Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Call!

Forget waiting for Christmas morning to arrive.  The anticipation waiting for the designated hour to Skype with Hermana Tonini was even worse.  We had scheduled for the call to be 3 pm PST so we gathered around the computer ten minutes early.  Nothing.  Then it was 4 pm.  Still nothing.  By 4:30, we finally made contact!


The time went by way too fast but it was so good to see her laugh and to hear her teach "The Restoration" in two minutes or less (in Spanish).  

Monday, December 18, 2017

Luz

Here is my journal entry from the 15th:

"We had our appointment with Maria B. She STILL hasn't come to church nor to any of the activities we have invited her to. So we get in there and start teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. We hit faith and repentance and we started on baptism. I felt impressed to share Moses 6:52 and it was a miracle that I found it because I never use it in lessons so it wasn't even marked in my Spanish scriptures. I hit the fact that receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is part of the covenant we make at baptism. I asked her who the Holy Ghost was and her answer was kind of iffy so I started in about how He doesn't have a body of flesh and bones so he can reside in us and testify of truth through thoughts and feelings. I asked her when she felt the Holy Ghost in her life and she answered, but her answer led to her opening up to EVERYTHING. Turns out her husband has cheated on her multiple times. Her suegro (father-in-law) used to be in a gang, has killed people before, and was very involved in alcohol and drugs. So that was the kind of household that her husband grew up in. Her husband and kids are also in a cult....? 'Legua, una creencia cubana, santanelia' is what she wrote down. Turns out the table when you walk in? Not cool foreign decorations...it's a shrine. She said the cult does animal sacrifices and sometimes human....????? She fights with her husband all the time about getting rid of the imagenes. She feels like there's so much darkness in her home and that it's holding her back from following Christ and living the gospel. I talked about the power of light and how it ALWAYS wins but that she has to believe in the light of Jesus Christ. I got emotional as I felt impressed to ask her if she knows she is  a daughter of God. I wanted her to know her value and her worth SO BAD. She talked about wanting to find herself, to get out of that house, and live a life dedicated to God. I felt strongly impressed to read "Value Beyond Measure" by Joy D. Jones, which I had just studied the day before. Little did I remember this line, "When I found the gospel, I found myself." I legit stopped in the middle of reading in awe and wonder, pointing out to her that this is her desire. She just feels so much pain and unworthiness for the things she has done in the past...Hermana wrapped it up by saying God loves her and that he sent us here for her and that the light she so desperately needs is AT CHURCH. She was so bold yet loving...it was awesome!!!She heckin' invited her! A part that absolutely killed me was that she said there have been multiple "religious" people like us who have come by but when they ask about the table, and she explains the shrine, they stop coming....well, she said the closing prayer and she got super emotional when she said, "I know that You sent these girls to me and they have such a special light." By the end of that prayer we were ALL in tears. What an incredible lesson!!"

THEN, last night when we were over at the Ga***'s, Diana leans over in the middle of the lesson to tell us that she has a friend who has a Mormon sister living in Utah. At the end of the lesson the friend SHOWED UP. Turns out, she comes from a less-active family! We looked her up in our ward list and the hermanas before us had written next to them that they are a different religion now and don't want missionaries to visit them....so we weren't planning on going over anytime soon! However, she said we can stop by and share a message with them! I think with having Diana, a recent convert of a very active family, as a close friend, we can bring her back! WHAT ARE THE ODDS. Diana didn't even know that her family were members of the church, so it was crazy!! You should have seen Diana's face when her friend said she was baptized, priceless!!





Well, I am staying here in Corona with nugget, and I am super pumped!! We have rescheduled the temple trip for the Friday after Christmas so we are super pumped!!!




Love y'all!!


Hermana Tonini

P.S. We took a Spanish pic because Elder Bailey is leaving us :(


To: Sister Joanne Hammon

Y'all sent an email to my family saying, "One of the focuses we have now in the Mission is emergency preparedness. Each missionary should have a "grab n' go" bag to take with them in case of an emergency. A bag and items to put in the grab n" go bags would be wonderful gifts. You could send the bag items or a gift card to buy the items they need. Your missionaries have a list of the items they need for grab n' go bags."

Well, little do y'all know that my aunt LOVES EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS. I got three boxes from her this week, and I peeked in to see stuff that was wrapped....so I figured it was ALL wrapped. I was wrong....so I had a little early Christmas! She sent me anything and everything to do with emergency preparedness. I loved one thing I got, and we decided to take a picture:




"Members of the Church have been counseled for many years to be prepared for adversity. Preparation, both spiritual and temporal, can dispel fear."


 I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.

Doctrine and Covenants 38:30



Love y'all!! Merry Christmas! 

Hermana Tonini

CRM Post - Christmas devotionals and transfers!

(This is an edited version of the entry on the California Riverside Mission:  http://hammoncaliforniariversidemission.blogspot.com/2017/12/christmas-devotionals-and-transfers.html)

We have had an incredible week with Christmas devotionals, testimonies, transfer calls, and just being with the missionaries. The weather has been delightful!

Sister and President Hammon #LightTheWorld
We love the Christmas devotionals! This week, we experienced our first ones. We had two Christmas devotionals, one for the south zones: Hemet, San Jacinto, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley, and Menifee and one for the north zones: Riverside, Mt. Rubidoux, La Sierra, Jurupa, and Corona.

Corona Zone  
Sister Hammon had prepared a wonderful story with picture about the Grinch and his epiphany that “Maybe Christmas…doesn’t come from a store. Christmas…. perhaps…is a little bit more.” She focused on Christ’s birth as the reason for Christmas. Her slides were about Christ, His birth, Mary and Joseph, and the Christmas story.



My focus was on how the Christmas hymns also teach doctrine. So, we did an exercise where they chose a phrase from the hymns, discussed how it taught doctrine, and then showed where that doctrine came from in the scriptures

Sisters Bryant, Sorensen, Tonini, DiPietro, and Wilson

The zones had prepared four musical numbers for each devotional. Phenomenal! We have some incredible musicians in our mission. We were all just in awe. Music does bring a spiritual tone to the meetings.
One of the highlights was hearing the testimonies from the missionaries who came this transfer and the missionaries who are going home. It was a spiritual and teary time for both sets of missionaries. The outgoing missionaries have served well; those who have been here for six weeks have progressed and grown so much. It is delightful to watch them as their testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are enhanced by their obedience, teaching, and service.

As they were all leaving, Sister Hammon and I were able to shake each of their hands. What a delight to look each one of them in the eyes, wish them a Merry Christmas, and hand out a bag of MMs and a new temple recommend holder that Sister Hammon had someone design. Inside of it was inscribed: “California Riverside Mission, President Darrel and Sister Joanne Hammon, 2017-2020.” 

Front and inside covers of the temple recommend holder
Part of the devotional was eating cookies and oranges, drinking milk and orange juice, chatting with each other, picking up their Christmas packages (which hadn't already been delivered), and taking photos. It was a nice time for many of the missionaries to say good bye to those who are leaving on Monday, re-connecting to old companions, and meeting new missionaries or missionaries they haven’t met.

Selfie: Sisters Price, Fountain, Butler, and Chandler

Sisters Ford, Grover, Moran, Mackley, and Carson

One of the highlights of transfers is transfer Saturday. I begin calling at 6:30 a.m. This Saturday, I was on the phone for 2.5 hours with missionaries who are receiving new leadership, training, and area assignments. I love transfer Saturday mornings every six weeks to call missionaries and tell them about their new assignments. Of course, they all say yes and are so excited. They know the transfers are coming and anticipate something happening. One asked when I asked him to train after being here since August: “Is this for reals?” I told him that it really was. They are so delightful, willing to accept any new leadership assignment, new areas, and new companions. They just know this is what they are supposed to do, and I feel this is what the Lord wants them to do at this time. They will transfer on Monday.

 Love these missionaries!

President and Sister Hammon

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Primary Christmas

Sorry, I have like zero time to write, but know that I love y'all and that we had a great week! We have a fantastic teaching pool right now and we are just trying to get them all to PROGRESS!!! We had our ward Christmas party which was awesome! We sang with Hno Ga*** and then did another with the Elders.


Also, the Primary gave all of us missionaries a HUGE Christmas. Our ward is combined with the English ward for Primary and all of them brought like food or shampoo or soap or gift cards....all of it individually wrapped! I have never opened up so many presents before in my life! Here is the loot we brought home with us, I love those guys! We also stopped by the infamous fruit stand in Corona and of COURSE we had to document the event. Transfer week AND last week of training.....LETS GO.

No se olviden de iluminar el mundo, k?




Monday, December 4, 2017

Her Plans Went Down the Toilet

So uh, Hermana Sorensen dropped her planner in the toilet.



It was pretty funny, not going to lie. She wasn't laughing nearly as much as I was though. She is doing GREAT. The language is great, she is teaching more in lessons, and we are getting along great :) I love this girl so much and I am praying that we get to stay together another one. For 12 weeks this week SHE gets to be the "senior companion" so hopefully it will be a growing experience for her. It will be hard to step down and let her take the lead!





Guess what??? WE ARE GOING TO THE TEMPLE ON FRIDAY WITH DIANA TO DO BAPTISMS!!!!!! Also, we just so happen to be gemelas (twins) at church, so of course we took a pic!

(shout out to Hna Moran's mom for the scarf she sent me)













This week was so crazy....mainly because we wanted the Familia Ga*** to go to the Stake Christmas play but it was all going to be in English! So I made a TON of calls, got my hands on a script, and translated the twelve page script into Spanish with some help from Elder Carrillo (he's from Mexico). All of this in less than a week's time. He also helped out with the actual translating, and we had a lot of fun with it. The Ga*** parents loved it, they cracked up at our enthusiastic translating.



Well, I love y'all.

ILUMINA EL MUNDO

Hermana Tonini

Monday, November 27, 2017

Dia de la Accion de Gracias



Well, Thanksgiving was a success! It started with football in the morning with two other zones. Our zone, the Corona Kings, KILLED IT OUT THERE. Then we had Thanksgiving dinner with the Familia Ga*** and our Spanish Elders in our ward. To answer your question Dad, we ate birria instead of pavo. Some Hispanics do turkey, others tamales, and in our case, whatever they wanted :) We went out and taught them how to play futbol americano and we even played a little baseball with a plastic bat.

So, last week we invited to Diana to think/pray about when she wants to go to the temple and when we followed up yesterday she told us the 9th of December! Ha, she won't even have her membership record in time for that, but we think we will be able to do December 16th!!! We love the fire in this family. The Familia Ga*** is going to invite a non-member over for a family home evening in a couple of weeks after we do a FHE role play with them next Monday, so we are pretty impressed. MEMBERS won't even do that most of the time. Daniel LOVES the Book of Mormon. He always has questions, and when anyone mentions the iron rod or something that he has a read about he gets SUPER EXCITED.

Well, I love y'all.


Monday, November 20, 2017

#birthdaybaptism

WOW WOW WOW, WHAT A WEEK!!!!!

First of all, Elder Keetch came and did a mission tour, which was AWESOME! I want to share all of my insights and thoughts about what he shared, but then it ended up into my own little general conference talk and I don't have time for that. I will share one little story though:

Elder and Sister Keetch went up to Northern California after all of the fires and they said that there was nothing left of some homes.....just ashes. However, they found a small pot that had survived the flames that was just sitting in the middle of ashes. Why had the pot survived when everything inside the house disintegrated? Because pottery goes through the kiln, it has already been through the heat so therefore it was able to withstand the raging flames when they came. The refiner's fire, this kiln, not only shapes us into something beautiful but it PREPARES us for bigger flames to come.

"For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." 2 Nephi 20:10

So there's my spiritual nugget for the week. My birthday was AWESOME!! We did four hours of service in the morning and the Ga*** kids were baptized! It was an incredible baptism service.....I felt the Spirit stronger than I ever had at a baptism. We were able to do a musical number at the end with the parents and we sang "Mas cerca, dios, de ti" and there were very few dry eyes in the room. I love this family SO MUCH. I told them the other day that I am planning on coming back when Diana gets married and sealed in the temple and when Daniel leaves for his mission. (He said he wants to serve in Mexico (': )

Oh how I love this work. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world than here.

Three Geneations

Diana and Daniel

Big 20

I hit ten months, what is going on?

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Bittersweet Lagrimas

Ummm....Uh......I don't even know what happened this week. Honestly, the highlight had to have been the Primary program. This little girl sang a solo of the "When I am baptized"  and got emotional in the middle of it and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. SO GOOD. Plus, we had the most attendance our ward has had in THREE years with a solid 140. It's incredible because last year they were averaging in the seventies for attendance. The ward is growing and strengthening and it's incredible to be a part of it.

Update on the Familia Ga***....we had a really tough lesson this week. [edited for privacy] That was the most heartbreaking moment of my whole mission. I have never loved a family more than I love the Familia Ga*** and at the same time I have never working with someone SO elect and prepared with a stronger desire to be baptized. I cried. I cried a whole darn lot. Then what got me even more was when the hermano told me, "Even if I'm never baptized in your church I am dying in your church. I know that this is the true church."

Words couldn't even describe that moment.....sitting on their couch in tears and hearing those words. Conversion is such a beautiful gift. While I am devastated that it may take months or years until they are baptized, I know that nothing will keep them from the fruit they have tasted. I know that miracles will happen and that he and his wife will eventually be baptized and then sealed together for time and all eternity. And I can't wait to be supporting them through each and every step and trial.

Also, there is like a 70% chance that their kids will be baptized this Saturday!!! So we may still be having a #baptismbirthday. Tune in next week to see what will happen with the Familia Ga***! Here's a picture of us from the Halloween activity because it's the only one we have with them :)



Also, for those of you who don't know, Corona was on my bucket list of places to serve in the mission because a) it's as close to Corina as you can get and b) corona means crown soooooooooooooo what more could you want? So of course I had to snag a picture with something that said Corona.




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.






Love,
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 cried....it 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 :)

Love,
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."

From MormonNewsRoom.org

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

HUMP DAY

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 Spirit....it's 8:00....I am hungry..
Spirit: JUST GO KNOCK ON THE DOOR.

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.

Whoops.

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 mtg.....so 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.”

From MormonNewsroom.org

Monday, October 16, 2017

I FOUND BLU



This week....wow. Um, we were seeking with faith and this guy Jon Paul tells us that he has a flippin' BLUE MACAW. Like.....from the movie Rio! I love that movie! He made his "nephew" (called him his nephew because he was flirting with us and didn't want us to know he had kids. His twin's girlfriend called him out on it and it was super funny.) get the bird and show us and they even GAVE ME A FEATHER! Okay, I know it's actually not that cool because it doesn't even look like the bird in Rio, but I was freaking out.



Also here's a picture of cute little Hna Sorensen and I. We had 1/2 priced shakes for dinner one night because there was just zero time that day to even eat dinner. We had a really good week and I can feel our friendship beginning to grow! There are still a lot of bumps in the road...but things are getting better down here in Corona! We are working with a killer family, the sister of a member and we found this game named Julio this week who is SUPER ELECT. There is just so much potential and work here in Corona! I am excited to see the fruits of our labors over the next 9 weeks :) This week will be crazy with multizones and trainer/trainee meeting BUT it's going to be awesome. We finally got to meet our ward and they are INCREDIBLE. Super missionary-minded and they took us right in. I LOVE SPANISH WARDS.

Love,
Hermana Tonini

Monday, October 9, 2017

Ummm...uh.....

I feel like ever since training started I can't remember anything that happens in the week. Like, I know we did a crap ton of stuff but it just flies by so fast I can't keep up. Sorry my emails aren't going to be much the following ten weeks!

We did have Stake Conference this week and I wanted to share what the ward mission leader from the Corona shared:

He talked about how he tried having a gospel conversation every week and shared his experiences:

"The Gospel is such a big part of our lives, yet when people ask about our lives, we bypass right by it.

"Did I ask him if he wanted a BOM? No. did I ask him if we wanted to get baptized? No. But I shared a bit of the gospel.

"We don't have to make missionary work so difficult.

"Think of your routine. Who would be open to having a conversation deeper than the scores of the last football game? Prayerfully prepare for them and find out how you can squeeze something about the gospel and the church into a conversation with them this week."

I really want to implement this when I get home. You don't just have to invite people to meet with the missionaries. Just sharing bits of your life like about ward camp-outs...or Scouts....or how you watched General Conference last weekend....sharing the Gospel becomes so much easier! I regret not letting people know about my beliefs back home. When they eventually found out I was a member, there shock made me feel so guilty. People in my life would go MONTHS before knowing I was a member of the Church. Just sharing parts of our life that include the gospel is such an easier way :)

This week was just filled with us still trying to meet all of the investigators...picking up new ones...and trying to meet families in the ward. Poco a poco we will somewhat be able to breathe.

OH! I went back to Moreno Valley for Destiny's baptism! I was so honored to give the talk on baptism and the Holy Ghost and of course started crying at the end. That day had been the end (and beginning) of a very long journey. I am so proud of this girl and everything she has done.





Love my little nugget. After this picture I said, "I love you dude." And she went, "I'm not a dude, I'm a girl!"





Hermana Ber*** did not send me home empty handed, but with lactose-free horchata <3








I LOVE MY GIRLS <3









Love,
Hermana Tonini

Monday, October 2, 2017

My Strippling Warrior

Hey crew! So my trainee's name is Hermana Sorensen and she is such a sweetheart! Her Spanish is going great! The past week was kind of stressful....but we are excited to see what the next week holds! We treated ourselves by getting elote from the elote man who was kind enough to take a picture of us :)

I don't have much for this week mainly because it is taking me a dummy long time to type because I think I may have broken my pinkie while throwing the football with some Elders...whoops. I tried to see if I could catch it one-handed and clearly failed.


Oh, get this! Hermana Roque is being trained by Hermana Alvey, but it turns out that we went to middle school together! She said we might of even had a class together? She is from Houston, and said she knows Seth Reyes and the Willis twins....crazy huh?? Small world..

I am excited to see what the next 11 weeks have in store for us and I am so excited for this opportunity to serve Hermana Sorensen and watch her grow! Love y'all lots!




Hermana Tonini

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Outgoing and Incoming Missionaries: Times of Tears and Joy!

This is an edited version of the post on the California Riverside Mission blog:

Monday and Tuesday have been days of outgoing and incoming missionaries, full of tears and joy! .....
             
Tuesday, September 26, 2017—The leaving and the coming

...Soon, the 25 new missionaries began to descend the chairs and escalator. What a grand sight. Think of it: 25 new missionaries. Three had arrived the night before from the Mexico City Missionary Training Center (MTC), which we didn’t get to meet because we were with the outgoing missionaries. We greeted them all warmly. They looked great! 

And here are 25 of the 28 who arrived! 
We whisked them off to the Mission Office where they ate a delicious lunch, participated in a truncated training because of the lateness of their arrival, had interviews with me, ate dinner, participated in an “unveiling” of who their new companions were going to be, shared their testimonies with all of us, then loaded all of the belongings and bikes in their companions and district cars, and headed home. There was no time for them to breathe, from the moment they landed until they entered their cars for the long ride home. We can tell you, though, the energy with these missionaries coupled with their new companions, was high and contagious. We love them already and will grow to love them even more! (Note: * means new missionary)

Hermanas Tonini and Sorensen*

Hermanas Harper y Caldes*

We love these new missionaries who have arrived. Stay tuned for information about the missionaries who have arrived from Puerto Rico.


Monday, September 25, 2017

When the Phone Rings

Sorry, I have zero time to write because we are doing transfer journal signing! Just know that lots and lots of tears were shed this week because I am leaving the best area, comp, and ward ever. My heart truly is here in MoVal. I am really nervous about doubling-in to Corona AND training...so prayers and advice would be wonderful! I am excited for the new challenges ahead of me and I know I will grow a lot. I can't wait to meet my trainee and hopefully set the pace and tone for her whole mission...it's a lot of pressure but if President and the Lord believe in me, then I will not doubt.


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SPANISH CREWWWWWW. Elder Spittle (far left) and Elder Parson (far right) are both going home and I am super sad. The older you get in the mission, the more people you know who go home..

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THE ZONE ❤









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THE LOVE OF MY LIFEEEEEE! (pizza, not my companion) (jk, I love her more than pizza)



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MY WARD!!!!!