Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 14, 2018 Mother's Day

Sunday was Mother's Day, so we were able to Skype with Braden.  No letter this week.  It was great to see him and hear his voice.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

May 6, 2018 The Still Small Voice

Hey family! 

This week was hard when it came to teaching new people because we were running around all week doing baptismal interviews but by the end of the week we got the ward really excited to work. 
This week it looks like we have someone to leave with us almost every day! 

Something interesting that I have learned this week is inspiration and revelations comes way more clearly and directly in our spiritual meetings. It doesn’t mean that we don’t receive inspiration when we aren't in those meetings but for me I receive these promptings during prayer and during study but then in these meetings they are magnified to me. I thought it was so interesting. 

I was sitting in sacrament and just names and people and members where flying through my head, it was like the Spirit was just telling me almost as it was in person! 

Something that the prophet has said is that God has so much to tell us and He wants to tell us many things. I remember feeling that everything that the Spirit was telling me was true, but it wasn’t just a loud voice He speaks to us so quietly, if I wasn’t praying or listening in Church then I don't think that I would have even heard it! 

Something that I like that President Russel M Nelson has said is to pray, listen, write down our thoughts, and act. And if practice makes perfect then the more we pray, listen, write, and act then the faster we can recognize or receive revelation. I really like the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants when the Lord commands Joseph and Oliver to write everything down while they were still filled with the Spirit. Even the Prophet Joseph Smith did it!

So my companion is really awesome, he is from Paraná Brazil, it’s in the south of Brazil. He served in the military and is just an overall great guy, I have been blessed my entire mission to have 
such great companions. 

This week we taught a lesson to an old guy outside of his house with tons of birds and chickens running around, to me it was normal but then I thought about what it would be like in the states and I thought "wow, this is not normal"! ha-ha he was a nice guy, he wants to get married and baptized so we are helping him. Afterwards he gave us a whole wheel barrel full of coconuts and avocados, I didn’t want to accept it but I think he would have gotten offended if I didn’t ha-ha. 

Tomorrow my companion and I have to give a training to all the zone leaders at the president’s house on the importance of bringing our investigators to church. Pray that the Spirit can be with us. 
This week we presented the new attribute to the zone, we are all studying about faith.

Wow it has already been a great study, it is so amazing to see how everything connects like a puzzle. Faith, humility, and obedience are all so connected and every week I have understood more about each one. It’s fun to see how much something pops up when you are actually looking for it. I will be just studying about anything and things about faith will pop up, last week it was obedience that was just popping up everywhere! Even the president's weekly message this week is called "FAITH" what a "coincidence" right. 

And you’re right the mission is such a marathon there are those points where we don’t see the finish line and we don’t think that we can make it but seeing those people on the side lines holding up 
your name routing for ya sure helps us continue and it gives us the motivation to press forward,
thanks for being the ones routing for me on the sideline and giving me motivation to always continue. 

Thanks for the prayers, they make all the difference 

I hope everyone has a great week 

Elder Toma

Sunday, May 6, 2018

April 29, 2018 Transfers

Dear Family, 

So this week is the transfer. 

I will be staying in my area Boa Vista and I’ll be training a new zone leader. My companion is going to be transferred even though he has been here for only 5 weeks! 

But the president needs him somewhere and I think that is how the mission should be. If the president feels good about something, then it must be right. 

This week we had to cut some investigators unfortunately. It seems like lots of people talk bad about our religion, like it’s a cult or something and they end up giving up when they hear 
those things from friends or family members. 

But on the bright side we have found lots of new investigators to teach. One of them loved the lesson and has been searching for the true church and another cried in the opening prayer just by feeling the Spirit. 

Something that I learned this week was that my companion and I had a day this week which was just rough. We got rejected by everyone, we put some of our favorite investigators in the area book, and we had a lesson with a crazy woman and her house was just filled with bad feelings. It started pouring on us, it was about 8:20 and we still had 40 minutes before we had to go home. My first thought was, let’s just give up and go do the area book. But we continued until we knocked on someone’s door and when this contact answered the door, she smiled and wanted us to come in. 
That was the lesson of the night! she loved it and wanted to know more! she took the Book of Mormon and was just excited to read it. After we started going back home, my companion was like "I felt like giving up today, I was going to just say let’s do the area book" but good thing that we didn’t. Because if we did, we would have missed that lesson. 
It reminds me of Nephi when he went to go get the plates and he didn’t achieve them the first time, nor the second, but on the third try he got the brass plates. 
many times it’s on the last try that we succeed. The first will be last and the last will be first ha-ha. 

This week’s attribute in the zone was exact obedience. It’s the first law of heaven and definitely an important one. 

The example that i shared was a perfect example of it. Even though many people say that they don’t see the blessings from obedience, many times I believe that obedience blesses the people around us. 

Congrats to Mckinzie and Mark!

It’s good to see the whole family together. 

I miss you guys but three transfers is too little! 

Hope everyone has a great week! 
Elder Toma

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 23, 2018

Dear Fam, 

The week went really well because I had some new learning experiences. 

My companion and I have decided to set a new goal and this goal is to follow the promptings of the Spirit without hesitating.

One example was that I was sitting in church and I was praying, and I got a strong impression to call two of our investigators. So, I quietly got up and left to call them. Interestingly I called them and no answered! I called again, and nobody answered.  I don’t know if this happens with lots of us. But sometimes I feel like the Lord tests us to see if we will listen to His Spirit. Later that night when we went to visit one of our investigators, we knocked on the door and she didn’t answer, we yelled for her name and clapped our hands and still no answer. So, we left to visit other people. 

As we were attempting to contact people, everything was falling through, and we ended up sitting on the curb and we said a prayer. Our first impression was to return to the original investigator's house. As we got there we knocked on the door and she answered! she was there and told us that she read the Book of Mormon and that she knew that it was true. 

“we will grow in the spirit of revelation and receive more and more Spirit-driven insight and direction" 
-Elder Rasband

When I was in a member’s house for lunch yesterday I realized something really interesting that made me think. 

This member has a little 7-year-old girl. She asked for some juice and her dad poured some juice in her cup. When she asked for more he looked in her cup to see that she hadn’t even drunken any of it. So, he said something that stuck out to me, he said "I will but more juice in your cup when you drink it". If she drank her juice, then he would have put more in her cup. 

I feel the same way when it comes to revelation.  If we ask we shall receive but the more, we follow the promptings the more we shall receive. If we just ask but not do anything why would we receive? it’s just like giving a child a cup of juice and if he doesn’t drink he doesn’t get more. 
 This week we are still thinking about which Christ like attribute we will study as a zone, but I think my companion and I are thinking about faith. 

Things are actually cooling down a bit, it rained on Sunday and it was actually pretty cool, none of our investigators went to church even though we offered to have a member take them in a car, but then again not even the members went because of the rain, it was sad. 

I’m appreciating my companion each day, we really push each other every day and I like getting feedback from him and he likes it from me. Like dad said feedback is key, we always ask our zone for feedback so that we can improve and always seek to get better. 

And Cole hasn’t even told me! that punk lol. tell him to send an email ha-ha. 
I hope everyone has a great week,

Thanks for all the tips and support that you all give me. 

Elder Toma

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