Sunday, August 27, 2017

August 20, 2017 A Priesthood blessing miracle!

Dear Family,

This week was great but also very crazy. 

This week I was running around doing baptism interviews and marking interviews for our baptism, but in the end all went pretty well.

Last Tuesday we had an awesome miracle. So two weeks ago we started teaching Cesar, he was the sisters’ investigator but he ended up moving to our area. The sisters passed the reference and told us that he hasn’t accepted any baptismal date and that he has problems with smoking. Our first visit to his house we discovered that it takes over an hour to get there! but it was all totally worth it. As we arrived we met a very humble man, tall, skinny, and dark. He showed us his house which is very small with almost nothing in it. He introduced himself that he was Cesar and we started with a prayer and got discussing, as we were discussion we got on the topic of baptism, and then my companion decided to invite him to be baptized! Cesar then responded saying that he doesn’t feel ready and that he has too many problems that keep him from such a commitment. He said that he was very addicted to smoking, smoking more than 20 cigarettes per day. I then gave an example of the apostles that before being apostles they were normal men but when Jesus said ´´come follow me´´ they put down their nets and followed him. We then invited him to put down this addiction and follow Christ, we set a goal for the 19th to be baptized which was two weeks away, we explained that we will help you with your addiction but most of all you have our Savior if you go to him with prayer, he will help. He ended up accepting the date and throughout the week we called him and checked up on how he was doing, he always responded that he was in the fight, still smoking quite a few but that he was smoking less and that he had a headache. Our next visit with him was Tuesday the 15th, when we got there he said that he has been smoking 7 cigarettes every day and that he can’t get passed that number, we knew that if he didn’t stop now that he wouldn’t be able to be baptized until the following week. We had a very spiritual message with him and I said to him ´´you aren’t doing this for you wife (who is a member), you aren’t doing this for us, and you really you aren’t doing this completely for yourself, but you are doing all of this for Him´´ showing him a picture of Christ Cesar starting to get really determined, he said `´I’m stopping now!`´ he grabbed his box of cigarettes and started to rip each cigarette one by one. We then got the impression to also give him a blessing of comfort and strength, we gave him the blessing and the moment that we all said ´´amen´´ the phone rang.

Cesar responded "hello...yeah I already invited the missionaries over.....yeah we just finished doing that...bye".

"that was my wife" he said, she had just called to tell me to ask for a blessing. Cesar then said to us "that blessing, that was very...different" I thought to myself, ah great he thinks we are a cult or something because she just finished putting our hands on his head and blessing him.

But then I noticed that he was getting emotional, "never have a felt something like that in my life, I can’t even put into words the feelings that I felt" HE explained that he isn’t one to get emotional but that he never has felt anything like that blessing. afterwards I left super super drained and we had a ton to walk still, for the next couple of days me and my companion got sick and I’m still a little sick but I’m getting better ha-ha.

We continued checking up on him and calling him and he stopped smoking!  4 days later we baptized him on Saturday the 19th

It was a miracle this week, I know that all the prayers that you guys have been saying has blessed him and that the priesthood of God his real.

After getting sick and almost not being able to work this week, everything was all worth it.

Sounds like everyone is having a good week,

wish Conner luck with football and all,

miss everyone,


Elder Toma

Sunday, August 20, 2017

August 13, 2017 Baptism of Sofia

Dear Family,

This week went great! We had a service that we did at the house of a sister in the ward
He front and back yard was like a jungle but we were able to cut everything down and we got everything done real quick, but it’s been a long while since I’ve done yard work ha-ha.

This week was also pretty interesting with a baptismal interview of my companion in the CTM, 
the ZLs went there to do the interview and the guy told them that many years ago he had to kill someone in a drug deal, with this type of case you have to call the president and he has to come in do an interview.  Our president arrived recently so he has never experienced any case like this, so when our zone leader called he told the president and he freaked out!, he called my companion from the CTM who speaks English and said ´´tell me everything that happened in cause English because I don’t want to mess up the Portuguese´´ and the thing is that the zone leader hadn’t even told my comp from the CTM yet so it was a huge surprise for him too! and then the president called Elder Basette from the 70 and sent an email to the 1st presidency, and Elder Basette told him that he had to go down there and do the interview himself. 

This type of case actually isn’t super uncommon and will definitely happen again, but the president arrived right now so it was something very new to him ha-ha. Just this week we were eating lunch and something happened right outside of the house that we were eating in, I won’t say anymore because don’t want to scare mom but it happens, Maceió is like 100 times worse than where I’m at right now so don’t need to worry ha-ha. Arapiraca is pretty calm, the worst thing here is that there are a lot of guys on motorcycles that stop and rob people here, but just got to give them the money or phone and they won’t do anything.

But the good news about this week is that we baptized Sofia, it was such a good baptism, she asked me to baptize her and I was happy to it. Her dad left the church but is coming back and we have been trying to help them.

They had a big old cake to, ha-ha it was like a birthday party or something and I made brownies and bought some ice-cream for her, but then right after we had to run to another investigator’s house and he fed us this super good dinner it was fried rice but soooo good. and then he marked the 26 for his baptism and he asked for one night to talk to his wife who is a member and to pray about it and all. And the next day a church he said he is going for it. So we are pretty excited to help him out as well.

Over all good week, it’s crazy how fast the transfers pass by sometimes, the 29 is the last day of transfers, so we are really trying hard to get everything done before that.
Sounds like everyone is doing well.

Miss you all.
I’ll send some pics

Love Elder Toma

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 6, 2017 "You were on that list, Elder"

Hey Family,

This week was good, we have just been spending the week planning for the baptisms and checking up on these investigators, this week we will be baptizing a girl that is 12 years old her name is Sofia and she is very excited to be baptized, her family went inactive but we went there to reactivate the family and discovered that she wasn’t baptized so we are helping them return to the church and all. 
The family is a very good family, they are supper nice and this last Sunday, the grandma went up and bore her testimony so that was really cool to hear. The other baptism is for the19th and it is a member’s husband that never got baptized but he finally accepted baptism and he wants to be baptized and enter the temple to be sealed, and finally we have Ceza who is really really cool, he wants to be baptized but he is fighting the addiction of smoking, we have been setting goals with him and he is doing well, so pray for him.

This week has also been super good with my district, I did exactly what my president told me to do, which was pray and ask how I can help the sisters in my district and they are already doing so much better, they are excited and even made 10 new investigators this week.
I don’t know if I already wrote about an interview that I had with my president but it was really interesting and it helped me a lot.

He encouraged us to keep a journal of everything that we experience which I have but he showed me more importance of it and what I could do with it. He also asked me about my district and he told me that after my first interview with him, that he already knew to call me to be dl. He also said that when he was planning with the assistants and his wife that he had a list of names that was a list of absolutes, he then told me ´´You were on that list, Elder´´ and then he said ´´be careful, the Lord is watching you. But congratulations, the Lord is watching you.´´ He then told me that he already knew about the sisters but that sometimes being a leader is like being on an island, your alone sometimes and you can only turn to the Lord, he then challenged me to figure it out for myself through prayer and fast.

I won’t lie I felt like a had a lot of responsibility and I felt at first that maybe I wouldn’t be able to resolve this problem, I knew that this problem was grave or anything but I just wasn’t sure if I would be able to help.  After prayer and asking the Lord I was impressed to give a training in the district meeting about Alma chapter 36 verse 22 I think which talks about exercising faith, praying, doing good works and being obedient, and that when we do that we will bring thousands of souls to repentance and baptism. I did my best to just excite them, I think they were feeling a little tired and needed a boost. Finally, after getting some of their trust also, they kind of just told me everything and I did my best to help them but I think that everything is going much better.

Today was also super fun, I’m learning a little bit of soccer but I don’t even play nearly as well as the Brazilians here ha-ha. I played with my companion from the CTM and with the ZLs and with some members and then we ate lunch.

My companion from the CTM is a dl in the same zone but he isn’t my companion, I’m the dl in Arapiraca 1st ward and he is dl in Arapiraca Verdes Campos which is the same stake, so we see each other often but he isn’t in my district.

But I hope that everyone is doing well

I talked to Elder McGary, sounds like he is finishing the mission here

Miss y’all

Elder Toma

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dear family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I hope you all have a great week.

Miss, you guys


Elder Toma