Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Travel Itinerary For TONINI/ANDREW BARLOW - 25Feb

We received Elder Tonini's flight information tonight!  The Church must have a contract with Delta Airlines because this itinerary is crazy!  (They could have booked him on United flight that connected in Denver and be home by 1 pm!)


SERVICE               DATE  FROM           TO             DEPART  ARRIVE
_____________________ _____ ______________ ______________ _______ ______
DELTA AIR LINES       25FEB ONTARIO CA     SEATTLE WA     1045A   120P
 
DELTA AIR LINES       25FEB SEATTLE WA     MINNEAPOLIS MN 315P    826P  

DELTA AIR LINES       25FEB MINNEAPOLIS MN MINOT ND       950P    1131P

I guess this means he won't be getting released until Wednesday!

Monday, December 30, 2013

"If I stepped in a mud pie, how deep would my boot sink?"

It was kinda of bittersweet to get to talk to y’all this Christmas. I guess it hit me that this is my last time Skyping as a missionary and my last Christmas as a missionary so that was kinda surreal for me. Next Christmas, we will be talking to Jake on his mission! Missions are the best! I loved getting to see all the kids. Ready for my week? Let's go!

Our Pday was super weird due to Christmas. Since we were basically having another Pday on Tuesday with Christmas Eve, we were to have a half Pday on Monday. They even had us have district meeting that morning too. It didn’t even feel like it was a true Monday! I felt so bad emailing because I felt like I was breaking the rules haha. We got that done and some laundry done then it was off to start proselyting at 3:30. We had an early dinner with the C**** and the P**** families so that was super fun! They both are super awesome families. We then went and saw Cale to see how he was doing. It was a short lesson with him because they were still trying to get things ready for Christmas but we left him with a Restoration DVD and followed up on his smoking. He's still off of it! Hopefully we can keep him going. We got our OYMs and then we called it a night.

I was super stoked for the Christmas party because of us doing the Haka with all the Samoan's and Tongan's in the mission. Elders Ete and Kava did it and so they invited me to do it. It was super good to see everyone again! I will try and send the video so we will see what I can do. The party took all day and so we got back to the house around 3ish. It was super bittersweet because that was the last time I am going to see a lot of my mission friends on their missions. We came home and crashed because I had no energy left because I'm still fighting that stupid sinus infection.  We then went to the U*** family for dinner. They are a Mexican family and so we had tamales for dinner! It reminded me of being back in Texas :). Plus they had UFC on and so that made me kinda trunkee but it was good to get to spend time with them. Their son Gio is a super good kid! We talked a lot about missions and how much they help so hopefully we made an impact on him for the better :)

Our Christmas morning was awesome! We slept up until 8am then hung around the house until 10ish then we went to P***’s for breakfast. We played with the kids and had fun outside with them. We then ran to the C***'s to spend some time with them. We  ended up watching one of their sons play Battlefield 4 so it turned into a bust.  We were supposed to have a fun activity but it never happened. Then we ran home to change into a shirt and tie to Skype the family! After that, I got into an intense chess game with Cameron, their 8 year old. I won, but by the skin of my teeth! He put up a good fight for sure haha it was a good time. We then played another super fun board game! Dinner was good and then we ran straight off to play basketball with some Elders and Gio. It was so much fun! I am terrible at basketball but I was doin' work that night! I even dribbled through Gio's legs and laid it up haha. He didn't like that too much haha but it was a good time. Elder Ete and I were so funny, I love my Poly! It was a good Christmas for sure :)

Thursday was back to the usual and so we got our weekly planning somewhat done and then we went and taught John again. It actually went okay this time. We had to kinda yell at him but we made it work. We taught him through the pamphlet and we testified like CRAZY to him so that he could feel the Spirit. We challenged him to be baptized but he didn’t accept it just yet. We're gonna keep on trying with him. Then we went to Cale's and got some crushing news... He relapsed and smoked two packs in two days so we didn't have a baptism this weekend. It was crushing but it opened us up to his real concerns. He still has a lot of doctrinal questions that we are going to address so that was okay. It still was super crushing... But we got some work to do now with him so it'll all work out.

We went on exchanges on Friday and I went with Elder Johansen! I love that Elder so much! I really loved this exchange. We talked to a member about his Jeep, had Little Caesar’s pizza and gave a freaking awesome blessing on a family and then taught the mother! We went to visit a former member and we ended up talking to her neighbor. Her name is Tammy and she runs a traveling petting zoo so we got to see all the animals! It was awesome haha. We left a blessing on the kids and her and it was crazy spiritual! She then dismissed the kids and she talked to us about doctrinal things. She agreed to have us come back so that was good! Dinner ran long then we went to get fries in honor of a missionary we are both close to :). Then we were gonna head home but another Elder needed a blessing so we went to give it and I gave the blessing. It was super profound because I said some things that only God would tell me to say. I guess I'm just fulfilling what my patriarchal blessing says about me being a spiritual healer. We exchanged back and got ready for Saturday :)

We had apartment checks that morning then went out to see our people. Our noon appointment had three cops in the front yard when we rolled up so that appointment, needless to say, fell through and then our next one wasn't there so we just rode around and explored while we talked to people. We had our bash appointment that afternoon, which really didn't happen but we did get to talk to him and set something up. Hopefully we can make headway with him. We then finished weekly planning and went to the P****’s for dinner. We had a correlation meeting and then went to the hospital to make some visits. We ended up meeting some sweet old ladies in the hospital and gave them blessings as well. It was a tender moment for both Elder Anderson and me. It’s amazing how much love you can have for random people you meet and come into their lives. I love it! We then rode home, knowing we did something great that night.

Sunday was a good day. It was a good sacrament meeting and then we got to teach Melissa and put her on date for baptism! Yeah buddy! We then rode home and Elder Anderson tanked it HARD in his suit. Poor guy! We then had lunch and studied then went out to make visits and OYMs. Dinner was okay, but the highlight was going back to the hospital. The man in the ICU is getting better and one of our sweet old ladies went home! The other one was waiting for us and she is getting better :). It was awesome! I loved it so much. The Lord really does know what He is doing :).

I love y’all and hope everything is going well! I will send pictures next week, I promise! Keep working hard and open y’all’s mouths this week! Be the full-time missionaries and share the gospel :). I love y’all and pray that I don’t get too trunkee!

- Elder Tonini

Monday, December 23, 2013

email: Well, things can't get worse than this week...

I GET TO TALK TO THE FAMILY IN TWO DAYS! I cannot wait to see everyone and see how things are going! This is my last Christmas in the mission field! It is kinda crazy to think about that right now. I saw the trunky count down timer you have on my blog. Good one! That is super clever haha. Alright, ready for my interesting week? Let’s go!

Monday was an okay Pday. I got my haircut and then took a nap before we went and emailed at the library in the early afternoon. We then shopped and worked out then met Anita at the mall to get some stuff for the Elders. I love being able to spend time with her. She got Elder Anderson a Nike jacket that he seriously wears all day every day. It made his Christmas and I am so thankful for Anita for being generous and doing that for him. We then went to dinner and came home after we got OYMs because Anderson got some news from his family that really got him upset. When we came home that night, we didn't take the bikes up, we just left them at the bottom of our stairs at our apartment and locked them up there. It was a rough night and I was helping him through it all and so we both weren't in the right state of mind that night. And it sure as heck paid off...

We woke up Tuesday morning and we walked out to go get on the bikes to ride when we looked below the stairs and the bikes were gone... FETCH! So we got on our Shanks' ponies and took off to go see Ivan. We had to walk all say because we had no way to get around. Needless to say, I was super tired and my feet were on fire. Good times. We walked to go see Tom again and see how he is doing. He isn't progressing just yet but we are going to keep on him to try and get that going. We had dinner with the H*** family which was nice and then we went to go see Cale. He is progressing really nicely and he is making huge changes. We got him on track to stop smoking so hopefully that will happen later that week (which it did!). Funny story during that lesson. I went to commit Cale to live the Word of Wisdom that we were teaching and I said the Law of Chasity instead... Dangit! That's what happens when you're super doped up on cold meds haha. We then had another situation go down with my companion that night... He got some news from his recent convert in Hemet about his blood brother and how things are not going well for him. To make a long story short, we ended up yelling at each other and trying to make peace. We eventually did and things are good. I've come to realize that I am the kind of man to not take recognition for the things I do. Elder Anderson told me that he prayed for me specifically to be comps and that he looks up to me and wants to be just like me. That floored me because I didn't realize how much of an impact I was making on him. The Lord knows what He is doing for sure!

We were still on our Shanks' ponies on Wednesday so we walked to our potential blessing to find that it fell through... But we did get to meet these super nice JDub (Jehovah’s Witness) ladies out tracting too! We shared scripture and we talked about our missions and our beliefs. They even offered to drive us home because they asked about our bike situation and they felt sorry for what happened haha. We didn't get in though so we walked home. We then did a service project for the community and all the local kids. A non-profit organization is going to give a thousand kids a present so they can have a Christmas. The missionaries help every year and today we helped sort presents and get things ready for Saturday. However, after the project, I got super sick with what I think was a super bad sinus infection so that knocked me out for the rest of the night... We had Bakers dropped off to us and so we had dinner but it was a rough night for me. We did however, get a bike for Elder Anderson so we are back on the bikes again!

Thursday was another rough day too because I was feeling terrible... I slept almost all morning and then when we were about to go out to go make some visits... It starts to rain! Just my luck... Riding in the rain and feeling miserable is not fun. It was some sure big wife points though! We got our OYMs and then had dinner with the C**** that night. They are an awesome family; this was the first time we got to eat with them. Brother C**** has an interesting family... Come to find out, all of them are in the medicinal marijuana business. Whoops! After dinner, we had our lesson with Cale and we taught about the Law of Chasity and tithing. He is on track to still hopefully get baptized this weekend! Keep him in your prayers that we can make that happen for him family! On Friday morning, we drove to Corona to have multi-zone conference with President Smart and the AP's. It was super good but super long. Towards the end, I was trying real hard to stay focused but then my meds ran out and I tanked... I felt terrible towards the end of the meeting and I couldn't do anything about it. I had to give my outgoing testimony too and that was bittersweet. It’s crazy to think I only have a few months left... It went way too fast. However, it was good to see old mission buddies there and catch up with them. Anita stopped by the apartment to drop off a pie and I looked like death... I slept through dinner and then went off to a lesson with Allison and her family. Allison got all made up for us and I think that is interesting... Oh well haha. Their kids are super fun and I love going over there to see them.

Saturday was the big day! We got to help with the toy drive and giving out the toys to the kids. I started by helping ushering kids into the door to going in front of the kids teaching them the wave and singing songs with them. It was super fun! No one was stepping up to get things organized so I did it myself. I guess that's something Dad taught me to do. I could hear him say "quit standing there with your teeth in your mouth and go get it done!" We taught the kids "popcorn popping on the Christmas tree" and "once there was a snowman"! It was super fun. By the end of it the second group, I had no voice. The poor Sisters I was working with didn't have a loud voice like I do so I kinda took over the show... Whoops! Good thing they know the words because I had forgotten them all! After the project, I came home to sleep some more because I was still feeling terrible and then we went out to make visits. I had the worst experience with Eddy on Saturday night. When we saw him, we could tell there was something wrong with him. He was super high and I think on meth. We kept hugging us and he ended up kissing me on the cheek which I about decked him when he did that. There was the most evil feeling at his home and I hated it. I just wanted to run. There was a man sitting in his garage with the door half open so I couldn't see his face but I could see him turned at me with his hand together in his lap staring at me through the garage door. There was a meth pipe in the garage and Eddy was tweaking super bad. It was the worst feeling ever... We then went to Tom's again and invited him to church and to read then off to Cale's. Cale is done smoking! He's done it and it’s super awesome. We invited him to church so hopefully he'll come.

We made our church visits Sunday morning and we got Cale to come to church! We ended up having Cale, Melissa and Jean Johnson come to church. That's the most investigators at church this ward has had in a long time! Cale went home after sacrament but Jean stayed for the second hour and Melissa stayed all three. It was a good Christmas program and there was some good talent there. I taught the youth Sunday school and that was a ton of fun. Melissa, the bishop's daughter's friend that is investigating, was answering more questions than the young men! Those boys... But I guess there was some drama win the investigator class with a member so that was interesting. We then came home and slept some more because we're trying to get feeling better and then we went off to the S**** family for dinner. I love that family so much! I sat with JuJu, the 5 year old, and had dinner with him. We taught the Restoration with the rubix cube and then got our OYMs and called it a night. It was a good way to end a crummy week! Gotta make the best of any situation and just smile back :).

I love y’all and can't wait to see y’all in a few days! Tomorrow is the Christmas party and I get to see everyone one last time before I leave! Plus I am performing at the talent show at the party so that'll be good! Love all of y’all and we will talk soon!

Elder Tonini

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Info Request to Parents

19 December 2013    

Dear Brother & Sister Tonini,

Your son, Andrew Barlow Tonini, will be released on 25 February 2014 from his labors in the California Riverside Mission. You may find it difficult to believe that his released date is nearly here; yet I am sure you look forward to his return home.

Travel arrangements must be made well in advance. In order to ensure that we have complete and accurate information for his return, please return the following information via e-mail or mail to Riverside California Mission 5900 Grand Ave. Riverside, CA 92504. 

1.) Your residence address-including city, state and zip code (as of your missionaries release date)

2.) Nearest airport

3.) Your phone number(s)


4.) E-mail address you would like flight information sent to

Thank you for your kind assistance.


Sincerely,
 

Sister Pierce

Mission Secretary 
California Riverside Mission

Monday, December 16, 2013

email: It's 84 Degrees in Sunny SoCal!

Oh yuck, hearing about the snow just makes me cold! I am just praying that it won't be that cold in February but I know that's gonna be a losing battle... Ready for my week? Leggo!

Last Pday was super good. We had a really good relaxed day and we got a lot of stuff done. I love getting to work out on PDays because I can go longer than an hour! We ran at our apartment gym so that was super nice. Our dinner was good, the B**' are a good family. We shared a message with them, got our OYMs and then went home for the night. A slow but most needed PDay.

Tuesday morning was all about applying to school. I got permission to get on with Elder Anderson right next to me so I got a lot of stuff done. Basically, I need to pay for everything and get my interview and then I can start sending stuff in. Hopefully we can talk about how to pay for applications when we talk. We went and had a lesson with Richard with his mother there so that was good and we had a good lesson with them. Our dinner was super fun, the A**** are a sweet family. Our lesson with Kale though went awesome! We taught the second half of the Plan and it went well. We gotta get him off smoking so that was our goal for this next lesson with him.

We had DDM on Wednesday and the Assistants showed up for it so that was good. I trained over becoming bold and to testify often so hopefully that will help the sisters. We had lunch at Alberto's again and it was superrrrr good. Our day was then consisted of seeing Eddy and Tom and then going to go see the D*** for dinner and that is always a fun time with them. Our appointment rescheduled for the night and so we had to figure something out to stay busy and so we did :). We went to our spot and it was way nice that night for some reason. It had been a long time coming to go there so it was good.

Ivan cancelled on us Thursday so we went and got our OYMs and took care of that in the morning. We weekly planned until it was time to go see John, Brother H***’s neighbor so that is always fun with him. I don't know if we are going to keep teaching him because we aren't getting anywhere with him. He did read a TON of the Book of Mormon though so that was a surprise. We then saw Kale again and committed him to stop smoking! Our deal is that if he doesn't keep his end of the deal, then Elder Anderson and I have to drink a cigarette cocktail (a crushed up cigarette in water). Yuck! But if it keeps him motivated to stop, then it is all worth it. We then saw Allison H***'s family and gave them all blessings, I love that family so much! We are hoping to get the dad baptized and help to get the family back on track. The five-year old and the two-year old are so much fun! It was a good way to end the night :).

Ivan was open Friday morning and so we went and saw him. We made a plan for him to be baptized so hopefully he will make that happen in January. After that, we ran off to go help Kale's mother-in-law with some service and she thanked us so much for what we are doing with Kale. She made us some screamin' good sandwiches too! We made more visits in afternoon and then ran off to dinner with the M*** family. It was good to get to eat with them again! We have great families in this ward that I am starting to find out. We then finished up the last bit of weekly planning to get ready for next week.

One set of sisters called me and asked for a blessing on Saturday so I ask Ron J**** to drive us and he did. Ron is the man! I love his family so much. The blessings went well. With one of the sisters, I told her what her purpose in her mission is in her blessing. It surprised me when that came out of my mouth. My blessing does say that I am a spiritual healer but that took me by surprise. We then went to In-N-Out for lunch and had lunch with Ron's family and Rodney. It was a good morning! We then gave a blessing and taught this Jamaican lady we picked up that day too so that was sweet. On the way home, we stopped by a family in the ward and got to know them. The K**** are super awesome! They are working on coming back to church so we're gonna help them do that. We then helped with serving the other ward's dinner at their Christmas party and that was interesting too. But it all worked out in the end. We had dinner with Kale's family and then taught him another lesson. He is asking some good questions so it has been fun teaching him. He is still on track for the 28th to be baptized so I am hoping and praying for him! He also got us a Christmas present! New Kershaw knifes! They are SUPER legit! He is such a good husband and father too and he is only 21! Pretty crazy.

Sunday morning was filled with making visits and trying to get people to come to church. We had Kale come to church so that was good! He actually stayed for all three hours and was attentive too. After church, I got to visit with Anita and give her blessing because she was super sick the past three days. I talked with her and it was really good to have a heart-to-heart with her. She has such a wonderful heart, I love her to pieces. We are going to the mall today; it'll be good to spend some time with her. We then got our OYMs and rode to Bishop's house to have dinner and a lesson. They are a fun family; one of the daughters has a three-year old and he is a goofball! He would chase Elder Anderson's laser pointer like a cat and would enjoy every minute of it. Dinner was good and the company was even better. It was a good way to end the week for us.

I love this time of year because of the reason for the season. I have a firm and strong belief in my Savior and I love Him for all that He has done for me. My challenge to y’all is to keep Him the reason behind Christmas and always remember Him. I know He lives and runs this Church and this work. Without Him, I would have no reason to be here. I can’t wait to get to talk to y’all on Christmas! It will be bitter sweet because that means I am coming home soon. It's crazy how fast my mission is going. I love every minute of it though! Love y’all and talk to y’all soon :)

Elder Tonini

Monday, December 9, 2013

email: Another Week Down!

When Mom told me what temperature was in ND I about threw up. -33?! I am going to die! Thank you for the package, it has been a ton of fun opening a gift every day. It meant a lot to Elder Anderson too. It was nice to see his face light up to know that my family cares about him. I love corresponding with the kids; I know I say that every week but I love it. I cannot wait to talk with them on Christmas! Did you like that picture of me in the Jeep Trevor posted on FaceBook? Ready for my week? Leggo!

Monday was transfer PDay and so it was pretty laid back. Elder Ete is coming back into Juruapa so I get to see him all the time! We said goodbye to everyone and then we kicked it at the house. I got my haircut again and then worked out for the rest of the time until it was time to go to dinner. We ate with the P**** family and they made Thanksgiving dinner again! It was super good. They actually got us a Christmas tree! So we put our little white tree up in our room and decorated it and everything :). I love their kids so much! I feel so at home at their house.

Tuesday morning we had a District Leaders Council with the new District Leaders and the new Zone Leaders (ZL). Actually, one of my close mission buddies is my ZL now! We have a pretty legit zone, I love it so much. There are only three sets of Elders and all of them are in leadership. The rest are sisters. Oh boy! After our meeting, we went had lunch with the C**** family. On the way over there, I broke two spokes on my bike... Wonderful! I told the member about it and he made a fat joke about me through it. Ha, GOOD ONE! I didn’t let it bother me though so it’s okay. We did get to know a recent convert in the ward and taught him too so that was fun. We then went and saw Eddy and that was…interesting. He told us about this experience that he had with his friend and how he greeted him with a "holy kiss" like Paul says to do in the New Testament but then he said that he "accidentally" stuck his tongue in his mouth. GROSS! I looked at Elder Anderson and was trying to keep my composure when he told us that. It was messed up! We then saw Tom down the street and had a lesson with him. Elder Anderson and I found a white rabbit that we chased around his house for almost half an hour. We looked ridiculous but it was so much fun! He told us that he wasn't too interested anymore but I told him that he can’t rule that out until he honestly reads the Book of Mormon and gives it a shot.

Wednesday was good because Sam came and visited me! I hadn't seen him since he left and came back from Portugal. He had to end his mission early because of medical reasons. After we had lunch with him, we went out and made some visits before dinner came and then he picked us up to drop the bikes off for us at a members house that works on bikes. We had dinner and then we went to see Eddy and that lesson was sketchy. I did not feel the Spirit in his home and it was so sad to see his wife in so much hurt. Eddy has an addiction problem and it is destroying his family. It crushes Elder Anderson and me to see that happen to him. We are gonna do everything we can to help him!

We had our usual lesson with Ivan on Thursday only to walk all the way to his house to have him tell us that he can’t meet today because he has a major stomach ache. We taught him a short lesson and then walked home. After some weekly planning, Brother H*** picked us up to have a lesson with him and his neighbor at his house. That lesson went on for almost three hours! It was insane and we barely made any progress. We didn’t have a dinner appointment so we ate at home then we walked over to see Kale and his family. We had a good discussion about the spirit world and everything like that. He has some different views but hopefully I can help him understand the right way of thinking through the Bible. It was a good lesson though for sure! We got a ride home so we didn’t have to walk in the cold :).

Friday was Zone District Meeting and it was actually a good one. It is hard having sisters in the zone because they are a lot harder to work with than Elders. It seems like everyone is leaning on me for my experience and leadership to help us to baptize. I guess that comes from my experience and time in the field. But it was good none the less and then Elder Anderson and I ate some carne asada fries for lunch! Yumm. We then went and saw Paul and I got to learn how to reload ammo! It was super awesome. I reloaded a 357 magnum round and then I shoot a crossbow with a scope. Super fun! We then saw Ivan and had such a heart breaking lesson. We had him pray and ask right then and there if baptism was the way and if the Book of Mormon was true. He said the prayer and then we sat in silence for about five minutes. He then looked up to me and said that he didn’t feel anything and that it made him sad. That crushed us because the Spirit was so strong there! We think he denied the answer he got so we're gonna talk with him about that. We aren't losing hope!

Saturday morning it POURED rain. I got a loaner bike so we went out to make visits and to pick up Elder Anderson's recent convert from the bus stop. I was cold and soaked. I eventually got warm and then we went out with Trevor to have lessons. We taught Eddy while he was laying on the floor, we taught Karmen again about church and Tom about coming to church and reading. The rain held off for the rest of the day and then we went to the Christmas party for the ward. It was really good! I got to play Santa's helper and to get the kids to sing Jingle bells for Santa to come in. It was a ton of fun!

Sunday was good and we picked up two new people! Good things are happening here in La Sierra :). I love y’all and hope things are going well! I can’t wait to see y’all on Christmas! Have a good one and stay warm!

Elder Tonini

Monday, December 2, 2013

email: I'm The New Relief Society President!

I am super stoked that Jake is going to get his mission application in soon. Is he going to put his availability date after I get home? My release date is February 24th, by the way. I lost a week so that's when I'll be home. Ready for me week? Leggo!

Monday was a usual PDay. We played some sports and then I went home and worked out. I have grown to love working out. It relieves a TON of stress that I've been feeling lately with personal things. We went to dinner and then we were supposed to go to the hospital in our area to give someone a blessing but the room and floor number that was given to us didn't exist and so we finished up our OYMs and then called it a night. Pretty relaxed PDay – we got a lot of stuff done and was able to relax for a bit.

On Tuesday, we had our usual DDM and it went okay. We had to be there early for District Leaders’ Council so I got to chat with Elders Anderson and Passmore during that time so that was fun. We had a good meeting and then came home for lunch. We had our companionship study to get ready for the day with our lessons and then we headed out. Ivan was our first lesson and we had a good one with him. He is starting to soften his heart so that is a plus big time. We made a bunch of stops that afternoon before we got picked up to go out to eat at Olive garden with the J*** family. While we were eating, President Smart called us to talk. I thought he was going to come by and see us again but it was for a referral at the hospital. Remember that appointment we had on Monday night? Yeah, we got the right room number that time haha. At the hospital, we gave a blessing and taught a lesson so that was good. We then ran off to teach Kale and that went well too. We did put him on date for baptism on the 21st so we are gonna keep working with him to make that happen. Slowly but surely, good things are happening here!

On Wednesday, we gave some service with Elders Thurman and Passmore in their ward. It was a good time; I enjoy getting my hands dirty and making an impact on someone. We then cleaned up and went to go see Eddy. On my goodness, it was the craziest lesson ever. First he tells us that he has just taken six narcos (super strong narcotic pain meds) that morning and that he wanted us to burn frankincense with him. We stayed but then he asked us if we wanted to break bread with him. We at first said no but then he got super disappointed so we said why not. Bad idea... Hahah we broke Hawaiian King rolls and he drank wine while we drank cranberry juice. He said the prayer and everything and we had the "sacrament" with him. Super blasphemous but super funny! Whoops. We had a lesson with Tom and he is hopefully going to go somewhere soon in his progression. It was pie night in the stake so we went to that and got to eat pie with my best friend Janea G****! It was a fun way to end the night :). Elders Thurman and Passmore came over and we hung out because it was basically another PDay eve! We played soda pong and almost saw Passmore throw it all up. Good times! It was a ton of fun with them.

Turkey day was on Thursday! Best part about Thanksgiving is football. Our
ward challenged another ward to play and we beat them in style. But oh man, did it get heated and physical. I made a really nice diving catch, SportsCenter worthy, and broke up some passes. I got some pretty cool pictures I'll have to send home, it was a ton of fun. After that, we came home to sleep and then went to Bishop's house to eat. It was okay, nothing too exciting happened. We did have some screaming good pie though from Claim Jumper! The Elders came and picked us up and we headed back to our apartment to play some more pong! Elders Kava and Ete drove up so it was fun to get to see them again. Thanksgiving was a good break and nice to spend it with the other Elders in the mission field :).

Friday was supposed to be exchanges but that was kind of pointless because it was weekly planning... That was kind of a bust so Elder Passmore and I planned and then taught a few lessons. The guy we went to see that night had the craziest story. He is a veteran and he told me the most awesome but humbling story I have ever heard. He has two tattoos on his forearms; an angel on his right arm and an angel of the devil on his left. The symbolism behind what that means is crazy. His right hand is to shake people's hand in a friendly way but he is a left-handed shooter, the bad side of what he does. It gave me chills. Vince is a cool guy, I wish he was my investigator! We then exchanged back and as always, we always have an adventure :).

Saturday was transfer Saturday! It is always bitter sweet to hear what happens. We finished up some weekly planning and then went out to make our church visits. I got SUPER sick overnight and I had to power through it to make the day work. I doped up on cold medicine and powered through it. We pulled a prank on Elder Passmore that we all got called into leadership and we were leaving him there all by himself. He believed us for such a long time, it was great. We didn't have a dinner so we went to In and Out for the last supper together as the four amigos. Our zone leaders came over because Elder Coleman left his scriptures at our place and we found out that Coleman is the new Assistant. Good for him! I did have to have a talk with the other zone leader because I heard he was saying stuff bad about me behind my bad so I had to let him know NICELY that he can't be doing that. It'll save him grief down the road later. We found out that Elder Thurman is going to Elsinore to be a district leader there. We got transfers and I am staying! However, we got moved into the Jurupa zone and I am the new district leader over ALL SISTERS. Joy! Hence the reason I am Relief Society President is because I have all Sisters. But I am excited to work with the new zone leaders and district leader so I am pretty excited about it. I wasn't expecting to be district leader again but I guess I still have a job to get done.

Sunday stunk because I still left like garbage. We went to church but no one showed... We came home and I crashed for four hours to try and get feeling better. I started to before we left for dinner but it got worse as the night went on. I had to keep doped up on cold medicine to keep me going. I guess that's life. We had dinner with the Johnson family and we got our OYMs and called it a night. Overall, it was a fun week for sure. A lot of ups and downs but it was good. Oh! I did wreck again this week and it was a bad one. I can’t remember what day it was but Elder Anderson ran my head over when I ate it right in front of him. Good thing I had a helmet! Hahaha always an adventure with us.

I am excited to get to talk to y’all very soon for Christmas! I can’t wait to talk to the family. I have some news that I want to tell y’all in person so get ready for it :). I love y’all so much. I love my Savior and all that He does for me. I am so grateful for repentance and that I have that chance to be made clean again. I love this work and I am going to get my greenie fire back for these last two transfers! Stay warm up in the great white north and we will talk soon :). I love y’all!

Elder Tonini

Monday, November 25, 2013

email: November 25, 2013

I am glad to hear that everyone had a great week! I can feel for Mom with the headaches, I have been battling one for almost a week that won't go away. Jake told me that he is getting close to getting his papers started! I am super excited and proud of that boy. He is going to be a wayy better missionary than I ever was. Corina told me about her birthday and I am glad she growing up so quickly. Everyone is getting so old except for me! I love that Carson goes and plays in the snow. That'll be my favorite thing to go do with him in February. Hopefully there will still be some snow. Ready for my week? Shake and bake!

I got my haircut on Monday and I was looking fresh! I got a fade from one of the sisters in my ward that does hair and it looked good. I get my haircut every two weeks; I gotta find a girl who can cut hair otherwise I am going to spend some serious money on my hair haha. We actually played football with the other Elders so that was fun. I was sitting with the Elders when one of them pulled me aside and we started talking. He asked me what I thought of him and if I thought he was dorky and geeky, if I would pick on him with we were in high school and stuff like that. I told him of course not; I'm not like that at all. He thought that because he labeled me as a "jock" and he didn't have a good high school experience with kids like that. I reassured him that I wouldn't do that and that I loved him a ton. After that talk, we went and played football with him and on the last play of the game, he caught the winning touchdown pass. It was so awesome to see him get like that, all excited and happy. It made my Pday. After that, we emailed and had lunch. We hung out and I worked out that afternoon until we had dinner with the P**** family. Their kids make me laugh, their youngest is such a sweetheart - she makes me smile every time I see her. We then went to a part-member family (PMF) to give the wife a blessing and taught more about the priesthood. One of the sisters in our ward told us that her husband really likes us and so hopefully we can start teaching their whole family soon. A pretty productive Pday :).

We had our usual meeting on Tuesday but Elder Thurman got pretty sick so he had Elder Coleman train and it was really good. We made goals and set plans to help ourselves become the best missionary we can be. It was super inspiring. I actually miss training every week. I don't think my Sisters do because I tended to talk a little deeper topics than usual district leaders do... Whoops! We then had lunch and finished our studies. As part of our studies, Elder Anderson and I had a really deep companionship inventory. We talked about our weaknesses and what would keep us from baptizing in this area. We wrote it all down and made a system to keep ourselves accountable to each other. It was much needed because we are imperfect but yet we can make those weaknesses become strengths. We are gonna really focus on this this last week of the transfer. We made visits in the afternoon and then had dinner with the J*** family in our ward. It was a fun dinner; their kids are pretty crazy sometimes though. When we were leaving a quick lesson, their one-year old daughter walked up to me and sat next to me and I read her a book while Elder Anderson taught. Goodness, it makes me ready for a family! Time will come though. We then ran off to teach Kale, one of our PMF we are working with. The family loves us - we are actually having Thanksgiving dinner with them so it'll be exciting. We taught the first part of the Plan of Salvation and they understood it really well. The homework we left with them was Alma 40 to get them ready for next week when we come and teach the rest of the plan. Our goal as a companionship was to get five member present lessons this week and we got it! It was awesome to feel that accomplishment. Our goal is to get seven this week so we're gonna have to work pretty hard to make that happen!

We started off our Wednesday with a super big deep clean of the apartment. We are starting fresh and cleanliness is close to godliness so we took that as our fresh start. It was a good thing too because we felt refreshed and ready to make big things happen! We made a visit to a less-active member who is super sick to see how she was doing. We talked with her and made sure she was doing okay and left a brief lesson with her before she left for chemo. The only downfall was that my gastritis was acting up and it was become quite uncomfortable so I didn't eat very much that night at dinner at Farmer boys. We then rode to Dale’s house to have him ride his bike with us to our appointment that night. We taught Richard again and it went well. Dale and I have some conflicting doctrinal views but I put that aside and we taught well together. As we were leaving the house, Elder Anderson went to OYM this guy walking down the street and they almost got into a physical confrontation. The guy said something provocative about his sister and he about freaked. I had to jump in to cool him down before he did something stupid. And that's why we roll together in pairs :). And then to make matters worse, it starts to rain. Not just rain, POUR. And we were 15 minutes plus away from home so it was quite a fun ride. #WifePoints When we got back to the apartment, we were soaked. I showered and then went to bed. I was freezing cold! I am gonna die in Minot for sure...

We had our lesson with Ivan that went really well. We both testified and taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation. It was awesome to see the Spirit prick his heart. He started to ask us questions about our missions and about the purpose of life and everything. He really is a good kid, I love him to pieces. Right as we rolled outside to ride home, it started to rain again! It poured all day and we worked in it all day. Awesome! Our dinner went well and went to go see Kale and check up on his reading. It's not happening yet but hopefully soon.

Friday was temple day! I needed to go to the temple so badly; I have had a lot of things on my mind that I needed to go talk to God about. I got an interesting answer in the temple that I will have to tell y'all about when I call home for Christmas. It has a long back story and is super, super personal to me. After the temple, we had our temple nap for lunch and then went out to make some visits. Pizza was dropped off for us for dinner and then we went and saw Carmen again to try and set something up for us to come and teach her. Her six-year old daughter drew me a picture that I hung up on my wall. It was awesome!

All we do on Saturday is make church visits and try to get people to come to church. We stopped by Ladio's house to try and see if he would come but he's working on getting over being sick and so that might not happen. The afternoon was kind of shot due to the fact that I really rolled my ankle during lunch. Elders Thruman and Passmore came over for lunch and we started dancing and I rolled my ankle when I stepped on one of my dumbbells. Yup, I'm a dork I know. It killed all day and so we didn't go everywhere that I wanted to but we made calls to those people we missed. We saw this referral that we got from another missionary and we could tell he was on meth and so we'll see what happens with him. Anita took us to Claim Jumper for dinner because we didn't have anyone sign up so she took us. It was quite an adventure with her that night, it always is with her :). I love her to pieces!

I was pretty dead on Sunday because I started to come down with a sickness so it was a slow day for us. Both Elder Anderson and I came down with something. It was probably from the cold and rain earlier in the week. I still am sick so it'll be a fun week working through it all. Kale came to church so that was good! Our dinner made Thanksgiving dinner early for us so that was good. The only downfall was that I had gotten progressively worse so I didn't eat too much... We played some Uno and got to know the family. We did however, have two lessons with Eddy and Tom, some new people we picked up this week and last so that was good. Overall, it was a good week besides the physical ailments I am working though.

In closing, I want y'all to know how much I love MY Savior. I am so grateful for daily repentance; it is something all of need to learn and master because that is the only way back to the Father. I have grown to love the scriptures and the doctrine within its pages. I love that we have modern day prophets and the power and love they have for us. This is the most important work we can do. I'm not a full time missionary, only part time. Y'all as members ARE the full-time missionaries because y'all live in the area and make huge impacts. Keep opening your mouth and share the good news of the Gospel! I love y'all and I'm counting down the days until Christmas time!

- Elder Tonini

Monday, November 18, 2013

email: November 18, 2013

Subj: I love SUNNY Southern California :)

TODAY IS CORINA'S BIRTHDAY!!!! I can't believe my baby sister is 16 now. That is crazy! She told me all about her party and how it went. I love that sister of mine! She's one of my sweethearts :). The other one is Mom and then the last one will be my future wife, when that time comes. I watched the video of Carson wrestling and I was basically cheering in the library! I was getting some funny stares from people... I love hearing about how Jake is doing. I am soo stoked Jake is getting ready for his mission! He is gonna be twice the missionary I will ever become. I am so excited for him. I am going to make a call into one of the senior couples who helps with that process of applying for schools. I want to apply to BYU and Utah State and maybe even that school in Bismark Dad told me about. I want a few options so I can be taken care of. Ready for me week? Leggo :)

On Tuesday we emailed in the morning after DDM and that took a big chunk of our day. DDM went well, Elder Passmore trained and it was awesome! I love that missionary so much. He is such a character. I am having issue with one of my Zone Leaders so DDM is kind of hard for me. We then had a bomb lesson with Karmen and finally introduced the Book of Mormon to her. We hadn't had the chance to do it before because sitting down with her has been impossible so we decided to teach her about it on her doorstep. It went well and the scripture I shared hit her deep. Hopefully that will be the spark she needs! We then had dinner with the Jones family and that was fun. They have a one year old that came and sat next to me during the lesson with them and it was awesome. I can't wait to be a dad one day :). Our lesson with a recent convert/part-member family went well too! His name is Cale and we just picked him up. His wife was just baptized and so we are now gonna work with him. It was a good lesson, Elder Anderson and I teach really well together. I have been blessed to have him. We then got our OYMs and called it good for the night!

We had visits to do all Wednesday and we ended up picking up a former investigator and teaching Richard again! He started to dive deep into some deeper doctrine so that was a fun lesson haha. Our dinner with the B*** family went okay. The bad thing was that I voiced my opinion a little too far and kind of made Sister B*** mad.. Whoops. Oh well, she's not going to hold that against me I hope. We then went and saw our ward mission leader to have our correlation meeting. We hadn't seen him in a week and a half because of some family stuff but it was good to see him. We got our OYMs and called it good for the night.

We had our lesson with Ivan on Thursday and it went better than we had thought it was gonna go. He is willing to give us another shot and to keep praying. We came down on him hard but with love so hopefully he really felt that. We had weekly planning and made some visits to people. Our dinner was with the H*** family and that was a good dinner. I had some really good tacos and had a good conversation. Our follow up lesson with Cale went awesome! We brought a receipt convert with us (just baptized four months ago) and he testified so well to Cale! It was awesome. We then went to the church to meet his friend and we are going to hopefully start teaching. The Elders Quorum was practicing some football for Thanksgiving and so we jumped it. It was a fun way to end our night!

Friday was a good day, we gave a blessing to a less active lady in our complex and then had a bomb dinner. However, I wrecked my bike pretty bad before dinner. It was my fault but it still was pretty bad. We were riding a dirt trail doing 180's in the dirt with our bikes. I went a little too hard and I tanked it super bad. I was fine but it was right before dinner and so I showed up all dirty and stuff. Good times! We had some bomb carne asada with the M**** family. Our appointment cancelled and so we went on an obedience ride. I stayed on two tires for the rest of the night haha.

Saturday was rough for us because Elder Anderson came down with a head cold and I had a pounding headache from the night before and so we had a really slow morning. We studied and then got a call from Brother G**** about taking us to go ship our books home we got from the sister who passed away a few weeks ago. He paid to ship almost a 100 lbs of books to North Dakota. It was such a blessing to me. We then did some service for Cale's in-laws and invited them to church. The G*** came back and took us out to eat because we didn't have a dinner. That dinner was so much fun. They have a 27-year-old Down syndrome daughter that is so much fun. She has a "boyfriend" and she talks about him all the time. She told the waitress she wanted "aqua" and that she can speak Spanish. Classic! It was so much fun. We got our OYMs and called it a night.

Sunday was full of ups and downs. I can get really frustrated with our ward but I am learning patience with them though so it’s okay. I was in a pretty bad mood at the end of sacrament meeting when Janae, the G****'s down syndrome daughter, came up to me and showed me her temple book. She talked to me for about five minutes and then called me her pretty boy and then gave me a hug. It was super funny! It made my day. We then had a brief lesson with Ivan and invited him again to church. Our dinner was super cool, it was a young couple and so it made me a little trunkie.. But coming home for the night, both Elder Anderson and I wrecked on our bikes. It was a good time! We were haulin' down the sidewalk and there was this puddle that he decided to try and skid through. He went down on his side and I braked to try and avoid hitting him when my bike skidded and sent me flying over the handle bars. It was a good time haha I loved it! Didn't feel too good but it was quite an experience for me.

Well, that's what's going on with me. I am doing just fine, still trying to figure out who I am. There have been a lot of changes that have happened to me and the Lord is making me into the man He needs me to become and I am so grateful for that. I love y'all and miss y'all so much. I love my Savior and His Atonement for me. It's real and it changes peoples lives. Open your mouth this week and share the gospel!

Elder Tonini

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

email: November 12, 2013

Subject:  Another week in paradise...

… Oh my goodness, 10 degrees is ungodly cold! I am going to die in February... You know what? Instead of sending me stuff for Christmas, just buy me real nice cold gear for when I come home! That's a better idea haha. Well, ready for my week? Let's shake and bake :)

PDay was an okay time. We got to play some basketball and throw the football around in the stake center. I was running a route and I about racked myself on a table and smashed into the wall trying to catch the football. I tweaked my ankle and so I called it good after that haha. My PDays aren't the same without throwing the softball with Sisters Pack and Gambling. I miss throwing with them a lot! You can't take the ball player outta me haha. It was good to be active and workout. PDays are never long enough! Our dinner was good and then got our OYMs for the day after dinner. Nothing too exciting but we still had a good day.

On Tuesday, I went on exchanges with Elder Thurman. I love that kid to death. Although he hasn't been out very long, he already is a super good missionary. Teaching with him was a blast. We saw Richard again and tried to help him progress. We got money for dinner and so we went and helped to finish up with apartment of the member who passed away last week and then took off to dinner at Panda Express :). Some of the members there helping made some really snide comments to me that really irritated me but I got over it. Elder Thurman and I got to bond really well together and so it was a good time with him. He is a really good District Leader and look up to him a lot. Even though he is young, I still can learn from him.

Wednesday started out by helping Ladio do more drywall. It was super fun, I love helping him and getting to know him. We have done a lot of service with him because other missionaries offended him and we wanted to show him that we are legit and want to help him change. We did that all morning and then ran off to the mission office to have our interviews. They were having a sisters gathering and I got to see all of my sisters! Sisters Gambling, Pack, Hall, Anderson and Allison were all there and I got to see how they were doing. Even though I'm not their District Leader anymore, I still feel like I need to make sure they are doing okay! Interviews got backed up because sisters LOVE to talk so we were there all afternoon. Our dinner was super fun! At first, the dad came off as a huge jerk but then we got to know him and it was okay. It was a super fun dinner! I love Elder Anderson because we gave each other a hard time the entire time. It was great companion unity together haha. We didn't have anything set for the evening and since it gets so dark so fast here, we were stuck doing an obedience walk. We ended up finding this pier near our house over this little pond and so we went there. It was a good time! We played with the ducks and everything :).

Oh my goodness, Thursday was terrible. We had our lesson with Ivan and he told us that he didn't feel the Spirit at church and that it was really sad. I seriously despise testimony meeting... Only one adult talked about Christ. One! Everything else was about the sister who passed away; my only beef with that was that the whole testimony meeting was about that! You don't talk about being buried in your temple clothes over the pulpit! It crushed me to hear him say that to us. He feels the Spirit when we teach him but not during the church service. It seriously was heartbreaking... So needless to say, I was not in the best mood for the rest of the day. We did pick up some promising potentials so hopefully that will translate into something good.

Friday was Mom's birthday! I will be honest and say that I realized that half way through personal study but I still remembered it! We did some weekly planning because I was shot the day before to plan so we got some good stuff done. That afternoon, I got a call from a number in Washington. I know a few missionaries that have lived in Washington so I was kinda scared I was gonna get pranked but it was a telemarketer. I OYMed her over the phone and I got into a bash with her! It was super funny, I loved it haha. We then went and saw Carmen and invited her to church. We then were riding to the Cheesecake Factory when we got stopped by the Indian guy that talked to us for almost half an hour. It was stupid! I found it funny though that he used to work at a Circle K convenience store. I'm not racist, I promise! Hahaha but then we went to eat. At the restaurant though, Anita found the B**** family from our ward in Moreno Valley! Sister B**** is from Italy and she loved me when I was in the ward. She gave me a big hug and we caught up on things going on. It was a fun surprise! Plus I got to see Anita, it was a perfect night! That night will always be special to me :).

Saturday was SUPER long. We did drywall with Ladio again and we did it almost all afternoon. We did the ceiling which was super fun! He had this drywall jack that made it superrrrr easy to do. The reason why we went so long was because I made a deal with him that if we helped him finish then he would come to church. He didn't end up coming... But he told me that if I hit a softball further than he could then he would get baptized. Now mind you, he is someone the ward has been trying for YEARS to get baptized and so I jumped on the chance. After drywall, we got cleaned up and went out to contact people before dinner. Dinner was good even though I didn't agree with the husband's view point on a LOT of things. Plus he couldn't control his kids so it was a huge test of patience. He did, though, have a SICK Kawasaki Ninja so that was cool to talk to him about that. We then had an obedience ride and talked to this one guy again that really irritated me one night. As soon as I saw him, my heart dropped because I wasn't in the mood to bash. But he ended up being nice and talking about stuff and apologized for the other night so that was good. We rode to our ward mission leader’s house and he wasn't there... Frustrating.

I was so dead on Sunday though during church. The talks were super good though! Only if Ivan had been to that one then we wouldn't be in this situation with him that we are now. We fasted for some people we have been working with and so I got a huge headache that knocked me out pretty much all afternoon. We did though go to the bishop's house for dinner and had some fun there. I sucked some helium and sang the Star Spangled Banner because I was playing ball on Monday so that was a good time. The bishop's daughter was taking pictures of Elder Anderson and me at dinner so that was kinda weird... But we had a good lesson and got our OYMs for the day. Overall, it wasn't the best week but we made due with what we got thrown. Gotta roll with the punches and this week we took a lot of punches. But all we can do is get up off the floor and keep going. Gotta go through hell in order to appreciate heaven.

So since yesterday was a holiday, we didn't get to email so here is what we did yesterday! We shopped in the morning and then Robert came and picked us up to go disk golf! We went to a course that we got golf carts and it was a fun course. Even though I hadn't played in forever, I still did really well. I've missed Robert a lot so it was good to see him. We then went and played softball with Ladio. I got swing again and learned very quickly that hitting slow pitch is nothing like hitting a baseball. So I adjusted and started hitting bombs. Like over 400 feet; in other words, I'm kind of a big deal haha. Just kidding. But then it was time for the contest. And guess what I did? Popped all three up and I lost... I was not happy for the rest of the day. Plus I strained my hamstring and my ankle again. I came home, worked out and then went back to Ladio's home to eat dinner and for a lesson. He still wants to take the lessons so it wasn't a complete failure. Hopefully we can keep working with him and get him baptized soon.

Well, this email is super long... Sorry about that! I love y'all and I can't wait to see y'all at Christmas. President gave me the okay to call home when Jake opens his call so that will be good. Send my love to the family. I am loving my time here and it is sad to see it almost be done. I love the people I serve and the Spirit I feel everyday. I love y'all and miss everyone terribly. Work hard and open your mouth this week!

Elder Tonini

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pictures!

Elder Anderson and Elder Tonini

Good thing they are wearing helmets!

Elders with Anita

Some things never change!

Monday, November 4, 2013

email: November 4, 2013

Ready for my week? Leggo :)

Monday was pretty laid back. We had a good PDay and got to relax some. We got our OYMs and then had dinner with our second counselor that is a millionaire. He pick us up in his BIG 7 series BMW and took us out to eat. We got to know him and his family better and then got on the topic of marriage. I swear, the closer I get to the end of my mission, the more it seems like marriage is the hot topic with me. C’mon man! Anyways, it was a good time with him and getting to know him.

Tuesday was our Halloween party so we spent the day riding all over town inviting our investigators to come to church. We talked to Ivan and had a lesson with him even though he was pretty sick. We invited him to the party but he decided to stay home and not get kids sick. We also saw Carmen and her family and invited her to come to the party. Even though she nicely dropped us, we are still gonna keep going over and hopefully get her to come to church. We also talked to the F**** family and invited them. Before we went to the party, we saw Richard and had a lesson with him. We talked some deeper doctrine than usual when I teach but he asked good questions. At the party, we met some non-members and introduced ourselves to them. We are seeing some progress with the ward and I want to be that catalyst to help the ward members. The Bishop's wife asked us to man the bounce house and we gladly accepted :). It was super fun! We were throwing kids and having fun with them. When the trunk or treat got going, we had the bounce house all to ourselves. Yeehaw! I was super fun! Although some of the young women were getting a little too friendly so we had to bail... Hahahah oh man, anyways. It was a good time at the Halloween party.

Wednesday started off like usual with studies and visits and then Anita came to visit. I love that Basque Grandmother of mine! We had lunch and had a good talk with her. We got our OYMs and made more visits when we went out again for dinner! Good thing I'm on bike, otherwise I would be getting super fat! We found out a sister in our ward passed away and she was an organized hoarder... It was sad to hear that but even more of a sad thing was going through her stuff. More details on that project later.

Our Halloween started off by helping a part-member family do some drywall in their house. The husband isn't a member and he is super legit! His wife and kids are active but he isn't a member YET. We helped with that and it was super fun. However, Elder Anderson broke his seat while riding and racked himself pretty bad. It was super funny! But I felt super bad for him... Haha anyways, we ran home and got dressed to go teach Ivan. We committed him to keep reading and come to church with us. That was basically our Thursday because after that, we went and helped clean the apartment of the sister who passed away. Guess what we found? Doctrinal books galore! I have the WHOLE set of Journal of Discourses! I’m going to send them home so I can study it when I get back :). It was such a treasure she left for me, it was awesome. Our Zone Halloween activity was the pits... We couldn't combine with the other zone so we did nothing. It was lame... Oh well. I hung out with Elders Thurman and Anderson the entire time. It was still a good time though!

Friday was ZDM day and again, I really irritated some people. I guess that's just my calling as a missionary, to voice my opinion even if it will offend people. We had a goal of 37 baptisms when we only had ONE. That wasn't going to fly and so I spoke up and stepped on some toes. Oh well, I saw something that I was strongly against and so I spoke up. It was all good though, we worked it out. Lunch was good at Ancho's and then we finished weekly planning. Not too much of a busy day but busy enough to make me super tired.

Saturday was again filled with service. We helped a sister in our ward move and it was only three ward members and us four missionaries. A little disappointing to say the least. Anyways, we did that all morning and then had studies. We listened to the Glenn Beck conversion story. Super good! We then had a route of church visits to make and then had dinner with Brother K***. He is super awesome! We had Subway and then he came with us to make some visits. We didn't have too much success but we did see another recent convert/part member family that we want to start working with. There was the SICKEST motorcycle in the garage. It was super dope! I drooled all over it when I was there haha. The work is starting to pick up, slowly but surely.

Oh my goodness, Sunday was rough. We had Ivan come to church but testimony meeting was terrible! Only three people talked about Christ. Three! And two of those three were under the age of 10! There was a lady sitting with her dog in the chapel, babies crying and people talking about being buried in their temple clothes. SERIOUSLY?! Fetch man! I was not happy. Ivan liked it though and he said he would come back next week so that was a positive. Then the lesson in gospel principles was about marriage AGAIN. That topic won't leave me alone either. And then the Elders Quorum only talked about beating the other ward in football and only had a 20 minute lesson. We expressed our frustrations with the ward mission leader. We had dinner and a lesson with the bishop and then went home. Elder Anderson got super sick and it was pretty bad so we took it easy that night. Anita stopped by again and it was good to see her :). Overall, it was a decent week. Another week in paradise :).

Well, I love y’all and want y’all to know that I do. I am focused and have my motivation back. Nothing is gonna let me get in the way of finishing. I gotta be that closer, to never look back at the wheel. I want y’all to know that I love my Savior and love the people I work with. I love serving just like how the Christ did. I love Him and love learning about His gospel. Love y’all and have a great week!

Elder Tonini

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Christmas 2013 Suggestions from the Mission President

Greetings from the California Riverside Mission!

The Christmas Holidays are fast approaching, may we offer some suggestions?

Christmas Letters - You might consider sending a special Christmas letter that focuses on the service and sacrifice your missionary is offering at this time of the year when we reflect on the birth of the Savior. 

Christmas Packages - Packages should arrive at the mission office 5900 Grand Ave, Riverside CA. 92504 by December 15, 2013. The Mission will hold all packages starting Nov. 25th until our Mission Christmas Celebration. If you do not want a package you send held please note on the package "DELIVER IMMEDIATELY DO NOT HOLD". 

Suggestions for Missionary Gifts - Family Photos, Photo Calendars, Letters from Family, Testimonies, Approved Missionary Music (Hymns - vocal or instrumental, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, BYU Men's Choir, Classical), General Conference Talks on CD, GPS, Ties, Shirts, Slacks, Shoes, Socks, Nylons, Belts, Garments, Athletic Shoes & apparel, Candy, favorite homemade treat, beef jerky.

From our Nurse - Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Thermometer, Robitussin DM, Sudafed Tablets. 

Thank you again for your weekly emails to your missionaries and for the many written letters and packages. 

Many Christmas Blessings to you and your families, 

President and Sister Smart

Monday, October 28, 2013

email: October 28, 2013

Subject: Boy do I have some guardian angels...

Ready for my crazy first week in Riverside? Leggo!

Monday was crazy with moving and everything. It was super hard to say goodbye to my district, especially Elder Child. We both got a little emotional in our embrace and it really made me love him even more. He is going to be a special missionary. We still talk and everything so it's not a forever goodbye. I got all moved in with Elder Anderson and we got our OYMs for the night.

On Tuesday, we took some time to organize the area. We identified potentials and formers and the current people they were teaching so we could have a plan of attack. I love being on bike, I am dropping weight like crazy. Working out hard in the morning and riding all day is gonna be good for me. We had two set up appointments that fell through but we had dinner with our WML, Brother P**** and got to know his family. We are gonna be working closely with him to make this area boom again.


Elder Tonini, some random kid, and Elder Anderson at Taco Bell

Wednesday we had DDM and got to know the zone. We are getting overrun by Sisters... Blah! There are seven sisters and eight Elders. Ohh man haha. We had lunch at McDonald's with Kavababy! I love Kava haha. He was in the area for a doctor’s appointment and so we had lunch with him. We didn't have dinner and so we worked all the way till 8pm before we ate dinner. We did meet with a part member family and had a good lesson with her and then put Richard on date! He is the son of a recent convert and he is willing to learn more and so we put him on date for baptism. President made a surprise stop by to see me and to make sure I am doing okay. I love President Smart, he is the man! We had a good heart-to-heart so it was good for me.

Thursday was a miracle day for us. We had a set lesson with a kid named Ivan. The report said he wouldn't commit to pray or go to church and they previous missionaries were fixin' to drop him but we went by to have a lesson with him. The end result? Put him on date, committed him to pray and come to church. Sometimes, you just gotta be bold with people. After that, we ran off to a blessing with a lady I contacted on the street and she let us in! We had a really good blessing and the Spirit was SO strong in that apartment. We committed them to baptism and they accepted for the 30th of November. We set something up to come by the next day and start teaching. Legit! We then finished our studies and weekly planned for the week. Dinner was good; we went to La Pollo Loco with an interesting family. They were nice but it was still interesting. Not a bad day for weekly planning!


Friday was a freaking crazy day. My guardian angel was watching over me a lot on Friday. So we had a church tour with Ivan in the morning which went reallyyyy well. The only hiccup we had was that the building was dirty so we had to clean it up some and that Brother P**** didn’t show up for the tour... I was a little frustrated about that but we made it work. And then that family we gave the blessing to on Thursday called and said that they weren't ready for organized religion and stuff like that. That was a bummer too but at least our church tour went well with Ivan. We made visits all day and boy was it interesting. Anderson has the WORST luck with riding. He ran into a wall, about fell off his bike almost six times and really did a number of the family (if you smell what I'm stepping in) during all these close call crashes. We had dinner with the B*** family and got to know them. This ward is going through some major issues... Just by talking to them, that was the feeling I got. One sister is on life support and another just fell and broke her leg. A lot going on. After dinner, we rode to the other side of our area to go visit Richard. I had a really close call with about getting ran over. I was trying to cross from the right side of the road to a street on the left side when I about when flying over my handle bars. I made a hard left turn and my pedal hit the ground super hard, about ejecting me off my seat and onto the pavement as a car was coming up the hill. By the grace of God, and my guardian angel, I saved it and rode away. It did not feel very good but I walked away from what happened. I saw my life flash before my eyes, no joke haha. But we made the visit and then called it a night. Anderson and I were both pretty beat up... Just another day in paradise :).

Saturday was filled with making church visits. We did pick up another super awesome family! It potentially could be a family of seven. We left a blessing with them and taught about how they could be a family forever. We invited them to church but they didn't end up coming... But we are gonna work with them this week and get them progressing. We rode 26 miles on Saturday making visits. Goodness I love the bike! No worries about staying under miles :). We set up some appointments with people and tried to get people to come to church. Hopefully we can get them to come! We have Sunday meetings starting at 7:15am... YUCK! Everyone was shocked to see two new faces but it was good to get to know the ward. I guess we will see how well the ward works with us. Sacrament meeting was super loud but the last speaker was awesome. He talked about the idiom "look up". He related a story that Elder Cook had with President Monson and it really made an impact on me. President Monson told him to "look up" and keep working hard. It was a way cool talk and it was presented really nicely. We came home and took a nap for lunch because we both are exhausted already and then we went out to go meet the Bishop's family. We are on the bottom of the overpass that we are about to bike up and Anderson locks his chain up and we can't get it undone. So we get a ride home from Brother J*** and he rides the spare bike to dinner. Dinner with the G****'s went well. He is a cool guy with an awesome family. They have a 27-year old down syndrome daughter that was super funny! She is so marriage crazy, it was hilarious. We made a few visits and then called it a week.

You know, I wasn’t sure how thing would be with my new companion but he really loves being with me. We had a good heart-to-heart and he wants to work really hard. He has had it hard the past six months and he feels like I am training him again. He looks up to me a lot and he wants to become a better missionary. He has already made improvements with his teaching and talking to people. I don't know what it is but I bring out the best in people. It's nothing I do, I just be myself but they seem to be attracted to me. Anderson is a really good guy and he wants to learn everything from me. It’s humbling to hear him say stuff about me like that. I guess I never realized how much I make an impact on people.

Well, I love y’all and thank y’all for the prayers. I need them! Cali drivers are not the best sometimes haha. Always know that I love y’all and miss y’all so much. Christmas is coming up and that means I get to see y’all soon! Take care of Mom for me and help her get better. Again, I love y'all so much. Don't worry, I'm not getting trunkie. I've got a lot to work to do :). I've found my drive again! Have a great week!

Elder Tonini

Monday, October 21, 2013

email: October 21, 2013

Subject: Transfer Monday!

I got a transfer call and I am going to Jurupa! I am pretty excited. It's gonna be a rough four months though. The area is dead, I am getting doubled in with a missionary who is struggling, on a bike, and I have four months left. This is going to be a huge test of my faith. However, Elders Coleman and Moss are gonna be there so it will be a good thing. I am going to miss this area a lot. There have been a LOT of things happen to me here. I have received a lot of revelation about my future, the people here in Hemet and seeing how much of a blessing the gospel can be to people's lives. I am sorry to hear about Mom's headaches. I've got a huge headache because I was fielding ground balls in the gym and I faced planted it into the door frame. Yeah, that didn't feel too good so I can relate haha.

Ready for my week? It's gonna be a quick email because I've gotta go soon. Brother R**** is taking me to Jurupa so I've gotta be mindful of him :).

Monday was fun having dinner with the S**** family. I got to play with the boys and wrestle with them. I seriously can't wait to be a Dad. I’m gonna love it! It was a fun dinner appointment.

Tuesday was the usual DDM and it was weird because I knew that it was going to be my last one. I got Anita to come up and give her testimony. She did so well! I was so proud of her. I have a really hard time when I hear people talk about how good of a guy I am and how amazing I am and stuff. I guess I don't like drawing attention to myself. I do things to not be recognized and when I do get recognized, it's hard on me. She ended up taking a whole group of missionaries out to Red Robin for lunch. She is amazing and I love her to pieces. She also took us out to dinner that night too! I love her so much. We got our OYMs and taught the G**** family that night too.




Wednesday was exchanges and I got to go with Elder Figueroa into the other side of the ward. I did get to bash with a Jehovah's Witness at a doorstep so that was super fun! I shouldn't love bashing but I do. I have gotten really good at making people feel dumb when it comes to religion. What we have to offer is so true that people cannot deny that. They try to do that to me but they can't do that to me :). Okay, I am being a little cocky so I'll stop.

Other than that, things are going well. I am excited for this new adventure and I am going to work as hard as I can. I have found new drive to work and be motivated so I am excited for that. Sorry this is such a short letter. I love y’all so much and hope things are going well there in ND!

Elder Tonini

Monday, October 14, 2013

email: October 14, 2013

Sounds like y'all had a good week! I love going to the temple. We get to go to the temple this next transfer so that will be awesome. I am excited. Transfers are this next week so we will see what happens. After this transfer, I will only have three left...time sure does fly. I will dearly miss my mission but now I have to put the lead down and work my hardest. Ready for the week? Let's go.

Monday was super fun! We went and played some baseball up at the Park Hill building. We played with a tennis ball so everyone could play. Henderson got creamed in the stomach with the tennis ball while pitching. It was super funny! It felt so good to play again. I had Sister Pack hit me some ground balls and she nailed me in the stomach the first ground ball she hit me. Yessir! We had dinner at the D**** home and it was super fun. I love those kids so much. But we taught a lesson to the kids and that is always fun. We then got our OYMs and called it a night.

We had a brief multi-zone conference with San Jacinto and Hemet zones. I actually played the piano in front of everyone. I made a rendition of "Come Thou Fount" and three other Elders sang. It was super sick, I loved it. After lunch, we had studies and then went out. We didn't have any lesson until that night when we went and saw the G**** family. They are doing well :). We gave them a picture of the San Diego temple that we found so they can keep their eye on the prize. We got our OYMs and called it a night.

Wednesday was DDM and so I had to do that. I trained over the Good Samaritan and how Christ was prophesying about Himself. It was a pretty good training. After DDM, Sister Gambling asked for a blessing from me and so I gave her one and we ended up giving blessing to almost all the sisters. Gotta love them :). We were going to see John again but he had to re schedule so we had companionship study together. It started to rain in the afternoon and boy it didn't stop. It dumped like crazy. All of our visits, no one was out and so we had to walk in the POURING rain. We talked to everyone out in the rain. I was freezing... But it was all worth it. #WifePoints! Haha it was a fun way to end a day.

We had our usual weekly planning on Thursday and saw John and his wife. We had a good lesson with him. Jasmine actually sat down with us and so it was good. They want us to come see their son play on Saturday so we will have to see. Our dinner was with the M**** family and we got to teach Maddy afterwards. It was a good lesson with her. We then had the G**** family that night and we had to get our contacts for the day.

We had Fred on Friday which was super sick! He is a Hawaiian that just moved here. He wants to get baptized and so we are going to make it happen! Sister Gambling actually got us the contact so that was pretty sweet! We then met up with Mrs. Montgomery which is always a blast. She is the old black lady that wants to come to church. She's...interesting haha. We then also saw crazy Jennifer. She is not going anywhere... But it's still good to come by and see her. We gave a blessing to a less active lady. We had dinner with the R**** family at Steer and Stine. It was super good! I told them I could be leaving and they freaked. Brother R**** is going take me to the temple for the last time on my mission. It's going to be awesome.

We had our follow up lesson with Fred Saturday morning and it went well. He said he's gonna come to church but he didn't end up coming... But he understood everything and he even gave us money for breakfast haha. We then went to go see John's son play football at the local high school. It was super sick! Those six year olds are pretty intense. We got our oil change and had a lesson again with Mrs. Montgomery. She asked us to go buy groceries for her... Oh boy haha. But it was a good day. Funniest thing happened that afternoon. We had come home because we had a situation with the other missionaries that had to involve a DL stop-by. We were sitting on the couch when a random guy with pizza walked into our apartment. He stared at us and I said, "Hey what's up man!" He turned around and shut the door. Only in Hemet hahahaha.

Sunday we had our usual meetings and made a drop by to see the G****s because they didn't come to church. They ended up having a huge fight... But we came over there that night so it was all good. I did have a pretty humbling experience that afternoon. People kept asking when transfers were and I told them I might be leaving. I told a young man I got close to that I might be leaving and it really crushed him, according to his mom. He texted me later that afternoon and said that because of me, he is going to go on a mission. That was very humbling... We had dinner with the P****'s and that is always a blast. I love that family so much too. We called it an early night because I wasn't feeling too good. The day before, I ate some pasta sauce that was nine months expired... Whoops. But I am good now. Overall, it was a good week :).

Well, I hope y'all have a wonderful week. I will let you know what happens with transfers. Love y'all and remember who you are!

Elder Tonini

Monday, October 7, 2013

email: October 7, 2013

This is going to be a quick email because everyone is waiting for me to go play baseball at the field!

I will be honest and say that the week has been rough. We have no one in our teaching pool... We have one golden potential coming down the shoot and so hopefully that will be a plus. We got news on Tuesday that we are moving and so on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I spent all day moving. However, I have found my motivation for these last few months I have left. I did a lot of praying and I have found it. I am super excited and ready to tear it up. I was waiting for that answer and I got it and so I am ready to roll now. We taught a few lessons and so we are in the rebuilding stages for the area. But it is all good, I am going to make it happen. I love y'all and hope everything goes well! Love you :)

Elder Tonini