Monday, July 4, 2016

week 44

Happy Fourth! So first I will just say today was awesome, all of my buddies got together and we played a nice game of fourth of July basketball! We ate bacon wrapped hotdogs and burgers too!

Things this week were good! I have been sick, but not too sick, so we can still work, parasites and a cold thing. The nurse wants me to go take another blood test again so we will see how that goes. Two months ago she said that I probably should do it in two months, so the time has arrived. I have to go back because Dangue destroyed my blood count and business. Dengue can be horrible, but with the Lord helping me out it isn't too bad. Without Him I'd be dead haha. I am not a fan of blood or Coban tests, but I have been really exhausted these last like three weeks so I am a little worried. I probably just need to take my vitamins again though. Where I am now there are a lot more mountains, which is what I love, but it is tiring too.

Yesterday we taught this kid named Elder and he already said he wants to be baptized so that will be awesome! He is about 15, he has been singing in the choir for a while but never was baptized. We are also working with this family that lives like an hour STRAIGHT UP the mountain, so walking there is death. But they are progressing so we go up there like three times a week, which is fun. There are four people who are old enough to be baptized, two other little kids, and an inactive father. They came to church last Sunday despite having to walk an hour each way! The only bad part is their dog, it is pretty dang aggressive, so we just have to wait till the family calms it down before we can get close.

I went on divisions with Elder Hayes this week, we had a good time! Just contacted a lot. We have one solid investigator and three unsolid. Our three didn't show up to church so that is kind of a bummer. Oh, they found out I can play piano in the other rama, so I have to play for the two ramas every Sunday now.  Also, I played at a two hour funeral that was yesterday. It was kind of sad, it was for one of the first members baptized in Senahu so it was kind of a big deal.

Things are going good with my companion. He is a good guy! We work well together so no problems or complaints there! I feel like we are out of our area at least two days every week, but maybe we have just been especially busy. We mostly speak Spanish but if something is easier to say in Kekchi we say it in Kekchi. I mostly use Kekchi for gospel related stuff and Spanish for other stuff, but I'm starting to talk Kekchi better than Spanish which isn't good at all. And don't worry, I still don't really know either of them haha. Being a zone leader is ok, but I miss just being a regular missionary. We don't get to work with the people as much now. Me and my companion are going to give a class for our Zone meeting when the new President comes so that is scary. Our class is going to be about how to challenge people to baptism and put fechas (baptismal dates), so that will be interesting. I will meet the new President this Friday so no news on how he is yet. I am pretty nervous. 

We got to watch a man making candles this week, he does it all by hand. I am sending some pictures.

Also ran into this little guy. It is super common for the kids to work really hard here, sometimes the dads get sick so they send the little kids out to collect wood for cooking. In my last area there was a 7 year old that basically ran the family. It's weird, they always have a smile on their face, even when there is no reason to smile.

We stopped by with that family from St. George, the Hamms. They gave us some pizza one day and a bunch of candy from the states and popcorn. They are awesome!

This week is divisions with Elder Bos so I am super excited for that! Other than that nothing too special, I'm glad you had a good week and little Eli could be blessed! 

My spiritual thought this week is on the fact that the Lord really knows what we can handle. When I did divisions with Elder Hayes, nobody would let us in. NOBODY. I have never dealt with that in my mission before. People always let us in and give us their qem ha (dough water) and at least listen to us, but nobody would there. My respect for missionaries all over the world went up so much. I think the Lord called me here because he knows I can maybe handle the physical challenges alright, but the mental challenge of being rejected discouraged me more than I thought it would. The Lord knows that and that is why I am here. I really lucked out with my call. At the end of my mission all that will be left of gringos in the Polochic that didn't previously know Spanish is me, one other guy in my group, and then a guy after me. Only fluent Spanish speakers are called to Kekchi areas now. I love the Polochic.

Well, I hope you all have an awesome 4th, love you!

Love, Elder Toolson

(Editor's note: Gordon Hamm, who gave Joe the American food, called us this morning! They just returned from their time in Guatemala. He said Joe looked really good and seemed very upbeat. He also said that Joe is a great Kekchi speaker, and if he says he isn't, he is just being humble! It was so awesome to hear from someone who had just been with Joe, and to hear his description of the area Joe is serving in. He invited us to join a page that he has on fb for people who are interested in serving the people of the Polochic, and I found a photo there of the beautiful town Joe is serving in now. I am posting it for you all to see - the photographer who originally posted it is Angel Leonel Caal Poo`u. I didn't think many places could be more beautiful than Chelan, but Senahu has it beat! The tiny villages in the surrounding mountains don't even have a grocery store, so the people - and missionaries - travel down to Senahu to buy what they need.)


  1. I look forward to Joe's posts! What an adventure. I am so impressed with his insights.

  2. Dear Joe,
    Once again, I feel your words are reaching out up remind me of my blessings and how our God knows what is best for us.
    I have thought about you this week, as we in our country, have suffered some tragedies - shootings of civilians and LE. I am glad you are where you are. You bring joy and education and inspiration to many... I know this. My prayers are with you especially for your health.
    Diane Conom