Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day call and week 36

We enjoyed our chance to talk with Elder Toolson on the phone Saturday afternoon. He sounded pretty good, despite being sick. I know all of you have been concerned about his health. He said that the results from the blood work showed that he is low in vitamin B12, so he is supposed to take vitamins and then have his blood retested in two weeks. We still aren't sure about the other mystery test, the one only available in the States. But the nurse told him they aren't going to worry about that. He also said that he found out he did not have Chikungunya, but had Dengue instead. Which didn't really make us feel better... luckily he is young and strong!
He said things are going good with his companion. As much as he misses the mountains, he feels pretty confident that he will be staying in the valley for three - four months. The previous Elders who were assigned to his area stayed for four or five changes (each change lasts six weeks.) He also expressed sadness that his Mission President would be going home on June 30th. (Mission Presidents serve for three years, and President Curtiss had already been in Coban for two years when Joe arrived.) The Coban Mission is only three years old; President Curtiss is the first Mission President to serve there.
It was particularly fun listening to him speak Kekchi. Every so often you can pick out a Spanish word, but mostly it is unrecognizable. Joe explained that because it is an ancient Mayan language, they don't have words for a lot of things we use now. If they don't have a word in Kekchi, they will adopt a Spanish word and take off the last syllable. The scriptures, hymnal and most of the lesson materials have been translated into Kekchi, which is really cool!
He shared one interesting story with us: "Me and my companion were walking through an area to an appointment. This drunk guy came up to us and said 'Hey, my dad is really old and really sick, can you come pray for him?' He was switching between Kekchi and Spanish, and was super hard to understand. I looked at my companion and said that maybe we could give him a blessing or something, so we followed the drunk guy. When we got to his house there was this big commotion, like there was a party or something going on. As we followed the guy inside, we saw like thirty people crying and yelling and moaning. If you remember the scene in The Other Side of Heaven when that lady dies, that is exactly what it was like! My companion was just like 'nope, nope' and was shaking his head back and forth at me. The drunk guy had left us for a minute, and suddenly he sprints towards us crying and yelling 'He died! He died! He went! He went!' I didn't know what to say to him, so I just kind of said something like 'He may be dead, but he found his resting place' and the drunk guy said 'Can you still pray for him?' My companion just kind of looked at me and I said sure. We followed him into the other room and you could see that the dad wasn't dead yet, you could hear his breathing from across the room, and see his chest moving. He was really old, you could tell he was like 92 or something. We said a prayer for him and for the family, asking for everyone to be comforted, then we had to go to our appointment. The son asked us to pass by another day, so we are going to try to visit them in the coming weeks." Elder Toolson is definitely in a different world! Today's letter...
Hey! Not a whole lot of time to write this week because we just got back from Samuc Champay so I will try to get some pics out. We left really flipping early and it was five hours in a bus so I am pretty tired. That made it kind of hard to enjoy, but it was still really fun. The best part was just seeing everyone. The red shirt is Elder Helton, the dark shirt is Elder Ellis, and the white is Elder Gonsalez.

This week will be exciting because we are going to go to the government building to try and get some marriage papers out for our fecha Edgar. We are still just working a lot on getting that wedding going because we don't really have any other solid investigators. Last week nothing too crazy happened. Well, there was this naked lady bathing in the river when we walked by and she asked me if I could join her. I said not right now, but maybe we can stop by sometime and talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with her. That was a little uncomfortable haha.
I might be going to Coban again on Monday but I still don't know. I haven't found the vitamins yet. Hopefully tomorrow! I was pretty busy today so I didn't really have time to look for them. Now that I am in the valley, there is kind of this big square where most of the houses are and a little store. The store just kind of sells drinks and food, nothing too nice, mostly just snacks you can buy like chips and stuff. They don't have vitamins. I am in La Tinta again right now and the stores might have them, but they are closing. The internet place stays open later than the other stores. I need to get back to my area tonight. It takes about thirty minutes to get home now, compared to two hours when I was up in the mountains. We hitch a ride on a truck, then we take a little canoe, and then we walk a little ways. And don't worry about the canoe mom, we aren't breaking any rules (editor's note: missionaries aren't normally allowed to travel on water) because there's no other way! And it is like a one minute trip.
Oh I almost forgot to tell you! Elder Bos is getting transferred which is a huge bummer. He is going to a mountain area, but he isn't even in my zone anymore. He is up in Elder Reeds district. There are two districts in the mountains, one in Senahu, and one in Chulak, and then two districts in the valley. So four districts, and two zones in the Polochic. But Elder McEntee is coming to take his place, so he will be in my district again!
My spiritual thought this week comes on obedience. I was reading in Preach My Gospel, the chapter about the attributes of Christ, and every single attribute has something to do with obedience. So I am pretty sure it is pretty dang important haha. Well, I love all of you!
Love, Elder Toolson


  1. This kid amazes me! Love to hear his adventures and perspective.

  2. I so enjoy your updates, Joe.
    My thoughts and prayers are always with you.