Monday, February 27, 2017

week 78: happy transfer news

Hey! So the big news this week...I am staying in Teleman! It is freaking awesome! Me and my companion are both staying so we will have another good change. I feel a lot less stressed now, I was pretty stressed before changes because I knew that my next area will be my last, and I can handle two changes in a hard area, but three changes is a pretty long time haha. The other big news - they made a new zone in the Polochic, so our zone boundaries changed and now we are in charge of a smaller zone! We have Tukuru, Santo Domingo, La Tinta One and Two, Saqsuha, and our area. And we have four Hermanas (Sister Missionaries)! So that is scary! The Sisters are Hermanas Casto, Mazareigos, Devolder, and Herrea. They are all pretty nice and easy going so it should be a good time.

We put a fecha with Ronald! But he hasn't come to church in like two Sundays now so that is weird. We will have to see what is up with that. It's tricky because during the week he lives really far away. He lives where he works which is actually in a part of Canlun's area, but there are no missionaries in Canlun so we take care of that. Then during the weekend I think he lives close. We are still having random people show up to church, then we go to visit them, and then they don't show up the next Sunday. So I think they are just showing up to get a job from the mayor. We also tried to visit that family that are looking for a church twice but they weren't home.

Mario's family are good. We shared some quotes and some Mormon Messages and it seemed to help a lot. They are in a really difficult time with some extended family stuff, but the Rama President is working with them. It makes me thankful for the gospel, I can't imagine what I would do without it. I really don't get how people make it through life happy without it. 

Oh and I got my package! So that is awesome, thank you so much! 

Last night was a good time because Elder Bos came down. Last night and today we will get to spend some time together before he goes home. I really love that guy, I'm going to miss him a lot. It is weird and a little sad to think I am not super far behind him. 

(photo from Elder Bos; I imagine Joe saying "see you on the other side, Brother!")

Today we had our leader meeting and now we are just kind of relaxing. We will probably stay the night here in Coban so we can be a little more relaxed and tranquilo. We just stay with the Zone Leaders here or the Assistants to the President or the office Elders, wherever there is space.

I want to dedicate my spiritual thought to something we talked about in our meeting today. We talked about Jesus Christ and His life and Atonement, and I just want to let everyone know that I know Jesus Christ lives. I know that He paid for my sins and knows me perfectly. Only because He loves us and died for us can we return to live with Him, our families, and our Heavenly Father forever. I know that during the time that He bled from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane, He loved and knew us perfectly. Through that love He was able to do what no one else in history could do, and finished His mission here on earth. We are so blessed! I love all of you!

Love, Elder Toolson

P.S. I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures this week

Monday, February 20, 2017

week 77

Hey! Things this week were kind of slow, we didn't really have much success with finding the people we were supposed to find and we didn't really find that many people that seemed interested. The problem with Teleman is that the Mayor of this place is a member, which is awesome because he can help the missionaries get people married and stuff, but a lot of people only show up to church to ask him for money or a job. So we get all these new random investigators in church, and then we find out they are only there to see the Mayor. 

We haven't been able to find Victor, and we got stood up like three times by the same guy who kept telling us to come by. That made me about as mad as Guatemalan transportation, that is the worst. We only use it when we travel outside our area, probably four times a week or so. We have two district meetings we are supposed to go to each week. We instruct everyone in zone meeting once a month, then they do district meeting every month to instruct their district and we go to observe. Plus divisions and interviews. 

We found one family that doesn't have anywhere to go to church so we will see how things go with them. Mario's family is kind of having trouble because their son is misbehaving a little bit, and his wife feels like that makes her unworthy to go to church or prepare to go to the temple. I tried to explain to her that if she is teaching him to do the right thing and he just isn't doing it, it is not her fault. But she doesn't seem to understand. The problem is she is really evangelica, so she thinks if one tiny thing goes wrong she needs to repent to the point she is like sobbing, so I don't really know what to do. But we will see what we can do to help her. We had a good lesson with Ronald so that was nice. He speaks both Spanish and Kekchi plus he can read, so he is easier to teach than a lot of others. He is so receptive and you can see the Lord helping him understand these things the first time we explain them. That lesson was probably the most spiritual thing that happened this week. 

Luis wasn't home the two times we tried to stop by with him so darn, but it is all good! We will keep working. This is the last week of the change. We have to work so that if I stay, we have some good stuff going, and if I go, the next elder has some good stuff going. Teleman has kind of hit a wall. But one nice thing is that our zone put like 8 new fechas (baptismal dates) this last week so March should be a big month for us! I am excited, hopefully I will be here to see that! I hope I stay another change, I have only been here two, but I don't think I will. This one flew by. I don't like it, I only have three transfers left and it feels like they are happening every other week. It is time for Elder Bos to go home, I am really bummed, I am going to miss him. And I think my time in the Polochic is coming to an end so that is kind of a bummer. I'm sure it wouldn't be too bad, I just would really miss talking in Kekchi I think. Hopefully I get moved to an area that has at least a little bit of Kekchi in it. I don't really like teaching in Spanish as much and that's probably all I would teach in. Although it is nice because Teleman has some Spanish so I am starting to get used to it. The dream is that I'd get to train, I think that might happen my last two changes. We are getting new missionaries this time, but not Kekchi speakers.

I got to do some divisions this week with a guy named Elder Garcia, he is nice and really intense. He has been out about two months and is really enthusiastic about the work. We were up in one of my old areas, Sepemac, so it was good to see some old friends there. I don't know if you remember Ramona but I got to visit her. It is a bummer because she is still living with her boyfriend so she hasn't gotten to be baptized. She has wanted to be baptized for over a year, but they need to get married. He says he wants to join the church but when the time comes to actually do something he doesn't go to church or keep commitments. It is a huge bummer. We also got to visit my favorite family in my whole mission which is a family whose dad's name is Raul so we just call them Raul's family. They always tell me after my mission I should just come back and live there. They gave us some beans and she makes the best tortillas so it was a dinner with them. Seeing them was the best part of the week. It was awesome.

Photos! These were just taken in my area...

In the last picture, I just helped a lady make tortillas. I am really bad at it. I feel like I should learn how to make homemade tortillas because it will be weird to go home and eat without them. I have even started eating noodles with tortillas! A lot of the people here don't have spoons so that is all we have as utensils. It took a while to get used to but now I feel like I should have tortillas with my cereal, haha.

Mom asked me about some of the superstitions here. One is if you scare a kid or make a kid cry you have to cut off some of your hair and they will burn it and it is all okay. I have never had to do that yet thank goodness. There are a few other weird ones but the only one I remember is that if you pass between two people that are walking, I can't remember if that means they steal your luck, or you steal theirs. And if you are sitting on the side of the road, you can't greet the people that pass by first, they have to greet you.

We are just getting food and writing for pday. Things are good but pretty hot, it was hard to play soccer haha. One nice thing about being in Teleman, is that I can just pass my pday here, no extra hiking or trucks.

My spiritual thought this week comes from my personal scripture study. I was finishing up Alma and there is a part where there is kind of a break in the wars. Captain Moroni starts making all the weak points and weak cities stronger, and then the Nephites totally wreck the Lamanites. It was dope! And I got to thinking that maybe we should try that in our own lives! If we can identify what our weak points are, and then get those stronger, Satan won't be able to do anything! Brings back what my Mission President said, he asked which commandment is the most important. Of course we started shouting out answers like "Love God and your neighbor" and stuff like that. But he told us that the most important commandment is the one that is the hardest for us to keep. 

Have an awesome week!

Love, Elder Toolson

Monday, February 13, 2017

week 76

(Editor's note: this letter is shorter than usual because, believe it or not, we have started getting enrollment/ housing/ schedule information from BYU! Elder Toolson really is coming home! Much of our correspondence this week was about nitty gritty decisions Joe is having to make, so I won't include that in the mission news.)

Hey! It was pretty solid this week. We taught one really good lesson with this guy named Luis who seems pretty interested but hasn't shown up to church yet so we will keep working on that. Another good lesson we had was with this guy named Ronald. He showed up to church two Sundays ago but didn't make it out yesterday, so we will see what happened with him. We tried to visit Victor but he wasn't home so that was a bummer. I am kind of worried that our President was right about him just wanting to practice English but we will keep working with him and hope for the best. It gets kind of discouraging, but we can't know joy if we don't know some sadness as well, right? Mario's family is doing good, they all came to church and we had a good Family Home Evening with them this last week and will have another good one tomorrow. 

For p-day today we are just writing. The other district we usually play soccer with went to a waterfall so we had nobody to do anything with. But I got a solid licuado so there are no complaints.

A few pictures from the week...

My spiritual thought is kind of simple this week, it comes from a talk I had with my buddy Elder McEntee. He was telling me about how a guy in his area who is a member of the church, but has a problem with something about the church. Me and Elder McEntee were talking and trying to decide if the guy had a point. After about a minute or so of talking we just both stopped and were like "It doesn't matter!" It doesn't matter if we like everything the church does. If we believe that this is God's church, we will stay active. We don't have to understand everything all the time. That's why in Isaiah it says that Gods ways and thoughts are not our own! It doesn't matter what we think. It is God's church and He leads it. I think that is a lesson I have started to learn on my mission - giving up my will to the Lord's, because He knows best!

I love all of you, have a good week!

Love, Elder Toolson

Monday, February 6, 2017

week 75

Hey! I will start by apologizing if my email doesn't make any sense because I am pretty tired. We had our meeting in Coban today and I didn't sleep last night, so I have been up for I don't know how many hours and we have traveled like 8 hours so whatever I write may not make any sense haha. 

This week was pretty good. Me and Elder Ibarra worked hard and contacted a few of those people that showed up to church, but I don't know how interested they will be. We taught around 20 lessons, 15 were new contacts for the week, mostly found by tracting. Victor keeps asking us to come and he is praying so that is pretty encouraging, we invited him to kub´i ha´ (be baptized) and he says he needs to think a bit first so we will see what he comes up with this week. 

Our meeting was really good today. The schedule changes aren't too much different, we just have more flexibility to study when we want and at what times. I think we might just keep it close to the same thing because it would be kind of weird to change after almost 19 months. We talked about other things that were all good but I need to re-read my notes and report next week because I can't remember them right now. Elder Bos gave his last testimony today at the meeting, and then I almost cried and he was crying and it was sad. I am pretty sure I will get to see him again before he goes home. He wanted us to stay in Coban with him today. All of us Polochicers try to stick together because everyone else seems all proper and we are gross and dirty haha. We have to start divisions with El Estor tomorrow though so we needed to come home. We did the whole round trip today - it made a long day. But I had some McDonalds so that is pretty good if you ask me.

We have three weeks left before transfers. Today is the half way point, this change is flying by! In this mission it seems common for people to go home mid transfer for work or school. Some of my buddies were saying I should try to go home a week early for the fourth. But don't worry I don't plan on coming home early, I would extend if I could!

Let's see, what else... we lost water in our toilet this week but we figured out how to bajar (lower) the water so it is ok!

I have some pictures for you. This was taken while we were making pancakes with one of our recent converts, Blanca Iris.

I took these pictures when were just out contacting.

It is kind of a Polochic thing to pose with your tie out because our ties are always so thick that we can stand them up haha.

My spiritual thought comes from you this week mom! We went and visited Mario's family and I told them what you told me to tell them. When I told them that you were fasting for them they all burst out into tears and the Spirit was so strong and you could just feel a lot of love in the room. Thank you for doing missionary work from home mom! And the best part, Mario's wife showed up to church! I don't know if she is completely decided about changing her studies schedule but it is a start! Thank you for everything, I love you!

Love, Elder Toolok