Saturday, July 25, 2015

Zone Conference and Sickness

July 25, 2015
Hey Y'all! 

     This week was a good one. We had a little bit of struggles in the middle of the week this week because just about half of our zone got sick.... So awful. So I was out of commission Thursday and then Elder Coy was out of it on Friday. So that was fun.... But not really. So anyway! Tuesday we had our zone meeting and it was awesome. President Craig even decided to show up for it. This Mission is going to get very young, very quick. All of the mass amounts of missionaries that came during the age change are heading home and are being replaced by more huge groups. By the time next transfer comes almost half the mission will be training new missionaries. Craziness. After zone conference we went over to one our investigator's houses, Ann. She actually tried to drop us on Sunday, but we were having none of that. So we show up out of the blue and asked her what's been going on. So she told us and we got her concerns out and she came to church yesterday and is still meeting with us! We also had a lesson with Adam, a teenage recent convert, and had a lesson with Ron that night. He's a pretty funny guy who's out in Archer, a tiny little town outside of Gainesville that reminds me a lot of Starke. We had dinner with the Whites and they are awesome! He made these ridiculously good burgers and other stuff. Wednesday was when we started getting sick, so we were a little bit out of our minds all day. We saw several people that day and had a member come out with us to see Ann that day. We teach a Book of Mormon class that day and so we taught that and afterwards we gave two blessings and were recruited to go help move a table for someone. That's what we get for teaching the Book of Mormon class about service I guess haha. So we go over to this place and help this lady move this solid oak table into the back of this tiny truck (probably didn't help our impending sickness) but hey service is never convenient and it never will be. Life lessons.  So we got back late that night and were out of commission for the next two days. Saturday we visited a different investigator of ours whose name is also Ann and then her mom, Nancy. We taught them and had a killer lesson with them. We sort of evaluated where they were at on their spiritual progress and talked about discipleship too. If you haven't, listen to Jeffrey R. Hollands talk, The First Great Commandment, it's very powerful. We had some of lessons that day too. Yesterday, we went to church and had Ann and Ron come! It was great. After church we knocked some doors and had dinner at Sister Aagard's house. She's so awesome. Totally had nostalgia of back home because guess what we had for dinner?! Roast and mashed potatoes! We knocked some more doors after and called it a night! We got work to do here in Gainesville! Attached is a photo that a member from Waycross sent me, one of my first weeks there, from the hog show.

Y'all have an awesome week!

Elder Toolson

Monday, July 13, 2015

Biking in Gainesville, FL

July 13, 2015

Hey Y'all!
    Transfer weeks are always strange ones, especially when you have to get used to new people, new places, etc. So yeah! I'm in Gainesville 2nd ward with Elder Coy. I'm second half training him but I didn't really explain what that is last week. So trainees/greenies go through a 12 week (2 transfer) training program where they adjust to mission life, start taking the lead, etc. So his previous trainer just went home, so I'm finishing up the training for the second half of the twelve weeks. 

So the Tuesday before I left, we spent almost all P-day at the Wasdins (from the 1st Ward) I spent most of the day cooking Guam Fried Rice for everyone and that's when I typed up that e-mail I sent y'all. We said goodbye to Patrick that night, I'm super mad I  didn't even get a picture but I can attach this awesome e-mail that he sent me. I'm pretty sure he's the reason I was sent to Waycross. 

Anyway so the following day was transfers and Bro Hersey (also from 1st Ward) took us down super early in the morning and we made a pit stop in Kingsland to give Elder Wall his birthday cake and sing to him at 8 in the morning haha. I'll attach the video I took. So we get down to transfers and I have to go to all of the meetings to prep trainers, and there are a lot. I was in those from about 9:30 in the morning to about 2. We had transfer meeting after that and it was super sad.  Watched some of my favorite people go home. But it was good.  I actually know about half the people in the mission now and I spent a good while catching up with old buddies like Elder Warren, Elder Stoker, Elder Andersen, etc. Oh! and I got to see Brother Barber from Starke again! That was awesome.  I miss them so much. 

So we head out back to Gainesville, and I took a trip down memory lane because we have to pass right through Starke to get back. It was so tempting to just reach over and grab the wheel and get "stuck" in Starke for awhile. But oh well. So we got back and taught a Book of Mormon class and visited this investigator Jodi. We are way over on the west side of Gainesville, outside of the crazy city. My area isn't really what you think of when you think Gainesville.  We dip into the city a little bit but most of our area is just a bunch of Suburbs, which are reminiscent of Henrico,VA almost. 

We are in a car share with the YSA Elders, Elder Mcalister ( he came out with me) and Elder Davis (he was with me in Waycross!) We trade off every three days. We do A LOT of biking here. My legs are toast right now. We biked, not exaggerating, somewhere in the margin of 20-30 miles in a day. and of course Elder Coy is still very new and getting comfortable so I'm taking the lead in 90 to 95% of the discussions. So this area is going to be very much physically and spiritually demanding of me. But it's pretty easy to talk to people here. Most everyone is always outside doing something all the time. 

So that pretty much describes my week, is biking and visiting people. We also did service for the Mays in our ward. and helped them move this ridiculously heavy couch, massage chair, and medical bed out of a very fancy retirement home. I would totally want to move there when I'm old. On Sunday, I got to know everyone at church and said a billion prayers, one in ward council, one in sacrament, and one in elder quorum. More blessings I guess. Oh and I had to teach gospel principles too. Very crazy day at church. Afterwards we took out Frank with us all day. He's this awesome 18 year old guy who's trying to get on his mission. So we went out to this tiny town Archer and visited a bunch of people. It was a blast. We gave a sister from the wards son a blessing and the son (about 6) was hyper as all get out. He kept smacking around his dog, and yelling things at it. It was so dang funny. But anyways, we also totally caught a less-active member breaking the sabbath and said hi to him. He was really uncomfortable and nervous but we thought it was funny. We also visited one more investigator out there but he was not very coherent at the time so we said we'd come back later. That's my week! Gainesville is going to be great! Y'all have a good week!

Elder Toolson
L to R: Elder Sunderland, Elder Toolson, Elder Davis, Elder Barcala

Thursday, July 9, 2015

What a Weird Week... And I'm Getting Transferred!

July 9, 2015

Hey y'all!
     Well, first things first. I'm getting transferred! I'm super sad but also super glad at the same time. Reasons I'm sad, Elder Sunderland has been one of my favorite companions and also I'm going to miss Patrick's baptism. :(  Super sad but I'm totally counting Patrick as my baptism. Me and Elder Sunderland found him and already taught him everything, it's just a matter of timing. 

Reasons I'm glad, I've always wanted to serve in Gainesville! That's where I'm going by the way, Gainesville 2nd! And I'm 2nd half training! My trainees name is Elder Koy so I'll let you know how that goes. This'll be weird, my first time not being district leader buddy and also my first comp that's younger than me. 

So, yeah, but this week, oh my goodness, this week though. I'm not even going to sugarcoat it, it was a strange one this week. Just weird stuff happened. Wednesday we had like a 2 hr. lesson at the church with this guy Robert, and basically everything imaginable in his life is going wrong. I won't go into detail but it's super depressing. We also saw Chuck and Brother Murray that day. Thursday we saw Linda as we usually do. She's one of my favorite 'gators from Waycross so I'll probably keep in touch with her. She's a sweet old lady we see every week. We also had dinner with the Fogles that night and had sort of a last hoorah for Sister Egbert, who's going home. Sooo good. Saturday, Patrick came back from his vacation and we went and saw him. And he said he prayed about a date to get baptized and felt that August 2 was right! So that was awesome. He came to church Sunday, and had an awesome time. Church was good. We taught second hour for the youth about ordinances and covenants so that went pretty good. 

And then today! I'm currently wearing an apron thing getting ready to cook some Guam Fried Rice at a members house! I'm excited to serve in Gainesville and can't wait! This transfer reminds me of something that Elder Kapischke of the Seventy said when he visited our mission. Remember your ABC's. Always Be Changing. 

Y'all have an awesome fun-filled week!
Elder Toolson

Our Waycross district picture. Elder Davis, next to the sisters is going to Gainesville with me and we're going to be next to each other! L to R: Elder Mellor, Elder Toolson, Elder Sunderland, Elder Lewis, Elder Barcala, Elder Davis, Sister Saxton, Sister Egbert

The next video and picture are from our "funeral" for Elder Mellor and Sister Egbert. I talked about the one we had last transfer so I thought I'd give you more of a visual. It's was awesome. We got a ridiculously awesome member to bake a cake in the shape of an airplane for them haha. 

And then the Last is a truck we saw. Everyone is hooking up their confederate flags to the back of their trucks. It's awesome.