Monday, October 26, 2015

Week #9 Brock Ramias, one of the nicest kids I have ever known.

Dear Family and Friend,

This was an interesting week. I received a new companion from California named Elder Longson who has a scholarship to play for BYU after his mission. He is 6'7 and over 200 and something pounds.

I cannot lie. Missionary work can be stressful.

For me this has been an interesting week. We found a ton a of investigators this week which was good. Then this Friday something unexpected happened. We had a appointment cancel, then had another appointment bomb in which we had brought a member. Then as we got in the car we started to call an investigator when our mission president Clayton called so we stopped calling the investigator and called him. We have a Bluetooth in the car so if you are in it you can hear everything. My companion started talking to to the President and I could hear everything. He then asked to talk to me. I then said it was me and he went on to tell me I was a great missionary and I was doing great. He then went on to tell me that my mother had called and told him there had been a death back home. My friend Brock Ramias had passed away just a few days earlier. Emotions escaped me and I started crying and could not stop. My friend was gone. While this was happening my mission president told my of a scripture that our Prophet Thomas S. Monson Reads at funerals. It was Alma 40:11 which reads "Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection- Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life."

For those of you who don't know, I had known Brock since I was young and don't even recall when I first met him. I guess it just seemed as though I had always known him. Brock was a great person who I admired since I was young. I remember in first grade when the younger kids had the chance to invite a older kid to a special Halloween event, I wanted to invite Brock. I remember when I went snowboarding for my first time with him. I was quite clumsy and was not very good and would fall constantly, taking longer than everyone else. Everyone would go on, or would want to but Brock would always wait for me even though everyone probably wanted to go on.

I remember hearing from a mutual friend, while I was in middle school on the same basketball team as Brock, that Brock had complimented me on and had "talked me up" without me even knowing. He had complimented me and never even told me that he had done so. I remember growing up with Brock we would go to a Lake in Montana called Lake Blaine. We always had so much fun there, and I especially remember the firecrackers we would set of next door. For those of you who didn't know, Brock was a big pyromaniac at the time haha. He was the leader of the kids that went there and we all respected him and would do all sorts of things from going to the "bible camp, throwing a baseball or football around, or going on the boat. There would be times when I would be teased but Brock never once teased me.

I remember coming into high school and Brock was there with all the older, sporty group of kids. From when we were in the Stamps football organization, I knew Brock was a great football player and he did everything from scoring the touch downs to kicking the converts haha. Then when I got to high school, I was blessed to play on the same team as him. Brock was one of the hardest working and dedicated, and disciplined kids I probably have ever known, constantly working to improve his game and get better and was once again a leader for our team and most deservedly the MVP. I remember when I was in grade 9 there was a bad snap to the back field that went behind Brock while playing the Chinook coyotes. He turned around and went to recover it. When he picked it up he did a spin move and duked a defender and went on to run for 20-30 yards off a broken play. I also will always remember when he had ran past everyone he would almost complete stop right before scoring. Brock did all this and still maintained his humility and was still kind to all. In fact I remember him giving rides to a new kid who lived on the West side.

Brock was amazing. Brock was a leader. Brock was a worker. Brock was a friend. Brock was like the older brother I never had. I had a very special respect for Brock that I can't say I have had for most people. I always looked up to him and not just for being a great football player, but because when Brock talked to you he made you feel special.

Being on a mission, I want you to know, There is a God. There is a life after this. We have Jesus Christ and his atonement to provide us the way to return. There is Hope. Unfortunately my friend Brock is not here anymore and it still doesn't feel real. Brock is no longer here, but his example will always remain with me forever. I am so thankful to know of Gods plan for us and like it says in that scripture form the Book of Mormon, Brock is in a better place. Brock is Home. #23 BR till I see him again. I just want to let his mother and 2 brother who I have the pleasure of knowing as well as anyone dealing with this that I am sorry and want to let you all know anytime you need help or have a question just email me, but even better pray to God to help you with comfort.

As it says in Mosiah 16: 8 "The grave hath no victory, and the sting of of death is swallowed up in Christ." I know that these things are true and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

This is Elder Toly from week 9.

R.I.P Brock Ramias, one of the nicest kids I have ever known.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week #8 "missionaries (missionary) on a WARPATH"

Hello Everyone! This week was a big week because I went on 2 exchanges and we just got our transfer calls because guess What?!? I have now been in London for 6 weeks and have completed my first transfer! I am done 1/17 haha. Man, how time flies! Anyways, this was a fun week. On Monday night I exchanged with 1 of the Chinese Elders for the day and we had a blast, he enjoyed riding in the car because they take the buses for Chinese work.

 On Thursday, I was SO blessed to go to.... The TEMPLE. It was a temple trip for all the new missionaries who were about to complete their first 6 weeks. We traveled out to Brampton (that's right, the Toronto temple is in Brampton) and were able to attend the session. I can't exactly remember what the answers were to some of my questions but it was so calming to be there and not having to worry about anything in the outside world. Missionary work can sometimes be stressful because you spend so much time helping others, you often forget yourself. By the time we left the temple we were able feel so fresh, new, and rejuvenated and were ready to take on the world. It was great and enlightening. 

After getting back we went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders. I was able to go stay in their area this time. Its always so great to hang with the ZLs because they are leaders in the mission who definitely set an example for the other missionaries in their work and not just words.There is actually a good scripture for this and its "but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister." -Matthew 20:26 These two Elders continuously have impressed me and really set the bar for what kind of missionary I want to be. While on the exchange we went to a returning members house and we were able to hold a Boa Constrictor. This snake was just a baby but will grow to 7 feet long! So cool! 

This week was also awesome I was able to meet more members and bring 1 young man to 2 appointments. He is awesome and we were able to meet a returning member. She is awesome as well. She is originally from Quebec and has a wicked french accent and loves Hockey and a TV show I had watched back home called "supernatural" and loves how I know the show and she came to church was was so great as well as one of our new converts who I haven't seen there yet. We also were able to take another young man out to go tracting and contacting. We didn't have much success but it was fun. Contacted a lady who kept walking and we started walking with her (or rather chasing her down haha) but its great because I am really learning to become more outgoing and going up talking to people randomly. 
This week I think I really started to see the work beginning in the ward and big changes and ideas are coming and hopefully we can get the members excited and involved more which is why I am happy to say I will be staying in London. Unfortunately, my companion is leaving but I am receiving a companion named E. Longson who apparently is HUGE and has a full ride scholarship to BYU for football. I am excited. 
Also, on Sunday we had a bit of a little fun, it SNOWED Sunday morning but for just the morning and was gone pretty much as fast as it appeared. It still for the most part has been nice weather in London and a lot of the trees are still green. One of the young men told me that they usually do not get snow falling till like the first week of December so I have been pretty spoiled but can't wait cause snow reminds me of home! 
Anyways, I love all of you and keep in my prayers!

This is Elder Toly from week 8.

P.s I have now started the phrase "missionaries (missionary) on a WARPATH" (wonder where I got that haha) and hope to make it a thing here in the mission and now have started writting it on my my notebooks and on my comps tie haha

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week #7 Blessing

Hey everyone! This week was quite nice. As it was Thanksgiving I would like to say some things I am grateful for.

This week we were able to see some awesome things.

  • · On Wednesday I was able to go on an exchange with an Elder who used to serve in the same ward and everything. We went by a couple recent converts and met with one who hadn't been coming to church for a while and it turns out things are going rough for her and she actually recognized it was because of the things she hadn't been doing recently which was so cool and we shared a scripture with her which was Mosiah 25:24. 
  • We then got to go see another recent covert who also hasn't been coming out to church either and she told us it was because her daughter visits her on the weekend and its their only time together, but the daughter doesn't want to come. So we testified of the blessings of coming and invited her to bear her testimony to her daughter how the gospel and church are important to her and now next Sunday she is coming and her daughter is coming! BLESSINGS!
  •  Later that day when my companion came back we were able to go visit a Investigator who once or twice met with the missionaries before but we taught him and it went great and he thinks we are funny. Hopefully we can keep meeting with him! Blessings! At the end of the night we went and visited a Less active couple and brought it up and now one of the Bishopric is coming with us to the next lesson. Blessings!
  • · On Thursday we met with a investigator for Dinner and she had a friend and the lesson went pretty good and he told us that we could come visit him anytime, morning, afternoon or night ( but we haven't been able to get a hold of him since haha but it was still a great experience. Blessings! On Saturday we met with a part member family who has problems smoking, but we had a great lesson and now they are going to try to quit! Blessings!
  • On Sunday we met with a family who feeds us every Sunday and had thanksgiving. They are so awesome and they have some of the cutest kids around. Blessings

  •  Today we were able to go play flag football for stake activity which was SOO fun. So many people showed up and everyone had a fantastic time ( I'll get a picture to you later) and later today we have another thanksgiving dinner. Blessings.

I think we sometimes don't look for those blessings that seem small but generalize them. For example we say that we are grateful for our families when we could say a never ending list of different things we love about each member and why we love them. So look at those specifics and recognize them this week because then you will be able to see how truly blessed you really are. In Alma 37:37 it says "when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God" We really are blessed with SOOO many things and once we see that, all those negative things in our lives really are not as important anymore. Anyways since I don't have much time I would like to generalize my blessings (haha sorry) and say I am so grateful for my family and all my friends and also my grandparents and for everything they've shown me.

This is Elder Toly reporting on week 7. LOVE YA
Our Chapel

Compton Crimes

The beautiful colors of fall

A picture of a picture

Monday, October 5, 2015

WOW--Week #6

Wow. What a great way to end the week. General Conference is always a spiritually uplifting experience for those who hear it.

This week was another blessed time. We visited a recent convert who has not been coming to church for the last few weeks on Monday. We had asked and brought our newest recent convert whose pictures you've seen which was awesome. He was able to share a thought with our other recent convert and then near the end offered to give her a ride to church whenever she needed it. Wow. To me that is amazing, to see one so young in the gospel and already doing missionary work. It reminds me of a scripture "Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor." - D & C 88:81 This scripture has become one of my favorites while on my mission. It is talking about missionary work and how if you've been told about the gospel we should share it. It does not say just Bishops, or just prophets, just missionaries, or just active in the church for years members. It says "Every man who hath been warned". We should all be willing to share this wonderful light to others not just because we are commanded but because we truly love others and want them to have that same joy In their lives. We do not need to be full time missionaries to share what we KNOW IS TRUE. Anyone can do it and believe it or not it is more effective when regular members are involved. We received stats for our mission while in Zone Council this Friday and the numbers were astounding. Over 50% of baptisms came from Members fellow shipping investigators and part member families. The most effective missionary work is through the members and if you have a testimony, you are more than qualified to share what you believe with others. This is one thing we are working on in our area is becoming better acquainted with the members and the ward council.
Also had some fun moments......

  • Talked to another lady and I was talking to her and said "I'm a missionary" and was so excited but she simply just responded with "that's nice" and went back to her book she was starting to read. I felt so stupid hahah.
  • Also we went to a members house from the Spanish Branch and she gave us this food in corn husk and I tried eating the husk as well cause I didn't know hahahh.

We also had a zone council where a couple members spoke to us and one said something very profound. He said "When you feel so weak you can't stand, you knees are a pretty good place to be."

Which then brings me to General conference. So awesome! I enjoyed Elder Lawrences talk and am truly now trying to pray for things I can do better.

 Elder Martino also said something new, he said "Works without faith is dead" which is very similar to another scripture but swaps words faith and works. This I found was interesting because you can go to church and read your BOM everyday but without faith what are you accomplishing? We need to trust in our Father in Heaven and realize his ways are higher than our ways. Which then leads to a question Elder Anderson posed "how does the savior see your faith" and also said that if our faith is not becoming stronger than it is becoming weaker which I totally agree with. So we constantly need to build and have the desire to build our faith or than Satan is winning. Pres Uchtdorf expressed this and talked about how we need "disregard the ridicule of the ungodly". I then loved the tribute that Elder Bednar gave at the end and could truly feel the spirit throughout my whole body. So now we have heard of these things, the question is what are we going to do with knowledge? I would invite (cause that's what missionaries are supposed to do haha) each and every one of you to work on at least one thing at conference for this next week, month, year, or even life time because it will help you grow.

I truly love you all and pray for all of you. May we share this light with others and have that faith and diligence to come ever closer to our Heavenly Father and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

This Elder Toly Reporting on week 6.

My family sent me a candy gram---Lots of candy I will have treats to eat and share with my campanion