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

March 5, 2017 Baptisms scheduled

Dear Family,

This week has been a little bit more normal now that Carnival is over. This week we were able to work a little and get some new investigators. My companion and I are excited because we will have two baptisms tomorrow and also another one on Sunday. 

Also, we are super excited to get to see Elder D. Todd Christofferson, he will talk to all the missionaries in this mission and then we will have a stake conference on Sunday and the stake will be able to listen to him. So, we get to listen to him twice! 

This week has also still been kind of weird with carnival ending, like one night all the men dressed up like woman and the women like men and it was very very weird ha-ha. Last night was hard to sleep because our neighbors were blasting music soooo loud, and it was like American 80s music, sometimes Brazil drives me nuts ha-ha. But other than that, all is good. Our investigators are doing pretty well, I was kind of upset because a lot of our investigators didn’t go to church and we walked all the way across our area to bring them to church to find out they wouldn’t go. The investigators that we already baptized are doing well too though, they are going to church and really progressing. 

This month I think we will get a couple of people married. In Brazil, nobody gets married they just live together so its super hard to baptize but a few of our investigators are willing to get married and be baptized soon. I talked to my mission president a couple of weeks ago, and it sounds like I may be transferred soon because I have served here for over 4 months I think, and transfers is coming up this month. So, I just have a few weeks left here and then I might go work in another area.

Sounds like everyone is doing well.

I’m excited for Hunter to get married, He´ll have to send me pictures!

Hope you guys have a good week.

Love,

Elder Toma

Saturday, February 25, 2017

February 19, 2017 "Seeing how God is working" in the life of an individual

Dear family.
   
This week I’ll start off by answering mom’s questions ha-ha. The package has arrived! thanks I’ve already almost eaten all the candy ha-ha I’ve just had a crazy week so the candy kind of helped out. And thanks for the recipes and pictures and sunglasses! I think moms second question was about my companion.

My companion is Elder Richmond and he is from Draper Utah I think. His mom is from Brazil so he has already visited Brazil as a child but he is about American as it gets ha-ha. I have a lot of pictures and I brought my camera here and everything but I forgot the cord unfortunately but I promise I will send pictures next week.

The third question was food I think, Here I basically eat rice beans noodles chicken meat fish clams and a bunch of super good fruits. The weather here has just been hot as usual ha-ha but today it poured on us on the way here to the laun house.

This week we had a baptism of Carlos. He used to be like a gangster or something but when he saw us one day he stopped using drugs and selling and doing all that. Then we helped him quit smoking and drinking coffee and his life has already been feeling way better and he feels way healthier he said. ITs funny though because the other day his mom was telling us that he still gets scared at night and sleeps in her room hahahaha. He is like 6´1 300bls and used to be like a drug dealer ha-ha. It’s really cool because I have really seen how God is working in this young man’s life. To be honest me and my comp were actually worried about baptizing him because of just everything and we thought maybe we should wait another week. so, we decided to pray and after our prayer we both just got the impression to call our zone leaders. We called them and they told us that he passed the interview questions and that we need to now just put our faith in him that he will continue to keep the commandments and so we both got our answer to baptize him. I know it was the right decision because he really is doing so good and so dedicated. We already set a baptism date for his girlfriend who loved church this week and already knows some members and also his mom who is sooo grateful that his life has really changed. Also, this week we should be having two baptisms, actually tomorrow so remember them in your prayers.

Claudette who has been fighting smoking but has gone a week without it and Cristiani who has been going to church for a year but kept pushing the baptismal date back but we finally got her to commit for tomorrow. Carnival is crazy, it has really slowed down our work. And it looks like we will be staying in Maceio indoors for a week straight. But after Carnival I have a feeling baptisms and new investigators and everything will just become way better.

Tell everyone I said hi. I promise I’ll send pics next week.


Love Elder Toma

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February 11, 2017 God gives us tender merices

Dear família,

This week has been good but the work here has been getting rough with Carnival coming up. Everybody is working and the iniquity is rising so we aren't teaching very many people. But we are working with a lot of good investigators. Right now we are working with a young man named Carlos. We will be baptizing him tomorrow so we are pretty excited about that.

This week has just been pretty busy though. Lots of meeting out in Maceió. We have to take a bus there every time and it is more or less a 45-minute ride.

This week we had a pretty cool miracle. Last Tuesday we were returning from Maceió and my companion left our phone on the bus and we prayed and prayed because he needs the phone because he is district leader so he is always having to call the missionaries and the zone leaders and stuff. But then the next day we got a call from the sister missionaries because a woman found our phone and kept it and then called one of the contacts which was the sisters. The sisters then wrote the address of the woman and were we could find her. So, Wednesday we took a bus out to the other part of our area called A Alto da Barra. We then knocked on the woman’s door and she gave us our phone! and then we talked to her a little bit about the gospel and she said she really really wants to visit our church. So I think this week she will visit. This was just a little testimony of the miracles that God does for us. It reminded me of the story that you told me Dad, of the little red bike and how God gives us little tender mercies over small things too. It was only a cheap cell phone but God still helped us find a way to receive it.

This next week we will probably baptize Claudette. She had problems with smoking and was very very addicted but our zone leader told us to bring oranges. We brought oranges and told her that when she is feeling tempted to smoke, to suck on an orange and it will take away the drive to smoke. We talked to her the next day and she told us that it completely worked! We have tried everything and we finally found what helped and it is oranges. Interesting, right? I don’t know why oranges help but they do ha-ha.

Anyways everything is going well here after next week we probably won’t have baptisms until after Carnival and we will probably stay in Maceió with the Zone leaders.
Tell everyone that I said hi.

Sounds like everyone is doing good!

Miss you all

Love Elder Toma 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

February 6, 2017 "Never give up on anybody"

Dear family, 

This week my trainer left but I will be staying with the other Elder that I have already been working with.

My companions name is Elder Richmond and he is from Utah. He has about 5 months out so one more transfer than I have so it has been interesting to have two newbies working together but we actually have been doing really well. This week we have been working with an investigator that when we met him he was wearing a hat that says 420 (marijuana). He said the moment he met us he decided to give up drugs and all. To be honest I didn’t think he would be able to progress this much and I guess I learned my lesson to never give up on anybody. Now he has given up coffee, drugs, smoking, and he says his prayers every morning and night and already has started ready the Book of Mormon. He has just been such a good investigator to work with. He said he liked church a lot, and that he would go to church every day if he could.

We have a lot of other people just ready to receive the Gospel too so it’s been fun to work with my new companion, it feels good to feel more equal with my comp and I’m leading a lot because he doesn’t know the area or people yet.

Looks like the house is changing a little and looking good dad. Ha ha hunter and McKinzie will email me every once in a while. It would be good to hear from my little brother though, how is Conner doing?

Well I hope everyone has a great week tell everyone that I said hi.

Love,

Elder Toma

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 23, 2017 Two more baptisms

Dear Family,
  
This week has been good, but busy as usually. We had another baptism last Tuesday. His name is Sildavãn and his parents are members. I think he is in his 30's and we helped him quit smoking which is really cool. 

Also tomorrow we will have a baptism of a girl named Stefany, she has 14 years old and is the granddaughter of Allena, a woman that we baptized two weeks ago. Her parents have been going to church too and are really supportive, but lack marriage. 

I heard about our new mission president, he is from Wyoming and he is friends with my companion's grandma haha. 

How has home been? How is Conner, Hunter, and Mckinzie? 

Transfers are coming up soon, I think I have a couple weeks left until tranfers but it looks like I'll stay in the area and my companion will leave. He has been serving here for a little over then 6 months.

But anyways, everything is the same old, super busy and working with lots of people on baptismal dates.

Hope everyone has a great week.

Love,

Elder Toma

Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 8, 2017 Three baptisms today

Dear Family,
  
This week has been sooo crazy and just so much has happened and is going on. We have been teaching lots of people and we were going to baptize 3 people yesterday but the pool that we were going to use was being used. The president said we can baptize in the Ocean but he really wants us to find a better place because he doesn’t think the Ocean is clean enough. So, we told him that we would baptize today instead in the pool. So today we have 3 baptisms.

One of the ladies that we will be baptizing is Kiteria she has a ton of faith, when we met her she was crying outside her house and we stop and asked her what was wrong and helped her by sharing a brief message and a prayer. We taught her the next day and shared the restoration, and asked her to pray to know if it was true and the next day she told us about her dream and how she saw a river and thorns but then the thorns went away and she felt peace. That night we taught her about the Book of Mormon and read Moroni 10:3-5 with her. After we had her pray to know that it was true and she started crying and after told us that she knows its true right off the bat. We also have been teaching her mom who is a serious member of the Assembly of God church, (a church that I think only exists in brazil lol) and we have been teaching all the lessons and she has been going to church with us but still lacked a little bit of a testimony. Finally, the very same day that the Zone leaders were interviewing her daughter Kiteria, she was telling us about a dream she had.  In her dream, she said she saw two bodies of water, one warm and one cold. She said that she went in the warm water and then saw two men dressed in white, she told the men that she loved them and then the men told her that they loved her and that was basically all that she said to us.

We also found some other people who will be baptized next week and 3 more the following, so we have lots of baptisms lined up.

This last week has had some laughs too, my companion was standing in the this street looking around and trying to get direction from the spirit, when this little boy was running up and down the street and about the third or fourth time the kid passed us, he tried to punch me in the soft spot, but luckily I caught it and then my companion next to me, still looking around trying to feel guidance from the spirit wasn’t paying attention and the kid nailed him square in family jewels and then ran off. My companion was in pain for like the whole next hour hahaha. Also, this week I saw a really buff guy in a dress wearing make-up and wearing high heels, the weirdest thing and creepiest thing I’ve ever seen haha. But over all a really good week, wish us luck on the baptisms that we will have today, I’ll send pictures next week.

miss you guys!
Love

Elder Toma

January 2, 2017 Happy New Year!

Dear Family,

So for my new years my president made us come to Macieo because it's too dangerous and lots of bad stuff in our area during new years. So we went to a members house and ate with the stake president and it was really good. I'm still here in Maceio but I think we will be allowed to return later today. 

Here they had sooo many fire works everyone was just launching them everywhere haha and it was funny to see drunk people dance on the street lol because here they can't even dance without being drunk let alone being drunk lol. 

This week we experienced a couple miracles.  So this lady we saw a week ago was crying and my companion talked to here and tried to comfort her by saying a prayer and sharing a couple scriptures. We continued to teach her through out the week and challenged her to pray and ask God if what we had taught was true. Then next day she told us she had a dream but she didn't understand it. She said she was sitting there next to a river or body of water and on one side was a bunch of thorns. Then a child gave her a flower and the thorns cleared and she said she has never felt so much peace in a dream before and she said she believes it came from God. I didn't really understand the dream either haha I'm not Joseph but i can testify that it was a form of an answer to her and we were going to baptize her on New Years but the President called us to stay in Maceio so we moved it to next week. We are also teaching her mom who i think will be baptized too, she is slowly gaining a testimony. 

My new companion will be staying in Maceio with other missionaries for a couple of weeks, i don't know why but he just will be. But he is half Brazilian, he didn't know the language the when he arrived haha and he is from Draper Utah and i don't know much about him yet because we only worked one day together haha. His name is Elder Richmond by the way and the dynamics of a three way isn't my preference but we can make it work. I just see two is more easy and easier to teach and just more balanced but it will be alright and only for a couple of weeks because tranfers will be soon after he comes back to our area. But over all a good week we haven't been able to teach to many lessons because of the craziness here but this week we will be able to get back to it.

Hope everyone had a good new year!

Love

ELder TOma