Monday, March 31, 2014

March 24


Happy St. Patrick's Day

Cami Luke 12:24 Raven- Cuervo

There are a million ways to eat half of an agucate, banana, and eggs fro breakfast.  This week for food was normal, and the pizza business here is as crazy as it is everywhere.  They stack two pizzas in a special box, and there are always coupons and notices for food around the sector.  I ate some cheesecake or frambuesa, but as for food that is it.

Missed it, by that much- that is exactly what Alex Haueter likes to quote when success is a breath away. This past Wednesday, we had a baptismal interview for Marcela in order to baptize her that evening, but that morning she drunk coffee! ... We rescheduled her baptism for this Wednesday, and are praying for her and the other investigators we have for Saturday and April.  Has anyone heard anything exciting about the upcoming conference? If so, send me something so that I may share it with the Zone.

This week I have been working hard introduce my sector to Elder Serpa, and it has been exhausting.  He was in Ensenada and Otay, both places are not nearly as poor or as hilly as here, as he has clearly discovered.  It is difficult to remember appointments and to focus our efforts on those who are most important. Although it has been rough baptizing and finding new investigators who wish to progress, the reactivation in this ward has been remarkable.  The majority of this is due to the efforts that I have already done, and the ward has adapted so much to the Work of the Lord.  I did not entirely understand how much these people view us missionaries as superstars, until Elder Jiménez left. The other elders in our barrio had a baptism this week, and the new Zone is working hard and is very effective.

We found a few very ancient investigators this week, and they appear that they wish to listen to our messages again.  If ex-misionero Suave Chad Burrup has a family he would like us to contact, visit, or just to see if they are still living here in Tijuana, feel free to send us a reference.  The next translados [transfers] in the end of April I will probably switch sectors.

I would love to write more, but I just wish to tell everyone that I am grateful for everything my Mom has taught me- how to be clean, how to work with people, and the importance of family time.  This principle of families is normally how we begin teaching our investigators, and daily we share this lesson of the love, unity, and strength we have felt within our families with the Lord's Gospel. I Love my Mom, and I will keep reading your letters.

Sincerely your son, 

Elder Tobler

March 17 Elder Jiménez se fue a MexiCali, y Elder Serpa es mi compañero mayor

Dear Family,

This week was full of Stories! Let's begin with the changes in my Zone.  After beginning his mission here, my trainer Elder Jiménez left for Mexicali to be a senior companion over one of the missionaries of my MTC district.  Elder Cortes is still training Elder Anderson in Miramar 2, and Elder Cortes will return home in the last week of April.  Elder Brown de Brigham City, Utah is still my Zone Leader, but Elder Nina left for Ensenada.  Elder Jiménez was a fantastic trainer, and was beginning to lose his missionary focus after being left in the same sector for so long, and I learned a lot from this missionary from itzapaluca(?), Estado de Mexico.  Now I am Elder Serpa's first minor companion, who's has been a bit of everywhere in his first 6 months of the mission.  He is also del Estado de Mexico, and also recently graduated from el Benemerito en Estado de Mexico.  This school is basically BYU on a High school level, and the majority of Mexican missionaries graduated from this school.  That's fine, nearly every Americano es de Utah. :P  

Fantasms! This week while finding a referral from a member we had a ghostly experience.  To begin, I had forgotten many thing in the apartment that day- my tiny Spanish notebook, my pen, my planner, and my flashlight.  That Thursday evening we had a couple of meetings at the church, and in Las Laureles below us is where this address is.  We found the street, even the house (quite a feat to accomplish at times) and we began talking to one of the neighbors, we found out that he was an antiguo investigator from a few years back, and was describing his neighbors up the stairs, in the same direction where we were bound.  " I don’t know exactly what they believe in, but whatever it is it's dark and doesn't feel good at all," he said, but we climbed up the stairs anyway without a flashlight.  We knocked on the door, and a little while later a shadow at the bottom of the stairs we had just climbed said in Spanish that nobody's there, I responded okay and turned around, my companion heard nothing.  We saw another shadow, but as we left the street, nobody walked into the light to confirm ghost or human.

I gotta go, but I love this work and I know that I am guided by the Holy Spirit in all my actions. 

Sincerely your Son,

Elder Tobler

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quickly with my love and strength.

Dear Mom, Dad, Kenzie, Cami, and Livi

How is life at home? I have been told that it is mostly the same, Cami is experiencing the greatness and the difficulties of High School, Kenzie is a Senior and already staring at her adult life, Mom and Dad I understand that you both are doing fine and thank you for all of your support.  And Livi! She is growing up, and being a kid.  I received the package you sent for Valentine’s Day this week.  I also have received the letter from the Cases and a second Letter from Sister Johnson, who lives in the Villas.  Please remind them that if they wish to send more letters, it would be cheaper + faster if they sent it through the US mail address.  How is the Ward doing? I am understanding that the structure of the organizations is at times a bit peculiar but has grown.  I am interested to see the needs of our Ward are addressed from this perspective. 

Elder Jiménez has been a wonderful companion and trainer for this past weeks.  I do not have time today to describe him more, but this next week I will have transfers and odds are certain that one of us if not he both are going to be changed.

The Language is at a temporary standstill, but I am working hard in constructing the lessons, scheduling appointments, and keeping Elder Jiménez focused in this area.  I can understand the people, I can learn new words, but I still fault fluency and connection in my sentences, much less the accent.  As for the scriptures and the lessons, I can for the most part answer the random or the critical questions that are asked by my investigators.  All I can do at this point is to continue to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish along with the Liahonas that we have to give away.  And man! There were two stacks of old Liahonas from the previous year when I arrived here, and within the past month I have personally given away all but the two in my Hero’s Satchel!  The messenger bag I carry around is very durable, at time a little small or big, but it serves me well.  A member who joined us for a lesson with a progressing investigator referred to my scriptures as two pistols- in one hand the Stick of Judah, the other the stick of Joseph.

Sunday was one of the most successful days of the mission! And it is not because of the numbers.  We left our apartment an hour and a half before church, waking people up and inviting them to church.  It began a Little sketchy. When nobody came with us inside the chapel, but through our efforts the night before, that morning, the members, and the desire the Lord has sparked in this Ward we had five investigators and five different less active families assist sacrament meeting, and a few more showed up in the following hours.  All of these names listed were just people from our half of the Ward, the other missionaries also had people arrive at church.

Alright, the list of food that I have eaten these past two weeks- Chicharon (fried pigskin), Birria (shredded pork or roast), mini tacos for 5 pesos, Menudo (if you want to know what that is, look it up), and panbasos.  The chicharon is very tasty, and if it was not so caro I would buy some to eat in the evenings with the jerky Dad sent me. XD The birria is meat that just falls apart and is quite delicious with whichever kind of tortilla.  The mini tacos I ate today, and even though they are cheap, I was still hungry after eating eleven with a soda.  Yeah coach, I said soda, but here in this Mex-American clash of culture, the community live on punch and soda.  Panbasos are, well, a mix between our French Dip, a sub sandwich, and enchiladas.  And the Menudo is one of the many soups that they eat here, it is not extremely common.  I liked it, but there are many tastier dishes and soups to eat for Comida.  The Ward had been very nice to us, and they know us missionaries very well, especially My Companion Elder Jiménez. He will be transferred this upcoming week, but he has completed seven months within this sector and has honed his skills to the point of applying them once again in another part of Baja California. 

I am grateful for this chance to be a missionary, and now after this first twelve weeks [in the field] I pray that I may apply all of the newly retained knowledge and work even harder to invite souls unto Christ. We were watching the Preach My Gospel Videos for Ideas on how we could help our investigators, and I realized that before my mission these videos seemed erratic, and jumpy, skipping from one investigator to a random Less Active member that may never appear again.  And far too often the Field is just like this, and more.  Extremely busy, very involved, and there is not a lot of time for learning what you missed before your mission.  I am grateful for the lessons I have been taught in seminary, for my Sunday school teachers and everyone else who have supported my spiritual growth before my mission.  Much like Mormon, describing maybe the hundredth part of the events that are happening, even within these stories I am glad to express the spiritual strength, humor, joy in being part of this army of spiritually armed brethren, bringing people up to the mountain of the Lord.

Until the following week, your Son and Brother,

Elder Tobler