Monday, January 26, 2015

A Bunch of Dogs, and New Life Skills

Janaury 26, 2015

Hey Y'all!
     Before I get into what happened this week I'll tell you a little about all of our bap dates since I've kind of been leaving you in the dark. On the 8th of February we should be baptizing 4 kids from a part member family, the Cowarts! Apparently they've slipped through the cracks and every missionary, including myself until I found out, thought that they were already all members! Super awesome. The other three are all friends of a youth in our ward Sarah, who's like the best missionary ever. Kyle, Matt, and Isabel are their names and Kyle and Matt are very solid but I still think we need more lessons with Isabel. So yeah. Wednesday was a pretty slow day. Me and Elder Warren were both sick but we went out anyway. We went out to Keystone and ended up getting a lesson with a less-active that day. Thursday was the best! Elder Andersen came over to Starke from Lake Butler and we did service for days. We worked at the food pantry for a few hours and left to help this lady trim up her palm trees. This lady, Linda, I can't remember if I told you last week but she has twenty five dogs!! They were everywhere I looked. And we talked for a while to a less active boy in our ward, Nick, who's about 9. Another couple of less actives, Sandra and Willie called us and we went over to help them move their gigantic chicken coop. That thing was so heavy, it took four of us and even then we barely could. Friday morning me and Elder Andersen, before studies, took turns trying to see if we could fit through the doggie door in our house (the things we do to keep ourselves entertained... it didn't work by the way). We traded back and had a pretty average Friday.  Saturday, we spent the day out in Keystone and did some service pulling a bunch of thorns from their bushes for a while. We went tracting most of the rest of the day and came back to Starke at night to help Matt and Bro Tanner clean the church. Yesterday was a rollercoaster.  It was like good, then bad, then good.  It was weird. We had a lesson with one of Sarah's friends.  First time we met and she started crying about 5 minutes into the lesson, which we thought was good because she was feeling the Spirit, but it turns out she was super overwhelmed with all the information.  Hopefully it'll go smoother next time. But we had a lesson with Kyle and Matt and another of her friends, Lance and that went super well! We went less active visiting last night and had one who was super nice and wanted us to come back and one who told us that they don't believe in the Book of Mormon and asked to be taken off the records... But Sunday nights are always the best with the Barbers! We went over and read the Book of Mormon with them and just talked about random things. I wore a football helmet like half the night and they took a ton of photos of me and said they were going to put them on Facebook so we'll see haha. Oh and in case your still wondering what I mean by new life skills in the title, I cut my own hair for like the first time ever today and it doesn't look terrible! No way I'm ever paying like fifteen bucks for a haircut ever again! Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Toolson

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Another Transfer in Good ol' Starkey

Hey Y'all!
     Well, I'm here in Starke for another transfer! Not very surprising, Starke is legendary for keeping whoever comes here for forever (at least 6 months usually, the most I've seen is nine). But yeah, I'm excited though, because I get to see the six baptism dates that we set happen! (hopefully) It's been a very very busy week. On Tuesday, Elder Walgamott came here from Macclenny and we had an awesome trade off.  Basketball was super fun.  I'll have to see if I can email y'all a video he took during it. The day after, Wednesday was probably one of the coolest days of my life. I forget if I told you or not but Neil L. Anderson came here Wednesday to talk to us. Yeah, Neil L. Anderson, as in the one from the quorum of the twelve apostles!!!! It was super awesome, the first time an apostle has been here since 1988! We went to Lake City for that and he talked to all of us missionaries from 2-5. He specifically talked about having more faith than we did last year and having the faith to accomplish our goals, super neat. And since I'm in the Lake City Zone/Stake we got to stay for his Stake Devotional from 7-9 that night so I got to see him twice and shake his hand! Best day ever. Nothing too interesting happened Thursday, oh except that night we were tracting and knocked some people's door and if I haven't told you already almost everyone here yells, "Who is it?" or "who it be?" or "who it is?". Anyway they yelled it twice and we answered the missionaries and if they dont get it by then we usually just say "jesus people" so they'll understand. They yelled back and were like "We don't believe in Jesus" so we left and saw a massive cross in the front yard as we left--haha some people... Saturday wore me out bad. We didn't even study that morning because Brother Barber picked us up to go do some service for another family in our ward, the Watsons, out in Hampton. We thought it'd take an hour and a half, two hours tops. Nope. Four hours of chopping down trees,moving the debris, moving this super old trailer that hasn't been moved since the 70's and various other things. It was tiring but service is always fun. We usually do service from 1-3 on Saturdays for some less-actives, the Masseys but the morning service took so long, we only had time to share a spiritual message with them. We taught Kyle and Isabel (both teens) and set baptismal dates with both of them so now, as I said, we have 6 bap dates. we went to the Beckhams for dinner (we always do  Saturday nights, since the sisters are gone) and that's always a hoot. They invite a few other people from the ward over too for that.  Sunday was pretty good too. In Sunday School our lesson got hijacked by one of the members of the ward and got really weird, hopefully that never happens again, it was just... weird. Yesterday could have been bad but it was actually decent. Mondays before transfer are infamous for being pretty much terrible days, it's just the way it is I guess. But we ended up doing service like half the day yesterday. We raked our neighbors yard for her, and helped the great-grandma of a youth in the ward take down some Cacti (we had needles everywhere...the worst) and fill in dirt holes in the driveway that got washed out. Super fun. We get to go back Thursday and finish. The awesome thing about this lady is that she has not 1, not 2, but 25 dogs!! There were at least 10 dogs surrounding me all afternoon--it was great haha. It's been an awesome week and I get to spend another month and a half in Starke.  I cant wait!  By the end of this transfer I'll have been out for 6 months! crazy right? Hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Toolson

Me and this guy, Roger who comes to play bball. I taught him how to play ninja and every time I see him he wants to play me at least 3 or 4 times haha. If you'll notice at the end he says "one more time"

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Very Busy Week!

January 12, 2015

Hey y'all,
     This week has been insanely busy and I could probably write you a novel about all the things we've done this week but I'll try and summarize it as best I can. Last p-day was awesome. The Lake Butler Elders came over with Brandon (a guy in their ward who's super awesome) and we spent almost all day visiting various thrift stores and playing basketball at the church. It was amazing. We saw Brother Chism (a less-active) as we always do, that night. Tuesday we spent most of the day out in Lawtey and thought it would be a good idea to bike it, which was probably the worst idea anyone's ever had in history. There were no sidewalks anywhere and all the dirt roads were super muddy and washed and everything is super spread out. It was crazy. We almost got hit by like a billion cars because we had to straight up bike right along the freeway for a couple miles... Wednesday we had zone meeting in Lake City and I stayed afterwards for a trade off with Elder Erickson in Lake City. The day was pretty average as far as they go. We did some tracting and things like that.  Thursday we worked at the food pantry for the first time in about 3 weeks. I always talk with this super funny lady, Ledawn, who works there and its always fun doing that.  Friday was pretty normal, we had a lesson with these two young men, about 15 and that was super awkward at first because we forgot the church key (where the lesson was) so we sat on the curb and taught them for a little bit before a sister from the ward happened to come by and unlock the church. But hey, missionaries live for awkward situations and anyone who has served can testify to that. Saturday was probably the busiest day this week. We didn't even get to have studies that morning because we went out to Lawtey to help some members move out and did that until 11 when we had to leave. We spend Saturdays out in Keystone now since the sisters left and usually do service for some less-active members, the Masseys. We helped them shovel some dirt for a few hours and had to get going to have a lesson with an investigator of ours, Kyle. That lesson went super good and we should be solidifying a baptismal date with him this week. We went to this lady Lynda's house after that and were supposed to help her do some yard work but she said it was too cold, so we shared a little message with her and took off. Elder Warren needed a computer to do trade off reports, so we went over to the Beckhams and while he did that I chatted with Bro Beckham and helped him wash his car. Yesterday was pretty great too, we taught Matt and after church the two young men from Friday and then went to the Underhills (in our ward) for lunch. We went over to some less actives house that night and he gave me one of his ties. We went over to the Barbers after for Family Home Evening like we always do and called it a night! We have 4 baptismal dates on now and should have 2 or even 3 more this week. Wow. Hope y'all have had a great week also. Love y'all!

Elder Toolson

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's a New Year

January 7, 2015

Hey Y'all!
     This past week has been pretty interesting... So this week on New Years Eve I went on a trade off with Elder Mann who came here to Starke! He's awesome. We tried several people but not a ton of people are all there on New Year's if you know what I mean... We went to this super good southern place called Grannies in town and it blew my mind. So good. Probably the best grits I've ever had in my life. We saw a less active lady Sister Busterna and shared a little New Year's message with her. We've been using that New Year's Mormon Message a ton since there's only like 6 days out of the year where it's actually relevant. The Barbers invited us over for New Years and that was insane! They know how to party. They made Elder Mann like double over crying he was laughing so hard. We ate these taquitos things, but they weren't really taquitos if that makes sense. Grace (a Barber) made them and it was like some recipe from the Philippines (where she's from) but they were super good. We played Apples to Apples with them and talked.  It was awesome.  One of my favorite New Years ever even though I didn't see the ball drop. We traded back in the morning and New Year's Day was probably the worst day for missionary work in the world. Everyone was still recovering from New Years Eve and spending time with family, so many people got mad at us. But later in the day one of our investigators, Japan, invited us over for a little party they were having for the Oregon/FSU game. That was intense! Everyone was flipping out every few minutes and yelling stuff at each other, Japan is probably the funniest guy ever. We took off after a little bit and went to go see Larry (a less-active) and talked to him for a little bit too. The rest of the week has actually been surprisingly uneventful, just normal missionary stuff. Oh, except one night we tracted into this lady and she answers the door and is basically like, "Oh yeah I have all your pamphlets and I read from the Book of Mormon every day." It was crazy stuff. But anyways sorry for the lame- semi short letter. Hope y'all had a great New Years!

Elder Toolson