say, I got really depressed. I couldn't sleep or focus on anything because it was bothering me so much. I did call my Zone Leaders and they talked me through everything. They really helped me to feel better. Everything is good now but that was tough to swallow...

My 4th of July was so cool! We had a regular work day up until 6 pm and then we had to be with a member family. We went with this family in our ward to go eat and then watch the fireworks at the park. Apparently the Indian Reservation give the city almost $30,000 for fireworks! It was super awesome. Plus we also saw Jefferson Starship play in the park. It was so cool! The fireworks were super legit as well. We saw Victor there with the O'Harra family so it was a super good 4th of July for me.

We got Victor baptized this week! I saw that you talked to Sister O'Harra this week. She told me that you got emotional on the phone. I love you mom :). I would send you pictures of the baptism but the USB port isn't working on this computer... The O'Harra's bought Victor a quad for his baptism and I bought him a tie. He really appreciated it and was almost in tears when we gave it to him. He is so legit Mom, I love him to death. He is talking about going to the temple to receive his endowments a year from now. When he goes to get them, I can go with him! I am so stoked about that as well. Overall, he is just a stud and a super awesome convert. Brother O'Harra confirmed him and Austin O'Harra baptized him. There were so many people at his baptism, it was insane!

I have some bad news about Jessica and Demetrius...  Jessica went to a Born Again Christian church and she really liked it. Demetrius though is still on the fence. He really wasn't sure about the Born Again church. He likes our church with the structure and the focus on the family. There is still hopefully hope for him to feel the Spirit and want to be baptized. He feels that the Church is true but he hasn't received a sure confirmation about it. I testified to him that the key to know is to read the Book of Mormon and to pray specifically to know that the Book is true. I am hoping and praying that he will want to make that step in his life to come closer to Christ.

Robert came home today from Pebble Beach! When I walked outside to his truck, he got out and gave me a huge hug. No one can replace Dad but he seriously feels like a father figure to me. We get along so well and his wife loves us. We are actually going over tonight for desert. His wife invited us over :).  They would be such a strong family in the Church. Hopefully we can work with them to get them ready to accept the Gospel.

Well, that is all from Beaumont for last week. We are working hard and staying focused. I love you and miss everyone back home. Let everyone in the branch know that I love them and miss them. Send my regards to President Shummway and President Davis. Love you and talk to yall soon!

Elder Tonini

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Call from CA

This morning I received a call from CA.  At first I thought it might be a political call, but I felt like I needed to answer.  The caller was Sister O'Hara (I hope that is right!) and she was calling to let me know that I have a wonderful son.  Knowing what it would mean to a missionary mom to hear about her son (she's a missionary mom herself), she asked Drew for my number.  Victor, who is going to be baptized this Saturday is a family friend.  They have welcomed him into their home and family and have done a wonderful job of planting the seed of the gospel and helping it grow.  Drew and his companion had an incredible discussion with Victor where the Spirit was sooooo strong.  Drew felt impressed that he needed to challenge Victor for baptism.  Victor's best friend is currently serving in Paraguay.  His sister got married last week and he had permission to call her.  When they came out of the temple, Drew called and let them know that Victor is getting baptized.  They were then able to tell their son and he was so excited and emotional.  I told Sister O'Hara about Drew being promised in a father's blessing the beginning of his senior year that there were people, even then, being prepared to hear the gospel from him.  She then said that Victor is a fulfillment of that blessing.  She said that he is being obedient and following the Spirit.  What more could a mother ask?  It really made my day and I am still floating!!!  Thanks for the call!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

email: July 3, 2012

Elder Larson and Elder Tonini
at the Redlands Temple
Sorry I did not get to email y’all yesterday, it was a super full day! We helped Victor move his friend that moved in down the street to us. It really meant a lot to him so it was well worth it. So let me tell you about my week. It was been another very full week for me. 

I told you that Elder Scoffield went home last Monday so Elder Bingham was companionless. President got a mini missionary to come and be his companion for a week. He about drove me INSANE. He would eat all my food when his parents bought him food! He drank a FULL two liters of root beer and ate my chicken nuggets. Then to add insult to injury, he used my electric razor! GAHH! I about lost it. He then fell asleep in the middle of a lesson with an investigator. That about drove me crazy. He is gone now and Elder McKee is here. He is a Canadian and a really super guy. 

We have another baptism on Saturday! Victor is getting in the water after five years of the O'Hara family working with him. I am super excited about it! Sister O'Hara reminds me a lot of you, Mom, just in the way she acts and her huge heart. She would give the shirt off her back for someone, just like you would. That goes to show that LDS mothers are the BEST! Victor has been the highlight of my mission here in Beaumont. He is already talking about the getting the priesthood and going to the temple. Looks like I will be seeing one of my recent converts go to the temple in a year! And another funny thing is that Victor and Tammy have gotten really good friends. Austin O'Hara called us the matchmakers! I thought it was super funny! 

Now the sad part... one of our investigators has started to fall off the map. She has fallen back into smoking, drinking, and her old ways. She then tries to blame it on the missionaries and saying that she doesn't want anything to do with the Church anymore. She gets easily offended and she makes me feel like I am a failure of a missionary... And I have felt like I am a failure of a missionary. So I have been dealing with that all week and it has gotten me really depressed. However, we went to the temple today so that helped SO much. I love going to the temple. 

Jessica and Demetrius tried out a new church on Sunday and that made me really nervous. So needless to say, I have been worried and they were the focus of my fast. Keep them and Mary in your prayers for me.

I love y’all so much! Keep me updated on things that are going on! Have a wonderful week :) 

Elder Tonini

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012 - No email

I have been monitoring my email all day and still nothing from Drew.  The last time this happened was Memorial Day and he was able to write on Tuesday.  Hopefully we will hear something from him today.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I don't have a description for all of these pictures, but here are some that he sent us recently:

Recent baptisms

District P-day