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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

November 20, 2017 Seeing lives change

Dear family this week has been good, 

So this week is also going to be stake conference, I’m interested to see what changes will be made, maybe there will be changes in my area. 

Transfers is tomorrow, I’ll be staying as district leader and I’ll be finishing up my companions training, 

It’s crazy how time is passing by, I’m now the oldest missionary in the district, it seems like yesterday I was the youngest.

This week we also went to an activity that was about an hour away, it was fun to go to a little city and leave with members of the church that we didn’t know and do splits inviting people to an activity about the restoration of the gospel. From me it was a good experience but also an experience that I have every day so I was already used to it, but for the members it was a super experience and it really strengthened their testimonies. 

We are also teaching a young man named Adriano which is 20 years old, its seems like his baptism is set for this Saturday, he will help a lot in the church I think as a priesthood holder and he still has time to serve a mission.

On Wednesday my ward mission leader Daniel is going to leave for his mission, he has been a super great example for me, he gave his farewell talk and Sunday and had everyone crying including our bishop, 

I’ve never seen someone’s life change as his, he made a complete 180 and his family is already being blessed for it, and I already have such a great desire to share the gospel, he baptized his mom, his sister, his friends, his neighbors, his girlfriend who is now going to serve a mission also, and I truly believe that his father will be baptized in these next two years. The bishop told me that he changed the missionary work in our ward, it’s sad that he is leaving but everyone is happy for him. 

It was good to hear about how everyone is doing, chase Cole and the Maos.

Conner is looking good, Mao sent me some pictures this week, he really enjoyed visiting with you guys.

Continue to also be a good friend, especially to the recent converts.

miss you all,


Elder Toma

Sunday, November 19, 2017

November 12, 2017 God always has His perfect plan

Dear Family,

This week went great, it was really busy but it was good.

So on Friday we went to another training for trainers and for trainees. It was a good meeting but a lot of traveling,

it’s about a four-hour travel and it planned for me to go to this meeting and then after the meeting buy a bus ticket to another city called Penedo and I was going to do 4 baptismal interviews there because it was already Friday and the baptism was set for Saturday, so we were really in a rush.

When I got to the bus station I asked for the next ticket to Penedo possible but the lady said that there were only tickets to Penedo for Saturday morning which wasn’t going give, so I just traveled back to Arapiraca and I was going to get a van from Arapiraca to Penedo 

I called the missionaries from Penedo if I could do the interview in Saturday morning and they said that the interviews were set for Friday night, so I called the zone leaders and one of the zone leaders got permission from the president to take a van to Penedo alone while the other zone leader was doing another interview in our zone and the zone leader that stayed called our ward mission leader Daniel to do splits with him. 

My zone leader was doing an interview of a boy who wanted to be baptized but his dad wouldn’t let him, they went there about two times trying to help the father understand about baptism and help out when finally, Daniel my ward mission leader went on splits and when he got there
he recognized the family and knew the dad, he then talked to him and the father let his son be baptized. 

It was a complicated week and we all were throwing out plans last minute for everything to go through but in the end Penedo baptized and also the boy from the Verdes Camps ward who´s dad wouldn’t let him be baptized. In the end everything worked out perfectly.

It was another reminder that God always has HIS perfect plan. The plan that we had was good but it fell through for a reason because if our plan went through Penedo would have been baptized but the boy from our stake wouldn’t have been. It was important that Danile was there to talk to the boy’s father. 

Sunday was also a very good day, president and his wife came to speak to our ward and it was super good, it really helps our ward. They talked a lot on missionary work and it was good for our investigators that were there too, very spiritual.

Today we are going to throw a barbecue and play a bunch of games because this month we were the baptizing zone, and this month is already going well also so we are all pretty excited about that.
ha-ha while it is getting colder there, it is getting super hot here. Its definitely summer time here and its only going to get hotter. 

I hope every has a good week

miss you guys.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

November 5, 2017 Power is something that depends on us

Dear Family

This week was a good week, we had the opportunity to go to our zone conference which was super good, I have already come to love my president and his spouse. They are such good people and are helping the mission a ton.

It was good to see some old companions at the conference so that was fun. This week we are just preparing for Mateus’s baptism on Friday, it sounds like his whole family is going to be there.

One scripture that I like that I read this week is words of Mormon 1:17 that says, " For behold, King Benjamin was a holy man, and he did reign over his people in righteousness; and there were many holy men in the land, and they did speak the word of God with power and with authority; and they did use much sharpness because of the stiffneckedness of the people"

I like to sometimes apply the scriptures to modern day so I replaced King Benjamin with Presidente Monson. Today he guides us and we can be the many holy men or women preaching the word of God with power and authority.

I realized that authority could be our callings for example I’m called and ordained as a missionary and so I have the authority to preach the Gospel, but power is something that depends on us. If we are more obedient and if we have more faith then we have more power to preach the word of God. Russel Ballard said that the only true conversion is through the power of the Holy Ghost. I liked that a lot because it is so true.

I think it is very possible to baptize someone without that person feeling the spirit but either they will feel it and be converted or the will fall away from the church.

Congrats to Conner and for his team for beating Battlefield.

At Zone Conference
Sounds like everyone is doing good.

Miss you guys,

I’ll send some pics


Elder Toma

Sunday, November 5, 2017

October 30, 2017 A week of miracles

Dear family,

This week was a week of miracles. So we all decided to fast so that Mateus’s parents would sign the baptismal record and also another investigator Gemison because also his mom didn’t want to sign his baptismal record.

So we did our fast, Matheus, my companion and I. On Thursday we went on splits, I went with one of the zl to interview our investigators. We first went to Matheus’s house and we left a message with his mom who afterwards refused to sign it and said that she would not sign it until Matheus was 18 years old! but then as we talked to her we discovered that she was afraid that Matheus’s father would get upset that she signed it and that if he agreed to sign it then she would support it. 
I won’t lie when I left I was pretty upset and even tempted to break my fast, but I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do so I continued fasting. We then went to Gemison´s house, he is a 12-year-old boy and his brothers are all baptized, and he has a ton of time in the church too, but his mom never let him get baptized, so when went there and did his interview and he passed with excellence and then we talked to his mom who surprisingly agreed to signing his baptismal record and on Saturday we baptized him and his mom even showed up to support. But then the next day on Saturday Matheus came up to us saying that he talked to his dad and that his dad will sign the baptismal record to let him be baptized!

Fasting really does bring miracles when we put our faith in the Lord, Gemison could have been baptized any day for these past few years, Matheus´s parents could have signed his record any time this year, but they didn’t,

All this happened in one week with a little fast to soften the hearts of this boy´s parents. I know that God´s hands played a part in this. Every baptism is a miracle and a testimony that God is real, 
I know that conversion without the Holy Ghost isn’t a true conversion, he plays a major role in the conversion process, Doctrina e Convenios 42 says that if ye don’t receive the spirit ye shall not teach.

I’m excited for this week because I know that we will experience even more miracles, it’s a new miracle every day. 

Hope everyone is doing well, I miss you all 

Happy Halloween! 


Elder Toma

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October 23, 2017 You don't have to wear a name tag to be a missionary

Dear Family,

The week went well, we worked hard trying to find some new investigators because none of our investigators went to church this week unfortunately, so this week will be a lot of finding new people to teach.

We have already found of couple of new families that are super interested, they made a cake for us and everything ha-ha. 

My companion is from Goias and he is the only member of his family that is a member of the church. He was baptized about a year and 9 months ago but he has a ton of knowledge of the church and it seems like he was born in the church. This week he has been feeling down because he received news that his friend was electrocuted and died, so I’ve been trying to help him out a little, but he is doing fine.

It was a good this week with teaching also, our leader of the missionary work is preparing to go on his mission here in a month, so he has been with us to teach which I thought was good.
We had a meeting about the importance of members and the role of them, and he happened to participate and our ward missionary leader helps a ton, he is only 21 and he only has a year in the church but he seems like he has a ton of time in the church, he said in the meeting that sometimes the members get confused with church and the temple, they think that you have to be worthy to go to church and they judge those that are going to church just to get better, and that the temple is the place where you have to be worthy, he said that church is like a hospital to help the sick. He also got on top of everyone saying that the role of the missionaries is to baptize and that the members should be the ones making friendships with the new converts because the missionaries don’t stay in the ward forever and also to not wait for the missionary to leave to be a friend but to be a friend a quickly as possible and then when the missionary leaves that person will already feel comfortable to stay because they will have someone to talk to.

He has been such an example to me, I don’t know why I never got involved with missionary work before the mission, but I wish that I did. He talks to everyone he knows and invites everyone to every activity, makes me realize that everyone is a missionary, and that not just the missionaries that are serving a mission with a name tag are missionaries in our church. 

sounds like everyone is doing well, 

I think one of my favorite things this week was hear about Cole´s home coming, and his talk, it had me in tears just hearing about it.

Give him a hug for me,

Hope everyone has a good week,


Elder Toma

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 16, 2017 A new companion: Elder Moraes

Dear family,

This week went really well!

So on Tuesday I went to Maceió to get my new companion.  So his name is Elder Moraes, he lives close to Brasilia which is also a district just like Washington DC.

He is best buds with one of the elders that was in my district but he got transferred this transfer to Sergipe ha-ha. 

He is excited and it’s going to be easy to work with him I think because he wants to be 100% obedient and he wants to work hard.

This week we made some new investigators and invited everyone to church, but surprisingly none of them came to church, I was pretty disappointed but then someone came to church that made me even more surprised. Mathew´s mom! Matheus is the boy that wanted to be baptized but his mom wouldn’t let him, but on Sunday she came to church to see what we are about and she participated in the classes and in sacrament meeting, it was really cool.

Also this week we have a new assistant, my trainer asked the president to train right before he goes home, so for this 12 weeks he will be training in Tobias Barreto my past area.

Our investigators are doing well, we have one investigator that we made, his name is Henrique and we marked his baptism on the first lesson, some people are just ready to receive the gospel, he is excited already.

But I hope that everyone is doing well and I miss you all,

I’ll send some pictures


Elder Toma

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 9, 2017 Transfers and called to be a trainer

Dear Family,

This week started out great! So, Monday me and my companion from the MTC burned our yellow shirts ha-ha to mark our one year, and then we ate a good barbecue, Uruguayan style ha-ha. I’ll send pictures next week because the computer place that I’m using today isn’t the best and its taking forever just to write ha-ha.

Transfers have ended and I was very pleased with my district, we all worked hard this transfer and we all had lots of success. 

My companion is sad but also excited to get to know more areas because tomorrow he leaves, it’s interesting because he will be opening an area with Elder Del Rio who is also from my district! so that was interesting I thought. 

I will be staying in Arapiraca second ward as district leader still but the news is that I also will be training! so I don’t even know any information about my new companion yet. 

I don’t have that much time this week because of the transfers but next week I will keep everyone up to date!

thanks for the pics! I loved seeing Conner out there playing football. 
miss you all

Elder Toma

also, I think the only things that I would like for Christmas would be maybe some hair product because they don’t sell that here, and stick deodorant because also they don’t sell that here ha-ha

Sunday, October 8, 2017

October 1, 2017 Hitting the One-Year Mark!

Dear Family, 

This week went super well, especially Saturday. 

Saturday morning started off with a stake activity with the members of the stake and the missionaries, we all went to this park and handed out Book of Mormons to the people there.

Many people were receptive, like we handed out 200 Book of Mormons in about an hour! we met lots of people that were interested and we taught many, it was a success!

After the activity we all ate a barbecue with the bishop of the ward and then went to the chapel to watch the first session of conference. Conference was amazing! 

I loved Elder Uchtdorf’s talk on those that serve God and love Him with see wonderful things in life and that God will use you if you are willing. The talk by Dallin H. Oaks was also so good I like what he said about families and exaltation is a family matter and salvation is a personal matter and how we should choose the Lords way and not the worlds. D Todd Christofferson gave such a good talk also about the ordinance of the sacrament and bring the Savior into our life and be one. After the first session of conference we had our baptism! we baptized the first counselor´s mother and it was such an amazing baptism with over 50 people attending it. The spirit really did guide us and we only fulfilled what was said. After the baptism we had the second session which was also such a great session. 

This week was great, conference was great, I loved the two sessions on Sunday also and it’s hard to choose a favorite talk, Callister’s talk had me dying because it made all the critics of the Book of Mormon look dumb and Neil L. Anderson’s talk was very touching to hear the words of Elder Hails and our Prophet Thomas S. Monson.

Sounds like everyone is doing well. I’m glad to hear that Conner is active in developing talents, which is an important part of life I think, even if it is guitar or playing football, it’s all good stuff.
It’s crazy that I’m about to make on year, today a member is going to through a barbecue for me and my companion from the MTC ha-ha, so that will be fun.

Miss, you guys, hope you all enjoyed conference.

Até Mais,

Elder Toma

Sunday, October 1, 2017

September 24, 2017 Many spiritual experiences!

This week went very well, lots of spiritual experiences.

The first counselor to the bishop was baptized a few years ago, and every one of the family with him except his mom.  The mom didn’t even allow missionaries to have lunch in the house because she didn’t want to hear the message. But a couple weeks after I arrived she started to except giving lunch and two weeks ago she went to church and we felt the spirit really strongly saying "mark a visit with her and invite her to baptism" like what a crazy thought, ask her to be baptized? but we didn’t even question it because the spirit said to. So during the week we went there and talked with her and with a very spiritual message, we marked baptism for the 30th of this month, The first counselor to the bishop (her son) cried, she cried, and my companion cried ha-ha, but it was a very spiritual experience, the next visit we talked about coffee and I was ready to help her with setting goals when suddenly she said that she will stop that same day, I’m still shocked to this day that she stopped and still hasn’t drinking a single cup of coffee. 

The other miracle was with Matheus, we sat down with him and talked to him about his baptism and I felt inspired to share dad´s story when he was in Japan and the girl wanted to be baptized but her dad wouldn’t let her and finally she fasted and told him that she was fasting and he was impressed. While I was telling this story to him the spirit was very strong and we all felt impressed to fast and pray. even if he doesn’t get baptized this week I know that it was for something because the spirit said so. 

I’m excited for this week because I know that there will be even more miracles this week.

It’s crazy that Cole returns in 3 weeks! give him a hug for me ha-ha.

It sounds like everyone is doing well,  Conner is liking football it sounds like?
ha-ha its funny because I hated soccer but now I’m starting to like it because we play it every pday lol.

The weather here has been weird, hot and then cold and then hot ha-ha, and it is raining a lot this year here. 

I’m excited for conference also, it’s crazy that it has almost been a year since I was at home watching oct conference and then I left for Sao Paulo a few days later.

But how is Porter settling in? culture shock?
Say hi to everyone for me

miss you all.

Elder Toma

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 


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


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,


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

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