Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014        
Transfers this week!
Friends and Family!               
It's great to communicate with you again this week. I hope that some things about God that have been said throughout these 20 months of sending these emails has helped in some small way. My greatest hope is to bring hope to other people. The real import of God's plan sinks in the more we learn about it, the more we apply it to our own lives. 

Elder Parks from Austin, Texas will be going home this coming Wednesday which is transfer day. Hasta Luego Elder Parks! As for where I’m going, I have no idea, but I’m not worried, I know the Lord will take care of me. I'm hoping my 14 month spree in Kearns won't end.

This past week we had some success and some failures. First off, Zulma, our investigator who we found on the 12th, didn't get baptized due to lots of outside pressures. We're still working with her, and we were able to attend another elder's baptismal service with her and the family she lives with. She has been touched by the Spirit many times, and knows this is what she must do, but her family is keeping her from receiving this joy. 

The success was bringing a new family of 5, the Gonzalez family, to our English class on Tuesday night. They were quickly surrounded by the love of the Relief Society and the Young Women. The mother was smiling the whole time, and let us come by to share the Restoration with her family on Thursday. The lesson took a different turn than we thought, and they didn't accept the baptismal invitation. We'll teach them again on Tuesday, hopefully with a more spiritual environment, to allow the Spirit to bear witness to their hearts of the truth of this message, and not just our words. In regards to the hearing and feeling of words, today in Companionship Study with Elder Clark, I learned an example from the Book of Mormon:

In 1 Nephi, Chapter 17, Nephi is explaining to his brothers Lamen and Lemuel why they will not harken (listen) to God, even after they saw an Angel! In verse 45 Nephi says: 

"Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder" (1 Nephi 17:45, Emphasis added). 

I want to draw your attention to where he says they were past feeling and then they could not feel his words. What an interesting concept! Cannot "feel" words? This is because God's spirit, the Holy Ghost, works through our feelings and thoughts and through other means that sometimes we cannot explain with words. It comes through having a humble and open heart to learning. This is the same way I know this is God's church and God's work, and is not created from men. I invite you all to feel the words of God by reading the Book of Mormon (or a portion of it), pondering the message it contains and then asking God, in the name of Christ, if the book is true. You'll get an answer that will be unique to you, that I know through personal experience.

Speaking of the Book of Mormon, I finished for the first time, the Book of Mormon read aloud in Spanish. This has taken quite a lot of time, and is based on the promise from President Gordon B. Hinckley that if one reads the Book of Mormon aloud in another language, taking the time to understand everything they are reading, then they will be fluent in that language by the time they are done. I can't say I’ve looked up every word, and so I won't call myself fluent, however my Spanish abilities have increased impressively over the last 20 months that I have been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish. I know it's true, and now I have two languages of experience C: 

Seatttle in January
This work is great, share it will someone else!
-Elder Toborg

P.S. Go SeaHawks!

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014
Friends and Family!

Thank you all once again for the birthday wishes and support. It's great to hear from you all C: I was indifferent to turning 20, but now that I’m 21, it seems surreal. Lots of life's decisions are coming up...

I'm pleased to hear that the SeaHawks are going to the Super Bowl! I'll have to watch that game when I get back!

Our current progressing investigator, Zulma, went down to Temple Square with us, and enjoyed seeing the temple. She's felt the spirit and a lot, and has stated that she feels better in this Church than in any other church she's been to. We found out her Mother has been dropping comments here and there to persuade her to not join the Church: however Zulma has a strong desire to follow God and receive a remission for her sins. We're going to teach her next to the baptismal font today, and bring Salvador, a recent convert who was baptized in 15 days who is her age more or less. We're still going for a baptismal service this upcoming Sunday, unless the Spirit directs otherwise. 

Some of my biggest challenges have been trying to find more investigators in the small, less than a square mile area, that I’ve been in for 7 months. The Lord is stretching our abilities to find new investigators through many different means. It strengthens my faith incredibly when we do find someone who is ready to hear the gospel. This past week we received a referral via text for a man who lived in a house I was familiar with. He was living in the basement, and it would have been hard to find him due to his work schedule if it weren't for other members in other parts sending in referrals for their friends. He's very excited to go to church, and we'll see how it turns out!

I went on an exchange this week in the Oquirrh Point stake with Elder Bandtlow (from South Carolina). We had a faith building experience when we ran into an ex-missionary atheist who tried every means possible to derail our faith. The Spirit prompted me to stand up and look him in the eyes and call him to repentance, to which he said no, and so we left his home. After that experience, the Spirit was very strong, and Elder Bandtlow and I found a family of 3 a couple hours later at the end of the night. Miracles! 

Elder Trenton Parks, one of our district leaders, is going home in 10 days. He's sure excited! (He’s in the picture on the left, on the right is Elder Bartholomew in our zone). 
E. Parks and E. Toborg were Sunbeams together in Austin 4th Ward, Austin Stake, TX

Lately I’ve been reading the 1996 General Conference. I'm surprised by the subject matter of almost 20 years ago, and how it's the same as today! Elder Nelson taught the principle of "which way do you face" indicating that we must represent the Lord in everything we do, and not face against him in rebellion. The Prophets and Apostles continue to receive the same messages, and I assume the Lord will continue sending them until we learn to listen and change!

I love this work, I love the Lord, and I'm developing a real desire to "love one another." (John 13:34)

-Elder Toborg

Monday, January 13, 2014

Jan 13, 2014 Thanks to all!

Elder Toborg is 21!!
January 13, 2014
Thanks to all!

Friends and Family,
Happy 21st Birthday today Elder Toborg
Thank you so much for all of the Birthday wishes! It makes me happy to hear from so many of you, and from some who I normally don't hear from! Reminders as well that Elder Ben Black had his birthday yesterday, and my wonderful friend Maxwell Sherman has his birthday on the 12th! Send a birthday wish their way if you know them! I haven't been able to read all of the birthday wishes yet, and my time is running out so please be patient with me as I will have to reply to some next week! I appreciate them all! 

This past week has been a wonderful turn around, we were able to dedicate much of our time to finding, and we were able to find a family of 6!

The family we found is the Geraro family, from Mexico. I was on an exchange with Elder Moreira (An elder from Spain) and we were coming to the end of our night, and hadn't found any new investigators, so we prayed for direction. I was prompted to go to the Geraro's home; I knew of them before, having taught the father, and this time we got to teach all 6 of the family members. They were touched by the importance God has for our families. We invited them to be baptized, and the father said yes, except, he had been invited before and knew he can't be baptized until he's married, and they hadn't spoken of marriage yet. All 4 of their daughters (ages 6, 8, 10 and 12) emphatically agreed that they should get married. The Mom wasn't too convinced... I'll let you know how the next lesson goes! 

Last night, Sunday night the 12th, we had a wonderful miracle. One of the member families in our ward has a cousin from El Salvador who moved into their home. Turns out she's not a member of the church, which we thought she was because she had been coming to church for a while now. We taught her about baptism and the promise that we can be forgiven for our mistakes. That's what she needed to hear I guess, because as we asked her to pray, she spent 15 minutes on her knees, most of it in silence, asking for a forgiveness of her sins. She's now preparing to be baptized on January 26th. What Faith to accept baptism only 14 days from then! 

All of these new investigators have come from a focus on finding. The Mission Leadership met for a council on this last Wednesday, where we learned about the first Mission Training Plan which is a mission wide focus on one topic. The topic this week, finding! Elder Clark and I put the pedal to the metal and we've been working hard and the Lord has been blessing us! 

I wish I had more pictures for you! All I saw this week were the same streets of the Kearns West Stake that I’ve seen for the last 7 months, nothing too new. I'll get some for sure this upcoming week!

Love you ALL, and I’m increasing my Charity each day.

-Elder Toborg
(Mom's note: Daniel wrote this before he arrived at the mission office where Kathy Wilhelmsen, our Texas friend who now lives in Draper, UT, had delivered this great cake and balloon. Yeehaw! What a treat.)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January 7, 2014
Happy New Year’s again Friends and Family!
What a wonderful fresh start we have! I've included pictures of a chess set we used on new year’s night, when we were told to go home at 8pm. I ended up the victor of our almost 3 hour chess game. The chess set is made of plated gold, and was obtained by our Landlord Brother Hoffman at DI for 10$! He was able to obtain it at the start of his voluntary shift helping out the people at Deseret Industries, and was blessed with that find! Service brings blessings..!

We've been spending this whole week looking for investigators. We have various people to teach, however none of them are willing to progress or set aside time to keep the commandments. 

Eric Rojo is a married man (rare event that they're legally married!) who has felt the spirit, has a wonderful friend in his life to show the example, but will not commit unless his wife will come too. He's not willing to be the example by coming to Jesus's church for the first time, we can only hope he softens his heart. He's so ready for baptism!

Antonio Luna is another man we're teaching who I may have mentioned earlier, lives in the basement of a member's home. He got a job recently, and it's been hard to meet with him. He says he'll get baptized when he gets his answer, however he forgets to read and pray, so it's hard to get an answer without doing your part!

Cuauhtemoc is a single man we found in a house, who understood the restoration very well when we taught him, comparing the Church that Jesus formed with a mirror, that fell and shattered when he was killed and his Apostles were killed also, and people tried to take those pieces and make their own "mirrors" or churches, but none had the complete truth. The "mirror" or church was restored by Christ in the year 1820 by means of a Prophet, Joseph Smith. Cuauhtemoc is hard to meet with, Sunday being his only day off, and so he hasn't been progressing
Making arepas with the Rojas family

Finally, there's Luis Medina, a wonderful man who has gone through a lot. He was not home on Sunday and so he didn't come to church. He's felt the spirit with us, and is honestly seeking for the truth. He enjoyed his experience at church when he went in Wyoming when he was there for work. 

The Lord has been giving Elder Clark and me many challenges in the missionary work lately. The hard times will pass and we will become stronger. Invite your friends and family to come to know Christ by keeping his commandments so they may obtain eternal life too! (John 17:3, Matthew 7:21). 

Love you All!
-Elder Toborg