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

Love 
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 

Love 

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

Love 

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,

Love 

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
Love,

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



Love 

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.

Love

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


Love
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

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 18, 2017 Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day!

I would just like to start out by saying I love you and I’m so grateful to have such a great example in my life, if it wasn’t for you and mom I would have never grown up in the church and gained the opportunity to serve a mission, thanks for being my dad and thanks for all the support that you give me.

This week was good, but success wasn’t the best that I have had.  we had a holiday this week called Corpus Cristo I think, and everyone traveled so it was super hard to find anyone, but this week will be a better week. 

I’ve been emailing with Elder Uhler, it seems that he is doing super well, he says that this mission has been the best thing for him its crazy that he only has 4 months left. It sometimes feels like the mission will be my life forever but then I realize how much time has passed.

I’m so happy for Hunter and Michelle, tell them I said congratulation, the wedding looks great and everybody is looking good, Tell Conner that now that school is out he has time to email me, I know he has an iPod lol. 

The weather here has been cooler than normal and has been rainy so that’s good, on Sunday I wore my sweater! I never thought that would ever happen on my mission ha-ha.

I hope everybody has a good week

Miss you all
Amo Voces 

Elder Toma

Thursday, June 15, 2017

June 12, 2017 The Book of Mormon changes your life

Wow, I’m glad to hear about the wedding and that everything went well ha-ha,

I guess something in common that Brazilians have and Latinos is showing up late hahaha, 

But I’m super happy to hear about the wedding, two down, so two more left ha-ha.

This week went very well, the baptism went through, we baptized young boy named Breno, he is 12 years old but a very good kid, I’m almost certain he will serve a mission, it also helps that his best friend is a member and the good kids.

We had another musical number, I played the piano and sang with my companion ´´I Like to Look for Rainbows´´ it went well I think ha-ha.

This week a gay guy chased us with a weird wig, he always flirts and then tries to bible bash with us so we just ignore him and walk really fast ha-ha.

I also gave a talk this Sunday and I liked it a lot, it was about the importance of the Book of Mormon in our lives, I explained briefly about the Book of Mormon and what it is and the story of Joseph Smith but I also shared to examples of how the Book of Mormon and change our lives, I gave an example about the story of Samuel the Lamanite and how he preached the gospel on the wall and how he was protected by the Lord, I compared that to my life, how it helped me learn to have more faith and trust in the Lord and with obedience and faith the lord will protect us from the arrows and stones of the world, I explained that this is a little example and then I also told the story of Dads friend who was Jewish that decided to burn the Book of Mormon so that his family wouldn’t find out, but he heard a voice saying ´´don’t burn my book´´ and how this changed his life completely, my companion really liked the story and the members as well, a-ha sorry for not asking for permission to tell the story beforehand but it fit really well in with my talk. 

The Book of Mormon is just one of the best gifts from God that we have received, it answers all of the most important questions in our life, it answers that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ, it answers that Joseph Smith is a Prophet and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church and kingdom of God, for this the Book of Mormon is the Key stone of our religion, and it is by the Spirit that we can know that it is true. (2 Nephi 32:5, Moroni 10:3-5)

I miss you guys,
Hope everyone has a great week

Love

Elder Toma

June 5, 2017 Baptism of Delaine

Dear family, 

This week was good, the news is that I will stay in my area another transfer! I’m excited because we have some really good investigators here,

The other good news is that the baptism went through! finally ha-ha, her name is Delaine and she has had tons of missionaries pass by, she never got baptized when she was 8 years old and has waited up until now with 29 years of age! but the baptism was perfect. We had two members speak and then we did a musical number that me and my comp made, it was hymn 7 in Portuguese with the tune of Come Thou Font and my companion sang with a young woman in our ward and it was super good, he said that Delaine almost cried.  I’ll send a picture of the baptism also in this email. 

This week we will be baptizing a friend of a member, his name is Breno and he has 12 years and he is super cool, he has been going to church for a couple of months now and has decided to be baptized. 
It’s so crazy that Hunter will be getting married this week, time flies by and I can’t believe I’m on my 9th months of the mission, 

I really just want to make use of the time here because I know I will miss the mission after the mission as much as I miss the stuff back at home, it doesn’t even compare because the stuff back at home is all waiting. 

Brazil is really growing on me and I’m loving it here more and more every day, the culture the food and the people are great but I’m glad to be here serving the Lord and learning about Him more and more each day. 

Its seems like some of the youth are preparing for missions back at home, I’m excited for them because it’s really the best thing,

It’s crazy to think that Elder McGary and elder Uhler and elder snow will be returning home soon,
Good luck with everything, with the productions, the marriage, and all the other stuff going on,

IT was fun to have a baptism on the same day as Conner’s birthday ha-ha, it makes it easier to remember for me.

miss you all,
have a good week

Elder Toma

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 22, 2017 Companion breaks the bed!

Dear Family,

This week went well very well, we made a lot of new investigators and this week we are planning on baptizing a couple and then on the 3rd of June we plan to baptize more. 

Haha this week my comp laid down on his bed and his bed broke in half hahahaha it was so funny but he wasn't happy.

My companion is really good i like him a lot, he is always very excited to work but i think the thing that i learned most from him is the way he teaches, he teaches very well and in way that always captures the attention of the person, he likes to use a lot of analogies also and i like this.

I just had my last interview with my presidente, it was kinda sad because he will be leaving in June and i like him a lot, but I'm also excited to meet my new president, also i guess the secretary will be receiving a married couple of missionaries that are Americans.

Nothing too new happened this week, with the interview with the president he said that he trusts us a lot and that he knows we will help the area, and he gave us a challenge of baptizing 3 men this month and we are pretty excited about that, the branch lacks priesthood so we want to help a lot with baptizing more men.

I'm glad everyone is doing well,

Miss everyone


Elder Toma 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dear Family,

It was good to talk to you guys yesterday!

This week has been pretty good, we will be making lots of contacts this week and so I'm pretty excited about that,

Nothing too new haha but tell everyone i said hi, 

love you guys

Elder Toma

video

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 8, 2017 Hard to dry your clothes with all of this rain!

Dear Family,

This week went very well, we had an activity on Saturday and all the missionaries near our area and all the members help us do contacts and lessons for an entire day so this week we have been working on contacting all the references that we received.

This week it looks like we will be having a baptism on the 13th, of a lady that is about 25 or 26 years old. 

The weather has been a little bit cooler because of the rain, last week I was actually getting a little frustrated because we dry our clothes on clothes lines and it kept raining so I couldn’t dry my clothes hahaha. 

It looks like on Sunday about 4 o clock to 5 I will be getting on to skype with you guys.

It sounds like everything is going well down there, Savior of the World finished up right.  My companion he had the Savior of the World music and I told him that my dad was directing it in the DC Temple,  He got pretty excited to hear that ha-ha.

But I’m excited for Hunter and Michelle, tell them I said hi and everyone else

Everything is going well here, I’m staying busy with all these references that we have to contact ha-ha and with our investigators,

5 of our investigators are progressing really well but lack marriage so that’s a little complicated but we are trying to get them married,  Here the culture is a little bit different with marriage.

I’m excited to talk this week, I hope I won’t talk weird ha-ha like Hunter did.

Love you guys

Elder Toma

Sunday, May 7, 2017

April 30, 2017 Visit by Elder Christofferson

Dear Family,

This week has been great!

I’m still in Tobias Barretto but I have a new companion, his name is Elder Ferreira and he is a Brazilian, he is from São Paulo interior and he is super super cool. He has about 1 year and 3 months in the mission and is super excited to work and is very determined with his goal of 10 baptisms this month. He grew up in the Church but it is very common for Brazilians to be converts here. Yes, Elder Christofferson came to visit Maceio’ when I was in Maceió two transfers ago.  We had an opportunity as the mission to hear from him but also, I was serving in the Barra De São Miguel which was part of the stake that he spoke in the following day on Sunday so I got to hear from him twice. It was so amazing to be able to talk to him and ask questions and hear from him.  He is really someone that knows that our Savior lives. Two things that he said that I thought were interesting is he said that Jesus is the Kings of Kings but Joseph Smith is the prophets of all prophets and the other thing he when he said that if we saw God right now we would instantly recognize him because we once knew him very well.

But this week went super well, we went to McDonalds when I went to pick up my companion Elder Ferriera and it was soooo good but here McDonalds is like super high end ha-ha also subway is super high end its crazy. Our investigators are doing well and we found new investigators that are soo good but all 4 of them lack marriage but they already accepted the invite to be married so I think we will help with that.

But how is everything back at home?

Miss you guys

Love

Elder Toma

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April 27, 2017 New Companion!

Dear familia, 

Sorry that i didn't get the opportunity to write this week, I'm in the secretary office right now getting a cell phone and key to our house,

I got my new companion, his name is Elder Ferreira and he is a Brazilian, he is super cool already and I'm pretty excited to work with him

I'll explain more when i get more time this Monday.

Love you ALL


Elder Toma

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 17, 2017 Baptism of Nene'

Querida Família,

This week was super good, with our investigators and less actives,

Tuesday, we brought Cevada (barley) I think, to Nenês house and we watched the restoration of the gospel video with her as like a little Family home evening, and she didn’t like the cevada very much but she still drinks it instead of coffee ha-ha. but this Saturday we baptized her and confirmed her on Easter. On the way to the baptism my companion and I were walking with Nene and another less active to the baptismal meeting and my companion walked into this pole and somehow his pants got caught on it and when he kept walking his pants completely Split down the middle all the way down to his ankles, I couldn’t help to laugh but it was so terrible ha-ha, I had to give him my name tag that had a safety pin on the back of it to close his pants up and then we walked Nene and her friend to the church and then we had to go home really fast to change pants ha-ha.


But all went well, she was very happy at the meeting and excited to be baptized. It’s so crazy though that she was an investigator 4 years ago and finally she was baptized. I don’t think it was just luck that we found her the very same day she finished the Book of Mormon. It was also a miracle that she gave up drinking coffee, I could really see Gods hand helping and working with her.

Yesterday was an ok Easter ha-ha. It rained very very hard in the morning when we were going to the less actives and investigators houses to bring them to church. So, when we went to church I had to give a talk and my comp after said that he could see everything through my shirt because I was so soaked ha-ha so that was embarrassing but I think the talk went well. After church, our lunch fell through so we went home and ate plain rice and plain noodles ha-ha it wasn’t the best meal I have eaten here, but they have huge chocolate eggs here that are just amazing and we got one as a present so at least we got some chocolate to eat ha-ha.

Sounds like everything is going well back at home, I’m glad to hear about the SOTW going well,
tell Conner that I didn’t get his email, I would love to write him too,

Miss, you guys!

Love Elder Toma

April 10, 2017 Highlights of the week

This week was good, the highlight of the week was probably seeing this super tiny car in front of this store and then this midget came out and he drives it! I’ll send some pictures hahaha. 


But it’s been good with all the investigators and member. we have an investigator Nené and she is the one that finished the Book of Mormon and then the day later we showed up at her door. She has an addiction with coffee but she hasn’t drunken it in a while and she is preparing to be baptized this Saturday so pray for her. We have lots of other baptisms that we have prepared for next Saturday also so it’s been busy trying to accompany them every day but also visiting all the less actives and as well the actives making sure they stay strong. 

Other than the busy week nothing too new happened. 

The transfer is passing really fast, we only have this week and the next and then its transfers again.
My guess is that I will stay here with my companion, the mission president told me that he wants to try something new with this area and he felt to place me there with my companion and I don’t know what we have been doing different but the area seems to be progressing. This week I ate this weird meal to and for the first time I didn’t like the food too much ha-ha it was like slop that was brown and it was weird hahaha but for the most part the food has been great.

It sounds like everything there is going good. I wish I could watch the Savior of the World production it sounds very good this year. Also, every Saturday we teach English classes hahaha it’s so funny to teach English but at first I was dying with speaking, like I can read it and I know what it means but then I try to say it and I can’t ha-ha but after a little I was able to speak English perfectly. My companion is even worse ha-ha he had to call home one time for some banking thing and he couldn’t communicate hahaha he just didn’t know what to say and he completely froze. 

Also, we have family nights with the me members and investigators and that’s super fun and good for them to connect more.

The branch is super small, I already have to give a talk and it’s the first normal Sunday since I’ve got here hahaha. But I like giving talks here, I don’t know why I disliked it so much back at home but here it’s something I like.

Hope everyone had a good week,

Love you guys

Elder Toma

Sunday, April 9, 2017

April 3, 2017 Finding More

This week we had a little bit of more success by praying and fasting to help this area grow better.
On Friday we looked in the area book to find a less active so that we could maybe reactivate him. But the address written on the paper was wrong and it lead us to this house with a woman named Nei Nei and she was an investigator 4 years ago and never got baptized but when we came to the door we just had a normal conversation.  We asked for directions to the house of the inactive and also asked her if she has already talked to missionaries. She said yes and told us that she finished the Book of Mormon yesterday. I was very surprised, after 4 years she finally decided to read the Book of Mormon and we end up on her door step the next day that she finishes it, and also if the paper wasn’t wrong we would have never have found her. We then sat down with her and asked about the Book of Mormon and then we committed her and her daughter to baptism. 

This week was also good because we had the opportunity to watch General Conference, my favorite talk was of President Thomas S. Monson.  I liked how he talked about the power of charity, kindness, and love.

Conference was very good but the Sunday session was hard to get investigators because it rained sooo much that the roads flooded completely to the point where water was entering houses ha-ha. It was like a legit current and we were stuck in the church until 2nd session so we spent 6 hours in the church ha-ha.

But this week we also have had success with finding more baptisms, Silvãnia who has a super strong testimony of this church and she is moving from the boyfriend of her because she doesn’t want to live in sin anymore and he doesn’t want to marry. Also, Angelica is super cool, she is progressing a lot and has no problems yet and we are marking baptism here in the next visit and I’m sure she will get baptized here. 

Sounds like everything is good down there at home,
miss you all

Love

Elder Toma

March 26, 2017 Transfers: Tobias Barreto

Dear Family so this week was a little different because of transfers but it was cool.

So right now i am serving in


Tobias Barreto and it is in the state of Sergipe. But also sometimes we go to a state called Bahia because we are right on the border here. The area is cool and it is a branch here but its kind of sad because the area used to have over 100 members but they all went inactive and now there is about 15 to 20 members that are active. So we are working with a lot of inactives and also its a hard area that hasn't baptized in over 3 transfers so that's a long time I think.

My companion is cool, his name is Elder Talbot and he is from Seattle Washington. he likes football and sports. I'm not worried about speaking English with him because he basically forgot. The Presidente told me a story of when he had to call the bank and he could barely communicate ha ha. 

Other than that this week has been pretty normal, just working with a lot of inactives and investigators. I don't have any pictures of the area yet but I'll send some next time maybe.

Sounds like everyone has had a good week and conference is coming up soon so that will be good.

Hope everyone has a good week
Miss you all.
Love

Elder Toma

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March 19, 2017 My first transfer!

Dear Family,

Today will be a little bit shorter because I have to clean the house today and pack and leave the area early tomorrow morning.

SO, this week was really good. This week I traveled a lot. We traveled to Curoripi which is like 2 hours away and then the next day we went to São Miguel Dos Campos to interview the sisters’ investigators and then we had to travel there again the next day and then in the same day I went to Maceió to do division where we went to Curoripi that same and we slept in the patriarch’s house and then traveled back to our area and got our interviews with our investigators done. SO, this week was very very busy. But we were able to get 2 super beautiful baptisms performed.

So, the news is that I will be going to Topís or something like that, but it’s in Cerjibi which is not even Alagoas it’s a different state. And my companion will be an American once again ha-ha. I heard the area is pretty hard but its good. Also, its a branch there which is one upgrade from here which is a group ha-ha. But this week has been good, I’ll send more details next week when I get to the area. It will be a 10-hour drive, so wish me luck.

Love you Guys

Elder Toma

Monday, March 13, 2017

March 13, 2017 Hearing the testimony of an apostle

Oi família, 

Carnival is over but they are doing ´´blocks´´ which is basically mini carnivals. I just don’t understand why they can’t give up Carnival ha-ha. 

This week was crazy. Tuesday, we had our baptism and we made cookies mixed with brownies and everyone thought we were such amazing cooks but we just made it from the box ha-ha. and we almost screwed that up! 

Thursday, we got permission from the president to go to this city called Curopipe. It is pretty far away so when we got there it was already noon. We were trying to call the member that lives there but his phone wasn’t working so we just decided to ask the people on the bus. We asked the people on the bus which stop we should get off of to arrive to Curopipe, they told us what stop and we got off the bus. We then realized the road of this member isn’t in this city. We arrived in Pontal de Curopipe not the city of Curopipe. So, we had to take this mini Volkswagen bus to the city of curopipe where the only information that we had was a road and name of this investigator that we needed to teach to be baptized. SO, we arrived in the city and just asked everyone where she leaved. Finally, we arrived to her house and were able to teach the restoration and invite her and her 19-year-old daughter to baptism this Sunday because they have already gone a couple times to church in another city and also one time in our area A Barra de São Miguel. After that it was basically night time and so there weren’t any buses that were passing so we had to call a taxi and we finally arrived to the Patriarchs house were stayed there overnight.

The next day we woke up at 4:30 and left at 5, I fell asleep on the Bus and I had the cell phone in my pocket. I think while I was sleeping the cell phone fell out of my pocket and then when we came to our stop I woke up and got up really fast because we almost missed it and grabbed my bags and left. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get our cell phone so the secretary took R$70 out of my funds. Today it poured rain and we had to travel miles asking people where the Work center or secretary office is and we finally found it and we got our new cell phone and then travel back in the rain and now I’m here ha-ha.

But also this week was super super good. Saturday all the missionaries got the opportunity to listen to Elder Basette, Elder Robins, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson. We got to shake all the hands and ask many questions. All three of them gave fantastic talks that were sooo amazing. I didn’t bring my notes with me so I can’t tell you guys everything but something that I thought was cool was Elder Christofferson’ s testimony is super simple yet very powerful and he is so sure about everything almost like he has seen it all. And then Sunday Our stake got the opportunity to listen to him again in church. it was very cool. So, that definitely made up for this week ha-ha.

Also we found some really good investigators. We brought lots of investigators to hear Elder Christofferson so that was really really cool. This week I’m excited because on Sunday we will baptize the two from Curopipe, one of a member’s friends, and maybe two others so it’s going very well. I think I will be transferred though this coming Tuesday. I want to be a part of all the new investigators we found but I’m also excited to serve in a new area.

Sounds life everything is going well back at home

tell everyone I said hi



Love 

Elder Toma