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

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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

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