Monday, August 27, 2012

email: August 27, 2012

Dear Family,

It is transfer week! It was fun to meet that family that knows the Romney's in Texas. I love eating with the O'Harra family, we had a very good lesson that I will tell more about in a little bit.

I had a pretty good week. We got 170 OYMs and 17 lessons. We were 3 lessons short of where we need to be. Nothing exciting happened on Monday but we had a good P-Day. I played disc golf with Robert for probably the last time. He has been offered a job in Atlanta so hopefully he won't be unemployed for very much longer!

We taught Victor a lot this week. He actually is going to get his Patriarchal Blessing in the upcoming weeks so that is super exciting. We taught him three times this week with him teaching us on Saturday night at the O'Harra's. He is such a stud of a convert. He shares the gospel with everyone. I get so excited when I see him excel and grow in the gospel. He got a home teaching companion and families so he is super excited to start with that new responsibility. He is seriously thinking about serving a mission and he is getting ready to go to the temple.

On Wednesday, we went with Robert to go help a family friend of his. She is an older lady that he does work for occasionally. He went to install a dimmer in her house and we went with him to help him move a piano so we could get back there to install it. We ended up teaching her and she seemed pretty interested. The only bad thing is, she doesn't live in our area... But hopefully something will come of it.

As we have started to teach a lot more lessons, I have come to realize how important the Book of Mormon is to us. I love talking about it and sharing it with people. It seems like that when we teach active members, we talk about about the BoM. It truly is the keystone of our religion and it is what separates us from other Christianity. We are trying to help Antoinette to see how the BoM is the key to conversion and so hopefully we will be able to help her understand that.

I had a couple of interesting tracting stories this week. The first one was that this 17 year old girl answered the door in her bikini and then wanted to hear more about what we do. It was super awkward because I didn't want to make it seem like I was attracted to her (when I wasn't!) and to show that we are respectable men. She didn't want us to come back but it still was awkward. The second one is that we got in to two bashes on the door step with people on back-to-back doors. We had this Seventh Day Adventist try to tell us that he read the BoM and everything and how he cannot agree that the Sabbath is on a Saturday. I boldly told him that he did not pray about the BoM because he didn't feel that it was true. The second door, this Born Again Christian lady told us all sorts of false doctrines that we tried to clear things up but she didn't have an open heart to it. It makes me realize how important the Gospel is and what a blessing it is in my life. It truly is our job to share the light with people.

<EDITOR'S NOTE:  Drew's girlfriend Taylor changed her Facebook status from "in a relationship" to "single" as she gets ready to head out to BYU Idaho.  I usually omit these very personal experiences from the blog for obvious reasons.  However, this time I felt it was important to show how he is dealing with it.> 

So on the subject of Taylor, I actually had a testimony building experience with it. I read her letter and, as you could probably imagine, my mind took off and I started to worry. I was sitting in my room and I had a prompting come over me that told me "You need to go pray." I heard it three times so by the third time, I followed that prompting and I got on my knees to pray. I explained the situation to my Father in Heaven and asked for guidance to know how to handle it. After I finished that prayer, I stayed on my knees to listen to what the Spirit will tell me. I got this warm feeling that started at the top of my head and fell all the way to my feet and I got the feeling that everything will be okay. And it will be. It is hard because she was my everything... And now to hear the she wants to do her own thing is hard because usually that involves me. Sometimes you have to go through fire to get where you want to go and this is my fire. I will be okay, although sleeping at night won't be okay.

Anyways, I will find out this week if I will get transferred so if y'all are going to send anything send it to the mission home. This week is going to be hard for me so keep me in your prayers. I love you all.

Elder Tonini

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Text from Sister O'Hara

Raena received a text from Sister O'Hara tonight.  They invited Drew and his companion over for dinner.  Their son is expecting his mission call and they were hopeful that he would receive it yesterday (it didn't come).  She also attached this photo:
Elder Tonini, Victor, Elder Larson, and the future Elder O'Hara

It's a Small World

Heidi is Drew's aunt who knows somebody whose in-laws live in the ward where he is serving.  It is a small world!

Monday, August 20, 2012

email: August 20, 2012

I cannot believe that I turn 6 months in nine days! I get to burn a tie in honor of that so I need to go to the thrift store and buy a crap tie so I can burn it. I did get Dad's letter this week, it just came later that usual. I love getting his letters along with Grandma's. I get at least three letters a week: one from Dad, Grandma and Taylor. Plus all the other ones from family that I get. Getting the mail is the best time of day. I have a love/hate relationship with the mailman; I love when I get something in the mail and I HATE when it is empty! Oh the pathetic life as a missionary.

Speaking of Seminole Missionaries, how are they doing? How is the work going? I am sad to hear about that family and their struggles... I hope that everyone in the branch can fellowship them and show them what it means to be a member of the Church and to be a true Christian. I saw that with Victor when he was on the road to baptism and I saw it with Jessica and Demetrius (who we haven't seen in like a month... we can't get in to see them). Explain to them that the testimony will come when they read the Book of Mormon and pray. Follow the promise is Moroni 10:4 and they will receive an answer. How are the other recent converts doing? How was the girl that I baptized when I was there doing? The key to staying active with the recent converts is helping them fit into the branch but I know that y'all are doing a good job with that!

My week has been a pretty decent week. We taught 16 lessons with 170 OYMs. We would have had more lessons but a lot cancelled on us. A positive thing that we saw was that we found a new investigator. His name is Jordan and we talked to him on the street in his car. He met up with us on Saturday and he seemed like he was very interested in what we were saying. The things we were saying were really sinking in to him. He never thought that there was a falling away and that Christ did set up a Church. He goes to a non-denominational church here in Beaumont so hopefully his Book of Mormon reading and praying will help him to receive an answer.

We really didn't have anything exciting happen this week. I did get to go to a church service at that church I told y'all about last week. The youth pastor invited us to go so we went to see how we are different. It was weird to see the band and the loud singing and everything like that in a chapel. The sermon was good though, Jose did the best that he could with the knowledge and power he has. Their doctrine is a little bit different; it made me appreciate modern revelation and the Book of Mormon to help us understand completely Christ's gospel and his teachings. While we were out tracting on Saturday, we ran into a Jehovah's Witness that we got into a bash with. We talked with him for almost an hour! It is amazing to see how different out doctrine and how happy it is. He told us that little children can sin, that we are here because of Adam and Eve's mistake, blah blah blah. It amazed me at how ignorant he was and how blind he was to the truth. I am so so grateful for the truth that we have. We also found out that Ben has a mental disorder and so I think we are going to drop him. It is upsetting but he cannot comprehend simple things.

I got TWO new pairs of shoes this week as well! I found them at a garage sale. Two black pairs of Dockers slip on shoes. The best part is, I only paid a DOLLAR for both of them! It was super exciting, I have been looking for a pair of those for a while and I got two pairs for a steal of a price. Mom, you will love Seminary this year, the New Testament is AWESOME. I have been reading it and I am almost through the Gospels. It is amazing to see how much Christ made an impact of people when he was on this world. I have learned SO much doctrinal stuff already and I am only 6 months in! I have come to love the scriptures and I feel like I cannot read them long enough.

I love y'all so much and cannot wait to her from y'all again! Stay safe Mom on that scooter!

- Elder Tonini

Monday, August 13, 2012

email: August 13, 2012

This was was the most productive week of my mission. We got 21 lessons and 160 OYMs! We smashed our old record. It took soooo much work though... This is the most tired I have been on my whole mission so far. I am excited for a pretty relaxed P-Day. I even think I might get a good workout in this afternoon after we shop.

Besides teaching a lot, we have seen a lot of success. We had our multi-zone conference this week that got me really pumped to keep working hard. We have two people we are getting ready for baptism, Ben and Antoinette. Ben is an older guy, probably in his 40's, that we found tracting. We think he is a little mentally slow so that might be an issue... We are going to have to get the Bishop's view on it and see what he thinks. Antoinette is a 17 year old girl that I have been working with since I got to Beaumont. We finally got her a goal for baptism so we are going to do everything we can to make that goal. We need to approach her dad about being baptized because that was what stopped her last time. There will be a lot of praying and fasting for her.

We did get a less active family back to church this week! Desiree called us, in tears, last Monday and needed us to come over. There were things going on in her home that she could not handle. We went over every night this week to help her through everything. She ended up coming back to church on Sunday and she had such a good time. We will continue to work with her to help her back to full activity.

Elder Larson and I had a really cool experience on Sunday. We spent some time with Tammy and Marry (they came up from Lake Elsinore to visit) and taught our 20th lesson of the week. After that, we went around talking to people to try and find new people to teach. After we finished talking to this lady, this group of people flagged us down and invited us to their party. They were having an after-church party. The church they meet in was next door and I asked to go in and see it. This church was built in the 1800's when Beaumont was a horse town. We actually got to see the 120 year-old-plus bell that still rings and to go out on the roof and see the architecture of the building. It was sooo cool! I will have to print pictures out and send them home. After that, we came and played games with the congregation that was at the party. We played different games and spent almost the whole evening there. I played this one game where we had a contest to see who could hold the most marshmallows in their mouth and say "chubby bunny!". It was sooo funny. I got it on my camera and it was so funny. Next week, I will send it to y'all. After that, we shared Issiah 1:18 with them and taught about repentance. They loved it! The whole time I talked, I saw heads nodding in agreement and even some amens to what I was saying! It was so much fun. It was a great way to end my week.

I love and miss y'all so much! I turn six months this month, a lap finished! I cannot believe that time is flying by this fast. Keep me in your prayers and the people that we are teaching. I love you all and hope to hear from y'all soon!

Elder Tonini

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

email: August 7, 2012

Sorry this is coming in so late... Monday's are getting super crazy for us and our emailing has taken its toll... I haven't forgotten about y'all! Did y'all get the package I sent home? Also, pass the ties around to the young men in our branch. Those are for everyone and I want those boys to know that I am thinking about them! I saw the pictures from Corina of the MS 150 and it seriously almost brought me to tears! We have the best family ever. How is Dad doing after the ride? Has he recovered yet?

We actually taught a lot this week and hit our quota for OYM's (open your mouth, contacting). We are struggling though to find good, solid investigators to get into the waters of baptism... However, we are not giving up. We taught one lesson on Monday with Victor. He has a buddy that is interested in the Church and wants to learn more. But he isn't looking for a change or wants to convert so we are kind of at a stand still with him. We did though answer a bunch of anti questions that he had. We cleared them up and showed him that we really aren't as crazy or bad as people on the Internet make us look like.

We taught Robert's family on Tuesday which went really well. Robert, Carol (his wife), and his daughter Lauren sat in on the lesson and we had a really good discussion with them. Robert's grandson is the cutest thing ever! They call me Uncle Nini :). When I come home off my mission, he will be able to walk and to talk! It will be super cool to see. We tried to get through the Restoration lesson with them but we kept getting side tracked with other kind of topic related discussion.

Wednesday we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I got to ride in a truck all day! It was such a good break from the norm but I felt SUPER fat all day because I wasn't out and about riding everywhere. We taught this really cool family in Yucaipa and had a really cool experience there. This is a family that the Zone Leaders have been teaching and working really hard with them. I didn't know them so I didn't exactly know what to say to help them to feel the Spirit testify of truth. However, I felt the Spirit flow in me and I started talking and really felt like I helped to contribute to the lesson. I know it was the Spirit because I cannot remember most of the things I said to the family. Elder Larson (my comp) and Elder Larsen taught three lessons that day AND got 41 OYM's! Overall, it was a really super day and we did a lot of work in our respective areas. The Larson's even taught a potential that might hopefully turn into an investigator.

Thursday was another 3 lesson day. In the morning, we weekly planned for the week. We didn't have very much to plan for but we made plans to help us further the work in our area. After lunch, we rode up to Cherry Valley which is ALL uphill. I am proud to say that it is getting easier to make that ride when before I could barely make it! We were going to our original appointment when I had a prompting to stop and visit a potential that the Spanish Elders found for us. We were having trouble get in contact with him so we decided to stop there since we were in the area already. He is an older man from Nigeria and he was originally open to the Church but then he became a Jehovah's Witness... We did though answer his questions and clear some things up for him. After that, we went and saw our investigator Ben, who we found tracting. We taught him a lesson and invited him to be baptized. He accepted and we are going to get him ready for that. The only problem is that we thing he is mentally slow... So we aren't quite sure how that is going to work. After that lesson, we went to Victor's house for a lesson. He is SUCH a stud, I love him to death. He has become my best friend here in Beaumont

On Friday, we had Zone meeting which took up most of the morning and part of the afternoon. We went out and tracted for a bit then we went and taught Victor again because everything fell through... Saturday was a day of service. All we did in the morning was help this lady with her yard. It was over run with weeds and I had a super bad allergy attack from it. After we gave service, we met up with a guy from the Beaumont Ward for lunch and he answered our doctrinal questions that we had. This man is so full of gospel knowledge that it is ridiculous. We then went and taught the M**** family again. They are such a fun family as well. All of my converts are doing do well in the gospel, I love it!

Sunday was so awesome. Victor blessed the Sacrament for the first time and we got to do it with him! That was the coolest thing ever to see him bless and then get up to bear his testimony about his conversion story. After that, we went and had dinner with a family that invited a bunch of non-member friends over for a board game night. We talked to them and had a good time. Elder Larson actually sat through a camp chair! The bottom broke out from underneath him and he fell pretty hard. It was super funny!

That was my week last week. I turn 6 months this month! Can you believe it?! It has been too fast already... Dad, I think I have hit a 1,000 miles on the saddle already. That is so many miles! Tell the kids that I love them and miss them dearly. Hope y'all have a wonderful week! I love you mom, so much. Have a good one!

Elder Tonini