Monday, June 20, 2016

week 42: "Me??"

Hey! Man do I have some exciting news this week! So as you know, transfers were this week and we were all 100% sure that if anyone was going to get a transfer it would be my companion. But lo and behold Saturday night rolls around and I am told I have a transfer! So I wait all day Sunday to hear where I am going, then about 9:45 at night I get a call. The caller ID says President Curtiss! Looks like I'm going to be the new Zone Leader out in Senahu! I thought President was kidding at first, I asked him "Me??" In order of authority in the mission it goes Trainee, Junior Companion, Senior Companion, Trainer, District Leader, Zone Leader, and Assistant to the President. So I don't know what is up with that because I totally skipped Trainer (other than those couple weeks at the end of the emergency transfer) and District Leader. So that is horribly terrifying! I will say right now that I am super humbled, and it is a good thing that the Lord qualifies those that He calls, because I am about the most unqualifed person. I am sad to be leaving a lot of my buddies. They were all super happy for me and stuff, Elder McEntee said something really nice, he said "I can think of no one I would rather follow, you deserve this." I'm going to miss that guy a whole bunch because he isn't even in my Zone anymore.

I'm going to pack tonight and head out tomorrow. I think me and Elder Helton are going up together. He is going to the mountain right above mine so I will see him a lot! My old District Leader, Elder Gonzalez, is up there too so it will be good to see him. We will take buses, trucks, whatever we can find. With suitcases I would prefer a truck to keep an eye on it, but who knows what there will be. I am returning to my first Zone where I started when I was in Santo Domingo and in Sepamac (in Canlun I changed to a different zone.) I have been to Senahu before on divisions a long time ago, and every multi-zone conference is held there as well, so that is good. I think there are seven ZL companionships total in the mission. My new companion, Elder Vindel, has been ZL for like two changes before this. I've heard that he is a fun, relaxed guy. We are in charge of two Districts, we help them with whatever they need. One district has three companionships and the other has five. Every month there is a meeting we go to in Coban, also we give Zone meetings once a month, help everyone in our district with stuff, do divisions, do baptism interviews, and whatever else we are asked to do. Other than that we are just regular missionaries!

My new area has power and stuff but a lot of the other areas in the zone don't, and they are super high up, and super steep. Even crazier than my last areas! Being back in the mountains is the best part, I am super excited for that, and I can do divisions with all the other mountain areas. It is a lot cooler there from what I hear so that is nice. There are a lot of things I am excited for about going, I am just nervous about having more responsibility. The place we live is really close to the church building. The church in Senahu is massive, it is super new and like two stories. Senahu is actually pretty big, it is awesome. It is this town right in middle of the mountains, and I think there are quite a few stores, a lot of great places to eat - lots of tortillas de herina and there is even a pizza place! Every sunday night all the mountain areas come down to sleep there for p-day so it will be a good time. I'm just really surprised. I kind of had it in my head that I was going to stay in Canlun for a while. ZL's always have at least three or more changes in their areas unless they get moved up to Assistant to the President (which sounds like a nightmare) so rumor has it I will be in Senahu for 5 or 6 months. After my last change I have decided nothing is set in stone haha, but I might be there until the end of October or beginning of December.
The Elder that is taking my place in Canlun was in my first District, his name is Elder Parra, he is a good guy. This week we mostly had a lot of unproductive appointments, but we did find a family with inactive parents and unbaptized kids. I hope they can make some progress.
Zone conference was good, I ended up being one of the three speakers. So that was a treat. We were all told to prepare talks so I had something ready, but I didn't know I was going to give a talk until Hermana Curtiss said my name. She got up and said the people who would be giving a talk, and I was one of them. It was not good haha. The topic was the Restoration and Book of Mormon. I focused more on the blessings that we receive today because of those things, rather than how they actually happened. I mainly focused on having a Prophet with us today, the Priesthood, and the Book of Mormon. Of course we have so many more blessings than just that, but I didn't really have time to put all of them in. President and Hermana Curtiss gave their final testimonies. I would be lying if I said I wasn't crying when they talked. Afterwards I got to talk to President for a few minutes and he had some nice things to say, just that I've grown a lot and he has a lot of confidence in me and I did a really good job with Canlun and stuff. I'm going to miss them. I think the new President arrives on the 27th, and I heard a rumor that the day after he starts a mission tour to all of the areas.

(photo credit for this pic Guatemala Coban Mission FB page)

As far as my health, it is on and off. I don't think the pills worked but I want to wait as long as I can before going to Coban. Mom asked about the bugs, I haven't had fleas, but bedbugs, every area. I woke up with a cockroach on me yesterday, I didnt like it. My feet got destroyed by something last night. Not like the guy in The Other Side of Heaven, the skin didn't actually get eaten off, just bitten up. But I can still walk. Other than that nothing too bad haha.

I have lots of photos this week, the kids belong to our President of Rama (Branch President) in Canlun.

My spiritual thought this week is actually a little bit of a challenge, you can do it if you want and anybody that reads the blog can! What you do is you do a fast (don't eat for 24 hours while having a prayerful heart), and while in the spirit of your fast you pick five or ten things you want to change. It could be adding stuff or taking away stuff, to improve where you are spiritually. Then you do a "40 day fast" of those things you pick, whether it is stuff you don't do, or start doing, and at the end of 40 days you can see how you feel.

Well, I love all of you and I hope that have a good week!

Love, Elder Toolson


  1. Wow! Just wow! What a spiritual giant he has become. I'm not in the least bit surprised that he is going to be zone leader. Love this young man!

  2. Congratulations Joe!!!!
    Why am I not surprised to hear of this great happening?!?! Perhaps because I always have this feeling that you are one with God. You truly feel His Grace and you always find the positive in challenges. I am so very happy for you, Joe. God bless you.

  3. He is a very impressive elder and I am so glad that he and my son are friends!!