Monday, March 25, 2013

email: March 25, 2013

So we got transfer calls and I am... STAYING IN MOVAL! YEAH! I am super excited to stay. I love it here. I am moving to another apartment so that will be the majority of our PDay. We are losing six out of the ten missionaries here in MoVal. Elder Coleman is my new companion; I love him to death. He was my district leader here in MoVal and now he is my companion. We are going to tear it up here! Today is going to be filled with getting everything ready for the new missionaries and helping the ones that are transferring to get to their new areas.

I love that Jess [his cousin] got to stay with y'all for a while! I love that woman to death. She is seriously the closest friend that I have. I miss her and love her to death. I felt so bad that I didn't get to email her last week because I ran out of time but I made it up to her! Carson sent me such a sweet email that really touched me. I seriously have the best family ever!

Transfer week is always crazy but we started off in good fashion by going fishing out at Lake Perris! It was super fun. A recent convert couple in the Lasselle Ward took us and it was a blast. I sat and fished for hours with Elder Randall, Cook, and Adams. I have bonded so well with all of my missionaries. It is going to be difficult to see some of them leave but we have made life-long memories together. Besides, we'll all end up going to school in Utah anyways together! We talked a lot about life and stuff out on the lake. I had a lot on my mind and it was good to have an outlet to help me get over it. I got burnt so badly though... A year of not seeing sun on my shoulders was bad! I blistered and everything but it was well worth it. I will send pictures; it was seriously the best PDay ever.

Our week was filled with exchanges... Elder Allen went back on insulin so he couldn't drive for a few days so we had to go on exchanges. We met with one of our new investigators on Tuesday. She is an awesome lady! She has the longest finger nails I have ever seen! They curl and everything! But she is so much fun to talk to with her black attitude. It is super fun to teach her. She liked everything that we taught her and is even willing to meet with us twice a week. Elder Prieto was with me and we did some door knocking and then went to see Ken that night. Before our lesson, we caught up with him about his week over a game of pool :). Prieto killed me but it was still super fun. Ken is awesome, he is such a good member of the church. He wants so bad to get involved so hopefully the bishop will give him a calling soon. He should also be getting the Priesthood next week as well.

Elder Allen came with me on Wednesday to go give service for a family in our ward. We had so much fun. Almost the whole zone came to help. The lady though kept asking me what we should do next in her yard. I kept telling her that it's not my stuff! I was good though to help her out. I finally took charge and started to organize because the sister we were helping wasn't doing much so I took over. I know, I sound like my Father but hey, I learned from the best. I then took Allen to our lesson with Anita. We put Anita on date! We are having a baptism on April 20th! I can't wait to see her make that step. She has adopted me as her grandson so it has been fun to get to get to know her. We went to the Stanton's and they brought out there huge remote control shark that flies through the air! It was so much fun to play with! We are trying to help Bob get the desire to get baptized.

Thursday was our usual weekly planning day but we ended up going to Riverside to get our new phone! It was a decent one, definitely an upgrade from our previous phones. Our lesson with our new investigator didn't go through but we rescheduled for Saturday. Our Missionary Correlation Meeting went well; it is crazy how these grown men actually listen to the advice that we give them. It truly was a lesson to me that no matter what age you are, people will listen if you talk to them with love and boldness.

We had a super cool experience on Friday night. We went on exchanges again with another companionship and I was with Adams for the day. We had a good day together, he really needed it. We talked a lot and I was able to help him through some trials he was going through. That night though, we got to give a non-member family a blessing on their home. It was so Spirit felt and I was awesome to have the member friend bear testimony about the gospel. That is why the members are so important! Hopefully good things will come from the blessing.

It was service Saturday and we helped a family start to level their backyard. Boy was the Cali sun beating down on us. It did feel good to pick up a pick ax and start swinging and shoveling. The members were very appreciative. I love helping people like that! We then went and taught our new investigator that afternoon and had another awesome lesson with her. Transfer calls came and it was exciting and fun to hear the news.

Sunday was crazy. We got a call from a Coleman and Randall that Randall had passed out. So we left church and went to go help them. I ended up staying with Randall for the whole day. He ended up getting better but it was crazy how the whole thing went down.

Well, that's a little bit about my crazy life! I love y'all and can't wait to hear form y'all again. Have a great week!

Elder Tonini

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut...

For those readers who aren't familiar with mission life, rest assured that there is time for levity. Take this picture for example:

He sent this picture last week without any explanation.  Although now that I think about it, does it really need any?

Monday, March 18, 2013

email: March 18, 2013

Subj: Don't Tread on Me

Wow! I love those pictures from Minot! Am I really going to like it? I really hope that I do. It is a year away but still, that is exciting to think about! It looks so cold there... I am going to freeze! But hey, it'll all be worth it in the long run. Minot is going to be the start of my post-mission life and it's going to help me get on my feet when the time comes. It'll be exciting. Jake did so well at his games. I wish I could be there watching him tear it up down there in Seminole. Corina is always full of knowledge and fun stories from her crazy teenage life. I wish my life could be as fun as hers ;). Carson is getting so big! He isn't my little Carbar anymore... I got a set of military scriptures (they're smaller and easier to carry around) and I made a box for them and put our family picture on it. People all the time say what a wonderful looking family we are. And I have to agree with that :).

I had a pretty cool experience on Monday. Well first, we saw a coyote on the side of the street in the middle of town! It was super crazy. It was soooo scary looking too. It probably had every disease known to man and animal in it. But Elder Craig and I got to help set a missionary apart from our ward that night. It was the stake president's son and it was super cool to be a part of it.

We had a baptism on Tuesday! But before the baptism, we went over to a member's home to share with her a message. Come to find out, a year to that day her sister died. The member was struggling with it... We switched our lesson to the Plan of Salvation. During the lesson, I got this impression that we needed to offer her a blessing. So at the end, we offered the blessing to her and she gladly accepted it. I gave her the blessing and I said things that I never thought I knew about her. The Spirit works! After the lesson, we got ready for the baptism. Ken was baptized and he asked me to do it. The whole baptism went really smooth, I was impressed with how well it went. Elder Craig and I preformed the primary song Baptism. I played the piano and he sang. I haven't performed in front of people since Mom's piano recitals we used to do. But we did well and everyone liked it. Anita came to the baptism and she really liked it. Hopefully she will be baptized here in the near future.

We had a super cool experience on Thursday with one of our investigators. That morning, we had an open hour that we hadn't filled and I got the impression that we needed to go see Norma. So we did and I am so thankful that I listened to that prompting. We got to her house and she was so excited to see us. She gave me a big hug and we sat down and talked with her. She talked to us for two and a half hours! She talked and we just listened to her. That was all that she needed, was someone to talk to. We even missed dinner to be there with her. After we said we had to go to another appointment, she told us something that really struck me. She said that this morning, she prayed so hard that God would hear her prayers. She was really struggling that day and was going to throw in the towel and lay down with a sheet over her head for the rest of the afternoon. Well, we came and knocked on her door and it was an answer to prayer. She then gave me a big hug and sobbed on my shoulder. She's like the black grandmother I never had! She is so awesome and I love her to death. It was super cool to be an answer to prayer that day.

We picked up a new family to teach on Friday after we had our lesson with Anita. They are a family of seven with five girls under the age of seven. They are a super cool family and we found them knocking doors. We blessed the house and invited them to be baptized. They gave the generic answer but they agreed to have us come back. After that though, nothing happened this weekend. Everything fell through and it was super depressing... But hey, you gotta press through it and keep working has hard as you can.

I hope y'all have a wonderful week and have a fun one. I love y'all and I will let y'all know if I get transferred or not. We get calls on Saturday so we'll know what happens. Love y'all so much!

Elder Tonini

Monday, March 11, 2013

First Presidency Updates Missionary email Policy

I have been unable to confirm this on an official LDS website, but Elder Tonini sent us the following:

"Missionaries are to write to their families each week and are also authorized to communicate by email with friends, priesthood leaders, and new converts. Mission presidents should allow sufficient time on preparation day for missionaries to write emails and letters. While in the mission field, missionaries should receive authorization from the mission president before entering into communication, including via email, with converts and others of the opposite gender within the mission boundaries (see Missionary Handbook, 36–37)."

He explains that this means: "I can now email basically whoever I want now. If anyone wants to email me, they can."  

His email address is now included above the mission home address on the right-hand side of the blog.  

email: March 11, 2013

Subj: "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain"

It was another crazy week, filled with emotions so here we go.

There was a woman that died in our ward this past month that they had the funeral for on Tuesday. She was only twenty-two and she was beautiful. She was an EMT and a student. I didn't even know her and yet I was still a blubbering mess. The bishop asked our zone to help with set up and take down and we did it with a smile. We took an hour out of Preparation Day to come and set up. After the funeral was over, we were the last ones to leave to make sure that the building was clean and chairs were put up. It was the least we could to for the family and the ward. There was over 600 people at the funeral. It was insane. It went very well; it brought back memories of Grandpa's funeral. The talks were really good too; very much centered on the Plan of Salvation. There were a lot of non members there so it was good that they had a missionary mindset. There was a quote that really touched me. A Bishop that knew the woman that past said this" "We are immortal beings in a mortal state". There is a lot of truth behind that. I am so thankful for that plan and the happiness that it brings to people.

We had our lesson with Ken that night as well, finalizing the last of his baptism program. He wants me to get in the water with him so that will be a great experience for the both of us.

Zone Leader Conference was filled with surprises on Thursday. As y'all probably have heard, they are opening up 58 new missions around the world with three new ones here in SoCal. On Thursday, we got the new boundaries. The San Bernadino Mission is now going to be called the Redlands Mission and they are taking Redlands, Yucaipa, Yucca Valley, and Palm Desert into their mission. We are also losing Murrieta to the Calsbad Mission. We are going from 12 zones to seven zones. It will be interesting to see what happens, logistically wise, and what happens to those missionaries in those respective zones. I could be in another mission when I finish next year. Those changes won't take place until July however.

Remember that guy that I gave the blessing to and released him from this life? Well, he is still in the hospital; he didn't die... When I first saw the referral, I didn't believe it. I started to doubt my Priesthood and the blessings that I give to people... But I talked with Elder Craig and he helped me through that. Maybe he needs to see his family one more time before he goes; he is still in bad shape. He did though refer us to his friend in Hemet so maybe that was the reason why he needed to stay around a little bit longer.

We also had interviews on Thursday as well. I love getting the chance to sit down with President Smart and talk with him about how I am doing and how the zone is doing. He is such a wonderful man, someone that I look up to. I had my interview in his office, a place I haven't been in since I first got to California! it was kinda surreal to be there with him again. He then came to Moreno Valley to interview everyone.

We had another lesson with Ken that night as well. His home teacher came with us so that was good for the both of them. Ken has told us that he wants to be active in the Church and to be involved. That was music to my ears! He will be interviewed for the Priesthood right after his baptism on Tuesday.

Friday was a crazy day as well. We taught Anita again - we are running out of things to teach her, she just needs to get baptized already! Haha but the lesson went well with her. I seriously have the best zone, we are all super good friends. We all went out to eat at Alberto's and I got a thing of carne asada fries. Oh boy were they good! It rained all day so that was a bummer. We taught Michael again and we are planning on handing him off to the Sisters. Hopefully he will be okay with them teaching him. It will be hard to give him up but that ward needs a baptism.

Our dinner on Friday cancelled so we went to the Samoan ward party for our dinner. Holy crap, it was so much fun! I seriously miss that ward; the Church is way more true in Samoa. There is a blind brother in the Samoan ward that shocked all of us. Y'all know the Gangham Style song, right? Well, he came out and started dancing to it! He was going crazy! It was so much fun to watch. There was also a Hakka done too by some of the young men. That was super legit too. We stood in the back to watch and we get to see everyone in front of us and we saw the weirdest thing ever. There was a gay couple that came and they were all over each other! It was super weird to watch... But it's okay, God loves them too. But still, it was so much fun! I got to see everyone from the Samoan ward too!

Overall, this week was a good one. We worked hard and we even got the Standard of Excellence this week! First time on my mission! I love being here and seeing my testimony grow everyday. I love the missionaries I am serving with and serve. By the way, Elder Craig and I are preforming a musical number for Ken's baptism on Tuesday. I am playing the piano and he will sing. Before the baptism, I'll get a video of us performing and send it to y'all. I love and miss y'all so much. Stay true to the faith and remember that our Savior loves each and every one of us!

Elder Tonini

Monday, March 4, 2013

email: March 4, 2013

Subj: "Pain is temporary but quitting is permanent"

This week was a good one and I am excited to let y'all in on my week

As you know, Ken is on schedule to be baptized on March 12th. We taught him twice this week so on Tuesday we went over and taught him the first part of the commandments. Brother C***** went with us and he was such a help! We taught Ken about the Word of Wisdom and he really didn't have any big issues. He would have the occasional cigarette and cup of coffee so we said that he could give those up. Now, as a missionary we are supposed to leave them with commitments. Brother C***** jumped the gun and started to commit him to quit! He would ask Ken "so do you want to quit smoking and drinking coffee? When do you want to stop?" Ken would say "now, today" and Brother C***** response was "congratulations!" It was so cool to see Ken commit to stop and the help that Brother C***** was to us. We also tried to get him to pray out loud but he still wouldn't so Brother C***** jumped in and committed him to pray out loud on Thursday. We also gave him the baptism questions so he could go over them.

Wednesday was filled with going and seeing people on our ward list that we have no idea who they are. We have started a project that we are going to clean up the ward list and get info on the people that the bishopric has never seen. Even though we really haven't found anyone, we have found more potentials to go bless their home from it. So it is a win-win for us and the ward. Our main stop that night was to the S***** again. I want that family to be eternal family so badly. We asked him to read and to pray about baptism so we will see what happens with him. We set up a time to go and see him again on that Friday.

On Thursday, we went and saw Melissa C, one of my recent converts here in MoVal. We hadn't seen her in a few weeks and we thought it would be good to check up on her and Chris. She is doing well, she is battling sickness with her and the kids so that is why she hadn't been there in a few weeks. Earlier that morning, we got a text asking if we could go and work on the horse ranch again with the Rogers so, of course, we went :). I got to put the boots and Wranglers on and get my hands dirty. We mucked stalls and helped with chores around the ranch. Some of the young men came to help to raise money for camp so that was fun to be there with them. I have grown to love the young men in my ward. Where ever I end up after my mission, I want to be a part of that program. I have come to love it.

We then changed in the truck on the way to Brother P***** house to go to Ken's lesson. Our lesson consisted of finishing up the commandments and talking about the baptism interview questions. He didn't have any issue with paying tithing or keeping the Sabbath Day holy. He has actually seen a difference in going to church every week and feeling the Spirit there. We went over the questions with him and he is having a lot of trouble with the abortion question of the interview. The reason why is because his wife of 30 years had FOUR abortions without telling him. He would have been the father of four children and he has said many times that he wanted to be a father. He feels like he is kind of responsible and feels guilty about what his wife did. So President Crippen is going to interview him, just to make sure that he is okay. Then the greatest thing happened. He said his first audible prayer in front of us! That was seriously one of the proudest moments of my mission. Seeing Ken pray out loud for the first time was incredible. I was on cloud nine for the rest of the night.

We had AP exchanges on Friday so that was super fun. I took Elder Gardner (a really good guy) with me to teach Anita. We taught her about the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Convents and sustaining church officials. We are running out of things to teach her so we are getting creative. We then took her to see the baptismal font stairs. She wanted to see them so we took her there to see it. After her lesson, we went to Chipotle and got a salad. It was ├╝ber good then we went back to work. We knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of people. We even chased chickens too haha. Our lesson with the S*****'s was hard for me. Brother S***** didn't accept baptism and it seriously broke my heart. It has been such a long hard road with him. I want their family to be an eternal family so badly... So I wasn't in the best mood Friday night.

We picked up a new investigator on Friday and had a funny experience with it. We went to a missionary farewell party for the Stake President's son who is a good friend of ours. He had other young woman come from the other wards where the Sisters are serving. There were all over us like hawks! I was funny, they sure are Elder deprived. But we are going to teach a guy from there so that will be good.

I had a super spiritual experience on Sunday night with our dinner appointment.They were an older couple, just married about 6 months ago. The husband is an amazing man. He went on to tell us a story about this family that really touched me. It is the story of the prodigal son, but in modern times. The parents lost a son who went wayward and never came back. They never hear from him for five years. Well, this couple gets called to a couples mission in Philly. They were on a special proselyting mission so they actually went and knocked doors. They felt prompted to go down this rough looking street and knock. So they did and guess who they found? They found their lost son. They talked with him and brought him back into the fold. He was that prodigal son.

Well, that was my week. A lot of ups and downs. It will be a busy week for me again. Love y’all so much!

Elder Tonini

P.S. Hey Uncle Ross - thanks for the Lance Armstrong quote (above). He may be a cheater but he never quit!