I also wanted to send a picture with inyuwa´ (my father) Elder Helton. This was taken after p-day last week, we were in their area and were about to play soccer. I'm going to miss that guy when he goes home in six months. He's from Maryland; I think he might go to Utah Valley University.
Speaking of months, I think I hit my eight months today, that's crazy!
I have learned A LOT about the power of the Atonement, prayer and fasting. The Atonement can literally forgive anything and we can not only use it when we have sinned, but just when we are having a rough time. And prayer and fasting... to put it simply, it works. I've also learned things about myself. I am not as patient as I thought. And I have bowel strength I never dreamed I had, haha. Sometimes I feel the Spirit with me so strong, and sometimes not. It can be hard to keep it with me in the mountains, being dirty and tired and struggling for success, but I try my best.
Zone conference was so awesome! I got to see my buddies Elder McEntee and Elder Reed so that was a lot of fun. This is what we did: we showed up and ate a little, then Hermana Curtiss started talking about the Atonement. She said so many good things, she is awesome. She talked about Christ's love for Heavenly Father and for us, and how He knows us perfectly, and He is the One who will judge us. Then four people gave talks (thankfully I wasn't one of them.) Then Sister Curtiss finished with talking about the Atonement more. After that, the Assistants to the President (pictures of them included, they are the two tall white guys) talked about the videos we can use for Easter. Next we split into three groups. The first was with our Zone Leaders, who talked about our job as missionaries and related it to soccer players. Just like a goalie has qualities that help him, like being fast, having good reflexes and good vision, missionaries need qualities like hope, faith, love, diligence, and obedience to succeed. After that we met with the other Zone Leaders and talked about how to do challenges and verify with investigators. Finally President Curtiss talked about diligence. He read these points from Preach my Gospel, getting us all motivated. Then we ate some really good burritos and some of the chocolate covered ice cream sticks!
As far as the work goes, this was another rough week. Nester was sick when we tried to visit him, and nobody else was home all week. Hopefully we can catch them next week. My guess is we will spend a lot of time saying goodbye to members. President Curtiss wrote me today to encourage me to help Elder Quiroz finish strong. On Sunday Elder Quiroz will head to Coban, and on Tuesday I will have my new companion. We aren't really sure what I will do Sunday - Tuesday, I might have to go to Coban. Maybe I will serve in a threesome for a couple of days, who knows. We don't know until the Saturday before transfers who is going, and then on Sunday we find out who is moving, who the new companionships will be, and where they will serve. I am hoping that I get one more change in Sepemak so I can work hard with a new companion. There's a rumor floating around that I might be finishing someones training next change, which I would love, but it is also just a rumor. So who knows haha. I probably won't be able to write very long next week because it will be kind of crazy.
We are going to play soccer tonight so that should be fun. We had burgers today at a new burger place. They don't have anything like American burgers, and they don't come with fries, so I am still missing that about home. I'm looking forward to that first Red Robin burger the day I get back! I think we might be spending the night here in El Estor. I would rather just get back, but I don't have much say. We always have to share beds. I don't like it, but I guess I am getting pretty used to it now. Oh, I forgot to say that we lost water again this week! That was a bummer. We smell bad right now. It was out two days as of yesterday. Thankfully we will shower here in El Estor tonight.
I'm looking forward to General Conference in a couple of weeks. We can get it at the church where our District Leader is, maybe even in English, so that would be awesome. I hadn't really thought about Easter; actually I didn't even know it was coming until we did Zone Conference. The people here aren't getting anything ready... so I have no clue how, or if, they celebrate.
My spiritual thought this week comes from our Zone Meeting. Hermana Curtiss said ¨this is Who we represent, the perfect Son of God." At first I thought that was super dope just for missionaries. Then I realized that even if members of the church aren't called as full-time missionaries, we do promise to take His name upon us. So in a way, we all do represent Him and we've promised to do His work! I just thought that was super cool.
I love all of you!
Love, Elder Toolson