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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 25, 2017 Merry Christmas!

Because it was Christmas Day, Elder Toma did not send an email; rather, we were able to Skype with him. Below are some clips of the video.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 17, 2017 Success in inviting

Dear family,

This week has been just crazy lots of teaching but a lot of rejections this week to baptism. About 5 baptisms fell through that we marked for our white Christmas that we will have this Saturday. So the zone will be inviting all the investigators that will be baptized to attend the same baptismal meeting, it’s going be super cool and I’m not worried because we have a couple of other investigators to baptize this week. 

This week I have grown even more spiritually reading the Book of Mormon in my mission language. I’m now in finishing up 3rd Nephi and I have never been so certain that Christ visited His people in the Americas. I thought that it was interesting that one of the first things he did was give priesthood authority to baptize. He then testifies of baptism saying that it is essential to receive salvation.  That’s why baptism is so important, it’s not about the numbers but it’s the gate in which we start our new life to follow Christ. 

I heard about the how priests can now baptize for baptism for the dead, I got excited because that is really going to help, especially in places like here, were there may be tons of priests, but few hold the greater priesthood. 

If I were to tell you guys one of the things I regret most is being a missionary that I could have been before the mission. Yeah, I invited Johnny to activity and talked about our church to Colton and Kyle and some other friends but one of the most success in baptisms is in the youth! here the youth are so ready, and I know they are over there too. ITs because they already have a friend in the church. I had lots of friends that I could have invited to help out, just imagine when we go to the spirit world and one of our friend shows up and asks "why didn’t you invite me? isn’t that what a true friend would do?" The youth is so critical also because it helps to already learn young and then they can even serve missions and then think of the lives they can bless. 

Especially to Conner, invite someone to church, you have lots of friends! you don’t need to invite them to be baptized, it’s just to church or mutual. 

A young woman in our stake here in Arapiraca has be helping the sisters from my district, they have baptized tons be people just because she invited! last week she invited 13 friends to church, she has even been an example to me. One of the things that I want to do when I get back is invite at least one person to church, and even if that person doesn’t accept, you only succeeded because you invited. 

I’m excited to talk to you guys also, I’m thinking in the afternoon I will be able to skype, I’ll definitely send an email to confirm the time, I’ll be in a member’s house to skype so ill advise you guys beforehand. My package has probably arrived, I will receive it on Wednesday because we have our Christmas conference. 

We made a pretty funny video but it’s too big to send ha-ha and it’s in Portuguese so it would be kind of hard to understand. 

I’ll be transferred on the 2nd, I don’t know what will happen but I’m excited. 
I miss you all. 

Have a great week and merry Christmas!

Elder Toma

Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 10, 2017 A super hot Christmas!

So this week went well, we already had a miracle this week. 

So one of the investigators Mila has been wanted to be baptized but she has been struggling with a few problems and immorality which as we know [is hard] to overcome. She has been praying for months and fasting to overcome this temptation and this week on Sunday before church she was baptized and confirmed. To me that was a miracle.

So here Christmas is celebrated and I’m already seeing lots of decorations, it’s interesting that they decorate winter themed stuff, but here its super hot!

So there is this place called the grove here that they have decorated well and its super pretty. They set up this HUGE Christmas tree, its fake but its super tall! and I also saw these lights that say Natal Familia, which is Christmas and family. I thought that was interesting.

The president confirmed that I will be transferred on the 2nd of Jan, he said whatever I need to get done get it done. I really just want to give this area my all right before I leave. 

Being here for almost 6 months is a long time and I love the area but it’s time to leave. I’m glad that I will be able to at least pass Christmas and New Year’s here. 

This week I made some sticky chicken for my companion ha-ha he liked it. oh and can you send me the venichini recipe, I like to make super easy food and also beef stroganoff ha-ha. 

I hope everyone has a good week. I’ll send pictures next week because I didn’t take any this week. 

Miss you all


Elder Toma

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 3 2017 Miracles

This week went well but super super busy. 

So on Tuesday we taught Adriano and set everything for his baptism on Saturday and then we walked like 5000 miles to this other investigator that we met a church, her name is Nercia and she is 20 and super interested but she lives with and aunt and uncle and the uncle is a pastor and the aunt a missionary of their church so that’s kind of complicated. they respected us and even gave us some soda and cake but afterwards Nercia said that she wants to go to church but maybe her uncle won’t let her. On Wednesday we traveled to Maceió and we stayed there until Thursday where we had our leadership meeting. It was a great meeting I learned a lot there and how to help my district. It was fun to see my past companions and see them as leaders too. I’ll make sure to send some pictures. On Friday we went to Penedo another city to do some baptismal interviews and then finally we returned to our home! on Saturday afternoon and we went to interview Adriano. Adriano´s baptism fell through because he works for the 1st counselor of our stake who isn’t paying him! so that kind of gave him a bad image and also when he prayed he had a dream that he entered the church and a leader cut him and it was a bad dream he said so he decided to not be baptized this week. We finally were able to talk to him and explain that obviously his dream wasn’t an answer from God and we will set his baptism for this week. Satan is also working on the other side. I think I have had only one easy baptism, baptisms aren’t easy but marking baptism are, isn’t that interesting? 
The moment that we mark the baptism is the moment that Satan comes in trying to stop the baptism using whatever or whoever to stop it. Every baptism is a miracle because it’s also proof that God is much more powerful. 

One of the miracle I saw this week was Matheus who was baptized recently passed the sacrament for the first time. Since I’ve gotten here and I’m sure for the last year and a half he always sits with the deacons on the bench which are his friends and watches them pass the sacrament but never was able to participate because he wasn’t baptized. This week it was a miracle to see him smiling and participating with his friends in passing the sacrament, and it was all because of a prayer and a fast that softened the hearts of his parents.

Its sounds like lots of people want to know what we eat here ha-ha. So we eat rice, beans, noodles, chicken or meat and salad and depending which area we drink soda or juice. The fruits here are super good. the fruits are mangos, acerola, pineapple, star fruit, passion fruit, watermelon, banana, apple, oranges, limes, papaya, graviola, and jack fruit guaraná and also açaí and I think there is a lot more. Every desert that we eat half the time has sweet and condensed milk ha-ha, but it’s always super good. I’ll make sure to take a picture of lunch one day and I’ll send it to all ya. 

I think some of the weirdest things that I have eaten that I actually like is heart and lungs and also I’ve eaten like a bird, like a little bird ha-ha it was actually pretty good. The worst thing was the insides of a crab, it was so gross but I rarely don’t like something. Even my companion says that I like everything ha-ha. He says that the food his is a lot different than the food where he is from which is close to the capital of |Brazil. 

Sounds like you guys all had a great week. 

Miss, you all

Elder Toma

It’s probably arriving here soon.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

November 26, 2017 I find joy in serving and helping bless others

Dear Family

This week went really, we taught some really spiritual lessons and it seems like my companion is learning a ton, he already came on the mission super prepared, but he teaches some super good lessons now.

I’m still dl and I’m liking it a lot, two newbies have arrived, one of them is from Campo Verde which is an island off of Africa. He is a good missionary and already speaks Portuguese because it is the language where he lives.

When he arrived he didn’t know how to use a washing machine because not very many people have washing machines there and so he hand washes and also he said that the water that he drank the most is rain water so the first time that it rains it cleans the roof of the house and then the second time they through buckets out and collect rain water to drink, so I thought that that was interesting. His companion is from Peru so the district is an interesting mix.
So yeah Matheus was baptized last week and confirmed and receiving the priesthood this week, he is happy and already helping us a ton with all of his friends who aren’t members. This week we are going to baptize Pedro one of Matthew’s friends whose parents also won’t let him be baptized and Adriano who is 20 years old.

Last night was crazy, right outside of our apartment this car was driving crazy and hit someone on a motorcycle and he flew, the car that hit him drove off, it was pretty messed up, I think someone took a pic of the license plate. But what I liked is that everyone that was close, like 30 people all got out and helped him, they called ambulance and his family and it looks like he wasn’t to injured, he was able to get up but he was awake and able to pass information. It’s always a comfort to know that there are many good people that are willing to help, even in the old times of the bible there was people not willing to help in the story of the good Samaritan.

Everything is doing well in the area and with the members.

This week lots of lunches with the members fell through, so here in Brazil we don’t eat dinner with members, we eat lunch lol, but yeah it was strange because usually it doesn’t fall through, I think this week was just busy, so I’ve had to use some of the personal money to buy lunch, I hope I still have money left lol.

It’s crazy how fast time is flying, before I know it it’s going to be Christmas, I still haven’t gotten the package but its probably arriving. Its sounds like thanksgiving was good, I totally forgot about thanksgiving, I liked the pictures hahaha.
So my day schedule is that we wake up at 6:30 and we clean up a little or we go buy some bread and eggs for breakfast and then we eat and do some exercise a little ha-ha I’m starting to slack on the exercising lol.

Then we study personally and then we do the12 weeks training for my companion and we do companion study and language study, I’m helping him learn English and he´s reading the book of Mormon in English really well already, Then we go to lunch and usually we choose to work in one area per day because our area is huge, I like being a missionary servant because I like leaving back my life, before the mission I had a testimony but it was more relied on the testimonies around me and I’m able to try and do what Matthew 10:39 which say  "He that findeth his own life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it". I feel that I’m finding my life more losing my life, I love being on the mission and I love serving the Lord and giving him everything that I have, its where I’ve come closer to Him and where I have been able to coming closer to finding my life.

And to answer the other question, this is what has brought me happiest and joy, also being able to bring souls to Christ. I find joy in serving and helping bless others.

I miss you guys but I’m glad that there is still lots of time for me to be here.

I’m excited to see you guys on Christmas.

hope everyone has a great week

Amo Vocês

Elder Toma