Here are the answers to Mom's questions regarding the first year in the mission:
1. Elder McEntee is my closest friend without a doubt. That guy has just always been there for me and we came in around the same time so we kind of have that bond going as well, he is awesome.
2. For who has helped me the most, maybe this answer is cheating, but Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Without them I would have gone home like on July 23rd of last year. I've just felt Their help through all the answers of prayer They have given me, it is amazing.
3. The happiest part of the mission is by far standing in the baptismal font with your arms to the square with that person who you have worked so hard with and have grown to love. There is nothing like that feeling.
4. The hardest part of the mission is probably being so uncomfortable all the time, whether it is from sickness or being piled with 30 people in a bus that seats 10, you just never feel like you are very comfortable.
5. Something I have learned on my mission is that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is about the realest, most powerful thing there is. There is nothing better than it.
6. My most embarrassing memory and funniest kind of go hand in hand, it was probably my first P-day when I barely knew the language so I accidentally asked for a breast milk smoothie instead of a banana smoothie.
8. The scariest moment is probably when I was relieving myself off the porch of Tukuru house, and a certain missionary came up behind me and almost pushed me off at the last second. That was just too many emotions at once for me haha.
9. A sound that will remind me of the mission is these type of frogs that ribbit like every night when I sleep, no matter where I am.
10. The smell is probably these really bad tasting yellow berries that everyone likes here, they smell awful and everyone brings massive bags of them on the bus and you want to cry when they do.
11. A taste from the mission is something I will only taste here, and it is qem ha. I have no idea how many of those I have drank in the last year.
My spiritual thought this week comes from a dope experience I had with Elder Tims. We went to this house and this lady invited us in all happy and stuff. And we started talking about how baptism can get you clean, and she got all excited and told us about a dream she had where her and her boyfriend were stuck in mud, and then the missionaries showed up and came and got them out and helped them clean up. So that was pretty amazing!
I love all of you!
Love, Elder Toolson
Several days ago, I had an experience that I don't want to forget, and I want Joe to remember it too, so I am going to include it on the blog. I was shopping with some friends when I got this text message with photos on my phone: "Hi Shannon, my name is Judy Crockett. I recently returned from a family humanitarian trip to Guatemala. While we were there we had the opportunity to have dinner with a local family and the missionaries came along. I just wanted to let you know how amazing your son is. He served as our translator for the evening and was absolutely wonderful. He loves his mission and he hopes it doesn't pass by too quickly. You must be so proud of him.
This is the family we had dinner with, your son is the one taking the picture so he's not in it but you can at least see the wonderful people in Guatemala he is sharing the gospel with. The man holding the dog is a member but his family members are not so I suspect he may visit this family again.
I wanted to take another picture of him on Sunday but we had to board the bus before Sacrament meeting ended, he was on the stand playing piano for the meeting otherwise I would have snapped another photo. He stood up when our group got up to leave and said goodbye to us in English from the pulpit. He is such a nice young man/missionary. This is where he and his companion are living now. It's right next to the church, you can see the spire in the photo. I'm not sure if he is in the yellow or blue apartment." (He lives in the yellow one.)
Needless to say, this made my day. This is the second time someone has contacted us to let us know that they met Joe and to share kind words about him. I just feel so grateful and blessed!