Sunday, August 31, 2014

Utz Awech

Dear Family,

week changes have passed and i am still here in Santiago (no surprise will be here maybe till February) But to answer dad's question to say hi in Tzutujil is Utz awech.
Haha and you won't say it right because it's like English the way you spell it but it is different than how you say it.

Well we have definitely just been receiving blessing after blessing.  We are hopefully going to have a baptism of 3 this week!!! A family! We found them through old records that are in the area book and we decided to visit them and it turned out to be super positive and now they are wanting to be baptized! We also found a guy that is super super cool! His name is Francisco and we were planning to visit one of his neighbors but they weren't home so we decided to contact and the first house that we decided to contact was his and he said come on in (which is super weird in Santiago) And he turned out to be a super pillas guy he told us of part of his life story that he used to be in gangs and take a ton of drugs and sell it and just playing in the world until one time he and his friend wanted to by some drugs to use but they didn't have any money so they waited and looked around and they saw a woman that they knew had a ton of money and they robbed her and tried to run for it but while they were trying to get away they ended up being put right in the middle and waiting for them on each side were the police the army and a mob with machetes and fire to kill and burn them ( that's what they do here).   So with that they knew they were done for but his friend and him threw the stuff away and started to pray like crazy and while they were praying somehow inches from them the mob passed by and he said after that he gave it all up and he moved here to Santiago. But his son got really sick and had to go to the hospital and during this time he began to pray and tell God that he would do his will and he wants to change and that he could help him to it. and literally the next day we knocked on his door.

 And another cool thing that happened is that he has kept a Book of Mormon that an Australian gave to him 15 years ago! Becuase every time he wanted to toss it or burn it or something he would get a feeling that he shouldn't and that he needs to keep it So I have seen that God really does prepare people IN HIS Time and that we just have to be worthy and ready for when he would guide us to these people that are ready like with us and now we are teaching him and he wants to come to church with us and I think he will be getting baptized with his family which is like one of the first complete families to be baptized in like a year maybe.

But say thanks and hi for everyone for me.

I love you all

Elder Toma

Obedience equals the right for blessings

Dear Family,

This has been a amazing week for us here in Santiago. First off we had to travel for like the whole week to go to our meetings and Zone trainings and because our area is the farthest away we have to get up at like 3 to go.  Ugh that killed doing that for three days straight.

So we didn't have a lot of time to go out and really work in our area but we somehow managed it and we actually did pretty good for the week which was awesome.  More blessing to come. It has been an interesting change with my companion.  I remember coming to this area the first day and my companion was just telling me all about this area and was a little down because of how much pressure there is here and how complicated it is as well and that he hasn't had a baptism here since he got here. But I felt that I should tell him to not to worry about it we are going to kill it here and we are going to baptize more than anything. I have been blessed in my mission of baptizing every change except for my first month of training and not every missionary can say that even in this mission.

But for this change for a moment I really thought that we were not going to baptize and that did upset me but I also was trying to accept it and just do the will of God and it will always be on his time but I have learned the importance to keep going and working hard no matter the situation good or bad. And we have been blessed literally the very last day of changes we had a baptism and not only that he is the first man to be baptized here since 2012. God does watch out for his children but always remember that obedience= the right for blessing and miracles but that doesn't mean you will always get them in the way you want or expect but the will come.

It has been great to work in a area like this and just to see the changes that are taking place here in Santiago no matter how crazy it is here but also a privilege to really work with the pure descendants of Lehi and complete the prophecies that are recorded in the book of Mormon.
But also I don't have changes obviously hah I will be here for a while that's one of the rules but neither does my companion which is the first time that I won't have changes and also a companion for more than 1 change which is really weird!! But it should be interesting .  But i am fine I am trying to change my mind to accept that I will be here for more than 3 changes. And I just completed 11 months in the mission TODAY..... the mission is going by too fast.  By next month I will have a year.  It is stressing me out haha but I am loving it.

Love you all and have fun in the real world haha 


Elder Toma

Saturday, August 16, 2014

We are seeing miracles!

Dear Family and friends and everybody else,

This week has been incredible for me we have been seeing A TON of miracles.  First we had 4 people come to church this week which hasn't happened here in Santiago for more than like 5 months! We have set some baptismal dates.  We are starting to work with the branch here and it's starting to get better. and one of the biggest for me is that we thought we weren't going to have a baptism this change -- the first change that I have had since my very first one that I haven't had a baptism --  and that discouraged me becuase one of my goals is to baptize every change on my mission.

But I have seen that the Lord is merciful and if you truly do your part and are always worthy,  that is when the miracles come and we will be having a baptism this week and not only that it's a man and there hasn't been a baptism of a man here for more than a year!! That's  another miracle.
I have been learning a lot like Sister Toma said, about being grateful ALWAYS and I love the talk by President Uchtdorf where he talks about how we can put aside the bitter cup of resentment and drink from the goblet of Gratitude and that is completely true.  When you truly understand that problems and trials are for the better it's a lot easier to be grateful for the little things and the big ones too. Also I have been thinking again of love and reading a talk by President Monson about how we can't truly love God if we don't love our neighbor and I love a scripture that is in James that explains how can you love God that you have never seen and hate your neighbor that you see every day and that has been helping me see past the faults of the people here in Santiago and to treat them differently even when they are treating me like garbage. 

And one thing I am grateful for is that I am in the hardest and most tiring area in all of the mission with no one really around you but your companion.  That has also been making realize how grateful I am for my companion and I told him that because I couldn't be here alone -- you would go crazy and leave. But also for the opportunity too be a part of this mission.   I don't know if I have said this before but the 12 Apostles and Seventy have told our Presidents before that our mission is the best mission in all of Central America including Mexico and one of the best missions in all of the world and that they are watching us and to get that kind of credit from the 12 Apostles and Seventy that are over all of Central America is incredible to me, a lot of pressure for my President haha,  but for us it's a privilege,  the mission is a privilege not a sacrifice like some might think.

That's cool that dad is teaching at education week.  Doesn't one of the apostles also give a talk or something? 

Oh also something that happened this week for the first time.   I saw a full funeral and its A LOT different here. One of the members died so we did the funeral in the church and one thing they do is they carry the coffin all the way to the burial site so you just see a ton of people walking in the street following the coffin that the guys carry on their shoulders.  Then they go to the site and the girls begin to cry like CRAZY and wail and scream and everything.  It's like HELL haha and when they try to put the coffin in the sepulcher becuase its all above ground here,  the girls start freaking out and try to stop them.   it's insane haha guys have to grab them and take them away haha the truth is I was a little sad becuase some of them don't really get the plan of salvation and there was no real respect but I liked the talks at the funeral  service they taught really well about the plan of salvation but that's what is happening here in Santiago.   We have changes next week but I doubt that we have changes here so who cares haha 

But love you all

Elder Toma 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Progress in a new assignment

Dear Family,

Well this week has been pretty tough to be honest we aren't really finding and new investigators nobody wants to come to church with us and the fecha that we had is having problems with alcohol so we are hoping to baptize him later on.
It definitely has been a humbling experience here and I have been learning a lot from that and it is helping to change even more to be more of the missionary the Lord wants for me but suffering is definitely not easy that's for sure. The language is hard because there aren't to many books that you can use to study from and the use there throat a TON!! It's like Hebrew actually. My new companion is named Elder Ortega and he is from Nicaragua and he can speak in like 4 languages!! So he is a pro with learning languages so he has been helping a lot to learn this one.
There are some very strong members here but then there are a lot that have a lot of problems and that is part of the challenges here because the people here don't really trust us that much here. so references and working with members here is super crucial if we want to baptize.

  But we do our emails here in Santiago or in San Lucas were our district is because we switch every other week on were we will go because its not close at all from Santiago to san Lucas. But we have to go shopping in Patulul which is really weird because its like 15 minutes away from my first area and that's were I use to shop before. But we have a lady that cooks for us but Sundays we don't have anyone so we have to cook ourselves but I want to change that. And ha-ha I never have had to do my own laundry there is always someone that will do it  we don't have time for that.
But here in Santiago its cooler and the clouds are super low here because we are in the mountains so it gets foggy sometimes but it can get a little warmer here as well when the sun is out. But we had interviews for the first time with President Markam and it is a lot different then how Pres. Brough did them haha it will be interesting working with President Markham he is a lot more energetic and outgoing and different. But it took like 2 hours to get ot the place that we are going to do interviews that's why we are writing today not tomorrow because its like all day long pretty much. And we had to get up at like 1230 to do all of our studies and everything so I am like dying right now haha. But love you all pray for me and my companion that we can have a baptism here.


Elder Toma