Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Planting Both Feet in My Mission

October 28, 2014

Hey Y'all,
     I forgot to tell you we had transfers this week so P-day is on Tuesday instead of Monday, whoops. I've decided to try and make my letters a little bit shorter from now on for 2 reasons. 1. I'm trying to plant both feet in this mission and writing those super long letters is kind of distracting. And 2. It gets very monotonous. We teach and preach the gospel everyday, just to different people, and most of the time it's perfectly average. So anyways I'll hit you up with the out of the ordinary stuff we do from now on. We ended up teaching seminary Tuesday morning and ended up preparing the totally wrong lesson for it, soooo we threw everything out the window introduced them to Johnny Lingo (they'd never heard of it!) while we read the lesson plan.We had our last district meeting as a district Wednesday. Super sad. I love our district! So we took a district pic and separated back. We had the trunk or treat on Friday and that was super fun. Us and the sisters got to judge the chili, desert, and trunks to see whose was best. I was so dang full. People down here know how to do chili right! I had my first fo' real bible bash on Sunday and it was freaking awesome. Oh! I almost forgot! I blessed my first house! It was so freaking weird kneeling down and blessing an inanimate object, but sweet at the same time. I felt like I should be yelling, casting out the devil and such but I decided against it. A miracle this week, we were going to find a media referral that we have been meaning to contact and went to the right address but he didn't live there. But we met who was there, a sweet old lady named Sue, who we taught the restoration too and she seemed decently interested! We still need to check back with her but it was pretty cool finding someone you didn't expect too! And yesterday we randomly went to a Wendy's in Waldo and this guy Andre who took our order, started asking us what church we go to and he said he was interested so we gave him a restoration pamphlet with our number on the back! It was sweet. Oh and we survived transfers! Below is probably in my top 3 favorite conference talk from the most recent session. By D. Todd christofferson. 

Christ died not to save indiscriminately but to offer repentance. We rely “wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save” in the process of repentance, but acting to repent is a self-willed change. So by making repentance a condition for receiving the gift of grace, God enables us to retain responsibility for ourselves. Repentance respects and sustains our moral agency: “And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.”

Misunderstanding God’s justice and mercy is one thing; denying God’s existence or supremacy is another, but either will result in our achieving less--sometimes far less--than our full, divine potential. A God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist. A world without God, the living God who establishes moral laws to govern and perfect His children, is also a world without ultimate truth or justice. It is a world where moral relativism reigns supreme.
Free Forever, to Act for Themselves

The church is true y'all! Have a great week!
Elder Toolson

Back Row: Elder Dean, Elder Greenlaw, Elder Francom, Elder Collett, Elder Sharp, Elder Green, Elder Toolson, Elder Lane
Front Row: Sister Perkes, Sister Snelgrove, Sister Donahue, Sister Koenig, Sister, Hart, Sister Atkinson, Sister Williams, Sister Davidson

Monday, October 20, 2014

Helium, Snickerdoodles, and Missionary Work

October 20, 2014

Just a normal P-day for the most part. We got some slick new haircuts and saw Brother Barber at the Wal-mart. We gave Sister Hart a blessing (she's been sick) and we also saw Katie that night. Haha mom she told me you commented on her Facebook page! Oh my gosh... 

We went out to McDonald's for lunch with Katie, and went over to Brother Burkett's house to help him cover his greenhouse for the winter. We started for maybe ten minutes and it starts down pouring, so we go inside and we're just like, it's Florida, it'll pass in like 15 minutes. So almost 2 hours later were still talking to Brother Burkett and we're finally like screw it we'll do it another day. So we left and tried to visit a few other people but no luck. There's always basketball on Tuesday so we went to that and called it for the day.

I went on a trade off with the zone leaders in Lake City today, me and Elder Francom. We traded right after district meeting that morning. We dropped off his bike to get a tune-up and grabbed some Wendy's and headed to some member's home, the Strattons, to Facebook. We went out knocking some doors and of course more people will turn you down then accept you but we managed to find a lady who seemed interested and then another family of five! We did that until dinner time and went back to the Strattons for dinner and brought one of their investigators, Sandy. Probably the coolest person ever. All the missionaries in Lake City are homies with him and he lives right underneath the apartment. So we had dinner and watched a couple of Mormon Messages with them. We went to visit another investigator, Desiree and taught her tithing. And by then it was 9 so we headed back.

Well I got back from my trade-off in Lake City around 10 in the morning and found out that trade-off reports are due this Saturday not the next like we thought, so we called MacClenny and asked if they could do a late trade-off at like 4:00 that afternoon and thank goodness they could.  So me and Elder Lane did our weekly service at the food pantry and traded up but this time I was taking the lead in Starke with Elder Sharp. So we traded and I drove us back to Starke. We tried visiting a ton of different people. Tamra is apparently out of town.  We stopped in on the Smiths and talked to their daughter for maybe 5 minutes who said both her parents were super sick in bed.  We dropped in on Kim and Jerry who were on their way out to some local thing going so we talked to them for like 2 minutes too. So we tried visiting some potential's. We finally ended up finding this lady Cheri who was super nice and gave us a drink of water and some fruit! We'll try and go back soon and try and teach the restoration to them. We had a super good dinner at the Chisms (ham and okra). Well, the ham was good. I found out that I did not like okra, like at all. But yeah the Chisms are sweet and Brother Chism says he needs us to come bless his house because some strange crap has been going on so,that'll be interesting...

We met up at a random gas station this morning and traded back and headed straight to this trainer/trainee meeting in Mandarin (suburb in JAX) which lasted until about 2:00. It was super sweet seeing all of my "old" buddies from the MTC even though that was only like a month ago and I knew them for 2 weeks haha. My companion from the MTC, Elder Hadfield went home so that kind of stinks but it was nice seeing everyone else. We stopped in Fleming Island on the way home to visit a recent convert that Elder Lane wanted to check up on (he served there). So after that we headed back to Starke and got back around 4:00.  We Facebooked, had dinner, and visited Katie and played with her kids at the park.

We had a baptismal interview today with Avani who the sisters have been teaching and that went super good, so from there we went to the church and Facebooked and filled up the baptismal font. We didn't attend her baptism at 3:00 because we already made plans to go to Katie's kids birthday party which was awesome! We sucked helium and had cake and all that other good stuff that goes with birthday parties. We headed back to the baptism just in time for refreshments. Timed it perfect. Sister Underhill made some choice empanadas so we ate those while we cleaned up. We also stopped in on the Barbers, who were also having a birthday party that day. We wrapped up the night visiting Larry that night and he's doing great! We talked a ton about what he's been reading in the Book of Mormon and of course football because the Gators were playing that night.

We got up and had Ward Council super early at 7:30 and I was like half asleep. Near the end we had to leave early to pick up Kim and Jerry for church. Church was pretty much normal, Matt taught a super good lesson in priesthood about how if we stop doing the small things and let one brick house off of our house, it is so much easier to knock out the other bricks until they are all tumbling down the hill and you wonder how you got there. We came back and had some spaghetti that we picked up at church for lunch. We did studies and left to go visit Nick, who's an 8 year old kid that lives with his g-parents who aren't members. So we talked to Nick for a little bit and went to go see the Hinsons over in Lawtey, which is a decent 20 mins from Starke. So we visited them and they said they were having kind of a crazy night but that we could come back later. So we headed back to Starke and tried to visit Sister Busterna but she wasn't home. We went over to the Barbers for weekly scripture study and that's always super fun. They had some snicker doodles that blew my frikin mind.

I guess I should probably put something spiritual in this so, my favorite Mormon Message, I don't know if I told y'all is called The Will of God, based off the talk "As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten" by D. Todd Christofferson. So good I probably watch it like 3 times a day. I love this part, 
"How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done--that I should have done--that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?" “And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …

“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”

“As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten”

Some parts of that probably don't make sense until you read the talk but yeah. We'll probably share it with Katie sometime.

Hope y'all have a good week!
Elder Toolson

Here's some pictures 

(Lake on the way to Jacksonville for a meeting)

(One of the many swamps we see around here in Starke)

(The sunset in Lawtey visiting the Hinsons)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lost Ipad

October 14, 2014

I left my Ipad in Lake Butler, so I don't get it back until WednesdayI write down what goes down everyday so I don't forget. So, I'll just hit you up with the highlights of this week. Tuesday we met this lady named Passion, and man were they accurate on that name. WE barely got a word in while she talked to us about her religion. Did y'all know Jesus doesn't have a soul? We are meeting with her again tomorrow and she's gonna show us the book of the lost bible haha. Can't wait. I went on a trade off with Elder Dean in Lake Butler. Lake Butler's freakin' sweet. We did a service project there and met with Sister Jennine(shes super cool)! SO yeah I left the IPad in their car... ummm this thing called bike fest was in town this weekend and we went to check it out with Katie and her kids. Yeah. Not family oriented... it was basically a biker convention. We helped at the food pantry extra long Thursday because LaDon took a trip to Orlando. That's about all I can remember without my trusty IPad. Y'all know how my memory is haha. Have a good week y'all!

Elder Toolson

Monday, October 6, 2014

P-Day is the Greatest Thing On the Face of the Earth.

P-day is the greatest thing on the face of the earth. We did Personal study and went to the library to email. We went shopping at Walmart and came back and put our food away. We cleaned the house cuz it smelt like dirty garbage but now it's smells freaking amazing. Super proud of ourselves. We went to this thrift near the tracks that I've been wanting to check out and I can say without a doubt that is the nastiest store I've set foot in my life. There was hardly any lighting so I'm pretty sure I could've gotten mugged in there and no one would have seen. There was crap EVERYWHERE. I couldn't even get to some stuff because there was stuff on the floor I couldn't get through I wish I had a picture of the inside but I did take one of the outside And all the junk was crazy expensive.those massive round back TVs from like the 90's were like 50 and 100 bucks. Crazy. Anyways we tried another thrift shop but it's closed on Mondays. We went to the church and hung around until elder Dean and Greenlaw came. We made plans before to go to this flea market in Waldo so we grabbed a little lunch at Taco Bell and headed out. The flea market, although empty was open, but no one was there. Probably because it's a Monday and it's down pouring but who knows. We went into this antique shop and looked around forever. They had some freaking cool stuff but all of us were too poor to buy most of it. I did pick up 2 new ties though so that was pretty sweet. I thought about getting y'all souvenirs or something but I have zero idea what to get y'all so if you got any suggestions, lemme know. We headed back to the church and talked for a bit. Me and Elder Lane finally went back to the house around 3 and took short naps.we woke up and went to talk to Katie tonight. We talked about the Book of Mormon and how important it is and chit chatted about other stuff. This town is so small and no one will let us come see them after 8 so we Facebook proselyted and found this cool 2 minute talk by Jeffrey R Holland called "Mission Preparation track 23".

We attempted to visit Kim and Jerry today but they were gone when we tried round 11 and later around 4. So we went to see if Tamra was home and she was so we talked to her about tithing and fast offerings and what they are and she was excited about it. We were going to go to lunch with Katie but her friends car died so we tried to fix it for like an hour but couldn't figure it out so we got Arby's and ate at the park. Her and Elder Lane both call me toolboy now so that's something haha. We facebooked after that and have been trying to find people since one address for a guy didn't exist, we did talk to a guy named Robert for like a second but he had to go. We tried Lashell and a couple other people at weren't home. We stopped and got a drink at the stop and rob ( not really the name but that's what we call it because its super ghetto). We went back to Katies work to try and figure out the car again. Elder Lane said a prayer and figured out that the car needed to be in neutral to start. It was pretty cool and me and Katie were freaked out that the answer came that dang quick. We went to the park and talked to Katie for awhile. We headed to the church and facebooked for a little came home finally ate dinner and wrapped up our day.

We had zone meeting today. We headed up to Lake City and got to watch his new movie called Meet the Mormons. SO GOOD. Go to meetthemormons.com and check it out because it's awesome! After that we had actual zone meeting and received training for a couple hours. We went on trade offs today so I'm with Elder Green for the next day in Maclenny. Me and Elder Green headed to the church there and did a progress record for correlation meeting and ward council and had those meetings. We ate at McDonald's and went to visit some less actives,  the Hartley's. We came back to their apartment which is above a taxidermy shop so that's pretty cool. Elder Green is a huge dork but in the good way. He told me all about his garden at the apartment and showed me his tomatoes, watermelon, like 4 different peppers, carrots and lettuce and kale. We nerded out and talked about different video games and other stuff like that til like 11:30.

It was weird to wake up in Maclenny this morning. We got showered did P study and then like 15 min of comp study and then we went to meet at "the spot" to trade back. Everyone kept just calling it "the spot" and it was super vague and confusing. Turns out "the spot" is a super ghetto looking shack on the city limits of Starke. It also has this tiny little puddle there and there are freaking bubbles coming out of this thing. It's like a freak of nature it's so cool I'll attach the pic. So we traded back and me and Elder Lane headed back to Starke. We goofed around and shot each other with this nerf gun and just did retarded things until we left for the food pantry. We did that until like 2:30 and came back. Elder Lane said he wasn't feeling good so he tanked out and I haven't really done anything besides bum around and try to avoid getting sick myself. I took a 3 hour nap and he took like a five hour one. We ate some pizza they gave us at the food pantry and watched that hour long Joseph Smith movie on the iPad. I read a couple conference talks and turned in early. Having a sick companion when your a missionary actually kind of stinks because there is legit nothing to do besides go out visit people because studying for like 3+ hours gets kind of boring. I'm praying he's better tomorrow so I won't be bored out of my mind.

Well Elder Lane was still sick for most of the day. We're pretty sure at least part of it was the pizza because freaking wrecked havoc on our insides. I cleaned the kitchen and made a little lunch and studied a little. I had to clean out the shower drain so that was super fun. I dry heaved like 5 times it smelled SO bad. I took a little nap and we finally got out of the house around five because he was feeling a little better. We visited Katie for a bit and talked to Larry. Larry apparently has super amazing guitar skills and played us a couple songs. It was sweet. Both of them should be coming to conference tomorrow so that's sweet.

Well it turns out conference is non existent here. We went to the first session at 12 and watched with a grand total of 4 of us, including me and Elder Lane on one of our iPads cuz we couldn't get the projector to work. I really enjoyed D. Todd Christoffersons and Uchtdorfs talks. During intermission we tried to visit Katie, and Tamra but both were out and about so we went home to eat. We went back for conference round two, and this time it was just me and Elder Lane for a while. Katie showed up about 30 minutes in and stayed for about an hour with her kids. It was a sweet session. I loved Elder Holland the best though because he threw down as usual.Me and Elder Lane balled up in the gym for about 45 minutes and then people started showing up because we were all having dinner before priesthood. We had freaking T-bone steaks and sweet potatoes. They know how to do it right. Larry came for the dinner and session. I really enjoyed Elder Cook's and President Uchtdorf's talk. Uchtdorf gave some killer talks today.

We watched conference for most of the day. I thought it would be a good idea to eat that pizza again for lunch. It wasn't.  I was pretty much dying the rest of the day. Anyways we went over to Bishop Carver's for dinner after conference. We had barbecue Sammies and re watched part of Uchtdorf's talk from priesthood with them. It's tradition for all the new missionaries in the ward to get a blessing, so me and Sister Hart both got blessings. We went to visit Katie for the rest of night.

Write y'all next week!
Love and miss Y'all

Elder Toolson

(Outside of ghetto thrift store)

The spots magic puddle

The spots ghetto shack

(Random and super weird photo I was trying out the timer photo thingy) our front yard btw

Super random country road that's black and white for some reason...