Monday, February 24, 2014

Feb 24, 2014
Friends and Family,
District Leader Council w/ E. Bridg

This week has brought some interesting twists, the major one being the unexpected change of companions. My companion Elder Henderson had to return home again to overcome some medical challenges he had when he was serving in Mexico. I'm glad he will have a better environment to heal, the mission field is a hard place. My new companion is Elder Tamacas from El Salvador. (His family is in Gilbert, California). He's an excellent Elder! He's been out in the field 5 months, with the teaching skills of someone who has been out for 18 months! He's a great elder, humble, patient, even though he was taken out of Kearns to come here where there aren't such a concentration of Hispanics. 

We're continuing to teach the Navarrete family. All 4 of the girls came to church again, including Mom, but Dad once again didn't come. We did have a success, however, in getting him to come to the "New Beginnings" for the Young Women which the 13 year old daughter, Veronica, was a part of. It's a small step to get him into the church building! He told us during a lesson that he was proud of his 17 years for not stepping into a church after he had a bad run in with a priest from a Christian church. He said the only exception was once, when he went to his LDS friend's funeral. He said he did it out of respect. Our wonderful fellowshipper, bro. Espitia, turned that instance into a perfect reason why he should come now: 
Yep. Ostriches.
"Jesus Christ is his friend. He died for him. We go to church to show respect for him. Will you come to church to show respect for your friend Jesus Christ?" He didn't quite accept the invitation to church, but he did like the analogy. 

E. Tamacas and I are enjoying the random horses and fields everywhere in this area. People with money all have horses or... Ostriches! 

Also, I got a picture of the Elders from the former Kearns West zone before transfers a week ago, E. Villarreal is the one at the bottom; he's one of my good friends.

I'll have some pictures soon of E. Henderson and I; we used mostly his camera to take pictures. 

We've been having a good time contacting Spanish families; I'm always surprised to find where they live. We found a member who lives in a barn behind an active member's home! Another investigator that we found this week, Jose Mendez, lived in the basement of a Spanish family. We had knocked the door many times, and when the family upstairs answered, I had the impression to ask if anyone lived in the basement, a question that I don't normally ask, but I will from now on. They said yes, we knocked that door, Jose let us in, and in 5 minutes we invited him to be baptized. He said he already was in the Catholic Church, and we didn't have time to address the concern in the moment, but we'll go back and help him recognize the spirit he felt that day. 

There are people all around us who need the Gospel! Be sure to share it with everyone around you! It's not as hard as you think. C; Don't believe me? Try it!

Love you all!

-Elder Toborg
Kearns West Zone January 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Zulma and me in white, with her mom,
 Elder Clark and Elder Moreira
February 17, 2014
Hello Friends and Family!
I'm short on time to write this week due to some extenuating circumstances, but I’ve included the pictures I promised from Zulma's baptism this past week.
The family with all of the daughters in the picture is the Joya family,
the family who Zulma was living with
Overall, this week has been up and down. We're having great success with the Navarrete family of 5. Everyone except the Dad came to church this week. We're adding 1 family member to church each time we go, so according to this pattern, Dad will come next week! They all accepted a baptismal date of the 9th of March. Sounds like it will be a similar experience to the Spanish family being baptized in our ward in Washington!
The Tovar family who we worked with a lot
We did end up moving out of the mansion, we live in Brother Evan's basement, a wonderful single man in the Riverton North stake. I love our new place better, it feels much more like a home, were as the last place we were in felt like a spacious hotel that wasn't meant for long term staying.

A picture is worth a thousand words! I'm doing well, I love this work, and I'm still going strong!

-Elder Toborg

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014
Friends and Family!

This week had some interesting turns in it! Some good, some not so good. We found out on Sunday that we are going to be moving out of the large house, or "mansion", so that other elders can move in. Apparently the Bluffdale Stake was housing 3 sets of missionaries, and they didn't want to, so they kicked us out of their stake so they only have to house 2 sets. As a result, we will be moving into a wonderful man's house. I haven't met him yet, but I know he's gone through great sacrifice to let us live with him. 

This week we've been working with the Navarrete family to get them their own testimonies. Still the father, Lorenzo, refuses to read or pray, though he sits in with all the lessons. The mom, Carlita, can't go to church due to recent back and open heart surgeries. The three daughters, however, are progressing well, reading scriptures, praying, and coming to church. It's an interesting division between the family... None of them can progress towards baptism without the parents. 

A surprise this week had me headed back to Kearns! I found out last Wednesday that Zulma Villacorta, my old investigator, had made the decision to get baptized, and she asked the elders to ask me to perform the ordinance. I was able to baptize her last night, and there was a lot of support from the branch. It was great seeing all of the old members and friends I had made in the Kearns West Stake, and it was hard to leave. You'll all have to forgive me for leaving my camera at home, so I have no pictures this week, but I will repent and get them to you next week! 

This week we also had Zone Conference, which is where about 1/3rd of the mission gets together to receive training and to learn. It's always fun to see my old companion, Elder Julian, up front teaching. We focused on inviting people to be baptized and then asking them an inspired question guided by the Spirit. It was spectacular to see how the Spirit worked through these humble 19-21 year old teachers, there were some good questions asked. 

To clarify, since I think I created some confusion before, I only cover the Spanish branch (the 22nd branch) here in Riverton/ Bluffdale. I don't teach investigators in English, though that's where most of my time is spent, talking in English to people, looking for any trail or sign of people who speak Spanish. It's a hard, but rewarding, adventure.

This week we found a man named Alfredo. He let us in his home at 7pm, and we proceeded to teach him the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. We then asked him to pray, he immediately bowed his head and gave thanks, very simply, for the fact that the authority to act in God's name had been restored, and then said Amen. We then invited him to be baptized and he accepted for the 23rd of February. Unfortunately he was not at his next appointment and we weren't able to set up a ride for him to get to church, and so he'll have to be baptized on a different day; but E. Henderson and I are excited to find another prepared person who's ready to take the responsibility to change and make his life better through giving up some of the things we like in this life, for things that are better. 

This is God's work, there's proof in a 531 page book that you can read and ask God about! The Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ.

-Elder Toborg

Monday, February 3, 2014

Feb. 2, 2014    
Rags to Riches                       
Friends and Family,

I got transferred! On Tuesday afternoon, I learned that I would be saying goodbye to my home town of 14 months, Kearns Utah, and packing my bags to head off to the Riverton 22nd branch. I made some quick stops by some people before I left, and we also got in with a family of 6 before I left, but they didn't have time for a lesson unfortunately. Elder Moreira will be taking my spot as a zone leader in Kearns West (He's the Elder from Spain who was serving in Western Hills 8th before). 

Elder Smith - staying in Kearns 
My new area is a LOT different. Before, I covered about 3/4's of a mile squared, in each of my areas in Kearns. This new area is similar to the one I had in Sandy, big, spread apart, and full of wealthy people. I cover the entire city of Riverton and the city of Bluffdale, which covers 7 English stakes. We live in, well, quite honestly, a mansion. I included a picture of the front of the house; we live in their 4 story garage, which isn't even a part of the house. Their garage doors are bigger than any house in Kearns. There are 6 bathrooms in the garage alone (we live on the 3rd floor, going up a big spiral staircase, 2 kitchens, 4 showers, and... well only 1 room! Interesting layout, and that's just the garage; I haven't been in her actual house! There is also a full size basketball court outside which I’m looking forward to using in the summer time. What a blessing it is to live in such a nice place! There are a lot of mansions that are similar. The only downside is the giant parties that go on that make a lot of noise. She, Sister Anderson (former Mayor of Bluffdale), has an indoor pool with water fountains that faces our living area, and it gets quite noisy sometimes!

There are plenty of Hispanic people around here, they're just spread farther apart, and we use different means to find. We've been "neighborhood hopping" where we knock a couple doors, ask them which Hispanics live in the neighborhood, and thus find out about the whole neighborhood without knocking all the doors.

On Thursday, the day after I arrived in the area, we started teaching the Navarrete family. This family includes the Dad, Lorenzo, Mom, Carlita, and their 5 kids: Maria, Veronica, Angie, Kasandra, and Chencho. They're a great family, and they we were able to invite them to prepare for baptism on the 22nd of February, to which the parents showed some surprise but all the daughters accepted readily. When Sunday rolled around, we had the family who came to the lesson with us stop by to take them to church. They didn't want to go... So, looks like there is some more teaching to do! (We had gone the night before and given Lorenzo a new white shirt, tie and pants so he could have some church clothes!). They'll be baptized, but perhaps it will take them a little more time. 
My new Companion is Elder Henderson from LA California (the exact city is Camarillo). He's been in the mission for 11 months, and was actually assigned to the Monarre, Mexico mission where he was for 9 months. He had some Kidney stones and had to come back to the US for surgery and was re-assigned to this mission. He's been in this area for 3 weeks, and so we're both getting to know the area together. His Spanish is great, seeing as he was in Mexico, and we've been having a blast together! He's studying to be a pilot, and already has his Private Pilot's license). 
I'm already getting a strong relationship with the members in the branch. Most of them in this area are from South America. Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Chile. There are hardly any Mexicans here which is much different than Kearns, where 70% of them were from Mexico! I'm finding I have to get rid of my Mexican Spanish habits when I speak!

I love the Lord and His work. I'm going full blast, 110% in these last months, and there is a lot of work to do! Take care, everyone! And a special Birthday shout-out to my Dad whose birthday is on the 6th of Feb!

-Elder Toborg