Monday, April 29, 2013

email: April 29, 2013

Subj: Transfer Week

I know I say this every week I email home but my goodness, do I have wonderful siblings. I love getting their emails and updates on their lives. I cannot believe Jake dropped a HUGE two run home run in his last game! He could go play somewhere and be super talented. Jake has seriously become my best friend. I regret not growing that relationship with him before I left... But that only means that our relationship is only going to be awesome. I want our relationship to be like Dad and Geoff's relationship when we have families of our own. By the look of things, it looks like they will be :). That sister of mine is such a sweetheart! She is the only girl in my life now :) and I love it! She is so beautiful. I'm going to have to beat those boys off of her with a stick! I'll have to get my rascal beater! Carson is getting his tonsils out this week? Oh man... Hopefully he'll be good to talk on Mother's Day! Ready for my week? Leggo :)

We had a catch-up PDay last Monday and it was much needed. We got a lot of cleaning done and some relaxing in. Part of that was going up to Ken's house to relax there. I love that man so much! He just lets us in and we can relax there. We played pool and slept on his couch. It was much needed. After Ken's house, we ended our PDay early and went to our Elders Quorum President's horse ranch to help his wife with some much needed chores. Every time I go over there, I am reminded of what kind of woman I want to marry. President's wife is amazing; the Lord blessed him with her. They are such a great team and love each other dearly. It keeps me motivated to keep working hard and the Lord will bless me :). Our dinner with the Rodriguez family went well too. We taught about the 10 commandments and shared mission stories. I amaze myself with the stories that I have now.

Our Tuesday started off by seeing some referrals that we had received the past week. We weren't able to contact all of them but we did get in to see a former referral so it went pretty well. Our lesson with LQ is always interesting ha-ha I love her to death. We answered her question and concerns about the life after death, It was cool to see her accept our message and to come to a better understanding. She is progressing nicely. We then had dinner with the M*****'s and that is always a delight. Brother M****** reminds me so much of Dad so I love being around him. Ken brought up an interesting gospel question with how Michael is Adam, I knew how to explain it but I had no scripture background for it so needless to say that I studied that the following morning.

Our Wednesday was DEFINITELY an Abinadi day... We had backup after backup after backup fall through... We did everything we could to see our people and to be effective. But sometimes, people excise their agency and it really upsets me sometimes. Reminds of Elder Holland's talk with how God has been dealing with imperfect people for eternity. So it really tested my patience that day. However, we did get in to see a recent convert of mine so it wasn't a total failure. The highlight of the day was that Victor called me and told me that his mission papers are in! He will get them in about two weeks! I am super excited about where he is going to go. He has made my mission a success even if I don't baptize anyone for the next year.

We had multi-zone conference on Thursday and that was very uplifting. They taught about planning and keep our eye single to the glory of God. After our lunch, we stand and sing the Army of Helaman to the sisters that made us lunch and that always gets me teared up because I imagine Mom standing there serving the missionaries in our stake. Long meetings always kill me because I am so used to being out working that I got a massive headache. I almost threw up because of it. I had to go and get a Rockstar for me to kick the headache, I needed the caffeine. We had a bomb lesson with LQ again and still talked about the spirit world with her and answered more questions. We ALMOST got her to pray out loud with us! We were so close. The difference with that lesson was that we bore testimony after testimony to her and she was actually listening. It is amazing what a testimony can do. We answered Ken's question and helped him to understand more.

Our lesson with Anita went well and she took us out to eat afterwards to Mimi's Cafe. It was pretty good, good French good. I still think American's eat better ha-ha. We weekly planned then went out to teach. Everything fell through again but we did get in to see our next door neighbors and teach with Cashman. I love that kid! We ended up spending the rest of the night with Cashman and we took him out to eat with us. Members gave us money :).

Saturday was Mormon Helping Hands and that was a great project. We helped a disabled veteran with his yard. I am so thankful that Dad taught me how to work hard. There was an RM there that did NOTHING but stand there and talk on his phone. It really got to me and it reminded me of how I DON'T want to be like. We then gave a blessing to one of Elder Coleman's former investigators to help her quit smoking and then stopped by everyone to get them to come to church. It was a long day but we still got our work done that we needed to.

Sunday is always a refreshing day and I love going to church. I have the best ward! Cashman came out with us again and we saw a lot of people. I also failed to mention that Victor's sister was found dead this week at a homeless shelter... That really got to me and I am so thankful for the Plan of Salvation and the comfort that it brings. I am thankful for this gospel and Christ in my life. I know that this is Christ's Church and that He loves and knows me personally. I am so thankful to be here serving my brothers and sisters. Transfer calls are this week so I will let y'all know if I go or not. I really want to stay but that is the Lord's decision. Have a wonderful week and know that I love y’all so much!

Elder Tonini

Monday, April 22, 2013

email: April 22, 2013

There Were A Lot Of Prayers Said In My Behalf This Week

Ready for my week? Here we go :)

So like the subject stated, a lot of bad things could have happened this week but the prayers of my family and friends kept me safe. It all started on Monday afternoon. We hiked up to the M again and had a super fun time. I was prepared this time and brought my Camelbak with me so I was hydrated. On the way down, we basically ran down the side of the mountain. I tweaked both of my ankles but the kicker was when I got almost down to the bottom of the mountain. I was running down the trail, dodging rocks and hazards when I didn't see a rock and I tripped over it. I went flying forward and landed on my chest and slid down the trail about five feet. I smashed my shoulder and elbow on a rock and cut my hand up pretty badly. But I got back up and kept going. I didn't realize how badly I was hurt until my adrenaline wore off. I was hurting pretty bad... I was super lucky I didn't break anything. So that was a great way to start of my week, needless to say.

We had DDM on Tuesday and it was a lot of fun. After our meeting, we had to wait for the bike missionaries to finish so we could take them home. While we waited, we started to draw on the board. Coleman told us about his alien phase he went through and so we started to draw an alien scene. it was super funny. We had a lesson with LQ again and she was super funny. Before dinner, we felt like we needed to knock this one street and so we got out of the car and knocked on the first door. The family let us in and we gave them a blessing and taught a lesson. It is a family of three and they are very interested in the Church. The crazy thing was that their door was the first door we knocked on. 100% door knocking efficiency! We had dinner with the Rascon family and that was super fun as well. The only bad thing was that we got a call from President telling us that we had a situation with another Elder having an iPhone. So we got to take care of that the following day. Not the way I wanted to end my night.

We had to take care of that issue with the iPhone on Wednesday morning along with having our phone wack out and power cycle on us... We lost everything because we got a new phone. Over 500 plus contacts gone... Oh well, gotta roll with the punches. So we watched that Elder mail home the iPhone then talk with the Sisters about their companionship issues. They were on exchanges and the sister that came up from Menifee was a new 19 year-old sister and dangggg was she pretty! This is gonna get back in the mission with elder/sister relationships. So we handled that situation then went to Riverside to get a new phone. That was basically our day. Taught Norma and LQ again and helped them to continue to progress.

We weekly planned on Thursday and got ready for our week. We saw LQ three times this week! We tried to get her to come on a church tour but her knee wouldn't let her. So we just taught her on her doorstep. Our night finished by going to see Ken and talking more with him. I love that guy so much! He is awesome and super converted to the gospel.

Friday didn't start out the best when I ALMOST got a street sweeping ticket while we were out making a visit. I saw the truck coming down the road and I made the split second decision to sprint to the car and pull it into a drive way to avoid a $58 ticket. Those prayers are paying off! Our lesson with Anita went well as we helped her get ready for her baptism. Saturday is the big day!

Mormon Helping Hands was on Saturday morning but we decided to skip out on it because we knew that the baptism would take the rest of the day so we went out to proselyte before we had to commit to the baptism. We got to the church super early so we can be well prepared for the baptism. We had to deal with the priesthood session of stake conference so that really stressed me out. Trying to keep Anita happy and coordinating around the meeting was a headache. I talked on the Holy Ghost and I got emotional in front of everyone. I couldn't help it again... Brother Collins did the baptism and it went well! We had the water as high as it could go. After that, Anita took all of us out to eat to a steak house and payed for it all. It was super good though but I felt so bad that she paid for it. I got to see Ete, Spencer, and Craig again! Overall, it went as smooth as it could go. Anita is happy and now officially in the Church. Our zone had THREE baptisms this weekend! Oh yeah!

Sunday was relaxing and we had our normal day. Stake conference was a good one and it was all on missionary work. Hopefully this will get the members excited about missionary work. We took Cashman out with us to make some visits and then took Skye out and got two member present lessons! He is such a stud of a kid, I love him dearly. Then we turned numbers and now it is PDay again! Time is flying and I hate it...

Well, that is all from Cali for this week. I am doing okay, getting better. I love y'all and I am so grateful for your prayers in my behalf. Thank you for the shoes! They are awesome :) I actually get up and run now! Have a wonderful week and keep me updated on the move to ND! Can't wait to hear from y'all again soon :).

Elder Tonini

Monday, April 15, 2013

email: April 15, 2013

My week started out by doing laundry and all the other things on PDay to get ready for the week. We were gonna hike to the M last week but the weather didn't work with us so we are going today. We also had a less active lesson with this girl that we found while tracting. She just moved up here from Murrieta to be with her dad and she hasn't been to Church in a while. She's 20ish so we could really help her get her life back on tract. Plus her father's family isn't members so we could help the whole family!

Tuesday was our AP exchanges. I stayed here in MoVal with Elder Mason and Elder Coleman went to Riverside. The AP's came to our DMM and we had a super cool training by Elder Moss. We took turns testifying to someone but Moss would tap us on the shoulder then we had to cut our companion off and continue with testifying to the person. It was a really cool exercise.  Mason and I then left to visit some non-members in the hospital to share a message with them. The lady already got a blessing from her niece's bishop from the Perris ward so we came and shared a message with them. Then it was off to go knock doors. We talked to some cool people and even left a blessing in someone's garage. We talked to this Christian lady that wasn't interested in our message but talked with us for a while. She told me that I didn't look like a married man but Mason did. That was super funny because Mason goes home in 3 weeks. Then we found this crazy Catholic guy that told us we needed to investigate our Church more and where it came from. HA! He needs to do that with the Catholic Church! We then finished up the night seeing Ken as usual.

We took our Malibu in on Wednesday to get it serviced and that took all day. Yes, we gave up my truck for a Malibu. That hurt my pride but the missionaries who had the Malibu needed the truck more than us so I gave it up. But the nice thing is that when the Church gets new cars, we are gonna get a 2014! So we walked everywhere that day and it was super refreshing to get back on foot with the backpack. We talked to a lot of people while we went to Norma's. We didn't get to talk to Norma but we talked with her husband and he PISSED me off so bad. He basically was using his skin color as a crutch for everything.He was comparing the black's persecution to the Jew's persecution  It was ridiculous. He then started to bash on my state and how racist and crap we are. I was getting so upset that I didn't say a word. When the other missionaries picked us up to take us to our dinner, I finally let it out. I just vented and yelled and crap in the car. I am getting upset just thinking about it! Blah, it was not fun to deal with that. But our night turned out pretty well. Got the car back and we are back in business for tomorrow.

We weekly planned on Thursday and then went to go see a return appointment that we had. It was a born again man that we tracted into. We sat down with him and had a really good lesson with him. He liked the Book of Mormon and is willing to try and read it. Elder Coleman and I were surprised at how well the lesson went. Our dinner fell through so we had to fend for ourselves before we went to Rey's house to print off this new program Coleman and I thought up of. It is the 2 by 2 action plan. Two things daily and two things weekly to help you fight off the Adversary daily. It is our spiritual RPG. Instead of a Rocket Propelled Grenade, it is Read Pray and Go to Church. That is our offensive against the Adversary. We printed it up and laminated it and got a magnet to give to less actives and recent converts. So we will see how it goes. Ken's lesson went well and we also saw LQ again. She is such a funny lady.

Instead of teaching a lot of our own lessons, we helped other missionaries teach because we were handing off other investigators to them. In all, we taught five lessons but only two counted for us. It was interesting to see how the other missionaries teach. Anita had her lesson and she passed her interview! She will be baptized this weekend and it going to be packed. She is having non-member family and member family come in and people from the LA Visitors Center drive up and all sorts of stuff. Plus she is taking everyone out to eat afterwards to a stake house. She is NUTS! She is going to spend over a grand for everyone. Plus she got me something for confirming her so it will be interesting. We taught a lesson to an active family about missionary work and that went well. That family is super fun to eat dinner with.

Saturday was filled with seeing people and inviting them to church. We saw Gary and his family and he kindly dropped us which was super sad... However, we left him with a lesson so hopefully that will sink in. We finally saw Norma and got to talk with her. She in progressing nicely however, I don't think she is going to be baptized this month. She is close though. The only issue is that she doesn't live in our area. So that will be intersting to deal with. We also are teaching our neighbors that we will have to hand over soon as well. Sunday was Fast Sunday and I felt so impressed to get up and bear my testimony. I talked about the Atonement and I couldn't help but get emotional at the pulpit. It just kept coming and I couldn't help it. I have learned so much about His Atonement that it has blown my mind and I had to share it with everyone. A plus too was that a really pretty girl came up and shook my hand to tell me that I have a wonderful testimony and thank you for sharing it with everyone. That sure was a plus :) haha. All of our lessons fell through but we did have a good dinner and a productive night talking to people.

Well, that was my week. I have felt my testimony grow even when I still feel the pain. I know my Savior lives and that He loves me. I cannot deny that this Church is HIS Church. Jesus Christ is my Savior and only through Him can we be healed. Turn to Him and lean on Him. He will help you out through anything! I love yall so much and miss everyone dearly :)

Elder Tonini

Monday, April 8, 2013

email: April 8, 2013

Subj: Conference Weekend

This was such a wonderful week for me. I love General Conference as a missionary. I had one pressing question that I needed to be answered and I got it answered. I love that I get to email friends now as well. Now I get to talk to Jessica too! I finally have a best friend I can tell everything to. I love her to death and I worry about her all the time. I can imagine that Mom is super excited to go to VA. That will be such a wonderful experience for her. Give the family a big hug and let them know that I love them! Wanna hear about my week? Okay, let's go :).

I got a huge surprise on Monday when Victor called me and told me that he was coming up from Beaumont to see me! I got to see my closest friend here in Cali and give him a huge hug. He is almost done with his application to go into the mission field! I am super excited about that for him. We'll get to go to the temple in July together. That will be a huge highlight of my mission! He took us out to a steak house and we talked for hours. I got caught up open what is going on in my old ward and how things are going. He told me something that really struck home to me. When the missionaries there go to people's houses. they always bring up that Elder Chambers and I were the best missionaries that they had ever had. Vic told me that the Elders there are starting to compare themselves to Chambers and me. I had never realized how big of an impact I made in that ward. It really humbled me and gave me that bigger desire to serve even harder. I also bought new dress shoes; they are dress boots, basically. It helps with me ankles SO MUCH. Plus they were only $20! That was sweet too, I love a great bargain. It was a productive PDay for us.

On Tuesday, we went to visit our investigator LQ and see how she was doing. She told us that she was busy but that we could come by and see her. We ended up talking with her for an hour and a half on her door step. Funny how that happens sometimes. We rushed off from LQ to Ken's house to invite him to General Conference. He is doing so well! He is excited for the temple and he is reading his scriptures like crazy. He also is dating a LDS woman as well! That was super cool too. We talked and got into a deep doctrine discussion. Oops haha but he loves talking about the Gospel like that.

We met with Norma on Wednesday and had an awesome lesson! It was another drop-by lesson that turned into a three hour discussion. She would just talk to us about what is going on and things happening in her life. We are making real progress with her. Elder Coleman shared 2 Nephi 31 with her and we read part of it together. During that time, we BOTH received the impression that she needed to get invited to be baptized. So Coleman invited her and she said yes! With tears in her eyes, she said yes. It was super awesome that she felt the Spirit and wanted to come unto Christ. Plus we found out that she has cousin's that are LDS! Small world. We then went to the S*****'s and taught them as well.

Thursday was our monthly meeting in Riverside with all the zone leaders and the mission president. During these meetings, I just sit back and watch the people who talk. I cannot stand leaders who get up and say something to make themselves look better than the others. That is why I sit back and not say anything. I'll only say something if I cannot keep my mouth shut for much longer. But then we weekly planned and got ready for our zone meeting on Friday. We went by and visited Ken again and talked more deep doctrine with him haha. He loves it though and it is fun to teach him. Then I OYMed this guy that I got into a bash with for no reason! He told me that he couldn't talk to me because Joseph Smith wasn't a true prophet. That pissed me off and then I went into defensive mood and told him otherwise. I shouldn't have done that because I ended up me getting more frustrated and getting each other pissed off. He couldn't deny me though so he kept changing the issue and I would answer it every time. People amaze me sometimes.

Friday was our usual meeting with Anita and our zone meeting and it went well. I love speaking in front of people. Crazy huh? Haha but yes, it went well. We learned from Coleman that in two years, we only have 200 days to proselyte. That blew my mind. Put my mission in a different perspective. But it went well and our zone plan is going to work! Saturday was filled with conference. Priesthood session was super good as well. It isn't the same without getting ice cream afterwards so we went and did that :). Plus we got to meet Ken's girlfriend so that was pretty sweet :). Sunday was good with giving one of our neighbors a blessing and teaching them about the restoration. I love bearing my testimony to people! Sunday conference was good and dinner with the Bishop went well. Tri-tip steak is always good eating :)

My testimony is this. Jesus IS the Christ, my Savior and Redeemer. I love the Gospel and the Atonement He gave for me personally. Joseph Smith was and always will be a prophet and NO ONE can take that way from me! The Book of Mormon is the word of God, same with the Bible. I love my Heavenly Father and I am so grateful for challenges that make me stronger. I love you, Mom and Dad. Thank you for your example to me!

Elder Tonini

Friday, April 5, 2013

Church Adjusts Mission Organization to Implement "Mission Leadership Council"

SALT LAKE CITY - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making adjustments to the way its 405 missions are organized, to better utilize the skills and abilities of all missionaries in training and leadership. The change is due in part to the influx of thousands of young missionaries who are responding to the lowering of age requirements for mission service, announced by Church President Thomas S. Monson last October.

Each mission in the Church will organize a mission leadership council that will include both elder (male) and sister (female) as missionary leaders. The new mission leadership council will consist of the mission president and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders and sister training leaders — a newly created role.

"We are very excited about the new mission leadership council and this role for sister missionaries,” said Elder David F. Evans, executive director of the Missionary Department. “It will be a blessing to both missions and missionaries throughout the world, and better employ the remarkable faith, talents and abilities of all missionaries."

The role of sister training leader has been created as more female missionaries serve in missions around the world. Sister training leaders will be responsible for the training and welfare of female missionaries assigned to them and will be members of and participate in, the new mission leadership council. Assistants to the president and zone leaders will also participate in the council, and those roles will remain unchanged. Missions will continue to be organized by zones and districts, with district leaders being responsible for baptismal interviews, but the mission leadership council will replace the zone leader council.

Sister training leaders will continue to proselytise and will also spend time each week training and evaluating the needs of female missionaries. They will report directly to the mission president on the needs of sister missionaries. Additionally, the wives of mission presidents are now being asked to play an enhanced role in training and caring for sister missionaries, subject to their individual and family circumstances.

Councils assist in Church governance at every level. In councils, assigned members meet to discuss individual, family and organizational needs and work together to determine how to respond to those needs effectively. Full expression from all participants is invited in council settings, unifying the efforts of both male and female council members.

The changes were announced to general Church leaders (General Authorities and Area Seventies) on Friday morning and will be mailed to mission and other leaders shortly. The changes will be implemented in each mission as soon as is practical.

Original story appeared on the Church's Newsroom website.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

email: April 1, 2013

Sounds like y’all had a wonderful Easter. I thought about my last Easter and I realized that last Easter I was in the mission field! That was super crazy to think about; how fast my time is flying by. Before I know it, I will be flying home to North Dakota. I am dreading how fast the time is flying... I know for y’all that the time seems to be going on forever with me not there but boy is it flying for me! We had a wonderful Easter; that I will get to later. It was a crazy week with all the transfers and us moving apartments. So here was my week :)

Monday was filled with getting everyone packed up and transferred in or out. I moved apartments so I spent all day moving. It honestly felt like I moved everything by myself because my comp and Elder Allen didn't do anything but pack up their stuff and worry about them instead of helping Elder Preito and I move stuff to our new place. That was kind of frustrating and it really took a toll on me physically. We made so many trips back and forth from the apartments. Our new apartment is kind of in the ghetto but it is a nicer apartment than our last one. We now have two bathrooms and two closets for each companionship. Elder Coleman and I have a walk in closet! Super sweet; the only downfall is that we lost our washer and dryer. We went to laundry mat today and did laundry. It is going to cost almost 5 dollars a week to do laundry. I have been lazy with budgeting but now I am really going to have to work on it! I pay with cash so I'll have to start the envelope system again. Anyways, after we got most of the stuff moved in we then had to deal with a lost Elder trying to find the right apartment and making sure that everyone was taken care of. That was a huge headache and stress for me but I got through it all. We also went out to McDonalds to get dollar ice cream with the zone. Our old Sister missionaries were still here and it was fun to get to see them for one last time. My new bed felt so nice that night! We upgraded to bunk beds with memory foam pads on our mattresses :). They are super sweet and I sleep so well now!

Tuesday was another logistical day. We had to make a few more trips to get everything moved in officially. We then went to service with the Lasselle elders to help someone move. It was such a painless move, I loved it. Everything was in boxes and made it super easy to move. We cleaned up then went to teach a lesson to a lady that Elder Coleman found in his last area. The Sisters didn't get to the new area until that night so we had to do double duty for a little while. Our drop-ins to investigators didn't go through so we knocked doors for a while. I love being companions with Coleman. I laugh all day with him. Our dinner was with the Rascon family. I love going over there. They have the cutest daughter ever. During the meal, she hopped up on the lap and sat there while I ate the rest of my dinner. We then went and saw Ken and made sure that he was doing well.

On Wednesday we helped the new companionships get settled in and help them get familiar with the area. That afternoon, we stopped by a family in our ward that we felt like we needed to go see. We talked with the husband for almost two hours. He is from Compton with tons of stories. He just needed someone to talk to and he really appreciated our time with him. Anita kept calling us because she was freaking out about stuff for her baptism. She is really starting to stress me out... But it is all good because she is happy and wants to get baptized so I will do everything I can to make her happy. Our evening appointment was with the new sisters to hand off an investigator to them. The Sisters are way better teachers than us Elders! They are going to do well there.

We had our lesson with Gary and his family and it went very well. We had a member come with us and help us teach. It was amazing to me to hear how little the kids understood about Christ. They really didn't know much; all they knew was that he died on the cross for them and that isn't even the whole part of the Atonement! We taught them and helped them to understand. We are hoping to see them learn and progress. Since Thursday is planning day, we went over to Cashman's house to plan. Coleman needed clean clothes so we washed clothes as well. It was super fun to plan with Coleman and Cashman! We then saw the craziest thing coming home from an appointment. We took the exit to get on the 60 freeway and saw this really bad accident so we pulled over. The story was that this car full of men took the on ramp going 90 MPH and hit the median. They totaled the car but the five men took off running! The driver was badly hurt but they pulled him out and took off. Come to find out that they were running from police and crashed the car. Super crazy. That night we went to Ken's and he started asking some deep doctrine stuff! And it was all from his reading too. We answered them the best we could.

Sunday was a good Easter Sunday. I got to give Ken the priesthood and stand in on Cashman getting ordained to an Elder! It was super cool to be a part of that. Our Easter dinner was okay, it was fun to be with the family that we ate with. Overall, it was a good week!

I love y'all and miss everyone terribly. I am actually in need of some new clothes (pants, running shoes, some more shirts) so if y’all could see what you could do to help, that would be wonderful! Love y'all so much :)

Elder Tonini