Monday, February 25, 2013

email: February 25, 2013


I am so excited that Jake got accepted into BYU! I seriously could not stop smiling whenever I read that he made it in. I am so proud of him; I am proud of all my siblings! They are such wonderful young men and woman. We wouldn't be the way we are if it wasn't for y'all as parents so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your two amazing examples and parenting. I am glad to hear that Dad spent the weekend at home; everyone needed to have him home. I miss my Dad... But I have good fatherly figures here in the mission to try and fill that void. Grandpa Baugh is doing a wonderful job, I love that family so much. It was like Grandpa Tonini is still here, living through Brother Baugh to help me through my struggles as a missionary.

We received some exciting news this week: the Church is opening a new mission here in our area and we are going to be losing Redlands. It is all in the Church News, but the details are unclear on what exactly is going to happen. Enough rambling, here was the low down on my week.

On Tuesday, it poured rain again! We worked in the cold rain all day. #WifePoints. We planned to see some people and they all actually went through. We went and dropped in on Karina and got in to teach a lesson to her. She told us that she has been reading the Book of Mormon every night and she has noticed a difference in her life since she has started doing that. It was really cool to see how her countenance has changed just in the few weeks we have known her. She is terrible at keeping appointments but it's okay, we will work through that. We then stopped by a less active that sister told us that we needed to go see. She welcomed us in and we gave her a blessing and talked with her for a while. She talked about her problems and her life and her hardships. Being a missionary, you kind of become a therapist for people haha. We gave her a blessing and then she showed us her smart car. Oh my goodness, it was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. She had it custom done: Lambo doors, dual exhaust, alloy wheels to match the paint job, and a convertible. It was ridiculous but super sick! We handed off Samoan ward to Elder Randall and Coleman so we did that as well. We have really good missionaries here in MoVal, even though we are down a companionship.

Wednesday was a good day for us too. We prayed about who we needed to go see and they actually all went through. We went and saw a less active family and taught them a brief lesson. The mother is actually coming back to church now so that has been a plus. After that, we went and saw a recent convert that is a part member family. Brother C*** was baptized in October of last year and he is the only member of his family. We have his family the harvest blessing and it went super well. His son-in-law opened up right to us and wanted to hear what we had to say. There is very good potential there and we are going to be back there to try and see the family. The St*****'s are always a wonderful family to visit. The husband isn't a member, he's an eternal investigator, but we see a lot of potential in him as well. People in the ward don't think so but we see it.

Oh my goodness, I had the most intimidating experience on Thursday night. We usually go to the stake Missionary Correlation Meeting every 3rd Thursday of the month to talk about the work in the zone. Well, the high councilor over missionary work wasn't going to be there so he asked us to lead the training to the ward mission leaders. So I was already intimidated about trained men Dad's age or older, but then President Smart [the mission president] walks in to the meeting. I gave training with President Smart there. I have honestly never been that nervous on my mission, in regards to speaking in front of people. It went well but dang, it was scary!

We had the funniest experience on Friday at a door. We went to see a referral from the ZL's in Riverside that they had found. It was supposed to be a 17 year old girl that lived in our area. Come to find out, she didn't live in our area but we drove there anyways so we knocked on the door. We talked to this CRAZY guy. He at first, offered to give us $20 then went on to say how someone cast out 38 demons outta him for $35 outside of Disneyland. He kept talking to us and invited us inside we came in to the home and did it stink. It smelt like really bad weed and cat. He went on to say that he tried to commit suicide 12 times but doesn't remember any of it and how he has found this new plant that will save 250,000 people out of the 300,000 in the world. He also told us that he hadn't been the same since he jumped off the interstate overpass. The entire time, he was holding a blunt. There were so many drugs going on that it was super sad. It sure made for a good story! We then handed it off to the other Elders and didn't tell them about what happened. Super funny.

Ever heard of Marvin Goldstein and Vanessa Joy? They came and sang and played for us this weekend. It was super cool to hear them speak and perform. Check them out, they are really good! I actually would like a CD by Sister Joy, it is called By and By (I think). They were so much fun to listen to and to talk to. Sister Joy can sing! Holy cow, it was amazing. We had one of our investigators go with us so we could go and see them perform :). I then burned my shirt for my hump day and some pictures of my past. I have let it go, it is done. It was weird but relieving.

It was a busy week but all is well. I love y'all so much! Thank you for all the support and love. Till next week.

Elder Tonini

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

email: February 19, 2013

Well, I finished my eighth transfer of my mission (out of 17). Elder Ete left, going to Murrieta to be the zone leader down there and my new companion is Elder Craig from Santaquin, Utah (just outside of Payson). He's a super good missionary; it is weird for him being in the English ward instead of Spanish wards (he is a Spanish missionary; zebra companionship!). We also lost the Samoan ward... I am going to miss those people! I had grown a special love for them and I will miss serving them dearly.

I am seriously almost half way done with my mission and it is super exciting and super upsetting. I love my mission and I can't believe that it is almost over... I have learned and grown so much here that it will be really hard to leave. I still have a year but it is crazy how fast things are flying. However, I am excited for what the future holds so it’s bittersweet. I love my ukulele, I play it all the time! I am getting pretty good at it. Ester, my Samoan recent convert, actually took a class in New Zealand for the ukulele! It was actually becoming very popular there. Elder Ete actually gave me a lava lava (the skirt thing that they wear in the islands) that I wore almost all day yesterday. It is super comfy! I didn't believe him when he said that they really were. I guess not I am converted haha.

This was a fun filled week for me; I tried to make the best out of everything I did. We were all over the place, teaching lessons and taking care of the missionaries in our zone. On Wednesday, we got the opportunity to go and participate in the Priest Quorum's mutual activity. They had a mission night and they invited us and a RM to come and share stories and experiences with them. Jeffrey also brought two non-members with him so it was a great way for them to feel the Spirit. I shared my story of releasing someone from this life, Victor's story, and then some fun stories that I have had happen to me. It was such a spiritual activity, it was a great idea to have that as the activity.

We went to Riverside to pick up our truck on Thursday and I now have my baby back :). I've missed my truck! It's a long story to what happened to it but it is all taken care of. We went and taught Ken that night as well and he surprised us AGAIN. After answering all of his questions, he told us that he has moved his baptism date again. Every time I hear him say that, I get anxious because I feel like he's gonna move it back. Well, I was wrong because he actually moved it up to March 12th! He moved it from April 6th to March 12th, almost a month. He also came to church, on his own, with his best friend from Murrieta. Our ward conference was really good, I really enjoyed it. We have a great stake president and a great bishop as well.

Friday was CRAZY for us. We went and taught Anita at noon, went to Riverside for a Samoan lesson at 2 pm, then another lesson with Norma (one of our new investigators) at 3 pm. We were all over the place that day! Anita's lesson always goes well. She is progressing so well, it has been fun to see her grow. Brother Collins (her chiropractor) has told us that she made a huge change. She isn't the same Anita that she was 4 months ago. The gospel is really changing her, she even went to church BY HERSELF without the Collins being there with her! That is HUGE change for her. I was with her the entire time but still, she came. Driving to Riverside is always a pain, I HATE TRAFFIC! I miss our small town so much. The lesson was with a super less active but they are wanting to come back to church and to go to the temple. It's just going to be a slow process with them. We went drove back to MoVal to teach Norma, which went really well. That lesson though was probably the longest lesson of my life... We got off on so many tangents and every time I tried to bring it back, we would go off on another tangent! We did though get her to commit to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. She didn't come to church though so we will have to explain to her how important that is in her spiritual growth.

We had mini missionaries come to MoVal on Saturday and that was an overall positive experience for everyone. We went out to eat for Sister Yazzie's last day (she went home today) at Mr. You's, this super good Chinese restaurant. The Sisters got a mini missionary, this blonde 16 year old from Yucaipa, and she made the weirdest comment to me. Another guy asked why I was wearing my black hoodie outside when it was warm and I told him that I was cold, that I run cold so I am chilled all the time. This girl then says "you're like Edward, you're cold blooded!" I looked at her and walked away, it was the weirdest comment ever. Now everyone calls me Sparkles because of it. HA HA, so funny. It is funny, just weird that I got compared to him haha. That nigh was also transfer calls so everyone came over for that as well. We lost a companionship so it will be interesting to see how everything goes.

Sunday went well, we said goodbye to everyone and got Elder Ete packed up. I dropped my white shirts off at a sister's house in my ward so she can tailor my shirts. I am excited for that because it will keep me motivated to stay in shape. We also ate at the Baugh's again. I love being in that home! We also went to mission prep for the stake and talked a little bit about our missions. I said things to those young people that apparently struck deep because the high councilman and the brother teaching kept referring back to what I said. I love having those opportunities to speak in that kind of environment. Just another perk of a mission.

I love y'all miss you terribly. Thank you for all of the support and prayers. I am doing fine, don't worry about me. Love you and talk to y'all soon.

Elder Tonini

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

email: February 11, 2013

Thank you for the birthday wishes, I was weird to not have a birthday with Jake but that's okay, he knows that I love him. I thought a lot about him on Sunday, wondering how he was doing. He is such a good kid. I am glad that everyone survived this week with Dad being gone. Nothing really eventful happened this week but I will fill you in on something that happened this week.

I'll skip to Wednesday. We went to Mutual to practice with the youth on their youth program that they were doing for Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. Something cool that happened was that one of our recent converts had a referral for us. It was a friend of hers that lives in Riverside. I sent the referral over to them and come to find out that it was the AP's area and they are teaching her. Her friend was super prepared and she accepted baptism on the first lesson. That was a blessing to see happen as well.

Oh man, on Friday it seriously snowed here in MoVal! It was super cold and it started to rain. Along with the rain came the snow. We have a companionship on bike and boy did I feel for them! I felt so bad that everyone had to be out in that terrible weather. We knocked doors before it got too bad then went to our lesson with Anita. She is making so much progress, it is insane. We had a lesson and at the end, she was asked to pray. Now her fellowshipper was giving her ideas for what she could pray for and I told her that she could also ask when she should get baptized. She already knows that she wants to be baptized but she doesn't know exactly when. Anita thought I was being pushy when I wasn't! I said it in a nice, loving way. I think she was playing around but still, she threw me under the bus during the prayer.

After that, we got a call from our Elders Quorum president that he needs help out at the horse ranch to put up a shelter. So we threw on the boots and wranglers and went to go help them at the ranch. I love going there, I feel so at home. We got so muddy and wet from the pouring rain. Worst part of it all, it was about 35 degrees outside. I am so going to die when I get to Minot... But it was good to spend that time with them.

Saturday was an... interesting day. We went to our appointments like usual, after going to breakfast at the home of the high councilmen over missionary work, then went bowling with a part member family. The father has been a non-member for a very long time and we are trying to work with him to get baptized. I have heard many reasons why he hasn't made the commitment yet but I haven't heard it from him. It was the youngest son's birthday on the 8th and mine was on the 10th so they invited us to come bowl with them. It was a good break and a nice birthday surprise. After that, we went and knocked doors, went out to eat with Jeffrey, and went home to weekly plan.

Sunday we confirmed Ester in the Samoan ward so that was good. Also our program for the youth went VERY well. Both Jeffrey and Blake did a wonderful job. Jeff even got choked up while he was talking. Then we sang the EFY medley and there honestly wasn't a dry eye in the chapel, including mine. I stood between my two boys, Jeffrey and Blake, proud as I could be. Remember Elder Chambers, my trainer? He called me and sang me happy birthday and chatted for a little while. It was a good surprise. He told me that he saw a picture of me on Instagram and Corina posted a picture of me. She needs to talk to him! Anyways, before Chambers called I called Grandpa (Patriarch) Baugh and he came over to help give me a blessing. I told him my situation because he noticed I wasn't me so he knew something was up. So I talked to him about it and we chatted for a little while. I slept for the whole afternoon; we had to cancel our dinner with Ester's sister's family. They brought over food and a present for me. When I woke up, four hours later, I opened my gift. You'll never guess what it was. It was a brand new RED UKULELE! I was so excited! I love it and I play it all the time. I'll send a picture next week. All the boys came over that night and helped me feel better. We also went to the Baugh's because they wanted to check up on me. Their home seriously feels like Grandma and Grandpa Tonini's home. I love it there. Sister Smart called as well to wish me a happy birthday and we had a good visit. She is awesome, I love President and Sister Smart. Hopefully this next week will be better. I already treated myself to a new haircut, I got edged up and faded. It looks awesome. I'll send pictures as well.

Thank you for the package, I really needed those ear socks for my Oakley’s! Next purchase will be new lenses. Well, that's all from me. I love you all and miss y'all terribly. Have a great week.

Elder Tonini

Monday, February 4, 2013

An Elder With a Sense of Humor

In addition to Elder Tonini's usual letter, he also sent his mom a couple of pictures.  The captions are his: 
Planking over MoVal

Praying on the mount

At the top of the mountain

Remembering who I am

email: February 4, 2013

From the emails that I got from the kids, sounds like things are going well. I have the best family in the world. Grandpa Baugh (that's what I call him, he reminds me so much of Grandpa Tonini that it is crazy) mentioned that he sent Dad and Grandma Tonini an email. He and Sister Baugh are so good to me. Their youngest granddaughter is stuck to my hip every time that she sees me ha-ha. Kind of reminds me of home. Family in Virginia sent me a bunch of pictures of the family with a little note on it. It was so exciting to see the Tull-Youngberg kids and the Bales. It made my night when I got to see them.

This was a crazy week for me. We had all sorts of meetings and lessons that we went to. I had a very unique experience as well on Tuesday. My Elders Quorum president's wife is a horse trainer. In their backyard, they have over five horses on a three-acre piece of land. They had just picked up a wild Mustang that the wife was going to tame and train. However, this horse was CRAZY and they had to build a brand new stable for Black Ice (that's the horse) because she kept jumping out of the other ones that they had. So they called us to come over and lend a hand so that the stable would be built faster. Boy did I feel at home on a ranch with my boots and Wranglers on. We got it put up and we got to see the wife work with the horse. This horse was CRAZY! And the wife is a tiny woman so it was kind of nerve racking for me to watch her get thrown around like she did. However, she finally got the horse to calm down and she started to work with her. It was amazing to see how big of a transformation that Black Ice went through. I noticed a correlation when it came to the gospel. We are all this crazy, wild spirit that needs some guidance and discipline. Just like how Sister Rogers was able to tame the horse down, that's what the gospel can do for us. Instead of Sister Rogers at the reign, it is Christ who calms us down and brings us back to where we need to be. It was quite a unique experience to be a part of.

Wednesday, we had a random lady call us asking if we could help her out. We had no idea who she was but we went over anyways. Her name was Karina, a single mom with four kids living with her sister and parents. They needed some financial help so they had the impression to call us. So we went over to assess the situation and ended up teaching them the Restoration. Karina was very interested in what we had to say. We set up a time to come back and see them so we were able to pick up three new people to teach! It is crazy how the Lord will lead the people to us that are in need of help and the gospel.

We had our Zone Leader Council on Thursday and talked with all the zone leaders about stuff going on in the mission. Even though that takes up most of the day, I do enjoy being a part of those councils. Now, something crazy happened that night. We had our lesson with Ken and that went very well. He is reading the Doctrine and Covenants every day and is praying. We answered questions and talked more about church with him. As we were about to leave, he seriously blew my mind. He told me that he has a "date". I was confused for a moment but then explained that he has a date in mind for his baptism. He said he prayed about it and he feels like April 6th of this year is the day. Something crazy about that date that he picked: that is Christ's real birthday and the Church was re-organized in 1830 on that date. It blew my mind that he picked a date then when my ward mission leader brought that to my attention, it blew my mind even more.

Our usual zone meeting went well too. Elder Ete did most of the talking so it was nice to see him take the lead on the meeting. We all went to Alberto's afterwards and got carne asada fries.

Oh boy, they were so good! I seriously have the best zone. We are so close that we could seriously be one big family. And I guess that's how it’s supposed to be. I love that feeling. Saturday was filled with supporting the ward in some of their functions and going out to eat with a RM from our ward to Five Guys. It was good to hear his advice and the time I got to talk with him. His mom even bought us FIVE boxes of Girl Scout cookies! Super good.

Sunday was a very satisfying day because I got to see Blake bless the sacrament for the second time, having him bear his testimony with me, and then to have him be extended a calling as a ward missionary! That was super exciting to see. I love seeing how far he has come. Best part is, his dad is starting to be more accepting to his decision to be baptized. We also had a baptism in the Samoan ward on Sunday. Samoans sure do know how to throw a baptism! There is always food. Y'all should ask Troy Ita if he has any family up here. Overall, it was a good week. Kind of a crazy one but things definitely went well.

I will be looking forward to the packages. I can't believe that I turn 20 in less than a week. Best part is that the youth are doing a special sacrament program that I get to be a part of with. I have grown very close to the young men in my ward. I also hit my year mark in a few weeks. Boy has time flown.

Thank you for your support and love. I love and miss y'all dearly. Have a wonderful week and always remember that I love you.

Elder Tonini