Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 15, 2018 "We can't control the wind, but we can set the sail"

Dear family, 

The week went well, and we had some good experiences one good experience that we had this week was during a lesson. We have been trying to find someone to teach for a long time because this area is so hard with even making new investigators. 

So, we decided to get the members list and work with less actives. We went to this less active's house and the person the answered the door was a 19 or 20-year-old girl that told us that the person on the members list had moved. But we talked to her and asked to leave a message. The message was actually super good, we all felt the spirit and then when we asked her how she was feeling, she explained to us that she was feeling peace and relieved of some stuff. We then asked her "what does this mean to you" and she responded, "That this message is true". It was a great message but the part that stuck out to me the most was the way that we found her, it was with the intent to help a less active... To me the Lord blesses when we help others and try to bring the lost sheep back to the fold. We found someone with the intent to reactivate another. It was the perfect way that the Lord could help us find someone that was ready to hear His message.

My companion and I had been feeling strongly about working with the less actives earlier. We knew that baptism is the focus like president has told us, but we had been feeling it. 
I don’t believe that Nephi knew had to build a ship, but when he went to the Lord, the Lord instructed him, and he didn’t only instruct him how to build a ship but the way that the Lord wanted him to do it. 

This week I had a strong impression to do something new in the zone. Every week we will all study together during the week as a zone, one attribute of Christ, and then during our district meeting we will invite someone to share an experience that they had with that attribute. This week to start out this new idea we chose humility. I’ve been praying every day and trying to understand humility better. 

I am heartbroken that Aiko has died, and she has been a member of our family since i could remember. But it was the right thing to do...Things happen in our life that we can't control and sometimes the Lord’s will isn’t what we want. But I feel a peace as I let the Lord's will take its course. 

"We can't control the wind, but we can set the sail" 
-Thomas S. Monson

Love you guys and I hope that everyone has a great week. 
Elder Toma

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April 9 Courage

Dear family,

This week has been a good week, super busy with meetings and divisions. 
I enjoyed the pictures, Conner is getting really big! Loren is getting tall too. 

So my companion and I have decided that we are going to still focus on baptizing, but we feel like we need to really reactivate and strengthen the ward, last week we were able to serve the members and get to know them all which I think helps a ton. 

So an interesting experience that I had this week was right before lunch we decided to do some contacts and we met this teenage boy and we talked to him and asked questions like "who is Christ to you" and the way he responded was interesting he didn’t know! he was like "I don’t even know how to respond to the question". There are people that don´t know Christ and then there are even people that don't know of Christ. Being a missionary is one of the hardest but best experiences because we invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through the gospel principles.

So to answer the questions of the week. 

1.) My favorite thing to eat in brazil that is sweet is probably Açaí, I like it with bananas and granola and sweet and condensed milk with some powdered milk too.  normal foods that I like here would probably be like feijoada and like churrasco which is like a Brazilian barbecue. 

2) Leadership quality is definitely being the example and leading by example, I can’t lead or tell someone to be obedient if I’m not obedient. 

3) The Christ like attribute that has recently come to me has been many but this week it is courage. I 
don’t think that courage is in preach my gospel, but this quality means so much to me 
because Christ was so courageous. It takes courage to be humble, it takes courage to be obedient especially when others are not, it takes courage to be submissive, virtuous, it even takes courage to be loving. This week if been trying my best to be courage in every sense, I had an experience this week when I felt that I should contact someone that was on the street, but she passed by us and I waited and then I thought it would be weird if we ran back at her and she would think we are weird or something. but the first voice is the Spirit's and the second is fear which is the enemy's.

It really does take courage to do what's right and that’s why it has impacted me so much this week, but what I love is every week I can learn a new attribute of Christ and apply it. 

I love this video 

I hope everyone has a great week, 

that’s sad about Aiko I really hope everything goes well with her. 

Love you all
Elder Toma

Sunday, April 8, 2018

April 2, 2018 Great Conference!!

 Dear family,

What a great Easter and conference. 

So, transfers where last week. I’m in the same area but me and my companion from the MTC are opening the colina zone so it’s been a fun week just trying to figure everything out ha-ha. 

It has been so amazing to see how much my companion and I have grown since the MTC, it has been such a blessing to have him as a companion. 

There are also three areas in the zone that are being opened so everyone is pretty lost, but we are all here together helping out. 

The highlight of my week was conference but also a lesson that we had with a family. We taught the restoration and it was one of the most spiritual lessons that I have had on this mission,
the Lord put me and my companion from the MTC together for a reason and I know it. The Spirit was able to testify to us all with ease and our investigators knew it. I’m so grateful to be an instrument to the real teacher, who is the Holy Spirit of God. 

Conference was amazing this week. ALL of my questions were answered clearly!  And to answer the question, which was my favorite talk? well I think that all of them were because I felt the Spirit and the need for all of them! I love how everyone testified of the Prophet and the importance in hearing and acting on his words. What I the Lord, I have spoken, and excuse not myself, word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. (D&C 1:38)  

IM not going to lie, when they were all telling us to listen to the Prophet, I knew something was coming ha-ha. We were all throwing in our ideas like "maybe we can’t use apple phones" "no maybe we all got to go to Missouri" and then one elder named Elder Nelson said "they are totally taking out home teaching" and when they announced it, I was like how in the world did he guess that?!?! ha-ha. 
But every talk was so good. Lynn G Robbins talked about mistakes, stepping blocks, and progress. Bednar gave a fantastic talk about meekness, Taylor g Godoy helped me understand more about sacrifice. Elder Wokolo taught me more about ordinances and covenants, Devin G. Durrant and Elder Dale G. Renlund gave me answers to a few questions about revelation and family history and temple work. The talk about small and simple things was a perfect talk and how he said that we need to always keep paddling because if we aren’t climbing then we are falling. 

There was so much things that I liked about conference and I wrote it all in my journal. I liked how President Nelson told us to really study and apply these teachings for the next 6 months. 
I really want to just apply it all to myself, my work, my area, the zone, and to even my investigators. 
It is so great to have living Prophets and apostles to lead and guide us. Without them it is a dead church, and not a living one. and I know that God works through a living church and Certainly the Lord reveals His secrets unto His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7)
I’m happy to hear that the family is all doing well. 
I’m loving it here in Brazil, it’s been rainy but that is better than the heat. 

I hope everyone has a great week. 

Elder Toma

March 26, 2018

So, the transfers came, 

There are going to be a lot of changes. So before we were the zone leaders of two stakes, litoral and colina. Now we are opening the new zone which is going to be just the colina zona. 

We are taking in a bunch of new areas and new missionaries, so it will be pretty interesting. My companion is going to be Elder Crowley, he was my companion in the CTM and then we were district leaders in the Arapiraca zone and now we are zone leaders ha-ha. 

This week we have been trying to help these two missionaries that were fighting, they wanted to be transferred but we were able to convince them to hang in there for just one more week. 

Well everything was going well until the very last day which was Saturday. So we went on splits Sunday until now, but it seems like everything is getting better. 

It’s funny because I knew it was going to happen. I told one of them about a week ago that this week will be hard because it’s the last week and I even said that the last day was going to be the hardest because that’s just how the enemy works.  The secret is to recognize that and learn to avoid his temptations and strategies. You can’t defeat the enemy if you don’t know his plans. 

That’s why even as missionaries we need to follow all these little rules, it’s what protects us. It’s funny how so many missionaries see this rules as limits or chains. Just like the commandments, so many people think that commandments just limit us from being free but it’s funny how things work when you see it from the other side or from another view. It’s just the exact opposite. 

To answer dads question, I think that this transfer will be good because my attitude is that this transfer will be good. I’m excited for it because it’s just another chance to try even harder and give it even more then the last one. 

The other question was about elder Gene R. Cook. So I started it but then I realized that I didn’t take a picture of all of it, but so far it is super good and made me think a lot about working with the spirit. It’s the probably the most important thing that a missionary can have. He is the teacher and the real converter in any situation. What a great talk. 

Today is going to be busy so I can’t write too much, but next week I will fill you all in with the week. 

Thanks for the emails.
Have a great week. 
Elder Toma

Sunday, March 25, 2018

March 18, 2018

Hey Family! 

This week went well, nothing super new happened but it was a busy week with lots of baptismal interviews. Lots of baptisms fell through and during a training I wanted to talk about something else but out of nowhere my training was about obedience. Faith and miracles only come through obedience and it was a little roast, but they are accepted it humbly. The zone isn’t reaching its full potential. 

For me the attributes to help a missionary be more successful are the attributes of Christ. Specifically I think that being selfless is a key. Doing everything in the Lords will and then going with faith and working diligently to fulfill His will we lead to success. He is the master planner, He knows everything. ITs only through HIs Spirit that we can teach. For me that is a successful missionary.

In these last three months my testimony has grown in respect of the Book of Mormon and Christ. They kind of go together because the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. It helps us know about Him but also come to KNOW HIM. A Book like that can ONLY be TRUE. 

Sounds like quite the adventure dad had ha-ha, its sounds like a missionary day, sometimes everything goes wrong but the Lord always give us what we need. And we can always learn from any experience even if it’s not the best experience ha-ha. 

Sounds like everyone is doing well, 

The transfer here is coming to an end this week, 

I’m excited for this next transfer, I think it’ll be a good one. 

I miss you guys 
Have a good week 
Elder Toma

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March 11, 2018 Power of the Book of Mormon

Dear Family, 

This week went well, the zone conference was amazing!  It was really focused on The Book of Mormon and it was just what I think the mission has been needing. Elder Nielson had a broadcast about the power of the Book of Mormon. It really is our most powerful tool that we have. We have been trying to apply the Book of Mormon more in our zone and in our companionship. My testimony only gets strengthened the more that I use it and I’m sure that is what will happen to the investigators. 

We decided to teach our neighbor the other day and he just wanted to bible bash with us, towards the end he told me "what would you do if you found out that you were wrong all along" I really pondered about that afterwards during the day. Honestly to me it doesn’t seem possible, of course we responded to the man with our testimonies but afterwards thinking about it, it just doesn’t seem possible. To me logically it only makes sense, everything that I have been taught makes perfect sense and I came to a conclusion that the spirit also opens our minds and helps us understand when we let him but then you had the confirmation of the spirit and it turns that "it makes sense" to a certainty. To me if everything I taught wasn’t true then nothing is... the world doesn’t exist and neither do we... He also attacked us on the Book of Mormon and said that the Bible is all we need. 

The first thing that came to my mind was "If Christ came to your house and visited you and told you many important things and then asked you to record them, would you?" "of course" he responded and then we explained how Christ came to the Americas and visited God´s children. but we can only know that through prayer and study of the Book of Mormon in which the Spirit can testify to us. I think it’s interesting that most of everyone here believes in Christ, in God, and in the Bible. But why? 

Its so natural to believe that God exists, but why? It’s because they feel it and in that same way they can know that the Book of Mormon is true. 

Another great experience that I had this week was meeting with one of the stake president, as a zone leader that is one of the responsibility that we should do. We met with him and our mission president and the focus is helping the members with missionary work and helping them be more involved. We planned a bunch of stuff and then he gave a huge training on Sunday to all the priesthood of the stake. I think that it will help this stake a ton. It’s the only stake that doesn’t have its own zone. We are the zone leaders of two stakes because this stake doesn’t have a zone yet because the members aren’t supportive.

The members loved the training and are more excited to help with the missionary work, so that was good. 

To answer one of dad´s questions, it’s interesting that you asked that question, about the things I learn as a zone leader and how they will affect future leadership. That experience that I had is an answer. I learned so much about the responsibilities of the Stake President and meeting with him, we get to see what he focuses on and how he handles things. As a zone leader if I try to take in all of the responsibility, nothing will happen...but if I give responsibility to the district leaders and to the other missionaries, that’s when things happen. It’s the same as a stake president he said, he does everything that he can but he gives responsibility to his secretaries and counselors. 
I’m glad to hear that everyone is doing well. 

I hope that everyone has a good week. 

Elder Toma

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March 5, 2018 Exercising our faith daily!

Dear family

These week was great!

We worked with the members this week and they helped a lot. 

We also met a super good family. We taught the restoration and after words the mom told us that she was struggling that week and they only thing that was missing was visiting the church of the Mormons ha-ha, the next day we showed up and she noticed that he must have been an answer from God. after the lesson the husband also commented that he felt the Spirit and that the message was true. 

I started reading the Book of Mormon again and there are so many things that I have noticed. I think that it’s interesting that we notice these things when we NEED them. 

Last week was a hard week because we gave it our all to bring all of our investigators to church and it didn’t go as we planned. 

I was studying in 1 Nephi and the Lord commanded Nephi and his brothers to go get the brass plates from Laban. Laman gets the short end of the stick and he goes and talks to Laban. As we know it didn’t go well. The second time Nephi and his brothers bring all of their precious items to Laban and Laban steals from them and even tries to kill them.

At this point I think that most of us would call it quits, returning would be a death wish! But Nephi remembers how Great God is and he returns and TRIES AGAIN, this time he succeeds. This week we tried again, and we were able to see the blessing of the Lord. Sometimes when things don’t go well and it seems like we have already tried everything, it’s just the time to try again just like Nephi did. That’s what builds our faith. Exercising our faith is just like physical exercise, if we don’t do it daily then we can become unhealthy. 

Sounds like everyone is doing well. 

I hit 1 year and 5 months but I’m so far away from being trunky ha-ha. 

Love you guys and hope that you all have a great week
Elder Toma