Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Elder Zwick is Amazing, and I Saw the Biggest Dog in my Life

February 25, 2015

Hey Y'all!
     This week has been a good one! Last Monday and Tuesday were the worst though. Me and Elder Warren both came down with some kind of bronchitis and were basically at the threshold of death for those 2 days. Nothing happens when your sick as a missionary.  It's so boring, I hate it. Anyways, Wednesday we were finally well enough to get out and go do something. We had district meeting here in Starke in the morning and I gave a memorized scripture. Matthew 7:1-2. Judge not, that be not judged, etc. We ate at Taco Bell after and went new-investigator hunting for a bit. We've been trying out this new survey approach where we ask them these ten questions and it usually takes about ten minutes and gets people to open up more. It's Awesome. We got one potential from it but we haven't seen her since. Thursday was the best day this week by far! Elder Zwick came to our mission for a mission conference. He spoke very powerfully about the question, "Am I willing to change?" I wish y'all could have heard him speak.  His voice carries the Spirit like you wouldn't believe.

He noted that when we are willing to change the Spirit will be with us, but if we are not willing, the Spirit will not be there. Brother Hemingway from the Church Missionary Department also spoke to us and explained the process of rebooting the whole Ipad program and putting them to better use. Facebook has been given to us for a reason, not to play Farmville, or share viral videos, but to share the gospel! As Elder Uchtdorf said, "Use your hands, to blog and text message the gospel to all the world!" We ate at Five Guys afterwards and it was amazing. I don't think I've had it since I left AZ. Even better, I picked me up some Bo-berry biscuits from Bojangles! I was so pumped about that for like an hour. On Friday we worked at the food pantry again since we missed our usual Thursday volunteering. That night we visited a potential, Tim. He lives in the backwoods and he taught me a super good lesson that night! Smile! He had just gotten out of the hospital and was in no condition to talk to anyone at the moment.  He looked like he was about to collapse. We asked if we could say a prayer with him and he said yes. When we asked who he'd like to say it, he looked at each of us twice over, and I flashed a smile at him and he said, "You look sweet", so I did. It like made my night. So smile! There's no reason not too! Saturday we went over to the Masseys and talked with them for awhile. The service we did this time for them was probably the most fun ever. We helped Brother Massey burn this massive burn pile out back. We spent about an hour dragging small trees to it and just watched it burn. It was super awesome. We ate dinner with the Beckhams that night and had pancakes (apparently it was national pancake day?)  and taught a very good lesson about prayer with them. Yesterday we had church like normal and Kyle was confirmed during sacrament meeting! It was awesome to be part of confirming someone for like the first time ever. We had our last lesson with the Cowarts after church before they get baptized this Saturday! We spent the rest of the day finding and it was pretty average except for one thing. We were talking to this lady and I noticed something move in the corner of my eye. I looked over and pretty much jumped.  It was without a doubt the biggest dog I have ever seen in my life. It was basically a small horse. Apparently it was a bull mastiff. My goodness, I wish I could have taken a picture. Scared the living out of me. Anyways hope y'all have a great week!

Elder Toolson

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I'm on the Board

February 18, 2015

Hey Y'all!
     This week has been crazy hectic but filled with blessings. Tuesday and Wednesday I was on trade offs. Tuesday I was in Macclenny with Elder Walgamott and had a ton of fun over there. Wednesday morning we traded yet again and this time I was in Starke with Elder Collett and we had an awesome day! We did some service for the Randalls and helped them trim up a tree but the catch was, we only had a pair of loppers... so we often devoted our efforts to snapped limbs with brute force, which usually ended up with one of us hurting ourselves and falling to the ground. Super fun. We borrowed the loppers from Bro. Barber and he gave us like a billion carrots that he had been growing. They are super deformed but good! We had dinner with the Chisms that night too and that went awesome. They are like the kings of soda. If I had to guess I'd say that they probably have 40 or so 12 packs of soda encompassing maybe 6 or 7 different drinks. I was in heaven. We went to the youth activity because we needed to interview some of our investigators for baptism. Kyle passed with flying colors, Matthew had to give up coffee cold turkey starting that night or else he couldnt get baptized. Isabel has been rescheduled for March 15 and that took a little while. We visited Larry that night too and he brought up a very good concern with us and its been something that I've been trying to work on. As members of the church we tend to put more emphasis on or place more importance on the Book of Mormon than the Bible. And in doing that we sometimes alienate or put a wall up with others because we assume that they know that we believe in the Bible. But they don't! It was a very interesting discussion. Anyways we traded Thursday at zone conference (my birthday!) I opened my presents(thanks mom!), and we drove to Lake City for Zone Conference.  It was pretty nice because Zone Conference is almost a day off pretty much. We are trained as misisonaries from 8 am - 5 pm and it was nice because I got to see everyone on my birthday and they invited all of us up who had birthdays in February and sang to us. As a bonus Sister Craig let us take the leftover birthday cake since it was actually my birthday that day. Pretty sweet. We ended up spending most of the rest of the night in Lake Butler eating with the Cranfords and talking with them. Me and Elder Andersen totally convinced Sister Cranford that I was from Canada haha. Friday we helped out the Food Pantry since we missed Thursday when we usually do it. We had to figure out what to do with 3 and a half pallets of saltine crackers because we didn't have enough room inside. Crazy right? So we packed as much as we could in, gave some away, and we took like 6 packs, which each contain 12 sleeves of saltines. We pretty much are set up for the rest of our lives on saltines. Friday night we visited Brother Cotton and he always brings up the most random topics. This week it was dedication,consecration,and sanctification. It was a pretty interesting discussion. Saturday we went out to Keystone and did service with the Masseys for a while and had a lesson with Matt afterwards to see how he was doing on giving up coffee. He did it!!! Super exciting! That was the highlight of the day. Yesterday was the best. We missed half of our meetings at church running around like crazy trying to get the baptism set up. The only hour we stayed the whole time was 2nd hour and that was because we were teaching... The water wasn't very warm and they had to crouch a little bit but Kyle and Matthew got dunked! woo! I'll send y'all the baptismal picture. I had to cover for Brother Kelly who was supposed to give the talk on the Holy Ghost but something came up so he couldn't. Awesome day though. We had a mass lesson with the Cowarts and three of their friends and that went pretty well. In 2 more weeks hopefully they should be getting baptized too! So exciting! We went to the Barbers that night and I crashed after a very long but very very good week. Hope y'all are doing well! Spread the word! 

Elder Toolson

Left to right (me,Kyle, Matt, Elder Warren)

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Lot of Sports and Unknown Relatives

February 9, 2015

Hey Y'all!
     I'm still alive over here in Starke! Last P-day after I e-mailed y'all we drove out to Lake City and had Zone P-day which rarely happens because we are so spread apart, but it was awesome! We played basketball for maybe 2 hours, volleyball for a few hours and then basketball again. It wiped me out but it was mega fun. We came back to Starke that night for our usual Monday night dinner with Bro. Chism and he had his girlfriend over too so we got to meet her and her kids and that was super fun! Tuesday was a pretty average day. I can't even remember what happened. I just remember playing basketball that night and hating life because I was already sore but it was so worth it. Wednesday was probably the best day this week! I got to go on a trade off with Elder Mann up in Macclenny! The highlight of the night was when we knocked this door at like 8:30 and thought we were going to get shot for sure. We knocked and heard some incoherent very angry yell come from inside the house and we thought it was directed at us, and Elder Mann almost left me in the dust he was about to run! But he opened the door and was actually pretty nice, it was hilarious though! Also, we were at the church that night for a meeting and one of the members was shocked when she saw my name tag. So apparently she knows Brent and Tucker and T.J. Toolson? (is that Uncle Brent?) Anyway, we traded back Wednesday and the only thing of interest that happened then is that we worked at the food pantry. It's not the most hardcore service ever and there are random periods of super busy and not busy at all so we are pretty good friends with everyone that works there. I really can't even remember what happened Friday, but Saturday was pretty great. We went over to the Masseys as usual and helped them with their yard. We got to talk to one of our new families we are teaching and they are so awesome and nice, Dewey and Jessica, and they have 2 kids. I'll keep you posted on that. Yesterday was a pretty good day too. We had to leave extra early to get to ward council at 7:30 and then had church afterwards. The Cowarts weren't baptized yesterday. We've moved it to the 28th when all of their family will be in town for it, but the dates are still on! We did a golden hour (where we usually just find new people via knocking,or other things) in Pine Forest Apts. and found a few new people and squeezed a lesson out of it. We saw Brother Cotton that night and we always get into deep doctrine with him (I can't remember if I've already told you) We talked about pre-destination and fore-ordination for a solid hour. Its pretty fun going over there because you never know what's going to happen! We saw the Chisms after (Bro. Chism's parents) and shared a small little message with them and headed off to the Barbers for family home evening. Hope y'all had a great week too!

P.S: I'll send y'all those pictures I didn't send last week.

Elder Toolson

 The Church Vans we see all the time.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Dirty Jobs

February 6, 2015

Hey y'all!
It's been another fun filled week here in Starke and the work continues. Update on our investigators since last week. The Cowart family, 4 of our dates, 3 of them are still planning on being baptized this Sunday so I'll let you know how that goes. The oldest we are pushing back because he hasn't been to church the past few weeks and isn't ready. The other 3 are still on and should be baptized not this Sunday but next. So life's good! Tuesday we went on tradeoffs with the Lake Butler Elders and Elder Stoker came to Starke with me. We had a pretty awesome day! We went tracting for a little while and then went over to a Less Actives house to do some service. It was so nasty. They live in a trailer and they had to move some boxes to storage which happened to be a 2ft tall crawl space underneath the trailer, and I volunteered to be the one down there (although I regret that decision now...) I nailed my head and back on the ceiling like twenty times and wouldn't have been suprised if there were a couple dormant snakes down there. We got it done but my knees were killing. After that, this less-active boy in our ward Nick, asked me if I wanted to see his dogs hideout, pointing to a small gap in the porch, so I'm like, why not I'm already dirty. So I squeezed through the gap and chilled in a dirty hole with him for a couple minutes and then army crawled out of there. Good times. We played basketball that night but hardly anyone showed up so it was actually pretty relaxed. Anyways, Wednesday we traded back and had district meeting in Macclenny and ate at Taco Bell (a tradition) afterwards. We had a pretty normal rest of the day and Thursday was pretty forgetful as well except for the usual working at the food pantry. Friday as I'm sure a few of you might know or have heard about was the Facebook event #discoverthebook so me and Elder Warren took our photos for that in the woods behind the church (I'll attach some pics). Saturday as usual was a very busy day spent out in Keystone Heights. In the morning we went over to Lake Butler and played football with their whole ward for a couple hours. I'm so darn sore. We did service and visited the Masseys for a few hours and helped him trim up his driveway. We had a lesson with one of our bap dates Kyle and just went over the baptismal interview questions and what to expect. We had him and his member friend Sarah bear their testimonies for us. It was awesome hearing Kyle's testimony. It lasted maybe 30 seconds but was very powerful and you could hear the sincerity. Lesson learned: Short and sweet is often better than a long sermon. We tried some potential investigators for a while and went over to the Beckhams for dinner. We tried taking a new way to be shorter and that was probably the worst mistake ever. It was mega backwoods roads the entire way, huge potholes, a ton of sand and dirt and mud, all tackled in our little Ford Fusion. We had to gun it for a solid 20 minutes or so nonstop or we would have gotten stuck for sure. We went hardcore mudding and by the end of it our car was absolutely covered in mud head to toe and our back bumper was dragging(whoops). Wish I took a picture, it was crazy. Bro Beckham helped us wash our car off and bolt our bumper back on (for now) and we had a super fun night. Yesterday was a pretty average day minus the evening.  We knew for a fact that nothing would get done at all if we tracted because almost everyone in America is watching the Superbowl. So we got invited/asked the Barbers what they were doing that night and spent the evening with them. A couple of y'all have asked me what I want for my birthday, etc. so here's a few things. Beef Jerky, ingredients to make an actual meal (often we cant afford it), cookies, sun drop?, some cool looking Paisley ties (I barely have any), andddd that's all I can think of for now just basically junk food or luxuries us missionaries can't afford, maybe some Arizona pink lemonade or things specific to Arizona that I couldn't get here, I don't know, but hope y'all have great week!

Elder Toolson

(Note:  He didn't attach any pictures)