Sunday, February 18, 2018

February 10, 2018 Call to be a new Zone Leader

Dear Family, 

This week was a pretty good week. Carnival has started so the work has slowed down and everyone is travelling. 

Last week was a tough week but it was like my Zion’s camp. 

Zion’s camp has become one of my favorite events because of what I have learned from it. It was when Joseph smith sent a bunch of men to go win back Zion,  they had to travel days to get there and when they finally got there, he decided that they weren’t going to fight. And what happened is many of the men fell away from the church because of that, they became frustrated. But the men that stayed faithful later became apostles and leaders in the church. I saw a quote that brother Schetselaar has on his email that states "we can´t control the wind, but we can adjust the sail" - Thomas. S Monson.  It’s true that we can’t control everything but it’s how we deal with it that controls our destiny. 

Yesterday afternoon president Taylor called me and told me that I was going to be transferred and be the new zone leader in Boa Vista. I was surprised because I only have one transfer in this area but now I’m being transferred, he congratulated me and told me that the zone leaders will call and give me more details. 

I’m pretty excited to have the opportunity to learn new stuff, I heard that my area is good and that my companion Elder Duarte is good too. I’ll be arriving there tomorrow so next week will send more details. 

This week I was reading the Book of Mormon, I’m now in Moroni chapter 7, but I was reading in ether early and something that really marked me was the faith of the Jaredites. I mean they made entered boats and then trusted in the Lord to guide them. That is some real faith! just imagine, I would be so scared to do something like that. During their travels there were storms too. 

I was really inspired by the faith that they had. In Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 it says "O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all thy heart, might, mind, and strength, 
that ye may stand blameless before God in the last day" I thought about what embark could really mean. To me it doesn’t mean have one foot on the land and the other in the boat but to embark and be fully in the boat. I see that with many missionaries that are trunky ha-ha, they focus on going home rather than focusing on the service of God. To me the Jaredites really embarked and trusted in the Lord. Sometimes we get scared, before the mission I never wanted to talk about our religion or even share it because I was scared. But we need to embark into our boats and trust in the Lord that he will guide us, just like the Jaredites did. I love the scripture in D&C 6 that says "Look unto me in every thought, doubt not; fear not"

They mission is a perfect example of embarking in the service of God but the thing is that the mission ends faster than we know it and sometimes we tell ourselves that it’s over, that we already embarked but that’s wrong, for we have not yet reached the promised land. Missionary work should never have an end point in our lives. The purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel. That can be anything. Making friends in the Church, helping reactivate less actives and sharing the gospel with those that don´t have this restored gospel. 
IM grateful for this gospel, for a living church. We have living prophets and apostles, the authority and priesthood keys. ITs a living church, not a dead one. Missionary work is what helps the kingdom grow. Like I said during our skype "we aren’t climbing then we are falling" I think that’s interesting how that works, serving helps us the kingdom climb but it also helps us too. 

I’m glad to hear that everyone is doing well

I’m going to start sending more pictures home because I don’t want to lose my pictures again ha-ha. 

Love you all

Elder Toma

Sunday, February 11, 2018

February 4, 2018 I know the Gardner loves me

Dear Family, this week went well and also kind of so so.

We had a go week working with investigators and all but when Sunday came, nobody went. We called members to pass by we even got up early to pass by and nobody went. Every missionary passes through this and has the same frustration. By the end of the week is somehow formatted my card on my camera so I lost every picture that I have taken since the mission, unfortunately I learned my lesson by never saving my pictures to another source. I’m still pretty upset by it but I think there is someone her that can help me get my pictures back. My companion got better but maybe too much, I had to have a lot of patience with him this week ha-ha, I likes to joke around a lot. 

But I learned from brother Schetselaar something. 

He told a story about how he always planted potatoes and how he buried them. He would wait for a stem to come up and then he would through more dirt on it.

And when the stem came up he would do that again. So he would keep doing that until a flower blossomed. and he would do that because that’s how he would strengthen the potato, without doing so, the potato wouldn’t have enough strength to support itself. So I learned that I was like that potato this week but what helps is to know that the Gardener is someone that knows and loves me and it’s just to strengthen me. 

This week I was also reading in my journal and I had some great laughs at how I was at the beginning of the mission. My second day of the mission my companion and I had to teach a lesson in the MTC. They gave us these green books that had everything. All you had to do was read out of it and it was simple as that. But my companion and I wanted to teach the lesson without anything but the Book of Mormon and the Bible in Portuguese. We were excited because we were so confident that the gift of tongues was going to kick in and we would be speaking fluently ha ha. We went to teach our lesson and nothing came out! we said nothing! we couldn’t even find james 1:5 in the Portuguese bible. After that lesson I remember just feeling like an idiot and we were pretty discouraged after that. 
I learned that nothing works like that. We have to do our part. When I got to my first area I had an American companion, he helped me a ton but we spoke only English. 

When he got transferred the President sent another American to be my companion, he only had one more transfer then me. So here we have to new Americans in the middle of Brazil that don’t know barely any Portuguese. I’m not going to lie, I thought that the president was crazy! I had no faith that everything would go well.

This was the transfer where I saw the gift of tongues the most. That transfer we hit the standard of excellence with baptisms.  I believe that I was able to speak Portuguese so well because I needed to. I think that our Father likes to let us do what we can do but when we are in need he helps. Who knows maybe I learned how to speak Portuguese so well just because of that transfer when I needed to. 

I’m glad everyone is doing well,

I miss you all and I would send pictures but I got to get all my pictures back unfortunately. 

I hope everyone has a great week.

Love you all
Elder Toma

Sunday, February 4, 2018

January 28, 2018 Thirty Pieces of Silver

Dear Family, 

So this week was lots of success and lots of baptism which made me pretty happy and helps motivate me to always continue working hard because the Lord really blesses when we work hard. 

Yesterday we had a special activity of the Restoration of the Gospel. The missionaries from our zone put it together so we had narration and we sang and bore lots of testimonies. 

We had some of the recent converts bare testimony also about the restoration, the book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith. It was a very spiritual meeting and I saw many members and recent converts cry. 
It was a good turn out too, the chapel was filled with people so it was a good day to end the week. 
Also this week was pretty interesting with my companion, he woke up on Saturday and told me that he wanted to go home! it was so random because he always is excited to work and we have never had any problems but he just woke up wanting to go home. We talked for a little and he got better after I gave him a blessing. I felt that I had to show love but also give him a little roasting. I told him the story of Judas the apostle that sold Christ for 30 pieces of silver. Sometimes we think it’s so silly, how could he have sold the Savior for 30 pieces of silver!? But really we sometimes do it all the time. We choose to watch or play football on the sabbath day, we go shopping or do other activities that aren´t for the sabbath, maybe we listen to music or watch bad movies. These are little things that can precious to us, but it’s merely 30 pieces of silver too. It’s nothing when compared to following Christ. 

I told him not to sell Christ for 30 pieces of silver. He understood that he would regret it also and decided that what he was thinking was dumb. This also helped me a ton, I always think now. 30 pieces of silver or following Christ. I think that it’s interesting that we sometimes sit there holding the 30 pieces of silver in our hands and it’s so hard to let it go, but I’m learning that this year’s mutual theme is true, and that’s to let go of our 30 pieces of silvers that we have in our life and "Learn of Him, and listen to His words, walk in the meekness of His spirit, and ye shall have peace in Him". I love that, I want to live by that. 

I know that we can not only know of our Christ but we can come to know Him by learning of Him, listening to Him, and walking in the meekness of HIs spirit and the promise is that we will find peace in our lives because of Him. 

I’m glad that everyone is doing well, I miss you guys but I don’t want to go home in 7 months! 

Serving the Lord is what makes me happy. 

I hope that everyone has a great week.

Elder Toma

Sunday, January 28, 2018

January 21, 2018 True and Living Church

This week was great!

We started off the week with pday and then on Tuesday a baptism. IT was the craziest baptism yet.
It was a sweet 16/ wedding type party. and just for a baptism. Her name is Mariah and she has been going to church sense she was 8. Her mom is also baptized but she fell away from the church and never let Mariah be baptized. But through fast and prayer as always her mom let her but she wanted a cake and everything so we let her ha-ha. The baptism turned out really great and her sister he is inactive and her mom and her dad who isn’t a member went to the baptism. Her mom seems to be coming back to the church and we have been having Family nights with them to help. 

Also this week we went to a members house and we did something that we created as a district called ADC which is abençoar, demonstar, convidar. In English that is bless, demonstrate, and invite. We go to the members house and we bless them by saying a prayer, leaving a message, or helping them remember maybe their mission or when they were baptized, and then we demonstrate by using examples or scriptures, and then we invite them to do something. We invited this member to pray to receive 5 names. and we did so and she gave us 5 names! But what was even more interesting wasn’t the 5 names that she gave us but what happened after. Right before we left she looked at a house across the street and told us that it was a member´s house, but the member is inactive and it’s been years.  When we went to her house she wasn’t busy and told us to come back around that same time but just in the following day. So we returned to her house a day after and she let us in and we got talking about her life and the gospel and she told us that the night before that we knocked on her door she was praying for help in her life and Peace and then we knocked on her door. she said that it was an answer from God and she bore our testimony to us. Her friend was also there and she said a pray the night before asking for help to guide her to the right church. It was two birds with one stone! I just love how the Lord Works. and then they said they would go to church and they did! she loved it and they said they would be there the following week and the less active even said she would help us with her friend by getting her baptized.

I also had the opportunity to watch Presidente Nelson be sustained. It was a true testimony that he is a prophet of God her on this Earth today.

I know that are church is the only living church, it has a prophet and apostles. without that it’s a dead church that doesn’t receive more revelation. How could a dead church help us? it can’t and that’s why we need our prophets and apostles to keep everything in line with the revelations from God.

I love this gospel.

And I hope that everyone has a great week.

Elder Toma

Sunday, January 21, 2018

January 15, 2018 Coming to know Christ

This week went really well, we have been trying new things in the area, one of those things is family home evening with the members. It was a success! we received a lot of references and good ones too.
Tomorrow we have a baptism with a young woman named Mariah, her mom didn’t want to let her be baptized because she thought it was too early for her but through prayer and fasting her mom is letting her be baptized this Tuesday, so we are excited about that. This week we have another boy named John that wants to be baptized and he has been going for a few years with his older sister to church but his parents haven’t let him yet. We are working on getting him baptized this Saturday so pray for him. This week was pretty good, we had lunch with this lady in our ward that is a pianist, she plays super well and I’ve been able to play here on the mission a lot too, so it was fun to play on her piano. For some of the activities I have to play, so I’ve been learning more hymns ha-ha which I never wanted to learn before the mission but now it’s all I play lol.

The presidente has challenges us to start studying one topic of Christ in the topical guide of the scriptures. So I have made that one of my goals. The point of this is to not only know of Christ but to know Christ.

I have really been enjoying this study, just in the first day my testimony went up. And it is definitely my goal to know Christ. and He has so many names to study too. The Savior, Lord, Messiah, Living Water, Lamb, Bread of Life, King, Good Shepard, and way more. It’s interesting to get to know why He is all of those. This week I have really pondered and thought about how He really is a bridge. It’s like we don’t know how to swim and if we enter the water we die, but because he gave us a bridge which is him, we have the chance to cross the waters, even though we step on Him and sin and hurt Him he still chose to be that bridge because He loves us.

I’m just so grateful that He chose to be that bridge and that he succeeded, if he didn’t succeed everything would be lost. But He really is our Savior.

This week’s email is a little short because I don’t have a lot to say to be honest ha-ha, but I love you guys and miss you all.

Have a great week.


Elder Toma

Sunday, January 14, 2018

January 7, 2018 New companion: Elder Marques

Dear Family,

This week went by so fast, but it was a pretty good week.

The area is a lot of buildings and a lot of beach too. But yeah, we don’t pass by the beach too often because there isn’t reason too, but sometimes when we go to members houses to eat or to certain places we see parts of the ocean and its super cool. The Ward is good, I already like the Bishop. It’s weird here because one moment the building look like I’m in Europe and then other places it’s like Chicago or city buildings and then there is the beach and so it’s a mix in our area.

My companion is Elder Marques and he is from the Amazon where they eat monkeys ha ha. But he is really cool and hardworking, he talks a lot about his fiancé, but he works. The area is also kind of hard because the people here are weird, they are friendly, but they don’t except us to teach them! which I have never seen here on the mission yet, but we are finding out new ways to teach.

So I’m DL and I’m enjoying it still, the assistants called me and apologized because I didn’t become ZL and to me I’m just happy to serve in whatever position, if I’m junior I’ll be my best junior, if I’m DL I’ll do my best. So, for me I wasn’t bummed for not being ZL, but they explained that it’s because an American was called to be assistant and with two American assistants, they were worried about too many Americans becoming leaders and leaving out the Brazilians.

I was kind of nervous at the start because I’m the DL of the zone leaders, secretaries, and assistants, to me that seems like a lot of responsibility because they are the leaders in the mission ha-ha but it’s all good and I’m enjoying it.

 So, I found out that the package got sent back to our house so it will arrive there. I don’t know why brazil sent it back, but they did.  The secretary told me that the package needs to be under 50 US dollars so if it is more two send two packages and to also send it to the new mission address. For me if you guys want to give up on sending that package, I’m alright with it, it’s been more of a hassle then anything ha-ha.

But it was good to speak with you guys on Skype, it’s crazy that my time is ending, just 8 months are left but don’t worry I’m not trunky, it only pushes me more because I want to make use of the time I have here to grow.

I miss you guys and hope you all have a good week.


Elder Toma

Sunday, January 7, 2018

January 2, 2017 Happy New Year and a New Assignment - Transferred to Pajuçara

So this week went by super-fast, but it was a good week. 

This week we worked I think only 2 days in our area because I was traveling a lot doing interviews and going to conferences. Tuesday, we went to a conference for trainers and trainees. It my last conference with my "son" he is already leaving training, it went by so fast these transfers. On Wednesday we taught some investigators that had the possibility to be baptized and one of them was Adriano. His problem was that he would also pray to get an answer, something that I taught my district is that when we keep asking our investigators to pray to get an answer, sometimes they get confused because 90% of the time they already have an answer. This was the case with Adriano, he already received an answer and we knew it, but I knew asking him to pray again to receive an answer that he had already received probably wouldn’t help, so we finally talked to him and told him that what he needed to focus on was praying to help him recognize his answer. I thought how interesting it was that one little thing makes the difference, rather than asking to receive an answer that we have already received sometimes we need to pray to recognize it. So he did that and we followed up with him. He explained that he wanted an answer clear and obvious, so we prayed with him and invited him to continue to pray. On Thursday we left our area again and I did some baptismal interviews in another city. 

The story of this girl that we baptized is that she prayed to know if baptism is what she needed, and she randomly uttered after the name "John Baptist" and she didn’t even know who that was! she recognize the name, but she didn’t know so she went on the internet and discovered that John the Baptist was the man who baptized Jesus. She was baptized on Saturday with Adriano. 

So on Friday we returned to our area and invited the zone leaders to interview our investigator Adriano, and he still didn’t recognize his answer until he was returning from school on Friday and he found a pamphlet in the street that was the baptism of Jesus Christ. When he got home, we arrive at his house with the zone leaders ready to interview him and he said he recognized his answer, so we interviewed him, and everything was all good. HE then showed us the pamphlet and what I realized was that it was a Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet, I leaned over and whispered to my companion "hey this is JW" which is Jehovah’s Witness and my comp almost laughed and then we told Adriano that it was an answer from God. And on Saturday he was baptized. 

So this week was a crazy but a good week. Yesterday was new years and we ate dinner with the bishop´s house and then we received the transfer.

So my companion will be staying, and I’ll be going to Pajuçara which is close to Maceió, it’s on the beach I think. I will continue as district leader there.

I think it will be a good experience, I’m sad to leave this zone, this month we baptized in the zone a lot and the last time that we baptized near as many was like in 2013 so we were super happy about that. 

The good news is that my package arrived. The bad news is that I have to go get it and it’s going to be a little expensive, because it got sent to another place, but it’s all good.

Thanks for skyping with me last week, I enjoyed it too. 

Happy new years!

Love Elder Toma