Monday, September 7, 2015

Welcome to Polochic!

Man I don't even know where to start. I will just start at last Tuesday. So we went to leave at around 6 a.m. and got about an hour and a half into the journey and had to go back to the CCM because of riots. We were at the CCM until about 4:30 in the afternoon, going to the Temple and writing and such, and then left again. It was a slow trip and we ended up getting into Coban city around 11. It was a crazy time in the mission. We then met the President and his wife very briefly and were whisked off to this Elder's apartment to sleep. The next morning we met a bunch of people and went to a orientation all day. I did get to see Sister Scruggs for a few minutes!

It was there that we had interviews with President and his wife and I found first area, Polochic, is 100% Qeichi (pronounced "kekchi")! I can count on one hand the number of times I have used Spanish since getting here. It is one of the hardest languages to learn... and it is very frustrating haha. Here is a picture of a Book of Mormon printed in Qeichi:

After this I met my companion, his name is Elder Helton and he is from Maryland. He is super awesome, very laid back but gets the job done. We were assigned to the mountains which is very cool because that's like where the Elders really rough it. There are kind of four sections: the city Elders, the flat area Elders, the place where it is really hot Elders, and the mountain Elders. We go like days without showering and all sorts of fun stuff. We can shower, we just don't because the shower doesn't always work and is really cold and you run out of clothes fast. This is where I live...

Mom asked what we eat. The members feed us a bunch of tortillas and spicy stuff and we cook. They also give us this drink every time and it is the grossest thing I've ever had haha. It is like dough water with corn chunks in it. Here is a picture:
Anyways! We spent two days getting to our area and since then we have just been meeting everyone because we are cleaning the area (this means neither of us have ever served here before so we know nothing about it) but it is very cool.
The people are so nice! They cannot say "Toolson" very well so they gave me a name "Toolok" which apparently means lizard in Qeichi, and that is gonna be my name for the next two years! From what I learned, if you are assigned to a mountain Qeichi-speaking area you stay in the mountains your whole mission unless you are trash at Qeichi. So I am not really sure how I feel right now because I love the people and my area and my companion. But I literally can't even piece together what people are trying to say right now, so its very frustrating in a lesson. This is a pretty hard time haha, but I think it will get easier and easier every week. Also I found out I'm not allowed to skype at Christmas, I can only that's kind of a bummer. If you send me a package just a heads up it will take me a solid month or two to receive because the way missionaries get packages doesn't work too well.
My spiritual thought is on the power of prayer this week. I don't know if I've already talked about it, but I just want to bear my testimony of it again. There were times this week where I was pretty much at my limit because we would have hiked all day and I wouldn't understand anyone and hadn't showered in like three days, but I would hit my knees at night and pray for strength and it would come immediately.
I will end with some pictures of some of the people I've met this week. Everyone here is so nice and all the Elders I've met are awesome!

I love all of you!
Love, Elder Toolson


  1. What life changing experiences! I love Elder Tool ok and his can do attitude

  2. Dear Joe,
    It is so inspiring as you write of hardships and challenges, you always sound happy, excited, and pumped to get right back out there each day and do what you do! That you can feel God's Grace so clearly is wonderful. You remain in my thoughts and prayers daily. God bless.
    Diane Conom