Monday, October 26, 2015

week 8: a baptism!

We had a baptism this week! It was awesome! We baptized the little eight year-old, his name is Rudy. And he asked me to do the baptism! I was able to do it in Kekchi on my first try so that was a relief.

Other than that nothing too exciting. We did some exploring in our area...
We've also continued working with our fechas so they don't fall through. The top two pictures are of Rudy's little sister and brother, and at his house. It is actually a pretty nice house because one of the walls is cement.
Here is a picture of Lucas, and Abelario, they are members, and the guy farthest away from me is our other fecha, Eguanil. We taught a lesson that night.
We are still waiting on the paperwork for Jose and Maria. Hopefully it will be here in November and we can move forward. Interviews with the Mission President were good. He came to the town we go to for p-day and we met him there. He is very nice, but very intense, so it is always nice talking with him because he fires you up a little bit. He just kind of checks up on you, your companion, your obedience, and such. My journaling is going really well, I haven't missed a day!
This week, I tried this weird chocolate pod they have here. It looks like squash but it tasted nasty.
As far as transfers, we are doing this weird thing where we have a seven week change this change then a five week change the next one, so my next change isn't until December. To answer mom's question, our mail just kind of shows up whenever the Zone Leaders get it from Coban and then get it to us, so its pretty random haha.
I have started running a little over a mile every morning and we are pretty good about working out at night too. Just push ups and core and that sort of thing, our normal track workouts. We eat so bad I figure I have to work out to stay in check. I eat a lot of yogurt, popcorn and crackers, haha. I am also doing a soda fast, haven't drunk one since October 12th.
To answer dad's question about the weather, it is a little humid, but mostly just hot where I am. I think there is a rainy season that we are coming up on but that's about it.
My spiritual thought this week is about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I was reading about His suffering on the cross. One of the thieves who is being crucified asks that He will remember him, and Jesus says He will. "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day thou shalt be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43) That is just so amazing to me. After everything He's been through in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then moments before His death, He is still forgiving. It reminds me how I need to be acting to live a Christlike life.
Well, thank you for writing! I love all of you!
Love, Elder Toolson

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Santo Domingo, week 7

Hey! This week was pretty up and down. We focused a lot on the couple that are getting married, their names are Jose and Maria. It looks like its going to take a couple of weeks for the papers to get here. We also managed to add two more fechas, both referrals from members. One is with a little boy who is just barely 8. The problem is that the parents aren't sure anymore if they want their son baptized. The other is with a 17 year old named Augusto, but he didn't show up to there were good and bad parts. I did exchanges with my Zone Leader this week so that was a lot of fun. His name is Elder Kortsen, and he is awesome.

There were some cute little kids in the area we went on divisions to...

We had a few lessons this week, but mostly just visiting our fechas every day to try and keep them on track. They are really spread out - one is half way down our mountain, the other is close to the church, and the other is just a little ways past that.

My Kekchi is coming along very slowly but I do have a testimony and prayer completely memorized that I am trying to add to. There aren't any feminine or masculine forms of words like Spanish, but there are about fifteen different conjugation charts, so that is what makes it really hard, haha. Reading the Kekchi Book of Mormon has helped. I can understand a lot, I just can't speak at all - that is my problem!

As far as the sickness goes, my companion and I are hanging in there, just neither of us are at 100% yet.

Mom asked if the package looked ok - it looked good! I don't think anything was missing. Also, I am supposed to tell you guys to make sure you send the Christmas package in November because in December the mail is terrible.

Mom also asked about the prettiest area of my mission so far. There aren't really any flowers or waterfalls in my area. I think my favorite view is the picture I sent last week. That is the highest up we've been. It is the one where I am standing by Lucas. He is a seventeen year old member, he goes out on visits with us for like five hours a day almost daily so he is awesome.

Oh, you need to remind me when I get home to do this dance that this little kid Felix did when he got his "shut" because it was the best thing ever! "Shut" is a type of food. To me it tastes like rubber with some beans inside of it (it comes wrapped in a leaf thing) but the Kekchi people get hyped when they see it because they are super poor. You remember I said I wanted to go somewhere where I'd learn to appreciate what I have? Yeah, it has been a month and a half in the field, and I'm already there. A lot of the food we eat is bland, except for one popular dish here is "caldo" which is this super spicy soup with a part of a chicken in it. Every p-day we eat in comodors (their word for restaurant.) It is usually some kind of meat with beans and tortillas, usually pretty good and not too spicy. I've eaten chicken lungs there. It was pretty good. It probably helped that I didn't know it was lungs until I was like half way through, haha.

My spiritual thought comes from Alma 26 this week, it is when Ammon is talking to his brothers about all the great works they are doing and his brothers worry he is being prideful. He responds by saying "I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12-13) That is pretty much exactly how I feel right now, I know that through the Lord we can accomplish all things.

Well, I probably should get going. We've got work to do! Thanks for writing! I love all of you!

Love, Elder Toolson

Monday, October 12, 2015

Santo Domingo, week 6

My package came! It was awesome, thank you!
So we were in Coban all day again for my companions parasites, which is why I am writing to you later. We had a better week this week. The marriage is going to happen for sure now, we just have to wait for the guy to get his papers and get married then he can be baptized.
Also, we have a really hopeful reference about someone whose family we visited way up the mountain. They said we are too far away, but their son wants to be baptized. We just have to catch him at the right time. Unfortunately, he is about two hours up the mountain...but we will connect with him! We found about six new contacts last week, so we are going to try and visit them this week.
Thank goodness I wasn't transferred, and neither was Elder Helton! Elder McEntee was, and at first I was really bummed, but then I found out he is still in our District. So it is awesome!
I'm doing divisions with the Zone Leaders this week, so that should be interesting. I'm pretty nervous for that haha. (Editor's note: when missionaries do divisions, they split up from their companion and each of them goes with one of the Zone Leaders to teach. This gives the Zone Leaders an opportunity to evaluate how the missionaries are doing and to offer additional training.)
My spiritual thought comes from a quote in our Zone meeting that actually applies to this week perfectly. The quote is "knock one more door." That is perfect because the family we ran into is farther up the mountain than we have ever gone. It was a great testimony builder that the day after we had that meeting we found the family.
Thank you so much for writing! I have to go now, sorry it was so short. Nekexinra! (I love all of you)

Love, Elder Toolson

Monday, October 5, 2015

Santo Domingo, week 5

Hey! This week was alright, a little discouraging because pretty much all of our appointments fell through. LOTS of walking up and down the mountain. But I figure it is just one of those weeks in the mission. It is crazy that I only have one more week and I finish my first transfer in the field. Kekchi is really hard haha. I've started reading the Book of Mormon in Kekchi, Spanish and English all at the same time because we were promised by a Prophet that if you read the BOM in whatever language you are trying to learn you will be fluent. So hopefully that works! I still haven't received my Kekchi name plaque, I think I'll get it in the next two or three weeks.
So the big news is I do in fact have a parasite! And so does my companion! Not really sure how I managed to do that in my first change but I pulled it off haha. I just have some meds I'm supposed to take for ten days or so and it should be good.
As for General Conference, we got to watch Saturday morning in English but then we lost signal and didn't see any of Saturday afternoon. We saw half of the Priesthood session in Spanish and all of Sunday in Spanish. I had a pretty hard time following the Spanish so I will have to go back and read in English when I have time.
I haven't heard anything about the mudslides until you told me, so I don't know what's going on there.
Mom asked for the description of the houses here. They are almost all made out of sticks, and all have dirt floors. None have electricty or indoor plumbing, but they do have running water! It is just not pure so everything is always boiled and way hot.
As for lessons this week, we went up the mountain because we had two appointments, and when we got there they both fell that kind of was a bummer. That was on Thursday. Tuesday me and my companion were both knocked out with the poops and throwing up and such so we had to stay in. Our goal for the month of October as a mission is 100 baptisms so we are hoping our fecha comes through once they are married.
As I said, I only really got to hear one session of Conference, but from what I got out of it, basically we need to get out of the Lord's way. It reminded me of the scripture in Isaiah where it talks about His ways being higher than our ways - "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9) We are going to be put through hard stuff. That is the Lord's will, not ours, and we will come out of it shaped how the Lord intends us to be.
Well, I love all of you!
Love Elder Toolson