Thursday, February 27, 2014

February 25, 2014 "Trying to help them progress"

Dear family ,

This week has been good.  Our baptism went through, or at least one of them!  I forgot my camera, so I will have to upload it next week.

This change has gone by so fast.  I'm worried every change will go by faster and faster. I just feel there is no time for anything anymore! This week we have just been focusing on helping out our Rama (branch) and trying to get them to progress and become strong as a Rama. It definitely has changed since I got there. I think that shows if you are a good missionary or not.  Not the baptisms, but if you leave the area you were in better then when you arrived and have it set up for missionaries that come in to have as much success as possible. But you are right mom I have gotten very attached to the people here in Santa Barbara and there's a lot of them I don't want to have to say good bye to and a lot have expressed the same thing to me which just makes it worse.  I have learned a lot in my first area and I am going to miss it when I have to leave.

That's cool that dad is taking Braden and [others] and that you are all visiting Kirtland [for EFY] and all those places. It's a privilege to be going to those special places. People here only see them in pictures and movies and at times don't  realize that they are real and I explain that I have been there and that those places and the history is real. And it's really interesting I was just reading in the "Our History" about Kirtland and the temple and just the history of the Church during that time period I definitely want to when I come back read more in detail the life and writing of the Prophet of Joseph Smith.  There is a lot of things that I don't know that have been written and many prophecies and doctrine that Joseph wrote.

But for this last week  before changes we are going to be working hard and hoping for miracles and hopefully have some baptisms that I have been hoping for for a while

Con Amor,

Elder Toma

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 18, 2014 BridgeLeave your area better than when you came

Dear Family, 

This week has been a interesting one with many blessings. I baptized a little girl this week outside! It  was really cool and different. Something I noticed while sitting there with her and getting ready to enter into the water is how much you feel the Sprit during that moment and how happy you are.  It's pretty weird.  It's very hard to describe.  I wasn't to the point where you just fall over and you're on the ground like Ammon or Alma.   That's just crazy.  I don't even know how to get to that point. But there have been moments were I have just started whoopping or do a scream that they do in Mexico. Haha and where I just jump straight out of my chair and just have so much energy.  You just want to run around everywhere. But most of the time I just have a huge smile that you just can't get rid of.  Much of the time things are hard and there are always problems and  you're always tired but when you have those special occasions it's always worth it and you don't even remember those challenges.  That's a gift I think God gives us to always push forward in faith and to remember the good rather than the bad.

This week we are hoping to have the blessing to baptize a good amount of people, hopefully 5. One of them that we have only been teaching for 2 weeks just straight up called us and said that he wants to be baptized and that the only catch was he wanted to hangout with us and go teaching every day haha. Sometimes you just get those golden investigators (it's rare though don't expect it) He is real special and I can see him being a great leader someday.

It's still very weird to me that it is so cold there in Virginia.  I forgot what cold feels like.  It's very weird I can feel my mind starting to change into Spanish with just the way I think and being able to understand everything much more clearer.

Hopefully we will be baptizing the older couple.  The `problem is she is afraid of water haha and he is super sick all the time but they both have a lot of faith and we're going to see more miracles this week.
We are teaching about 15 people a day so we are always busy and most of them are progressing. But we are trying to find more and more people and prepare more people so that the missionaries that come after us have it all set up for them.  That's what makes a good missionary when they leave their area better than when they came.  There are so many less actives we can't really do anything about it so we are trying to get the members to go out and contact them.

Bridge in Santa Barbara
But haha I really liked that little poem thing you sent me dad that was pretty cool just because of the truth of it all. But everything is good here and the iguana was actually pretty good,  kinda like beef jerky hah. 

Elder Toma   

We crossed a bridge in my area into a mysterious area part of our zone I have never been to my area is so big! 

Below is the "poem" Hunter was referencing

A Typical LDS Mission

Leaps tall buildings in a single bound,
Is more powerful than a locomotive,
Is faster than a speeding bullet,
Walks on water,
Associates with God.

Leaps short buildings in a single bound,
Is more powerful than a switch engine,
Is just as fast as a speeding bullet,
Walks on water if the sea is calm,
Talks with God.

Leaps short buildings with a running start and favorable winds,
Is almost as powerful as a switch engine,
Is faster than a decelerating bullet,
Walks on water in an indoor swimming pool,
Talks with God if special request is approved.

Barely clears a mud hut,
Loses tug-of-war with locomotives,
Can fire a speeding bullet,
Swims well,
Is occasionally addressed by God.

Makes high marks on the wall when trying to leap tall buildings,
Is run over by locomotives,
Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury,
Dog paddles,
Talks to animals.

Runs into buildings,
Recognizes locomotives 2 out of 3 times,
Is not issued ammunition,
Can stay afloat with a life jacket,
Talks to walls.

Falls over doorsteps when trying to enter buildings.
Says, "Look at the choo-choo!"
Wets himself with a water pistol,
Plays in mud puddles,
Mumbles to himself.

Lifts buildings and walks under them,
Kicks locomotives off the tracks,
Catches speeding bullets with her teeth and eats them,
Freezes water in a single glance,
Knows God.

Leaps at a chance to enter a certain building with a "special someone",
Is loco,
Speeds while driving,
Walks on water if there are girls around,
Thinks he IS God.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dear Family, 

This week we had some success.  We had our wedding!  It is an older couple and I couldn’t have been happier.

This week we have been really working with the branch trying to make it better. It’s a little branch but it has a ton of potential. You really start to get close to the people you serve and work with in the branch and that is something I have begun to start to notice and I think it is because I know my days are numbered here in Santa Barbara.

Chicken Feet
That’s great that the package I sent made it.  It makes me feel a lot more comfortable if I want to send more stuff home. I feel that the language is starting to shift in my mind and the way I think.  It really helps having a companion that doesn’t tempt you to talk in English. I help him learn English but its only in the house. 

We are hoping to have some baptisms this week so pray for us. I ate some pretty interesting stuff this week -- some Iguana and chicken heart yummy! Ha ha it’s always something different here. We have really been working with the members here just visiting a lot of less actives and trying to get them to come back.  The list is just never ending with less actives; its incredible. But other than that it has been somewhat of a normal week. 

I am trying to be more diligent and to not have any thing I look back and regret so everyday right now that’s what I focus on.

Love Elder Toma

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February 4, 2014 Not ready or prepared?!

Dear Family,

Fresh sugar cane
So for this week we should be having our investigators'  wedding yeah !!   The man that we will be getting married and baptized is a little nervous.   The culture is silly; men never want to get married because they think it is bad, but they can't come up with any reasons why.   They just think that way.   When I was talking to him he was saying how it is moving really fast and he is not prepared.   I just smiled and said you have been with your wife since you were 23 and your  75!   How are you not ready or prepared?!   

We have had been having frustrating times.  I've learned a lot from this week.    There is no such thing as an easy baptism that's for sure.   I have also learned that I need to be more patient and love my investigators more and just try to help them and remember that it is the Lord's time not ours.

Elder Toma and Elder Viellos
My companion is great he is from Ecuador and he loves rice just like me!  So we eat lots of rice together haha.   He was the companion of my last companion when they were zone leaders together until they both came to me.   It's interesting,  I need to ask my  President why he did that.

 It's  crazy that it is snowing so much in VA.   it's just hot here!  I had a interesting interview with my president and we talked about  many things that make me have to think a lot.

Braden driving?  What next?   It's  great that Conner made the wrestling team.   I'm really proud of him especially because it's hard for 6th graders.   That's crazy Conner is changing so much and getting tall he will lose a lot of weight from the wrestling.

Drinking from fresh coconut
But for this week we ate some pretty interesting stuff... I ate chicken heart and the foot of a chicken and Iguana haha, so we're having fun here.  I don't suggest you try the chicken heart though it's not as bad as that baby octopus I ate with Braden but it definitely wasn't great. They eat everything here!  We also had coconuts straight from the tree  with the people that cook for us and they taught me how to cook certain dishes that I like.   

I think today I will be doing more.   Hopefully we will be having some baptisms here.  We started having church at 9 in the morning and also 7 at night because everybody has to work especially right now because all the men are out cutting and burning sugar cane.  The harvest season last for 2 months  and it falls like ash here.  But everything is great and  I just try to work my hardest and improve because I definitetly need to.

Love Elder Toma