Sunday, August 31, 2014

Proud Mama!

It only took three months, but Elder Tonini's plaque is now on display in the Minot, North Dakota Chapel.

His mission scripture (in case you can't read it) is Isaiah 40:31:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Here are some pictures over the last couple of weeks:

My District

Another is me and Elder Flora fencing!

Saying goodbye to elder Flora

The zone singing at the Saturday market

Zone conference



Hey all!

Well three months have zoomed on by since I have been out on the mission! Pretty crazy that I am starting my third transfer this week! I seriously wish school would fly by like this haha!

Monday we had our luau and it was great! We had fried pig and lamb along with a lot of other goodies. We also played volleyball and football for a little bit. It was a lot of fun!

Tuesday we had zone conference in Eugene and not only did President and Sister Russell speak to us but so did Elder Brent Nielson of the First quorum of the Seventy and his wife. Everyone have fantastic insights and we had a good Q&A session at the end. The greatest thing, however, was that the Spirit in that meeting was present in our lesson with John later that night and it was incredible. We had started teaching him about the Atonement but it just didn't feel right. I thought the story of Nephi, who broke the cords that held him bound after praying for strength. Suddenly, all we could talk about was prayer and how important it was. It lead to us finding out John and Paul hadn't prayed to know the Book of Mormon was true. After the lesson, we challenged them to pray for a witness that the Book of Mormon was true and we both had the impression to ask them if we could do a kneeling prayer and they said yes. Paul said the prayer and in it asked to know if the Book of Mormon was true. After the prayer they both described feelings that comes with feeling the Holy Ghost. That whole time I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest from being so full! It was the greatest feeling I've ever had while teaching!

Wednesday was basically like a day of service for us. We did try to see some of the potentials we got from the sisters but we got nothing so we did service for a while at the Food bank and then helped Ben move some stuff out of the rafters of his barn. I love doing service so much!

Thursday we went and read some scriptures with Charley and spent most of our day walking around trying to see people and OYM but either we got dropped by some people or they weren't home. That night, however, brought us to tears and helped us remember why we love being missionaries. Maxx, a young man who is dating a young woman in the ward, has been investigating the Church since the beginning of this year and we taught him all the lessons and beyond those haha! We had to hand him over to the YSA elders and we would see him occasionally and encourage him. We got home and our phone went off. It was a text message from Maxx telling us that he is going to be baptized. Elder Flora and I were stunned. I hit my knees as soon as I heard Elder Flora read those words and then I reread them to make sure he wasn't messing with me. I thanked Heavenly Father for everything. We were again filled with joy from the Spirit and we cried a little, Elder Flora a little more than me haha! But yeah that is what happened! Pretty nuts! He thanked us for being there and what not so that made it more special!

Friday we did an exchange and Elder Barton came to Philomath. We tried seeing some potentials (we do that a lot) and Elder Barton got a call from President Russell telling him he was going to be a DL!

Saturday we got our transfer call and I am staying in Philomath and Elder Flora is going to Cottage Grove! We spent our day seeing people and teaching some lessons before going to the apartment and packing.

Sunday we had stake correlation and we got some news about the Chinese members and the possibility there so that was awesome. President Russell was also there! Elder Flora had to do laundry so we did that and saw more people and taught some member lessons.

And today I "cut the umbilical cord" and said good bye to Elder Flora. I have spent the day with Elder Johnson and I am waiting for Elder West to get here!

I love this gospel so so much. We talked about the enabling power of the Atonement and how it can literally be given strength to overcome trials in Zone Conference and it was so spiritual to realize how deep the Atonement goes. I know that Christ lives and that there is no doubt about the truthfulness of the gospel and that this is the only true church on the earth!

I love you all!

Elder Tonini

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Facebook Post - The Enabling Power of the Atonement

On Tuesday we had a missionary conference in Eugene. Not only did we hear from President and Sister Russell but we also got to hear from Elder Nielson of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy and his wife speak. Elder Nielson spoke about the enabling power of the Atonement and I loved what was said. Not only can the Atonement make us clean of our sins but it can give us physical strength, just like Nephi when he was bound in cords by his brothers or the people of Alma when they were in bondage. Both times prayers were given, asking for strength to carry their burden and their burdens were made light through their faith in Jesus Christ. I walked out of the chapel understanding the Atonement so much more than I have ever before. I am so grateful for Christ's Atonement and that He loved each one of us to suffer and die so we can be able to become clean again and again. There is no doubt that He lives and that He is my Savior and Redeemer.

Monday, August 18, 2014



This was definitely an interesting week for us full of ups and downs- the life of a missionary, am I right??

Monday we played basketball for P-Day before going grocery shopping and heading back to Philomath to help paint a sister's house to get it ready to sell. It's an old house (like 1870 old apparently) and no AC so we were DYING!! But it was fun and we got to paint so it was good.

Tuesday was a bit tougher. We did an exchange with the Zone Leaders and I took over Philomath with Elder Simpson, an Elder from Spring, Texas! We tried to see a lot of people but nothing came out of it. We had a good time tracting, talking to different people and such. The toughest part of the day when we had a potential slam their door in our face.... Ouch. We had such a good feeling about them too! Anyways, we had a good lesson with Mel and he even started up his 1990 Ford pickup that only had 52,000 miles! Man it ran so well!

Wednesday after we exchanged back we tried to do some OYMing during the day but nothing came out of it. We did receive 29 potentials from the Sisters haha! We went through them and about half of them were either old, former investigators, or no information but we appreciate their efforts in helping us find people to teach! I also had a surprise package waiting for me at the apartment! We came back to the apartment to find a package from Mom and Dad that Bishop Lund dropped off! Thank for for the treats and the other goodies by the way! :) We taught John a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and he had some questions about Adam and Eve that we were able to answer! It was a good lesson and he said he was going to attempt to make it to church!

Thursday was a blur. We did weekly planning and then on our way to the church to sync our planners, a family in the ward asked us if we could help set up an open house for their son who just got married. We helped them out and after we tried seeing potentials and such but to no avail!

Friday we had district meeting and it was a good one! We talked about companionship unity and Elder Flora had our most musical companionship do a "musical number". They were on the same page and singing/playing the selected hymn when the Elder on the piano dove into a movie score! Everyone was so confused! And then Elder Flora "ripped" into me, pretending that he thought he told me what scripture to read! It really taught the importance of communication and unity! We did an exchange with 4th Ward and I spent my day in Corvallis with Elder Madsen. We taught a less active at the church and then we tried to see a recent convert but she already left her apartment to move to Texas! So that was a bummer. I usually don't mention dinner appointments but we went and saw DJ Jones, a football coach at the local high school and I had a blast! Him and his wife are so funny and we had a great time with them. We spent the later part of the night trying to see some potentials and less actives.

Saturday we went to the Farmers Market around 10:00 to go sing hymns! A man had placed pianos throughout Corvallis and there was one near the Farmers Market so we spent about two hours singing. A lot of people stopped by and members talked with them so it was awesome! We also went and saw a referral we received from Church headquarters and he asked us for a Bible and we gave him one and a Book of Mormon as well!

Sunday we had church (obviously). John couldn't make it and neither could the guy who we met on Saturday (his name is John too haha!). We had an awesome lesson with RJ and Brother Lewis had a TON of good insights that he shared with us so that really made the lesson. We tried seeing John but he had company over so he had to cancel. We spent the rest of our day going through some potentials but some had moved or just weren't interested so we still have a ton to go through!

So this is Week 6 of the transfer! We get transfer calls on Saturday so I may or may not be able to email next Monday, just for your information! This is also my last week of being trained!! I can't believe it has already been almost three months!

I want to share a brief testimony before I close out this email. I know God lives. I know that Joseph Smith was called to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet in the latter days. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that we can truly come closer to God and Jesus Christ through reading it. There is no doubt in my mind that this church is the only true church on the earth and that my Redeemer lives!

Love you all!

Elder Tonini

Sent from my iPad

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Went Up On Our Ceiling

Hey everyone!

Well this was another week full of ups and downs and also some excitement! Monday was interesting mainly for one reason. We were on our way to do some shopping and we turned a corner to see this old guy in one of those animal shirts (like the face of the lion was plastered on the front of it). Elder Flora had just remarked on the guy's shirt when BAM! He busted a move right there!! It was so awesome haha!! That night we went and painted a ladies house so she can get ready to move.

Tuesday we had to go update our Area Book app and that took forever! We also got a referral from the Sisters but he is going to Africa soon.. We did have a great lesson with John and Paul about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it went very well! They really enjoyed it and are trying to get to church!

Wednesday we volunteered at the food bank and Elder Flora accidentally took the key that they gave him to put food upstairs haha! We took it back of course. We did splits that night with the Teachers (14-15 year-old young men from Church) and I tried to see some potentials and we saw a less active. They asked me a lot of questions about missionary work. It was good to see these two Teachers wanting to know how to be better prepared for a mission. On the flip side, Elder Flora and the Teachers he was with got yelled at by an old lady who then chased them down the street trying to to tell them what soliciting is hah!

Thursday we tracted into an 87 year old lady who might be coming to church with us in a few weeks so that was pretty cool. We also put in a dog door for Robin and his family. We had some appointments set up but they fell through...

Friday was very interesting. We had a great ZTM and President Russell established some high goals for us but we can do it! We exchanged with Spanish and I went with Elder Johnson to the Spanish area. We tried to see a lot of people but no one was home. We had dinner with a recently returned missionary and it was good! It was at a Hawaiian BBQ place. After, we talked to a lady who was pretty open to us and we had a good talk with her. She said that the Mormon missionaries are some of the nicest strangers she ever meets! We had some interesting events happen... Right outside the apartment! We had beer offered to us by some drunk guys and then this drunk girl later on tried to get us to go party with her (we OBVIOUSLY said no) We basically barricaded ourselves in the apartment at the end of the night!

Saturday I stayed with Elder Johnson because the Spanish and Philomath Elders had dinner together and we were trying to save up on miles. We taught an internigator (someone who has been investigating the church for a long time) and I did pretty much nothing haha. We tried seeing some more people but no one was home so we headed out to Philomath. After exchanging back, we helped Robin with his talk and did some street contacting.

Sunday we went to church and then taught RJ the Word of Wisdom. After, I went to a wedding!! Haha Elder Flora was asked to be the photographer (it was a recent convert's "daughter" from Vietnam) so he took pictures and I ate cake. We tried seeing Stan but, like everyone else, he wasn't home. We got rained on on our way back so that was fun... We also caught either a wolf spider or brown recluse that was chilling on our ceiling! We let it go in the dumpster (it looked like it was gonna pop with babies!).

I love you all. I'm grateful for the lessons you directly or indirectly taught me over the years. I am so grateful for your support and I hope you all have a good week!


Elder Tonini

Monday, August 4, 2014

M. O. M.s (Moms of Missionaries)


So I am going to go ahead and say that this has been a pretty tough week. We have been working so hard to find people to teach and to see investigators but we have had very little success. But The Lord will provide always and He will lead us to people who need to hear His message!

Monday was the usual fun P-Day stuff; basketball and grocery shopping. We helped Robin and his family set up a fence around his chicken coop so that the birds can be out and the Siberian husky he has won't kill 'em!

Tuesday we did an exchange with the Corvallis 4th Ward Elders. I took over my area and Elder Flora went to Corvallis. Me and Elder Hansen went and talked to a less-active member's wife who isn't a member and tried to see some other people but nothing came from it. I did get to drive the car! Oh man it felt good to be behind the wheel again! We did get yelled at multiple times too! One guy pulled up next to us and asked if we were LDS (note: it's about 90 degrees at the time) and we said yes. Well he told us we were going to someplace hotter than Corvallis and I assume he was talking about Texas! Man people can spot the Texan in me from a mile away!

Wednesday we exchanged back and we again tried to see people but came up with nothing. We did see Charlie and we read scriptures with him. We also helped out Robin with the chicken coop again, this time moving the rabbit hutch that contained the chickens outside to the fenced off part. We are doing something really cool with Robin. He is so active about sharing the gospel and so we are going to do missionary role plays with him! It's going to be sweeeet.

Thursday we tracted through three different sets of triplexes (you know, like a duplex but with a third door at the end) and we pulled up empty. Again. We did however manage to see Stan and his daughters! His daughter Molly read some Bible stories to us from her children's Bible and we talked to Stan about how having faith in Jesus Christ can help us overcome our struggles. It was pretty cool. That night around midnight a HUGE thunderstorm rolled through and when I mean huge it was huge. A few years ago when Hurricane Ike hit Houston, I slept like a baby. The storm that night woke me up and kept me up for a little while, mainly because it would shake our apartment so much. It was so loud!

Friday we had new missionary training (yay...) and I got to teach the Law of Chastity for my training haha! We had an awesome district meeting and after we went to go help a guy and his family move. One of the best moves I've seen (sorry Brother McCarthy but I think his was better!). He even bought everyone pizza after! I left for Corvallis with Elder Barton from the Spanish Ward. We did language studies before heading out to seeing a lot of potentials. We knocked on a door who we thought belonged to a potential but it turned out to be a woman who converted to Muslim three years ago. After we left her a chapter to read (she already had a Book of Mormon), she gave us a Quran! That evening we went and saw another potential and she told us she didn't like the footnotes because "they didn't link correctly with the Bible". I don't know what Bible she's using but I'm 100% positive that it does!

Saturday I was part of a conference call conducted by President Russell for missionaries being trained and their trainers before we exchanged back. We helped out a recent convert renovate her home in preparation to sell. We painted a room and then did some yard work outside. We tried OYMing but we got shut down hard core every time. We taught Mel and Holly about the commandments and such and Mel gave us some pears to eat from his garden.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting. Brother Lewis gave an awesome analogy about hunting and Satan. He said that hunters lure deer in with mating calls and they are up above the eyesight of the deer so the deer can't see the hunters until it's too late. That's how Satan works. He lures us in and gets us at our most vulnerable. So that was awesome. We saw RJ and talked about Alma and his conversion story. We had an unbirthday at the Clements and he smoked brisket and Sister Clements made Elder Flora's favorite dish! It was SO good! We gave a Book of Mormon to a drunk guy afterwards haha! We tried seeing some potentials but no one was home.

So the subject name comes from a song The Nashville Tribute Band has on their "The Work" album. It talks about the moms of missionaries (obviously!) and the how grateful missionaries are for their moms. I am so grateful not only for my mom but also for my dad. They raised me and my siblings in a Christ-centered home and instilled principles of the gospel in us. They are definite examples of the parents of the Stripling Warriors. I love them so much and I miss my family a ton!


Elder Tonini

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Text Message From Member

We spoiled our Elders tonight. We LOVE to have them over on their birthdays, but since they won't be here then, we celebrated an unbirthday! We had smoked brisket, candied carrots, sauteed peppers, mashed potatoes and yummy dessert! We also sang happy unbirthday to them!

Thank you! :-)