Friday, November 30, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

email: November 27, 2012

Momma and Daddio,

Sorry it has taken me an extra day to get an email off to you. Monday was NUTS for me. I was so shocked when I got the call that I am going to be a zone leader! I had mixed emotions about it but I love it now. Our zone is small but we had some really good Elders here. I have a wonderful companion, Elder Spencer. He is actually from Payson, Utah! Kinda cool ha-ha. And I am glad that you and Sister O'Harra have a good relationship. She is so awesome and has done so much for me. She is the fastest way to get info to you!

I am glad y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We played some Turkey Football on the new $1 million Beaumont High School field. About an hour into playing, I rolled my ankle... It was NOT fun. I was even wearing a brace! But I am fine now. We spent Thanksgiving with Robert's family. It was my home away from home. It was a good break to sit and relax and recharge. He has an awesome family. On Saturday, we went to a Seventh-day Adventist church with our investigator Archie. It was actually a pleasant experience. They are similar to our belief but still not quite there. We met some awesome people and had a good time.

Nothing big has happened except for the transfer. I ran my last district meeting this week and it went really well. I am going to miss Elder Locklear so much! He was an awesome missionary. On Sunday I said goodbye and that was hard for me. That ward has felt like home. With my luck, there would be a new bishopric put in my last Sunday! One of the members of the bishopric said that I am considered part of the ward family and I am always welcomed back. That meant so much to me. I have seen the ward go from hating missionaries to loving them because of our efforts in reviving the area. I loved serving there and seeing the success that I had. Sunday afternoon was spent saying goodbye to everyone. A member gave me a sweet camera so that afternoon was filled with pictures.

Sunday night, we had a very unique opportunity with one of our investigators. Mike does an online radio show every Sunday night and he invited us to be a part of that. We told him that we would not answer any doctrinal questions but that he could interview us as an individual. So we went over Sunday night and talked on the show for about an hour! You can actually listen to the broadcast on I was on last Sunday's show which was pretty cool. It was a lot of fun and a good last night, I went out with a bang.

Oh boy, Monday was way too much fun. A member took us out golfing to the Calimesa Country Club and I had a BLAST. I actually have my own set of clubs now so it was fun that I got to use them finally. We got a golf cart as well so Johnson and I had so much fun. The guy we went with brought his nephew and we had a blast. I am TERRIBLE at golf but I enjoyed myself. That took almost the whole afternoon and luckily I got to pack most of my stuff Saturday and Sunday so it all worked out. Austin O'Harra dropped me off and said goodbye. Can you make sure that Austin has my mission office address so I can write him? I really want to stay in contact with him. They are an awesome family.

A little about Moreno Valley: it is small city but it has a huge population. I have always heard it called "Murder Valley" but it actually isn't that bad. Our area is huge! I am so glad that I get new scenery! The best part is... I get to drive around in a truck!

Yes, you heard me right. A truck! I love it. My companion is awesome, I already like him. We are going to have some fun together, even if it is only for a transfer. He has been here for almost 6 months so his time is almost up. We smashed a taco eating contest at a member’s house last night. We ate 30 tacos combined, 15 apiece. They were so good but I felt sick for the rest of the night! The old record was 11 tacos and the record was held by two teenage girls. We could let that be the ultimate record! So we decided to smash it :).

Other than that, things are going well. I got moved in and things are good. I live with a Samoan so it is always fun at the house at night.  My shirt size is a 17 1/2 neck and a 34 in sleeve size. If you could, I would love to have some slim fit shirts with some of the polyester material. Thank y’all so much for taking care of me! I love hearing how things are going there. I miss y’all so much. Keep working hard and always remember that your missionary son loves you!

Elder Tonini

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Text from Sister O'Harra

Sister O'Harra:  Hey Sister Tonini!  Elder Tonini is getting transferred on Monday!  He is going to be a zone leader in Moreno Valley, about 20 minutes from here.

Me:  Wow wow wow.  I know he feels he's not ready but the Lord has other things for him to do.

Sister O'Harra:  He is SOOOO ready!  He is an amazing leader and Victor is strong on his feet!  Another "Victor" needs him!!  Austin is taking him out to lunch!  :)

Me:  Wow.  When will he go?

Sister O'Harra:  He leaves Monday :(

Me:  Wow!!!  I am really excited for him!!  I too think he is ready to go on.

Sister O'Harra:  I will miss him so much!  He has been a common "fixture" at our table.  Ha ha.

Me:  Great.  tell him how proud we are of him.  Thanks so much for all you have done for him.  Hopefully there will be another "Sister O'Harra" for him and me!!

Sister O'Harra:  There are always missionary moms out there.  I have had a chance to experience the joy at my end. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

email: November 19, 2012

So it is finally week six in the mission and you know what that means: transfers are in the air! So we will see what happens and if I stay or go. To be honest, I am having a gut feeling that I am staying here for another transfer. I feel like I haven't finished my purpose here in Beaumont. I know that sounds crazy but that is the impression that I have been getting all week so we will see.

I didn't get an email from Momma... but it is all good. I seriously have the most beautiful sister ever! My jaw was dropped when I saw the pictures she sent to me. She is going to be a heart breaker very soon if she isn't already. Plus she is already super fun to be around. What better combo could there be?! Jake sounds like he is doing well. I miss my best friend... But I am glad he is doing well. He is going to be an awesome college student and an awesome missionary. I am glad you liked the pictures from Victor's ordination at the O'Hara's. Even though they are not in my ward, that home feels like home away from home. That is a relationship that will last forever. Alright, time to tell you about my week.

Monday was a usual P-Day and we went to play Disc Golf with Robert. He is working a lot so it is always nice to get to spend time with him. We played for a while then did the usual things: laundry, email, write letters, etc. We then had dinner and went to Victor's to teach him more about the Priesthood. He has seriously become my best friend out here. It was so emotional for me to see him get ordained an Elder. It is crazy to think that he had made this much progress since I have been here and I have gotten to see it all. I honestly feel like if I hadn't gone on my mission, he would not be in the Church or where he is right now. Heck, he is planning in going on a mission! That is awesome in itself.

On Tuesday, we went to email because the library was closed on Monday because of Veterans Day. So we did that in the morning and had lunch. Afterwards, we went out and started to tract using the new method. We haven't gotten into a house yet but we are not giving up on it. That night, we went over to teach Janie and get her ready for baptism that happened this weekend.

On Wednesday, we taught Archie and we had an interesting lesson. We taught about the Book of Mormon and we invited him to read. He then started to freak out and say stuff like "Man, I like you guys! If I read the Book of Mormon and find out that its true, I am going to have to be baptized!" and other stuff like that. He told us that if we find where it says that the Sabbath is on a Sunday, then he would convert. He is Seventh Day Adventist so we see differently on that area. That night, we had our lesson with Jacob again. However, this lesson did not go according to plan. Half way through the lesson, he gets up and leaves to go to the other room. His grandmother finds him sobbing on the floor, struggling with his depression that he was feeling. I sat down next to him, grabbed him in my arms and held him as he sobbed. We finally got him to calm down and feel better. However, he struggled that night and couldn't sleep. He even fell on the floor and his grandmother had to get him back up. She called us at 1:30 am, asking us to come and give him a blessing. I fell asleep with the phone next to me ON VIBRATE and I still woke up to the phone call. So we threw on our shirts, ties, and jackets and rode over to give him a blessing in the wee hours of the morning. I honestly think that he is the reason why I need to stay in Beaumont, to help him get better and into the waters of baptism. However, it isn't my will but God's will so we will have to see.

We had Jannie's baptism interview on Thursday night. Our Zone Leaders came and gave her the interview because I can't do it due to the fact that I am the District Leader. We were sitting outside the apartment and we were talking to some of the neighbors. One of them was watching her one-year old son running around and he gave me rocks the entire time. Before that, he picked up an unlit cigarette, put it to his mouth, dropped it, smashed it with his foot and walked away. His mom says "yup, that is my son!" I was in shock when I saw that happen! This world is going to the dumps... We need to raise our children in the ways of Christ otherwise things are only going to get worse! Jannie did pass her interview, that she was SUPER nervous about, and we are ready to get her baptized on Saturday!

Friday was all about making sure that we have everything ready for the baptism on Saturday. We got the programs printed out and ready, building scheduled, people assigned to different tasks and for Jannie to be ready. We went over to the Ross' to get the program printed out. We tracted, using the new Harvesting Method, helped one of our investigators move a swing set over a fence and went to a return appointment to do the blessing. We took Victor with us and it went well. When we knocked on the door, the guy was surprised to see us because no one has ever come back! He invited us in and we got to know the family. They are a young family, with a two-year old boy and another boy on the way. They both haven't been to church in a long time so they were interested in the blessing. The blessing that Elder Johnson left with them was super powerful. They really felt the Spirit strongly there in their living room. I talked about eternal families and how that can be a possibility. We are supposed to invite them to baptism after the blessing but I felt prompted to do otherwise. It was cool to actually be able to get into a home and do the blessing! The Spirit was so strong there, it was crazy awesome.

Saturday was the big day! It was time for Jannie to get baptized. However, we went and visited Mike again. When we were ridding over there, I was fully preparing myself for another scriptural bash. But that was not the case, it turned into a mini testimony meeting! He asked us what our testimonies were and so we shared that with him. It was super powerful and he got to know me a little more personally. He asked us if he can interview us on his Internet radio show but I am not sure how we will do that. We will have to know the questions ahead of time so that we know what to say. Mother Nature decided that she wanted to pour on us so it did. We rode around in the pouring rain. That night was Jannie's baptism and it went super well. Victor talked on baptism and the Holy Ghost and Elder Johnson baptized her. It was a super spiritual experience for her and she loved it. She really did feel the newness of life afterwards.

Jannie got confirmed on Sunday and she is ready to take on the world! After church, we went to Victor's ordination and that went really well! I got all teared up because I was so proud of him. After that, we got our 20 OYMs and spent the rest of the day with members then Johnson and I talking for a good hour on the steps of the library until 9 pm so we would be obedient. We even saw a drug deal go down outside our apartment before we went to dinner! Not cool. Overall, it was a very productive week and a very spiritual week. Things are going well and I am being safe. I am getting over illness and I am feeling well. Hope things are going well and everyone is in good spirits. Enjoy Thanksgiving and have fun with the family! I love y'all and miss y'all terribly.

Elder Tonini

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Text from Sister O'Harra

Sister O'Harra:  Hi Sis Tonini here are pictures of the group when Victor got ordained today

He says he loves you all! They will be back for dinner at 6! :) Victor is officially an Elder, he is putting his papers in 4 months! Can you believe it??

Me:  So very awesome!! What a great day for your family and my boy!!! Victor is amazing! Thanks for sharing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

email: November 13, 2012

Momma,I am glad that you liked your birthday picture! It was the least I could do. I wish I could have done more for you... However, I will make it up when I get home from my mission :). I cannot believe that I have been out for 8 months already! The time is flying by way too fast. Dad didn't try to install the radio himself this time? We sure did have fun installing the radio in the car! That would be awesome to get a new camcorder! Y'all can send me DVD's for the holidays of the family. I am so stoked that Jake got into Texas Tech! I haven't heard from Carson lately... I hope he is doing okay. Dad would go to North Dakota and go play with Geoff at work! Goodness, I miss my father. When I was home before my mission, I really started to feel him become my best friend. I wish I had that sooner and I miss it a lot. The weather here has been super cold! I am Southern California and it is cold? Something is wrong here! But I am glad you are enjoying life and things going on.

At Multi-Zones, President Smart changed the way of missionary work. Our way of contacting people is a completely new. We call it the Harvesting Blessing. We tell people that we are "representatives of our Lord, Jesus Christ and He has sent us to you to leave His peace and blessing on your home". We then go in, leaving a Priesthood blessing and help them feel the spirit. The success has been amazing. We have done a few blessings and the spirit has been so strong there. I love the new change because it takes away the fact that we are LDS Missionaries but that we are representing Christ. So we will see how things go!

On Wednesday, I did exchanges within the District. I had an Elder come with me to my area with me. He has only been out for 4 weeks at the time so it was fun to help him learn. We went and tried to make contact with some potentials that we found in the morning. We then taught Archie again and we had a good lesson. He is Seventh Day Adventist and we exchanged ideas back and forth. He didn't agree with some of our views but I could see the points I made and backed them up with scripture. You could see the gears in his head turning as he was trying to understand everything. After that, we went and ate at the Sandwich Stoppe. We got our meal for free! Some members hooked us up. We then went to teach Janie and boy was she on something! She was going crazy and asking crazy questions. I don't understand why she was acting that way but it was really odd. After dinner, we went to teach Jacob again. We went in, planning to teach the Plan of Salvation but we changed it to the Gospel of Christ. He finally opened up to us and found out a lot about him. He suffers from major depression and has had major issues with that. Throughout the entire lesson, I felt like I was teaching my own brother. My love for him was so strong while we were there. His mother was present as well and she told us that Jacob feels like God doesn't love him or listen to him. The spirit prompted me to bear my testimony to him so I did. I cannot explain the love that I felt for him while we taught. The spirit was so strong that there wasn't a dry eye in the room. Yes, my emotional side strikes again. But it was a powerful lesson and it went well.

We went back to visit Janie and things were WAY different. She was her usual self and we had a good lesson. Our new High Priest group leader came with us and it was good to have him there. I love seeing the change in people. Friday we tracked a ton. We put into practice the Harvesting method and it was awesome. We found some good potentials that we are going to go back and see this week. We were supposed to have a mini-missionary but he flaked. We taught Victor that night and went out to eat with him. Saturday we went and tracked some more.Some bad new... We have had to drop Victor's sister, Tina. She has fallen back into her perception drug addiction. Things have been hard for Victor and his family because of her decisions. I actually gave him a blessing on Tuesday night just after we had started our exchange. The other Elder told me that the blessing was one of the most spiritual blessings that he has ever heard. Crazy thing is, I don't remember half of what I said. Just another day on the mission. Things are going well here and the work is starting to pick up again.

Mary and Tammy came to church on Sunday so it was good to get to see them again. We had a lesson with Jose Guiza on Sunday night. He is the youth pastor at that church that I have become friends with. He told us that there was a reason why we were placed in their lives. He even went and bought Teachings of the Prophet to find out what we believe in. We had a two hour discussion with him. We gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read and pray. It was awesome because I never dreamed that I would teach this family. During that lesson, a potential called us and said that she wants to meet up next weekend. She is in a correctional home to get her life back on track and she wants to become a member of the Church. It is awesome how the Lord works in his ways! Just from being out and talking to everyone we see is going to bring another soul unto Christ. I love it!

Being a missionary has really helped for me to see my potential and what God wants me to become. I have reflected back and thought to how I was just a year ago. There is night and day difference. I don't know what I would do if I haven't gone on my mission. The people we have met and the changed I have seen have been incredible. My testimony of the scriptures have increased and of the restored gospel has grown. The more I read the Bible, the more my testimony of the Book of Mormon grows. I know that my Redeemer lives. I love Him with all my heart. When life knocks me down on my knees, that is the best place and time to pray. A very dear friend of mine taught me that and it is so very true. I love y'all so much and miss y'all. Enjoy the holidays and don't worry about me, I will be fine!

Your missionary son,

Elder Andrew B. Tonini

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Birthday Wishes to Mom

Hey Sister O`Harra! This is Elder Tonini, could you do me a huge favor? Could you text my mother and tell her that I wish her a happy birthday and that I  love her to pieces and miss her dearly? 
<Elder Johnson & Tonini>

Monday, November 5, 2012

email: November 5, 2012

Subj: It was a good week!

Corina told me about a missionary experience that she had and I was beaming from ear to ear! I love that sister of mine. I gave her some stuff to read up on so hopefully she will do that. Jacob is so funny, I love how excited he is about college! He is going to do so well there. He really wants one of my extra suits that I have. The only thing I am worried about is him being able to fit it. Speaking of that, I have only put on 9 lbs since I left for my mission! That is pretty exciting. Hard work does pay off. On the topic of hard work, here was my week!

On Monday we had FHE with Carol at her house. The Pratt's came as well and their nephew tagged along. Come to find out, he knows the Romney's in Prosper, Texas! Uncle Kimball was his Priest Quorum adviser when they were in the same ward. He sent a picture of us to Nicole and talked to Aunt Heidi as well. He leaves on his mission in 2 weeks so it was good to see him. Our PDay was filled with the usual.

I was able to get my country fix with Austin on Tuesday when we went and helped him buck some hay for his landlord. We used the hooks and everything. It was fun, I actually felt like I was back home in Seminole! We had to cut that short because we had a lesson with our new investigator, Archie. We found three new investigators this week! Pretty awesome when you work as hard as you can for the Lord. It truly is His work here! Austin then took us out to Tacos and Beer to eat :). We seriously eat there at least once a week. The Carne Asada fries with a Carne Asada quesadilla is the bomb! We had dinner a few hours after that so that was kinda miserable. Janie and Corinna both canceled on us again... So we went home teaching with Victor. We got milkshakes afterwards at Baker's.

We never finished that truckload of hay with Austin so we went back and helped him again on Wednesday. We were machines! It was so much fun, we got dirty and nasty but it was so worth it. After bucking, we went and had lunch with Sister O'Harra and some of her employees. We went to Chili's together and talked a lot about the mission. I also found out some interesting news about Mary! She met one of the Mission Presidency and he was so excited to finally meet her. Apparently, her conversion story has gone viral in the mission. President Crippen wants her to meet with an Ensign writer and get her's and Tammy's (her daughter) story in the Ensign. I am going to be in the ENSIGN! I was so excited, she is awesome. She actually went in to the hospital this past week with super high blood pressure but she is okay now. We then taught the M***** family with their neighbor Ashely there. Hopefully we can get her as a new investigator. It was Halloween so we stopped working at 6 pm and went to the zone activity. I played volleyball with a few Polynesians and they were super good! It was a lot of fun. I got to see Elder Faka'Osi and Bingham!

Thursday we went and helped out Stan D** all morning. We helped him spread shavings in the chicken coop and get his quad up and running. While we were in the coop, he has these white pigeons that decided to do a fly by right over my head as I was trying to spread out the shavings. It was a lot of fun. The quad got up and running but because it had been sitting for a long time, it needed to get the carb cleaned out. Our sink got clogged and so the guy came to fix it. That took all afternoon... but we still talked to 20 people! That night, we went and taught Jacob B**** at his grandmother's house. She is already a member and she has tried to get his father to let him take lessons and he finally said yes! Since his name was Jacob, I felt like I was teaching my own brother. When we first started the lesson, his head was down and didn't seem to be paying attention. However, by the end he was fully engaged and he could really feel the spirit. Afterward, he asked if I could give him a blessing. I grabbed him by the shoulder and said "now, you are going to really feel the power of the priesthood." I had no idea on what was going on in his life but the Spirit gave me the words to say. It really hit him hard and he felt the Spirit so strongly. I gave him a hug and told him that I loved him and everything will be okay. I love being a priesthood holder and having those opportunities!

We had ZDM and went to go teach Janie. Before we went, we stopped in GNC to check things out. I ended up buying a blender that was on sale. It was such a good investment! I used it today and it was awesome. After that, we went to Janie's with Victor. She is SOOOOO ready to get baptized! We taught her the commandments to get baptized. I crushed up her last pack of cigarettes! It felt sooo good to do that. I seeing people make those changes in their life. We then went and taught Sister Ethel M*****. She is awesome! Victor took us up to the W*****'s to get some pre-workout that he ordered. Chris W***** told him to eat an Argentine lemon to get his $25 dollars back. He ate it and he went nuts! It was so funny. But he did get his $25. I ate part of a Naga Ghost Chili. That is the hottest chili in the world! It wasn't full strength but it was good. I ended up eating a full one on Sunday. It was good but super hot!

Well, that's about it from here. Send my love to Romney's and I hope Grandma will get better. That worries me about Mandy... I wish I was there to help her. Stu is awesome! And the Sterzer's are having a baby girl?! That is awesome! Send me their address so I can write them? I love you all and happy birthday Momma! I love you! And happy birthday to Dad and Corina as well. I love y'all!

Elder Tonini