Monday, December 29, 2014

It's A Wonderful Life As A Missionary!

Hey y'all!

Merry belated Christmas! I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas and that you were able to travel about in safety! Ready to hear about my first Christmas as a missionary?!

We had a short P-Day on Monday due to Christmas on Thursday so we did all the basic essentials to get us through the week plus helped the Gold Hill Elders get their car in to get tires rotated and oil changed. We were only at the church for an hour to email! After our shortened P-Day, we tried to contact some people we had in mind but either they were busy with family or not home!

Tuesday we had a zone lunch at a member's house in the Jacksonville ward and it was super good! We had breakfast for lunch! After that finished up, we walked around the Twin Creeks area and talked to some of the members that live over in that subdivision. We had recently received several "Joy to the World" DVDs that we had been waiting for so we gave a missionary challenge to the members we were able to get in contact with to hand out a DVD to a neighbor. We had to make a pit stop at the apartment and we had a sketchy experience there! An old lady kept banging on our door and windows and ringing the doorbell for like 10 minutes and yelled at us! She even knocked over our trash can! Pretty weird haha! We had a great FHE with a family in the ward towards the end of the night.

Wednesday was realllllly slow. A ton of people were gone or with family so we spent our Christmas Eve walking around in the cold! We went and talked to Adam for a little bit. He was watching a show trying to prove that Santa was real. Some people just don't realize what Christmas is all about! After talking with Adam we walked on over to dinner. We were able to talk to a member family right before dinner and we got to know them so that was great! We had a very interesting Christmas Eve dinner! Instead of a normal dinner (I don't what I would consider normal!), we had Chinese food! It was at a less-active member's home and we got to spend a lot of time with him and his kids!

Thursday was Christmas! We were up at 4:30 to go play basketball with the other Elders in the zone and opened presents afterwards! After we got cleaned up from our morning of basketball, we had an awesome breakfast with the Harn*** family! The kids got an inflatable ball looking thing that they could climb in and roll around in it! It was pretty cool! We then watched "How to Train your Dragon 2"! IT WAS SUPER AWESOME!! After the movie finished up, we went over to the Hull's and Skyped home! Oh it was so great talking to everyone!! It was definitely the highlight of my Christmas! We hung out with the Hull's for the rest of the night, playing board games and having a HUGE Christmas dinner!

Friday started off on an interesting note. We had a conference call from President Russell in the morning and he read some scriptures with us before informing us that he was suspending Facebook "for a season" due to some of the things missionaries were doing on Facebook. It is going to be interesting going about without Facebook to fill that tough 8 o'clock hour, but if President Russell feels that is what we need to do, then we will do it! We headed out to contact an old investigator that lives off in the boonies! As we were walking, the Gold Hill Elders came by and picked us up since the guy we were trying to see lived off the road between our areas. We caught Jeff as he was getting ready to go with his wife to celebrate their anniversary. We were able to set up a lesson and a service project with him for Wednesday! We saw Mike afterwards and shared a New Year's Eve message with him and he thoroughly enjoyed it. We were able to set up a couple of FHE's with members so that was pretty sweet. We had correlation in the evening and we learned that the members we talked to on Tuesday about handing out "Joy to the World"'s had done so! That was some awesome news!

I don't have much to tell about Saturday! We didn't have the food pantry in the morning so we tried service finding for a few hours. No one was out and about and no one needed help.... lame sauce. After lunch we tried contacting several members about setting up FHE's but they weren't home. We went by the church and tried to get our LDS Tools up and going again! We had synced them the previous night and they would not show us the Central Point stake directory! Bummer! We weren't able to get that fixed so we went off to dinner and we were able to have a great discussion with them and watched a couple of Mormon Messages on his MASSIVE TV! It was super cool! Oh, we also got transfer calls! I am staying in Central Point with Elder Galloway!

Sunday we had church at one pm for the last time in this ward... huge bummer haha! We are switching to 9 o'clock church so it will be fun with ward council and such! We had a wonderful sacrament meeting before talking about family history and temple work in Sunday School! We talked about being disagreeable without being confrontational or something like that! Elder Galloway and I were able to talk about how we handle those situations when people try to Bible bash with us. After church we were able to teach Angelo and Spencer part of the Restoration. It is a lot different teaching an adult than it is a kid! I struggled with it a little because I was used to teaching to an adult's understanding and not to a kid's understanding. After dinner, we tried contacting some less actives and tried to set up some FHE's with members but seeing the number of members at sacrament meeting, I am guessing they are out of town!

I can't believe how fast this year has gone by! I am grateful to be out here in Oregon serving a mission! I know there isn't anything better for me at this point of my life than serving a mission. I have really come to know the Book of Mormon and the truth that is written on its pages. Joseph Smith was truly called to be the Lord's Prophet to open the last dispensation. I am grateful for my wonderful family that I was able to talk to this past week! I miss them and love them!

Have a great New Years! Remember, as it says in Genesis 19, "look not behind thee"!

I love y'all!

Elder Jacob Tonini
“Do your duty, that is best. Leave unto the Lord the rest.”

Monday, December 22, 2014

Oh look! I can see Christmas from here!

Hey everyone!

Monday was P-Day! We decided to go window shopping at the mall just to change things up a bit. After we did that and had lunch, we went to the stake center to email and play some basketball. We had dinner around 5:30 and then head off to a FHE we were doing with the Elder Quorum's president and his family. That pretty much finished up our night!

Tuesday was super slow! We had temple service in the morning and this time it did not involve digging out bushes! The sister that guides us had brought a whole bunch of fresh dirt and we unloaded it in the opposite corner of where all the dirt was. It was a pain to do so because the grass was still pretty wet and it made pushing a wheelbarrow a workout! We then loaded the debris from last week into the back of the truck where the dirt was before. We did some Facebook at the church before heading on home to shower and eat lunch. We had a pretty full afternoon set up but we weren't really able to get in and see anybody except for Gene. He was a referral from the sisters that we had talked to once before but only at the doorstep. This time, right as we were about to knock on the door, he opened it up and let us in! Although we were only able to talk to him for a few short minutes, we were able to invite him to the ward Christmas party and get to know to him! We had dinner at the Nad***'s and it was a super fun time! From riding on scooters to Sprite being spilt everywhere, it made for a great dinner! And, as a bonus, we had some AWESOME steak! We went over to the deVill****'s for a Family home evening and that went great! We had a lot of great insight from Adonis, the family's recently returned missionary from Brazil! Elder Galloway did an interview for the Gold Hill elders at the end of the night.

Wednesday wasn't as slow as Tuesday was but was still pretty slow! We tried seeing a couple of our potential investigators in the north part of our area but neither one of them was home. However, we were able to talk to two of the other potential's we had planned on seeing and we were able to give them an invitation to the ward Christmas party. After lunch, pretty much nothing went as planned. No one was home and we had a couple of appointments fall through so we spent most of our afternoon tying to find people to talk to! Right before dinner, Brother Huef*** asked us if we could help him with a blessing for a member in the ward and we gladly accepted. The member has a ton of faith, as he is suffering huge problems resulting from diabetes. It was humbling to be a part of that wonderful blessing. We then tried to share a message with the Cole***'s but we were only able to share an invitation with them about the ward Christmas party.

Thursday we had good ol' weekly planning in the morning. After lunch we had several lessons set up and we were super stoked to teach them! However, Jay H. wasn't really able to talk to us because he was running behind on some errands and other plans so we were only able to talk to him for a few minutes. However, we were able to share a "Joy to The World" DVD with him and he said he would watch it! Since we had a little time before our next lesson, we decided to go try a less-active named John. As we were heading over there, we saw a man holding a garbage can about 30 yards ahead of us. We made eye contact and, just to be polite, we raised our hands in greeting and he yelled "No thank you!"! Haha it was quite a laugh considering we were just waving to him! John wasn't interested in seeing us so we headed over to Jay P.'s retirement home (complex?) for our lesson with him and Brother Stamps. We got there and we waited.... and waited...and waited...and waited. Jay P. was no where to be seen! Finally, we went to the front and found Brother Stamps talking to another member of the Church that lived in that building. As we tried to figure out our plan of action, Jay P. found us! As it turns out, we had our times wrong and he thought we were 30 minutes late while we thought we were right on time! Because of this mishap, we were only able to talk to him a few short minutes about he had read since our last visit. He told us that he had read the whole Restoration pamphlet and he said that he felt like it was true! It was so cool to hear him say that! We read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with him and then left him Joseph Smith's First vision to read. Although he says he won't be baptized anytime soon, I feel that he is a lot closer than he realizes to making those steps! We saw a couple of less active members after Jay and then had a wonderful dinner with the Froelich's. The reason it was so great was that they gave Elder Galloway and I a lot of good information and tips about college and work! It was good to hear these pointers, especially since I have no idea what I want to do when I go back to school! After dinner we tried seeing a couple of people but we didn't have much success so we Facebooked before correlation!

Friday we had district meeting in the morning. We had a great lesson from Elder Galloway about the "Book of Mormon POWER LESSON"! It was a great teaching moment and I took a lot away from it. At the end of our district meeting, some of the members came in and sang "Mary did you know"! It was a beautiful rendition and it was a great way to end district meeting. After a short presentation from the zone leaders and while we were talking with some of the other missionaries in our zone, a man who lived in the Central Point 1st ward boundary came in and said he wanted to be baptized! It took the 1st ward elders by surprise and all of us as well! After lunch we did an exchange and Elder Porter was my companion for a day in my area! With it raining pretty heavily, we decided to walk around. It gave us a chance to talk and really get to know one another so that was pretty awesome. We were able to share a Christmas message with Brother Meadows. It brought a smile to my face seeing him talk about going home to his brother for Christmas! We tried contacting an investigator that I haven't had a chance to meet yet but he was not available. After dinner we had a FHE with the Severson's to get them pumped up about doing missionary work as members! It went really well for the most part haha! We managed to set up a time with Angelo and his son Spencer to talk about taking the missionary lessons, which is a complete miracle since they are always super busy! Afterwards we tried doing some Facebook tracting to end our night.

Saturday we had the opportunity to help out at the Calvary Temple Food Pantry. We exchanged back before lunch so Elder Galloway and I could head over to the Medford pear farm to help out a member in the ward. The pear farm had a new gas line put in and we ended up pulling rocks out of the stickiest clay I have ever been in! At the end of it all, Elder Galloway and I had over 15 pounds of clay stuck to each boot! I hadn't gotten that dirty in a very long time! We helped unload the rocks at Brother Heady's father's home and went back to the apartment to get ready for the ward Christmas party. The meal was unusual for me to have at a ward Christmas party; we had soup and bread in place of ham and potatoes and salad. Despite the meal change, we were able to sit with Angelo and his family and talk to them about the missionary discussions (the mother and 11 year old are already baptized) and see if we could start it with them. Spencer was all for it and wants to be baptized! Sweet! We are so excited to start teaching them in the upcoming weeks!

Sunday was pretty interesting! We thought we were going to have ward council in the morning but as we waited for what felt like forever, we realized that Bishop and most of the ward council were out of town! So we sat there at the church for an hour and a half waiting for our sacrament meeting! Thank goodness for iPad's to read Ensign articles! While we were sitting there, a little kid from the Gold Hill ward climbed up into a chair and pulled the fire alarm! Oh man it was pretty crazy watching people scramble out of the chapel to go outside! Fortunately the bishopric got it figured out and the sacrament resumed. We had an AMAZING Christmas program and we had Angelo and Spencer there for it so that was awesome. After church we headed to dinner on foot and enjoyed the unusual warm weather! We shared a lesson with Brad and although we had a great lesson, he went on a tangent about what is going on with homeless vets and the situations with cops and stuff. All we could do was nod and agree since we do not discuss politics haha!

Alrighty, I love all of y'all so much! I am so grateful for the wonderful Christmas spirit that is in the air and I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. I can't believe this is my first Christmas on the mission! And I get to Skype home! AH I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Until next week! Next week is transfers week so just be careful of that if you are sending any mail to me via my address instead of the mission office address. More than likely I will be staying but who knows but the Lord!

I love ya! There is no doubt!

Elder Jacob R. Tonini
Sent from my iPad

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Brooks! We get to play baseball today!"

Hey all!

I hope all of y'all had a great week! This was a pretty good week for me and Elder Galloway! You ready to hear about it?!

Monday marked one week without getting into a car wreck haha! We had a pretty great P-day! We played some basketball for some exercise and wrote emails before heading off to Brother Thur***'s home for dinner!

Tuesday was a bit of a slower day for us. We did a ton of walking around and trying to contact a lot of people that we had on our potential investigator list. While we were walking around, we saw a man smoking a cigarette outside of his apartment complex. We approached him and asked him if we could give him a "He is the Gift" Christmas pass-along card. He looked at us and said he only talks religion with "true Christians". Haha good one! Anyways, we were able to see a couple of people and give them an invitation to the Christmas program the Central Point stake was putting on this weekend. After dinner we did a special missionary family home evening with the Ku** family. It went really well and we were able to keep the kids attention! As the night went on, my back was getting tighter and tighter. I really need to do a better job of stretching in the morning! Anyways, as we were walking around at the end of the night, we walked past a member's house who happened to be a chiropractor. We decided to see if he could do a quick adjustment and he was more than happy to do it! Oh man I hadn't been adjusted in a long time and it felt great!

Wednesday we had a pretty great zone conference! The Gold Hill Elders came and picked us up around 7:15 in order for us to be in Grants Pass at 8 for the zone conference (we were doing a joint zone conference with the Grants zone). We got there right around eight and we were one of the first ones there! When we walked into the chapel, I noticed that the AP's had written our names on pieces of paper and taped them to the pews as to show us where we needed to sit. Since this was my first zone south of Eugene, I was curious on who was in the Grants Pass zone. As it turns out, my trainer Elder Flora is in Grants Pass and I got to talk to him and catch up! At the beginning of zone conference, we were divided from the sisters and we had an elders-only teaching segment led by President Russell. After the 25 minute segment and the vehicle report was finished, we heard from the Grants Pass stake president and he focused on faith for his talk. President Russell then taught us the life of Joseph Smith and the life lessons we can learn from the Prophet's life. We then heard from President Cropper about five different considerations that we need to take into consideration when we teach about the Book of Mormon. I really enjoyed that talk so much because we share with our investigators the Book of Mormon (obviously) and they were things that I know are important to have/teach when talking about the Book of Mormon. My favorite talk though was from President Grant, a member of the Central Point stake presidency. He quoted "The Rookie" in his talk! He mentioned how in the movie, Dennis Quaid and a teammate of his are discouraged of playing in the minors. To make a long story short, Quaid gets a pep talk and comes back to his teammate and says "Brooks! We get to play baseball today!". President Grant changed that around to say "I get to share the Gospel today!" and I loved it! :) Another thing that I really took away from this zone conference was the object lesson that President Russell did. He had some of the missionaries (including the AP's!) bite into an orange, rind and all! He related it to how although missionary work is tough and can be bitter, if we push through we can taste to sweetness of the fruit. After zone conference and dinner, we had an awesome FHE with the Shir***!

Thursday we had our weekly planning in the morning before our lesson with Jay P***, the man who called the temple to request a visit from the missionaries. We had a pretty great lesson with him. He had actually met with missionaries in the past but had to quit meeting with them because of some issues. However, he has been watching the BYU channel A TON and had been doing some studying! We shared the "He is The Gift" video and talked about building faith in Christ. We also gave him an invitation to the Christmas program and he said he would be able to come. We had a lesson set up with the other Jay we meet with but he wasn't able to meet so we shared a message with Dana. We then had stake correlation right before dinner and then ward correlation to finish up the night

Friday was sort of an unusual Friday. Because of zone conference, we did not have district meeting this week! So we went out of the apartment to try to contact some people. We knocked on a man's door but he wasn't home. However, we had recently discovered that we had his phone number under a different teaching record so we gave him a call after attempting the door approach. He answered and we asked him if he was still interested in meeting with the missionaries and he said yes! However, when we we asked him when would be a good time to come see him, he hung up....and never answered our question haha! We came back to the apartment to do an exchange with Gold Hill. I went my fellow Houstonian Elder Segrera to Gold Hill. Because of reasons unbeknownst to me, he was unable to drive so I got to drive a car for the first time since September in Philomath! Since the Gold Hill ward bordered ours, Elder Segrera planned to go see some of the members and also an investigator they received from the sisters. We tried the investigator first but he was not home so we decided to tract the street that he lived on. We gave out a couple of the "He is the Gift" pass along cards and had an awesome conversation with a man who had graduated from Texas A&M! Needless to say, we had a good conversation and we found out that he works with a couple members of the church. We finished up tracting in Central Point and contacted some members the Gold Hill Elders had not been able to meet with. We walked up to one less-actives home and he was outside and he just started shaking his head when we asked him if he had any interest in coming back to church. He said that he had "no religious feeling" and won't ever come back. We got a similar response from a "post-Mormon atheist" we saw next. We drove to Gold Hill to drop off my stuff and try to see a couple of people there. We then stopped by a members home to see if they were going to the ward Christmas party that night on our way back to Central Point. As it turns out, they were getting a ride from their non-member neighbors! We had a fantastic time at the ward party! The ward had a lovely Christmas program and music. The food was fantastic also! As people started finishing up their meals, I realized that no one was pushing a trashcan around to pick up people's trash. I grabbed Elder Segrera and we did just that! As I drove this trashcan around the gym and picked up trash, it reminded me of doing this sort of thing as an Aaronic priesthood holder and doing the same thing. After I got my picture taken with Santa, I was still helping the ward to clean when a member came over to me (Elder Segrera was over on the other side of the gym) and excitedly told me that she invited a coworker to the party and now the coworker and her family were planning on coming to church the very next Sunday! That was pretty cool to be a part of!

Saturday, after receiving a call from Elder Kleinman about our tire pressure, we went and got the tires pumped before serving food at St. Vincent DePaul's! It started off slow for us because everyone already had an assignment and Elder Segrera and I had nothing to do! However, I ended up on the line and I got to talk to some of the people as they came through the line. I was very easy to point out as a missionary and some of the people that came through got all excited and said "Hey! It's a missionary!". I thought that was pretty great haha! After cleaning up the cafeteria and the kitchen, we drove into Central Point and exchanged me back for Elder Porter. We had a couple lessons set up but they had to cancel so we ended up mowing a widowed sister's lawn before dinner. After a very chaotic dinner where a child got poked in the eye with a fork by his younger brother, we headed over to the church for the Christmas musical that the stake was putting on over the weekend. When the program started, I was once again taken back to my time in Houston and watching the combined choir consisting of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the members of the Catholic church next to the stake center join in song and love of the Savior. Although it wasn't a large choir (or crowd for that matter), I enjoyed the wonderful songs of the Savior that were sung. We had planned to do Facebook afterwards and we did just that. As many of you saw, I made a post about service and #sharethegift! However, I saw some news that saddened me as we were Facebooking. Some of you may recall my email almost two months ago when Elders Cook, Enman, Bassett and I had to call 9-1-1 because we found a recent convert named Renee having a stroke in her room at the local boarding house. Elder Cook and I saw her once in the hospital and although she was still in pretty bad shape, I had hopes that she would be able to pull through. Sadly, she did not. I saw a post from Brother Rose saying that Renee died almost a week ago as a result of her stroke. Although I had only met her a couple of times before her stroke, I admired her strength and her faith. Prior to her stroke, she had only been baptized for probably a little over a month yet had a great faith in the Savior. Although I am comforted in knowing where she is, I hope her family can find comfort and peace despite her passing. Needless to say, it was a sober way to end an uplifting day.

Sunday was a pretty good day! We arrived to the church almost an hour early because that is when our ride was supposed to get there and we are glad we did! When we got out of the member's vehicle, a sister stopped us and told us there was a man who was asking about when the next service started. As we were walking away from her, she told us the man had a pirate hat on. Being the baseball player that I am, I was assuming that it was a Pittsburgh Pirates hat. Well, I was dead wrong. The man, whose name is Sir Jeffrey, had a pirate hat on, as in Pirates of the Caribbean pirates haha! We talked to him for the forty five minutes that we had before the sacrament service. We had a great first hour and Sir Jeffrey had some questions that I was able to answer. A recently returned missionary gave her homecoming talk and a LDS newscaster spoke as well! The other two hours went really well. We talked about eternal families in Gospel Principles and then talked about how to motivate the younger generation to work! Thanks Mom and Dad for teaching me the importance of hard work haha! We tried contacting some people before dinner but nothing came of it. Dinner was pretty awesome. Elder Galloway and I were eating the Gorze's and they mentioned that they lived in Colorado for a while. I thought of the Van Leuven family and, although I thought there was no way the Gorze's would know them, I brought it up that I knew a family who lived near some flat rock (I couldn't remember the name of the town and I still don't!) and they knew the Van Leuven's! It was so cool and weird to think that Corina could have hung out with their oldest boy while she was in Colorado back in 2011 (he is good friends with Emma!). After dinner, we went to the Christmas musical with high hopes that we were going to be able to get one investigator there. Although no one showed, we did have the opportunity to speak to a non-member named Tom who was playing the viola in the small orchestra. He was invited by a sister in our ward to play in the orchestra. While we were talking to Tom, a sister in our ward came up to us and called me by name (something that usually doesn't happen unless they have fed us or I have spoken to them) and said that she was good friends with Sister Martin from our ward in Houston! Man it's so crazy how small of a world it is being a member of the Church! After the musical, we were walking back and the Couverette's stopped and picked us up. On the way to our apartment, they asked us if we wanted to go see a Christmas light show and we were all in! It was one of those light shows where they have a radio frequency and it is synchronized with the lights! It was pretty cool!

I am so grateful for the Christmas season. It brings a spirit that no other time of season can, with the exception of Easter. As the weeks pass and we come closer to Christmas, I think back to doing Advent with my family and the memories of focusing on the Savior at this time of the year. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who was willing to send His Only Begotten Son down to this mortal earth to be sacrificed for me and my sins. I am grateful for the Atonement and the wonderful power and peace it brings.

I love all of you! Thank you for your support!

Merry Christmas!

Elder Tonini
Sent from my iPad

Monday, December 8, 2014


Hey everyone!

Monday we had our P-day shorten because of the temple "trip" we are making so with P-day ending around 2 pm, we decided to do our shopping in the morning before emailing. We did a ton of shopping and had a good lunch while we were out and about. On our way to the church, we got rammed from behind. We were sitting at the stoplight on the off-ramp and the Elder who was driving happened to look out of the rear-view mirror to see this guy not slowing down behind us. Before he could say a word, the guy hit us square on the corner of the trunk going who-knows-how fast and that jolted us pretty bad. We traded information and checked out the car. Luckily, no one was hurt and nothing in the trunk was damaged so that was good. We emailed and Elder Galloway got his haircut before we tried seeing people. After dinner, we got a text from the Sisters asking us to give a blessing to a less active in the ward and we happily obliged. That was a good way to end the night.

Tuesday was pretty rough! It started off well though! We headed up to the temple to do our weekly service on the grounds. We managed to get two huge bushes out so they can plant some new ones. After lunch and showering (we got pretty dirty!), we biked around the rest of the afternoon and tried setting up lessons with members. We had a couple of lessons set up with investigators but they had to cancel so that was unfortunate! Thank goodness for back up plans! We really didn't have much go for us that day... After dinner is where my day went downhill. After dinner, as we were loading our bikes onto the member's bike hitch, I heard a small pop come from my bike. I did not think anything of it until I got home and I could feel my tire rubbing against my brakes. When we got back into the apartment to drop off our bikes and take a quick stop before heading back out, I turned my bike over and tried to figure out what that popping was and why my tire was rubbing. Turns out, when we had put the bike on the bike hitch, I broke a spoke on my back tire! The second time my bike has broken down in two weeks! Lame sauce! After I finished fuming about that and made a few phone calls to a brother in the ward who fixes bikes and an investigator who knows bikes, I felt a little better. Not a ton better, just a little. We tried contacting more people but................ nothing. Again! Ah, the life of a missionary!

Wednesday we did weekly planning in the morning due to going to the temple on Thursday. After weekly planning and lunch, we went and saw Brother Ba*** for a little bit before our lesson with Jay. It was a solid lesson! Although the kids were going in and out and he was SUPER tired, we had a good time watching the talk that Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave about mercy and justice. We came back to our apartment and Elder and Sister Pease came and gave us a ride to a local bike shop to get the spoke on my bike fixed. Luckily, the guy was able to find a spoke that fit my rim and we were in and out in about 15 minutes. We contacted a couple of members to set up appointments to come do a family home evening with them and their families before dinner. We shared a Christmas video with a less active member after dinner. He was a really cool guy! He works as Santa around this time of year and talked about how service makes the true Christmas and the origin story of sorts for Santa. Pretty cool story! We then contacted members to set up the FHE for the rest of the night.

Thursday was super awesome! We got dressed in our suits and headed off to the temple! It was my first time going into a smaller temple to do a temple session! It was super great! I really needed that time in the temple to ponder and pray to my Heavenly Father for guidance. After lunch we went and contacted a man that the Sisters had been teaching for awhile but handed off to us. Although we weren't able to set up an appointment with him, we are excited to teach him based off what the Sisters told us! We tried contacting two other potentials but neither one of them were available. We shared a Christmas message with Dana and he really enjoyed it. We walked over to dinner and then contacted members for the rest of our evening before correlation. When we arrived, Sister Sta*** had some things she wanted to talk to us about before we got into correlation. She went over the missionary dinner calendar and then said the temple had a referral for us! We thought she was joking at first haha but it turns out that a man had called the temple and asked for the missionaries to come teach him the discussions and he lived in our area! Happy day! We had a great correlation meeting to finish up the day! It was probably the least stressful day of the week haha!

Friday we had zone training meeting in the morning. We had an hour's worth of announcements, especially on the "He is The Gift" initiative that the Church has released. The Church is going all out on this! It is pretty awesome! We had a really good Zone Training Meetings (ZTM) and we learned a lot so that's good. After lunch we went and tried to contact some of the people in our Area Book and although some people were not home, we were able to set up some appointments with investigators! We had an early dinner with a family at some pizza place and they asked us if we wanted to tag along for the parade and activities that were occurring. We happily agreed. We had stocked up on "He is The Gift" pass-along cards and we passed out a ton! It was pretty awesome being able to talk to people about the Savior and about the Christmas spirit! We did that pretty much all evening!

Saturday we had our weekly service at the Calvary Temple church food pantry and it was pretty good! We had a good number of people volunteer and come for food so it balanced out well. I also got into a sword fight with a 97 year old lady using baguettes! Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that a 97 year old lady named M&M (that is what the people call her!) would challenge me to a baguette sword duel! Needless to say, I lost haha! We had lunch before going to see Brother Ba*** and sharing "The Testaments" movie with him. He really enjoyed it and we also were able to talk to him more in-depth about the steps he needs to take to be able to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. We had a solid lesson set up for the middle of the afternoon but he got called into work.. I hate when that happens! We had planned as a backup to go over to the east part of our area and go see a couple of less active members out there and mow a lawn while we were at it. Well we show up at the sister's home but the lawn wasn't even tall enough to even start a discussion about whether or not to cut the grass. We approached the door and her non-member husband opened the door and invited us in. Although we were not able to see Sister Ha** due to her medical conditions, we had a good conversation with her husband! We then biked over to a member who is limited to a wheelchair and has difficulty finding ways to get to church. We shared a Christmas Mormon message with him and he thoroughly enjoyed it and we had a good discussion about it. We had dinner with a widow in the ward at a Mexican restaurant and MAN I have never seen a Mexican restaurant that packed! After gorging ourselves with burritos and other Mexican food which I cannot spell, we got ready for our lesson with Ted.....only for him to cancel! So we ended our night doing some Facebook contacting at a local hotspot!

Sunday was pretty great. We were planning on going to ward council but our ride canceled right as the time for ward council rolled around so we were not able to make it time... shoot! We had a wonderful fast and testimony meeting and the two hours afterwards were pretty enlightening! We talked about the organization of the family in Gospel Principles and then we talked about how the Bible came to be in Elder's Quorum. The Day family took us to their home after church for a break-the-fast dinner and then to watch the Christmas devotional! I love the Day family! Ever since I have come to Central Point, Sister Day and I have really connected and she and her husband are just awesome people to be around! After dinner we tried contacting some people but no luck on that end. We were getting ready for our lesson with Brad but he texted us right as we were heading over to his place and had to cancel.

So, to sum up this week, we had a lot of cancellations haha! However, we were able to get a new investigator and a solid investigator from the Sisters so that was pretty huge!

I want to mention a couple of things before I end this email. First thing is that I want all of y'all to share "He is The Gift" with everyone! The Church is really putting an emphasis on this and when they are asking EVERY SINGLE MISSIONARY if they are having success with the new initiative, it's a huge deal. Please help people remember that we have to keep Christ in CHRISTmas! It is a great time of year to serve others and help them feel of the Savior's love.

Last thing before I close. I was reading in Alma 32 Sunday morning for my personal study and this chapter has so many awesome things in it but for some reason this really never stuck out to me. Alma is talking about faith to the Zoramites who have been kicked out of the synagogues because of their poverty. In verse 27, Alma says that "if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words". As many of you know from science class, a particle is pretty tiny, yet when we go to the Lord in earnest prayer seeking for the truth with that particle of faith, He will help us come to a knowledge of the truth of all things.

I love all of y'all so very much! Have a wonderful week and have a merry Christmas!

Elder Tonini

Sent from my iPad

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Love, true love! Marriage! Marriage is what brings us"

Hey everyone!

Before I get into the heart of my email, I want to say congratulations to Drew and Shavaun on their engagement this past Thursday! I am so grateful for an awesome brother and I cannot wait to meet Shavaun after my mission! I hope I quoted Princess Bride correctly in the subject line! :)

Y'all ready for my week? Here we go!

Monday was our normal P-Day stuff. The Elders from Central Point 1st Ward and Gold Hill came to our place to play The Game of Life in the morning. After laundry was finished, we took off for Wal-Mart to go do our grocery shopping for the week. We went to the stake center after lunch and messed around for a little bit with some of the other Elders. We threw the football around and it felt so good to loosen the arm up! We left the stake center with Elder Segrera and Elder Porter around 1:30 to go help a lady in the ward move a sink. However, we were not told what kind of sink it was! We had thought that it was going to be a kitchen or bathroom sink but when we got there we found a steel, heavy duty, 20-foot long sink. After we unloaded all the pots and pans, it was a tad easier to move the thing! It was pretty dang heavy! We went back to the stake center and I chilled with Elder Galloway in the family history center while everyone else went and played flag football. We had dinner with our ward mission leader and Elder Galloway was challenged to a light saber duel by one of the kids and he accepted haha! It was pretty intense! We had a FHE set up with a family in the ward but they had to cancel so we walked around and tried to talk to people before calling it a night.

Tuesday was a day of service! After our studies, we headed over to the temple to do some more landscaping. We were (and probably will be next week) working on this plant that is a pain to get out! Brother Ba*** came and picked us up after we were done at the temple so we could help him with leaves. When we finished there and had lunch, we walked over to an elderly sister's home and mowed her front lawn. After we got the grass off of us, Sister Hage***'s husband came and picked us up to do service and have dinner. We moved some wood they had in their backyard and in this old shed on their property onto their truck to take to a sister's home in Central Point. We came back to their home and did some more outside work before cracking nuts for a bit. We had a pretty awesome dinner (homemade lasagna!) and shared a great message with them.

Wednesday we were out of the apartment by 8 to go help a lady move into her new home in the 1st ward. She had breakfast burritos from McDonald's and donuts ready for our small group that consisted of six missionaries, a senior missionary couple, and a ward missionary! We went to the storage unit and loaded it up into the UHaul. We barely got everything in that truck and in the back of Brother Sta***'s van! The move was going smooth until we showed up to the house to unload the truck. She did not want a single thing to be moved into rooms or even the living room until she had the futon and the bed in the house. They were both buried in the back of the truck so the kitchen/dining area was getting pretty full and we were running out of space fast! Luckily we got the futon and the bed out and set up so we were able to move some boxes into the rooms. We also unloaded a whole pallet of pellets for her to use in her wood burning stove. After we finished with the move, Brother Sta*** took Elder Galloway and me to Medford to a bike shop to get the crank bar for my bike. We later found out it was the wrong kind of crank bar so Brother Sta*** told us he was going to take it back and get the right one on Friday. The member who was supposed to feed us dinner couldn't do dinner so she got us Subway for lunch! We had a short lesson with Jay after lunch about prayer. We decided to read Alma 34 with him and he really liked the scriptures we read with him. There was a referral that the Sister missionaries gave us that lived right around the corner from Jay so we tried to contact him. It did not go well haha. We were standing on the door step and we could hear someone yelling at the referral to "tell your Mormon friends to leave". He wouldn't even come to the door so we decided to not even bother going by again. We got a call from Brother Ba*** asking us to come by and when we did, we were rewarded with cheesy bread and some of his family history stories! We had dinner at the apartment before trying to see some investigators. None of the people we tried were home so we saw the Coleman's and talked to them to finish out the night.

Thursday was Thanksgiving! We had received an invitation to go play in our ward's Turkey Bowl and we gladly accepted. Despite not having the best field conditions, we had a pretty good time. I had two picks and a touchdown so that was pretty good I guess haha! After the Turkey Bowl we went back to the apartment to shower and wait for Bishop to come get us for Thanksgiving. It was a FEAST! The Bishop and his brothers and sisters pretty much all live here in Central Point so they get together for a huge meal! I ended up talking for about five to ten minutes about BYU and what has changed since the adults were there! We came back to the apartment and planned on going to McDonald's to go do Facebook but it had closed down for Thanksgiving. As an alternative, we walked around and tried to contact some of the members in the ward but no one was home. At 7, our ward mission leader came and picked us up for correlation and Thanksgiving dessert at his home. We played Thanksgiving picture-nary (however you wanna spell it) and then Elder Galloway and I got into a light saber duel with the two youngest children. It got pretty intense! It was a ton of fun!

Friday we had district meeting in the morning. We did a scripture chase about the questions of life that the Book of Mormon can answer and talked about OYMing and such. After district meeting, we went to this burger place called Jasper's. Usually in my emails home, I don't talk about what I had for a meal but this is pretty noteworthy! I had a wild boar burger and holy smokes that thing had so much flavor! It was an amazing burger! We did weekly planning early in the afternoon because we didn't have time on Thursday to do it and that is usually our slowest time of the day. We tried seeing an investigator that was about a 30 minute walk away but he wasn't home and we didn't have a pone number for him! Oh I can't wait to get my bike fixed haha! On our way back into town, an elderly gentleman called out to us and we went over and talked to him for about 10 minutes. He had a lot to say about his church and his pastor and his family (he jumped around a lot but those were his main focuses). It is so interesting to see people who think that just because they got baptized means they have a first class ticket into heaven! There is so much more than that! Just saying haha! Anyways, we had dinner at our apartment before we went and tried seeing some members. Once again, hardly anyone was home! Other than that, that was pretty much our day! A lot of misses and not a lot of hits!

Saturday was pretty slow haha! We were out of the house by 8 to help our ward mission leader move a piano out of his home. His wife made us an awesome breakfast haha! We came back to the apartment to change and get ready for our weekly service at the Calvary Temple food pantry only to find out that they were closed for Thanksgiving and the weekend after! We ended up meeting up with Adam and talking to him before lunch. After lunch we walked over to try the same investigator we tried the day before but once again no one was home. On his street, there were a lot of people doing yard work but every time we offered to help, we got turned down... Oh well! We tried setting up appointments with members and potentials but we had nothing come out of it except that they all said they would get back to us. We did set up an appointment with an investigator named Larry and he was pretty cool! We talked about family history a little bit mainly because we both have Italian last names and I asked him what part of Italy his name came from! It was pretty cool. Brother Sta*** called us and told us that my bike was finally fixed up so we walked over to their neighborhood and, after trying to see another potential investigator, we picked up our bikes and rode home to wait for the member who was feeding us to pick us up. Sarge (yes that was really his name!) was the member that took us to dinner and we had a pretty great conversation over Chipotle burritos. He had a pretty cool conversion story and is super active in the Boy Scouts! He not only did Wood Badge but he received the Silver Beaver as well! We came back to the apartment and we had to make a choice; either we could go do a Facebook post or try and see a guy named Ted who we haven't been able to see since I have been in Central Point. We decided to go try Ted and he was home! He was out of town for Thanksgiving and had just gotten back that morning before we came knocking. We taught him the plan of Salvation using the pamphlets and it was interesting to say the least. He keeps saying he is not ready to come to a church service but loves hearing our message. He is an interesting fellow! I got to bear my testimony on the Atonement of Jesus Christ! Oh how I love the Atonement! It is the greatest gift we can ever receive and without it's cleansing power, we cannot receive salvation and we would not be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father!

Sunday was pretty good. We did a lot of studies in the morning and the Sta*** picked us up for church. We had some great talks in sacrament meeting and a great lesson about eternal families in Gospel Principles so that was sweet. The best part of church was third hour. Bishop went over this article he read in the newspaper about churches and what is happening in churches all around the US I guess! He did it in a open response setting where the members could share their input about certain topics and it was really cool! Lots of great insights were shared! After church, Elder Pease took us to his home for dinner and we had a great time with Elder and Sister Pease. We came back and tried to contact people but we had no luck.

I love you all so very much! I am so excited for Drew and Shavaun and as much as I want to be there, I know I am needed here in Oregon to share the message of the restored gospel!

So a quick update about P-Day. We did our shopping in the morning and we were heading to the church when we got rear ended! Great way to spend a P-Day huh? Nobody was hurt thankfully and none of our food or anything got destroyed so that is good! Just thought I would let y'all know!

Love ya!

Elder Tonini

Sent from my iPad

Monday, November 24, 2014

So I hit my six month mark!

Hey ya'll!

So this was a busy and crazy week, adjusting to a new area and a new companion! We had a lot of stuff go on! Ya'll ready for this?!

Monday was transfer day. We were up at 6 and out the door at 7 to head down to the 18th St. building so I could get on a van to go down south. We were on the van for a long time (2-3 hours) and we ended up driving through my new area, just like last transfer! When we got to the transfer spot in Medford, there were actually a ton of missionaries that I actually recognized and knew! Elder Peas, a senior missionary, took my stuff back to Central Point and it turns out, he did a lot of work in North Dakota! After we unloaded my things, we went grocery shopping at Wal-Mart and then headed to the stake center to email. After dinner we tried to see a couple of potential investigators that we have but no one answered the door.

Tuesday we walked down to the temple to go help with the grounds!
On the way there, the ZL's texted us and told us that Elder Galloway had district leader training so that delayed us doing service for a little bit. We pulled out a bush and worked on getting all these annoying little plants out so the grounds crew could plant some new plants. On the way back to our apartment, we had two appointments cancel so I took the time to unpack all my stuff before heading out. We tried to contact people up until dinner but we didn't quite see the people we wanted to. We did stumble on a member of the ward who is less-active while looking for an investigator! After dinner we had a couple of lessons set up with members so we could really get to know the ward. We had a blast with the Cop***'s, talking about the gospel and other things! We shared the "You Never Know" video and they really enjoyed it. We then ended our night with the Day family. We had a missionary-specific lesson set up for them and we had some awesome discussions about missionary work as a member and other things!

Wednesday we got on the bikes and biked to the east side of our area to try to set up appointments with some potential investigators. Unfortunately, they either were not interested or had moved out and not interested haha! We then biked over to a neighborhood closer to our apartment and tried seeing some members to set up a family home evening with them but they were not home either! It is almost as if people work during the day haha! :) After lunch we went on foot to the west side of our area. On our way there, we walked past a group of high schoolers and one of them looked at my bag (which I had strapped around my waist to help my back) and said "nice fanny pack!", thinking that he would get a reaction or something I don't know! I just laughed and said thanks! We then talked to an investigator who said she was too busy at the moment for missionaries to come by. Bummer! As we were heading to our appointment with a guy named Jay, the sisters pulled up and gave us a referral! Our lesson with Jay went well! He is a big dude covered in tattoos but he is an awesome guy! He had some big dogs too! We read some scriptures with him and invited him to the baptism the sisters were having on Saturday but his kids have a wrestling tournament that whole weekend. After we taught Jay, we went to the Twin Creeks neighborhood to see some members and set up FHE's with them. We had dinner with an older couple who were actually engaged when the husband was called to serve a mission! I thought that was pretty cool! After dinner, Brother Ped*** drove us to another member's house who let us in but had to get going to Mutual. We had an appointment with a couple in the ward in an hour so we went and street contacted on the way to their home. We walked past a basketball court and there was a guy shooting a basketball in the light drizzle. We talked to him and shot hoops with him for a couple of minutes. Although he wasn't interested in our message, we hope that we nourished a seed that was already planted by missionaries he had met before! The family home evening we had with the Goe*** family was awesome! Brother Goe*** was going to the temple for the first time Thursday and so we were able to talk to him and Sister Goe*** about their conversions!

Thursday we had weekly planning so that took up our morning. We had an appointment set up with a member to come over and introduce ourselves to him so we hopped on the bikes and biked over to his home. Brother Skin*** was pretty cool! He served in the Vietnam War! Anyways, on our way back, I noticed my pedal wasn't rotating as it should have. It got worse as we got closer to the freeway and I noticed that the pedal was stripping the crank bar! I was praying the whole time that my pedal would stay in long enough to get over the freeway and we were about less than a block away when it finally popped off. Luckily, we have an investigator who works on bikes and has fixed Elder Galloway's bike before for cheap so we are taking that to him on Saturday. We left our bikes at the apartment and walked over to see Dana. We watched President Eyring's talk at the Vatican Summit and talked about how the world is changing according to the wishes of the people and not the Lord. We went back to the apartment and got changed into our suits for preparation for stake correlation. The stake president shared a pretty cool story about his mission in Scotland and we talked about the work in the Central Point zone/stake. When Elder Galloway and I walked out, the member who was going to the temple with the 
Goe***  and had to cancel dinner was standing there with a pizza and some root beer! We did a dry run for the baptism on Saturday and it is going to be interesting to see how it works out! Nikki, the sister who is getting dunked, has severe MS and so we are having to take a lot of precautions and safety measures to ensure her safety. Elder Galloway was supposed to interview her at 7 but she could not make it so we had correlation to finish our night.

Friday I hit my six month mark! Holy cow the time has flown by. We had district meeting in the morning and it was Elder Galloway's first ever district meeting as a district leader and he knocked it out of the park! We talked a lot about how we could work better with the members and also the ward councils. We went to Sonic for lunch! Oh I was SO excited! We have the only Sonic in our mission if I remember correctly! After lunch we came back to the apartment and I burned an old tie that I found in a closet here in Central Point. It didn't burn very well though but that is ok! I still burned a tie at my six month mark! After the burning of the tie, we went to Nikki's home for her baptismal interview. She had quite the collection of country music, especially George Strait! Afterwards, Elder Peas needed help moving a couch from a widowed sister's home. It took a little longer than we expected (we had to take the door and the legs off) and so it took us right to dinner. While we were there, we got a call from an officer saying that there were shots fired at the apartment complex across the street and was asking if we could check for bullet holes in our apartment! Apparently some lady got into a fight with her boyfriend and tried killing herself... she missed herself five times! Luckily, we did not have any bullet holes in our apartment. Dinner took longer than expected so we only had a short window at the end of the night to go try talk to people. It got really rainy so we took shelter for a couple of minutes at the Abby's pizza town. We have an investigator that we normally see Friday's but we couldn't see him.

Saturday was pretty dang awesome. We went to the Calvary Temple Church food pantry and helped deliver the food to the people's cars. It was awesome hearing the members of this church telling us how much they appreciate us helping them out! While we were there, Elder Peas called and asked us to help move another couch from the sister's home. We did it much faster than we did the other night and then had lunch with Adam B. He got reactivated a while ago and is now looking to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood! We shared D&C 84 with him, a couple chapters in the Gospel Principles book, and a Mormon Message! He got super pumped up to progress in the Church!! We walked back to our apartment and got dressed for Nikki's baptism! We had a light dinner with the Sta***'s and while we were there, Brother Sta*** asked his neighbor, who fixes bikes for St. Vincent de Pauls, if he could fix my bike and he said yes! We had to leave early to get to Medford because the font is bigger and better there so we arrived at the stake center at 5:30 and we were one of the first ones. Elder Galloway and I got dressed and man I was getting nervous! This was my first time being in the font for a baptism! Nikki showed up and she got dressed in no time for pictures. We had meticulously planned out how the baptism was going to go, especially with getting her in the font. Well, I witnessed a miracle. Not only did she walk into the font, she walked out of the font (with help, but we were planning on carrying her up and down the stairs). In the font, she had this big smile on her face and I knew she was feeling the Spirit. She is such a sweet spirit. The Bishop was talking about how she was able to walk and be able to be baptized and she said something I will probably never forget. She looked up and said "Yes, I did it. I believe!". It was a brief testimony but to hear her say that with everything that the MS is doing to her body was powerful. We came to Central Point and went to a fireside that was being held at our church building. A young man named Luis Be*** was talking about his experiences growing up in Africa and watching his mom, dad, and older brother all die. His brother was preparing to serve a mission and that made Luis curious. He got baptized and his brother served until he got sick and ended up passing away. It was amazing to hear his story and his faith in the gospel. He had gone through so much yet was adopted by a LDS family in Arizona, went to BYU (and I swear I had him in a class or saw him at the Y) and even went on a mission to the California Ventura Mission (he said it was paradise and the Riverside mission was close to paradise!). It was an amazing opportunity to hear from him.

Sunday morning Brother Sta*** came to our place and picked up us and our bikes to get them to his neighbor who fixes bikes. It looked as though I was going to get out of this without paying a penny but the crank bar he had didn't fit on my bike. We had lunch and had some time to get ready for church. When we got to the church, we greeted people at the door. When we got the programs to hand out, I looked at it and saw that they had misspelled my name, spelling it with an O at the end instead of an I! To make it worse, the Bishop pronounced my name the way it was spelled in the program over the pulpit! It was Invitation Sunday so all the missionaries got to speak. I spoke about faith and I thought it was a pretty good talk! After three hours of hearing the gospel and trying to help people pronounce my last name, church ended and we went back to the apartment. We walked pretty much the rest of the day. We tried to see one of our progressing investigators but he wasn't home but we were able to catch another one of our investigators and taught them a little bit about prayer and man it was a good time for it! They had just lost a friend and needed prayers and comfort so we were able to help them out.

It has been a great first week here in the Central Point 2nd Ward! I am so grateful to be here! I love being on a mission soo much! It is blessing my life immensely and I hope I am a blessing to the members and the bishopric! I know that this church is true! My Savior and Redeemer lives! There is no doubt!

Love you all! Hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder Tonini

Monday, November 17, 2014

Here comes the cold!

Hey everyone!

So this was a very interesting week!

Monday after we emailed we went to the mall so Elder Bassett and Elder Cook could get some things they needed. While we were there, we met Santa! He is a member in a ward down south and was in one of Elder Cook's old wards. We went into JC Penny and they had their clearance tie section so I was looking through that and I found a $30 tie that was marked down to four bucks! I was doubtful, however, and asked the lady at the check-out if she could check the price on the tie. As it turns out, the tie was actually $2.49! SWEET! After the mall we went to the stake center to play sports with the other elders in the zone. We started off playing basketball and then we played some dodgeball! Man, I have not thrown that much in a long time! We came back to Junction City for dinner with the Fr*** and we ended up teaching a short lesson out of Preach My Gospel! They were super pumped up to do missionary work after the stake conference we had this weekend and wanted to learn more about how to introduce the gospel to those they meet!

Tuesday was Veterans Day. I want to take a quick second to thank all those who have served our country! I am so proud to have the grandparents that I have who were both in the military and I thank them especially for their service. It was super cold all day and sunny, which made for an absolutely beautiful day! Unfortunately we did not have much go for us early in the day but we had the opportunity to help a less active member named Cami start her move to St. George, Utah. Her father came up from St. George to help her with the move and we connected pretty well. I ended up bragging to him about my awesome siblings as I helped him organize the truck! I also ended up taking a bed apart by myself! One hand holding the headboard and the other hand unscrewing screws out of the bed posts! It was a great workout to say the least haha! After dinner with the Hi*** we went and saw Dotti to see how she was doing. Knowing that she has had a rough couple of weeks, we shared with her a quote by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland about enduring to the end and she really enjoyed it!

Wednesday we got into service clothes to go over to Cami's at 10 to help her continue her move. We got there at 10 and they were basically already done so we went to the church and did Facebook for a little bit before lunch. We had a lesson with Charlotte scheduled for early in the afternoon but something came up and she couldn't meet with us. We decided to go share a Mormon message with Bob and Margret before we got ready to go to Camp Alpine for the rest of the day. Elder Tucker came and picked us up around 2:30 and took us up there. Upon arrival at Camp Alpine, Elder Cook and I decided we were going to go around with Elder Tolman and get some wood that they had cut up around the property. The first load was pretty easy; pretty level ground and the wood was relatively light. The second load, however, was tough! The load was next to the lake down a small hillside. With me being the biggest and having the shoes with better grip, I decided to go down and haul/throw the wood up. It was probably the toughest workout I have had on my mission haha! I was battling the mud and the incline as I was throwing up stumps of wood to Elder Cook and then he had to deal with hauling the wood through the mud. During this, I was trying to throw up another stump when I lost my balance. I fell forward but the incline threw me down the hill and onto the other stumps. Luckily, I was only battered and I didn't hit anything important on the wood! We wrapped up the second load and got it unloaded before doing a third load near the other elders. We split wood using the splitter and I got to split some wood with an axe before dinner, which consisted of Hawaiian haystacks! We got back into Junction City at the end of the evening and we tried to go see Dotti again but she was passed out! After all that work at Camp Alpine, I was sore and extremely tired and promptly fell asleep after planning!

Thursday was my first taste of the cold rainy weather of Oregon! We had weekly planning in the morning. As we were doing our weekly planning, the potential investigator that we had a lesson planned with for today canceled because her and her family were sick. We decided after lunch to go see Brother Thorenson and share a lesson with him. While we were there, we had ANOTHER lesson cancel on us. Bummer! So after Brother Thor***'s, us and the other Elders went up to Harrisburg to search out the less actives and also try to see some of the people that other missionaries had visited with in the past. The couple of people we tried to go see before helping out with Gle*** either had a bad address listed or just weren't home. We did our service at Gle*** before dinner.

Friday we had district meeting in the morning. We talked about how to get the members more involved in missionary work. After district meeting, we had a pizza party because our whole zone got the mileage reports turned in on time!

After we stuffed ourselves with pizza, we got dressed in service clothes to go clean a house. This house wasn't just any old house however. It was a hoarder house!! There were newspapers and other things EVERYWHERE at least 4 inches deep. It took a crew of about 13 elders 15 minutes before we could even see carpet. There were a lot of things that we saw that I am not going to include in the email is disturbing. You really don't want to know!

Afterwards, we helped Elder Bassett do his last exchange with the 3rd ward Elders and headed back up to Junction City for a much needed shower! We had an excellent dinner at Abby's, a pizza chain that is pretty popular apparently in Oregon. With most of our lessons bailing and Friday night being the night when leadership positions are called, we decided to take an invitation to go play dodge ball at the River Road building to be able to get an inside scoop on who is leaving and who is staying. By the end of dodge ball, two of the district leaders were called to be zone leaders in Springfield and Klamath Falls (one being Elder Bassett!) Elder Cook and I did not receive a call from President Russell or the AP's so we had to wait until Saturday!

Saturday we headed down to Santa Clara to exchange Elder Watson back for Elder Bassett and to go to a baptism that the 6th ward Elders were having. After the the baptism, almost the whole zone was in the Young Women's room to see who was being transferred. The Junction City Elders were the last two sets of missionaries and with us knowing Elder Enman was staying and Elder Bassett was leaving, it came down to me and Elder Cook. I was then told I was going down to Central Point 2nd ward with Elder Galloway, who actually went to the same high school as Elder West! This is my first six-week hitch of my mission! After we found out where everyone was going, we went back to Junction City and got some stuff Elder Bassett and I needed for the weekend. We had a great lesson with Charlotte at 3 o'clock! We went over the chapters she read and shared a Mormon Message about praying to know what path we should take. I got to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the importance of prayer! We saw a couple families in the ward before dinner and then we were invited for a volleyball night at the church. Since we normally did basketball, we agreed and played some volleyball with some of the ward members to end the night.

Sunday all we pretty much did was pack. We had a couple families to go see and had an opportunity to give a blessing. Other than, I have nothing else to report!

I am in the transfer van right now. It is awesome having iPads on the mission because I get to read emails and letters in the van. I am grateful for this wonderful thing called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the Atonement and that we are being prepared everyday, if we do the right things, to live with our Heavenly Father.

I love all of you! Have a great week and I will talk to you next Monday!

Elder Tonini

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Facebook Post: #KeepTheFaith

When Joseph Smith was imprisoned in Liberty Jail, he asked Heavenly Father how much longer he and the Saints had to suffer. In response, Heavenly Father said "my son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment" (D&C 121:7). We all go through trials in our lives but as we endure to the end and keep pushing forward, we will be blessed. Maybe not now or tomorrow or even next year, but there is "help and happiness ahead" as we endure our trials with faith!
‪#‎keepthefaith‬ ‪#‎endure2theend‬

Monday, November 10, 2014

Where had the time gone?!?

Hey all!

So yeah this week was a decent week. We didn't have too many lessons unfortunately but we have a lot of good potential for the following week! You ready? Leggo!

Monday after emailing we did our usual grocery shopping and playing basketball at the stake center. We didn't do much that evening because of the late dinner we had with a family in the ward! The other Elders had taken the car to go run some errands and it took longer than expected so we were a couple minutes late. The greatest thing about Monday was I came home and I saw two packages on our doorstep! It was a box from Aunt Sheryl and a box of cookies from Mom and Dad! And I got a letter from Grandma! So it was a pretty great day!

Tuesday we had our normal studies before heading down to Santa Clara for our zone training meeting and specialized training with President and Sister Russell and the AP's. Before the ZTM, Elder Cook and I ordered some new nametags and then we went to Goodyear for an oil change and tire rotation. At the ZTM, we had a couple of lessons from the zone leaders and Sister training leaders before hearing from Elder Argyle and Sister Russell. I really enjoyed the message the zone leaders shared with us about building a celestial area and how we as missionaries can do that. We then heard from President Russell and he went into so much depth about the Plan of Salvation that my head almost exploded. It was insanely awesome! He also challenged us to stretch ourselves and set a new standards of excellence for the mission. Elder Bassett and Enman did an exchange with the Santa Clara 3rd ward elders and Elder Fernilius. We had an appointment set up with Charlotte but she canceled so we tried to see people to end our night.

Wednesday after studies we set out for the church to work on a Facebook post for both of us. On our way to the church, we found a drainage ditch that had some water in it that Elder Cook eventually used as part of his post about sin and the Atonement. As we were taking pictures, we had more flyovers by military jets! It has been crazy how many planes we have had flying over the past couple of weeks. After we did our posts, we saw Bob and Margret and Elder Cook and I had the opportunity to bear our testimonies of the Savior. We walked back to our apartment and got changed for Camp Alpine. Elder Cook and I threw wood onto a trailer and stacked some wood in a wood shed. There might be a time lapse video included later! We had dinner with the senior couples and we learned about how the temples used to work back in the day, like how you had to get a temple recommend for EACH temple and such! It was pretty enlightening!

Thursday we had weekly planning in the morning and spent our afternoon trying to see some potentials before we headed up to Gle***. Gle*** took a lot longer than expected because they had their monthly meeting that took FOREVER so we were only there helping for less than 30 minutes. We didn't have much going on for us that day... a lot of appointments fell through...again.

Friday we had a great day of going through our potential and formers list planned out.... annnnddd it didn't happen. We went to the church to plot out where people lived and we realized several things while we were doing this;

1. Multiple people live 30 minutes or more away from us
2. A couple of addresses were bad
3. The map function on our AreaBook app can't plot addresses very well

So because of the three reasons above, we didn't do much finding. We helped out Brother Thor*** at the church for a little bit and super glued Elder Cooks shoes back together (his dad is sending him a new pair; his sole on one shoe isn't connected to the rest of the shoe). After dinner, the other Elders picked us up with sad looks on their faces. Upon inquiry, they told us Roscoe had received anti-Mormon stuff from a friend of his... The good news is that it just made him more determined to come closer to Heavenly Father so that's awesome.

Saturday we got dressed in service clothes in anticipation of a move that was happening at 9 a.m. We showed up at 9 and, along with 15 Boy Scouts and other members, got the whole truck unloaded by 9:20. The heaviest items they had were the washer and drier (no pianos!). We went to the church to help clean but it was decided by the members to do a quick clean of the building since we had stake conference over the weekend. The four of us then decided to take some time and scrape moss off the concrete near the Relief Society room. Elder Cook and I finally got to see Dotti around lunchtime! After lunch we got dressed and freshened up for the pre-adult session social that was happening at the Danebo building. We had a great adult session of stake conference! President Todd Knapp talked about the stake's focus on missionary work and what more can we do to become like Christ. The other members of the stake presidency gave excellent presentations (just like Dad will this coming weekend if I am correct!). It's been an awesome experience not being distracted by cell phones or social media at church meetings because I stay awake and am more attentive!

Sunday we were on the road at 8:30 with Brother Thor*** so he could help with the parking. To save miles and to get a good parking spot, we left the car at the stake center overnight when we showed up for the adult session. The session started at 10 and it was pretty awesome! We heard from President Knapp and had a musical number before turning the lights off for a broadcast from Salt Lake City. Elder KentF. Richards, Sister Jean A. Stevens, Elder Neil L. Anderson, and President Thomas S. Monson all spoke. They all shared things I know I needed to hear! The coolest talk (all the talks were amazing; I am talking about the coolest talk) was from Elder Anderson. He spent a couple of minutes talking about the World Series and Jeremy Guthrie, a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals who pitched in Games 3 and 7. Before Game 7 of the World Series, Guthrie shared his experience as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pretty awesome. In fact, he is an Oregonian native and his parents live in Ashland! After stake conference, we had a late lunch with the Ga***'s, who also invited Roscoe over for the meal. We watched "On the Lord's Errand" with them before our lesson with Charlotte. We also saw the Goo*** and Brother Thor*** to end the night.

I am so grateful for this gospel. It is an amazing feeling to be serving a mission right now. Yes I get doors slammed in my face. Yes I spend hours walking around. However, despite all the negatives, I get to testify of my Savior Jesus Christ on a daily basis and strengthen my testimony of the Book of Mormon and also the divine call of President Monson and the other General Authorities. I cannot believe that I am almost done with my fourth transfer and will hit my six month mark on the 21st of November! It is going by so fast. I am so grateful for the time I have to serve a mission and I hope I make the most of it!

I love y'all! Have a great week!

Elder Tonini

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Facebook Post: #BecauseOfHim

Sometimes life gets hard. For some, it might be getting through college to earn their degree. For others, it is to put food on the table. And then there are those who struggle with every aspect of life. Yet, in the darkness of trouble, there is a lighthouse who will show us the way. Jesus Christ is that lighthouse and as we put our trust in him and "walk as He walked", He will show us the way back to our loving Heavenly Father.#becauseofhim #firmfoundation

Monday, November 3, 2014

So, you are telling me that my wife will be hotter if I work hard as a missionary? Cool!

Hey everyone!

Holy cow it is already November!? Time is just flying by! It feels like yesterday I was in the MTC! Now I am approaching my six month mark fast!

Ready for my week? I hope so!

Monday after emailing we went to the Danebo stake center to play some jack o lantern kickball! It's like normal kickball, but you have to wear a pumpkin on your head. We lost though... I did have an awesome sliding catch though! :D we got a pizza party despite losing because we had the cleanest cars in the whole mission! The other Elders did an exchange with the 3rd ward Elders so we had Elder Fernilius for the night and the next day. We had an awesome time with the Fra*** at dinner! They are an awesome family:)

Tuesday we had a lesson with Charlotte. We decided to go over the restoration again by watching the first half of "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the restoration". She really enjoyed it. However, we found out she wasn't doing her scripture studies so we left her another chapter to read in the Book of Mormon. We tried to see some less active members but they weren't available so we took the other Elders back to Santa Clara to exchange back. The Book of Mormon class is struggling at the moment but we are trying to expand our horizons and get more people to it! We then exchanged with Elder Bassett and Elder Enman for the next day. Elder Bassett came with me to my area!

Wednesday morning we went to the church to do a Facebook post and meet up

with the Zone Leaders to give them a HDMI cable for their iPads. Unfortunately at some point in the morning, I lost one of my name tags! Oops! I'm glad I can just order another one from the mission office! Anyways, we decided to focus on the extensive potentials list we had so we took off walking. We were walking down Prairie Rd when an F-18 flew over us only a couple thousand feet above us! It happened twice! We got to talk to some people along the way but for the most part the address we had were either wrong or we just didn't try hard enough! We did meet a woman who looked like a Stephen Tyler look-a-like! That was interesting!

Thursday we had lesson set up right after weekly planning with a potential named Natasha but she went out of town unexpectedly so that didn't happen. The member we were with offered us turkey soup and we said yes. We headed up to Harrisburg to visit less actives before heading over to Gle***. After Gle*** and dinner we headed up to the church to help set up for the Fall Festival!

Friday was Halloween! Before we went to district meeting in the morning, we had to swing by Walmart to pick up some stuff for district meeting and we saw someone getting arrested in the parking lot! After district meeting, the district leaders organized a costume contest to see who could have the best costume for under 5 dollars. I was going to go for a tacky tourist kind of deal (socks with flip flops, button shirt, etc.) but I went with Asian Tourist and got second place! And then nothing really happened because it was Halloween. We went to the Fall Festival at 7 for a few minutes before leaving to go home (we had to be in at 7 but we got special permission from President Russell).

Saturday we helped Brother Thor*** clean the church along with a member family. After that we had lunch and were walking over to the church when we remembered that a sister in the ward told us on Friday that a sister who lives near us needed a blessing. So on our way to the church for a lesson, we stopped and gave a blessing to the sister. After we had done that, we were about to keep going on our journey to the church when an older gentleman stopped us. He asked "who is Jesus Christ" and my first thought was "man, this guy might try to bash with us!" We told him that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and he responded that he hears a lot of stories about the church and wanted to know. He also asked us how many wives we were going to have (only one!) and then told us that he respected what we did as missionaries and the devotion we give. So that was pretty neat!:) We met with Charlotte at the church to finish watching the Restoration movie. She had read the chapter we had given her so we talked about the movie and gave her another chapter to read. Later that day we went and helped Cami, a less active, break down her daughters bed and vanity for their move to Utah. We had basketball that evening with Roscoe!

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting. We had an interesting testimony meeting to say the least! Apparently, the harder I work determines how hot my wife will be and that drugs are bad and should be voted against in the upcoming election. We had a huge turn out for gospel principles! After correlation, we had a lesson with Margret and we shared a Mormon Message about the hope of Gods light. That video has become one of my personal favorites! We had planned to go with the other Elders to a lesson with Roscoe at 6 but they never told Roscoe the time that the member was going to pick him up! Oops! So we talked to the Goodmans for a little bit before Elder Cook and I headed to Brother Thor***'s to share a message with him.

That was my week! I love you all so much and thank you for all your prayers and your love! I know this gospel is true! And to end this email, I am going to use hashtags to honor my companion! If you don't know what hashtags are, ask Corina, Carson, or any other young adult/teen!


I love yall! Have an awesome week!

Elder Tonini

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Facebook Post: Christ is our Coach

As an athlete, you would give all you had to get the win. You would spend hours, as the saying goes, "practicing like you play", and then some. You would work overtime, trying to perfect your swing or shot. You'd listen to your coach when he tries to help you become better. All for a game that only lasts a moment. Why should life be any different? If what we do on this earth determines our eternal destiny, shouldn't we be putting 110% in trying to become like Jesus Christ? Christ is our coach and shows us the way; all we have to do is listen and go to work.

Monday, October 27, 2014

So Apparently, Tonini sounds...Samoan?

Hey everyone,

I hope everyone had a good week. I know I did, despite the rain that will probably stay for the next couple of months!

Monday after emailing we went and played some basketball at the stake center and did some shopping at Walmart (my first time being in a Walmart in 5 months)! On the way home, we got caught in a super intense brief storm that produced a pretty intense rainbow!

Tuesday was pretty uneventful. It was my 5 month mark! The other Elders had to get some food coloring for an object lesson so we took them around for a little. We had a great lesson with Charlotte in the afternoon! We finished watching the Women's Conference with her and man, I took a lot out of it! After our lesson, we had to run a quick errand for the Bishop before heading up to Harrisburg for dinner with him! We had our Book of Mormon class that night and as we pulled into the church parking lot, we saw three kids on their bikes just chilling like villains. One of them turned out to be a member and he got his two friends into the class towards the end of the hour! It was interesting trying to go from teaching the Book of Mormon class to cent converts to kids that have had very little interaction with the Book of Mormon.

If there was one word to describe Wednesday, it would have to be miserable. It was a torrential downpour all afternoon. The morning wasn't too bad and we were able to post some flyers for the Trunk or Treat around town. After lunch, we headed to the church to pinpoint what potential investigators we were going to try and see. We walk outside and it's just pouring. Bummer. We saw a potential and we got a solid return appointment for this week.

Thursday we had weekly planning in the morning. After lunch we went to the Junction City Local Aid for an orientation of sorts. We have been trying to find opportunities to do service and this seemed like a good place, until we met the manager! She didn't want us to wear our name tags in public so we are going to help sort stuff on Thursday nights. We did Gleaners in the afternoon up in Harrisburg before heading back to Junction. I ended my night with Elder Bassett (he is feeling under the weather) while Elder Cook and Elder Enman taught a young family.

Friday we had district meeting in the morning before doing exchanges with the zone leaders. I went to Santa Clara with Elder Walton. We had a pretty busy day in the rain! We tried to see an investigator but he wasn't home so we went and saw a guy named Ed and shared a message about praying always. We then went and saw Chris, a guy who had dropped the elders previously but wanted to meet with us again after realizing he had some misconceptions about Joseph Smith. We watched the first half of the Restoration video with him and he enjoyed it. We wrapped up our night doing an iPad check and setting up appointments with some members.

Saturday we got permission to go play football with some members and nonmembers for a little bit! I scored the only two touchdowns haha! We tried seeing some other investigators and less actives Elder Walton had but they weren't available. We switched during lunch and tried more potentials before dinner with a recent convert family who took us out to eat. On the way to the pizza place, we saw a guy on a fence....on a freeway...about to jump. Oh man the freeway was shut down and everything! Pretty insane! We had basketball in the evening and we had a couple of people show up!

Sunday was the first time I hadn't had to go to ward council in five months! We got to church about 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the sacrament and the primary program! It was a good day at church! Afterwards Elder Cook and I traveled with Brother Thorenson to see Renee in the hospital. While we were there, we decided to see another member who was in the hospital. The member is 16 and his parents were there. I hadn't met the Goodman's prior to Sunday and when we got up to leave, they said that when they first heard the name Tonini, they thought it was Samoan... Huh? Haha it was pretty funny. We ended the night with the Rose's celebrating Elder Enmans birthday!

I love you all! You have been such an inspiration to me all my life (or for some of it!) and I thank you for everything. I know this church is true and that we have a living prophet on the earth today. Have a great week!

Elder Tonini

Sent from my iPad