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