Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry Tamales!! 12/28/15

Hello Hello!

SO good to hear from so many of you this Christmas season. I hope that you all ate plenty of treats, spent time with your family, and remembered the birth of our Savior.

The best part of Christmas is definitely Christ. Hermana Bjork was asked to accompany the primary last Sunday and it was so fun. We basically sat behind the piano, played a couple songs, got fed a bunch of treats, and watched Mr. Kruger's Christmas. It was definitely the best Sunday. 

This season has been a season of many tamales... I decided that I am not a large fan of them and I am not ever going to eat another one on purpose. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day literally consisted of us visiting members and investigators, being fed way too much food, and given more tamales than we could possibly eat.  On Christmas night, Hermana Bjork and I counted over 50 tamales that the ward members gave to the "poor starving missionaries". Holy. 

One little experience this week happened on Christmas Day... Hermana Bjork and I went to visit an investigator who had begged us to come over and eat some of her tamales on Christmas. When we pulled up to her home, we were immediately greeted with the loud wailing trumpets of Mexican music. The whole block got a taste of it. Gotta love this culture. :) Once ushered inside, we talked an socialized with the 3 women present. Then, one of the women had a grand idea to introduce us to her sons. Ummmm..... So we went out in to the back yard where they showed us a huge bubbling pot of chicharron. Basically homemade Pork Rinds. My inner vegan fainted at the sight. What made it worse was that there was a large group of men standing by this large pot... all of whom were eyeing us very creepily. Hermana Bjork and I were then introduced to 2 drunk Guatemalan men who were probably in their late 20's. Each of them tenderly shook our hands. It was very very uncomfortable and Hermana Bjork and I got out as fast as we could. It took several Mo-Tab songs to help rinse the ugly feeling that lingered after the visit. Ugh. Everything else about Christmas was just dandy though! I love this holiday!

I absolutely loved
face timing my family this week, it was such a joy. The family who let us use their iPad's had a dog the size of a horse and he looked over my shoulder throughout the whole call to make sure I was being obedient. It was very nice...

Anyways! I hope you all have a wonderful week and prepare for the wonderful new year we have ahead of us. 
Stay Safe and God Speed. Xx.

Love, Hermana Tobler

Monday, December 21, 2015

Murder and Torture (oh no!) 12/21/15


I am so very excited this week because Christmas is coming and I love this time of year. I am also sad because the days of blasting Josh Groban's Christmas album will soon end. TRAGEDY.

I think it might be wise to explain the subject for this weeks email.. Murder and torture are related to two specific events that happened this week. I can easily say, the Lord really protected Hermana Bjork and me this week. From serious rejection, to finding a drugged up man outside of our apartment, to enduring extreme torture in an organic food distribution, to being invited to a strip club...We have had some tales to tell. What a blessing it is to be on Lords errand. So here we go!

Earlier this week, while walking in a slighter nicer area, we came across a man who was VERY ANTI-LDS. After shutting us down rudely upon our invitation to share a Christmas video, we asked him innocently if he had had a bad experience with the church. He said NO, we just teach false doctrine and that nobody in their right mind should listen to us. Before we could respond, he launched into an in depth description of lies and false accusations about our faith. He even went as far as to mock the "burning in the bosom" feeling we can receive when the Holy Ghost testifies. Not cool man... My companion was very offended. We tried our best to stand our ground and we ended up just trying to testify over the sound of his insults. What a drag that conversation was. UGHH.

One night this week, after a long grueling day of more rejection and lost investigators, we stumbled wearily to our apartment. We stopped in our tracks when a man on a bike called out to us in greeting. He came over to us and it became clear that he was extremely high. We tried sharing our Christmas video and asked for an appointment to share more. However.. This guy wasn't really banging on all cylinders so he was dead set on asking us where we lived and when we could come see him. He asked us if we lived here in these apartments and we had to lie to him.. Straight up! He would not leave us be and we were both really concerned. Finally by some miracle, he drove off a few feet and watched us for awhile before taking off. CREEPY. After checking to see if the coast was clear we dashed into our apartment and dead-bolted the door. What a night!

Okay this is my favorite event this week because Hermana and I were SO PROTECTED. Our mission president has asked each companionship to walk and talk on the streets for an hour and a half a day. To fulfill this duty, we had to finish our walking and talking pretty late one night. My companion drove to a place that seemed pretty safe and we proceeded to walk the neighborhood. We like to find houses that have a lot of people outside that we can talk to , and one of these houses fell right into our path. WHaHoo! We introduced ourselves to a man working on his suburban while all of his buddies smoked week in the dark and dirty garage. Little did we know what we were getting into.. Instead of accepting our invitations, he extended his own to have us accompany him to the strip club..."then we could tell him all about our video there.." We ignored the comment and proceeded to ask for an appointment. For the next 20 minutes, the man and his extremely colorful vocabulary weaved a tale of near death experiences, being stabbed, shot, and homeless, he had nearly seen it all! He had done time, and had been living on the lowest of levels for the longest time. Surprisingly he knew the Bible pretty well, even if his version of Noah's story was a little skewed. He compared his life to Job and how all bad things were befalling him, including someone smashing out the windows in his car. But of course he was preparing his shot gun for revenge against the guy. (uhhh...)The craziest part about all of this was that the man was dead serious! When he finally let us talk, we testified about the reality and comfort of the atonement. The next thing we knew the man was in tears telling us about all of his suicide attempts and the horrors he has known. We gave the situation our best effort but we decided not to push our luck and we bugged out of there quick. It sure isn't every day you meet a murderer who scares you to death. 

Okay final little story.. we volunteered at the Salvation Army this week to help distribute donated food to families in need. Of course all of the donated food had to top of the line, organic, good quality food that I pay the big bucks for... Aghh I was in absolute agony. I was so tempted to fill a box to the brim of all my favorite brands and take it for myself. So selfish I know but I was really suffering. I overcame this trial and now I just look back and hope that the people REALLY APPRECIATE the quality of food they are getting!

Well I hope you all have a FANTASTIC CHRISTMAS, that you eat well and give much. I love each and every one of  you and I send you all my hugs and love. 
God Speed and Stay Safe!
Hermana Tobler

Monday, December 14, 2015

Keep on Sicken' that Sickle...! 12/14/15

Howdy y'all!

Wow what a week it has been. I am glad that most of you were amused with my dessert experience, I certainly was! I am working on getting more stealthy with my distaste for certain foods. I have also received a lot of advice on the subject so thank you all!

This past week has been pretty uneventful aside from a few things. 1! We got to go to the Red lands temple on Thursday. 2! We baptized our "Golden Investigator" Felipe. 3! I almost got eaten by several dogs. 4! My companion and I went dumpster diving. 5! We got to sing in a Samoan fireside!

So.. Lets talk temple! The first thing that I noticed about this temple was that it was absolutely darling, and that they cut the bottom of the angel Moroni's feet off.. I guess that the people who live by the temple like it better that way? It was a little weird. Aside from that , it was such a wonderful experience and I felt spiritually recharged afterwards. What a blessing it is to have temples so close by in Utah. No matter where you are, it feels like you are going home when you walk in those doors. 

FELIPE! Our precious little Felipe got baptized and we just adore him. The three Hermanas that taught him (I am included) got to sing a song for him. It was so fun. Baptisms are so rewarding. There is such an incredible spirit about seeing someone make that step, they are demonstrating that they are ready to become disciples of Christ. I hope everyone can be as motivated and excited about the gospel as a freshly baptized member is. 

Who let the dogs out?? I mean seriously... People need to try and encourage their animals not to go tearing after two innocent young ladies walking down the street. My goodness... We had one such experience where we were walking by some run-down homes in a sketchier area. That one Christmas song that goes "Bells will be ringing..!" was playing in the garage of one guy and my companion and I were thoroughly enjoying the song as we passed. The old man living at the home had a huge truck parked in the drive way that blocked the rest of the street and his yard from view. As we rounded the side of the truck, a GIGANTIC black dog jumped out at us! It was so big and it's bark was so loud and scary that my companion screeched and took off in one direction and I leapt into the road. Thankfully the vicious beast was secured with an oppressive thick chain... otherwise we would have been dog food for sure! The old man was just as grumpy as his dog and he completely ignored our greetings and walked inside. Oh well. After a solid 10 minutes my heart finally calmed down and we were both recovered. PHEW.

Unfortunately, this week my retainer got thrown away. I was absolutely distraught. So after church yesterday, I was very determined to find my retainer... I dragged my companion along and together we went dumpster diving. We waded through piles of rotten meat, clumps of hair, random food, diapers, and just about everything you can imagine. We didn't find the retainer so I am forced t assume that it wasn't meant to be. OH Welllll.... 

Last night was an interesting experience. We got to be a part of a Samoan missionary fireside. In the Samoan world  missionaries are so so special and they did a whole fireside for 2 departing missionaries. Samoans are so cool and they have the greatest voices. I was so impressed by their love and devotion to testimony through music. 

I hope you are all enjoying the festivities of Christmas. I for one am still getting used to Christmas lights on orange trees. I miss you all and I pray each and every one of you are well. Stay safe and God Speed.

Love, Hermana Tobler

Terrorist Attacks and Tres Leche 12/07/15

Hello Hello Hello!

Wow, 2 months out today! Crazy..! I am absolutely OVERJOYED to write to you all this week. This past week has been one of hard work and determination. We are preparing for another baptism this Thursday. Felipe is probably one of the cutest 74-year-old men I have ever seen. He looks very much like the old and criminal president of Mexico, dresses like a hipster, and says "mucho gusto" every time he sees a missionary (even though we have have taught him so many times).... In other words, he is precious and I am looking to adopt. My companion, Hermana Bjork is one of the hardest working missionaries I have ever met. Since becoming her companion I have never rested, and I wouldn't change that for anything. I am so blessed to have her. 

Alrighttyy.. Let's talk about food for a minute shall we? I must preface this by saying that the only way I have avoided becoming a blimp is through hard exercise everyday. This mission is actually nicknamed by all the missionaries as "the 20 lb mission"..... Uhmm yes, I believe it. I had a couple meals this week that caused me to consider waking up earlier to work out for longer. Haha! So quick story here.. Every night we are fed by a member. Sometimes it is a full on Mexican feast with rice, beans, salsa, tortillas, meats, and soups. Sometimes it is just a quesadilla. This particular night we were blessed with just one huge quesadilla and some veggies to eat. She also let us serve ourselves which NEVER HAPPENS. The sweet Hermana feeding us asked us to serve ourselves some pumpkin pie and we each took a tiny sliver. Phew, dessert was over. My buttons weren't bursting yet and I was hoping that we would be able to share our little lesson and leave before she fed us even more. However... after the lesson she brought pan out of her fridge... it made a huge "thud" as she set it on the table. My companion and I stared wide-eyed at the mystery before us. She lifted the plastic wrap covering the pan and to our deep concern began scooping up brick sized slices of cake. Now, this cake isn't just any old kind of cake. Tres Leche or "three milk" cake is wet, sticky, and dense. The generosity of the sister was so sweet and the members here serve the missionaries so much but sometimes they forget that we cant always eat as much as they want us to. Even though we try.. really hard. She proceeded to give us each a brick of tres leche and looked at us expectantly as we eyed this monstrous dessert. So we began. I made my way through about 1/3 of it before I resigned to the fact that it was just not going to happen. My companion and I grimaced as we both discreetly took a handful of napkins and placed them in our laps. For the next five minutes we took turns distracting the darling Hermana and scooping the cake into our napkins. What a nerve wracking chore! By the time we finished we each had a sticky and wet wad of napkins and cake. This probably won't be the first or last time we have to do this. :) I love the members here, they are so so so kind and loving. They do so much and contribute greatly to the success of the area.

Moreno Valley is going through their "winter" and the best way to describe it would be a "mild Utah fall". Celebrating the Christmas season with palm trees and short sleeves feels a little weird to be honest. But I love it! Most of the residential areas here in MO VAL are relatively nice and the people are very sweet. However, there are also some pretty sketch spots and my companion and I have had to make a run for the car a few times. There is a lot of racial diversity and on one street we could meet people from 5 different cultures. Wow! One thing about this area that causes the missionaries a little bit of grief is the fact that we get mistaken for Jehovah's Witnesses ALL THE TIME. As a result to this, people often respond in very rude and vulgar ways. I have never had the F word screamed at me this much in my life, I suppose there is a first time for everything! Haha!

San Bernardino this week, as I am sure you all know, suffered a terrorist attack. San Bernardino is about 30 minutes from where I am serving. I had the opportunity to meet with people who work there and needed strength after a traumatic day- What a great time to share the light and hope of the message of Jesus Christ. This event has been the talk of the town down here and I am grateful that we have the gospel to help comfort people. 

Well that is all for this week folks, thank you all so much for your love and support. I am so grateful to be a part of your lives. Always remember how much the Lord wants to be a part of our lives too! 
Merry Christmas and God Speed.

Hermana Tobler