Monday, October 29, 2012

Oct. 29, 2012

Hello everyone!

In two days I will be done with my 2nd transfer here in the field, and done with the Infield training which gives me an extra hour of companionship studies each morning. It certainly will be a change when I have another hour to work in the field and less time to study. I hope the work picks up! The secret to missionary work is... work!

This week has been filled with the spirit from the result that my companion and I worked much harder than we had the previous week, and we saw the blessings the Lord gave us as a result. Yesterday, Sunday the 28th, Alejandro was baptized, and it was one of the most spiritual baptisms we have had. We kept it as short as possible, and as quiet as possible, this allowed the spirit to teach and testify, which is the best teacher of them all. With the baptism of Alejandro, we currently have 9-10 potential investigators, but 0 progressing investigators, meaning we aren’t teaching anyone on a regular basis. We find most of our investigators through referrals from white people who say "yeah I see all the Hispanics over in that neighborhood." Rarely do we need to track, and when we do it's mostly all non-Spanish speakers. We do have some apartment complexes that consist of mostly Hispanics, and those we have tracked many, many times.

The Spanish branch that we attend and keep watch over is called the Galena Branch, and we have about 150~ members that attend Sacrament Mtg. each week. The Galena branch covers all of Sandy, thereby making our mission area that we are assigned to practically all of Sandy. There is another branch that pokes its nose into the Sandy city limits but we do not cover that branch. We haven't been asked to talk since that first week, but my companion has been asked to be the Spanish-> English translator a couple times which he finds as a very hard task. Any English speakers who come to our meetings can have a headset similar to what they have at General Conference, and someone at the stand translates into English. This upcoming week, my companion and I have been asked to speak at one of the Stake conferences, just a short 5 minute talk on the Doctrine of Christ. With transfers coming up on Wednesday, we do not know if both of us are going to get to speak, but like a scout, it's good to "Be Prepared!"

Halloween is on Wednesday as I'm sure you've all forgotten. Or due to the increase in partying that I hear, it sounds like your lives revolve around Halloween right now. ;) Usually in the mission, during these holidays in which missionaries cannot be out working, the missionaries gather for something called "mission conference" and they do various activities, one being watching a Disney film (the only time we can watch anything worldly). However, the mission could not reserve a building to do this, so this time we're doing something much more spiritually uplifting. The whole mission, all 200 missionaries, are going to do two endowment session at the Jordan River Temple, afterward we will hear a talk from the Temple president. No Disney movies will be played, but I’m sure it will be a much better experience for the entire mission.

I still haven't heard anything about Elder Maughan; I hope he's doing alright in his new environment! I can't help thinking about how tall and out of place he must look there, because almost everyone in my Spanish branch is around 5'7! I hope Elder Hamblin and Elder Rennie are also doing great!

I've been studying the Word of Wisdom again, this time using the pamphlets that we use to teach our investigators, and using D&C 89. Something interesting I read was that wheat is for Man, oats for the horses, corn for the Ox, etc... The first thing that came to my mind was "Yeah, humans shouldn't be eating all this high fructose corn syrup, give it to the oxen, and we should be eating more wheat!" Then I turn around and look at my oat meal and think "Guess I'm eating horse food." I love oatmeal, and not only because it costs 3$ for 30 bowls of oatmeal. Once again i encourage you all to follow the word of wisdom and eat grains and wheat as the staple of your diet. This week i lost 2.5 pounds just by eating only oats, wheat bread, veggies and fruits, and trying to limit my meat. I promise there are a lot of delicious wheat things out there, and vegetables too!

This week we had the special opportunity to attend to a special Hispanic cultural performance down at Temple Square in Salt Lake, which was held in the conference center. It was really well done, but sadly by the time we reached half way through the performance, it was time for us to return to our houses, as the hour was getting late. So many people from our branch were in the performance, and it actually helped me appreciate Hispanic music more. I hope it's on so you all can watch it too!

I have not received mail for today yet but I’m sure I'll receive Mom's package and my ballot to vote. Thanks for everything you do for me! I'm so grateful to have such great support behind me as I do the Lord's work!

I love you all, and remember to do small kind things for everyone, who knows how your example can change someone's life!

-Elder Toborg-

Oct 22, 2012

Buenos Dias Hermanos y Hermanas!

The first thing on my mind is: Darn no email from Peter yet, I was hoping to hear about his Mexican experiences! I'm sure he's doing great, he's been down there now for a whole week. He's probably got 5-10 baptisms and beginning work on converting the whole Mexican drug cartel with his loving manner and being a "man of large stature" just like Nephi! 

Our district had a rather slow/discouraging week as far as missionary work goes. Our numbers were low, but my spirits are high! We have a very solid investigator named Alejandro. Besides the temptation to start singing lady Gaga every time I say his name, our lessons have been going great. He's really taking the atonement into his life, and he was particularly disturbed by the Law of Chastity, which only drove his desire for baptism and forgiveness of sins to an even greater height.

We had a lot of people commit to come to church and the only one who did was Alejandro. This is a prime example of: without a desire to do something, people aren't going to do it. Alejandro has the desire to change, and so he does as God commands. We, as missionaries and as members of the church, need to share our experiences with the church with other people, to create the desire to change in these people. Elder Gomez and I have been working on teaching how to get people to attend church lately, and you really have to resort to your own testimony of how church has changed your life. 

I'm slowly beginning to understand more Spanish, but as I find myself over 1/6th of the way through my mission, the fear that I won't be fluent in the language is beginning to creep over me. I can understand most everything that my companion says, because I’m used to his accent now, and I understand the way he speaks. There are so many people from so many different places! I'll learn, the Lord is at my back, I cannot fail when I trust in Him!

Thank you Dad for your scripture, Mosiah 2:41; I've read it many times but this time it change something within me. Keep the commandments of God, you will be blessed spiritually and temporally. Who wouldn't want blessings on NOW on Earth, AND later in Heaven!? The plan of God is perfect and beautiful. 

Make sure you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and more importantly of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith. I saw the example of a member of a family we ate dinner with; she did not have a testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon and simply thought "it was a good book" and as a result, she married a non-member and now is non-active and openly admits it and tells everyone that "it’s just not for [her]." 

I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, and that he is just waiting to bless us if we will listen to his advice, or commandments. 

I hope to hear from all of you in letters! Replies to your letters are in route! 

Love you all 

~ Elder Toborg ~ 

Oct 15, 2012

Hello Friends and Family!

Yet another week has come and gone in the service of the Lord. This week my companion and I focused heavily on teaching less active and recent convert families. We have been able to see Angel and Yesenia every day, since we have two other investigators in the same apartment complex! They are moving along well, reading and praying daily. They showed up late to sacrament meeting and missed the sacrament. Later, Angel told us that he was very disappointed that he missed the time to renew his newly formed baptismal covenants. 

This week, our Zone is doing a special fast, and study about the Atonement. Every day, we will be studying the Savior's Atonement, and I have already seen the blessings of it in my life! As missionaries, we are here to testify of Jesus Christ, and offer the saving ordinances that will allow people to live with their God, their Father who is in Heaven, and live with their families for all of eternity. During role plays, or practices that we do between missionaries to teach better, whenever I get stuck or trip over my own words, I just bear testimony of Christ. You can never go wrong with a testimony! 

People are accustomed to short, powerful statements. The first time I saw this format was in Peter Maughan's English papers that I helped edit in our freshman year of college. He is an excellent speaker, and these short powerful statements is what he was accustomed to writing, to reflect how he would speak. Though it may not be the most elegant style of penmanship, it certainly is beautiful missionary form, and will serve him well in the field. It's very easy to talk too much, people like to talk. If you want people to think, ask clarifying questions, after you've taught a principal simply and clearly. President Miller calls this "BCS" Bull championship series! No, Brief, Clear, Simple.

I had my first interview with my mission president, President Miller. The interview lasted about 2 minutes, in which I asked a doctrinal question, he answered, and said "good job, keep going." Sadly, in preparation for this interview, the previous P-day I had to find and obtain my first hair cut in the mission field. It was "Columbus day" in Utah, and everything was closed. The only option I had was to have one of our fellow missionary's landlady give me a buzz with the #2 extension. My hair is shorter than when Peter cut my hair before the mission! I vow to never get my hair this short again; I've already lost respect by some of my investigators! (jokingly). 

 We had a lesson on the Word of Wisdom in priesthood yesterday. From this lesson I learned that I, along with almost every missionary and probably other members of the church, have not been following the word of wisdom. We eat meat every day, sometimes for two meals, and we do not eat the things we need to be eating. My fault may not be with lack of healthy food, but just a consumption of food for pleasure and not necessity. I've taken it upon myself to follow the word of wisdom from now on, in all things that I eat. Just by following this law to the exact, I've lost two pounds in two days! Blessings are already coming! I encourage you all to study D&C 89, and then live according to what it says. Don't be slothful and give excuses as to why you are not eating healthy, it's just plane laziness. Take the time to research, buy, and then consume the things the Lord has given us to keep ourselves healthy. Make this life physically painless by keeping your body in tip-top shape!

Great to hear about the wonderful weekend you had back home! President Johnson is a stud, so is President Stapley and all of our other stake leaders! It's great to hear about the Gaans and their successes and service toward our family, tell them thank you for watching over my family for me with meals! 

Thank you for the letters I receive, Jessica Freeman; I’ve gotten all your letters and I’m in the process of writing back! Thank you!

Sadly, I slacked and didn't reply to one of Peter's letters, and now I get to send the letter to Mexico! So great to hear that he's leaving the MTC. He's going to become a much greater man, I know it. 

The spirit is a very wise companion, always seek for it in all things that you do. I only see success in my Spanish and scriptural knowledge when I'm in tune with the Spirit, and my mind seems so sluggish without it. 

Are Josh Smith and Christy Corbitt are working on their papers? I'd assume Christy would be, but I'd also tell Josh that if he wanted to do a year of college before, that's also fine. Tell me all the updates on people who put their papers in at age 18/19 in the ward!

 Thank you all for your support and love! Have a great week, and remember to Pray, Read your scriptures every day, go to church, and have the spirit with you

 May the Lord bless you in all the things you ask for and do to follow his commandments,

Elder Toborg


Oct 8, 2012

Two more souls enter the path toward Eternal Life

Hello Friends and Family!

This week was certainly exciting. The most prevalent piece of information: Angel and Yesenia got married and baptized on the 3rd of October! The wedding was very simple, and literally lasted about 15 minutes. They then got dressed into their baptismal clothing and they were baptized! I got to baptize Angel, and Elder Gomez baptized Yesenia. It was a wonderful moment, especially because we worked so hard to get them to that point. Thank you for all your prayers in regards to them!
After visiting them again, they say: "we feel a happiness and peace in this house that we've never felt before!" (Spanish to English translation). The gospel changes lives and it's so spectacular to see that change in our investigators.

Next juicy piece of meat, similar to the steak and salmon my family got this week from our neighbors, is General Conference. My companion, Elder Gomez, got a ticket to go down to conference live in the Sunday afternoon session. This was a wonderful experience, he says, however it prevented us from being with our investigators. It was disappointing to find out that 0/8 of our investigators watched, heard or saw conference in any form. The main challenge was the fact that... we had nowhere to listen to it in Spanish. The branch didn't broadcast it in Spanish or do anything of the sort, so while I enjoyed all the talks in English, my investigators were perishing in unbelief because of the lack of resources needed to listen in their appropriate language.

What an announcement regarding the age of missionaries! The first person I thought of was Josh Smith. He's in his Senior year of high school and if I’m not mistaken, turns 18 on the 4th of November. He has some life changing things to think about! I'm glad I was able to attend a freshman year at BYU; it really gave me a chance to learn some self discipline, and other skills needed in the mission field. It will certainly take more faith, I think, to go straight out of high school into the mission field! I expect to see some fresh 18 year olds in about a year! As far as 19 year old Women entering the field, I think this will increase the number of sister missionaries incredibly, seeing as most girls get married at 19-20 *cough* Jessica Freeman *cough* It will be interesting to have sisters in the mission field, soon, who will be more like us boys, immature, and less like mothers (the 21+ year old sisters are always far too akin to mothers already!)

Sadly I left my notebook containing my notes from conference at home, but one of my favorite discourses was at the beginning of the Saturday Morning session by Elder Nelson, who said over and over "Ask the Missionaries!" after every gospel doctrine he went over. It's so true, the blessings and things that he proclaimed, and yes, us missionaries can help in all of those aspects!

As I said earlier, I had the opportunity to listen to conference in English. I went on splits with a 6'6 elder named Elder Bennit, from Sammamish Washington. He's been on the mission since Sept. 4th (same as Sky!), and he spent the whole time flirting with the family's daughters. It was quite humorous to see how much I’ve matured in 4~ months, or at least the difference between him and me. Elder Bennit told me that he's used to being short, that being 6'6 he was the 5th tallest person in his ward back home, with two 6'10 giants. It made me think of how much of a dwarf Peter would be in that ward.

I finally got my bike brought over from the mission office over to our home. I might go on some bike rides for exercise now in the mornings! It sure it’s a fine piece of art.

It's great to hear that things are going well at home, and that the family was able to watch conference! I'm so grateful for technology, and the ability we have to view conference from the comfort of our homes!
I've also been developing a much greater appreciation for the technology we have been given by God regarding our very own bodies. They are master pieces and much be taken care of. I'm so thankful that, though our bodies grow old and weaker, one day we will be resurrected to a perfect body that will never grow old and weak! (Alma 40:23)

Always remember, the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, but under every type of trial or circumstances, sickness or in health, we must give thanks to the Lord our God for all that he hath given us.

I love you all and I hope you will go back and study the words of the general authorities that we have learned this week. There is so much more to learn!

With deep humility and Love for all of your well beings,

Elder Toborg

Oct. 1, 2012

Hello Friends and Family,

Today, P-day the first day in the month of October in the year 2012 of our Lord, has already been fantastic (fantastic being used by Hugh B. Brown to describe something absurd or abnormal). Two of our investigators, Angel and Yesenia, are due to be married, and baptized on the 3rd of this month, or this Wednesday, however, Satan does not want this. Friday, they were supposed to get their marriage license, which is the only thing they need to bring to their wedding to make it legal; they started arguing at 4pm and didn't want get married, we came and resolved their concerns, the building closed at 5, they didn't make it. Saturday, Angel fell and tore the tendons in his wrist, preventing him from working, which brought up his doubt about tithing and how he could pay, then they had a contention with each other and didn't want to get married, we stopped by, read scriptures with them, and resolved all their doubts and concerns, but the wedding license building was already closed. Sunday, they attended church, and had a great time, we had a lesson with them at night, gave them priesthood blessings, and said goodbye, anticipating their wedding license to be obtained by 9am on Monday (today). We wake up, and get a call saying; they fought again, they don't want to get married. Emergency lesson at 9am on Pday (today). We used the word of the Lord to bring the spirit into the room, and then we conducted whats known as a "companionship inventory" with them. Comp inventory, for short, is what we do as missionaries every week to resolve contention within our companionship. It involves focusing on the strengths of the relationship and telling those to each other. Right now, they are in the licensing building getting their wedding license. Satan is working hard to prevent these two from entering the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life. In the strength of the Lord, however, Elder Gomez and I can overcome anything Satan throws at us, for in the strength of the Lord, we can do all things.

My whole week has almost entirely been focused on these two, and how close they've come to accepting the Savior in their lives. They've been investigators for over a year, and the time has finally come for them to take the first step on the path of righteousness; Baptism.

When I haven't been worrying about, teaching, or preparing for Angel and Yesenia, I've been on splits with English elders. Elder Gomez, being district leader, gets the opportunity to teach others in our district how to be a better missionary. This means he switches with an English elder, goes into their zone, and helps the other elder. This leaves me with two options: Fly or sink; leaving me in my Spanish zone for 24 hours with someone with a vocabulary bank of 4 words: "tu madre es bonita" (your mother is pretty). Thankfully I have a third companion, the Holy Ghost. I was able to receive the strength and knowledge I needed from the Lord, and successfully complete my two exchanges that we did this week, with no problems. (Well no problems that I could understand in Spanish ;). They were two of the best days of my mission even. The first exchange was with my zone leader, Elder Thomas. I had already been on an exchange with him, but this was when I also had Elder Gonzalez with me to speak the fluent Spanish. This time it was just me and him. He would prompt me to do things in English, then i'd go ahead and do them in Spanish. It was surprisingly easy with the help of the Gift of Tongues. I've never been able to understand Spanish better than these times when I knew I had to understand, for if I did not we could not help them come unto Christ.

The second exchange was with Elder Foster, who came out into the mission the same day as me. I see him every day at zone exercise, and he's just a bundle of fun. He may not be the most mature person in the world, but he sure knows how to be a missionary. He was very focused and dedicated, while letting the day be extremely fun. With him, we had more lessons with a member present than I had all last week!

I think my biggest temptations here on the mission now are: Cars. There are so many different cars, in so many different styles, and I find myself coveting them when we drive from appointment to appointment, or thinking about what kind of car I want after the mission. Thankfully, the Lord provides was to avoid all temptation: "Oh yeah! I'm broke!" With the absence of ability to purchase a car, comes the ability to change my coveting to "nice car, hope you're not in debt!" I think I might get a motorcycle after the mission to save money.

Anyway, the missionary work has been going well, I'm happy and healthy, and I couldn't ask for anything more, besides winning the monopoly $1,000,000 at McDonald's, but then I wouldn't be healthy anymore because I’d have eaten so much McDonald's, and so then I’d be happy and unhealthy.. hmm. Trade offs.

I seem to be rambling in my elation now, because we just received a call that Angel and Yesenia now have their marriage license. All that hard work has paid off! Now we just have to keep them in good spirits and away from Satan's efforts until Wednesday.

I love you all and I hope you hear from you, whoever is reading this, (Elder Toborg, SLC South Mission, 8060 S 615 E, Sandy, UT 84070). God be with you till... you read my email again!

~Elder Toborg~