Tuesday, June 7, 2016

week 40

Aye! We got Martha confirmed! And Franklin is going to be baptized this Saturday! Franklin is a pretty stellar kid. He goes to church all by himself and stuff. We contacted his family, but his parents won't come. Elder Ellis will do the baptism interview, so I will get to go on splits with him. We actually build our own baptismal pila! We build it and take it apart, I am not really sure how to describe it. I will take a picture before it is constructed and after so you can see what it looks like. It is from a company that makes portable baptismal fonts so it is out of various stuff - plastic, foam, love, the works. Not too shabby of a week in all.
Let's see what else, I will be buying my medicine today or tomorrow so no worries there. I'm emailing late today because me and my companion were running around helping some church members take out papers for their kids and stuff. I think it is like their birth record or something like that? I didn't really understand, they just needed us to pay for the travel. We used our mission funds, I hope that is allowed. We took a truck to Teleman and a bus to Panzos, which is where they took out their papers. At least that was the plan, I don't know if they got the papers, we had to leave to do stuff for my companion. We are in La Tinta now, maybe an hour away, there is no electricity in Panzos right now.
This week my companion and I were asked if we wanted to join a 70 year old lady who was taking a bath in the river. We politely declined that. Also, I watched a man try to breastfeed his baby! It didn't really work for him haha. He started pushing it against his nipple and tried like four times then looked at us, shook his head, and said "tu naraj" which means "she wants the tit." I was laughing pretty hard.
Let's see, you asked some questions. As far as what the people wear, for women it is the traditional dress you saw in the video. Normally in the house they wear like a tank top and that skirt, and then when they go out they put on the woven thing. In the mountains some of the teenage girls wear that and some of them normal clothes. The men just wear american style, they really all like super tight fitting clothes here. For what crops they grow, a whole lot of corn! That is what they make everything out of here. Corn, corn, corn. I did have chicken feet, so that was good. It didn't taste that different so not too crazy. It was served in a caldo. I ate like half the foot then they all looked at me and started laughing...but I kept eating it like that, so I don't know if I was supposed to or not. I also buy a lot of apples! And lots of water, and if my will breaks a lot of soda! And there is this drink here called Isomax. I am seriously considering ordering it when I go home. It is a juice, it comes in a bag, it is super amazing. Sometimes we get salchichas, so those are pretty good!

My companion and I are going to be in charge of Mutual this Wednesday for the first time! I'm excited. There are about six youth, not very many, equally split between boys and girls. I'm going to give a message, then teach them how to play volleyball and play, then eat some food. We also have a little portable dvd player that we can use for lessons and to watch whatever church movies we have. I have a usb that has the RM and Singles Ward. They are in English with Spanish subtitles. Most of the youth only speak Kekchi but they like to see them just to see what the States look like. When they have free time the boys play a lot of soccer. I'm not really sure what the girls do.
It has started storming a lot these past couple days. It rained pretty good like two or three days in a row. When Elder Helton was here he said it flooded up to his knees when he was near the river.
Things are ok in my area. So far I have been really blessed to be in areas that have water and light, but I am just waiting for my turn not to have one of those. I mean the electricity is there almost all the time, just sometimes goes off at night when it rains. And our area has water like 25% of the time, we take bucket showers and stuff, but it is still a lot better than other areas! We don't really know why the water doesn't work the other 75% or how to fix it. But we always have water outside in the pila. A pila is like a really giant sink, I will try to remember to take a picture for you guys. That is where we fill up our bucket to shower. It is just right behind our house.
Things are going pretty good overall, I just seem to be having those old sleep problems again. Hopefully those will pass, I'm sure they will! I got another ingrown toenail out! I didn't want to do it last week because it was really big, but I got tired of it so I just had him do it on Saturday. It is starting to do better. I should have taken a video! That would have been awesome! I feel like I am doing a bigger part serving here now that I can actually speak the language. Only took a year haha, but I still have my days where I feel like I know nothing.
My spiritual thought this week comes from the war chapters in Alma because that is what I have been studying. I just like how simply you can see the importance of obedience. When the Nephites are being righteous, they are able to defend themselves and they wreck the Lamanites. But when they stop being righteous they get wrecked in turn! I think it makes it pretty simple for us to see what we need to do. When we do what the Lord asks, He will help us fight our battles.
Well, I love all of you and hope you have a good week!

Love, Elder Toolson


  1. Plastic,foam,love,the works...I love how Joe puts a positive spin on everything! Love this young man to pieces.

  2. I love the materials supply list for the Baptismal Pila; "... Plastic, foam, love, the works..."!
    Once again, Joe, through struggles with your health and getting medications, ingrown toenails (which my family knows a lot about-painful), lack of light/electricity at times, bucket bathing... A life, that to us, is rather primitive... You always seem to have a smile on your face. You are an amazing young man! You are learning so very much about the country and people you are with, your own limitations and how to overcome those, and about God. I have no doubt, none whatsoever, that God has his protective arms around you. He is with you every step of the way, and I know that you feel His grace. You have become wise beyond your years Joe, and oh so humble.
    I look forward to reading of your life as it is now, your mission, which I never really have known how it all works, and who you are and are becoming. My prayers are with you daily. I light a candle for you each week. God bless. Diane Conom,
    PS I received your email and very much enjoyed it! What a wonderful surprise! Thank you!!! Oh, And you can call me Diane!!!