Monday, November 6, 2017

Bonus Pictures

Please enjoy a victory by Hermana Tonini with our loot from Cici's Pizza and our zone in matching tshirts.

Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones

This week has been SO CRAZY! We taught the Law of Chastity to the Familia Ga*** - they are SO incredible, it's amazing. Our ward mission leader is already planning on submitting their names for a calling as soon as they are baptized! There is one issue that needs to be resolved before they can be baptized so I feel like there is just stumbling block after stumbling block for them, but I know that the Lord will provide a way.

We also showed them the Restoration video video this week and when we testified afterwards, there wasn't a single dry eye in the room. Even little Daniel felt the Spirit so strong it brought him to tears. Bishop told us this Sunday that he talked to Enrique and he had told him, "I want to join the Church because I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet." Obispo said it made him tear-up a little, and it had the same impact on me when he retold the story! He also said that Isabel, the wife, had also told him that she is not worried, because she knows that the Lord will provide a way to accomplish the things He has commanded them.....a principle she learned from the Book of Mormon! What an incredible family!!! I can't wait to see the miracles that will continue to happen with this family as they turn these stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

We also had an appointment with Javier, an investigator the Hermanas were teaching, and it was a very very very difficult lesson. He was just...very negative and angry about why God is the way He is. He had a lot of question/doubts but wouldn't give me the time to answer them because he would take a little piece of what I said and bring up ANOTHER question/doubt. Like, probably worst lesson of my whole mission. Pobrecita Hna Sorensen started crying in the lesson.....and not because she was feeling the Spirit. However bad the lesson was, he told us that he KNOWS his way of thinking is bad/wrong and wants to have a change of heart. Legit, this man made me think of those stiff-necked people in the Book of Mormon, however he DESIRES  a change. So we made a return appointment. We got in the car and Hna Sorensen turned to me and said in tears, "THAT WAS TERRIBLE. I CAN'T BELIEVE WE ARE GOING BACK TO THAT HOUSE!"

Back we went. I was so nervous. I spent all of my personal study time on him and prayed so hard. What was really neat was that I was praying to finish my last personal study before heading out to his lesson and I asked, "what more do I need to know so I can help this man?" And Alma Chapter Five came IMMEDIATELY to my mind. I rushed through it really fast and found AWESOME scriptures about having a change of heart in there, which I shared with him and he loved it!! The lesson was way better, mainly because he actually let us teach and wasn't so grosero [rude]. I just couldn't stop talking, the Spirit just flowed through me and I was able to hit almost all of his concerns/questions that he had brought up last time. I love being able to receive revelation for my investigators. I am truly not alone in this work!!

Here is our Halloween picture....of us just being normal.

Hermana Tonini

Monday, October 30, 2017

Feliz Cumpleaños a Mi

SO, background story. We are working with this incredible family named the Familia Ga***. The Hermanas before us were working with them and they had a baptism date for the end of October....well that wasn't going to happen. So we sat down with them and invited them to choose a new baptism date in November and they chose the very last Sunday of the month. Jokingly, I suggested that they choose the 19th because that's the day after my birthday and they were all, "Yeah, we need more time than that."

Then we had our appointment with them this week. Well, we actually had two. The first one was with our ward mission leader and we finished up the Plan de Salvación and really hit eternal families....and they loved it. They are just sponges and love everything we teach them. Well, the next appointment we had this week was AMAZING. We sat down and after talking for a bit, the hermano got really quiet and became very serious. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "We want to get baptized. We want to be an eternal family. And we want to change our date to a week earlier....happy birthday."

I can't even express in words the amount of love I felt not only from them but also for them. I have never had so much love for my investigators before. It was such a tender moment and I definitely was just incredible to see the impact of an eternal perspective. They crave to be sealed in the temple for the eternities. 

Not only that, but after all of this happened, I asked Hermano Ga*** who he would like to say the opening prayer and he asked his nine year old son Daniel to offer it. His prayer was so.....well...natural I guess? It was so cute, he talked about how grateful he was to have us in his home because of the alegria we bring. I was smiling during the whole prayer because it was just so good! Then, his dad said the word lagrimas (tears), and I thought he was joking around because he is ALWAYS joking around, but then he put his head in his hands and just started crying!!! We just sat there for the longest time until he stopped and put his head back up. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that was the first time he had ever heard his son pray. Ever. The Spirit testified to me then and there that there truly are fruits to living the gospel. It was incredible to see how they were already seeing the fruits of living the gospel....seeing the changes in their home and in their family...even before baptism. Can you even imagine the incredible things that will happen with this family when they continue down the covenant pathway?

I love the Gospel. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love being a part of this work, and there's no place I'd rather be. There's more bad days than good days, and sometimes I feel like I just can't do it anymore. However, I see miracles like this and it reminds me why I am here. I know that I am here specifically for the Ga*** Family. I can't wait to see what miracles the next week holds! November is going to be great :)

Hermana Tonini

Friday, October 27, 2017

General Conference Sessions Consolidated

In a message sent to Church leadership and to be read in worship services throughout the world, the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced changes for future general conferences.

The letter states that "beginning in April 2018, the general women's session will no longer be held on the Saturday preceding the other sessions of general conference. Rather, the general priesthood and general women's sessions will each be held annually, with the general priesthood session being in April and the general women's session being in October." It continues, "These meetings will originate from the Conference Center on Saturday evening following the morning and afternoon sessions of the conference."

According to the letter, consolidating general conference sessions into one weekend furthers Church efforts "of reducing and simplifying the work of the Church and the demands made upon leaders and members."


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Leaving, Arriving, Conferencing, Speaking, and Training: The Fun Continues

The following is an edited version of an entry on the California Riverside Mission blog.
Sun peeking through the pine trees overlooking the Mission Home
One of the special times we have with the missionaries is in multi-zone conferences. We have divided the ten zones into four different groups. So, we began on October 17 with Corona and Lake Elsinore;

Corona Zone
It was delightful! Our topics included everything from “Emergency Preparedness” to “Companionship Study” to “Short-and Long-Term Planning” to “Asking Inspired Questions” to “Obedience and Recommitting to the standards found in theMissionary Handbook” to “Finding Joy in Our Trials” to “Mission Elevated.” We also had inspired music throughout the meeting with each zone providing one musical number. What talented missionaries we have in the mission! 

The missionaries singing to the Relief Society sisters in Lake Elsinore.
We had a large group of trainers and trainees come to the Trainer-Trainee Training. As you know, we had 28 new missionaries last transfer. After four weeks, they come to the Mission Office where we do additional training. What a delight to see the progress of the new missionaries. Many of their trainers said, “They came ready to work and learn.” We loved that about them. Five companionships discussed how the 12-week training was going and how using the Book of Mormon has enhanced their training, and what they were going to do differently the next eight weeks.

Outside the front door of the Mission Home

Monday, October 23, 2017


So....I had a very long week. A LOT of rough patches. However, I am not here to complain. So instead, I am going to share a cool experience we had this week.

So, this week I had so many cool experiences when I was able to follow a prompting form the Holy Ghost and was able to see blessings. So, we had a ward activity on Saturday and therefore we just didn't have time to eat dinner. It was almost 8 and we went to stop by our investigator who ended up being sick so we lucked out there. However, we have a potential across the street from them. We hadn't even planned on seeing them.

Spirit: Their gate is unlocked for once so you can actually go in.
Me: But Spirit, I am hungry and we have Jack-in-the-Box coupons
Spirit: Stop walking to your car and go knock on the door.
Me: But's 8:00....I am hungry..

So we did...we knocked on the door and a really nice man opened the door. However, his family wasn't home so we made a return apt for next week :)

We walked back to the car and I told Hna Sorensen about my debate with the Spirit (it happens a lot....He always wins.) We were in Home Gardens which is like Tia Juana and it has ZERO street lights so it is always dark and slightly sketchy. I was on such a spiritual high that I looked up towards the heaven and said, "Heavenly Father you ARE really there. You really DO answer every child's prayer. THE SPIRIT IS AWESOME. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!"

And then I heard some giggling from a house across the street from where our car was parked.


Well, I love being a missionary even through the hardships. I know the refiner's fire is real and that I am becoming stronger and stronger every day. I can't believe that I am already more than halfway done...there is still so much to do and so much more to become. I am excited to see what the next nine months have in store for me :)

Hermana Tonini

I don't know if you remember...but Hna Harper and I took a picture together with our trainers at the trainer/trainee of course we had to remake the photo :)

Nine more to go!

We got to celebrate turning nine months together!

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Primer on Coming Changes to the Missionary Program

Changes are coming to the way The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints engages in missionary work around the world.  Such changes will include a new set of interview questions to be asked of prospective missionaries; a trimming of the number of missions to better fit the needs of each region of the world; replacing tablets with smartphones and an increased use of technologies that help find those interested in religion.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles alluded to such changes June 28, 2017, at the annual seminar for new mission presidents. In late September, two missionary department representatives—General Authority Seventy Elder Brent H. Nielson and managing director Gary Crittenden—spoke to Mormon Newsroom about the reasons for these coming changes and the areas of missionary work that will be impacted.

“We have really been focused on looking at absolutely every element of missionary operations, starting from when a missionary is thinking about preparing, through the experience that he has on his mission, and even the time after that,” Crittenden said. “And through that we’ve found opportunities where we think we can improve. Many of the changes we will talk about come from that analysis.”

Improving the Overall Mission Experience
The Church has no higher priority in its missionary work than the success and safety of each missionary—no easy task with a missionary force of nearly 70,000 serving around the world in a wide variety of circumstances.

For those preparing for missions, Church leaders have approved a standard set of interview questions to be asked of prospective missionaries uniformly across the world. The hope is that each young man and woman will be familiar with them years before they formally prepare to serve so they have a more complete understanding of the rigorous requirements of missionary work.
For those currently serving, safety is a special concern. In June of this year, the Church sent out a physical safety survey to missionaries everywhere. The results of that survey are helping the Church continue to provide missionaries with safer apartments and training videos to foster more self-awareness.

For those who return home early (the most common reason being health challenges), the Church is always seeking ways to make the transition smooth and beneficial for the missionary.
“Their mission isn’t over [when they come home],” Elder Nielson said. “They now have an opportunity after they get better to perhaps complete their mission at home serving in Church Service missions and other opportunities. We’re working diligently to try to be sure they can complete their mission and have a positive experience.”

Adjusting Missions After the Surge
When President Thomas S. Monson announced in 2012 the change in the ages for missionary service, the Church expanded the number of missions to accommodate a surge of growth in only a few years from 58,000 to 88,000 missionaries. Five years later, with its missionaries spread throughout more than 400 missions, the Church will be implementing reductions to achieve an overall number of missions that better fits the total number of missionaries and the needs in each region.

“We’ve leveled off to around 70,000 missionaries—still way up from the 58,000 we had,” Elder Nielson said. “In the orderly process of accommodating changes in our numbers, we’ll be slowly closing missions because we don’t need as many as we required for the great increase we experienced in 2012-13.”

Changes to facilities are also a part of the adjustments. For example, this year the Church has expanded its missionary training centers in Provo, Utah, and the Philippines, and finished the Ghana MTC this summer.

Using Technology to Organize, Find and be Found
Through nearly 200 years of missionary work, the Church has repeatedly recognized that methods and approaches need to be updated as cultures and technologies shift and change. Because the ways people communicate and interact are always in flux, especially for the rising generation, the Church has consulted with industry leaders in the technology world to learn how to improve. For example, the number of missions using mobile devices is being increased from 87 to 162. Tablets are being replaced with smartphones, and in the future, most missionaries will arrive on their mission with a smartphone to assist them in their study, finding and teaching.

The online world is helping those asking life’s most important questions find the Church. Technologies can identify those who might be interested in the gospel, and the Church is using such tools to help those interested in spiritual things connect with the Church’s resources.

“‘How can I find peace in my life?’ or ‘Is there a God?’ There tends to be a pattern for people who are asking,” Crittenden said. “In a world of 7.4 billion people, many online are involved in that search. They look at the same kinds of websites and seek the same kind of information. And it’s possible for us then, because they’ve asked that question, to put content in front of them that might be of interest to them. We are able to reach those who are actually searching for the truth.”

A New Testament story illustrates the challenge and the opportunity of finding people interested in faith. After his Resurrection, Jesus came to his apostles, some of whom had returned to their fishing nets after His death. At the end of a fruitless day of fishing, Jesus instructs them to “cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find” (John 21:6). The yield of fish is so large that the apostles can’t lift it into the boat.

“The lesson is that the fish were always there in the water, but Jesus directed the apostles where to find them,” Elder Nielson said. “Our circumstance is similar. God knows where to find those who are seeking truth, and that’s why we’re seeking better ways to find them. There are billions of people on earth. And here’s the amazing thing—we can now reach them in a focused way. That’s very exciting.”