Monday, March 31, 2014

First Earthquake!

Oh my stars. This week has been nothing but incredible and it flew by WAY too fast. There were so many times that I just sat back and wondered to myself what I had done to deserve all the great things happening. I really don’t think I’ve ever prayed and told Heavenly Father thank you as many times as I did this week!
More loving from Hermana Clark!
For starters we set a baptismal date with another one of our investigators this week for April 19th! I’ve been praying for opportunities to be bold (because I’m really bad at that. I like to beat around the bush wayyyyyyyyyyy too much) and boy has He given them to me! It was so neat because the day I committed her to that date I was on exchanges with Sister Ott and I was scared to death, but I said a little prayer to myself and went for it! The Lord really does put the words in our mouths as missionaries.

Experienced my very first earthquake this week…whoooooo….trippy :) but seriously. I was knocked the heck out from taking NyQuil that night and all of the sudden I felt the whole room just move in waves…I thought I was having a bad dream or possibly just the fact that I was drugged up lol, my heart was just a poundin’!!! IT WAS AWESOME! Scary and trippy, but awesome. Am I getting a ton of experience out here or what?!?

There's not much hot water at the church buildings so the missionaries work hard to make the water as warm as possible!
Alright, so Guillermos baptism this weekend? Perfect. A tooooon of people came to support him in his big day. It was gorgeous outside and the spirit there was so strong. The Lord helped me out a ton because I had been getting sick and was freaking out because I had to sing/give a talk that day. Literally like an hour after the baptism I lost my voice. I love knowing that Heavenly Father is looking out for me :) Anyways, Guillermo is awesome! He got up and talked about how happy he was to finally have a “new life”. He talked about how quitting coffee was really hard for him but every time he would walk by the coffee spot at work and want to get some he’d think about how “sister toolan is gunna come over to my house and smell the coffee on my breath like a hounddog so I stayed away!!” hahahah. He also talked about how Sister Hansen and I are like his step daughters now and how much he loves us. UHM? :')))
I adore him and his family. I love them. He made so many changes to follow Christ example to be baptized. Now his family is very close behind him in making the same steps. This church is true y'all.

Thumbs UP!
Baptism day!
After the baptism we went to Rancho and had a Sisters Conference with ALL the sisters in the mission. I got to see my old friends and companions and it was an absolute blast. I loved that in the Conference they said “We need to love each other more, we need to love each other better.” So true.
All the sisters that have served in Diamond Bar
So then after what seemed to be a perfect day we go to church Sunday and FOUR of our investigators were there!!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW HAPPY I WAS/AM?!?!? We have never had that many people at church. Ever. It’s so exciting to see how much the Lord is hastening the work here in Diamond Bar. Even though it scares me (because with things going THIS well I’m deffff getting moved next go around) it makes me so happy. More and more people are coming to know the truth for themselves. One of the investigators pulled me in as I was walking past her right after church and said “I just wanted you to know I am really REALLY glad I got to come to church today!” Oh my. You know I was teared up. I am so glad I decided to come on a mission.

General Conference is coming up this weekend…YAY! Missionaries dream come true :) Don’t know what Conference is?? Check this out:
I would encourage you ALL to go to conference with a question in mind. Something that you have a hard time believing, or something you are struggling with right now, anything! Let the Lord answer your question in Conference. Prepare yourself for it so that you can get as much out of it as possible. I promise you that if you go with a sincere question/concern in your heart, it WILL be answered.

I noticed that my pants were getting a little tighter so I decided it was time to cut back on some goodies. I just want you all to know that I, Katie Toolan, went a WHOLE entire day without sweets on Thursday! That NEVER happens. Lol. I am trying to watch what I eat during the day since I can’t control what I’m fed at night when the members feed us, so far it’s working! Oh wait….we are going to ChickFilA here in like an hour….ok, so maybe it’s not working as much as I’d like…but BABY STEPS PEOPLE!!!! Baby steps.

I’m wearing a shirt right now that I haven’t worn since I left for my mission so it still smells like laundry from home. It’s making me happy as can be :)
Ok, enough of all this for now! Carry on with your lives!
Love & miss yall.
Sister Toolan 

Monday, March 24, 2014

5 Months In The Books

After a few dinner appointments of awkward silence because the people we are eating with are on the phone the WHOLE time this scripture from the Bible comes to mind.

1 Corinthians 15:33
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Before I rant I want to make it known that I, myself, have been WAY guilty of this. Lol. However, now that I don’t have my own smartphone, ipad, ipod, etc. I have realized some things about technology. It is a wonderful thing and can do so many amazing things, BUT: there is a time and season for everything. I think that we get so wrapped up in posting the coolest picture on Instagram, texting that really cute girl or playing that awesome new game that we lose out on the greatest blessings in life. We forget to actually TALK via. Voices to the people we care most about. We don’t enjoy the trees and bees because we are too busy laying down on social networking sites. We don’t spend time with our kids because we are too worried about posting the cute things they did the one minute we were actually giving them attention. It’s just important to remember that we prrrroooooobaaaaably won’t take our phones and social ranks with us when we return to live with Heavenly Father again, we WILL get to take all of our memories we have of spending good quality time with the ones we love most.

So this week I want you all to pay attention to the things that matter most. Put down your distractions. You might actually end up realizing how happy the SIMPLE things in life make you :)

2 things that I all of the sudden LOVE since being in California?
Sour Cream and avocados.
Oh my gosh, I just realized another  way SNL nailed the Californian skit hahahaha. #avocados
Like seriously. I would put sour cream on anything and everything if I could. What the heck??? CA is corrupting me!!! It’s probably because of all the dadgum Mexican food we get fed! Oh and I’ve started eating tomatoes on my sandwiches instead of just meat a cheese. Your little girl is growin’ up, momma. Proud? :)

As missionaries we are literally always looking for service opportunities, but they never seem to come lol. So the new elders in the ward told us the other day that they don’t ask anymore, they just do! Well, we thought about it and decided to put their idea to the test and try it out. We went over the Grandma Junes house (she is practically blind and the biggest doll EVER) walked in and said “Grandma, we are a here to clean your house for you. DON’T even try saying no because we are already dressed and ready to go!!!”
Sweet Grandma June
We ended up doing all the things that are extremely hard for her: dusting, mopping, DUSTING, cleaning windows. It was SUCH a great time. She talked and talked to us the whole time and I left her house loving her even more than I already thought I did. “The more you serve someone, the more you love them.” Service is such a great opportunity to quit being selfish and help someone other than yourself. Moral of the story: I love grandma and LET THE MISSIONARIES HELP YOU IF YOU NEED IT. GIVE THEM SERVICE. THEY WANT IT. THEY NEED IT.
So, I may have fallen asleep on Grandma June's couch:))))) (during lunch break, of course!)

There was a day this week that we had SO many appointments that we literally didn’t have room to schedule in a lunch hour!!!! So while talking to a member  that was going out with us we told her about this and homegirl took it to heart. She ended up coming to the appointment  brought two little sack lunches for us…it was adorable. I tell ya what, the people here take such good care of us. #spoiledrotten

Bittersweet moment while at church yesterday a few points slapped me in the face.
1. The people at church are NOT perfect. BUT: the church IS.
2. There are going to be times that we go anywhere, but especially church, that we will get offended. People make mistakes and don’t word things perfectly. They come across in a way they didn’t mean to. BUT it is then that we have two choices. We can get butt hurt over it and say “I’m done. I’m never going back.” Or get over our pride. When we decide to run away from problems we aren’t hurting anyone but ourselves. When you quit going to church, who does it hurt? The people there who aren’t going to be held accountable for YOUR actions, or yourself? Are they the ones who might start falling into a pit of more temptations, or will that be you because you aren’t allowing yourself to learn more and grow closer to the Savior. Sometimes we just have to get over our pride and love ourselves enough to do the things we know we need to do. If you have ever been the offender in this situation, redarless of whether or not you meant to, say you are sorry. If you have been offended and have stopped going to church, go back. Be forgiving.
3. Sometimes bad things have to happen in order for us to truly appreciate the good things that are to come.
4. The Atonement is real. No matter how big we have messed up, The Savior is waiting with open arms to comfort and forgive us. He is WAITING for us to turn to Him and take advantage of all the things He did for us. If He is our priority in life then nothing and no one will keep us from being anything but happy, because through the atonement we ARE happy.

Yesterday made for 5 months being out…time is flying. AH :(
We have a baptism this weekend for our investigator Guillermo. I have seen the power of change through him. He is not the same man we met 2 months ago. He is an example to me. I love this gospel. I love how much the people here are teaching me. I love my Savior.
Keep strong, everyone!
Sister Toolan
I miss Tia! :(

Matching buns with Becca

Monday, March 17, 2014

Snoop Dog lives in Diamond Bar, California!

I was worried that I might get a tad homesick on my birthday last week, but honestly the ward didn’t even give me time to think about home!! It was a day full of wonderful events :) First we did the usual, studied and whatnot. Then went to District Meeting! I LOVE being with a group of missionaries so that was deff a treat! 
My District
Then one of my favorite, Sister Arnold took us for lunch,
then we did some good ole’ missionary work,
Sister Arnold
then had dinner at the Christ home (another one of my favs!) She let me pick the whole menu for the night so you knooooow we had Thanksgiving dinner and then chocolate chip pecan pie for desert :)
Christ Family
literally 10 mins after leaving there we had to go to the Kilburns because THEY had made me a cake too!!!! I thought I would explode!! Then the Jordans had made me brownies…it just never ended! It was awesome. Everyone made me feel so loved and at home. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Kilburn's chocolate cake

Tradition to stick your finger in the cake on your

Birthday shirt!
Needless to say, I’m currently on a diet.

The cutest part about my birthday was that the FIRST people to text me happy birthday was our investigators! The dad of the family we are teaching sent:  “HAPPY B-DAY TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ANGEL MY EYES HAVE EVER SEEN…hope you have a wonderful b-day and I will pray to our heavenly father for you well being…thank you for bringing so much joy to me and my family!”  UHM. So darn sweet. See, this is what it’s all about. Then to add to the cuteness we go over to their house on Saturday for dinner and they ended up throwing me a little party and had even had me a present! It was such a fun time that I’ll never be able to forget.

Having Elder Neil L Anderson speak to mine and the Redlands mission was amazing! Getting to shake the hand of an apostle of the Lord was even more amazing. There were 400 missionaries there and he shook every one of our hands. A few of the points he made that really stood out to me were:
·         There are 1200 people a WEEK sending in their mission papers.
·         He explained to us that a lot of people get bummed when they find out that they are being sent state side for their mission, but that they save their best missionaries for the states. The states are the breadbasket of the church and if the church quits growing here we will be in trouble. I am, and always have been, so blessed to be in California right now.
·         We missionaries are prayed for more than any other group in the church.
·         We are all so different. It’s okay that we aren’t all the same. The Lord TREASURES those differences. We all grow at different paces. As a wise friend of mine told me recently “Run your own race at your own pace.” (thanks joe!!!) Inch by inch, foot by foot, yard by yard we become more like the Savior. We need to be patient with ourselves.
·         Sometimes when we repent and say we are sorry we expect instant forgiveness. The Lord, to some extents wants us to remember those sins so we don’t make the same mistake over again. So you aren’t NOT forgiven just because you remember your mess ups. He still gives us peace.
·         If we are stressed out or down we should pray to invite the spirit back in..Christ doesn’t want us discouraged! Satan does. If we are dependent on Him, we will have the strength to do what we need to do.
·         50% of the people who join and stay active in the church say they knew it was true the instant they saw and got to know the full-time missionaries. Our countenance says it all and is so important. That’s why we have such high standards to live up to as missionaries.
I saw Hermana (Sister speaking Spanish) Clark - my preschool buddy!
Alright since I’ve been living at the same place for a while I’ve gotten to know a lot of the people who stay there as well.  Well this week we were walking in for the night and saw that a man had left the light on in his car …so we go knock on his door and he asks through the door who it is and before I can finish the sentence “it’s the Sisters, we just wanted to tell you your lights are on!” he swung open the door and is standing in nothing but little boxer briefs!!!! My face was priceless. I just kept saying “focus, Katie, focus. Don’t laugh. Just look him straight in the eyes!!!” to make things even more awkward he just kept carrying on the conversation! He said “so what all have you ladies been up to today?? What all do you do every day?” So yeah, wonderful missionary opportunity. Horrible timing. Sister Hansen and I DIED laughing when we were walking away…like seriously?? Did that just happen? Oh, the stories I’ll be able to share with you all someday :p People never cease to amaze me.

You know Snoop Dog lives here in Diamond bar, right? I think I already told yall this? But if not, pretty cool huh?

Yesterday at church a miracle took place. One of the less active members we have been working with is married to a man who hasn’t been to church but a few times since he got 20 years ago or something?!?! Well every time we go over to visit her he never sits in on the lessons or anything, but the door is always open he deffff hears us. Anywho, I go to hug her at church and realize HE is standing right behind her and had come!!!! MY FACE WAS LIKE WHHHAAA?!?!? IS THIS REAL LIFE?!?! I tell you this only because it proves that we are always being watched. People hear the conversations we have, the things we say, they see how we act and how we treat people. This could be a really good thing OR a really bad thing. Lol. We should probably be reevaluating ourselves. 24/7.  We are being examples to people we don’t even realize exists, to people we thought wanted nothing to do with us.
Jenna's little boy Bookie
Sister Hansen and I got so very giggly this week! That’s the good part about staying with a companion for more than one get to know each other and it becomes SUCH a good time. You find the dumbest things hilarious because of inside jokes and such. Oh man :)

Good things are happenin’ here in Diamond Bar. I am so thankful to be a part of it all. 
Sister Toolan

Monday, March 10, 2014

20th Birthday on the Mission! #happybirthdaytome

The week before transfers is always interesting. It consists of going around trying to visit anyone and everyone that means a lot to you so that juuuust in case you’re leaving you will have seen them! Boy, am I glad we did that! 
Yes, I am staying in Diamond Bar another 6 weeks (and I am ecstatic) but we are getting another set of missionaries in the ward (6 HONKIN’ MISSIONIARES IN ONE PLACE!!) so we are losing part of our area and won’t be able to visit/teach those people anymore. Even though I’m a little sad about that I’m excited because it’ll help Sister Hansen and I to focus in on the areas we DO have. I am going to give it my all these next six weeks…well, I guess the next 12 ½ months too..but still, you get it! Lol

I love this sarcastic, hilarious man!

Yall. Everyone and their mother have pets out here. This would be great if Jeri Toolan wasn’t my mother and hadn’t raised me in a house where there were NO animals’ lol. Love you momma. It’s so bad. And even though I’m the one that doesn’t like them, it’s like pets are attracted to me for some reason -_- we have a huge lint roller in the car because sometimes we make the mistake of wearing black to a members home who has 5 dadgum pets hahah. So I’m just going to go ahead and make this known in print and everything:

Dear future spouse,
I will agree to marrying you if and only if you understand that we will NOT be having pets of any sort (jk, fish are alright because they don’t shed or smell) in our house.
Your high maintenance better half :)

I remember at the beginning of my mission I was really sad one day. I talked to Sister Havens and expressed to her that I knew something was wrong because I was NOT being myself. She said “maybe you’ve just changed? That happens when you go on a mission. You become a better person and it just happens. What if you went home today the same that you are right now?” and I looked at her very seriously and said “If I went home like this I would regret going on a mission. Heavenly Father would NOT take my personality away from me. He would not want me to be having to always force a smile. My personality is the one thing that is going to HELP me on my mission!”
Luckily, it didn’t take too much longer and I snapped out of it, but I know that what I said that day was the truth. I was blessed to have the personality that I do. So many people (members, missionaries, ect.) have told me have thankful they are that I’m not some robot 24/7. Yes, we are still missionaries and need to act like it, but we are STILL human and can laugh and have a good time. I might not be good at quoting scriptures or knowing the answer to every question, but darn it I love people and love making them happy and smile and that is enough.

We went and visited with a 82 year old woman that can’t come to church anymore because she isn’t well enough to leave the house and before we left we told her how much we love seeing her and she goes, while crying “Thank YOU for coming. Thank you for bringing a little bit of heaven and Heavenly Father into my house when you come. I need it more than you realize.”
How sweet? It’s true. Us missionaries (depending on whether or not we’ve been obedient) bring the spirit into homes. It’s one of the best tools we have at helping people understand that what we are sharing with them is true. They SEE the difference in their homes when we are there. They want that feeling to stay there. And it can. By being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost just as us members of the church have. Goodness, I love this church :)
Diamond Bar Sister Missionaries

So, you know how Dakota Emily and I would always watch the SNL skit “The Californians”? OH MY GOSH. They were soooooo accurate in that video about the people of California. They really do tell you how to get everywhere by talking about the freeways and stuff hahah. It’s so funny. I laugh every time someone tries to tell me how to get where I need to go by doing that. #nailedit

I have been in denial for a while. I liked to think I don’t really have an accent, but I’ve proven myself wrong this week. So we found out that Elder Neil L. Andersen of the quorum of the twelve apostles will be coming to talk to our mission on Saturday and I kept saying to Sister Hansen “gosh, that’s really hard to say…like with the L and then Anderson!!!” She pointed out to me that it really wasn’t hard I just have an accent…then it hit me…I do. I was saying (now everyone join in and say it with me so you understand :p) Neil “ale” like ginger ale Anderson. I couldn’t just say the “L” normal. Still cant :( lol

I decided to treat myself today since my birthday is tomorrow! I got my naiiiiillls diiiid! Mani/pedi, HOLLA! #divastatus And to top it all off immma try and go find a new dress at daaaaa gooodwiiiiillll! :) so until next week, keep it real homies!
Sister Toolan

Sister Cook left Diamond Bar:(

Monday, March 3, 2014

It's Raining in!

+ 20 missionaries
+ doughnuts
+ a member with a HUGE house needing help moving out
= a darn good time!!! :)
It's raining, it's pouring, missionaries are FAR FROM snoring!

As “sister” missionaries we have to be a little more on the safe side of things. For instance, we can’t knock doors or visit people who we don’t already know after dark. So the other night we were waiting on our Missionary Leader to get to a home we were going to visit and we were a little early so we knew we’d be waiting a bit. My companion and I decided that considering there was still some day light out that we’d go knock some doors. We were scared. As always. But we did it. And the first house we knocked we met a man who seemed pretty interested, asked for a pamphlet and told us to come back on Saturday. (Which NEVER happens)Obviously we came back Saturday and to our surprise ended up teaching his WIFE and finding out they have 2 older daughters and they are catholic but don’t really know what it is they believe. She gave us all her contact information and said we could come back again soon! It was so amazing to us how the Lord provides when we don’t slack off any and work Work WORK!
Double rainbow

This week I had another one of my “firsts on a mission” experiences. For the 1st time ever I, Sister Toolan, invited a man we are teaching to be baptized, and guess what?!? He said YES! We even set a date! I was so nervous, but we knew he was ready to make the commitment. 
It’s funny because a lot of people we teach will say “I’ve already been baptized before, I don’t need to again.” But see, that’s what makes our church different from all the rest… explains is very simply: “Jesus Christ taught that we must be baptized by immersion (Mark 16:16; 3 Nephi 11:21-26). He set the example Himself by being baptized to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). We are baptized by someone who has God’s PRIESTHOOD authority for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16).”
Ok, so what is the priesthood?
“Throughout time, God has given His servants, the prophets, the authority to act in His name. This authority is called the priesthood. Jesus Christ gave the priesthood to His original Twelve Apostles by ordination (see John 15:16), and they directed the work of His Church after Jesus ascended to heaven. But after the Apostles were killed, the priesthood gradually disappeared from the earth. In 1829 Joseph Smith received the priesthood authority to organize Christ’s Church from Heavenly Messengers who had held this authority anciently including the prophet John the Baptist and apostles Peter, James, and John. In 1830 the same Church of Jesus Christ that existed centuries ago was organized and restored to the earth.”

So yes, baptism by the proper priesthood authority is very important. It’s essential.
I got to see sweet Sister Stouffer this week at zone conference (she was in the MTC with Katie)

Speaking of priesthood, prophets and apostles…next week we have a missionary conference that a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be at!!!! How neat?!?! What a blessing that will be. It’ll be a cool story to tell my kids one day too :p I am so lucky to be a missionary at this time.

I watched a video this week that really hit me. While watching it took me back to high school. I remember how cruel, spiteful and hateful people could be at times. Even towards me. I remembered how much I hated high school because of this, but also how those times made me a stronger person. You want to know what high school is like for teenagers nowadays?? This video nails it.
“When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm—stop it!” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
My favorite poly woman, Sister Pulu

This crazy world we live in has enough evil and darkness in it. BE THE LIGHT. Be different. Be nice for a change and help someone! This week we had the chance to do an incredibly simple act of service for a little 80 year old woman. She asked us if we could make her bed for her and we were thrilled to! While making it we realized that this would have been such a difficult task for her frail older body. What took us 2 minutes would have taken her 25. It’s the simple things that make this world a more enjoyable place. Heavenly Father sent us here TO be happy and to help others like Christ did. Not to torment and tear people down. Decide today to only speak kindly of others and to help anyone and everyone in your path.

We find out about transfers this Saturday and I’m not looking forward to it -_- I just love Diamond Bar so much. But as always, The Lord is in charge and I guess we will find out soon enough where He needs me! I love you guys and pray that at some point or another reading my updates will help you in some way, shape or form. Keep on keepin’ on!
Sister Toolan
Rocking the face mask!