Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mission Accomplished

A few pictures from Elder Tonini's joyous homecoming at the Minot International Airport:

An anxious mamma
He made it!
I think she missed her brother.
(Almost) all reunited again.

Pictures from the last weekend in the mission

Thanks to Elder Feist (from Minot, ND) for sharing these pictures:

Elder Feist and Elder Tonini
Nice way to spend your last weekend on the mission!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Good Bye to the Mission Home

Elder Tonini's final appearance on the California Riverside blog.  Here are the pictures:

Sister Smart, President Smart, Elder Braithwaite, Elder Tonini, and Elder Moser

Elder Tonini and Elder Braithwaite

Monday, February 17, 2014

"I love you God... You're the best!" - Ryker G

I was SUPER stoked about Jake getting his mission call! I did get to see it. I randomly check the Justin.tv account and sure enough, there is was! I tell everyone I meet that my brother got his mission call! Sounds like he is doing well, I sure am going to miss him though. We won't get that long to be together either so that kinda stinks... Corina told me the story about her coming home from work twice to see Jake open his call. I am glad that everything worked out! Hopefully by the time the next one leaves, we'll have the video streaming technology figured out. Ready for my week? Leggo!

I had a super fun birthday this year with missionary friends and family. We went to Skyzone, an indoor trampoline park, which was pretty legit. There was a huge foam pit that we started out on and then we went to the hoops to dunk on them! It was a flash back to Slam Ball days. I got my back flip down and I was flying high! It was super fun. There was a volleyball net up with the tramps and so we tried that for a bit. It was quite interesting trying to time your jump to hit the ball. We then played some dodge ball and that was LEGIT. All eight Elders against 15 plus 13 year old kids and we won :) naturally. You can't stop the power of God, even on the dodge ball court! Haha we then had dinner with the P*** family and it was a riot. Brother P*** has a VERY dry sense of humor so that was enjoyable. We then went to the batting cages for my birthday/FHE with Allison and Nick. It was super fun! That was the most physical activity I have had in months and before the day was over, I knew I was gonna hurt for a few days. I even got a wood bat as a birthday present to myself haha I cannot tell you how great it felt to hit again. It was an awesome birthday for sure.

Oh man, Tuesday was rough for me. I woke up that morning to work out and I couldn't move... I was that sore! I was pretty funny. I haven't had my abs or back hurt like that in a long time. That's what I get for not hitting in forever and a day! Dale Pa***'s picked us up because it was temple day so that was cool but the icing on the cake was when I got to see Elder Child and he gave me some awesome news. Remember John Ph***? The football coach that I taught in Hemet? Well, he moved to Menifee and he is getting baptized this Sunday! And he wants me to baptize him! MY LAST SUNDAY AS A MISSIONARY! I was about in tears because that family means a lot to me. We took some pictures and then went to lunch with Dale. I love that guy but he can say some of the oddest things... In and Out was good and then we had dinner with the M***' family where Elder Anderson patched his tire. We stopped to teach Allison and Nick that night so that was good too :)

So we had DLC and DDM on Wednesday due to the temple on Tuesday and that was a good time too. I trained over the priesthood and intelligence and how we need to magnify our calling. Some of the sisters just looked at me with a blank stare but then Sister Jenkins made the connection and that made the icing on the cake. Sister Anderson heard it in Hemet when I first gave this same training and she just rolled her eyes when she heard what I was training on haha. After that, we had lunch and then went out to make visits and contact. We ended up teaching these two guys and we taught them almost to the bus stop. That was a good time because then we had to book it home for the R*** to take us to dinner but they never showed... I went and called them from the payphone and they told me the bad news that Jake's call didn't come so it'll be on Thursday. Before I called them, I got super depressed because I wanted to see the R*** and Jake opening his call. We were supposed to go on a split with our Ward Mission Leader but he got held up at work. It was a crazy day but we made it out alive and that's all that counts.

We had breakfast with the Foothill Elders and then went and saw Sister Sanchez at her salon. We gave her an update on things and on her family. After that was some lunch and then weekly planning. It was weird planning for my "death week" but we made some good goals and got ready for the week. We rode to go see Richard for the first time in forever and had a good lesson with him. He showed up his new car and the "essentials" in his trunk that consisted of a pack of water and boxers... That won't get you anywhere! We then went to dinner with the Ji****'s and Rodney came! We taught him after we had dinner. But before we taught Rodney, I got to watch Jake open his call! It was freaking awesome :). I love that kid to pieces! After that, we saw Allison and Nick again to teach them. Allison’s 21 year old sister wanted to see pictures of us and so that was interesting. She'll even be over on Sunday for a lesson too haha. We exchanged that night and I got to spend some time with Elder Gordon before we crashed.

Friday was busy! We worked out in the morning, studied and then went out. We stopped at the gas station to get some air and I ended up talking to Robert, our favorite homeless man. I ended up teaching him and giving him a Book of Mormon. After that, he asked if I could buy him a drink so I went in and bought him two Gatorade's and gave him the change. It was a small thing but it meant a lot to me to do that. We then rode off to a potential investigator and ended up leaving a blessing on Rick and Karen in their home. It was really good! Karen is looking for something so we are gonna keep working with them. Their house butts up to the church so that is convenient haha. We then went to lunch at Subway and went back out to work. We made more visits and then stopped to see Paul Ry***. We talked to him for a bit and then set something up to teach his mother this week. We then had a bomb lesson with Tom which was super spiritual. We'll get Tom soon! Dinner was with the Morris' family and we had Samoan food! It was super good too. They were a fun family to eat dinner with. We then stopped to see Cale but he was in Orange County with Kim and so we taught Sister Clarke instead. We taught her about helping with Cale and making progress with him. Our last stop was Nick and it was a cool because Nick is gonna let us leave him with commitments to read and pray and so we taught about the Book of Mormon and prayer. Ryker, his son, said the prayer and he said "I love you God, you're the best!" I couldn't help but laugh but that six year old taught me something very important that night. Our prayers should always be like that! It was an eye-opener for me and it made me love that little kid even more. We exchanged back to find out Elder Anderson got super sick and so we are still dealing with that but he will get better soon.

We went to some yard sales on Saturday while we made visits. We saw crazy Eddy again and he was wearing a homemade shirt with a cross on it! Plus he pulled out Church paintings and he prayed with us in the middle of the street. Yup, he still isn't changing... We had lunch and then went back out to make some visits. We rode to see Izzy when I tried to contact a man and he ignored me then cussed me out. He called me profanities and so I kept talking to him haha. I am tired of people doing that to me so I am going to kill them with my charity. I knocked on the door and about got attacked by Izzy. I am pretty sure she has a thing for me because she is CRAZY about me. She can't say my last name and so she calls me "Tohini". Not even close! Haha we then had dinner with the A****'s and had some super good Porterhouse steaks. It was super good! Everything fell through that night so we finished up our OYMs.

Sunday was not a good day because I was up at 4 am and couldn't go back to sleep. I think it is my anxiety of everything starting to kick in. The "dry" council spoke in church and I slept through it all because I didn't sleep very well the night before. I'm glad Dad isn't a boring speaker! I got to teach sharing time in Primary so I spent two hours with the kids. I love the primary kids so much! We then ate lunch and then off to the C****'s to have a mini FHE and read the Book of Mormon together with their family. After that, we ran off to Pu****'s for dinner and that was a ton of fun. I love their kids! Little Christy wanted me to sit next to her and she held my arm the entire time. Yup, I can't wait to be a dad. We told mission stories and then ran off to Allison and Nick. Her sister was there and so we told more stories and taught about patience. I am going to miss that family so much. It’s gonna be way hard to leave...

Well, that's my week. Keep me in your prayers as my anxiety is gonna be out of control this week. But I will be fine. I gotta sprint to the finish and not let the Adversary get to me. I love y'all and I will talk to y'all one more time before I am home!

- Elder Tonini

Monday, February 10, 2014

"I just threw a bike over the wall into a dumpster... What in the heck was I thinking?!?" - Elder Anderson

Thank you for the birthday wishes! Oh my goodness, I about jumped out of my seat when I read Jake's email about him getting his call! Ready for my week? Leggo!

Monday was SUPER busy for us. We left the house around 9:30 that morning and didn't come home until 9:30 that night. We were running the entire time! We went to some stores and then to email. We went to the mall and walked around then we went to dinner with Sister B***. We went to our hole in the wall diner that Elder Anderson and I love. It was a good time with Sister B***. The crazy thing that we saw on the way home was when we went to OYM this guy on the side walk, he was getting ready to shoot up heroine, tourniquet, needle and everything. Pretty crazy way to ride home to!

Tuesday was started out by having interviews with President Smart. However, while I was waiting for my turn, I got talking to Sister Pierce and I found out some awesome news! Remember Ken E***? I baptized him while I was in Moreno Valley. Well, I guess that she is starting to talk to him now! I was so stoked to hear about that! We actually planned on going to lunch on Saturday so that will be good. After interviews, we went and taught Tom again and we are starting to make some headway with him again. We are having a good sit down lesson with him so that will be good. After that, we had to run off to dinner but on the way there, we taught five street lessons and got a few return appointments that will hopefully pan out this week. Our dinner was with Dale P**** and it was a lot of fun. He is a sportscaster and we talked a lot of baseball. Coolest thing, he gave a triple combination to Brad Lidge! Super sick! Jake would've died to talk to Dale haha. He told me to continue my dream of playing professional baseball and to keep working on it. So who knows that will happen. We had finished our OYMs and so we went home to study.

Wednesday was DDM and I trained using baseball as my teaching tool.. I taught about closing deals, as in closing people for baptism and so I used the analogy of a closing pitcher on a baseball team and how we need to be that closing pitcher. It was so much fun! My poor sisters had no idea what I was saying haha. There is only one sister that would've understood me but she's in Menifee now. Anyways, it was a good teaching tool and I think that everyone understood my point I was trying to make. We went to go see Izzy, who is a recent convert in the Spanish ward that wants to come to the English ward now. We have been teaching her and we taught her for the first time so that went well. We then OYM’d a lady from San Antonio and we helped her with some stuff as she is moving into the complex. We were going to come back for a blessing but it could turn into a bash. Joyful. We then taught Allison and Nick again and we came just right at the right time. It's funny how the Lord sends us to help other people. Allison really needed us and we felt prompted to come over and see her. We were late leaving her house to get to our dinner but we got to Cale's for dinner in time. Both of us were outta breath but that's the way life is. We taught Cale and Jimmy and then headed home for the night. We had gotten out OYMs earlier that day so we were good for the night.

We taught Ivan again on Thursday and we basically had the “drop” lesson with him. However, he is coming today to the trampoline park with us for my birthday so that'll be fun. Anyways, we basically told him that we can't keep coming if he isn't going to make the effort on his part so we have to part ways. It was all right though; he took it well. After lunch, it started to rain after we tried to see Izzy again and her neighbor and so we had to put the rain gear on and go back out. We rode up to Paul R***’s house to see how he was doing and we ended up leaving his Mother with a blessing! Hopefully we can start teaching her too. It was cold and raining... Not cool with the way I have been feeling lately but I powered through it. We had dinner at home then we went to see Allison and Nick again. We go by there every night for daily contact and to make sure that they are doing okay. I sure do love those little kids though! We then ran over to see William and his family but once again... He wasn't home so we talked with our ward mission leader’s wife.

Friday was very interesting. We made some visits that didn't happen but then we stopped by the Goodwill to see if there is a suit for me to get so I can burn it for my two year mark but Elder Anderson ended up getting some black cowboy boots! Ahhh yeah! Then on the way home, Elder Anderson's tire busted and we spent all afternoon trying to fix it. With no success, we had to use the Frankenbike and go to dinner. Long story short: the tire exploded in my face and sent brown liquid everywhere on us. Elder Anderson was so upset that he threw it over the dumpster enclosure and then we walked off. The tire sounded like a gun going off as it sprayed us with nasty crap. We then had to go use the pay phone down the street to call our dinner and in the process, I get frisked by a drunk old Mexican guy. Yup, wasn't a good day. So we then finished up with Allison and Nick and called it a day.

Saturday was AWESOME! We then went to a child of record baptism with them and had a good time there. Elder Anderson has been getting these really bad headaches so we had to stay in for a while so he can get over that. We then made our visits and had dinner with the Johnson family. It was super good, they are an awesome family. Brother Johnson disk golfs! Super sweet!

Sunday was good and it was quite uneventful – in part because we didn't have anyone come to church. All in all, it was an okay week. A lot of ups and downs but I have been relying on my Savior A LOT. I sure do love Him! I love y’all and thank y’all for the birthday wishes!

- Elder Tonini

Monday, February 3, 2014

"No matter how much you polish a terd... It's still a terd!" -Elder Anderson

Ready for my week? Leggo!

Monday was a crazy Pday for us. We emailed for an hour and then ran off to lunch with Dean and Pat C**** and they showed us this super sweet diner that we both love now! They are really a neat couple. We ran back to the library to finish emailing and after I got done emailing, I taught a lesson to these teenage kids in the library that the Foothill Sister's were teaching so that was pretty cool! We than ran home to work out and chill until it was dinner time. We had KFC with the P**** family and had a FHE lesson with them over justice and mercy. The kids were asking about it and so we had a lesson over it. I honestly didn't understand it for the longest time until my mission. I love that those kids were asking those questions! Before we left their house, we contacted their neighbor that was getting home and he actually accepted a blessing from us! More details to come about William and family :). We then got our OYMs on the way home and while we were at the mailroom, I contacted this lesbian couple that were walking by and we had a nice conversation that turned into a brief lesson with them. Teach when you find, find when you teach works! We didn't get a return appointment but we did have a positive impact on them so that was good!

On Tuesday, we finished some weekly planning from the previous week and then we went out to work. We saw Tom for a brief, daily contact lesson and then we ran off to dinner with the J**** family. That was super good! Anyway, we went to go teach Cale but then we got there and Sister Cl*** said that they were at the 12 step addiction recovery program thingy that the Church puts on so that was awesome to hear! We taught Sister C**** at the door and then taught Jimmy and Kyle when they got home. We then booked it to go see William again and left a really good blessing. We tried to invite him to baptism but we kept talking about history and his past and stuff. He even talked about taking a dead body over the border of Mexico and how it was legal to do so. Kinda creepy but he is a good man. He has two daughters, 10 and 7 so that will be good for them! William is from Guatemala and he talked about an oral tradition that his people saw a white man descend out of heaven and talk with them, ascend back up and that now they are waiting for Him to come back. BAM! The Book of Mormon is SO TRUE! It was a great segway into introducing the BoM. It was super cool way to finish our night :) Two new investigators!

Wednesday was when I started to get sick again... I woke up and worked out but then I started to tank. We still taught four lessons but I was not feeling good. We went by and saw Paul R*** to talk with him. He owns his own company reloading ammunition so that was pretty cool to see that process. He can ship ammo now so when I get some of my own firearms I am going buy from him! Before dinner, we went by to see Nick and Allison. We taught them about the pre-earth life and how we can overcome tribulations. We gain patience through going through tribulations! We then had dinner with the Cl**** again and we taught Cale there too. Elder Anderson taught a lady on the street named Tracy and got a return appointment for today that we are hopefully gonna see today so that was good! But my health was not good that day but I just kept truckin' away.

Oh man, Thursday was not good. We weekly planned and then we went out to go see Tom again and when we got back to the house, I took four Benadryl thinking that it would help with my sinus and flu symptoms even though its mainly for allergy. Yes, I know it makes you drowsy but I thought I could fight it. Yup, I was wrong. After dinner with Brother H*** at Amy's Diner, I crashed HARD. I fell asleep at around 6:30pm and I didn't get up until 6:30am the next day. Yup, I was pretty sick and I knocked out. I still don't feel the best but I am working through it. So needless to say, we got behind in our lessons and we had to play catch-up for the rest of the week.

Friday was zone meeting and that went well besides the fact I was still feeling crappy and I got the biggest migraine on the planet. Plus we had a huge scare on the way home. Since we still don't have our phone, the office was trying to get a hold of us because the management at our apartment called and said our apartment was leaking and that we had to get all of our possessions out ASAP. Well, that was the message that got relayed to us by another missionary. We booked it home right as maintenance was walking out of our apartment and the Cle** walked up too. There was a leak in the guest bathroom upstairs that had leaked slowly into the downstairs apartment. It was nothing big, just had to fix the tub real quick and then dry out the bottom apartment. We did have a good talk with the Cle***, which I guess Mom knows because they knew me when they saw me. So that was cool and then Marco, one of the maintenance guys that came to fix the leak, talked to us about the church and we taught him about the Book of Mormon and gave him our info so we can stay in touch. Pretty funny how the Lord works sometimes haha. After that settled down, I have to take care of my migraine so I showered and slept again. We missed dinner but they dropped off money but missed a dessert appointment. However, we did see Allison and Nick to see if we were good for Saturday but Nick has to work... We then ran off to P**** to see him and his family. We taught the kids about Lehi's dream because that's the missionary slang for sleeping during studies haha. I thought it was funny and the kids learned a lot! Even though it was kinda a batched day, we made the best outta it.

Saturday morning, we visited with Sister Sanchez at her salon to see how she is doing. Since we don't have our phone, it's been hard to see her husband because he doesn't like drop by's but we're gonna start doing them anyways. Anyways, we went and saw Ivan again even though we dropped him and invited to come to church. Did he come? No, but we still tried. We were on our way up to Jean's house when Elder Anderson contacted this lady on a bike and we ended up having a lesson with her and bearing testimony of our purpose. We had her in tears, the Spirit was so strong. Even on the street, we can still bring the Spirit! She is up to meet with us again so that will be super cool! Jean wasn't there but we didn't go there to see her, it was for Jody. The cool thing is that I prayed for a miracle to happen because things aren't going how I want them to in the area and now we found her. It was a pretty small but really powerful miracle experience! We went to go see Cale but he was wrapped up in taking care of a sick baby so we taught Jimmy instead. He's wanting to come back to church and I love that about him! Even if I don't baptize Cale, at least I could re-activate a family for life. We then ran back to the apartment to grab my Nerf fun that I promised Allison's son, Ryker, if he was good this week. We had a brief Sabbath Day lesson with Nick and then we had an all out Nerf war with the kids. Yup, I'm still a big kid at heart haha. I modified my gun that I gave Ryker and I forgot how hard it shot until he shot me! Ryker hit his sister from across the room underneath the table through chairs which was a pretty dope shot! Poor girl haha she's only two but she is fearless. Yup, a super fun way to end the night.

Sunday at Church was good, we had Cale come but that's it... We had ward council in the morning and then made church visits until sacrament meeting started. I was actually a good testimony meeting! That was my last testimony meeting as a missionary... Oh man! Crazy! I got up with Noah Tanileu who is fixin' to turn eight on Saturday and be baptized. He was scared to go up and so I told him I would go up there with him and so we did it! He got up to the pulpit and said "brothers and sisters... TALOFA!" and the whole congregation said it back! It was awesome! It was just like being back in Moreno Valley :). I bore my testimony on being missionaries and the Savior. Brother H*** got up and spoke about his missionary experiences and told the whole ward how great of a time it was having us in his home to teach John. It was awesome! That was a basic theme in the whole testimony meeting, it was so sick! Then the fireworks happened... Cale dragged us into a discussion about marijuana and the church's stance on it. Now mind you, Elder Anderson wants to be a narcotics cop and get drugs off the streets and so he has done his research on everything. He told Cale what was up and then he even dragged Dale P*** and David Pu*** into the discussion after gospel principles. Needless to say, Cale is justifying smoking pot even though he has a medicinal card for it. So we gotta help him overcome that. We finished church and then went over to the Cl**** for dinner to break our fast. They had the Super Bowl on and so we watched it with them while we ate. We taught Cale about the Word of Wisdom and the promise of "running and not be weary and walk and not faint". They wanted us to stay but we told them we had to go out and make some more visits. We went to see Rodney but we only taught him briefly. I want him baptized so much! I am make it happen before I leave. Before that though, we got into a bash with their neighbor downstairs about the Book of Mormon but the lady wouldn't listen to us so it was pointless. Plus I didn't want to leave a bad impression by telling her she was wrong so we just left it at that. After that, we rode to Gawry's to see what was up with Melissa. I guess she has gotten kinda scared when we invited her to baptism and when she was feeling that it was true so she kinda back off... That sucks but we won't give up. However, Dalian got into the marshmallows are we starting trying to throw it into each other's mouths which turned into Dalian throwing them everywhere haha. I threw one into Anastasia's mouth on the second throw! Yeah buddy haha. We already got our OYMs and so we rode home for the night. I made calls to the district and zone leaders and we called it a night.

So these last few weeks have really interesting for me. I am frustrated with the area because it always seems to not go our way when we are working has hard as we can... Of course we are working on being obedient, repenting daily and trying to make things work but I keep getting frustrated because I haven't seen it yet... But I am gonna be that closer that comes in the ninth inning with the bases loaded, up by a run to save the game. I think about Lights Out Lidge when he played for the Astro's and how he was clutch all the time. I gotta be clutch now and finish it off. I am trying to keep that mentality as I keep working these next few weeks. Keep me in your prayers and always know that I love the Savior and that He is MY Personal Savior. I love y'all and we will talk soon!

- Elder Tonini

Fwd: Airline Baggage Info

Yup, its official...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <PRS@ldschurch.org>
Date: Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 9:07 AM
Subject: Airline Baggage Info
To: Andrew Tonini

As you pack your luggage in preparation for your flight, consider the following tips to avoid problems with your carry-on and paying extra baggage fees:

  • All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller. 
  • All containers must be placed in a single, quart-size, sip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, sip-top, clear plastic bag. 
  • Place bag in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening, X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items. 
  • Pack all your coats and jackets in your checked baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine for inspection. 
  • When in doubt, leave it out. If you're not sure about whether you can bring an item through the checkpoint, but it in your checked bag. 
  • Weigh your luggage BEFORE you get to the airport. Domestic flights allows 2 checked bags at 62 linear inches (158cm) / 50 lbs each and 1 carry on 45 linear inches (115cm). Internation flights may be different you should check with Sister Pierce for luggage allowances. 
  • If your checked luggage weighs ANY AMOUNT over the airline's allowance or is larger than the dimensions permitted by the airline you will be charged. 
  • You may want to send some of your things home before you leave, or decide whether some things are even worth the extra cost to take with you. 
 In order to board any flight, you must have at least one valid (not expired) form of government issued photo identification. This could be a driver's license or passport. POSSESSION OF CURRENT PHOTO IDENTIFICATION IS CRITICAL!!!! CHECK YOURS NOW.

--Elder Tonini

Monday, January 27, 2014

"If God's willin' and the creek don't rise!" - Elder Anderson

Thank you for the prayers. Elder Anderson and I are just fine after our eventful bike wrecks. It keeps us on our toes haha. We are fine though, nothing a little bit of sleep and dirt can't fix. I am glad Dad got to talk to Bishop G**** this week. We had lunch with them and it was super fun. I will tell the story later. Alright, ready for my week? Let's go!

Monday was super fun because we got to go to the mall to get our haircut by Sister Jimenez! She washed my hair and rinsed it and everything! We went with Rodney, who we are working with to be baptized this next month, and I got to know him a little bit more. He is such a good guy. He is gonna be the best convert ever! So we did that and came home to wait for dinner to be dropped off and then we went off to see Cale and Allisen and Nick. Our lessons went well and we are making slow progress with Cale and Nick but we are gonna get there.

I had a meeting with the Zone Leaders and then had DDM which went really well. I don't exactly remember what I trained over but what was important was what happened after our meeting. Sister Jenkins approached me and asked if I could give her a blessing. I said of course and so I sat down with her and she told us what was going on. So Elder Johansen anointed and I sealed the blessing. Once again, I amaze myself because I say things that are NOT coming from my mouth but from God. She is doing really well now so that blessing really worked :). We then emailed because we couldn't on Monday and then we went and saw Tom again. He is doing well, I actually got to stand in his pool! Haha it was empty but it was still cool because his house was built in the early 1900's. After dinner with the E****, which was super fun to eat with them, we went to Kaiser again to visit Sister Wilma Mackey. When we got there, we found that she wasn't in ICU anymore and we got to see that she was getting better! That was awesome to see because she hadn't talked to us yet because of the breathing tube and everything. It was a fun way to end the end seeing Sister Mackey.

Wednesday morning, we rode to go see the G**** family and talk to them about Melissa. We then also talked to Bishop about our situation with Cale and he gave us some HUGE revelation for us in regards to his family. It was super cool to see actually. The Spirit is such a wonderful tool! We talked with them and that was when Bishop emailed Dad about his brother and then we went out to eat at the Greek Street grill. While we were there, Sister G**** saw one of her old "flings" and Bishop made a huge scene about it. It was super funny! Poor Sister G**** was so embarrassed but she was a good sport; that's why she is so awesome :). After lunch, we saw Tom again and taught him more of the Book of Mormon. He is another person who is making slow but small steps. We just gotta be patient and coach him through it all. We then printed off a talk at the library for Kim and Cale for our lesson that night and then went to Kaiser again to see Sister Mackey. She is getting better! Yeah buddy! Our lesson with Cale went well, it was super spiritual and I hope and pray that he takes it in and really considers the things we say. It was a good way to end the night :).

Thursday started off by seeing Sister Mackey again but her daughter wasn't there so we planned on coming by later that afternoon. We ran to the church to make some copies but the ink was going out so we're gonna have to do it another day. We came home to eat lunch and then headed back out to see Wilma. We walked with her and her daughter and taught another lesson to her about faith. She isn't a member and her daughter has been trying to get her to listen but now she actually is! Sister Jenkins told us that she wished we were the missionaries in her ward! It was very humbling to hear her say that. We got back from Kaiser and waited for Brother Hill to come pick us up for John's lesson. That ran a little long because he kept talking and we ended up dropping him because he said he wasn't willing to change. It'll be a bummer but he wasn't going anywhere so we need to focus on some other people. So we came home to start weekly planning and then went out with Brother M**** to go eat with him. We taught him about missionary work and about his co-worker that he is working on. It is super cool to see members being missionaries! I love it!

This is Sister Mackey before she went home! Sure do love her!
So we had to say goodbye to Sister Wilma Mackey on Friday... That was super hard because we had grown to love her oh so much! We actually gave her a Book of Mormon that had my testimony written in the flyleaf of it. The story behind that is that we kept placing them in the meditation room in the hospital but they kept disappearing. I guess the chaplain kept taking them and so Brother Jenkins asked for one and he gave the copy with my testimony in the front to him, out of all the ones we placed before and after that, he chose that one. It was crazy! And now Wilma is open to reading it and listening now. Her daughter bore such a sweet testimony to her mother that almost had me in tears. It was hard to not get emotional when we left but I kept my composure haha. We made more visits that afternoon and then we had dinner with the Gu**** family and it was super fun! We went to IHOP and it made me think of Grandpa Tonini so that was kinda hard for me at first so I decided to get all-you-can-eat pancakes and eat away my sorrow haha. I ate 10 pancakes and about made myself sick. Their daughter Janea is super funny! She has Downs and is the funniest girl! She kept sneezing and kept saying "piss my nose!" At first I didn't realize what she was saying but then I couldn't help but laugh every time she said it! It was great. We then ran off to see Allison and Nick to confirm Saturday's appointment and we ended up teaching a lesson so that was good! It was a good Friday none the less :).

We had an emergency DLC Saturday morning but the other DL couldn't make it because of "other plans" and that didn't set well with me. Step up brother and magnify your calling! Anyways, we had a good DLC and then helped to clean the church. The Gu****'s took Elder Anderson to go mail some books home for him so that was a blessing for him. After that, we had lunch with Allison and Nick again. Part of lunch was going to the park to get the kids out of the house before we ate and it was super fun! I played on this spinning thingy with Ryker and it was awesome! I about got sick every time but I had fun making him fly off haha. Yes, I still haven't changed, I am the biggest kid still. Anyways, that was super fun and then we taught them about Church and committed them to come but they didn't... Can't give up on them though! We had a correlation meeting the our ward mission leader and then ran off to dinner. Dinner was with a Samoan family and I felt right at home! We told story after story and it was a ton of fun. I love my mission for the super spiritual stories and the crazy ones! It was a fun way to end the night :).

Sunday was unusual because we never go to ward council but we did this Sunday so it kind of threw us off. We went and then left early to make our church visits to Cale and Nick but they didn't come... Neither did Rodney or Melissa so we had no one at church! That stunk :( but it was good none the less. There was some deep doctrine talked about at the pulpit and then the rest of church was good. Anderson got a real bad headache and so we came home for him to rest and kick it so that we could finish the night. We went to dinner with the G**** which is always fun. They know one of my MTC buddies, Oliver Weight, that went home early and he sent me a message through them so that was exciting too! We finished out OYMs and came home to have a beat box and rap session haha. Overall, it was a decent week. I just wish that we could've had people at church!

It's crazy for me to think that my mission is almost over and that these experiences that I have had and will have will be done. It's a testimony to me that this is the Restored Church of Christ and of how much peace the Gospel brings to people. It has changed my life into the man I need to be and that God wants me to be. I love it and I am not ashamed of it! No matter how many times people swear at us or call us gay, it doesn't matter. Christ was ridiculed like that and being His representative so will I. I sure do love this work and I am glad to have been in the service of it. I love y'all and hope y'all stay warm and have a great week! Keep repenting daily and working hard everyday to open your mouth! Love y'all :)

- Elder Tonini

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Customer Feedback

from: Jim @yahoo.com
to: gmtonini
date: Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 1:38 PM
subject: Elder Tonini

Brother Tonini,

This is Bishop G****.  I'm the Bishop of the La Sierra ward in Riverside, CA.  I hope you're well.

Your son is serving in our ward.  He is an excellent missionary.  He works hard and is a great example to our ward members and to other missionaries he comes in contact with.  He eats dinner with us just about every Sunday.  We really enjoy having him and his companion in our ward. I used to like getting letters like this so I'm happy to pass along similar accolades when it is merited and in your son's case it is.

Coincidentally, my brother operates some oil trucks in North Dakota. He and his partners have been operating for a couple of years and are preparing to expand. It's a small world and North Dakota is really booming.  I, personally, am really in favor of that kind of growth.

You'll see your son soon.  He has made you proud here in Riverside.


Jim G****

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Let's look at the pros of this situation of me getting ran over by a car..." -Elder Anderson

Alright, I had a pretty eventful week. Ready for it? Leggo.

We had a pretty chill PDay. Shopping got done and then we emailed after that. With us being so far away from the other zone, we really don't get to go do activities so we end up hanging out at the house. We worked out and got ready for the week. I finished my last planner cover so that was fun. Our trip to the mall was good too, we got to walk around and get some things off of our minds. Dinner was good and then we went to Kaiser to visit some people in the hospital. We went to go see Mr. Swanson but while we were about to go into his room, a member up in Lake Arrowhead stopped us and was basically in tears to see us because her mother was not doing well in ICU. So we went and gave her a blessing and gave Sister J**** one as well. It's funny how the Lord works sometimes :). The right place at the right time. We went back to see Mr. Swanson and see how he is doing. We finished our OYMs and then went home.

Tuesday morning we went and saw Sister M**** and she was already making progress in the short time we have been seeing her. We ran off to DDM which went well. Sister Anderson, who was trained by Sister Gambling, is back in my district so it was good to see her again! Just like old times haha. I love doing comp intro's too because it's always funny to see what everyone else says about their companion. I trained over revelation, prayer, and fasting so hopefully they got something good out of it. That has been something I had been doing lately so I thought it would be good to go over. We had lunch and then did our studies for the day then headed out. Nothing really happened until that night because we went and saw Allison and Nick. It was a good time because those kids are crazy! Ryker and Brooklynn are super fun but nuts. We set something up to come by and see them on Saturday for lunch so that will be a good time.

Wednesday morning was spent at the hospital again seeing our people. There is a meditation room in the hospital that has a table where there are Bibles and Psalms on it. We leave a Book of Mormon on the table and every time we see that it's gone, thinking that some has been taking it, we replace it. We learned that the chaplain in the hospital takes it and hides it in the free magazine rack. Sister J**** saw him take it and so she is going to complain to the Kaiser. Oh well, we'll just keep putting them out there hoping that we can answer someone's answers to the soul with the Book of Mormon. We then went and saw Tom to see how his reading is going and he actually read and had questions. Next thing is to get him to come to church. Dinner with the D**** family is always fun. We ate wings from Wing Stop and it was super good. It is always fun going over there because Brother D**** is a riot. Our lesson with Cale fell through but we went and taught Jimmy instead. He is a good guy, just starting to come back to church so he is eager to learn and sit in on our lessons with Cale. He's a tow truck driver so he always has some good stories for us.

We weekly planned on Thursday but only got part of it done so we are gonna have to finish it on Friday. We rode up the hill to go see Jean but she wasn't there... So we rode back home to get ready to see John. We taught John again with Brother H*** and again, it went as well as it could go. He is reading like crazy but he is still not willing to accept baptism or coming to church. So we'll have to see what we are gonna do with him. Our dinner with the Ji****'s was super awesome. We are working with their friend, Rodney, and so we got some good insight on him. The dinner went a little longer than we wanted but we had a good lesson and good company. They cooked salmon and chicken, Hawaiian style. Super good! We then taught Cale and that went okay. We answered more of his questions and we are trying everything to get him to stop smoking but he still is so it feels like we aren't doing enough... Just gotta keep praying and fasting for him.

So y'all are probably been wondering about my subject topic for the email. Friday will explain why he said that because he really did get hit by a car on Friday on his bike. We finished weekly planning and planned on riding to go see the Bishop's family to talk to them about Melissa. We rode over the freeway overpass and we both were coming down the hill and crossed the light as I rode past the entrance for a gas station. The car saw me go past and waited for me but then didn't see Anderson coming up behind me. She pulled into the entrance and she nailed Anderson on his bike. He went flying, bike and all. I heard the impact and I bailed on the bike to go and make sure he was okay. He jumped right up and OYMed the girl that hit him. She hit him hard enough to leave a huge dent in her front bumper. We told her that he was okay and he even told her that "there is a reason why you hit me... check out this card when you calm down and get in touch with us." Goodness, I love that Elder! He is fine, just a little sore from the impact. Worst part is was that the Bishop's family wasn't even home! Bummer. We went and saw Tom again and had a good lesson with him. But oh no, we are not finished with the bikes. We were riding to dinner, which cancelled on us anyways, when I wasn't watching the road and I got into a fight with a pothole in the bike lane and lost BADLY. I ate it hard, got some blood going and ripped up a shirt. I was hurting pretty bad... It was more embarrassing more than anything. We did pick up a new investigator named Vincent so hopefully we'll get to see him this weekend. Our dinner fell through and so we decided to ding-dong ditch the D**** family because we were in their complex but they weren't home. We stopped by the Ji****s to borrow their phone and we ended up teaching Rodney! I love that kid so much, he's gonna be the coolest convert ever. We went to Taco Bell to eat then rode home. Quite an eventful day! It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt... Then it’s hilarious. NOT! Just another way the Adversary is trying to slow us down. Not gonna happen!

Elder Tonini and Elder Moss

We had a stake breakfast with the Stake President and that is always good to get to see everyone. The Assistants picked us up and had a good breakfast. We brought clothes to change into for service but that ended up falling through so we decided to have some recovery time for the day before so we slept for an hour so we can function for the rest of the day. Brother G**** came by and we talked about the ward and we set up a ride to go to that night's session of stake conference. After that, we went to the park with Allison and Nick with the kids for lunch and then had a lesson with them. Nick is a super good guy, we are wanting to help this family so much! I had fun riding a razor scooter with a pink helmet, jumping curbs and what not haha. We taught Cale before the session and invited him to come to the stake conference. Brother G**** took us to Costco to eat and then we went to the session. I had a lot on my mind when the session ended and I sat there in my thoughts when one of the Assistants pulled me aside and we talked. He told me something that I will never forget. He told that God loves me and that he loves me too, no matter what. That was answer to prayer because I have really been feeling alone... It was comforting to hear that from him. It was a simple thing but it meant a lot to me.

Sunday we had two sessions of conference and that was super nice. We had a broadcast from SLC so that was unusual but President Eyring spoke to us and it hit me hard. It was awesome. After lunch, we had a lesson with Rodney and we are gonna get him baptized in February! He is gonna read and pray and it is gonna be sick. I am so stoked. We then had dinner with the P**** family and we made our own pizzas. Yup, I love pizza. We then went to see a potential but they fell through but the highlight of the night was throwing the football with the kids in the street. I still got my arm! They would say it sounds like a missile falling from the sky haha. I miss those days playing in the street! It was a good night nonetheless and a good way to end the week.

I have learned this week how important prayer and scriptures are. Really, it is through Christ we can do anything! I love Him with all my heart and I know He is always here for me. And He is always here for all of us too. I love y'all and I am gonna make these last five weeks count. Have a good week and we will talk soon.

Elder Tonini

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Look at that plying flane!" - Elder Anderson

We had a pretty crazy week. Ready for it? Leggo!

Monday morning I got my haircut again from Sister S**** and we had a good talk. She has become one of my favorite people in this ward. We got that done and then went to email and shop. After that, we hung out at the house. I worked out and got to get some good studying in for my meeting the next day. We had dinner with Brother B**** and it was actually not bad. It was good company and we had a good chat. He would turn the NCAA National Championship game on occasionally during dinner to see what the score was. I didn't complain haha. He even check the weather in Minot for me because he likes to give me crap for going back to such a cold place. Oh well, I've been getting that for a while now. We had a quick lesson with him and then we went out to get our OYMs. It was a good Pday and we got some good work done.

Our Tuesday morning started out with me having another DLC meeting and then having a DDM. The best part was that I got to see Sister Pack after the meeting! She was on exchanges with someone in the zone and so I got to see her and catch up on things with her. I trained over the Good Samaritan and how it was Christ prophesying of Himself and the Atonement he would perform for us. I have learned really how the Atonement works these past few weeks. It hasn't been pretty but I have learned so much for everything. Anyways. Our dinner dropped off money so we went and got wings at Wingstop which was super good! We came back to have a comp study together and then headed out. I ended up contacting this young man on the street that allowed us to follow him back to his home to give him and his home a blessing. In the middle of it, his mom walks in and joins us. It was a pretty cool experience, the Spirit was super strong there. Isaac had questions over the Spirit World that we are going to teach him this week. I don't think the mom likes us too much so we are going to tread carefully. We tried back to see Ivan and set something up for the next day which we did so that was good to do. On the way back, Trevor was trying to open up a Hershey's kiss while riding his bike and he tanked it right in the middle of the road. He busted up his knee pretty nicely. I was trying hard to not give him a hard time but I couldn't help myself. While we were ridding to Cale's house to teach him, I was giving him a hard time while we were riding down Magnolia. After I said a few things, I turned back to keep riding and when I turned my head to see where he was, he blind-sided me on his bike and sent me flying into the curb, over the handlebars and into the grass. He, on the other hand, didn't end up so well.

We pulled him from the pavement and avoiding the traffic and we got him to the side of the road on the grass. He banged his knee up super bad, his ankle bad and he had road rash on his arms and a bit on his chin. A cop saw us on the street and he stopped to talk to us and give us some support. Trevor couldn't move and the cop was fixin' to call an ambulance. We told him no, we were gonna get him up and going. What we did was that we gave Trevor a blessing on Magnolia, in front of a cop. It was pretty crazy. We got him up and he held Elder Anderson's backpack as he pulled him to Cale's house which was right down the street. Trevor wanted to go to Urgent Care so we did. Cale and Kim dropped us off and we got Trevor looked at. There was a member from my ward in Moreno Valley that was there and they actually gave us a ride home when we finished at almost midnight. THEN there was a member in Riverside that was trying to get a hold of us, since we are phone-less at the moment, to set up to teach one of his co-workers. He drove up to Kaiser to see us. It was a riot with the three of us in the hospital because of the jokes and things we would tease each other. For instance, while Trevor was getting his vitals checked, he interrupted the nurse and said "Umm, excuse me, can I have a big band aid? My arm is sticking to the [wheel]chair". Elder Anderson and I about fell over laughing. We were so tired that we were losing our minds. Trevor's diagnoses is a bruised knee and a bruised ankle. He got crutches and a little shoe thingy for his ankle. Boy, was that an adventure or what?!? That's what happens when you are busting your butt to work as hard as you can with a pretty big chip on your shoulder like I do right now.

After our adventure, we taught Ivan that morning and we had a Come-to-Jesus meeting with him. We told him that if he doesn't come to church then we aren't going to meet with him anymore. Guess what? He didn't come so we are dropping him. He still wants to be friends and everything but we have to fulfill our purpose first. We made visits and went to the G****'s to hopefully teach Melissa but that fell through so we busted our butts to teach Cale. That went well and we are making progress with him. Hopefully he will get baptized this month!

We taught Melissa Thursday morning and that went well too! We have had good lessons with her and she understands well. We taught the second half of the Plan of Salvation and it answered some questions for her. We are pushing for her to get baptized this month so we are going to do all we can to help her make that commitment. We had our usual lesson with John with Brother Hill and that went okay, about as good as its gonna get. We taught the second half of the Plan again and tried to finish it but we had to go back to the G****'s to make Cale's cinnamon toothpicks to help him quit smoking. After that, we had dinner at the E**** and taught the kids a lesson too. They were super cool and Brother E**** has a SICK motorcycle! A black and red Yamaha R6. It is sick! We then got our OYMs and called it a night.

Friday was fun too! Our lesson with the referral fell through... So we did weekly planning and finished our scripture boxes. Mine is super cool! Anyways, we taught Trevor again and then weekly planned. We had tortas for dinner at the M****'s and that was super yummy and good company. We then went and saw Eddy and that was something else. As we crested his hill, we see his garage open and he come out wearing white bed sheets. We should have turned around but we didn't. As we talked to him, we felt like we shouldn't be there so we got out of there as soon as possible. But before we left, he gave Elder Anderson a huge hug and grabbed his butt and THEN gave him a "holy kiss" on the cheek. No bueno! We got out of there ASAP. We saw Tom and found out that he read and prayed! So we are gonna see him on Tuesday. Quite a way to end a night for sure.

We saw a lot of people on Saturday to get them to church and then had a good Sunday. Overall, it was a good week. We missed getting the Standard by TWO people at church! Dangit! Oh well, building for next week. I love y’all and I feel y’all’s prayers and fasting for me. I am learning important things right now and I hope and pray for y’all’s continuing support. I love y’all and I promise to finish out this next six weeks strong!

- Elder Tonini

Monday, January 6, 2014

email: "If God's willin' and the creek don't rise!"

Ready for my week? Let's go!

Monday was a usual Pday. Got some good rest and good emailing in and some good shopping. We got an increase in our monthly allotment so I am going to save as much as I can these next two months. Yeah, it's probably too late but it’s getting into the habit is what counts haha. Trevor, Elder Anderson's recent convert came to the area to serve a mini mission with us for two weeks! It was good to have him here. Our dinner was with our RS president's family and that was good. Dinner wasn't quite ready when we got there and so I found a ukulele and I started to play while Elder Anderson sang and rapped. It was super fun! We then went and saw our people in the hospital. Ms. Louis is getting better and Mr. Swanson is making progress in the ICU! It is super cool to see how much Priesthood blessings work. We finished our OYMs and called it a night.

Tuesday was good because I held an extra DDM after we had a DLC because I got the impression on Monday night that I needed to hold a DDM for the sisters. One certain companionship really needed it but it turned out to be a real good thing for everyone. I trained over how we can relate our missionary planning to the creation and then had them apply it to their own areas. The general feedback was that it was a pretty big help so I am glad I followed that prompting. Jim C. then picked us up some In and Out for lunch and we went over to the M**** family's home to have lunch with them. Vito, the husband, isn't a member so it was good to get to know him and his family. I ended up playing Angry Birds Star Wars with their five-year-old son, Jet. It was super fun! It is the actual game, not the phone version, so it was fun to get to play with Jet. Our bash appointment cancelled on us and told us that he didn't want to meet with us anymore so we dropped him haha. We then went to the hospital to visit Ms. Louis and we got into a bash with another guy at the hospital! We might have ticked him off by telling him the truth but that's okay :). The truth hurts sometimes. After the hospital, we came home to get ready for our ward New Year's Eve party at the Jones' house. The Davis' picked us up and we had a good time there. I had brisket for the first time in ages! It was soooo good! We then went and ding-dong ditched the Bishop's house with the Davis'. It was super fun! We then stayed up till midnight to welcome in the new year. It is crazy that it is 2014 already. That means my mission is almost done... Where did the time go?!

Wednesday we stayed in the morning getting the apartment deep cleaned for the new year. We had kept it pretty clean already so this clean wasn't too bad. We then had the office assistance come and pick up some unused furniture that was in our apartment for someone else to use. I got to see Elder Braithwaite! I love that missionary. We had a good talk and a good catch up. We'll be the only two flying home together in February. Pretty crazy! We then rode to the Davis' for their New Years Day party and had dinner with them. They made some pretty good fried chicken and appetizers! They had football on and so it was hard not to watch but I ended up watching... It’s the natural man in me! We then went and saw Ms. Louis again and she asked if I had a girlfriend back home and I wasn't sure how to respond to her haha! And then we saw Eddy. Our meeting with Eddy was very interesting. I am dead set that he is on meth. He has the creepy laugh, the mannerisms and the smell for it too. He even told us that he saw Elijah come down out of a cloud. He says that Alma is the most High God and crazy stuff like that. He's basically made his own religion and he won't listen to us. The meth has really taken a toll on him... He then gave Anderson two HUGE hugs and it was super weird. Needless to say, I don’t think we are gonna go back anymore. It was an odd way to end the night too.

So I went to pick up my bike on Thursday morning and then went back to see Ms. Louis again. She was going home and so we got to meet her daughter and son. She was a sweet old lady, she was almost 90 years old! We came back and weekly planned for a bit before we went and taught John again with Lyle H. That went well too, it was pretty good. We then had dinner at home then went and saw Cale that night. We taught him about Authority and working with him to understand it. We got our OYMs and called it a night.

We went to go see Ivan in the morning but he wasn't back from Mexico so we came to the library so Trevor could pay a ticket that he got and then went home for lunch. We weekly planned and actually got good things done. We didn't have dinner again but then we went and saw Jean, our Jamaican investigator. She is doing well, she comes to church but it is hard to keep her interested or reading because of a slight language barrier. We saw Mr. Swanson and he was out of ICU! We got to talk to him and see how he was doing.

Saturday was filled with ZDM where I learned a TON that I will have to explain next week and then made our church visits. I beat our bishop in a push-up contest; I did 70! I was pretty impressed with myself haha. We made our visits and then got ready for Sunday. Sunday was good because it was fast and testimony meeting. I got up and bore my testimony about repentance because I have been doing a lot of that lately and I called the congregation to repentance in a nice way. I'll share the scripture that I read that hit me hard with that next week. We then tried to see Ivan and a few other people but without any success. I am doing a two-day fast and so I had no energy but I made it through the day!

Well, I love y’all and hope y’all have a wonderful week. I know that this is the Lords work and that He is the head of it. I love the Atonement and the relief it brings. I love y’all again and hope y’all start the New Year off right!

- Elder Tonini