Monday, October 29, 2012

email: October 29, 2012

I love hearing that things are going well for y'all back home. Everyone seems to be staying busy and continuing to grow and progress. Good things happen when we stay busy. How is the family on the East Coast doing? I have heard that Sandy is starting to pound the coast. They will be in my thoughts and prayers this week. How did Grandma Tonini do this week? I did my best to not feel depressed about losing Grandpa and I can only imagine what she has gone through. I loved his example and those last few precious memories that I had with him. He is in a better place now so it is all worth it. Death isn't the end, it is only the beginning.

My week started out rough. We had the funniest DDM (District Development Meeting). After that, my companion and I got into a fight on Tuesday. He said a few things and I said a few things back to him which made him snap. Johnson is a BIG dude and I was totally expecting to take a punch in the jaw. We have cleared the air though. I feel like he judges me all the time and he feels like I judge him all the time. He says very sarcastic things that really irritate me and I feel like he attacks me a lot. However, we cleared things up and things have gotten a lot better since then.

We taught a BOMB lesson to Corinna again and boy did she feel the Spirit. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and when we were in the lesson she got a call that one of her close friends is going to die soon. She felt the Spirit so strongly when we took the opportunity to teach about where we are going after we die. She is really solid and is still progressing. we might have to push her baptism back but it will still happen. It is awesome to have Victor there to help us teach. He really helps to invite the Spirit into our lessons.

On Wednesday, I went on exchanges with Elder Locklear and it was one of the most spiritual days ever. I went into Yuciapa and worked with him there. He is only two weeks old in the field so it was a great teaching opportunity to help him. His way of contacting was to only give people cards and to not talk to them. I helped him get over that and make the changes to become a better missionary. Our companionship study was him teaching me more things about the gospel. I learned things that I had always had questions to and my knowledge of the gospel exploded. I am so hungry to learn more and to get more out of the scriptures. There is so much to learn that I cannot wait to learn about it. I also found out that he cannot eat meat, his body won't allow him to. He is a Lumbee Indian and so he had a lot of cool stories to tell. We taught really good lessons and Elder Locklear even had his first bike wreck! He fell REALLY hard down a good size hill. He messed up his knuckles bad, ripped his shirt and cut his wrist. He got so lucky that he isn't separate his shoulder. I honestly think it was because he was wearing his garments that he didn't get hurt much worse! It was so much fun being in a new area and seeing different people. I love Oak Valley but I am ready for a change.

Thursday we went and ate at Tacos & Beer with Austin again. It was so good! We then went and taught a lesson to Janie, one of our new investigators. We went in planning to teach the Plan of Salvation but we ended up teaching the Gospel of Christ. Janie felt the Spirit so strongly that she started to cry. She wants a new life, to feel the power of baptism so we invited her to it and she accepted. It was one of the most spiritual lessons that I have had on my mission. It is amazing to see how our Savior can make the difference in peoples lives. She is really looking for a change and she knows where she wants to find it. It is awesome and I love seeing the gospel and the truth that it has bring people happiness!

Then something crazy happened. I talked to this guy outside his house and he told us that he wanted to learn more. As soon as we rode off, an undercover cop car pulled up and started to pat him down. Next thing we know, he his cuffed and sitting in the back of the car while another one rolled up. It was Gang Taskforce so who knows that happened! Just another day in Beaumont.

We went and saw Mike on Friday morning with Brother Bailey. Mike has had some good anti-questions that we have had trouble answering scriptural things to him. We brought Brother Bailey to help us because he is so intelligent in the gospel and teaching people. It was awesome seeing Mike understand things and to come closer to understanding. We talked about the Trinity, the Spirit World, becoming like God and some other things. I learned so much and I was supposed to be teaching! I learned how to better teach and help people to understand things better.

That night was our Halloween party and we were the judges for the best chili. Janie and her grand daughter came to the party! I seriously ate SO MUCH. We then had to judge the best costume as well. It was so much fun, I love my ward even if I have been here forever!

Our ward mission leader came over and we correlated for the upcoming week on Saturday. His son, J.T., tried to lift weights while we were talking and it was so funny to watch. It is so awesome to have a good Ward Mission Leader that is very proactive with us. I then had to catch up on some paperwork that took me three hours to finish! Lesson learned: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. We then went out and contacted people until we went over to Brother Day's house to help him with a few things. He cooked us steak and we got to play with his remote control car. That little car will get up to 40MPH! It was so much fun. We then went out and talked to people until we got a call from Chris, wanting to talk with us. Chris has become less-active because of some things that have happened in the ward. However, we had a good talk and set up a plan to get him back on the right path. Hopefully we can help him feel the spirit and get over things that have happened.

Sunday was awesome, Janie and her grand daughter came to church! Janie loved church and really felt the spirit there. We also learned something that is sensitive information. I don't know if the stake there has told y'all about this but I thought I should y'all the heads up. Someone videoed the WHOLE temple session including the stuff at the veil. Not good... And the video has gone viral. So just a heads up, just in case people start to ask about the video. We have been instructed to refer non-members directly to SLC and for members to talk to the stake president. Hopefully this won't be a stumbling block for the church. It will be interesting to see how this will affect us. Other than that, my Sunday was awesome and we talked to a lot of people.

Well, that is about my week. Things are starting to slowly look up, a day at a time. I love y'all and miss everyone dearly. I am so grateful for my Savior and the comfort He gives to me. I have learned a lot about relying on Him and having Him help me get over my trials. I love Him with all my heart and I feel honored to be a servant for Him. Always remember that Christ paid the ultimate price for us and knows exactly what we need, He is the way back home. Hope y'all have a wonderful week and know that I love you!

Elder Tonini

Monday, October 22, 2012

email: October 22, 2012

I cannot believe that it has been two years since Grandpa Tonini passed away. I knew that it was coming up but I didn't realize that it was today. I miss him so much... And I can only imagine what Grandma feels. Those last memories that I have with him are one of the most treasured memories. The Plan of Happiness really does bring happiness and helps to ease the pain for which I am eternally grateful for.

Are y'all running my Facebook? I have people from my ward add me all the time so could you make sure that someone is taking care of it? Also, could y'all update the pictures? They are almost eight months old! Robert showed me my profile and nothing has changed. So if y'all could do that, I would deeply appreciate it! I also got an email from Grandpa Romney, which brought a huge smile to my face! I love hearing from all of my grandparents. I am glad that they are proud of me and of the things that I am doing. I represent our name; I better be doing great things!

I am glad you liked my last letter, it was seriously a crazy week! Carol is so happy now, she really can feel the Holy Ghost in her life. I see it in her every time I see her. Also, I did get the bike seat and it was sweet! Thank you for sending that to me, it makes work A LOT more enjoyable! I don't need anything right now, I am taken care of. Regarding Christmas, I actually just broke my camera and have to jerry-rig it to work it. So that could be a possibility? Also, I love ties so maybe some more? And I could use some more garments, just so that I could have some extra during the week and not have to do laundry throughout that week. Oh, and maybe some more white shirts? More the better! Thank you for caring so much about me, it means a lot!

Oh boy, my week was an interesting one. It seriously felt like an Abinadi week. We didn't have a lot of success or teach a lot because we had A LOT of lessons fall through. I really did feel the Adversary hit me hard. I have had feelings of disappointment, failure and depression. He really attacked me hard, making me feel like I am not good enough and it really did affect me. But I recognized it and I am going to make this week a better one. We did, however, get a new ward mission leader and he is awesome! He actually served in our mission so he is very missionary oriented already. The work is going to explode here soon.

I also ran my first district meeting this week. It was a cool experience because a couple of days before, I started to stress over what I was going to train on. Everything I looked at didn't feel right. So I said a prayer and asked for guidance to find what I needed to teach. In companionship study, Elder Johnson suggested that I train over the Spirit and how to use it in missionary work. I thought about it and that topic felt right. It is amazing how prayers get answered like that! The training went well, half of my district are greenies so I hope that they learned something from it. Afterwards, we went to Burger King to get some lunch. While we were there, Elder Johnson seriously made me almost die laughing. He was wearing his three piece suit, minus the jacket, with his sunglasses on and a BK crown walking around the place. People were calling him the King, where is your scepter, and so on. It was so funny, I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

That night, we went to go check on a name that the Bishop asked us to go see. We knocked on the door at 7:30 at night, pitch dark, and we see this huge tatted up man answer the door. We asked if he was the member we came to see and his face lit up and said " COME ON IN ELDERS!" We were so surprised! He showed us his cars and toys and stuff and got to learn more about him. He is a convert and is less-active now. He is SUPER tatted up and is wanting to get more. He has over 600 hours in the tattoo chair! However, it was a fun visit. We reported back to the Bishop, which he was grateful for. On Sunday, Victor got called to be a ward missionary and I got to stand in the circle when he got set apart! We also got to stand in as one of the youth received the priesthood as well. After church, I had a really good talk with Victor about stuff that I have been bothered with. He really did help me get through some things and open a new light. He is seriously one of my closest friends now and to have someone to talk to. Even though things were rough this week, I am going to make the CHOICE to be happy! She taught me that lesson and to which I am most grateful for.

That about sums up my week here. The weather is starting to feel AMAZING! Hopefully it will stay that way. I love y'all and miss y'all dearly. Hope things are going well for everyone. I am so grateful for my Savior and His Atonement. I love the Plan of Salvation, it means so much to me. Prayer is such a wonderful and powerful thing. Keep praying and building your faith. You can never have too much faith! Have a wonderful week :)


Elder Tonini

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

email: October 16, 2012

Subj: Another 6 weeks in Oak Valley!

Sorry I missed emailing on Monday, we got the short end of the stick during transfers and couldn't email or shop... Transfers came and gone and I am staying in Beaumont for another 6 weeks. However, I got called to be the new District Leader! This will be an interesting change because my district will be three "seasoned" Elders and three Greenies. The old AP is in my district as well and he is training so it will be interesting. Apparently, they had to pull some strings to get me to stay and be the DL so we will see what happens.

So a little about my week:

Elder Johnson and I found a new lady to teach on Tuesday. Her name is Corinna and she is from Germany. Even though she has been here in the States, she still has an accent. Victor came with us and taught her the message of the Restoration. Elder Johnson and I decided to invite her to baptism on the first lesson to see if she was the elect. She really didn't have much of a religious background and has always wondered why there were so many churches if there is only one God. BINGO! She understood everything and the lesson was super powerful. We invited her to baptism and she accepted for the first weekend in November! She was the elect and now we have to continue in preparing her to make those convents at baptism.

We then had another lesson with a potential that the Spanams (Spanish Elders) found for us. Her name is Janie and she actually searched out the Spanams, wanting them to teach her. We set something up for Thursday and we went over to teach her. She is in her 50's (we think) and is a recovering addict. It was pouring rain and we still rode over to see her. We taught the Restoration again and it went really well. She has some religious background but for some reason, she LOVES Joseph Smith. The first thing she asks us was "tell me about Joe Smith". We taught her and she really liked it. We left her with a Book of Mormon to read. She has been prepared and is ready for the Gospel. Hopefully this next lesson we will invite her to baptism.

All week, we really focused on getting Carol ready to be baptized. We met with her on Monday and got her prepared for Thursday when she would be interviewed. On Wednesday, I felt like we needed to fast for her. Sure enough, we get a text from her saying that she doesn't think she is ready, doesn't have a strong enough belief in Joseph Smith, etc. As soon as I read that, I hit my knees in prayer, pleading for divine help to get her ready. While I was praying, Elder Johnson got the same impression to pray and came to tell me that we needed to pray. However, I was already on my knees so he went and prayed on his own. When we got to Carol's, Chelsa P***** was there with her. Chelsa is a co-worker of hers that is in another ward. She played a HUGE part in her conversion. We talked more with Carol and answered her concerns and told her that she doesn't have to know EVERYTHING, but to have faith in it. Faith isn't a perfect knowledge and that was what we told her. So Carol went and got interviewed and while she was in there, we talked more with Chelsa. Come to find out, she was with Carol the entire afternoon, talking with her and helping her with her issues and questions. That seriously was an answer to prayer and fasting! Carol passed her interview and she got baptized on Saturday!

We had a lesson with our investigator Mike on Saturday. We have been over before but he just bashed with us. It wasn't intense but he would NOT let us teach and it got super frustrating. He went online and found "contradictory" scriptures in the Book of Mormon. He believes in the Trinity and I have a hard time explaining it to people. He does want us to come back so I think we are going to bring Brother Bailey with us. He is basically a scholar in Mormon Doctrine so it will be a HUGE help. He actually took us out to lunch and we talked about it. We gave a lot of service before the baptism. The baptism went really well! The whole family was there and it was a good experience for them. When I got in the water with Carol, the Spirit hit me so strongly that I almost teared up while saying the baptism prayer. It was as close as I will ever get to baptizing my own mother. It is seriously amazing how much love I can feel for someone who is coming into the Gospel. There is a reason why I stayed in Beaumont and it was for her. I know that for a fact!

I got to confirm Carol on Sunday as well. The power of the priesthood is so real! I had no idea what I was going to say but the words flowed out of my mouth and it was what Carol needed to hear. On top of seeing Carol get confirmed, Victor spoke in Sacrament Meeting for the first time! He announced that he has decided to go on a mission. I was so proud of him and the progress he is making in his life.

Overall, it was an awesome week. However, Elder Bingham and Tukuafu got transferred... Bingham is now a District leader in Redlands and Tukuafu is a Zone Leader in Yucca Valley! Super exciting but sad to see them leave.

Since it is Tuesday, I'll tell a little bit about my Monday. We went an played disc golf with the usual group then went to the Sandwich Stoppe to eat. Tukuafu decided he wanted to do the Junkyard Challenge. The challenge is to eat this HUGE sandwich, a thing of fries, 32 OZ drink and a large shake. The record was 13 minutes and 30 seconds. Now, Elder Tukuafu is a BIG boy from Tonga. He took down the challenge in 10 minutes and 55 seconds! It was NUTS! After that, we got transfers out of the way then went and got Elder Johnson's new weight set from another Elder.

After that, we went to the Neilson's for dinner and to Carol's for a lesson. That lesson was so spiritual. We talked about obedience and then went to the topic of the Atonement. The Pratt family was there with their 15 year old daughter. We got talking about some of her trials and how she hasn't felt the Atonement work in her life. I bore my testimony to her that the Atonement is REAL. That is works, that anything is possible through Him. I told her that the reason why the Adversary was hitting her so hard was because he KNOWS what she is capable of. There wasn't a dry eye in the room (including mine, of course) while I bore my testimony to her. It was seriously one of the most spiritual lessons I have ever taught. I love being a missionary so much, because of those special moments I get to share with people I care about. I hope I made an impact on her for the better!

Well, time to start the new transfer as the DL and finishing up training Elder Johnson. I got my bike fixed but did not get a new seat. Hopefully I will get my seat at the mission office on Friday after my leadership meeting. Yay for meetings.

That is all from here in Cali, hope things are going well in Texas! I love y'all so much and pray that everything is going well. Thank you for everything, especially your example to me in my life. I won't be the man I am today if it wasn't for y'all. Hope to hear from y'all soon!

Your missionary son,

Elder Andrew B. Tonini

Friday, October 12, 2012

Missionary Life - Then and Now

I am frequently reminded that our son's mission experience is very different in so many ways from when we served our mission twenty-five years ago in Brazil.  So a couple of weeks ago, I asked Elder Tonini if he would answer a couple of questions to help us better understand the life as a missionary.  Here are our answers:

  • Where do you do your laundry?
    • ET:  I do my landry at my apartment.  We have a washer and dryer there in our kitchen.
    • Me:  We either paid someone to do our laundry or wash them by hand ourselves and hung them out to dry.
  • How much money to you get each month?  (This would be used for food, clothing, bike repairs, etc.  Housing and utilities would be paid for by the mission).
    • ET:  We get $125 a week to live off of.
    • Me:  We got $125 per month.
  • What is your commitment/goal each week for service (i.e. non-proselyting time)
    • ET:  We really don't have a set goal/commitment for service each week.  that is up for us to decide.
    • Me:  This concept of providing service (e.g. volunteering at the library) was not part of our missionary schedule.  We would have 70 hours of week of proselyting time.
  •  Where do you email from each week?  What happens if it is closed on Monday (assuming you are using a public library PC)?
    • ET:  We email from the Beaumont LIbrary on Mondays on the computers.  If it's a holiday, we go one Tuesdays to email our weekly report to the mission home and to write our families.
    • Me:  Did email exist in 1986?  We relied on snail mail.
  • Are you on your bike all of the time?  Does that motivate you to do splits with the members so you can be in a car at night?
    • ET: Yes, we ride every where!  I am over 1,200 miles on the saddle.  It does motive us to be better planners so we can be in a lesson at nightfall.
    • Me:  I had one area where bikes were an option and another area where I was in a car.  The rest of my mission was on foot or by public transport (buses and taxis).
  • Are there any mission-specific rules that President Smart has imposed?
    • ET:  There aren't any specific rules but we do have high standards to meet.
    • Me:  In addition to The Missionary Handbook, we also had 19 Points that we would try to do.  It's been so long, I can't even name one of the 19 Points.
One thing that hasn't changed is the attachment and love that you feel for those whom you teach.  Twenty-five years later, I still keep in touch with those to whom I had the privilege of introducing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It will be the same for this Elder Tonini twenty-five years from now.

Monday, October 8, 2012

email: October 8, 2012

It sure was an awesome week so here we go:

So I threw out my back this week and I have been miserable... However, I have been doing my exercises Carol gave me and using the electro stimulation machine on my back so it has helped out a lot! But it was a tough week to start out with. Our week started off by meeting with Carol on Tuesday night with Robert. We went over the baptismal interview questions with her and basically taught her the Restoration again. She seemed to understand and comprehend what we re-taught her. When we were getting ready to leave, she told us that she has made up her mind to go ahead and get baptized on the 13th. Oh goodness, did I ever feel a burden lifted off of my shoulders when I heard her say that to me! We then went on to tell her that we were going to the temple on Friday and she really wanted to go with us. So I offered to have her go and walk around the temple and feel the special Spirit there. So we set that up for Wednesday night. I then heard from Mary that she got her temple recommend and is going to the San Diego temple to do baptisms for the dead! Sure exciting as well.

All day Wednesday, all I could think about was the temple trip with Carol. Victor went with us so that we could ride up in her car with her. Our new Relief Society President met us there, Sister Murphy. We talked and walked as we admired the temple as it was lit up in the California night. It was so breath taking, the temple looked so good at night! We talked with her and both Sister Murphy and I bore testimony of the temple and of how families can be together forever. It was such a sweet experience to be there with those two wonderful women. We kept walking and explained more of the temple. I told her that I know that I stayed in Beaumont because I needed to be there for her. I then went on to explain to her that I need to go to the temple because I need comfort and guidance. She went on to tell me that she knows that God is going to prepare a wonderful woman for me to be my wife and that she felt goosebumps go through her when she told me that. That was an answer to prayer that I was in need of. It was such an amazing experience for me.

We had an interesting experience on Thursday outside our apartment. We heard someone yelling at the top of their lungs and we saw a black woman walking down the street with a cane. We went up to talk to her and she turned out to be not mentally stable. She kept screaming/yelling "Jesus help me, someone is after me! LORD HELP ME!". I did my best to calm her down but she would not listen to me. She kept telling me that someone was following her and looking for her. She told us to call the police and to get help. Come to find out, she told us that she was on Speed (the drug). She was nuts, and even freaked out when she heard a leaf fall from the tree near us. A neighbor came out to help us and we called 911. The Beaumont PD showed us and sure enough, there was a glass Meth pipe in her purse. After that, we went and tracted the Boulevard for three hours. We talked to 63 people and got four potentials. Just another day in Beaumont.

Friday was our temple day. I went in looking for guidance and peace. It was an amazing session, the Spirit was there so strongly. When I got into the Celestial room, I started to pour out my heart and soul unto my Father in Heaven. I pleaded for guidance and peace in regarding the burden I have been carrying. While I sat there and pondered, I felt a warmth start at the top of my head and run all the way through my body. I felt true peace for the first time in months. I also had two thoughts come to my head. The first was: don't worry about things back home, I will take care of you. It is my work you are doing and I will take care of you. That was so profound that I know that the Spirit was talking to me. I then thought of a scripture in Ether 12:27. That all weak things will become strong unto me. That was such a comfort to know that my Father was watching over me. I have now let go, to let the Lord run His course and that He will take care of me. It was such an awesome experience, something I will treasure for a very long time.

Conference Weekend is always so much fun as a missionary. We watched the morning session and then we went to a lady that we met with Robert because she wanted to give us a bunch of her husbands clothes, as he passed away three years ago. She pulled out like five suits, a french cuff shirt and a whole bunch of ties! I walked away with two new suits, a french cuff shirt, and a whole bunch of ties! It was so much clothes. It meant so much to her that she could give those clothes to us. She knows that they will be used in a good way. Elder Holland's talk seriously brought me to tears. It reminded me WHY I am a missionary and how significant it is to say "having been commissioned of Jesus Christ" when I walk into the waters of baptism with my converts. It gave me the confidence to keep working my hardest. We watched the afternoon session, got our 20 OYMs and then went to the priesthood session. And guess who took us? ROBERT! And he even wore a suit! So I wore a suit and my new french cuff shirt :). I even got Transformers cuff links from my Elders Quorum President! IT was so cool to have Robert go with us. He is the closest thing I have to a father while I am away from my real one. It was such a wonderful week all the way around.

So Jake told me that he might not leave when he is 18 to go on his mission. That seriously broke my heart because he was the first person I thought about going on a mission. I have such a love for my mission that I want him to experience that for himself. Hopefully he will pray about it and see what the Lord tells him because it is coming up fast. That is so exciting that the Lira's went to the temple! I wish I was there to go with them but that is such an amazing accomplishment. Going to the temple is so amazing, Carol and Victor both want to go so badly so it will be awesome to go there with them in a year! I will send pictures of Carol's baptism! Someone gave me an airplane tie and that is going to be my new baptism tie. It reminds me of Grandpa Tonini and he is one of the main reasons why I am on a mission so it is in honor of him. I miss him so much... But I know he is here with me while I am out serving so it makes it a little bit easier. I love y'all so much and thank y'all for all the prayers in my behalf.

-Elder Tonini

PS Can you give my address to Katelyn and Jessica? I want to write them and see how they are doing!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Church Lowers Missionary Service Age


In a move to expand the opportunities for young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve full-time missions, Church President Thomas S. Monson announced today that, effective immediately, men may now begin serving at age 18 and women at age 19.

The previous age for beginning missionary service was 19 years of age for young men and 21 for young women.

The announcement was made during the opening session of the Church’s 182nd Semiannual General Conference, broadcast worldwide from Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Church anticipates that lowering the age requirement will significantly increase the number of missionaries who will serve by expanding the options for when they may begin their service.

“I am not suggesting that all young men will — or should — serve at this earlier age,” President Monson said. Rather, he said, the option is now available based on individual circumstances, as well as upon a determination by local Church leaders. (Read President Monson's full remarks.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

email: October 1, 2012

Carol's baptism didn't happen on Saturday. She didn't feel ready so we pushed it back two weeks to October 13th. This is a pretty solid date, we are going to make sure that she is ready! Sounds like things are staying busy there in Seminole. Even though I wasn't there for long, I sure do miss it! Send my regard to everyone back home. I am so excited to hear about the Lira's going to the temple! We are going on Friday so they will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Ready for my week? Here we go:

Monday we had a lesson with Carol with the Pratt's and Chelsa. It was a really uplifting lesson, however we did learn that she wasn't ready for baptism this week... She still needs a testimony of the Restoration. I thought I had taught her that but I guess not... I took it hard knowing that she didn't know that because I felt like it reflected on the type of missionary I am. I really did feel like a failure of a missionary. However, there is always room for improvement and that is why repentance is there so I learned from it and moved on. I won't make that mistake twice!

On Tuesday, we went back to visit a potential that Elder Johnson had found while we went tracting. We showed up to his house and talked to him on his doorstep for two hours! He really didn't see the same way we do and his heart was pretty hard so I noticed right away that he wasn't the elect that we were looking for. However, it was good for Elder Johnson because he taught a lot and learned from the lesson. After that, we went and saw the Mathie's and I got to see my boys. Christopher is doing better, getting better every day. We taught them a lesson about Abinadi and how we can learn from that. We then went and taught Victor about eternal marriage. That was a good lesson, the Spirit was strong there. I love Vic so much, he seriously has become a brother to me. We always have a good discussion when we go over there.

On Wednesday, we went on exchanges with the Spanams. I got to drive a car all day! However, I think being on bike is better. You talk to WAY more people that you do in the car. My comp for the day, Elder Richins, is a greenie as well and doesn't know much Spanish yet so we visited all the families that could speak English. That poor Elder got SOOO stressed out when things started to fall through. I taught him that you have to roll with the punches and do all that you can do to stay busy and be productive. Even if it means walking in the dark and talking to people before a lesson (yes, we had to do that!). Elder Johnson learned a lot as well as we ran the area by himself without me there to give input. Overall, it was a productive day in both areas.

Thursday was our usual weekly planning. After that, we went and visited a less active lady who is 91 years old! She reminds me a lot of Great Grandma Marie Tonini. She is still full of energy at her old age. Our intention of going over there was to help her hang some pictures she wanted to hang up. After that, we taught her about prophets and about how General Conference is coming up. She then came out and gave us some of her husband's old ties and a cuff link set. He passed away about three years ago so she gave some of his old stuff to us. While I was there, I saw this ad for a french cuff dress shirt for $20! I am going to order one this week :) I am super stoked about it! I even get it custom embroidered. That night, we taught Victor again. He always wants to learn more so we go over and teach him whatever he wants to learn.

Friday we helped a sister in our ward move her mother-in-law. They weren't members so it was a great missionary opportunity to give back to the community. We made a good impact on that family and really brought the Spirit into their lives for a short period. We then went over the Carol's to see them and check up on them. Rob worked all week so it was nice to see him.

We taught Tina (Victor's sister) on Saturday. She had just gotten home from the hospital so it was good to see her back home. She is so solid, it is amazing! She is already in the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. We had to push her baptism date back because of her health. Other than that, she is ready.

Sunday we had fast and testimony meeting which was really good! Both Elder Johnson and I got up and bore our testimony. I feel like Oak Valley has become my home ward because of the amount of time I have been here! After church, we went and visited the Mathie's again and taught them about prophets and General Conference. We had dinner with our new Relief Society president, Sister Murphy. Her husband is the head woman's basketball coach at the University of Redlands so he is going to get us some swag (athletic gear)! They are such a wonderful family. I honestly feel like the members trust us and love us being there. We then taught Tina again and talked about the baptismal convents. The work is progressing!

I learned a very important lesson this week. I learned how to apply the Atonement personally to me. Before, I have really taken advantage of it... I never really had to go through anything that has seriously knocked me to my knees EVERY SINGLE DAY, pleading for comfort and strength. Well, I had to hit rock bottom this week in order to apply the Atonement to my life. I was constantly praying, seeking guidance in knowing what to do and pleading for healing. I even fasted for my situation and what was going on in my heart and mind. I have never really felt the healing power of the Atonement until now. My Savior was there to pick me up when no one else was there. He gave me healing and comfort. And come to find out, I fixed the situation and everything is better now. That would not have happened if I didn't use the Atonement. I testify that my Redeemer lives! He is there for us when we need Him the most. I love Him with all my heart and I know that I am a choice Son of my Heavenly Father. When I leave things to Him, He takes care of me. Lean on Him for strength, use His grace that He gave to us. When you hit rock bottom, call out to Him "Lord save me". He will be there, I promise you that and I know that from every fiber of my being. He is there for us through anything! This truly is His work and I am so blessed to be a part of it. I know that my Redeemer lives!

I love all of y'all and miss y'all dearly. Keep working hard and always remember: Your Savior loves you!

Elder Tonini