Monday, July 10, 2017

Watermelon Queen

I don't have a lot of time...sorry!!

Fourth of July was incredible!! We spent time together  as a zone and it was so much fun! We played kickball...then had a competition of who could eat a watermelon slice the fastest....without hands.....and I got second place behind Elder Whiting who is an animal and destroyed his slice.



Then we competed between Sisters and Elders to see who could get a watermelon to explode first by putting 500 rubber bands around it. The Elders won, but we won in a different way. Ours exploded and a chunk flew up and uppercut me right in the jaw. Couldn't feel my jaw for a little bit but that's okay :) Anyway, it was a perfect day and I love my zone <3


Oh, we also were parade marshals in the morning for the community!!



And the night before Arian, our recent convert, popped fireworks for us!!



We met our new mission president and his wife this week! They are so cutie!!! I love them so much!! Also this week I got to spend the day with Hermana Harper in Menifee and it was so nice to be her comp again, even if it was only for a day!!

The family we are working with came to church on Sunday! I am so excited to see where things go with them! I have never taught a whole family before, only single men or children, so I am excited because the gospel truly is for families!! Well, for everyone no matter what situation, but you know what I mean!!

Love you all! Sorry this is so short!

Hermana Tonini

Monday, July 3, 2017

#momsrule

So, on the way over here my companion told me that I talked in my sleep....AGAIN last night and that I said: "I don't have time for this." "I got to get to work!" and "I WANT TO GO GET *whispers* ice cream." Those three statement pretty much describe my whole mission.

Oh yeah, by the way, I am still here in Moreno Valley but I did get a new companion! Hermana Moran was born in El Salvador but she grew up in Utah! She has the biggest heart ever! I feel like she is going to soften me up because we all know I am not a...hm....flower power girl? I don't know how to explain it :') But, I feel like I am going to learn a lot from her and I love her so much already! She also got called to be an STL, so this is my THIRD transfer as an STL companion....and I miss that RPM life for sure. However......MY HALF COMPANION IS FLIPPING HERMANA HARPER AHHHHHHHHH! The first exchange is this week and I get to go spend a whole day with my fav bad girl in Menifee! So excited!

We had a great week!! We picked up a lot of investigators, but the one I really want to talk about is Destiny. So, in the referral system someone requested a Bible and it said they were a less active family. So we went over and met Liz and her kids destiny and Aaron. Liz was baptized when she was 9, but is inactive now. She wants her kids to grow up in the Church and have the same experiences she had growing up. So we are now starting to help her 10 year old get ready for baptism!! I love teaching 9/10 year olds. I look forward to each lesson and finding new ways to teach them so they can understand the gospel. Liz and Destiny came to church on Sunday and they have progressed SO MUCH and we haven't even known them for a week! As they were sitting next to me, Liz reached over and grabbed Destiny's hand and it just reminded me of how my mom used to do that when we sat together at church. Working with them and with Monse and Hna Ayala, I have loved being able to watch these mothers come back to activity and helping their daughters progress in the Gospel. Mothers just have this crazy strong influence that you can't find anywhere else, and I am so grateful for my mother, because without her, I wouldn't be sitting here writing this email right now. #momsruletheworld

We had a cita with Arian this week....OH YEAH HE WAS CONFIRMED ON SUNDAY SO PROUD OF HIM LOVE THAT GUY....and I felt the Spirit so strong at one point. He asked kind of a difficult question that one of his friends had asked him, and I had no idea how to answer it. Then, I could quite literally feel the Spirit surge through me and I just started talking....and talking...and part of my personal study a couple days back helped me to answer the question and yeah. Like, I can't even explain it.  It was just cool how not only the Spirit brought things to my remembrance but worked through me so I could help Arian. I LOVE THE HOLY GHOST.

Also, I got home one night to a package on my doorstep....that wasn't even taped shut. So like, it was a hand-delivered package. FROM MY BROTHER. Like I recognized his pen chicken scratch on the cardboard box. Drew and Shavaun and Zowie were like....at my apt. How crazy is that??? I opened up a frozen container to find my FAV CAKE:  almond poppy seed cake and I legit cried. (this is also why I love my mother because she is an angel and sends me hand-delivered cake from NoDak).

Well, I love you all and keep up the hard work!

Love,
Hermana Tonini

Monday, June 26, 2017

Scrapbook email

This week during my studies I have been focusing on the section Jesus Christ, Exemplar. I have learned so much about what it means to follow His example and try to become more like Him. I learned a lot about sacrificing. What are we willing to sacrifice to follow the Savior? With Arian's baptism, my testimony grew of this. He flipped his whole life around the follow the Savior and His teachings. When we follow the Savior it brings us so much JOY. He sent us a text after his baptism saying he has never smiled so much in his whole life.  When we invite people to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized, they truly are following His example. I feel so blessed to be able to follow His example by being a missionary while teaching repentance and baptizing converts. The Gospel of Jesus Christ truly does change lives and offers so much hope and joy. I love this work, there truly is nothing else like it out there.

I have so many pictures form the past two weeks that all I am going to do is send pictures for my mass email with a  few comments.

HIKE! We hiked all the way up to the M!! It was exhausting but so worth it. Hermana and I took a whole bunch of pretty pics with the city in the background, but this one is my fav because my comp is such a cutie and laughing.




Service pictures from the Air Force Base

The old car we cleaned rat poop out of

The plane we pushed by hand

The vehicle I drove the other week out to the plane we painted

the plane we painted

When my comp makes my buy a hat because I burn




Baptisms!

Vicky T
NAPOLEON!!!! THE MYTH THE LEGEND!!!!



Arian featured Hna Soto who is our abuela in MoVal.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Baptizing [Father] Converts

WOW WOW WOW this week was full of miracles. First off, we had SEVEN new investigators this week. That may not be a lot compared to other missionaries, but for me, it truly was a miracle because of all of the people Heavenly Father put in our path.

Okay also, service at the Air Force museum was so cool. We physically moved an airplane by hand and we also cleaned RAT POOP out of an old car they are restoring. Then the week before, we got to help repaint an airplane!!! And I got to drive an air force like....cart kind of thing out to the site. I love service here. Especially since my grandpa was stationed here, it just makes it even more special. Pics to come of this.

Multizones were this week and I got to see one of my fav humans Hna Harper.



On Thursday we had the craziest miracle. So, we were at dinner with the Ten***'s, and they have their sister-in-law who lives with them, Vicky. She took lessons like years ago, but never got baptized. She comes to work in primary as like a service calling every Sunday. Well, the hnos were all like, "She just needs a little push and she is there." So we got her to sit in on the dinner lesson and once she saw it wasn't crazy intimidating she agreed to take lessons again! However, we had an appointment to get to after dinner so we had the Elders teach her for us. We got a call from them after they taught her the Resto saying they invited her to baptism and put her on date...but that she asked them, "Why can't I just get baptized on Saturday?" Like, in two days. And she did. So on Friday, we officially picked her up as our investigator and took an hour and a half just to review all of the lessons with her. Like the Plan of Salvation and Gospel of Jesus Christ plus all of the commandments. It was exhausting, but we somehow taught it all. So she legit was our investigator for less than 24 HOURS before her baptism. Like, stories like this don't happen to me. Like, why is Heavenly Father blessing me so much? Her baptism was beautiful and we are so happy for the family. Man, I don't ever want to go home.

Speaking of home, I hit my FIVE MONTH MARK this week. Crazy, huh?

Another miracle was on Sunday my investigator Napoleon was baptized! It was so special to be at the baptism of not only a father but a grandfather as well. I love him so much. He has such a special spirit. As I sat next to him for a couple of minutes before the program started I went back to the first lesson I had with him. How he kept saying "Lo creo. Lo creo." He truly does believe. And it was incredible to be with him from day one to the day of him opening up the door to so many blessing and other covenants to make with Heavenly Father. Every baptism is a miracle.

In spite of having TWO baptisms this week, oh, and having our investigator Arian being found worthy of baptism for next Sunday, there was one miracle that beat them all. This miracle was a prayer. We are working with a less active family and their daughter Monse is on date. Her date has been pushed back because we are trying to get her father reactivated and have him receive the Priesthood so he can baptize his daughter. However, he is very stubborn and doesn't really want anything to do with the church. (He had some bad experiences in the past) Like, he refuses to even pray. Nothing. It was almost difficult to even give Monse the opportunity to be baptized. However, after each visit we can see his heart softening. And when we went by and taught Monse, his wife and daughter tried getting him to pray at the end....like they do every time. Except this time, HE PRAYED. He humbled himself and let his 8 year old daughter teach him how to pray and he prayed. His prayer was beautiful. I have never been touched by the Spirit before in a prayer like that. It was so strong tears streamed down my face during his prayer. He prayed, and that was the grandest miracle yet.

Want to end with a quote from a RM I met from Norway, or one of those countries, this week. He said,

"It was an honor to get spit on and cast out like He was."

It truly is an honor to walk in the Savior's footsteps by being one of His missionaries. To teach and love and sometimes, yes, be rejected like He was. However, I know that miracles do happen today. Miracles have not yet ceased. My love for the Savior has grown so much this week as I have witnessed all of these miracles. I know my Savior lives. Without a shadow of a doubt.

Love,
Hermana Tonini

ps I had to email at the library so pics will just have to come next week sorry!!!

Monday, June 12, 2017

A White Summer

Is every week this transfer a crazy week? I feel like I haven't missionary'd all week and all transfer long. We had back-to-back exchanges this week and next week we have the last exchange for the transfer PLUS multi-zone conferences PLUS another STL/DL meeting. I miss just being able to go find all of the people and teach them Restorations left and right. The work is slow right now, but that's okay. My companion is getting a little frustrated at times, but how I see it, is that I am just going to work hard and be obedient and have faith. And I KNOW these people will come. It just may take more time than we want. 

We had our last interviews with our mission president this week, how crazy is that?? 

Our investigator here is doing great. He is still smoke-free and his interview is this week! He texts us every day to ask us how we are doing and if we are having a good day. He is INCREDIBLE and we love being able to go over and teach him and help him through his hurdles right now. 

Also, I got to go back to Hemet yesterday!!! Ruben was baptized! WOW, LIKE WOW. That was seriously the best part of my whole mission. He had five sister missionaries in there who all played a part in his conversion. I was sitting behind him and  before his service started his eyes were closed as he sat there in humble prayer. He understood the covenant he was about to make. He knew how sacred that moment was. When he stepped into the water in the font, tears immediately sprang in my eyes. Wow. Like words can't explain. The Spirit was strong and no one in that room could deny it. Also, during the baptism our other investigator, Napoleon, was interviewed and was found worthy to be baptized!!!!!! So I am going back to Hemet next Sunday for his baptism! I just feel SO SO SO blessed to be a part of this work. Like, I am already looking forward to being with Ruben when he goes through the temple. I just love these precious souls and la obra misional truly is humbling. My love has increased so much. Whether it be with my companion or investigators or members. This transfer I have learned so much about charity and what it truly feels like to LOVE. 

Here are pictures from the week. Sorry I look terrible in the pictures from the baptism? I look like a straight nugget. Oh well. Also we got chik-fil-a last p-day and I felt true bliss with chicken and waffle fries in hand. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Voy a regresar...OTRA VEZ


Holy moly this week flew by. And I don't have much to say, so sorry!

So we do a TON of service here in MoVal and we had the opportunity to pick up a million and five American Flags at the Riverside National Cemetery after Memorial Day. Plus, when I was up in Riverside one day this week we threw away old food at Feeding America which was disgusting but fun to be with the missionaries up there.


Then at MFAM, or March Field Air Force Museum, I got to work on building these metal fort thingies. Like legit I was drilling in sheets of metal. They have a couple of these metal covers and missionaries have built all of them!  So there's some pics from some of the service we did this week. Sister Palmer, my half comp, has a ton of pics from this week so I will send them later once she gets them to me. I actually spent half of the week with Sister Palmer because there were THREE exchanges this week. Having a five-week transfer is rough because your STL comp has more exchanges to cram in each week. Like, we had one Wednesday, Thursday was MLC so I was with Palmer for half of the day, and then we had back-to-back Friday and Saturday. AKA I didn't see my companion at all this week.

OH ALSO, here is a picture of Hermana Hernandez Sanchez and I wearing each other's black dresses. Isn't she so cutie?

So, as a mission we are still sharing the Prince of Peace video, and a comment that was made after the video was, "It's incredible how he performed so many miracles and that they haven't stopped. We still see His miracles today, in our own personal lives." Isn't that so true? Well, yesterday we had a little miracle. We role played in the morning, and it was supposed to role play to invite to church. Well, I accidentally goofed and invited Hermana to be baptized instead. Well, while we were doing a little seeking with the little time we had left in the day, a man let us teach him for fifteen minutes, and the lesson went EXACTLY like the role play. Like his concerns were the exact same as Hermana's fake concerns in the role play. So not only was it a miracle that we found a new investigator at the last second possible of the week, but we were prepared! I know without a doubt that if we are prepared then we WILL see miracles in our every day lives, especially here on the mission.

Also, I got a call from Hermana Chandler this week saying that they had a lesson with our investigator Ruben. They were going to change the date of his baptism because there wasn't enough time to teach everything by his date because we could only get in like once a week maybe twice. You want to know what he said? NO. He refused to change his date!!!!! He said he would do whatever it takes to get baptized the 11th. I legit cried when I heard this. And his interview was yesterday and he was found worthy!!!! So Ruben is getting baptized this Sunday and I get to go back for it! I have such an overwhelming love for him, and my joy cannot be described. This work is so rewarding and I just can't get over it. So stay tuned until next week for pictures!

Also, here is the picture of us after Jacki's baptism with her cute little mini quincenera dress.



Love y'all.

Hermana Tonini

Monday, May 29, 2017

Donkey and Baptism Crossing

So, I am in Moreno Valley!!! I love my new companion Hermana Hernandez Sanchez with all of my heart. She's like the Hispanic version of me. She's also teaching me ALL of the appropriate Spanish slang since she is fluent in Spanish. We somehow didn't take a picture together this week? The only picture we have together is the one Ken took on Sunday and sent to my parents, so at least they know what my comp looks like. (Ken is my brother's convert who goes to church in the same building as me) Until next week my friends, and I will have more pictures. Just know that I love her to death and it's always a party. We're always laughing. But we are going to work hard too.

However, work was difficult this week. Had to take the car in twice this week, plus DDM, plus Hna had to go to Riverside for a meeting because she's an STL, two service activities, baptism in Hemet........yeah. It was a VERY long week and it felt very unproductive. Like, we only taught the Restoration ONCE this week. So we only picked up two new investigators. However, hopefully this week will be better. We are going to work flippin' hard and get stuff done. Hna has another meeting in Riverside this week and we have to take the car in for a whole day this week BUT we are going to try and be as successful as we can.

The one Restoration we taught though was the COOLEST Restoration I have ever taught! I have never felt so EXCITED to teach the Restoration. I could physically feel the Spirit surging through my body. My Spanish just flowed. Like, it was awesome.

JACKI'S BAPTISM!!!!!!!! My first investigator got baptized on Saturday and it was so incredible! I love that little girl so much and my heart was so filled to walk into the room and see her dressed in white. Man, I love being a missionary. Also this picture is so gross but we got there like 5 minutes late and had to rush to get this pic in. Han chandler has a pic of her in her nice dress afterwards with us, and she will be sending it to me.)

I love the two investigators we are working with right now. They are both pretty much ready for baptism, they just each have one single obstacle standing in their way. I love being able to be part of bringing souls unto Him in two different areas. My investigators back in Hemet are still progressing and I love being able to get updates about them.

Also, did you know that there are wild donkeys here in MoVal?



Well, that's really it. Love you all.

Love,
Hermana Tonini

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hermana Tonini Sighting!

One of Drew's famous converts (famous because he is rock-solid in the Gospel) attends a ward that shares the building with the Spanish Ward.  Guess who he ran into?


Thank you Brother Engi!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Pictures!

How we found my district leader the other day
Jacki, who is getting baptized this weekend drew this for me. Bffs



And We're Filling the Font

YES! WE HAVE A BAPTISM THIS SATURDAY! Our investigator, a 9 year old from a part member family, was found worthy this week! So I get to come back to Hemet for her baptism!

Yes...come back because I am leaving Hemet! I am headed to Moreno Valley!! My new comp will be Hna Hernandez Sanchez! Hna Chandler used to be comps with her, and from what I have heard about her, I already love her! We also joked around about how it would be just my luck to serve my first area in Hemet with my brother's in-laws and then MoVal where my brother's famous convert lives, and guess what? It happened! Ken's ward is in the same building as ours even! I love being able to find bits and pieces of my brother here! Also so excited to go to MoVal because the work is popping over there! And I will be coming back nearly every weekend for all of our baptisms happening here. June is going to be CRAZY for me. Excited and scared to death of this new change.

So when I was Buscando con Fe the other day with Sis DiPietro, we walked pass guys working on a roof and didn't talk to them because it might put them in danger, like if we scared them. But once we passed the house, I had a strong impression to turn around, and one of the guys ended up being interested! He lives in another town, but what a miracle that the missionaries over there can teach him!

So we did a church tour with Nap because he still hasn't been to church and it was INCREDIBLE. When we walked into the chapel the Spirit was crazy strong!! And guess what, HE CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY! He talked with his family and told them that he is going to wait to go to Anaheim on the weekends until AFTER he goes to church with us. He even stayed for all three hours! His baptism date is on the 11th, and I just can't wait. He loves the gospel so much and is so willingly to live it.

So by Saturday we only picked up one new investigator because of how insane our week has been (Hermana Chandler was on exchanges and had to take a sister to the hospital so no work got done in our area for a whole day). So I prayed SO HARD that we could find investigators and that night we picked up three, and they lived next door to each other. So we legit had a Restoration and then walked next door and had another one.

Another thing, so President stressed the importance of walking around for five minutes when a potential or referral who you try isn't home. So we have been trying to do that more. EVERY SINGLE TIME we have done it the past week or two we have found referrals for the missionaries in that area. Just with that extra five minutes we were able to find so many people for missionaries to teach. Like last night we went off four or five referrals because the four or five potentials we tried all weren't home. Missionary work truly is a team effort and it's such a blessing to help out between the Spanish and English missionaries.

So, gave a talk yesterday and didn't totally bomb it? Gabriel D*** (my best friend because he plays little league baseball) ran up and gave me a hug and then ran off saying he was going to riot and talk to the Bishop so I don't have to leave. Leaving is hard, I love these members so much.

Here's to my new adventure.

Love,

Hermana Tonini

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Should I Stay or Should I Go"

So, it was a long and crazy week. Where to begin?

Well, we have a crazy elect and prepared investigator who is perfect in every way and loves the gospel but HASN'T COME TO CHURCH. He goes out of town every Sunday. So that is super hard, but we brought a team up with us to one of our citas [appointments] and afterwards he said he could picture him as a temple worker. That's how cool he is. Love that guy, we just need to get him to church.

So then on Wednesday we had a cool experience. We were walking around this neighborhood and then realized that it was actually a 55+ neighborhood (there's a lot of those down here in sunny southern Cali). So I prayed and prayed that we would find at least one person. Just one. And guess what? We ran into three old Hispanics!!! One of them gave us his number and said to come visit his wife because she wants to be Mormon? And the other two let us into their home to teach them! They didn't want a return appointment but at least we had the opportunity to teach and testify! They also didn't let us leave until we drank TWO full glasses of orange juice. Cutie old people.

Also found out that day that our investigator who is getting baptized this upcoming Sunday doesn't have a testimony of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. Yeah. So...we will see if we have our baptism on the 21st or not. I hope so because I love her with all of my heart and if she didn't get baptized it might just break me.

Then we had another cita with Nap on Thursday and we taught him the Word of Wisdom....while he was wearing a whiskey and cigars shirt. In the lesson, his answers were super long and elaborated but while we were talking about the cita afterwards, we realized that every time he answered, he would bring it back to Christ somehow. Isn't that beautiful? He can see how Jesus Christ truly is at the core of everything we share, teach, and are trying to become.

Sooooo, with our investigator from Cuba, I may or may not have given a smack down mini course on why we need to be reading the Book of Mormon after she said she hadn't really been reading....two lessons in a row. So then we decided to read where she left off, assuming she hadn't read, would have been in the beginning of 1 Nephi. Uh, no. More like JACOB. My jaw dropped. Me: "Dijo que no ha tenido la oportunidad de leer en su libro de mormon!!!!" Then she said she didn't read as much as she should have with the time she had that week. Holy moly. Jacob chapter one....can you believe that?

Multi Zones killlllllled this week. We were at the church from 6:30 to 4:30. In one of the trainings, they quoted Johnny Lingo which was golden.



So we are teaching this huge family and each time we have gone over, there has been someone new. So when a new family member was there I was all: Uh, do I teach the Restoration for the third time with this family orrrr...?? So, I just decided to start with the Book of Mormon because they hadn't read it last week. And it was a super good lesson!!! However, that poor guy hadn't even had the Restoration yet. What was I supposed to do? We had no time...and then he asked right at the end, "How come there are so many churches?" Boom. I was then able to teach the Restoration in five minutes for him. It truly was a tender mercy. (for training, since it is the last two weeks I have to be "senior comp" and lead all of the discussions. So that's why I was stressing out).

Yesterday I got to call home which was so nice! And if y'all know me well enough, then you also know that I cried my eyeballs out. Calling home is so hard but so good. Yesterday was also weird. Found out one of our investigators may or may not be a drug dealer, another investigator is actually a former of not too long ago, that the lady who wants to become Mormon is actually already taking lessons from the ENGLISH Elders, AND I invited someone who was already baptized to be baptized. (We accidentally ran into less actives that we didn't know were less actives and didn't mention they were members so I did what we always do and invite on the first lesson. AWK.)

Then today! We had crossfit in Menifee which means I got to see HERMANA HARPER THE LOVE OF MY LIFE. And I actually did ALL of crossfit which was mega super hard to do. So here is a gross sweaty pic of us after crossfit. Please enjoy. Also met Elder  Goodrich who is from Jamestown, ND today! How cool is that? #represent. Transfer calls are this Saturday! We tried making transfer predictions but it is honestly so up in the air!! So, standby, and until next week! Love y'all!!

Love,

Hermana Tonini

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Call!

Hermana Tonini was able to speak to much of her extended family today!  In addition to her parents and brother, Carson, in Minot, we were able to Skype in Jacob & Mandie from Provo, Drew, Shavaun, and Zowie were visiting from Bismarck, and Grandma Tonini and Aunt Sheryl were in Minot for Drew's graduation so everyone got to talk to her!


Funny story from the call as told by Hermana Tonini:

Hna Chandler:  Hermana Tonini, do you like to make pies?
Hna Tonini:  I don't even like to eat pies, why would I like to make pies?
Hna Chandler:  Well, there is a pie pan in the kitchen with your name on it!

Yes, Hermana Tonini is living in an apartment once occupied by Elders, including her own brother!  (Hopefully the pie pan had been washed since he returned home three years ago!)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Ley de Castidad


Yes, you read that right. I had the wonderful opportunity of teaching the Law of Chastity for the first time ever as a real missionary....in Spanish...and I had to do it while I was on exchanges! (so I taught it by myself) Luckily it was with Maria and she is quite literally so golden. Her only thing she said she wants to change is to work on her words. Because she calls people stupid sometimes. Legit, this lady is the best. And she came to a baptism we had of an 8-year-old in the ward and then she went to the Cinco de Mayo ward activity later that day. She even bought a new skirt the day before so she can have more things to wear! She gets baptized in less than two weeks can you believe that? My heart is so full. I love her so darn much.

Had to pause a family that we have been working with for a while. I may or may not have cried a little bit in that pause talk? Fun fact: first “pause talk” ever and I was on exchanges. I had a lot of firsts that day. But yeah, it was hard but when they aren't keeping their commitments we have to give them some space to figure out what they really want...And they have family getting baptized this month so hopefully their fam can work some magic on them in the meantime.

So we, Sis Dipietro and their mini missionary, had to go seeking the other day like in the middle of the afternoon because our comps were at MLC and that was the only time we had to get seeking in that day. It got up to like 105 degrees. And we went walking for an hour and a half. SO HOT. Then it was cold and rainy this weekend? Like in the 50s? I am losing the NoDak in me because I broke out a cardi for 50-degree weather. Boo.

So at service this week at the old folk's, some old man saw me and yelled, "Hey, when did Cleopatra walk in?" He said that while I was standing with all of our Elders too. I had to take a lap. Then we went inside to play bingo and he yelled across the room to the man sitting next me, "Hey, how did you get lucky sitting next to her?" And he said back, "I don't know, but I like it!" Glad I am a hit with at least one age group of men.

Big story of the week:

So we have members that live out in Homeland. Which is out in the boonies. Like it takes us almost 30 minutes to get their house for dinner. And you have to take a dirt road off of the highway to get there. Well, the GPS decided to take us on a different dirt road to get there. At first, we were like "whoa, this is fun!" and took a couple of pictures. Then, the road got really narrow and the road started getting worse. Then we got to a big red gate. We were all like crud, because there was no way for me to turn the car around. the road was that narrow. So, it was either drive backwards all the way back down these hills or lowkey break in:


So, we opened the gate and kept going forward. We drove past some mini construction sites and drove passed a man who threw his arms up at us like, "what are you doing here, you don't belong." We didn't. Pretty sure you were on private property. Then we got to this HUGE hill. Like, super steep. And this wasn't a good dirt road, like it was loose sand. I turned to Hermana Chandler and said, "I don't think I can do this." And she said, "We don't have a choice." So I gunned it up that hill in our little wimpy car, and we somehow made it over. Like, with the conditions of the road, the steepness of the hill, and the car we were driving? Should have been impossible. Not to mention we didn't have service, which means if we didn't make it over that hill or if something happened to the car we would have been stranded out there. We were truly watched over. Looking back on this experience I thought to myself, "How often do we say, 'I don't think I can do this'?" Sometimes we don't think we are going to make it. That we don't have the capacity to keep going. Sometimes we don't, but that's why we have a Savior. The enabling power of the Atonement is so unbelievably incredible but we have to UTILIZE this grace in our lives. We can't just sit at the bottom of the hill and doubt. We have to hit the gas pedal and have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ to do the rest.




Only two more weeks left in the transfer, which means I am that much closer to finishing training! Love you all!

Love,

Hermana Tonini

Monday, May 1, 2017

Pretty Girls Need Bodyguards

So, Tuesday was MEGA CRAZY. During Buscando con Fe, we found SIX referrals between three different sets of missionaries and one for us. It was in a real sketchy part of town and some man drove by with his window down and yelled, "PRETTY GIRLS NEED BODYGUARDS” at us. We also picked up FOUR new investigators. Also, I had a strong impression the past week to go stop by a family in our ward. Usually you would peg them for a family that wasn't really super gung-ho about the Gospel, if that makes sense. However, the mom and daughter had TWO missionary experiences and they were totally willing to go out with us and continue sharing the gospel with their friends!

So in MCM [Missionary Correlation Meeting] we decided that when we have our Obra Misional Sacrament Meeting that our ward mission council is going to sing the intermediate hymn. You should hear us sing. Our little mighty group cannot sing and I lose it every time we sing to open out MCM. It's so bad, I know. I need to work on that. But still. Should be VERY interesting. Also, might have to give a talk that Sunday too. Yikes.

So on Wednesday I took over the area again. And I prayed SO STINKIN HARD for help. For the Gift of Tongues and for the Spirit. And it totally payed off! I feel like the more trust you put in the Lord, the more you can feel His support. We taught Maris the most spiritual lesson ever. Like, Sister DiPietro said that she felt the Spirit stronger than she had ever felt before in a lesson, and she doesn't speak a lick of Spanish. Like, you could visibly SEE the Spirit work on Maria, like in her countenance. It was the coolest thing ever. We got her back on date and she even prayed about baptism in the closing prayer!! Gosh, I love that lady. Then I had a Resto with a potential investigator and I taught the whole Restoration by myself and didn't crash and burn!!! And he kept saying "Lo creo" ["I believe"] throughout the whole lesson! I truly felt the Lord's hand in la obra misional [mission work] that day. Then I got to finish out the day with a home visit with one of my favorite families in the ward. Their son plays baseball and so we always talk about his game highlights!

Friday was a little hard. We had to pass of the MOST ELECT family to the English Elders because the son does not understand Spanish. We were already at the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them too. Love that family with all of my heart and it was really hard not to be selfish and keep teaching them. Like, the mom quite literally threatens to call the missionaries on her 11-year-old when he is being difficult and he stops. Ugh. Miss them.

However, we had another crazy good Buscando con Fe day. Found five referrals for the Elders and one for us! Had a really cool contact with this lady Amanda who quite literally has the cutest family I have ever seen and the Elders are teaching them now!!

Then on Saturday we had a lesson with a member's "friend." They are definitely dating but they both call each other friends. In “How to Begin Teaching,” we asked him if he had any questions and one of them was, "Do I have to be baptized to marry someone in this church?" Still want to tell me you aren't dating her? He is so great though. So elect. I was teaching about Jesus Christ and the Apostles and asked him what he thought happened after the organization and leadership of Christ's church went away? What happened to the church that Jesus Christ had set up? He's all, "Um, a lot of people started their own churches. They started walking in their own ways." Uh, yeah exactly? Like, he knew about the apostasy and the significance of the church of Jesus Christ before we even taught it to him? So he is set to be baptized in June and we are super excited about it!

Also, I was parking by the curb one day and all of a sudden this kid comes ZOOMIN down the driveway on his bike and almost T-boned me!!!! Like, his arm hairs brushed up against our car, that's how last minute he swerved.

During Gospel Principles there was a huge fight. Like someone stormed out of class. SUPER uncomfortable, not to mention it all happened in front of our investigators.

It was the most exhausting week, but it was a good, full week. Can't wait to see what new challenges and blessings are in store for this week.

Love you all!

Love,
Hermana Tonini

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Change Release Date to Parents

Dear Brother and Sister Tonini,

I am writing to inform you of a change in the mission release date for Sister Corina Tonini.  For some reason her original release date did not conform to standard transfer days in the California Riverside Mission.  To avoid unnecessary disruption in the mission, her release date is now scheduled as 17 Jul 2018.

We thank you again for sharing Sister Tonini with the California Riverside Mission.  You can be proud of her and the fine work she is doing here in the mission field.  Thank you for your support and prayers in her and our behalf.

Sincerely,

John H. Mullen, President

California Riverside Mission

Monday, April 24, 2017

Buzzed

We went to Bob Davis's Luncheon this week and got some pretty great advice from my district elder who was drying while I was washing dishes. He said, "My mother would always say, 'Wash dishes like a blind person.'" And yes, it was because I missed a spot in the crock pot I was washing. (I swear I know how to wash dishes.)

Also, I took over the area for the first time this week because Hermana Chandler was on exchanges! And all of our citas [appointments] fell through! BUT, we stopped by a potential investigator and I taught him the Restauracion [Restoration] all the way through by myself! Because Sister Dipietro is an English sister, I invited him to be baptized and everything! I tried so hard to get a return appointment but he is pretty Catholic and was just being nice because he knew we had been trying to get in with him for like a month now. But hey, it's a seed right?

Also, we got this text from one of our investigators, "Jany (honey) have mucho calor pegando el tile no tienes ganas de una cerveza?" [It is really hot, don't you want a beer?"] Us: "What? " Turns out his cousin saw the text from us and decided to pull a chiste [joke] on us.

So, yesterday was a really good day, which was a nice way to end a long week. We had a cita [appointment] with Irayne from Cuba and she is so elect. Like, she asked so many good questions that most investigators don't even think about. We had dinner with Hermana Fon*** who is the actual mejor [best]. We picked up two new investigators and somehow invited them to read, pray and go to church before even hitting the section of Jesus Christ? Usually doesn't go that way. Then we had an interesting home visit.

So this Hermana is the only member in her family and she invited her son and his girlfriend to listen in. The girlfriend straight up told us that she was a little buzzed. Also, she doesn't speak Spanish so the whole thing was in English. What was cool was...

  • She chastised her boyfriend for not wanting to hear the word. "He did all of that for us and you can't even take a little time to hear the word??"
  • We invited Hermana to continue sharing her testimony of Jesus Christ and praying for opportunities to do so, so we invited them to do it as well. She was all, "but I don't enough of Jesus Christ to preach about Him!" And Hermana Chandler was all, "Well, what DO you know about Jesus Christ?" Then she shared three statement about what she knows/believes. I was all, "See, that's a testimony!!!" You should have seen her face light up. I felt the Spirit so strong when I heard her simple but strong testimony. It's so neat to hear those core beliefs. 
  • She said, "I'll say the prayer even though I'm a little buzzed." In the prayer she said, "Thanks for sending these ladies so I can change and be a better person". 

YESSSSSS. Since she is English, she went to Elder Thompson, our district leader, and Elder Frisbee. However, I am excited to see where things go with them!

(Side note: no, we do not teach drunk people because they are not accountable, but since we were doing a home visit, she just sat in. Since she wasn't technically accountable, we couldn't pick her up as an investigator or set a return apt)

Love and miss you all dearly.

Love,
Hermana Tonini

Monday, April 17, 2017

And the Day Marks Three Months

Sorry, this has to be a short one, I have 0 time.

So last Pday we went to check out a potential, which wasn't even a guy who spoke Spanish. HOWEVER. He wanted to hear a message of Christ and at the end he said his mom died in January and that he sat down with her Bible to look through it for pictures or notes and as soon as he opened it we knocked on his door!!!! We had to send him off to English land though, but it was still way cool!

Also, we had a way successful week! We picked up five new investigators!!! We had so many miracles it's crazy!

So I had a really bad night this week and I prayed that night to feel the peace that we can feel from our Savior. We have been teaching about the Prince of Peace the last two weeks, and I thought to myself, maybe I should practice what I preach. So, I went to the Prince of Peace to calm my troubled soul. The next morning in my studies I decided to study John 14, and the first verse reads "Let not your heart be troubled." First verse. I felt peace like I had never felt before in my life. He truly is the Prince of Peace, we just need to seek Him.

Also, got bashed with a Spanish woman for TWENTY MINUTES! I tried to leave like five times. Like shook her hand three times and everything and she would not let me leave. Patience and love truly are key in a 20-minute bash. The one time I wasn't with Hermana Chandler, and had a temp English comp. Rough.

Also, guess who is designated driver this week? YOU GUESSED IT. Which is weird because Hermana said that usually they only do that if I am going to be staying next transfer. But she just got called to be the STL for the area. So now it is like 50/50 on who is staying here in Hemet next transfer.

On Sunday we had SIX AT CHURCH!!!!! What was hard was trying to get our youth investigator to feel welcomed. The youth were not even trying to talk to her. SO FRUSTRATING. Hindsight is definately 20/20 because I am sure I was the same way.

Also had a crazy strong garage lesson while seeking with faith and the man starting crying while I taught him God is our loving Heavenly Father.

Also here is a pic of Sister Blanchard and I, she left back home and is already at BYUI. Crazy, huh?



Sister Tonini
California Riverside Mission

Monday, April 10, 2017

And She Stays

So looks like I am staying in Hemet! Not really surprised because I am in the middle of training. A lot of people thought I was going to leave though since President is aware of my sort-of in-laws here in Hemet but guess not!

So, I officially finished my first transfer in the field and my three- month mark is coming up!
So uh, a week ago today I had a reaaaaaaaally bad day. Everything had just built up and I just broke down. The Echo Hills Sisters came over and we ate ice cream and Sister Harris convinced me to get a Priesthood blessing from the Elders. So Elder Elderidge gave me a blessing and since then, I have been doing better. A part in the blessing was to lose myself in the work, and that is my focus right now. I am just going to lose myself and hope that everything else comes with time. I just love the Priesthood and I am grateful for it.

OH GUESS WHAT? Hermana Chandler got called to be a Sister Training Leader (STL). Kind of a little stressed out about it because that means a lot more extra preparation for when she goes on exchanges every week and it means me taking over the area because my half companion doesn't know Spanish. Yeah. I feel like there will be some real growth though. Also, her mom reads my mission blog, how cute is that? She sent my comp an excerpt form the blog!!

Okay so here is my story for the week. We have been teaching the Du*** Family. I may or may not have mentioned how we found this family but if not here it is again. So, the Zone Leaders street contacted a lady who is visiting from Tia Juana and she is actually investing down in Mexico! Like her daughter just got baptized!!! So she had us come teach her niece and nephew and we picked them up. However, now that she is in Mexico, we can't teach without permission form the parents so we met with the mom and she was totally in! So now we picked her up as an investigator! Then we finally had a lesson with her and her two children and she was trying to teach them what she learned and everything! Like, she was even using the folletos [pamphlet]! Like she so badly wants her children to know the truth and follow the right path, it is so beautiful to see. She even said at the end "You are going to read the Book of Mormon because these girls left their family and lives and everything behind to teach US. US." Then, get this. The Ramona Elders were seeking with faith and met this man and his girlfriend happened to be taking lessons. Like she was all "are you going to give them a Book of Mormon?" Can you guess who the lady was? THE AUNT FROM MEXICO! The reason she comes up here a lot is because her best friend and family lives here! This lady is the perfect fellowshipper and SHE ISN'T EVEN A MEMBER. We are going to baptize this whole family, us and the Ramona Elders!!!!! We are so excited about it!

Also had a lesson with a guy who read the entire Book of Mormon in jail? Trying to get a return apt currently.

Also had a lesson with a lady who got here four months ago from Cuba who was living on the streets about one week ago. A member is taking her in for a bit so that is how we met her, and we get to teach her tomorrow!

Crazy crazy stuff going on over here.

Also, we went to a Mexican party for one of our dinner appointments and there was legit a mechanical bull. We were definitely the only gringas there. AND I HAD COW BRAIN TACOS AND ALMOST THREW UP BUT I HAD TO TRY THEM FOR THE EXPERIENCE (the other tacos were divine).

We taught the Palabra de Sabiduria [Word of Wisdom] to Maria and she had ZERO ZERO ZERO problems with it! Like, she even eats healthier than I do! #diabeticinvestigators We are trying to get her to feel the Spirit more because when she reads the Livro De Mormon she worries about every little detail. At least she is reading though!!!

We also started teaching a nine-year old who hasn't been baptized yet so that should be happening in a couple of months!

Love,

Hermana Tonini

Sunday, April 9, 2017

This Never Gets Old







When you serve in the same mission that your brother did, there is a lot of name recognition.  This week, we received a selfie from a member in the Diamond Valley Ward who knew Elder Tonini and his in-laws (who still live in the stake).  The Diamond Valley and Ramona Wards (where Hermana Tonini is serving) meet in the same building.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Zika Virus Email

Dear Brother and Sister Tonini,

In October of 2016, the Brethren requested that all missionaries throughout the world be protected by insect repellent containing DEET, a well-known mosquito repellent. The foresight of that request is now becoming apparent.

As you may have heard, the California Department of Public Health released a March 31 report that two invasive mosquito species known to carry the Zika virus have been found in 10 California counties, including Riverside. This does not mean that Zika has been transmitted to humans in California. The only documented U.S. cases of viral transmission from a mosquito to a human took place in South Florida and Brownsville, Texas last year. However, the possibility exists now that the mosquitos that carry this disease are in the state.

That same report indicated that a total of 529 cases of Zika infections have been confirmed in California. These are “laboratory confirmed” cases, but they occurred when residents of the state traveled abroad. Zika is generally a mild disease, causing symptoms in only 18% of people who get the illness. Most often those who have symptoms experience mild flu-like fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headache and red eyes. Again, there have been no mosquito-to-human transmissions in California. The Missionary Department continues to monitor the situation for any change.

Because of the counsel received, the mission took precautions last October to protect the elders and sisters. The repellent they have has a concentration sufficient to be effective during the time our missionaries are out. We have strongly counseled them to be faithful in applying it whenever they are outside and intend to follow up on compliance. Please add your encouragement to ours!

We express our gratitude for sharing Sister Tonini with us in the missionary work of the California Riverside Mission and want you to know that her safety is our highest priority.

Faithfully yours,



President John H. Mullen and Sister Jana L. Mullen

Monday, April 3, 2017

Missionary by Day, Math Tutor by Night

So I temporarily may have lost my camera cable, so this is the only picture I have for this week of cute Sister Harris (who lives in our complex) and I snuggling it up after a long day of missionary work.

Holy cow, where to begin?

So last P-day, after emailing, we went to get ice cream from La Micochana for Elder Thompson and Elder Frisbee because they had to walk 1.5 hours the Saturday before because the Zone Leaders "didn't have time to take them back to their apartment." So we felt bad and got them ice cream. And it started melting immediately. In the five-minute drive back to the church, it was EVERYWHERE. All over my skirt and my purse and the car. Like, straight ice cream massacre. Pics next week of this.

On Tuesday, one of our Hermanas forced us to eat 4X times what I normally eat (we all know I like to chow) of spaghetti. I almost died. Like, she just kept scooping and scooping and scooping...Also that night we went to see Kiwi, but since her parents weren't home we couldn't teach. So we helped her with her geometry homework instead. Definitely different.

Also, I had my first REAL baptism invite (the only other one was with kids that spoke English so does that even count?). We realized afterwards that there was a chance he was drunk so we couldn’t count it in reporting. MY FIRST REAL ONE AND HE WAS DRUNK. JUST MY LUCK.

Not Hermana Tonini

One day this week was super windy and some old man came out of his house while we were Buscando con Fe and I asked him if he came out to enjoy the weather and he responded, "No, I came out to see if your skirts were going to fly up!"

??

I had my first multi-zone today which was 9.5 hours long!!!!! ETERNITY.



COOL STORY FOR THE WEEK:

So President always encourages us to teach a lesson right then when we are Buscando con Fe, and we had just gotten off the phone with him, where he reminded us to do this. The first woman we talked to, we had to ask twice but she finally let us in to teach! Get this, her husband died of cancer, she has cancer, her son has cancer, her other son is in jail, and she just moved in four days previously. She was super emotional, and with her life, I could see why. However, she said she wants to know the truth and go to the true church!!!!! I am so excited for our next lesson with her!

Also, General Conference was INCREDIBLE! Especially the last session because that was the session that Maria came to, and then Elder Joaquin Costa gave that incredible talk directly for investigators!!!!  Like, I have never heard of a conference talk like that before, and it was the one time I had an investigator at conference! And then he talked about Alma 42 and we had JUST talked about using that chapter with one of our investigators who can't get baptized. Like, I had tears streaming down my face that entire talk. So powerful. Love conference.

Also, in this mission we don't use the word “greenie.” We are called “strippling warriors,” so I read the story and I love Alma 56: 45-48, 56 and 57: 20,21, and 27. Go read them and be inspired, because I know I was!!

Love you all, and I will let you know what happens with transfers this next week!

Sister Tonini
California Riverside Mission

Hermana Tonini Q&A

A couple of questions from me with answers from our favorite missionary!

Q: Did you ever tell President Mullen that you are related?
A: No, I have not told him. I did tell his wife though!

Q: Are you ever going to share with us your physical address?
A;  I will send you it after this week, once we know if we will be in this apartment next transfer.

Q:  Do you ever cook dinner for your companion?
A:  Yes, sometimes we make each other pancakes.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Another Hermana Tonini Sighting!

Drew's (Hermana Tonini's brother) sister-in-law, Rylee "accidentally" ran into Hermana Tonini at one of the sessions of General Conference today!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Companions, Corn and Cookies

HOLY MOLY.

We got to emailing late, so I have like eight minutes to write this.

Ready. Set. Go.


I GOT TO SEE HERMANA HARPER THIS WEEK! We had a trainer training meeting and so I got to see her and I definitely cried a little. Maybe a lot. Also, that was the longest day of my mission. I have never been so exhausted in my whole life.

I tried pupusas at a member's house this week, and they are SO GOOD. Also I tried elote at La Micochana. It's that corn from Nacho Libre that has mayo and cheese and chile.....SO GOOD. It has been my lifelong dream to try that corn, and it was everything I ever imagined. "Get that corn outta my face!" I love that movie.

Oh also, I got a package from Aunt Sheryl and Grandma and in it were homemade cookies from Grandma! I tried to take a selfie and my comp photobombed it. That cookies were def gone in one day, thanks to the many Elders we ran into that day. Gotta love cookies from Grandma.

So the coolest thing this week was Maria Rebatet. She came to General Women's Conference, and she hasn't even been to church yet? She came! And then the next day she came to church! I know this doesn't seem very significant, but I felt so much joy and bliss when I saw her at church. Like, indescribable joy. I have never felt that much happiness before. And all she did was go to conference. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.

Also, at service this week we were playing checkers with this old man and he asked if we could play strip checkers instead? Then apologized for being a "dirty old man"? I had to take a little lap in my seat because I was laughing so hard.

We finally got in with the Sanchez's this week. They didn't come to church this Sunday, but Hermano is really trying hard to quit smoking, so that is awesome!!

Women's Conference was incredible. Totally an answer to my prayers. I can't wait for conference this week!!!

We paused both of the Rios families this week...which is hard but if they aren't progressing and going to church, then we have to move on and find the elect.

I love you all so very much! We have Multi-Zone this week and our days are already filled this week, so pray that I will have the strength and energy to make it through the week.

Sister Tonini
California Riverside Mission

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hermana Tonini Sighting!

Drew's father-in-law is on the high council where Hermana Tonini is currently serving.  Look who he ran into while presiding at the General Women's Conference broadcast!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Bittersweet

So, last Monday we contacted a referral named Maria R***. Like without an appointment, we just swung by her house. She apologized for being in shorts but said she was in nicer clothes earlier because she was expecting us...? And we had about five people to choose form to go see, but the Spirit prompted me to choose Maria. I LOVE THE HOLY GHOST. She is a golden investigator, at least so far. She used to be a Catholic and later a Jehovah's Witness and she kind of lowkey bashed on both religions? Like, that night she offered the closing prayer and asked for forgiveness for how long it has been since she's prayed. And we didn't even call her to repentance! And when we mentioned prophets to her, she thought it made total sense. Like, I feel like she is elect and ready. And we met again this week and got her on date!!

On the 17th I hit my two-month mark! Isn't that just insane?? And my comp hits her halfway mark tomorrow!

During Buscando con Fe this week we climbed up this huge hill and we were having no luck. Because it was just a bunch of big houses spread apart. However, the LAST house at the top of this big hill we ran into NACHO (CAN I BORROW SOME SWEATS?) who was a gardener for this house and he was totally interested! However, he is in the Spanish Elders' area, so we had to send it off. But it was still cool!!!

Saturday was CRAZY! We were out Buscando con Fe and a Hispanic lady just invited us into her home, and we didn't even ask! She let us teach her most of the first lesson! We have another appointment with her this week, and I am so excited! But that has NEVER happened to me before! We are lucky to even get their information, not to mention getting invited into their home????? And then the Ramona Elders had a baptism that day which we were going because one of our investigators (the one on probation and can't get baptized) was going to attend. However, he last minute didn't show up which was hard, and then we had to teach the Restoration while we were waiting for Elder Eldridge and Lupe to get dressed, because that's what we do here in this mission? We teach the whole Restoration in like seven minutes? I am not a fan. I don't understand. So, they had us teach that and I accidentally skipped over half of the Restoration and then froze up in the middle of the First Vision. SO GREAT I LOVE IT. SO MUCH. WHY CAN'T I SPEAK SPANISH? Yeah...not a good time for me.

So, this week was hard. I feel like I don't know how to teach or speak or do anything right pretty much. But we were so blessed. We have so many investigators and so many on date, and the work is excellent. It was very bittersweet. I am just going to keep working hard through this, praying, and having faith in grace. That's all I can really do.

Love,

Hermana Tonini

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fourth Floor Last Door

HELLO LOVES!

So, a ton of stuff happened this week, but I just want to write about one single story that blew me away.

So, this story starts before I even left for Mexico. About eight weeks ago, a man saw Sister Harris and Sister Bradshaw in Walmart and talked to them. Just a nice casual conversation.

Fast-forward to this past Friday. Hermana Chandler and I were walking down a sort of busy street when a man stopped his car in the middle of the street trying to say something to us. He pulled over and then reversed back so he could talk to us. We ran across the street and he looked at me and asked if I was the missionary from Idaho that he had talked to in Walmart. Me: uh....no. But he was talking about how much he loves the missionaries, so we got his info and drove away with all of his kids in the car. Since he spoke English, we had to send it over to the Little Lake Sisters which kind of bummed me out. He stopped driving in the MIDDLE OF THE STREET  to talk to us, and we couldn't even teach him.

That night I had my first exchange, so I went with Sister Nai, who is from Australia and is the coolest human being I have ever met in my life, to her apartment with her trio. Can you guess which trio it was? The Little Lake Sisters.

So, as Sister Nai and I were out doing your typical missionary stuff Saturday evening, we finally got to our time to go contact Emmanuel. I was so excited, because I was actually going to have a chance to teach this family!! However, once we got to the address we realized it was a HUGE apartment complex...and we had no apartment number. We had two options: a. go to the next backup in our agenda b. go knock on random doors

So we looked at each other. Sis Nai: "My trio has been PRAYING for a family to teach, and I know Heavenly Father follows through on His promises." Me: "There is something special about this family and I want to find them." So, I said a prayer. I prayed knowing that we WOULD find this family.

We started with the front-facing apartments, and the first one we knocked on was a woman who said she didn't know an Emmanuel or an African American family, but that that inside and around the corner were some African American families and maybe we could look there. We went inside and there was a huge square plaza with a ton of apartments. We spent the next HOUR just going door to door knocking...looking for this family. And no one had ever seen this family before!! However, during this whole process we got two contacts, so I said to Sister Nai, "There is a reason we are out here knocking on these doors. Even if we don't find this family tonight, we were meant to knock on those two doors." And Sister Nai kept going on and on about how she was going to knock on every single door in that complex until she found this family. Even if it took a week.

So we finished that one section of that complex, and it was already 8:00 pm, which was the time we were supposed to be back at the Little Lake apt to get ready for exchanging back. However, we decided we were going to finish the last few front-facing apartments, where we started. So we went to the apartment right next to the woman who told us to go check more inside at those apartments. The one we skipped over. And I said, "How funny would it be if we wasted an hour searching when the family lived in the next apartment over?" And Hermana Nai was like, "I feel like this is it..." And the door opened and it was Immanuel's son who was sitting in the passenger seat the day before!!!
I have never smiled so hard in my life. He probably thought I was insane. I even said, "We have been searching for an hour for your family!!!!!!!!" We got his dad's number and as soon as the door closed I just cried. And maybe fist pumped. And then cried some more. We found a family WITHOUT AN APT NUMBER.  

What does this mean?

That woman didn't even know a large African American family (like legit the dad has an African accent) was living right next door to her. She didn't have to point us in the wrong direction to look for this family. But she did, and there was a reason. There were more people who needed our message. Heavenly Father wanted to see how badly we wanted this family and how hard we were willing to work to find them. I feel like His question for us is always: "How hard are you willing to work for it?" We wanted it. We wanted it bad. It was also a test of patience. We had to knock on doors for an hour to see if we had enough patience to know that our prayers are answered on His time, not ours. Heavenly Father always answers our prayers if we don't sit around expecting. We pray fervently, and then go out and do. He always follows through though, and I have a testimony of this.

He doesn't answer our prayers with the second door, he makes us work and grow until we finally open the last door of the night. then at that moment we can marvel at the love that Heavenly Father has for each of us individually and how personally he knows us. He loves His children and has a plan for each of us. I know it.

Love,
Hermana Tonini

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Re: Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?

From: Barry.Romney
Date: 3/8/17 4:46 AM (GMT-06:00)
To: Corina.Tonini
Subject: FW: Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?

Sr. Tonini (still Corina to me),

Do not be discouraged about your language.  I know just how you feel.  When I went on my mission we did not have the MTC and had to learn Japanese “in the field”.  There was no language training program whatsoever.  I had to sit in meetings and listen to try and pick out words and then look them up in the English/Japanese dictionary.  I couldn’t even tell when a word started and ended.  We all eventually learned the language…some better than others.  Your first few weeks will be a language challenge but soon you will realize that you are understanding more and more about what is going on.

Enjoy being the junior in your companionship.  There is much to learn and soon enough you will have to make many of the daily decisions…where to go, what to do, etc.  You will be blessed abundantly.

We are so proud of you and your decision to serve a mission.  What a great heritage you are providing your children…being the 4th generation of sister missionary efforts.

Con mucho amour e abrazos.

Gpa

PS.  I just realized you are our first grandchild to go on a non-English speaking mission  Omedito gozaimasu (ops, that is Japanese for congratulations!)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?

GUESS WHERE MY FIRST AREA IS?? HEMET, CA! That's where my brother's in-laws live and I was here for the wedding reception. My ZLs go out with Justin Powell all the time!! I haven't seen them yet though...and I don't know if I really will.

My new companion is Hermana Chandler. She is...different from Hermana Harper. She is very strict with rules and I kind of feel like I can never do anything right with her. We have  some fun moments, but other than that....I don't know. I am learning patience and humility that's for sure. Also the Spanish is impossible. I am really struggling to speak the language. What is really difficult is not being able to understand what my investigators are saying. I can't help them if I can't understand them. It's getting a little bit better, but it's hard. This is the hardest thing I have ever done. It's hard enough teaching in English, but to do it in another language? Also, I didn't get to email the past two weeks and our Pday got switched to today because we had interviews yesterday, which means I have barely any time to write everyone.

OKAY I'M DONE BEING NEGATIVE NOW.

So, I only have time to share about two of our investigators. The Rios family is so so so dear to my heart already. The fourteen-year old daughter, Aisel, has such a big heart, and every time I see her I can just see how much the gospel can bless her life. Then the other family is the Sanchez family. The mom is a member but we can't find her records from Mexico so she is going to have to get baptized again. They have an inactive and a member daughter. The two of them are SO FUNNY. It's always a hoot, and last night I understood about half of what was going on, so that's a start. I really hope the Rios family gets baptized, but we aren't sure how much of a desire they have. The Sanchez parents get baptized in like...a weekish!! I am so excited that they will be my first baptism!

We have already had a family drop us, which was hard.

So here, we don't knock on doors. We do Buscando con Fe, which means we walk down the streets and talk to people outside. On my first day, we and one guy who said he would talk to us again since we aren't Jehovah's Witness or Mormons. And then proceeded to lift up his shirt to show us all of his scars and bullet wounds. Rad.

Also we have an investigator named Carlos Albanaz, but he can't get baptized because he is on probation, which is super hard. In one, week he read 100 pages in the Book of Mormon!! Like, he wants to be baptized so bad, but he can't! Hopefully he can be baptized sometime while I am on my mission!

OH MY SUNDAY. So I bore my testimony and afterwards Hermana Conchita went and got super emotional. And as she was walking from he pulpit, she passed out!!! An ambulance came and everything!

I love being a missionary. It is hard but so so so rewarding. I have felt the Spirit so many times this week and I am just constantly learning. I am trying to be bold, because when I am, I see the blessings.

Sister Tonini
California Riverside Mission