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

Elder Toma

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dear family

This week went great, we spent the week making a ton of new investigators, but only 4 of them went to church this Sunday, but on the bright side these four investigators want to be baptized so it seems like we will be baptizing two of them this week and the other two next week. 

This area is really good, so far I am loving it, our ward mission leader is so awesome, he was baptized 9 months ago but it seems like he was born in the church, he is only 21 years old but he helps sooo much, he uses an app called WhatsApp, which is like Facebook or something but here it is the most popular thing ever. but he uses this app and created a group just to converse with all the investigators, recent converts, and less actives, and it is making 100% the difference, he also gives us tons of references which has been helping us make new investigators of quality.

To answer mom’s questions, here in Arapiraca is pretty developed, and the super markets have basically everything that we need, it just doesn’t have certain brands like brands of cereal or soda. 

Here in this mission we wash all of our clothes ourselves, and while I was in Tobias we ate a lot in the street but here me and my companion like to cook,

We often cook hot dogs when we are lazy but also we cook some pretty good meals, 
I learned some super good rice and a fried chicken recipe that is like KFC lol.
My companion is really cool, I like him a lot. It’s getting better understanding him ha-ha but sometimes I don’t even understand anything, he likes to speak really fast and lots of times just Spanish leaves his mouth.

This is my first area where people haven’t thought that I am American, it’s been pretty nice to finally leave the stage of people making fun of your accent and the way you talk ha-ha, In Tobias is was a lot better but they would still notice that I was an American after a conversation, but here it’s been great and when I say I’m an American, they either don’t believe me and think I’m messing with them or they freak out ha-ha and think that I’m finishing the mission, I was talking to a member the other day and he told me that I probably had a Brazilian trainer. I then told him the news that actually my trainer was an American and that two companions after that were Americans also and that actually I have only had one Brazilian companion in my entire mission, he then said, ´´wow. This right here is the gift of tongues´´ it made me stop and think a little bit, I also prayed to ask for the gift of tongues but it never really felt like I ever received it. I can’t believe that it has taking me about 10months to realize this but I now have a huge testimony of the Gift of Tongues and that it exists, 

Just like Elder Uhler told me also that the people there don’t even know that he is from another country, they think that I was born there, and Elder Uhler is someone serving in an Asian country who is white with golden hair and he is speaking so well that they think he was born there? TO me the gift of tongues is so real and I’m very grateful to have gained a testimony of it.

Being a district leader is a lot of work ha-ha, especially when you have sisters in your district,
That is probably the most stressful part, the sisters in my district have been hard to work with, I like them a lot but it doesn’t seem like they are putting in all their efforts into the work, I gave a training on making more new investigators of quality by working with the area book and working with members, but still their numbers were incredible low so I finally had to ´´roast´´ them ha-ha which wasn’t fun but I think finally they said they will work harder in making more investigators. Other responsibilities are just taking the numbers and goals of everyone in my district and also I have to do splits with the elders in my district, so far it hasn’t been too bad and I’m enjoying it.

I’ll send some pictures of my zone and of Arapiraca.

But I hope you all have a great week.

Miss, you guys


Elder Toma

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 17, 2017 Transfer and call to be new district leader

Dear Family,

I have good new but also bad news.

The bad news is that Adresando didn’t get baptized this week. So, the night before the baptized he was interviewed and it was amazing, our District leader said that is was super good, and then the next day his cousin broke her arm and he had to drive her way out to another city and the baptism was cancelled. Also the water was super brown, the water here is getting weird ha-ha.

But the good news is that I will be getting transferred to Arapiraca which is in between Sergipe and Maceio, but I heard it is super cool. and I will be the district leader there and the other district leader there is my companion from the CTM, Elder Crowley.

I’m a little sad because I will miss my companion, he was such a great companion and probably my favorite up until now. But I’m also excited to face new experiences and gain some leadership experiences.
I heard about Ian being baptized! Elder Uhler told me and so did Sister Uhler,
but how was it to talk with Cole on the Skype?  How was the baptism?  Tell Ian congrats for me!

So this week will be busy with settling in and everything and now I have to plan for doing trainings during district meetings.  I don’t know if I look forward to that or not but, I’m sure it will be fine.

I hope Conner enjoyed EFY, I miss going to those but the mission is just as good, if not better.
but I hope you all have a great week and I miss you guys.


Elder Toma

July 9, 2017 Meeting our new mission president and his wife

Dear family!

This week went well, we went to Aracaju to meet our new president and it went very well,
I like our new president a lot, he spoke about obedience and work but mainly about love.
We also did interviews with him and I felt that he will really help our mission, his wife Sister Taylor doesn’t speak any Portuguese, (yet) but she is super nice, when everybody was waiting to be interviewed, I had to translate for her and it was super hard because the transition from English to Portuguese just killed me ha-ha but then I think I warmed up and I was able to do just fine.

SO this week is transfers and I think that I will be transferred to another area because I have been here for a while and I have 9 months with just 2 areas so its likely that I will get transferred next Monday or Tuesday.

This week we should be having a baptism, the other baptism is on hold because the lady had to travel but she will be returning in a few weeks. but this week is Adresando, he is a great guy and I think he will be a great leader in the branch here.

It’s interesting that once someone is needed to be a leader the Lord shows a way and calls upon someone.

Also, something interesting about the new president is that he is really trying to put English into the mission to help the Brazilians and he said that when he met with the quorum of the 12 that they were really emphasizing on this so I have been helping my companion study English. 

I hope you guys have a good week

Elder Toma

Sunday, July 9, 2017

New Mission President: President Mark W. Taylor

Mark Wilson Taylor, 58, and Patricia Micheli Taylor, four children, Afton 4th Ward, Afton Wyoming Stake: Brazil Maceio Mission, succeeding President Henrique Gomes Jr. and Sister Maria Aparecida Gomes. Brother Taylor is a former stake president, bishop, ward executive secretary, elders quorum president, and missionary in the Brazil Recife Mission. Instructional facilitator, Sublette County School District 1. Born in Evanston, Wyoming, to Harold Wilson Taylor and Joyce Hickey Taylor.
Sister Taylor is a former ward Young Women and Primary president, ward Relief Society and Young Women presidency counselor, and Primary music leader. Born in Evanston, Wyoming, to Joseph Giorgis Micheli and Rebecca Twitchell Micheli.

July 2, 2017 Rough week with no water -- but small blessings along the way!

Dear Family,

This week was good but also rough ha-ha I like how in moms email it said how I never complain but this week I had plenty to complain about ha-ha.

First of all, our water was cut because the people that live underneath us had moved and they cut the water of the wrong house, at first I thought that it was normal because this happens every once in a while, we lose water. But after a couple of days it the water didn’t come back, and the conserved water was running out so we called them and they told us that the water was cut.  So we went down to the place runs the water and it was closed until Monday(today).  So we spent Saturday and Sunday without water with dirty dishes and without taking a shower or washing clothes ha-ha.

But other than that, the teaching has been going really well. We plan to baptize Adresando on the 15 of this month and another investigator that we have.  Her name is Mere and she is super humble and wants to learn more, we taught her yesterday about the plan of salvation yesterday and in the middle of it she interrupted us ha-ha, and told us how she saw the picture of Moroni putting the plates in the ground and prayed to if the picture was fake and never happened. She said that night she saw two super bright personages that almost blinded her vision with their hands extended out towards her but then she woke up and sat up in her bed astonished.  But then she said when she went back to sleep she slept all night like a baby ha-ha.  But it was a cool experience for her and we explained that this was an answer to her prayer and that now she can use this to strengthen her testimony.   We challenged her to baptism on the 15 and she accepted without any questions or doubts. 

I think it’s interesting that many people here receive answers through dreams, I never received an answer through a dream, I also receive through longs periods of time ha-ha, I think the Lord likes to teach me that way, just like how Paul said about the meats and the milks of the gospel.

This week we will also be going to Aracaju again which is pretty far away, to meet our new mission president.  I’m pretty excited to meet him and see everyone again, and this time I will be able to receive the package that mom sent me. 

This Sunday was pretty good even without water, fast and testimony meeting was good, and it seems like we also receive little miracles whenever we fast.  one big miracle is great but all the small miracles together are even greater.  The week went slow but in the end pretty good. 

I hope everyone had a good week,

Miss you all,

Elder Toma

Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 26, 2017 We say "Goodbye" to President and Sister Gomez

Dear family, 

This week went well but for two of the days we were out in Aracaju, another part of the state of Serjipe.  It was a 2-hour trip and we had to be there by 8am so we slept at our District leaders house for the night and then went to Aracaju in the morning which cut the morning trip by an hour.

The conference was very good, but it was sad to say goodbye to our President Gomez and Sister Gomez, I really liked them a lot.  After the conference, we ate some sushi that was sooo good but then a gay guy asked for my number which was weird.

This week we had some success with our investigators.  We taught a family the restoration and the Spirit was very strong, every single one of them cried as we bore our testimonies of Joseph Smith. and the next morning they went to church with us.

The branch is a little weak and its likely that every single priesthood leader will be moving, our president of our branch is moving because of his job and his 1st counselor is serving a mission and the 2nd will be getting married and will move to another city, that leaves the missionaries in charge of the branch.

If everything goes well we should be baptizing this family in the next week, and our investigator Adresando would help the branch a ton.

Pray that everything goes through.

love you guys 

Elder Toma