Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day call and week 89

The first part of this entry will be written by Shannon (mom, blog editor) so that I can share a few of the things Joe told us during our Mother's day skype yesterday. It was wonderful to be able to talk with and see him! Much of our conversation was just catching him up with things that were happening at home, especially the track report, and making plans for when he returns in 7 weeks(!!!) We asked how his week had gone:

Tuesday was the multi-zone conference. My talk was okay, it was supposed to be 15 minutes, but I only went for 13-14. I taught about having unity with your companion. A lot of the Q'eqchi' people are easily distracted, so I did a role play with two missionaries trying to teach me. My goal was to show how it is important to be unified so you can kind of double team the investigator and lead them back on topic when they get distracted. On Thursday I was in Tucuru with Elder Rios-Lazo. On Friday we went back to Vina Rose to work with Rios because his companion was super sick. On Saturday we went to Santo Domingo, we were supposed to do baptism interviews but that didn't work out so we helped out with some Q'eqchi' speaking investigators. We stayed in Santo Domingo for church today. It was cool, because they had a testimony meeting, so I got to kind of say goodbye. It was weird saying how I'd spent almost 2 years here, and now I'm almost going home. Then we walked the hour to La Tinta so we could be at the church to skype.

We asked him how he is doing, and how he feels about coming home:

I was starting to get excited to come home, but now that I have to leave the Polochic next week I have been feeling sad. I mean I want to come home, and I miss everyone there, but it is just really hard to leave my buddies and the people here. If everything goes okay for Mario's family, they will be going to the temple on December 26th or 27th. I want to come back for that.

We talked a bit about traveling back to Guatemala, then asked what was planned for the coming week:

Tomorrow we are going to the castle ruins. It is about 3-4 hours away by Rio Dulce in El Estor's area. It isn't really that far, it just takes a long time because all of the roads are dirt. Tuesday we are planning on visiting Ronald again. We need to give him cincho. He keeps saying that he knows he needs to come to church, and promising that he will be there each week, then he doesn't show up. We have to keep moving his baptism date back because he can't be baptized if he can't keep that commitment. We will also have our last Family Home Evening with Mario's family this week. They are doing okay, they came to church. They still don't know exactly what is wrong with Sergo. When he went to the hospital, they said he needs three different tests. One of them is about 2000 quetz, I'm not sure how much they cost all together. The President of the rama has helped them already, but I'm not sure how much the church can do. They have to be really careful here with money, because if the people hear that one family got help, they all want a lot. When I leave I am going to make a note to the next Elders and ask them to keep visiting Mario's family every week so they can stay on schedule to go to the temple. On Thursday we are going to Tucuru to do interviews, and then on Friday I will do divisions with Elder Rios-Lazo. His birthday is on the 23rd, so we are going to celebrate our birthdays together. We are going contacting in an area that has waterfalls, so I should have some good pictures, then we are going to eat with a family who makes good food. On Saturday and Sunday I will be busy packing and saying my goodbyes to people in Teleman. Monday I will go to Coban for changes. 

No big stories this time, but we did share some laughs about little things that happen in the mission. It is funny talking with Joe now, because he sort of slips in and out of English,Spanish, and Q'eqchi', and sometimes can't remember how to say a word in English. It was different saying goodbye this time, knowing that we will soon be talking with him face to face! Now on to today's letter:

The castle was fun! I got up at 2 this morning to go, so I am kind of tired. We hired a microbus from a member and he drove us everywhere. He charged us 100 qetz (about $13) a person which is a pretty good price. We got there at like 7 but it didn't open until 8, then we were there till maybe 10 or so. We bought some souvenirs, I got a Guatemalan looking shirt.

Mom asked why we point up in pictures. It is something that the Q'eqchi' people do where they say "jun ajwi' li yos" which means "there is only one God," so that is a Polochic thing. After the castle, we went back to El Estor and ate at Gardanias. That is the restaurant that I always ate at when I did p-days there that makes the good tortillas de harina, so that is what I ate. It is only like an hour from the castle, so not too far. We are back in our area now. We were going to write in El Estor but it is about two hours away and we decided it would just be easier to get back and write here instead.  P-day ends at 6. We don't have any appointments tonight, so maybe we will go contact or something.

Tomorrow we have district meeting in La Tinta, and then we will have to get more water and our groceries. There is still no water here. Then we will visit Ronald, and we will have our Family Home Evening with Mario's family. We still haven't decided what we will teach. I won't say goodbye yet though, I will do that on Sunday. It will be a long day with a lot of walking because Ronald lives far. 

I'm glad Mom asked me some questions because I don't really know what else to report on other than what I said yesterday haha. So here it goes!

1. My closest friend that is still in the mission... I'm not really sure, I get along really well with Rios-Lazo, and Zavala, and Nielsen, so it is hard to pick.
2. My answer is still the same for who has helped me the most on the mission, I'm going to cheat and say Heavenly Father and Christ, because I wouldn't have made it past the CCM without them.
3. The happiest part of my mission thus far is being able to help the people in general, and I think the most prominent example of that is Hermano Mario and his family just because of the big turn he has made in his life.
4. The hardest part of the mission is when you have someone that you have worked really hard with, whether it is a convert or investigator, and something bad happens in their life and they don't want to go to church any more. That is probably about one of the most hearbreaking things that can happen.
5. I have learned a lot! But I think the most valuable thing I have learned is how although I can't really do much on my own, with Heavenly Father on my side, all things are possible. I have really been able to strengthen my relationship with Him and the Savior.
6. My most embarassing moment is still my first p-day when I accidently asked for a breast-milk smoothie jaja. 
7. The scariest thing that has happened is probably was when that turantula crawled out of the shower drain, that was terrifying.
8. The sound that best reperesents my mission is probably the sound of the women making tortillas in their houses because you can hear them pounding the dough from like a mile away.
9. Right now the smell is probably the smell of my clothes from my time here in Teleman. The lady we pay to do our wash doesn't wash them super well, and I smell like that all the time, so it is what I am always smelling jaja.
10. The taste of my mission hasn't changed, to this day it is the q'em ha'. There is nothing else like that.

I hope I got all of them! 

My spiritual thought this week comes from an experience I had with my companion. The other night it was like midnight and I was just falling asleep when my he told me he needed a blessing because he felt really bad and couldn't sleep. So I gave him one, and just in middle of the blessing the room just got all calm and peaceful, and afterwards he fell asleep before I did! I am just really blessed to be able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands. We get to give blessings pretty regularly, for some reason the men here don't really exercise the Priesthood a lot so we get called to do it. One blessing I will always remember is the one where we healed that lady when her throat was really hurting her. I have received some pretty good blessings while I have been sick too. I can't remember much specifics, it just seems like most of the time I have been sick, I spend like a week trying to fight it on my own, and then I get my blessing and within a day it is already better. So it is awesome. Ninnaw xb'aan li profeet aj Jose Smith, kikojbaak wichik' li choxahil wankilal li yos. Li wankilal a'an nokoxb'eresi ut rik'in li wankilal a'an nokoruuk chixb'aanunkil li sumwaank li tento taqab'aanu re sutq'iiq rik'in li yos ut li qajunkab'lal chi junelik q'e kutan. Jwal osob'tesinb'ilo naq wanko sa' xhoonalil lix paab'al li Jesukristo. (I know that through the prophet Joseph Smith the Priesthood of God was restored, that power guides us, and with it we can make the covenants we need to do to return to live with our Heavenly Father and family forever. We are very blessed to live in the time of the Church of Jesus Christ.)

I love you!

Love, Elder Toolson

1 comment:

  1. Dear Joe,
    Your journey these last two years has been very inspiring. I thank you and your mom for sharing with us. I have seen such growth in you, as a man and spiritually. Your trust and Faith is heartfelt, deep and full. I keep you in thought and in prayer daily. As you prepare for your transition home---continue to look to God for guidance as there may be challenging days, especially the culture shock once you return. You are an inspiration. You give me hope that our younger adults continue on the path of God, for so often this is when young adults stray.
    God bless you. Diane Conom