Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Me mordio?", "That's what I said!" (It bit me)

June 30

To My Dear Family,

This week is a good example of why it is important to have your key indicators in check.  We were blessed with multiple chances to invite people to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and even those who did not immediately accept wish to listen and learn more. One week ago, we had only three committed to baptism; now, we have ten with opportunities more some more. La Norma is ten, so we are going to fix our other datos primero.  Although we have many baptismal dates and people that we have in contact, those who are progressing (both investigators as well as less active members) are minimizing.

It is nice to have the help of the ward, even on weeks that are only half-successful.  On Tuesday evening, we met up with the priesthood leaders to make a few visits. My companion and I went with the new bishop, but we didn't find anyone. The presidenta of the relief society joined us on Wednesday morning, but our first appointment needed a lot of clarification, and thus we were choked for time to follow all of the planned visits. Mutual that night was great, we had a good turn out from the young men's and had a few newer investigators and reactivating members there. This week we have been fulfilling assignment that the bishop has given us, and finding "lost members".  This helped us in many aspects, to encounter other less active members and to work in different areas, to contact new people and advancing the work.  On Saturday one of our youth investigators who has a baptism drawing near introduced us to the family of his girlfriend, and we are now beginning to work with them. Yesterday the church attendance dropped, but various non-members were present.

This past p-day my companion and I went to a small zoo that they have, not too far from the temple. Half the place was closed, but it was still pretty cool, I had the opportunity to see what a xoloitzcuintles looks like. I got bit by a dog on Thursday, it was stupid but I'll tell you about that next week.  I am grateful for this chance to be a missionary and I am here to help these people be baptized and go to the temple, specifically the temple that is here in Tijuana.



A CIEN! y Dos hijas entraron las aguas del bautismo (A HUNDRED! and two daughters entered the waters of baptism)

June 23

Dear Family and Friends,

I want to talk briefly about he importance of meetings.  This ward was very fragile a few months back, and then they began to have all of their reunions and presidency meeting and are bettering themselves. Now we have organization, and we have a method to monitor our plans to bring to pass His marvelous Work. The same applies to missionaries.  In the junta that we had, almost a week back, I had the chance to apply simple solutions to complicated situations. It appears that we meet oft, but we can save our efforts for those things that most require our attencion.  Another way to keep to the fundamentals is to change up the situation, or the area.  Every time I have intercambios,(exchanges) I enjoy the opportunity to work with a different elder, and many times in a different sector.  It just confirms that the church is organized and if you have a strong trust in the Lord, you can serve him wherever you're needed. 

I hope you have some summer plans as a family; many of my companions and members ask me how it is to camp and hike in the spiritually strong state of Utah.  I enjoy the summers there, but the summer here is pretty smooth too!

If you wish to send a package, here are a few Ideas.  I like pretzels and swizzles. I would ask for batteries, but the button on this flashlight is just about shot. I bought a camera, but I need to resolve an issue with a memory card. My companion is interested in singing a few hymns in English, and if you would like you may include a hymnbook.

How goes the outgoing and homecoming missionaries there in Utah? What are Nate Edmunds (6th ward) and Jayne Starkie up to? If there is any other big news, keep letting me know. Thanks!

Nobody here knows how to count! They think there are eight days in a week, fifteen days in two weeks, and they refer to three days in the future as the day after tomorrow! It just makes my mind hurt, correcting the math in my head in a different language. That, and the neighbors like to watch the little mermaid at night.  Between that and the partying, I've used the earplugs about once a week in order to sleep.

We have a bishop! The previous first counselor was called as a bishop last week, and we had a sacrament meeting attendance of 105 that day! The attendance dove down a bit yesterday, but there were two new members in the congregation. This past weekend Lourdes and Bernice fulfilled their desires to begin their path to return to our Father in heaven.  We had to dunk Lourdes nearly ten times to do it, due to her phobia of water, but we did it!  We need to find more people to work with, we only have a handful of baptismal dates for July, but as a ward we are increasing every aspect of the Work. We'll keep working hand in hand with the ward mission leader.

Sometimes, breakfast is just the best! A great way to start the day, and begin your labors. As for food, I tried water of sugarbeat, which is supposedly very good for you... quien sabe (who knows). A week and a half ago, I had Tingas at the activity for Father's Day.

I gotta go, I love you all!

Elder Tobler

Monday, November 17, 2014

Semanas 4, 5, y 6 - y voy a ver si es más aquí en Reforma [Weeks 4, 5, and 6 - and I'll see if it's here on Reform]

June 9

My Dear family and friends,

Father's Day! I love you Dad, and think of you often!
I do not enjoy the Little Mermaid
Food: Atole, a nut- milk pudding/ Moyetes, beans and cheese on bread
Some member mentioned the other week that I look like the Crocodile Hunter.  That is really a question for John Taylor to decide

Alright, so to sum up these past three weeks it look something like this- Although the ward is small and can't do everything, the are doing everything the can.  Only 2 of the 6 investigators whop were baptized in the last six months are very active in the church.  On the 17th we baptized Merary, and the following Saturday we baptized Perla. We are working with many new people and various part members and less active families. The Ward council although incomplete is awesome.  Last week I stood beside the temple, I'll send pictures when I've worked that out. We have three baptisms coming up, and these three are for sure going to become members. The activities for Districts and zones have been temporarily cancelled, but we played dodge ball and basketball for the last activity a few weeks back.  My companion ripped his pants playing volleyball at mutual the other night.  We are progressing the work; we only need to hasten the work just as the Lord has asked us. There was a dog that could have been Bolt's Father, and nearly bit me! We found an elderly lady who gave up believing that happiness exists, and we put forth our efforts to help her out.  She hasn't received us since.  As missionaries, we are completing the minimum- now let's surpass and break records! I gave away a shirt to a less active, or he was less active.  Our lider missional is so smooth!  One of the missionaries of the Ward plays League of legends, I guess David and Jaren aren't too crazy. I swear he's a member- but there is no record.  Making cupcakes with recent converts is a blast!

His Truth is Marching on 
Advanza su verdad

Elder Tobler

Vamos a bautizar cada semana... pero nesecitamos personas [We will baptize every week ... but we need people]

June 2

Dear family at home,

The past week we baptized Perla, the daughter of Marina.  The mother was baptized the weekend before I came here, and with the ward council we are watching out for the six recent converts, two of them I had the blessed opportunity to baptize. Between them and the work of reactivation, our numbers are a little low, but we have four investigators who are progressing towards their baptismal dates, including one for this upcoming week.

As for food, there is nothing new.  Tortas are amazing, I had chile relleno otra vez este semana, [chile relleno again this week] and the Mexican sodas are a little funky.

I love you all, and wish to express my experiences more fully in the following semana.  

Sincerely you son, Elder Tobler

Thursday, November 13, 2014

And Another One Down!

May 19
Dear Family at home,

BAPTISM! That’s all we need!  Merary was baptized early Saturday morning, and even though her birthday/baptism party went late into the night (and morning I suppose), she woke up on Sunday and was confirmed! Merary is a little timid, but she understands and will learn more, as long as she can study for her high school classes and read her scriptures.  We have another firm baptismal date for this upcoming Saturday, and Perla is super excited for her special day.  

On Tuesday we had a Zone meeting, where I saw the Lady Jaguar Alumni Hermana Eye, and she is doing well.  She is in the district of the sister missionaries here in La Mesa.  This Zone is huge! It was a fantastic zone meeting where we learned a great deal more of how we should work according to the needs of our investigators.  To add on to that, this past Friday we had a Capacitacion with Pres. Carreón, and we were trained to Work with the spirit and to ask inspired questions.  I also learned this morning that we REALLY need to baptize more as a mission, when the President directs that nobody is to have Zone activities until we are fulfilling with the Mexico Area Plan and baptize weekly.  Vamos a exhortar, persuadir, y convencer mas! [We will encourage, persuade, and convince more!]

I have no new comments on food, just that it'll be interesting seeing all the food from Costco and the US name brands again completely in English. Oh, I did get you Easter Package, Thank you Millions! I feel like I'm set for a month or so.

Nothing happens in the work until you find someone to talk to.  We are focusing our efforts to follow the rules with exactness, creating goals and initiating plans to increase the work in this sector.  Due to the menos [less] activity, we are working with a nearly complete Ward Council, but every assigned person understands the importance of his/her position in the Work of Salvation.  We are still waiting for a bishop, and according to my Companion Elder Torres this ward has been bishopless for half a year.  Hermano Contreras has been very effective in pressuring the demands of the bishopric. 

I hope Kenzie and the rest of the choir has a marvelous time in Nueva York.  FLYING IS INCREDIBLE! And sorry Mom, school is basically over once you finish the AP Tests. Just convince Cami to find a job or something. :P And I was thinking how convenient it is to have the same person cut your hair regularly, If Dad or somebody sees Pam let her know that she cuts hair better than anyone else in Mexcio.  As for this area I have taken it as Standard frontera, [border] that there is brief talk of splitting our sector to create one more area for sister missionaries.  The language is going great, and Elder Torres is learning English rapidly too.

I just wish to add my testimony, that this is a physical and progressing of the Lord, and that I love working in these Latter-Days.  I am grateful for the opportunity I have to have a supportive family.  I love every one of you.

Sincerely your Son,

Elder Tobler

Monday, November 10, 2014

12 de Mayo, Hello again, Take three

(this letter came in three parts. Here's part 1)
Dear Family,

Easter was nothing to grand for us, everyday is an opportunity to share the message of the Resurrected Christ and is Atonement for us.  Through this sacrifice and his example, we have the sacrament.  Many times we teach non-progressing investigators and less active members the importance of the sacrament, and how it is a renewal of our baptismal covenants. Normally, we teach it exactly how Bro. John taught us in Priests' quorum.

(Part 2)
Dear Family, 

The keyboard is a little funky, but I'll finish my letter here.

I finally was given planners this week; I had been using a planner from the last transfer, almost three weeks back.  The main offices are closer now, and I am not sure why my District Leader and Zone Leaders there was such a delay.  But hey, I love the district meeting with this District Leader.  He teaches with the Spirit, and I am quickly able to absorb and apply the new perspective or reinitiate my focus for the week on the message he teaches us.  This past week we applied a different way to show the Book of Mormon for the first time, where we included a favorite passage within the book in the first lesson.

As for the language it has been fun! I am understanding everything, and I even laugh at English when I ask myself, "Que significa lo-ve? oh it's love!" or "lettuce go to the store- Vamos a la tienda... wait" or "poder means to can, but not the bird tocan."

fhe-orar, leer, asister-fam. history, Pray for the missionaries in our area.

The only noteworthy thing about my companion that I have not mention yet is that he has a hard time getting up in the mornings.  He has three alarms, at 6:20, 6:25, and 6:30 and he still drags himself out of bed a little late.  I am wide a wake at the first tone, which is not how I was when I left home but it has been a gift I learned in there MTC.

We have a baptism this weekend, the real trick is after the baptism keeping the family active again, so that Merary can enjoy the full blessings of the sacrament and of being a member.  Marina was a convert the weekend before I arrived here, and she is doing wonderfully.  She is going to the Temple this week to do Baptisms for the Dead. 

(Part 3)
here we go again

The rest of our investigators are slowly progressing, but the majority of our time here is with the less active members.  This week we have plans to find more ivnestigators.

Tonight I'll finish off the jerky Randy gave me (Thanks again), but before I go I want to say that I am glad to have this chance to teach about the importance of the simple things: Prayer, reading the scriptures, assisting church, and growing into the gospel as a family.  I have taught over and over again the lesson of Family History, and the Family Home Evening we held last week was a blast.  I know that if every member who may be struggling or is passing through their difficulties, they can endure to the end by doing these three things.  This is my brief testimony, until the next week.

Elder Tobler

Son of a loving mother

Bienvenidos a Reforma (May 5, 2014)

Before I get to James’ letter let me apologize for not keeping up with this blog more. I’m hoping to get one letter posted a day in the order they were sent to us, so everyone can keep up with what has been happening with our Elder in Tijuana.

Dear Family, friends, missionaries and misioneros, queridos hermanos y amigos de Tijuana,

These past two weeks have been busy.  I was showing Elder Serpa every corner of the sector, and we were just beginning to baptize again when I got called to serve in Reforma with Elder Torres.  Officially I only had two baptisms in the ward Miramar, but I achieved much in the work of reactivation and brought about many constructive changes in the ward council.  I learned many ways how I could apply the same work with a different perspective with my unceasingly funny companion Elder Serpa. Neri, María y familia Ornelas tiene un futuro de oportunidades espitiruales. (Neri, Mary and family Ornelas have spiritual opportunities.)

This past week for our P-Day we celebrated with Elder Cortes, my old Líder de Distrito, (district leader) who returns home to his house tomorrow.  He has been an amazing influence and a great example of how one can follow the rules and find excellence in this great work.  We went to a nice barbecue joint in Independencia to eat hamburgers.  I gave him the Xolos playeta (shirt) that I bought a while back, because he needed to get one before he returned honorably home to Morelos.  Yesterday and this morning Hma Nancy y Hmo Rafa wished us off as we left that corner of Tijuana.  Muchisimas gracias Elder Cortes, Éxito!  Y gracias para la influencia de los miembros y para el trabajo del Obispo Mora. (And thanks to the influence of the members and the work of Bishop Mora.) I received a few gifts from the ward members, regalé varios corbatas y cosas, (I gave several ties and stuff) and I'll send a few pictures in the following weeks. Hma Nancy dropped me off in her red Mystery Machine, and here I am with Elder Torres.

Normalmente, yo escribo un parrafo describiendo las comidas nuevas y platos interesantes de la semana. (Normally, I write one paragraph describing new foods and interesting dishes of the week.) Well, thus far in my mission I have eaten a lot of different kinds of food, both familiar and unfamiliar. I did get the package from The Vinsons, thanks a ton for the Jerky. Mis compañeros y Hmo Rafa les gustaron la carne seca de alce. (My colleagues and Hmo Rafa liked the moose jerky.) I have already eaten the Elk Jerky, and this week I will munch on the Deer Jerky (carne seca de venado) this week.  I know I am writing this late, sorry Mom, but if you wish to include snacks like Rolos, Twizzlers, Pretzels, Hershey's, the Hostess Cupcake or any chocolate peanut butter mix.  I have eaten a lot of different kinds of food here.  Yo como comida mas picante de cualquier de mis compañeros. Tengo chile en mi sangre! (I like spicy food more than any of my classmates. I have chili in my blood!) From rice with milk (arroz con leche), stuffed fried peppers (chile rellenos), new fruit like guavas, rice like Grandma Tobler, Chicharón, and giant meatballs (albondigas); there has been quite a variety. 

Elder Serpa was a hilarious companion. He can read English, so the majority of this part will be in English, no se preocupe (do not worry) Cami. Funny enough, he listened to music from "Two Steps From Hell" as well before his mission, and went every Friday to the movies with his dad.  The theatres here are so much cheaper!  He enjoys the music from Zelda and other orchestral pieces, although he really only enjoys practicing solo, not playing in a group.

This week I shared multiple times with the members the importance of the Family History Work.

This is my brief message of love and servitude, and I love this chance to serve in the final harvest of the Lord, and for the unending prayers I receive from my family.

Sincerely you Son, friend, Amigo, misionero,

Elder Tobler