Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 17, 2017 The blessings of exact obedience

Dear Family

This week started out terrible but then by the time we hit Saturday the miracles started to arrive.

We found many people to teach that are excited to hear more about the Gospel, Sunday also was such a great day, had the opportunity to teach more families that are just so ready to receive the gospel.
My companion is such a great missionary but he has learned so much with me, when he was back at home he made lots of bad decisions he said and when he talked to his bishop, the bishop told him "serve a mission" and when he talked with his stake president he received the same answer "serve a mission"

So he did what they told him to do, he didn’t want to serve though because he had a girlfriend and his mom has cancer and he wanted to take care of her and also she has a baby that is only 11 months old that she is taking care of.

When he went through his training he only had companions that weren’t a big help, they all just encouraged him to be disobedient. When he became companions with him he already wanted to change and I told him that I would help him be obedient. This last week was partially really difficult because his mom emailed him telling him that her cancer has gotten worse and that if she gets sick she could die. 

This week we went to our zone conference with president Taylor. He told me that he was going to talk to the president for some help. When we got there the president didn’t interview anyone, just my companion, 

My companion never told the president about anything and I didn’t either but the president already knew! so he called in my companion Elder Lescano and already had written what he wanted to say to him. My companion was amazed by the revelation that the president had received and the biggest thing that help my companion is what the president said to him "Be righteous and have exact obedience, and the Lord shall bless your family"

This week has already been better and we have had more success, and my companion has seen the blessings that have come from our obedience and from not quitting after two weeks of almost nothing.

n the zone conference President talked about lots of good things about second chances and about taking everything day by day, it helped me a lot and gave me a boost to just continue working my hardest.

Say hi to everyone for me

Miss you guys 

Love 

Elder Toma

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September 11, 2017 "When we endure challenges in life with patience, the Lord always blesses"

Hey family,

This week was good but it wasn’t the best week that I have had ha-ha.

My district is doing great, lots of baptismal interviews were done this week so that made me happy that everyone baptized but the bad news is that our baptism fell through.

We marked an appointment Friday to do the interview and everything but he called and said that his mom won’t let him be baptized. We then said a prayer and we felt that we should go to the house and talk with his mom. We talked to her and testified of lots of things, the Spirit was present testifying to her but she still wants to think about it and talk with her husband.

The boy that wants to be baptized is Matheus and he is 14, while we were talking to her he came and he just started balling, he wants to be baptized so bad and he has been going to church for like 6 months and already has made a ton of friends in the church, so we decided that we would just talk with his mom every day this week and pray for them.

But when it rains it pours, the very same night that the he baptism fell through, we went home exhausted just wanting to sleep, I laid down in my bed at 10 and the wood fell underneath the bed and made a ton of noise, I sat up in my bed to fix it and more wood fell making more noise, and then suddenly the owner of the apartments knocked on our door screaming at us and cursing telling us that we had to leave, this bothered me a ton, he didn’t even let us explain about what happened. I don’t know if he has problems with our religion or if he had problems with the other missionaries but I have never done anything against him.

I then put my mattress on the floor and slept on the floor because I was afraid that maybe more wood would fall. The next morning I called the office asking to trade houses because he has just been cursing at us for dumb reasons like this, so we spent the rest of the week looking for a house, but it think that we found a house that is bigger and isn’t an apartment were if wood from my bed falls we get yelled at. 

But this week will be a new week and when we endure challenges in life with patience, the Lord always blesses.

Sounds pretty crazy with all the hurricanes in the states, I hope that everyone is well,

Miss you all

Have a great week

Elder Toma

Sunday, September 10, 2017

September 3, 2017 The Spirit IS the teacher

Dear Family,

This week was good but started out really slow ha-ha. It was the beginning of the transfer and I was helping everybody move in to houses and get situated,

I have two new elders and two new sisters, Elder Del Rio from São Paulo, and the other elder is from Santa Catarina, Sister Teixeira is from São Paulo and she is training an American named Sister Dailey from California, they seem to be really excited to work and already have a baptism this coming Saturday so I’m happy with the new sisters in my district.

So this week we were super busy and we didn’t get to much opportunity to make more new investigators and work, but in the end of the week we were blessed

We found some new investigators that are great, and we have a baptism set for this week,
his name is Matheus and he has a couple of months in the church but he mom wouldn’t let him get baptized because he is only 14 years old, but we went there and we talked with his mom and I felt the spirit so strong that the mom started to cry, and everything that I was saying and everything that my companion was saying was exactly in sync
, it was like my companion was reading my mind and I was reading his, it was a true testimony that the Holy Ghost is really there and that he IS the teacher and not us. It was a great experience, when we got there she was so against the idea and then when we left she said, "leave the baptismal sheet here and I will talk with my husband about it" we are praying for him, and also keep Matheus in your prayers so that everything will go well.

Today is going be fun, I’m going go play soccer with the zone leaders and with Elder Crowley my other companion, 

Sounds like everybody is doing well, have fun today at bush gardens, let me know if they have any of the new rides and how are they.

Miss y’all

Love 

Elder Toma

Sunday, September 3, 2017

August 27, 2017 Training with Elder Costa of the Seventy

Dear Family,

This week was a great week,

Wednesday, I got to do a training with Elder Costa of the 70.  He is so cool.  He is from Argentina so he speaks a lot of Portuguese mixed with Spanish but it was easy to understand everything that he said, all the DL and ZL were invited to attend the training and then Thursday we met with our zone and all of Sergipe and he spoke to all of us. It was a great zone conference and I got to see all the people from the state of Sergipe where my last area was Tobias Barreto, it was awesome to see my companion elder Ferreira and everyone there.

Friday was super busy, we were running around doing baptismal interviews and calling the ZLs over to do our baptismal interviews so it was super busy but in the end we got it all done, Saturday I went to another area to do one more baptismal interview and it was super complicated ha-ha, I was filling out the baptismal record and he didn’t know anything about himself, he didn’t know his own birthday or the birthdates of his parents, so it was super complicated and at first he decided to back out of the baptism so I told him to say a prayer and the spirit was super strong and he accepted the baptism and sign the baptismal record and everything and then later that day the elders from my district called and told me that he ran away from the baptism! so their baptism ending up falling through unfortunately, so that made me kind of sad but then when we returned we had our baptism which was such a great baptism! so many people went and the spirit was so strong, we ended up baptizing a man named Quemuel, he is married to a member but for years he didn’t want anything to do with the church, we ended up just trying to gain his trust be being friendly and talking with him without any commitments.

But in a week or two we started teaching him the lessons and inviting him to pray and ask God if these things are true, he is super smart and knows the bible really well and sometimes these types of people are really hard to baptize but here we had another miracle,

Everyone at the baptism was congratulating us and telling us that we are such good missionaries to have convinced him but I tried to stay humble and say that it was all the Lord ha-ha. I’m really glad we got him baptized because this type of person that is stubborn often are the type that have the strongest testimonies and aren’t convinced easily about what the world says and what media says about our church.

So we ended our month as the zone that baptized the most so we got super happy and the president is letting us do a zone pday so I’m excited for today, also Elder Lescano and I baptized the most in our zone so my companion is super super happy about that, he said I’m his favorite companion and that he never has baptized so many people in one month, he used to be someone that didn’t follow all the rules but he is happier then ever that now he is following all the rules with me and working hard, we had the call for transfers yesterday and our ZL called saying that Elder Lescano will be transferred and he was soooo sad but then he said he was joking and I have never seen my companion so happy before ha-ha. I will continue here with him as district leader still and I will receive two new sisters and two new elders so that will be interesting ha-ha. But I’m very excited about this month, 

Sounds like everyone is doing well at home and I’m happy for Conner that he is playing football.


I miss you guys,
Até mais

Elder Toma

Sunday, August 27, 2017

August 20, 2017 A Priesthood blessing miracle!

Dear Family,

This week was great but also very crazy. 

This week I was running around doing baptism interviews and marking interviews for our baptism, but in the end all went pretty well.

Last Tuesday we had an awesome miracle. So two weeks ago we started teaching Cesar, he was the sisters’ investigator but he ended up moving to our area. The sisters passed the reference and told us that he hasn’t accepted any baptismal date and that he has problems with smoking. Our first visit to his house we discovered that it takes over an hour to get there! but it was all totally worth it. As we arrived we met a very humble man, tall, skinny, and dark. He showed us his house which is very small with almost nothing in it. He introduced himself that he was Cesar and we started with a prayer and got discussing, as we were discussion we got on the topic of baptism, and then my companion decided to invite him to be baptized! Cesar then responded saying that he doesn’t feel ready and that he has too many problems that keep him from such a commitment. He said that he was very addicted to smoking, smoking more than 20 cigarettes per day. I then gave an example of the apostles that before being apostles they were normal men but when Jesus said ´´come follow me´´ they put down their nets and followed him. We then invited him to put down this addiction and follow Christ, we set a goal for the 19th to be baptized which was two weeks away, we explained that we will help you with your addiction but most of all you have our Savior if you go to him with prayer, he will help. He ended up accepting the date and throughout the week we called him and checked up on how he was doing, he always responded that he was in the fight, still smoking quite a few but that he was smoking less and that he had a headache. Our next visit with him was Tuesday the 15th, when we got there he said that he has been smoking 7 cigarettes every day and that he can’t get passed that number, we knew that if he didn’t stop now that he wouldn’t be able to be baptized until the following week. We had a very spiritual message with him and I said to him ´´you aren’t doing this for you wife (who is a member), you aren’t doing this for us, and you really you aren’t doing this completely for yourself, but you are doing all of this for Him´´ showing him a picture of Christ Cesar starting to get really determined, he said `´I’m stopping now!`´ he grabbed his box of cigarettes and started to rip each cigarette one by one. We then got the impression to also give him a blessing of comfort and strength, we gave him the blessing and the moment that we all said ´´amen´´ the phone rang.

Cesar responded "hello...yeah I already invited the missionaries over.....yeah we just finished doing that...bye".

"that was my wife" he said, she had just called to tell me to ask for a blessing. Cesar then said to us "that blessing, that was very...different" I thought to myself, ah great he thinks we are a cult or something because she just finished putting our hands on his head and blessing him.

But then I noticed that he was getting emotional, "never have a felt something like that in my life, I can’t even put into words the feelings that I felt" HE explained that he isn’t one to get emotional but that he never has felt anything like that blessing. afterwards I left super super drained and we had a ton to walk still, for the next couple of days me and my companion got sick and I’m still a little sick but I’m getting better ha-ha.

We continued checking up on him and calling him and he stopped smoking!  4 days later we baptized him on Saturday the 19th

It was a miracle this week, I know that all the prayers that you guys have been saying has blessed him and that the priesthood of God his real.

After getting sick and almost not being able to work this week, everything was all worth it.

Sounds like everyone is having a good week,

wish Conner luck with football and all,

miss everyone,

Love 

Elder Toma

Sunday, August 20, 2017

August 13, 2017 Baptism of Sofia

Dear Family,

This week went great! We had a service that we did at the house of a sister in the ward
He front and back yard was like a jungle but we were able to cut everything down and we got everything done real quick, but it’s been a long while since I’ve done yard work ha-ha.

This week was also pretty interesting with a baptismal interview of my companion in the CTM, 
the ZLs went there to do the interview and the guy told them that many years ago he had to kill someone in a drug deal, with this type of case you have to call the president and he has to come in do an interview.  Our president arrived recently so he has never experienced any case like this, so when our zone leader called he told the president and he freaked out!, he called my companion from the CTM who speaks English and said ´´tell me everything that happened in cause English because I don’t want to mess up the Portuguese´´ and the thing is that the zone leader hadn’t even told my comp from the CTM yet so it was a huge surprise for him too! and then the president called Elder Basette from the 70 and sent an email to the 1st presidency, and Elder Basette told him that he had to go down there and do the interview himself. 

This type of case actually isn’t super uncommon and will definitely happen again, but the president arrived right now so it was something very new to him ha-ha. Just this week we were eating lunch and something happened right outside of the house that we were eating in, I won’t say anymore because don’t want to scare mom but it happens, Maceió is like 100 times worse than where I’m at right now so don’t need to worry ha-ha. Arapiraca is pretty calm, the worst thing here is that there are a lot of guys on motorcycles that stop and rob people here, but just got to give them the money or phone and they won’t do anything.

But the good news about this week is that we baptized Sofia, it was such a good baptism, she asked me to baptize her and I was happy to it. Her dad left the church but is coming back and we have been trying to help them.


They had a big old cake to, ha-ha it was like a birthday party or something and I made brownies and bought some ice-cream for her, but then right after we had to run to another investigator’s house and he fed us this super good dinner it was fried rice but soooo good. and then he marked the 26 for his baptism and he asked for one night to talk to his wife who is a member and to pray about it and all. And the next day a church he said he is going for it. So we are pretty excited to help him out as well.
 


Over all good week, it’s crazy how fast the transfers pass by sometimes, the 29 is the last day of transfers, so we are really trying hard to get everything done before that.
Sounds like everyone is doing well.

Miss you all.
I’ll send some pics

Love Elder Toma


Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 6, 2017 "You were on that list, Elder"

Hey Family,

This week was good, we have just been spending the week planning for the baptisms and checking up on these investigators, this week we will be baptizing a girl that is 12 years old her name is Sofia and she is very excited to be baptized, her family went inactive but we went there to reactivate the family and discovered that she wasn’t baptized so we are helping them return to the church and all. 
The family is a very good family, they are supper nice and this last Sunday, the grandma went up and bore her testimony so that was really cool to hear. The other baptism is for the19th and it is a member’s husband that never got baptized but he finally accepted baptism and he wants to be baptized and enter the temple to be sealed, and finally we have Ceza who is really really cool, he wants to be baptized but he is fighting the addiction of smoking, we have been setting goals with him and he is doing well, so pray for him.

This week has also been super good with my district, I did exactly what my president told me to do, which was pray and ask how I can help the sisters in my district and they are already doing so much better, they are excited and even made 10 new investigators this week.
I don’t know if I already wrote about an interview that I had with my president but it was really interesting and it helped me a lot.

He encouraged us to keep a journal of everything that we experience which I have but he showed me more importance of it and what I could do with it. He also asked me about my district and he told me that after my first interview with him, that he already knew to call me to be dl. He also said that when he was planning with the assistants and his wife that he had a list of names that was a list of absolutes, he then told me ´´You were on that list, Elder´´ and then he said ´´be careful, the Lord is watching you. But congratulations, the Lord is watching you.´´ He then told me that he already knew about the sisters but that sometimes being a leader is like being on an island, your alone sometimes and you can only turn to the Lord, he then challenged me to figure it out for myself through prayer and fast.

I won’t lie I felt like a had a lot of responsibility and I felt at first that maybe I wouldn’t be able to resolve this problem, I knew that this problem was grave or anything but I just wasn’t sure if I would be able to help.  After prayer and asking the Lord I was impressed to give a training in the district meeting about Alma chapter 36 verse 22 I think which talks about exercising faith, praying, doing good works and being obedient, and that when we do that we will bring thousands of souls to repentance and baptism. I did my best to just excite them, I think they were feeling a little tired and needed a boost. Finally, after getting some of their trust also, they kind of just told me everything and I did my best to help them but I think that everything is going much better.

Today was also super fun, I’m learning a little bit of soccer but I don’t even play nearly as well as the Brazilians here ha-ha. I played with my companion from the CTM and with the ZLs and with some members and then we ate lunch.

My companion from the CTM is a dl in the same zone but he isn’t my companion, I’m the dl in Arapiraca 1st ward and he is dl in Arapiraca Verdes Campos which is the same stake, so we see each other often but he isn’t in my district.

But I hope that everyone is doing well

I talked to Elder McGary, sounds like he is finishing the mission here

Miss y’all
Love,

Elder Toma