Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014
Wealth of Knowledge
Friends and Family!
Elder Tamacas y Toborg

What a privilege to address you again, I’m so grateful for the prayers and support you have showered me with while I’ve been away serving the Lord. This week seemed to bring with it a wealth of knowledge! 

The week itself was snowy and cold, I’ve included a picture of how Elder Tamacas and I felt while it was snowing in spring.
My Riverton District 3 - Oquirrh Mtn Temple

The first event was our attendance to the temple last Tuesday. I was able to see a new representation of Adam and Eve that I had not seen before. What a blessing technology is! I look forward to the day when everyone can partake of the blessings and make the covenants found in the temple.

Surprise snowstorm 
The second event was our first Mission Conference where we gathered all the missionaries together to hear from a special speaker. The speaker was President Chambers' cousin, brother Burton. Bro. Burton shared with us his unique and exciting experience of climbing Mt. Everest, an event which has always peaked my interest ever since my father instilled a love for climbing mountains. He took us through his 40 days journey up Mount Everest. He climbed the mountain in 2012, the second most deadly year in Everest history, with 6 deaths that year on the mountain. After immense training and struggle (preparing for the mountain by climbing almost every other of the tallest mountains in the world), he did make it to the summit. This year was difficult due to the 2-3 day window the climbers had for the entire year for the weather to be right to make the assent. During this 2-3 day window, over 200 climbers were backed up in a line. Bro. Burton expressed his disappointment, saying that he liked climbing so he could avoid large lines! He stood on the summit for 12 minutes, and says it was worth everything. He recounted the experience on his decent when his climbing partner fell and was in critical condition. He invoked the power of the Priesthood that he had and gave him a blessing. In the end, his friend was able to be rescued by a Helicopter which at the time was the highest altitude rescue ever attempted in history. 

From this story about climbing Mt. Everest, many applications to our lives and missionary work were made. These are the points that our mission president brought forth: 
  • Getting to the summit, mandatory; getting down, optional.            
  • Live in the moment, trust in the best.
  • The Lord answers prayers in the way best for us.
  • Instead of fear, look for the beauty.
  • In dangerous areas, go fast.
  • Stand on the summit for 12 minutes.  It is not about the destination.  It is about who you become to get there.
  • Hard experiences bring beautiful scenes.
  • Climb mountains, or wait in lines. You choose.
  • What you can do if you put your mind to it, trust in the Lord, and take the steps is amazing.
  • Everything we have is to give us more time to do those things we consider most important; whats on your fridge reminding you of what is important?
Each of these points touched on some part of Bro. Burton's climbing experience. President Chambers then invited us to be "Missionaries to Match our Mountains" referring to the firm, immovable mountains found here in Utah. We must be firm in the Gospel of Christ, never wavering, for we ought to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). 

The third event was during Sacrament Meeting, where the former stake president shared some words of wisdom throughout the meetings. He told us of his experience interviewing returned missionaries who looked him in the eye and said, "I witness this is true," and then 3 years later weren't members of the Church or were inactive. He said you're not a witness in the comfortable times; "When life is pooping on you, that's when you say you're a witness." What a terse but accurate statement! When life is the hardest, that's when you say you know God lives and that this work is true (again, we must be firm and unmovable!) In another class, he taught about how all 7 of his children were sealed in the temple with their wife or husband, and he told of the struggle they had getting their 7 children up every day at 5:30 am to read the scriptures together. His statement hit me hard "We may not be great parents, but I hope we are obedient parents." Obedience is more important than the blessing!
Don't Worry; be happy

I love this work, I’m glad I’m here. I love you all! 

-Elder Toborg
Elder Na, Elder Toborg, Elder Tamacas, after the temple
 Elder Tamacas y Toborg

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014
Elder Stephen B. Allen
Elder Tamacas and I contacting a referral that we got!

Friends and Family,

This week we had an important guest at our Stake conference that took place in the Riverton North Stake; Elder Stephen B. Allen. Elder Allen is the Managing Director of the Missionary Department worldwide, meaning he watches over mission work for the entire world from a staff perspective. He called Elder Tamacas and me up during the Saturday night adult session, and he opened my planner to tell the whole stake how many lessons we had been teaching. I was incredibly nervous and blurted out a number that was far lower than what we actually taught, but he took that number and asked us, "Why haven't you been teaching more!?" I was speechless. He then raised he hand and said "because WE haven't been working enough!" referring to the Stake. After the meeting, we then had 10+ lessons set up with the members of the stake, due to an invitation that Elder Allen gave to everyone.

This week has been great for teaching. We taught Gregorio Rivera (the Horse jockey living in Bluffdale), and he accepted baptism for April 13th, before he heads back to Delaware. That's 3 Sundays exactly, so it will be close but he'll make it!

We also picked up a new investigator by the name of Andres Alvarado. We gave him a priesthood blessing the week before, and when we returned the following week, he recounted his wonderful experience of feeling the Holy Ghost come over him when we put our hands on his head. We then explained about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a living day prophet, and he felt the spirit again. He accepted baptism on the 13th of April! He'll still need to gain a testimony and increase his faith through reading the Book of Mormon, praying about his decision, and worshiping at church with us. He'll be fine C:

We are having Pday this week on Tuesday because we are attending the temple today! (Unfortunately it isn't open on Mondays!) I'm excited to go!

Have a great week everyone!

Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
-Elder Toborg

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014
Friends and Family!

Right now there is a Sandstorm outside, which is the first I've experienced. I hope that Spring emerges after this storm passes.

This week was great. The crowning event was the confirmation of the Navarrete family, to which the father, Lorenzo, came for the first time! After their confirmation, or receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of Hands as we learn in the bible (Acts Chapter 8), the former Mission President of the Uganda Mission spoke. After telling some wonderful stories of obedience, we went up to him to say hi. When I introduced myself from Seattle, he asked if I knew any "Rennie" family. Why yes, I do! Mike Rennie, who's on his mission right now. The mission president then said, "Elder Christian Rennie was our AP for 9 months!" So, I met Christian Rennie's mission president!

This week we had transfers. The elders in our area were replaced with sisters, making our district consist of two companionships of sisters, and the zone leaders. We'll see how this goes! 

Baptism I had in Kearns January of 2013, Nora Mayorga
I find that I used most of my time emailing friends and family one on one, so I apologize for the shortness of this letter. All is well, Elder Tamacas and I are together still, and we're having a great time teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

God lives, he talks to men today, the Book of Mormon is evidence of this fact. Read, ponder, pray for yourselves. By their fruits, may ye know them (Matthew 7:20). Love you all!

-Elder Toborg
Spanish and English elders and sisters who came into the mission field with me w/ Pres & Sis Miller

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 9, 2014
Familia Navarrete!

This week was incredible! Four of the Navarrete family were baptized on the 9th. Most of our branch turned out for the baptism, and it was a wonderfully spiritual experience. The Dad was touched, and we're hoping to set a day for his baptism sometime soon! Elder Smith, one of my previous companions, did the interview for the family. They are such sincere people, the Gospel will be a wonderful increase in their life as they experience the joy that comes from forgiveness for sin, a forgiveness and lifting of burdens that only Jesus Christ can extend to us. 

Preceding this event, our Branch had their semiannual Branch conference. We had a new investigator family come, the Carvajals, who are a young couple that we came in contact with on Wednesday. They are both from Guerrero, Mexico, and accepted a baptismal date for the 30th of March. At church, they looked quite confused, but they demonstrated their faith by coming to church! We'll have to get our good friend Elder Guapo from the marriage license department over, as they're not married C: 

Our Stake President, President Philipoom from New Zealand, spoke and said some quite profound things that I enjoyed. He explained that the work of Salvation involves miracles. God is in charge of miracles, and so if we want miracles in our lives, God needs to be a part of our life. This means constant prayer, scripture study and church worship. There is so much that God can influence in our life, if we will just come close to him! President Philipoom then challenges everyone to pray for 3 people who they know will never join the church, and seek for an opportunity to share the gospel with them! We're excited to get the work moving in the area. 

Other events this week made it go by fast. On Thursday, we got a call from AP Elder Julian who asked us to start an exchange with one of the Elders in our district. Turns out he had lost control of his Bipolar condition, and his companion was in danger. We took him with us for 48 hours, and the Zone Leaders took his companion. He learned while he was with us that he would be returning home. He had been serving for 18 months, so he had a good mission experience. We took him to the mission office at 2am on Saturday morning and President Chambers took him to the airport. That makes 2 elders returning home this transfer for medical reasons. I'm seeing the stresses that the mission life puts on elders, and I'm grateful for the health I have and the ability to serve the Lord.

I love you all, thank you for your support! 

-Elder Toborg

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014
This is the big week!

This is the week that the Navarrete family gets baptized! It’s been an exciting time! The three girls, Veronica, Angie and Kasandra have hardly been able to wait this long. Their mother, Carlita, has been learning the most, and teaching her children. The only one who still isn't sure is Dad, Lorenzo. He has expressed to us that he wants to get baptized and believes the Book of Mormon is true (he found this out by reading part of the book and then praying about the book), but he won't tell us why he won't make the decision to get baptized. 

I continue to have spiritual experiences that fortify my testimony of God, our Father, His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. It is by the power of the Holy Ghost that I know these things. I love the testimony that Jesus gives in the New Testament about his own Father, saying, "I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I." (John 14:28) There are countless martyrs who testified to their graves of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and how he became exalted, with endless power next to his Father. Stephen such a testimony before he was stoned in Acts 7:55-56; "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on  the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God." Here we see the wonderful separation of roles of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. I have been full of the Holy Ghost and it has born witness to me that Jesus Christ really did walk this Earth, fulfilling everything that his Father sent him to do (John 6:38). 

This is a wonderful time to be alive. There are signs all around us that the world is approaching time for the Lord Jesus Christ to come again. Watch the news if you don't believe me! The Lord has called double the amount of missionaries at this exact time to bring everyone to Christ. May we all be one, even as Christ says he is one with his Father, and as he asked his Disciples to be (John 17:11). One in unity, one in purpose, one in inviting others to come unto Christ by receiving his Gospel through Faith in Him and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. 

This is the testimony that is in me, and I share it with all of you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

-Elder Toborg