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