Tuesday, August 25, 2015

week 5 at the CCM

So this week was way awesome!

I have learned a lot about my mission area from some of the CCM Presidency and it sounds crazy. I am almost 100% guaranteed to have to learn that crazy language in the field so I will have three languages under my belt when I get home. Also, there is a crazy amount of disease with like a third of the missionaries out in my mission right now. Plus there are a lot of dangerous mountains and snakes and animals so I might get a machete! This is awesome!

A funny story from this week, my companion was teaching our investigator and accidentally asked why she thinks that we bring peace and tranquillity to her bed... I almost died laughing, haha. He meant to say "casa" (house) instead of "cama" (bed), so that was awesome.

We had some pretty good burgers this week, but the worst thing is always breakfasts cause they pick up leftovers and just put them on a tortilla so you never know what you will get.

I haven't been able to buy my poncho or rain boots yet so hopefully I can figure that out soon.

Another exciting thing, about fifteen minutes before a devotional last week I was told I was giving the special musical number. The Spirit must have helped me out because I had no idea what I was doing up there. I played a solo on piano, I chose Come Thou Fount so it was pretty fun. It was spiritual too because I wasn't supposed to play, someone else was. After I finished I sat down and the speaker got up and said that musical number was inspired.
My spiritual thought comes from an Elder Holland devotional we watched this week titled ¨No Regrets.¨ As we all know, he is a way powerful speaker. At the end of his talk he said something along the lines of ¨Don't you dare let the Savior down. He was abandoned by everyone at the end of His life, don't you dare run and do it too.¨ If that doesn't inspire you to get out and do missionary work then I don't think anything will.

Well, I am loving it here, the mission is literally the best decision I have ever made. I can totally tell that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. The homesickness is going way down cause I am having too much fun here! I know that it might change for at least of few months once I get in the field and can't understand anybody, but right now it is awesome!

I love all of you!
Love, Elder Toolson

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

week 4 at the CCM

I heard about the fires and I'm so glad everyone is safe, please keep me updated! 

Well, this week actually went really well, me and my companion had our first ¨baptism.¨ Its not actually real cause its not a real investigator, but at the same time it felt really good. My favorite part about this week was that lesson or when we had a Tuesday night devotional and there was this amazing poem read there. It is called "He Has Been There Before" by Elder Troy Miller:

The alarm bell rings at 6:30, I stumble to my feet
I grab my companions bedding and pull off his sheets

A groan fills the room, is it already time to arise?
It seems like just a second ago, I was able to shut my eyes
The morning activities follow- study, prayer and such
When it's time to leave the apartment, you feel you haven't accomplished much

"We have a super day planned,"
My comp. says with a grin
I lowly utter a faithless breath,
"Yeah, if anyone lets us in."

With the word of God and my faithful Schwinn, we ride off in the street prepared to
Face another day of humidity and heat
It's 9:30 in the evening, the day is almost through
My champion and I are riding home not accomplishing what we thought to do

We ride up to the mailbox, hoping to receive a lot
Only to look inside and hear my echo reverberate "air Box"
We go up to our apartment, the day is now complete
The only thing to show for our work is a case of blistery feet

It's past 10:30 p.m. My companion is fast asleep,
Silence engulfs me all about and I begin to weep
In the midst of sadness, I kneel down to pray
I need to talk to father, but I'm not sure what to say

"Oh, Father" I begin, "What happened to us today?
I thought we'd teach somebody, but everyone was away
My hands, my aching hands- worn, hurt and beat;
If our area was any smaller, we'd have knocked every street"

"Why on missions are the days so much alike?
The only difference about today was the flat tire on my bike
Will you send some cooler weather? The heat is killing me
I sweat so bad, it gets in my eyes, it's very hard to see"

"Why do I have to wear a helmet, isn't your protection enough?
People always laugh at me, and call me stupid stuff
Please send us investigators so I may give them what they lack
I want to give them Books of Mormon, the weight of them hurts my back"

"And what about my family: They don't have much to say
I'm sick of not hearing from home day after day after day
Oh Father, Why am I here am I just wasting time?
Sometimes I just want to go home, I'm sorry but that's on my mind"

"My companion, Heavenly Father, what are you giving me?"
The way he rides his bicycle, I don't think he can see
Now you have it, I can't go on, I don't know what to do
That, my Father in Heaven, is the prayer I have for you"

My prayer now finished, I stand up, then jump right into bed
I need my rest for tomorrow, we have another long day ahead
Sleep start to overtake me, I seem to drift away
Then it seems a vision takes me to another time in another day

I'm standing alone on the hill. The view is very nice
A man walks to wards me and says, "My name is Jesus Christ"
Tears of joy well up inside, I fall down to His feet
"Arise," He states, "Follow me to the shade. You and I need to speak"

My attention's towards my Savior, total and complete
He says, "Your mission is similar of what happened to me
I understand how you feel, I know what you're going through
In fact, it would be fair to say I've felt the same as you"

"I even know how you felt when no one listened to you
At times I felt not quite sure what else I could do
I know you don't like to ride a bicycle, for you a car would be sweet
Just remember the donkey I rode wasn't equipped with 21 speeds"

"I understand you don't like sweating, in fact it's something you hate
I remember when I sweat blood from ev’ry pore, oh the agony was great!
I see you don't like your companion- you'd rather have someone else-
I once had a companion named Judas who sold my life for wealth"

"It's hard to wear a helmet and have people make fun of you
I remember when they put thorns on my head and called me King of the Jews
So you feel burdened down by the weight of your pack
I recall how heavy the cross was when they slammed it on my back"

"Your hands hurt from tracting and knocking on doors all day
I guess when they pounded nails into mine, I ached in a similar way
It's hard not to hear from home when your family's not there to see
I lost communication on the cross and cried, "Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

"We have a lot in common, but there's a difference between us you see
I endured to the end and finished my mission, so follow and do like me"
He embraced me with His arms and His light filled me with His love
With tears in my eyes I watched as He went back to the Father above

I stood with awe and wonder when a beep rang in my head
I listened and heard the alarm, then realized I was in my bed
My companion let out a groan, "6:30 already, no way!"
I sat up and said, "Come on, I'll even carry your scriptures today!"

No matter what we go through,
When we feel we can't take more
Just stop and think about Jesus Christ,
He's been there before!

I think it is amazing. I also made it through my first lesson where I knew every word I needed in Spanish so that was pretty sweet. 

Every two weeks we get a new batch of Elders and Sisters. I miss the first batch a lot. We had this really funny Elder that named Elder Santos who always asked us for ¨netflix y poptarts¨ but that's exactly what everyone else wanted too, so if we had any we would've already eaten them hahaha.

My spiritual thought goes with that poem, so I'll just say its nice to know there is always Someone there who understands you and is there for you. 

Mom it doesn't matter when, but if you could send up my little golden Irish whistle thing and my ocarina that would be sweet. Also apparently its pretty cold in Cob├ín, so if you ever need an idea of what to send me, a solid colored sweater would be awesome. 

Anyways, I love this gospel and I love all of you!

Love, Elder Toolson

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

week 3 in the CCM

I guess I will start by answering your questions about the CCM. They have a little store that shows up two or three days a week. We go outside for sports and to walk to the temple, and we might go to the market next week! As far as food, they have really good mashed potatoes we had one day that reminded me of home, so that was good and bad. I have eaten a lot I don't like cause for breakfast they basically just throw a bunch of random foods in a tortilla and put sauce all over it, haha. We have an hour of fitness everyday and I always play volleyball with my district. We have to be up by 6:30 but I always get up 15 or 20 minutes early to get a shower, and lights out is at 10:30. We haven't done any service projects yet. I really like personal study time when I can just read the Book of Mormon or study Preach my Gospel.

We get along pretty well with one of teachers, but it is hard with the other one. He is just very, very by-the-book. Even if the Spirit says do something else, he forces us to do it his way. Also he told us that God is dissapointed in us the other day cause we weren't speaking enough Spanish. I don't know if that's something you want to tell a bunch of homesick missionaries who are two and half weeks out in the field haha. I think the teachers are all just local returned missionaries.

So my pday schedule is: leave for temple at 6:20, breakfast at 9:30, and sometime between 10-5, I write and play sports and clean. It changes every week so that is kind of hard.

The weather is alright cause we are in the city, but Coban sounds like it will be pretty brutal. Every time I tell people I am going to Coban they get this look of pity and say "good luck Elder." But at this point I'll go anywhere not to be in a classroom all day haha. I can understand maybe half or seventy-five percent of what the natives are saying, so I do okay. Apparently there is a very good chance I will have to learn this language called "Kechi" (I did not spell that right) and it is really difficult. We have two Elders here that are natives that are learning it and they are here for nine weeks....it has been described to me as a combination of Japanese and Spanish, so that will be a treat!

My homesickness comes and it goes. The first couple days were like the worst. The only time I get really homesick is when I have enough time to think about home. Like writing emails is pretty hard for me, and nightimes are pretty hard cause all there is to do is think. But it is definitely getting better! I get about ten e-mails each week so that is pretty good. Your posted letters actually arrived last Monday, I forgot to tell you...oops. But thank you for writing!

The scripture for my plaque is also my spiritual thought for the week, Ether 12:27. It is the scripture about weaknesses into strengths - "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Trust me, I have found a lot of weaknesses on my mission. But everyday I feel the Lord helping me along.

I am glad you guys are doing well! I love you! Thank you for writing, I miss you!

Elder Toolson

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

week 2 in the CCM

This week was crazy because there was this big old virus going around so that was a treat! I have had the poops and stomach cramps for like the past 6 days (sorry mom for using the word poops) but it was bound to happen some time. Other wise, it was very good!

Me and my companion have two "investigators" (teachers pretending to be investigators) challenged and accepted to baptism, so that is awesome! We have a couple Sacrament meetings here and in the last one I bore my testimony in Spanish so that was probably a treat for everyone in the audience.

The Spanish is coming slowly but surely haha, my problem is that I will start a sentence and realize that I don't know one of the words I want to say. So that is kind of frustrating.

I can't wait for you guys to meet my companion, he and I get along amazingly. He is from Fresno, California. He is 18 like me, all of the Elders in my room are 18 as well.

I have been to the temple for both P days. It is really nice and REALLY small but I kind of like it that way. They do the session in English, and it is awesome cause of how small it is. The only time we get to leave the CCM is to go to the temple because there are riots and protests going on right outside because of the Presidential election. So that is a shame.

To answer moms questions, they have a really nice laundry system, and is it bad if I just dry my pants in the dryer? Because I have been doing that. I'm sleeping pretty well except my companion is a monster snorer, haha.

Anyways, my spiritual thought this week comes from a lesson me and my companion taught, and it is that we should always be ready to listen to the Spirit, because He will communicate with us when we listen.

Well. I love all of you!

Elder Toolson