Monday, September 24, 2012


 


 Sept. 24, 2012

As we consult once again, one with another.
 
Hello Friends and Family and people who creep on my blog and Facebook who read this (which is a good thing ;] ),

Many things came to pass this week, the most prevalent being transfers. Transfers are every 6 weeks, in which there is the chance that missionaries will be moved to a different area or switching companions. As expected, Elder Parks was moved away from our companionship, leaving Elder Gomez and me as a companionship! First time in the field without it being a trio. Elder Parks was moved to be district leader in another district of our zone, so I still get to see him every morning at morning exercise; but somehow I’m always against him during sports, and he's exceedingly fast (he says he'll try out for the BYU track team after the mission, I believe him!). At first I had some fear about being alone with Elder Gomez, but after 5 days with him alone, our companionship has never been better, and we're working more diligently and finding more success. 

 Success in the mission can be measured in two ways: Numbers of Baptisms/Lessons, or by the actual change you are making in people's lives. We've had the opportunity to visit many less active members, and have got them going back to church. There are many more who we're teaching who still haven't returned, but we're not going to give up on any of God's children, they all need to complete the last part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Endure till the End. Along with the less actives, as of right now we have 7 investigators; 4 of which we just found this week. Technically we have a wedding set up for this Friday so that two of our investigators can get baptized this Sunday, but there isn't quite 100% commitment from the "soon to be" wife; she really needs a testimony of the gospel before she can make this decision. As far as weddings go for investigators, we make it a small affair, with baptism in mind. One year after their baptism is when they can make big wedding plans, for after one year they have the ability to be married for all time and eternity in the temple. This is really what we want for everyone; to see them get baptized, follow the gospel, and receive the highest blessings heavenly Father has for us here on earth.

 This Sunday was the dedication of the Brigham City Utah Temple, my first chance to see a temple dedication. President Packer presided, and Elder Perry conducted. I knew God accepted this house as his after the dedicatory prayer, the spirit was very strong.

 This week was very productive on the area of personal study. I've realized now that I cannot fully understand Charity, until I understand humility and the elimination of pride. Through Preach My Gospel, and the scripture references that it contains, I was able to find out a very important principle that I knew of before, but it didn't sink in until now. Due to the fact that "Only by pride cometh contention" (Prov 13:10) we can eliminate all contention if we eliminate pride. Be wise and considerate when you listen to people, and be able to humble yourself when you're incorrect and admit it as well. I was sorely afflicted with this pride when I was young, and as a result my parents had to suffer many contentions by my hand because I heeded them not. I cannot take back what was done, but I can change for tomorrow, and that's what I plan to do. 

During my studies of pride, I came across a gold mine. In 2 Timothy 3:1-4; Paul prophesies the contention of our day (which I might say is all true). I was very impressed with the accurate description Paul gives of today's society, and so I decided to read more. I ended up reading all of the book of 2 Timothy, and it is now my favorite book in the Bible. There are so many things in there that pertain to me in my current stage in life. I might have found my new favorite scripture as well; which can be found in the second chapter of the third verse: "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." I've never seen the phraseology of "soldier of Jesus Christ" but I love the wording and now I see my black name tag differently. Paul also teaches another fundamental truth in chapter 3:12, which says "Yea, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Sorry, there are no outs, if you want to follow Christ the way you should, you will suffer persecution, and it's true! How many people get attacked for their beliefs, standards and values that follow Jesus Christ and his perfect example. I also took this scripture another way: If you aren't getting persecuted, you either did your job and converted every person you know to the gospel, or you're not following Christ the way you should. I have a whole mountain of scriptures that are worth studying, but all I will do as of now is exhort you all to read the words found in 2 Timothy, and ponder their meanings in today's world.

 Today I found out how humbling lack of food makes a person. I have 10 cents left of my missionary funds for this month after grocery shopping. Funny how the only thing that can push me to buy only healthy food and not junk as well was a lack of funds! I guess now would be a great time to start my journey of losing 10 pounds to enhance my abilities in sports in the morning. It's humorous to see how much importance I place upon morning exercise now, but what can I say other than morning exercise brings joy to my soul! Today, Elder Gomez and I stopped by 24 Hour Fitness to see if we could afford a membership there to work out from 5:30-6:15 then go to morning exercise after, but sadly we cannot afford the 66$ membership for 2 months. Looks like push-ups will have to suffice. 

 Our mission now has the challenge of reading the Book of Mormon every day until the end of the year. This at first disappointed me because I was in 3 Nephi in my old challenge that I started in the mission field, and President Miller asked us all to stop our first challenge and start on this knew one. Then I realized I could just finish the old challenge during my free time, so that's what I've been doing. So far we should all be through 1 Nephi 11 on this new challenge. Elder Gomez reads allowed in Spanish a verse, then I read one in English and so forth. Reading allowed like this, we've seen a lot of relation between what Nephi and Lehi say, and things that we find in the Temple; it's amazing to see these connections! I hope you're all able to do this challenge, it's about 7~ pages each day; easy to do in about 15 minutes! Do it, I know the Lord will bless your lives.

 It's so great to hear about all your successes and failures, and well, Life in general! Thank you all for your support and love. Keep sending me letters! Look for more pictures on my Blog/Facebook! (at least if that's where my mother places them..)

 Hasta Luego, 

-Elder Toborg- 
 

Sept 17, 2012
Another Week on the Lord’s Errand

 Hello Friends and Family!

This week in the grand mission field of Utah, we didn't have as much time to do as much missionary work as we'd like due to the meets we had almost every day of the week! District, Zone, Training etc.. Most of these meetings consists of "mind blowing" doctrine, and chastisement of things we need to do better. I thoroughly enjoy these meetings. They give a lot for a missionary to ponder about. This week we shall have the privilege to Draper Temple, right before transfers this Wednesday. I'm exceedingly happy to have the opportunity to ponder in the Temple about the things I've learned.

Speaking of the temple, in one of our companionship studies, Elder Parks, Gomez and I studied about the temple all from the Bible. It strengthened my testimony of Modern Revelation, and how the ordinances we have now are talked about in the Bible, but we now have the fullness of these ordinances. Now all i want to do is attend the temple for a week straight to learn more! I'm sure I'll have that opportunity when I'm... 80 years old.

We had 4 investigators show up to church this week, two couples, both from Puerto Rico, both need to get married before they can get baptized. After more lessons, we realize they need to get a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the Restoration. Once they obtain this desire, they will do anything to follow the commandments of God (which is exactly what Jaime Montoya did, doing anything we taught because he knew this was Christ's restored gospel on the Earth).

I've been studying about Christ and how we need to become like him, including developing his attributes. My main focus has been on Faith, Hope and Charity. This week in particular; Charity. According to Moroni 7:45, "charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth no in iniquity but rejoiceth in truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." When you think about Christ, this truly describes a part of his characteristics. If we have perfect charity, we are able to bear all the trials we go through, and turn outwards to help others, disregarding anything happening to us. I've been trying to suffereth all things and be kind, (the first two parts of charity). Every time i could get angry i think of the scripture and try to react kindly instead of in anger.

One very valuable piece of advise i learned in my various meetings this week was from my Zone Leader, who was viewing my goals i set for this week. After looking them over he turned to me and told me "to be given things from the Lord, we must sacrifice in return, what are you going to sacrifice this week to reach these goals?" It made me ponder of what things I might have been doing for myself and not for the Lords work, such as taking more time than i need to eat food, or moving slowly between appointments. The Lord put me in this area to find his children to bring them back to live with him once again, and if i don't do my best, i'm using up a space that some other hard working missionary could have filled to bring all of God's children who are prepared and waiting to hear the gospel. In Preach My Gospel, we learn that the secret to missionary work is... Work! We must work hard.

It's great to hear about Peter's success in the MTC, i haven't heard much about Mike or Sky, does anyone have their addresses? He's popular in the mission too! I'll pretend that lots of people sent me letters too but they got lost in the transition of MTC -> Field. (but more seriously, if you sent me a DearElder in the last 6 weeks, i don't think i'll get it, sorry! you might have to bust out the pen and paper and snail mail write me!). I got a letter from Becky, Peter, Justen Wong and my little Sister! It's great to hear from you all! If you haven't received my response yet, you will soon! I also got a mystery package from a lawyer in seattle with 3 bags of sour-patch kids and nothing else. I think it's one of Mary Maughan's friends, who is it!? Thank you all so much for your support! I hope i always respond to those who try to contact me, I'm very focused on the Lord's work and sometimes i forget there is a life/world outside of missionary work, but i love hearing about your lives!

Well, the Lord's work is calling me away from the computer, time to go do some laundry of white shirts, white shirts and white shirts! and a couple black socks.
Love you all and hope your lives are improving in a most rapid manner! Write me and I'll write back

-Elder Toborg-

Do you know if something needs to be changed on Dear Elder for me to receive letters? I haven't gotten a dear elder in 6 weeks since i entered the field (except one from Dad about 4 weeks ago).

Monday, September 10, 2012


Sept. 10, 2012
Salutations from Sandy


Hello once again Friends and Family!

I've now been out in the field for over a month, and things are going great! 

This week we had the opportunity to listen to a member of the quorum of the 70, Elder Perkins, speak to us in a special "Mission Tour." He truly is a man called of God to serve in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He began by teaching us about how we should be praying; praying with questions. If we are not asking questions in our prayers, or searching for greater knowledge, than how can we ever progress? He then challenged us to write down a question regarding one of our investigators, and then to write down a personal question, and to listen to see if those, deep, personal, questions were answered. What an amazing experience, both of my questions were answered! All we need to do to learn more is to have questions prepared. 

One other major factor that I learned from Elder Perkins, is how we ask for things. If we simply ask "Please heal this person and make them get better... please fix this... please ____..." It's hard for God to answer our prayers when they are so vague. We need to exercise faith, but then apply our works as well. Joseph Smith, when inquiring which church was true, not only had that question in his heart, but his words were "Which Church should I join." He was already prepared to make the action of, if he received an answer to which was true, he would then join that church. With the action, or way that he was going to act upon his answer already in mind, he was able to receive the wonderful first vision in which the church was then restored. It's interesting how God gives us these intelligent minds to be used to "act and not be acted upon" (meaning, find a way to do it and be self-sufficient). When you tell Heavenly Father how you're going to fix your own problem, sometimes you find the answer of how you're going to go about doing that during your prayer! I always have an action prepared with my desire, and my prayer is to ask for the ability needed to follow through with my plan, or with other divine assistance that I might never know about. 

We started teaching a lady this week named Betsebet. She's been having a very, very difficult time in her life right now. Due to an addiction to the filthy substance of alcohol, combined with a neurological offset of bipolar-ism, she has tried to take her own life many times. Because of this, the government forbade her from any contact with her children; (Ages 19 and 30), in the fear that their lives would be placed in danger if these suicidal or perhaps murderous tendencies rise up again. This is the state in which we found her; alone in her dark house, pretending to find comfort in a bottle. As we've been teaching her about the Atonement, her "good-side" appears and the lessons go well. As soon as we mention anything involving a trial or challenge in our lives or hers, her "dark-side" comes out and she begins to mourn for her loss of her children and many threats toward the government. This is the first time I've prayed so hard for Christ to enter in, and help, the life of someone. We've taught her the Plan of Happiness, or the Plan of Salvation, but I’m not sure to which personality we taught it to. When it comes down to it, she needs to humble herself and pray to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, to which only God can answer.

 Anyway, on a more positive note, it was great to read about Peter and his same experiences in the MTC that I've had. The MTC can only prepare you so much for the real deal, but thankfully we always have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to aid us in this challenging, but most rewarding, work. 

During my personal study, I've come across lots of scriptures regarding the importance of our bodies, and how they really are a gift. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is one of my favorites, were Peter the Apostle is teaching and he exclaims: "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?" Reading that an Apostle had a face-palm moment is awesome, saying in a way: "what... how could you not know this... oh great... well I’d better teach you then." He goes on to say in verse 20: "For ye are bought with a price: Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" Think about that the next time you put a big-mac into your mouth, eh? I wouldn't want to glorify God by drawing all over my body, enlarging it to an unhealthy way (in spanish Engordarse), or inserting things that just shouldn't belong there. I posted scriptures regarding the importance of our bodies all around our kitchen, so that when I’m tempted to snack, I've got a little divine assistance to keep me from gaining the average 60-80 lbs in this mission. So far I’m staying at 173! I'm fine with +2 lbs. in 3 months :) (I'm working on losing 10 lbs. so that I can up my hops and dunk in basketball, watch out Kobe!).

I'm surprised to hear that there is no rain in Seattle! I hope you all aren't drying up to a crisp, that's what I've been doing here in Utah.

I hope the Olympics went well. I was sad to realize I’d miss the summer Olympics, I love watching the pro-parkour (aka gymnastics), and of course Michael Phelps. Anyway, I don't have time to think about those things, too much work to do for the Lord!

I love this work, I love the Lord, I know that he atoned for our sins and that through his grace and our works, we can once again return to live with our Heavenly Father and him, Jesus Christ. This work is true, and that is why I am sharing it with the people of Sandy, Utah.

Best of wishes, and you're in my prayers.

-Elder Toborg-

Monday, September 3, 2012


Sept. 3, 2012
First Baptism!



 Hello Friends and Family!

This week I got to see the sins washed away of Jaime Montoya, and confirm him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through this ordinance, Jaime will be able to partake of the blessings of the Celestial Kingdom of God, and return to live with him once again; if he endures to the end.

When the baptism was performed, Elder Gonzalez said "te confirmo" instead of the correct "yo te confirmo" and so Jaime had to be dunked under the water twice :P
Thankfully, I did not mess up during the confirming and so Jaime didn't have to be confirmed twice :P
It was a great experience seeing the change in his life that this has brought, but he did have an addiction to smoking, so far, through Christ, he's been able to stop smoking for over 3 weeks! I know he'll be able to stop forever if he continues to read the scriptures and continue in the path of the gospel.

This past week, I had my first Zone Conference, which consisted of my zone and the Kearns zone. The conference lasted 6 hours, and we were spoken to by our Mission president, the assistants, the mission president’s wife, our zone leaders, and did some role-play practice. The main focus of the conference was the importance of the Book of Mormon.

Through the Book of Mormon, we can pray and learn from God that the book is true, and because of that Joseph Smith was God's prophet here on Earth with the same Priesthood power that existed in Christ's ministry in the Bible. I learned that the easiest way to explain this is to have investigators read the introduction of the Book of Mormon; it explains it far better than I would be able to.

We also learned at the conference the power of scriptures, and that we should turn to the scriptures to answer questions at every possible opportunity. We then got to take a test to see if we knew off hand where the answers to the questions of the soul were such as "Is there really a God?" (Alma 22:17-20) "What is the purpose of life?" (Alma 34:32-34) "What does God expect of me?" (Mosiah 2:22) "How can i protect my family from the evil in the world today?" (Alma 39) "Why do bad things happen to good people?" (Alma 60:13). It's so great to know that the Book of Mormon, along with modern day revelation, can help us answer every question of the Soul that we have.

After zone conference we had something called "Missionary Mall" where they had a bunch of things out on tables for us to take such as toothpaste, old clothes, old shoes, deodorant [not old ;)]. I love Missionary Mall because I was able to score myself some well-used size 13 Basketball shoes. They fit perfectly and make me feel like I can jump 5 ft. in the air, when in reality they really don't help
my hops :P but it's the thought that counts right!

My Spanish is coming along well; but... now I do not have two native speakers; Elder Gonzalez got special transferred on Saturday, and replaced with... Elder Parks! from Austin Texas! Our families knew each other when we lived in Austin. He'll only be with us till the end of the transfer (2 weeks), but still it's great to have him as a companion! He said "I got a letter from your mom while in the MTC" the first day I was in the mission field, but that didn't register with me until now I realize who he is. Elder Parks has been out 7 months and he's really good at understanding what the people are saying to him; something that I’ve been struggling with, but with time I’ll be as good as him at Spanish. For now I’m still in a 3 some; Elder Gomez, Parks and I.

We went on another trip down to Temple Square with our investigator Frank, who is 17 and won't be baptized until his mother allows him. We were hoping that Temple Square would motivate him to bear his testimony to his mother, which is what we've been pushing for him to do for a while now; but... it didn't seem to work because he hasn't born his testimony to her yet and he also told us he'd be at church 1 hour before it started, but he still didn't even show up. Oh well, all we can do is invite others to come unto Christ, while respecting one of God's greatest gifts: Agency.

Friends:
Hope you're all doing well now that the school year has started up!
Write me so I have someone to write back on P-days ;)

Love you all and I continue to pray for your welfare, friends and family.
Hurrah for Israel!

-Elder Toborg-