Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Life is good to those who see good

Hello,

Just as a general notice that I will be extending my mission, this means that I will not be coming home in September, rather in October, October 19. I know this is a rather unexpected change, and that I didn't really give any indication as to my plans, but it is the right decision. I made it like I made the decision to come on a mission; that is to say I never really consciously made it. It just got to the point where I had to act and I acted. The mission was never really a question for me, although I had never really thought seriously about it, when the moment came, there was no doubt, no moment of hesitation, there was action. Of the course of my mission I have become profoundly grateful for many things, the greatest being the change that I have seen in my own heart, and the hope that I have for the future, I live differently now, I see differently, life has more luster, honestly. So the thought about giving another six weeks to the Lord wasn't even a question, I could not deny the Lord that. So when I felt that it was a need, I went, and I spoke with President. Some decisions require a lot of work, a lot searching, some do not.

This past week we worked in Guanacaste again, This time in Liberia. I have discovered something about myself, generally when I speak one on one with a person, or in a small group, it goes over really well. But when I speak to large groups, there are always doubters and haters, which is fine, I have learned the valuable lesson that public opinion, or even the opinion of a few individuals, does not dictate the truth. Honesty in all things, recognition of one's own imperfections and strengths are very effective offsetters to any chance that one might have to feel bad about the fact that not all people are going to like you. I believe this; If I, being imperfect make a mistake, but am willing to recognize it, willing to get better, and wanting only to be my best, am therefore criticized by he who would have me be perfect in order to accept me, I am under no obligation whatsoever to pay attention to such remarks, and choose, rather, to listen to those who wish to help me. My theory is to let those who wish to misunderstand wend their own way, but be ever ready to help should it be possible. I will live my life with hope and faith knowing that today I am better than I was yesterday, and that tomorrow will be yet brighter. Life is good to those who see good.

If my ill-organized thoughts are halfway understood, I'll be happy, if not, be free to ignore the sentiment :)

I love you all!

Aspiringly,

Elder Noah M. Toney

Monday, July 17, 2017

Shoulder to shoulder

Hello Everyone!

It has been crazy here.  I think that is my life theme, things just get crazier.

So this past week we went to Guanacaste again, Las Juntas, Bagaces, and Upala, where the hurricane Otto hit a couple months back. I love working with the ground level missionaries. It is so much better than being in the office. All of these areas are groups, that is they are just starting off, so there is a lot of work to do. We had six good days of sleeping on the floor, it´s like a camp out with out the marshmellows.

My Pday has changed back to Mondays!

Our job as traveling assistants is to go and get to know the missionaries, and see how we can help them, from a shoulder to shoulder perspective, working with them. We want these missionaries to have the best experiences of their lives, and knowing them better helps us to really see what they need, and how to help them. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to get what they want, but what they need. For example, when we do transfers with president, it helps when you know a person, I have heard, and agree with it to a certain point that information precedes revelation, which is to say that we should study it out in our mind, and do our best to get to a conclusion, and then we ask the Lord about it.

I love you all!

Untarnishedly,

Elder Noah M. Toney








Traveling



A member friend

Elder Lopez

My comp and I


My son


Friday, July 14, 2017

Light

Howdy Everyone!

I had a rather beautiful visit to the temple this week. What most impressed me and also caused me to wonder was the subject of  Light. There are many things that I do not understand, many things that confuse me, and yet more things that are difficult for me. But as I sat studying and enjoying the Light, there was one particular lesson that was impressed on my soul and mind; and that is the Love I have for the Light. I love the Light. I admire it. I want more of it in my life. There are so many aspects of life that represent many of my fundamental beliefs and desires. Honesty: Light reveals. Safety: Light relieves. Warmth: Light Comforts. Growth: Light nourishes. Of all of these, that which is most close to my heart is honesty. I love honesty and abhor lying, hiding, cheating. I love the freedom and power that honesty, or truth, gives you. To live without fear. To be able to grow and change (repentance). Light is relief, knowing that I know what is inside me, being almost painfully conscious of who I am and what I have done, and knowing that God knows the same or more, and does not condemn me.  Rather, He assures me of how important and loved I am. The absolute safety and trust that it yields because we are on the same page.  While the world might not accept me, might reject me and hate me for my weaknesses, He does not!  There will always be at least one person who has got your back. And often many more that you do not see or believe.

As I sat there in plain wonder, I understood something about myself.  For all of my flaws, and many they may be, I desire to have light in my life. I wanted to drink in all of the light that surrounded me, and keep it with me always.

Anyways.

It has been an interesting week as we make the companion switch, and as my new companion and I decide how we are going to do this. It should be interesting and we got a taste of it when we did exchanges with a pair of elders yesterday, I think that it is going to be amazing. Being with the other missionaries is wonderful.  Generally, the higher you get in the leadership, the more prideful everyone gets haha including yourself. If you want to be humble, surround yourself with humble people. There are a whole lot of changes in the mission that are happening, I think that we are understanding that we are not here to have a leadership title, we are first and foremost missionaries, representatives of Jesus Christ, sent to a world in need to extend the blessing of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Too many missionaries get caught up in a race to be recognized leaders. We lose our focus. I´m learning that when we´ve got the right focus, or priorities, everything is better. I think it´s really good for a missionary who is a leader to get dropped down for a while, when one has more responsibility, for example, and you ask him to serve in a different capacity, the which they might consider lesser, one has a mandatory reality check; what is really important? Did I do something wrong? Did I have the right motives? What would I have changed? I think that it is a good opportunity for reflection. The rest follows. Focus on the missionaries, let them do their work, don´t micromanage, trust that they will do a good job, be worried for them, Happy people work well. Correct principles taught and priorities established, correct behavior and nature reaped.

The mission is changing. The missionaries are constantly telling us how things have changed. That is good, the missionaries are happy. As for me, I´m gonna go rambo missionary until September haha, which is to say, when we were seriously considering the idea of traveling assistants, I kinda imagined something like Rambo, where they just throw me out there and we go from place to place, teaching missionaries, helping out, and then leaving, no office meetings, no home base, no lengthy reports, just goin hard. People ask, "Hey what happened to the traveling assistants?" "I dunno, I think I saw them in Santa Cruz but then I heard that they were in Puntarenas" "I heard they baptized someone in Heredia" That kinda thing. I figured that we´d just kind of show up at the airport when we finished and it was time to go home.

Alas that is not how things work. But I still like the idea.

We´re having a pretty good go of it, I enjoy being with my new companion a bunch, he´s a really good guy.

Good stuff.

Scintillatingly,

Elder Noah M. Toney
A lot of missionaries, a lot of Subway!

Stick Pull

The bloodline of the trainers

All of the Americans in the mission, we outnumber by more than half all of the other nacionalities. An Apostle came to visit.

Elder Montgomery

Elder Latu, he's from Tonga

Our mission

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Assistant to the President

Howdy!

Not quite sure when the last time was that I wrote...Sorry!

Craziness! The cool thing about being Assistant is that president trusts us a lot, if we have an idea, he usually is ok with it. That´s also the scary thing about being an assistant. Make sure that what you are doing is from the Lord! My companion and I had the idea that the mission would benefit immensely if we taught better, As a whole, there is a lot of ignorance in the mission, that is, we don´t know what we should do. We've got a lot of faith, we're obedient, but we have no idea how to accomplish what we need to do. So we proposed a change to President. Two more assistants. Two as office missionaries, and two as traveling assistants. I betcha can't guess which one I´m gonna be. The truth is I have been going crazy this past change, I am definitely not made for an office.

A traveling assistant doesn´t have an area, he doesn´t have a zone, he goes zone from zone doing exchanges with the missionaries, teaching with them, learning with them, ministrating, personally, face to face. I have learned that I am not near as effective over phone as I am in person. It means a lot of work. I lot of running around, sweating, and leaving it all on the field.

Seems pretty good to me.

My new assignment starts the 12 of June. Pray for me!

Unexpectedly;

Elder Noah M. Toney
First day in the office

Good lookin landscapes

Accidental selfie


A family from Poas.
I almost cried when I saw em.

Transfers


My next companion


Rockin poses at night



Exchanges with the assistants!


Zona activity!


Random picture I found.
I was super tired that day!

My son!


Pickin up the greenies from the airport

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The value of the spiritual side

Hello Everyone!

I promised a good letter!

We had changes (transfers)! My companion, Elder Castro, was transferred and I am receiving another new zone leader, Elder L√≥pez, from Mexico.  We arrived in Costa Rica at the same time.  It's strange-- you see a lot of missionaries and often you never think, "Hey, they could be my companion!" and then they end up being your companion. My companion has never been a zone leader, so we're going to learn a lot together!  We had a baptism last week, and this last Saturday.  We found Oscar four months ago, and since then his progression has been exponential.  About two months ago he was going to get baptized, he came to service, and at the last minute, he decided to not get baptized.  The font was filled, the members came, there was food, and he decided to not get baptized. It was the second to last week of my then companion, Elder Contreras, and he took it pretty hard.  But we kept working and teaching, and two days ago he was baptized!  It is probably one of my favorite baptisms, because we spent so much time with him, and it was such a great experience seeing him take such an important step.  He also wants to serve a mission :)

Funny story to share.  Last Saturday, we were in a meeting with all of the bishops, stake presidents, the mission president, and an area seventy.  All of the Zone Leaders in the mission were invited.  We were asked to sing the mission hymn at the end.  In the middle there was a part where three other elders and I did a small solo-type thing. I started it, and I`m pretty sure it sounded AWFUL.  I was so darn nervous, I don`t even know why, but my hands were sweaty and I was shaking a little bit.  My nerves were  TERRIBLE.  But there you go--I did it!

If I could give counsel to myself at 14 years, or to someone in that age range, it would be to take a step back, and realize the value of the spiritual side of things. I never paid that much attention because I simply did not understand the importance.  I always thought that church-related things were boring.  It wasn't until the mission that I understood that these things are essential, and that the truth is life makes a lot more sense  and is a lot more enjoyable when you are living gospel principles.  Love you all!

Exasperatingly,

Elder Noah Michael Toney


My trainer, my son, and my grandson






I know that the photo ain't great, but what the heck


Baptism de oscar! We've been working with him for four months!




Elder Lopez

Mi compa! And aviators that my last ocmp left in the house. (course I didn't wear em outside the house)