Monday, January 25, 2016
Sometimes it is slightly overwhelming to fit an entire weeks worth of experiences in one little email but I will do my best. This week FLEW BY and I am loving almost every minute. The only time I am not pleased is when we get dropped by 5 investigators in ONE DAY! Yes... That happened. Missionary life is a life of rejection, but I believe it is a PRIVILEGE to be rejected 100000 times for my Savior. I love Him so much, He truly gets me.
SO I went to "street school" this week! One of our DARLING members whom I absolutely adore, is a Peruvian. On Saturday she made us a traditional Peruvian meal called papa agua caina. This meal is basically lettuce, potatoes, egg, and a special Peruvian chile cheese/cream sauce... Yah! We also had boiled purple corn juice with fresh citrus, cloves, and cinnamon. It was surprisingly tasty! Of course after we finished our papa agua caina we were served a MOUNTAIN (and I kid you not... a mountain) of rice and chicken. Classic! HOWEVER, the sweet woman son ate with us and I received a full fledged education in the drug wars of Moreno Valley. WOWZERS. Apparently the black people and the Latinos are at war with each other all the time. He said that everyone is more scared of them than they are scared of the police in MoVal! People die! He also said that at night, Police literally have to patrol the streets, with a loaded gun. I was oblivious to all of this, but now the constant sirens and drug busts multiple times a day make sense. I stared at him wide eyed for about 20 minutes as he changed my perspective of my happy little MoVal. I take a lot of comfort in the fact though that God protects his missionaries. What a blessing!
One thing that is very interesting about Spanish-Land in California is the process of committing people to baptism. When you pop the question of baptism to investigators and they say yes, your first reaction is JOY right? Yes, BUT in this culture, it is very common for families to have a few layers. Typically, women marry very young or have children very young. When their first marriage doesn't work out they leave and find someone else. Because they are already married and don't want to deal with the hassle of working out a divorce, they move in with someone else and start a family with them. Interesting right? So usually we have to break it down for people and make sure that they are married and have resolved past relationship commitments. It definitely puts a huge pause on baptism for sure. GAHH..
Okay, remember Felipe? He was my second baptism here and he is an absolute DREAM! He is so excited and loves the church so much. He is 74 years old and is so full of energy. He loves to tell people about the word of wisdom and he shares his darling testimony in every possible moment. We like to bring him along as a team up and he always says the funniest things to us and to other people. Last night he told us that because he is completely bald, he needs to wear his "gurrito" or beanie all the time. Then he told us that it makes him feel like a " cholito" which is a little gangster. As we struggled to breathe from laughing so hard, the 74 year old man lovingly told us that he was our "homie". OH MY GOODNESS> I about died. Old Latino people don't really get all the American slang terms but all that coming out his mouth was a hoot and a half. I LOVE him!
PUES... This week has been a blessed one and I am learning so much every day. Repentance is such a beautiful word guys. The whole purpose of missionary work and this life is to help people be clean. Repentance through the Atonement of Christ is the means to achieve that cleanliness. WHAT A BLESSING! Remember to use that gift and continue to "turn" yourself to Christ everyday. I love you all!
Stay Safe & God Speed.
Love, Hermana Tobler
Monday, January 18, 2016
Hi Friends and Fam-Bam!
I hope everyone is doing well out there and that you all are sticking to your new years resolutions. Such fun stuff. There isn't too much to report this week but all is well here in Moreno Valley. I have been living off grapefruits and oranges and the sunsets we have are just to die for. I am still not used to seeing all the palm trees and citrus groves everywhere. Every time I see a glossy mandarin orange tree I do a double take and have to remind myself that I am in a land of plenty!
I have a love/ hate relationship with Sundays. Sundays on a mission are such a struggle.. Every week we work like crazy to get these darling people to come to church. When the feel the spirit and want to change their lives in the lessons you feel like they are ready to be baptized tomorrow! Then, they dont come to church that Sunday and your heart just shatters. I guess slow and steady does win the race!
We had quite a bit of success this week, We were blessed to pick up 6 new investigators this week and that was SO EXCITING.
One of the new investigators is a super sweet lady named Laura. She just escaped from an AWFUL and ABUSIVE husband and is now trying to piece her life back together. She and her 5 year old daughter are looking for peace and friends. Perfect. She and I really connected over a similar trial that I had and that she is going through now.I feel overjoyed to share my experiences and how the gospel is a life changer. SO special. Even though my Spanish stinks and I am in no wise close to fluent, I feel the spirit speak stronger than anything when I stumble through the lessons. I am grateful to have a back up.
Members Members Members... I love em so much.We taught a Bible study class this week and I took the role of writing all the important points on the chalk board while my companion explained things. The members were so shocked that I could write, they kept saying "Wow she can write but she can't speak Spanish at all!" Haha.. I may not be very good but I can certainly understand them. So funny though. You can't ever be offended in this culture. With the new year, Latinos have a tradition of eating this special sweet bread with plastic baby Jesus's inside. Ummmm... yeah, so whoever has a slice of bread with a baby in it has to make tamales in February. Of course I got a baby. However, I dont think I will be making tamales this year. Haha.
Well that's all this week folks! Have a good one continue to turn yourself to Christ!
Stay Safe and God Speed. Xx.
Love, Hermana Tobler
Friday, January 15, 2016
Oh my Gooodnessss! HELLO EVERYONE!
Such a long, wonderful, and crazy week. I am absolutely lovin life and I am grateful to be on the Lord's errand. This week we got dumped on as a precursor to El Nino. (The giant rainstorm that will take over Cali) So much more fun to proselyte in the rain in my opinion! No more dusty, dehydrated, brown/yellow MoVal! We are working our way to green and that is just so exciting to me. Speaking of rain.. cool experience this week! So out of desperation and soaking legs and skirts, my companion and I made a quick detour to Burlington to pick up some rainboots for me. To my dismay, the massive shoe selection consisted of HIGH heels, sandals, and a lonely pair of cowboy boots. (what?) I searched everywhere anyway and soon realized that we were waisting our time there. Frustratedly I said to my companion: "Let's go, there aren't ANY rainboots here..." Then I look down and LO and BEHOLD! A shiny pair of cute black rainboots in my size sat at my feet. Holay Mackerel. I was speechless. In a matter of 2 minutes I was walking to the car holding my $25 gift from God. I was thrilled.
I might as well explain my subject by saying that a less than kind Pitbull decided to finish it's dinner with my leg. Poor Roxy only got to try a little bit a sister missionary but that is definitely okay with me. I was lucky that she was tied up and my getaway was short. After escaping from her claws I looked down at her angry black eyes and huge jaw that were snapping, then locking .. snapping and locking. I felt very relieved. Needless to say, we got outta there quick.
BUNNIES! Bunnies along with some dogs and horses are the only animal that I can abide with. I had the pleasant opportunity of holding a little bundle of white fur and big blue eyes yesterday. As I stared at Candy's tiny pink nose and little paws I couldn't help but think that God is so creative and that Bunnies are way better than Pitbulls. YEET<>.
So on Monday, we had an Elder come from the Quorum of the 70 speak to our mission. Elder Hamula is a spiritual giant and I learned SO MANY THINGS. The main idea of our all day conference was that repentance is not a negative thing. Repentance, or forsaking of our sins, is simply "re-turning" ourselves to Christ. What a blessing it was to hear that, it makes repentance so much easier and so much more positive. I am still on a spiritual high from that meeting!
Thanks to all for everything you do, I pray for you always.
Stay safe and God Speed.
love, Hna Tobler
Monday, January 4, 2016
Happy New Year Friends and Family!
I am rounding on 3 months out in the field and I am just astounded. How has time gone by that fast?? I am grateful that I beginning to lose myself in this work. There are so many wonderful things about missionary work that I simply can't describe them all. As I have come to love the people and this work more, people's agency has a greater affect on me as well. And this week we certainly had a few downer moments.
Worse than a Break Up... It has to be!
Hermana Bjork and I began teaching an adorable couple in their 50's about a month ago. They received the message of the restoration with excitement and agreed wholeheartedly to every thing we taught. I was overjoyed because I could literally see Rosa as a Relief Society President and her husband Javier as a Scout Master. It was perfect! Baptism was around the corner, and more than 1 occasion Hermana Bjork and I would dance to the car singing and talking excitedly of the possibilities. So with the holidays it was super hard to have another cita with them at a time that would work for both of us. So this week we decided to pop by unannounced. We excitedly greeted Rosa who answered the door and she welcomed us in. The next 20 minutes were 20 minutes of acute sadness and heartbreak. Right away Rosa proceeded to tell us that she and her husband wanted to stick to what they knew and only study the Bible. She said that her Jehovah's Witness Step daughter and reminded them of only adhering to the Bible and that all other books were an abomination. She picked up the 2 Book of Mormons and pamphlets we gave them and brought them to us. As she stood above us holding these books in her hands, I felt time freeze. It was a moment where she could choose to accept a message that would change her life or it was a moment where she could turn her back on the sweet spirit she felt and knew was true. As she handed the books to me, I literally felt my heart break. Why? Why did this wonderful woman and her darling husband decided to ignore the spirit of truth, joy, and blessings? I testified as well as I possibly could in Spanish and I prayed fervently for her in the lesson, but she was closed. I think she felt guilty because we looked at her as though she had just killed our puppy. We left in silence and when we were safely in the car, we both wept. We wept out of sorrow and out of grief for the loss of these beautiful people. I take comfort in the fact that maybe our job is simply to plant seeds. Perhaps she will open the Book of Mormon that we begged her to keep and find an answer that will change her life. I have faith in that. But for now all I can say is that it was one of the hardest moments of my mission and I know that I really love these people.
Okay! On a lighter note! Hermana Bjork and I continued to eat our weight in tamales and pazole. I LOVE the Moreno Valley ward and I am so grateful for the darling members. Ahh they are so cute.
I have noticed the funniest thing as we have been contacting out on the streets at night. A lot of men (and some women) like to get in their cars and do drugs with their buddies. It is hilarious because we will go by and (because we need to talk to everyone) will introduce ourselves and usually crazy responses follow. They are so high out of their minds, they cant think straight at all and they often say inappropriate things so we have to turn and book it. Some times they straight up yell to us that they are doing drugs and they need Jesus! Anyways,I just think it is such a weird idea to go sit in your car and get high like nobody knows... Of course we know you are smoking! We can see the cloud and smell it a block away! LOL....
Well folks. That is all for this week, besides working hard nothing much else has really happened. Hermana Bjork and I go through heck and back to reach the standard missionary goal every week and we are so blessed when we do it. I am grateful that we have goals to shoot for, they make it so much fun. I love you all and I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Take care and make this year a good one!