Monday, August 25, 2014

Moving....but not very far!!!!!

Last District picture

The fact that it’s already Monday again scares me. There is NO way that I just finished my last week in the Bear Valley ward. Crazy. I am now moving like 3 miles away and going to the Mojave River ward, but still in Hesperia lol. I’m really excited. Nervous, as always for a little change, but it’s good. I already know my companion and I really feel like there are already so many reasons to come to this ward. Transfers (when I am the one having to move) make me very anxious and I lose appetite for like a week, mostly from the stress of having to pack, recognizing that I have a TON of stuff; a ton more than I should have lol, and knowing I’m about to start all over again. But, I wanted this change, I’m happy for it, and I’m happy to grow and keep learning :) So I guess we shall move onto the crazy busy week I had…

On pday we met this man at Walmart (yes, we are even missionaries on pday :p) talked to him a little bit and went on about life. Tuesday we see him at the library and homeboy gets super excited. I reach my hand out for a hand shake, he shakes my hand, pulls me into a huge hug, and KISSES ME! Yes, you just read right. HE KISSED ME. I tried not to freak out and tell myself “maybe that’s just his culture” but he didn’t do any of that to sis. Treadwell, she was the one who had to initiate the handshake. Ew. So creepy. He kept saying my name and stuff. The funny part? We told him because of where he lives he would go to the Mojave River ward for church…I AM NOW IN THAT WARD. ARE YOU SERIOUS. MY LUCK. As funny as this whole thing is to me and everyone else, I am interested to see where this all goes hahah. I will be avoiding him like the plague. Oh, he is like in his 40’s btw. Blah.

Sister Winkler (the deaf woman at church that teaches us sign once a week) was so sad about transfers being this week. She went on and on with me about how much potential I have, how good my facials are (thank you cheerleading and dance team for proving you were worth the time spent haha) and how she wants me to go to school for it. She said she wants me to get my interrupters license. I am sad to leave the deaf people. I love them. I am thankful Heavenly Father allowed me to come here and see that I had this hidden talent/desire I never knew I had, nor would I have known had I not come here.  You better believe I will be trying my hardest to keep learning on the mission even though I’m not there anymore.  I know that it will come in handy someday and I’ll look back and be even more grateful than I already am for my mission.

Saturday was probably the busiest day of my mission so far. I got to hear from Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Larry S. Kacher of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy. They shared so many different things that I can't possibly write about them all, but I will try to share some of the highlights.
Elder Kacher talked about our mindset. We can do so many more things if we will just change our mindset and I liked how he related it to Ether 12:6, that is one of my favorite scriptures. He said we can't perform the miracles of the Lord if we don't have the right mindset and it's so true. If we think we can then we will. He said nothing is more important than having trust from Heavenly Father and to get that trust, we must be obedient.
We got to have a short question and answer session with Elder Nelson I really liked the answer given in response to a question relating to how we aren't perfect missionaries and how we can be better. Elder Nelson replied "Just forget it, move on!" basically. He said we need to repent and move on from our sins. It's part of the Atonement. You confess your sins and then you move on and don't dwell on that mistake.  He said we have to diagnose our own problems (issues/sins, ect.) and treat our own problem. We have to take responsibility. Always. He also talked about marriage to us….a bunch of missionaries who aren’t supposed to be thinking about that right now….lol. it was awesome. I felt like he was my grandpa up there talking to me about the real world. He is a true apostle on the earth today. I felt it in my heart. I saw it in his face. I knew it when he looked me in the eyes while shaking my hand. We are so blessed to have so many people in the church that care about us and know us without ever meeting us. This is Christs church on the earth today.

Ok, so Jims baptism….it was GREAT! He didn’t get there ti like 5 mins after it should have started which you knoooooooow gave me a scare. So many people had come and were way excited and I started to doubt. I prayed and prayed that we would know what was going on and they pulled into the church! Since he has a trach he has a lot to lug around with him always. Oxygen tank, all that good stuff. For his baptism he brought a rubber ball and covered his trach before going under the water, went forward instead of backwards so if he did get water in there it would fall out while coming up, we had 2 doctors there (one IN the font with them) and the uniqueness of the baptism made it so very spiritual. He has been wanting to get baptized for so long now, but up until a little while ago it was physically impossible. It’s amazing what a TON of prayers and fasting can do. Heavenly Father hears our pleas to Him. He is so aware. We just can’t give up on Him when He hasn’t given us what we want in 5 mins…we have to stay at it…then miracles follow. His wife was so happy and we are going to try and teach her soon.
I had a wave of emotions hit me while singing the closing song at the baptism. We sang How Great Thou Art and I couldn’t help but think about my pops that passed away a few months ago. As I sat there just in sadness for a second I remember through the words of that hymn just HOW great our Savior is. I know I will see my pops again. I know I will also see my Savior again.

I wasn’t really sad to leave at all until I saw the Woodys at church Sunday morning. Then it hit. But, I know they are just spitting distant away..literally. I have come close to people here just as I did in Diamond Bar and I am ready to go meet some more incredible people. I walked Sister Woody to class one last time yesterday and she just held on so tightly to my hand. I think it is crazy how much you can grow to love someone and desire their salvation on the mission. I think it’s crazy how much the spirit can change people and their hearts.  Sunday though. It was a really good week. Everything is just good.
Oh, Trizzy and I also sang with the bishop in sacrament meeting yesterday too…after they made me bear my testimony since I was leaving….talk about leavin’ with a BANG! Hahah just kidding. It was a really good

I’m ready to get to work here. I am ready to grown closer to my Savior. I know that, like we learned this weekend, that if we are ever feeling like we aren’t forgiven of our sins that we can just get to work sharing the gospel and we will feel that peace of mind. We have to share our testimony. It can’t grow if we don’t. I love being here. I can’t believe I’ve been out 10 months now. I have a feeling it is only going to keep going faster!!!! AAAAH. Love yall!!!
Sister Toolan

Monday, August 18, 2014

Have you ever seen a Joshua Tree?

My favorite deaf woman (she isn't a member) and she is CRAZY!!!

I can’t believe I've already been here for 4 months. It’s crazy to think it’s already transfer time again. We find out this weekend and I’m quite nervous. I have no idea what will happen. All I know is that I will miss the deaf people more than anything. I love signing.
It’s so nice being able to communicate with my companion in the middle of anything without even opening my mouth or anyone understanding lol. Signing is the best. I was telling Sis.Treadwell something during a class  at the church and this man goes “She is talking behind my back in front of my face!” hahahaha. So true. Love it.

I hate to tell you all this, but, I went into a food coma Friday night. Trizzy and I had a pretty big sized lunch, then we went to a member’s home and they made Thanksgiving for us. I literally didn't eat that much, I didn’t even eat dessert! But before we left she offered a soda and after much contemplation I decided to drink the Dr. Pepper. It was all downhill from there. By the time we got back to the apartment I was BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS. I don’t think I've ever been so hyper in my whole life (which I’m sure is a little scary for most of you to imagine since you've seen me at hyper moments lol). Once we started planning our next day out a little later I literally passed out in the middle of my desk, clothes on, light on, while talking about plans. I felt so sick. It was crazy. Woke up the next morning better than ever!!! Lol.
Joshua Trees. The desert is known for them

I just need you all to know that this week we were trying to bake cookies for people and our oven wasn’t working so what did we do? We fried the cookies in a frying pan. Did they look like cookies? Absolutely not. Did they still taste good. Eeh. I guesss you can say they did. But, did it make us feel pretty inventive? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT DID!

I don’t know why I am just now telling yall about this, but I am in a letter war with an elder serving in Tennessee lol. So he sent me a letter on this HUGE piece of paper, told me top that, so I wrote a 5 page letter cut it all up (separately so it made it harder) in a puzzle, put it in the envelope and sent it.I’m sure it drove him nuts :) Well, the most recent one I got from him was brilliant. Homeboy wrote the WHOLE thing backwards hahaha. It took forever to read because I wasn’t smart enough to put it up to a mirror. Oh, the things that keep a missionary entertained and living an exciting life!!!
I have been working on letting the spirit guide my prayers this week and had a neat experience with it. 
As I was praying I thought of how I want to be better and the scripture Ether 12:27
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
I then said these words in my prayer "please help me see my weaknesses, but not my flaws." then I sat back and realized I couldn't come up with something profound like that and that the spirit was indeed guiding my prayer. Then I thought about what I said. As women, that’s what we do. At times we start seeing everything (even worldly things that are just flaws we can't change) as weaknesses and get down on ourselves. Yes, being more patient is good to realize you need to change, the scar you have on your face from blemishes is NOT the same. I knew then I needed to stop being so hard on myself and focus on the things, that through Christ, I am mentally/spiritually able to change. I love my savior.

 When I got on to check my emails today I had one from one of the Young Women (youth) here. She sent me this:
Just wanted to let you know that you are awesome! You & Trizzay are so cool & fun but at the same time you know how to keep the spirit. So all in all you guys are FUN MISSIONARIES. Haha
But yeah, I haven't known you guys for very long at all but I have learned some things from you guys, believe it or not.
So thank you, and know that bear valley Ward loves you guys more than you realize because I hear it and I see it!
Keep being awesome & I hope you have a good week! (: 

That message completely warmed my heart and made me feel so good. I have always had a strong love for teenagers, especially on my mission. I remember when I was in high school how much the missionaries impacted me and how much better I was when I was close with them. Once I got to Hesperia I decided I wanted to try and be THAT kind of missionary for the youth here. So getting that email helped me see I have done more here than I thought. Even if Sister Treadwell and I only helped HER, it would make it worth it.

We had 3 investigators at church Sunday which was a blessing. We have been knockin’ doors like It’s goin’ out of style this week.
When it comes to church I think it’s as simple as this…The more you come, the more you want to come, then the harder it GETS to come. Doesn’t make much sense in a way, but at the same time it makes perfect sense. The more we live our life in a way that is pleasing unto Heavenly Father, they happier we are and the more we want to keep living life that way. BUT. At the same time when we are doing these super righteous things, the more Satan works on us and gets in our way creating all sorts of stumbling blocks. We just have to learn to recognize those hard times as Satan doing his job quite well and not let him win. Living our lives in harmony with the Saviors life always makes for a happy, peaceful life. We just complicate it by letting Satan take over. Lets all try a little harder this week to do what the Savior would do no matter how hard it gets. Deal? :)

BEST NEWS OF THIS UPCOMING WEEK: Jim is getting baptized!!! It will be quite the spiritual day. It will start with getting to meet/hear from the apostle and end with a great baptism! Pray that things go smoothly please, it’s a different kind of baptism because of the medical circumstances.

Something that dawned on me about baptism this week: When we think of baptism and partaking of the sacrament each week it’s in more of a selfish “natural man” thought of: we want to be forgiven of our sins instead of having the attitude of Christ where He did it because it was what His Father wanted Him to do and He wanted to show His obedience. I don’t think we understand how important those two things are in our life. They are so crucial and special.

I love this work. I love being on the Lords errand.
Sister Toolan

The sweet potato growing....strange life I live:)

Monday, August 11, 2014

This girl is on FIIIIIIRRRRREEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

I noticed today as I thought about what to write that lately most of my letters are just miracle filled! Not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s just that I see a change in myself. I wasn’t too happy with being in Hesperia for a whiiiiiiiiile and it affected the way I saw everything. At the beginning of this transfer, so like start of July, I decided to just be HAPPY. I made the choice to be happy with my situation and to always look for the positive, to look for the brighter side of things and to be content with what the Lord has given me to work with. The difference in this transfer from the last 2 here is day and night. I am thankful Heavenly Father (after a whiiiiiile of workin’ on me :p) was able to humble me and help me see how great it is to be a missionary, even in Hesperia. It’s amazing what happens when we just suck it up, get over ourselves and CHOOSE, make the personal choice, to be happy. This has been a great life lesson for me that I will cherish forever. It’s funny because I’ve actually done a TON of growing here in Hesperia and I see how much I needed the change in order to keep becoming like the Savior.

I forgot to tell you last week since it rained a little here it was humid a few days and I thought I had died and gone to heaven!!! Wooooweee did it make me think of home sweet home <3 Is it weird that I like humidity? Yes? Yes. I thought so. Whoops. Whatever.
Missionary work is an interesting thing I tell ya what. See, we thought that summer would be GREAT since everyone is out of school and on vacation. But then we would run into problems of people not being home because they were out actually having lives (which is hard for missionaries to remember at times lol) and so it has been a little slow. So as we were talking about being excited school is about to start again here, we also thought, hmmmmmmm…not sure if that’s going to be a good or bad thing haha. People always have excuses. Either way, the work shall carry on!!!! NO EXCUSES :p

Random Fact: our car is broken again. The air conditioning isn’t working and wont be till later this week and our car keeps saying it’s in the negatives outside which is a DARN LIE!!!! IT IS SO HOT lol.

Something that has been on my mind a lot this week: In Matthew 18:16 Jesus says 6 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
So, He makes it clear that the way things work are in the mouth of two or three witnesses (hence, why missionaries go out two by two.) This confuses me though. If this is case then why is it so hard for people to accept the Book of Mormon, which simply is just “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”? It reads in 2 Nephi 29:7-8
7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
 8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
We have the Book of Mormon not only as evidence that this is, indeed, the true church on earth today, but also to be the 2nd witness that Jesus is the Christ.  That is and always has been the Lords pattern to have 2 witnesses as a testimony of each other. We HAD to have the BOM in order for Him to keep being a man of His word. We needed it to show He loves ALL of His children, not just some. I love how close I feel to Him as I read the Book of Mormon. For any of you who don’t have a copy and would like one go here and order a free one: . To those who have one, regardless of if you have been reading it daily like you should or not, start today. Start right now actually. Take 5 mins to read. I promise you your day will be better and every single day you make the decision to read it you will be happy.

SUPER SWEET (as in awesome) STORY FROM THIS WEEK: Last Sunday the primary kids (church kids age 3-11) gave us a Book of Mormon with their testimonies in it to hand out to someone this week. Well, we had a TON on meetings going on so by the time we remembered we needed to hand out this BOM (since we were going in Sunday to share the story of handing it out) it was Thursday..night. Whoops. See, missionaries mess up too. Well, we started praying at every single prayer we had we would know who to give this very sweet and special BOM too. By Saturday Sister Treadwell and I only really had one person that was coming to mind who lives down the street. We don’t even know her name, but yeah. So we walked down Sat. afternoon and she wasn’t there :( We decided to just keep praying about it, but that we could always come back later that evening to give it to her. Well we head over to a lesson at the Woodys home and before we got out, we said a prayer, like always. In my prayer I said “Heavenly Father, please help open our eyes to who needs this precious BOM that we have and that we might know which child of Thou that we should give it to…..even though I’m pretty sure I just got my answer!” I continued the prayer and after Treadwell goes “are you thinking who I’m thinking?!?” we both said the same name at the same time. We knew who we needed to give it to. It was the Woodys neighbor so after telling them the story they just called her over. We told her the story behind it all, including knowing from prayer that we should give it to her. She started to cry. Cry. She hugged us probably 5 times and told us thank you SO much and that she would read it that night. We left in awe, as always. I have never received such a strong impression as that in my life. It was so neat.

The story continued though Sunday night as we got to watch Heavenly Fathers plans unfold a little in front of us. We were at the Woodys again and at some point it got brought up that he gave his granddaughter a BOM earlier that day after church. (Their family just experienced a death, so he was trying to comfort her). After a few mins it hit me like a ton of brick Heavenly Father was allowing me to see a little bit of how he works. Because we had gone over to their house the day before and given that woman the BOM in front of them, because he was able to see her reaction and how we went about it, because we had been where we needed to be when we needed to be and because we were worthy enough to receive that answer from the Lord, Woody was able to gain the confidence, strength and courage to give his granddaughter one as well. Heavenly Father has more in plan then just us giving her a BOM. He knew the impact it would have on one of His children and how much that one little act would grow into a huge story. I was so thankful for that experience and to recognize it. As always, I love being a missionary.

Fun things from last week:
-We had a “burning” at the Tahauris last Monday. Missionaries will do this as they hit certain marks in their mission (1/2 way, ¾, DONE!) so I burnt a shirt :) Super rejuvenating lol. Plus it was funny because their neighbor came out and thought we were doing a “Mormon burning ritual” hahahha we were like, nope, sadly enough we don’t do those :p
-got to see some of my faaaaaaav missionaries at a missionary meeting. It made my heart happy :)
Sister Ott goes home in 2 weeks..........NOOOOOOOOOOO

Love Sister Ott
-held some really cute baby chicks!!!! I love farms!!
-had interviews with president. It’s always nice getting to meet with him.

As you can see, it was a fantastic week! This work is so important. We should share it with everyone. We shouldn’t deny someone of the blessings we receive because we are too busy to see the opportunities Heavenly Father gives us to share our testimony. Make it a goal this week to share your testimony with SOME one, even the girl taking your order through the McDonalds Drive-Thru ;p LOVE YALL SO SO SO SO SO SO SO MUCH.
Sister Toolan

Monday, August 4, 2014

This post may NOT be suitable for young children!

Not really sure how I didn’t already tell yall this, buuuuuuuuuuuut: On August 23rd, we will be blessed to attend ANOTHER special missionary conference. Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will preside at and train us missionaries in that conference. He will be accompanied by Elder Larry S. Kacher of the Seventy. These are opportunities I would have missed out on had I not come on my mission. Every single day I am reminded of how perfect the decision to serve a full time mission was.

2 Random facts about me before I tell you about my week:
·         I don’t like milk unless it is WAY cold. Warm milk is just not okay. Gotta be chilly. I’ve even been known to stick a glass in the freezer while I wait for a pop tart to get out of the toaster and such. That’s just the only way to do it.
·         I am also known to say things wrong. All. The. Time. It’s funny because I will be around like 15 missionaries and say something (completely innocently) and it will come out HORRIBLE. Then I get made fun of for it hahha. It makes it even worse that I don’t mean to do it. But hey, it spices life up a little I guess…or that’s what I tell myself anyways hahah.

Monday- HILARIOUS DAY. Shall I explain? I shall. Alright, so there are so many elders in the area who have given me a really hard time in the past and we figured we’d pull a prank on them. We wanted to do it a few weeks ago, but when we found out one of their birthdays was on the 28th, we knew it’d make our plan even better. We bought Methylene Blue which is effective against superficial fungal infections of fish. It also, if put into food, will make humans pee turn blue. So we went to a members house, made cupcakes and added this fish cleaner in!!! We dropped it off at their house acting like it was from the “relief society” the womans group in the church hahah. We wanted to have the reaction as well so we also partook of the cupcakes…they were DELISH. But indeed, they will make your pee turn blue haha. We figured we’d never hear about it buuuuut: a twist came about. On Tuesday we had to go switch cars with some different elders and when we went to pick it up we gave them two leftover cupcakes as a “token of our gratitude for allowing us to borrow their car for a week” mwuhahahah. Needless to say, the next morning we had a text from those elders asking what we had put in the cupcakes and we were DYING laughing the whole time. By the end of it all the 1st group of elders text us saying “thank you relief society” hahahaha. At one point last week there were 8 missionaries in Hesperia experiencing weird side effects from Fish Cleaner in delicious cupcakes :) Moral of the story? Don’t mess with me. And I love to have fun and make a good laugh!! That whole day we had missionaries calling asking if we had any more blue cupcakes hahahah. #nailedit.

Tuesday- I’ve been driving a Ford the last 3 months which I knew if my daddy ever found out about that’d he’d be mad. We are a Chevy family all the way baby!!!! But since we swaped cars for a little I’ve been driving a Chevy Cruze!! It’s not my favorite but anythings better than a Ford ;p jkkkkkk. Kinda. The elders had this one scent in it though that Sister Havens used to always use when we were in Chino together, so now everytime I get in the car I get reminded of the good days down there :’)
Had probably the most spiritual dinner thoughts I’ve ever had. It’s crazy to see how much the Lord will guide/completely change your direction in lessons just to help one of His children out. I love being able to feel the spirit and to recognize His promptings.

Wednesday- Our elders didn’t have any food and were out of money, so we bought them lunch and took it to them. We figured a little service ain’t ever hurt nobody!!! While we were driving we saw a “Crestview Dr.” I swear, it’s like every area I serve in always points back to home <3 I love it. We got to see a less active we hadn’t been able to get ahold of for like a month. And while at ASL study, Sis Winkler ended up being a super awesome missionary and sharing the gospel with the nonmember she had invited to join. We ended up (all 4 missionaries) teaching her a lesson. It was so cool. I love deaf people. They are so blunt and don’t care to share!!!

Thursday- we went and visited a less active that we hadn’t tried since I had been here and homegirl called us and REPREMINDED us in a voicemail for stopping by. It was the rudest thing I had heard in a while. But it’s okay, you don’t feel like a true missionary unless you get yelled at every once in a while. Sad, huh? Haha. I made a video of the voicemail on my camera so I won’t ever be able to forget that sweet, sweet woman haha.

Friday- IT WAS HOT AS FIRE THIS WEEK AND FOR THIS DAY WE WEREN’T OUTSIDE AS MUCH. #hallelujah.  Also, that night I was laying in bed and had a prompting to get up and check the front door…reason I know it was 100% a prompting? Got up and not a single part of that door was locked. And this ain’t small town crestview fl we talkin’ about…you lock your doors here!!! I was so thankful that Heavenly Father cared about the safety of His missionaries enough to get me up (which is a chore once I lay down, but I knew who was trying to talk to me and I wasn’t going to ignore it!). amazing.
116 Degrees???????
Saturday- IT RAINED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOREVER IN HESPERIA. It’s funny because it will seriously rain every where around us, but never actually here. We are like the forbidden center. Oh well, it rained and that’s all that matters :) rain doesn’t smell the same here…it smells like burning plastic to me haha. Made me miss home. Talked to some married people this day who were totally making sexual comments about one another in front/to us…it was the most awkward thing of my life. Ew. I’m still weirded out. I also counseled a 12 year old on internet safety. Felt like a true mom in training haha.

Sunday- Gunna be honest…was NOT the best day. Well, the start wasn’t at least, that’s for sure. It started out awful. By the time church started I was a mess, just, yeah. I just was not feeling love of any importance at all. I felt like I hadn’t been doing my job here in Bear Valley and letting everyone down. I wanted to pray for help but I didn’t end up doing it. Why? I honestly don’t know. Heavenly Father knows us and our thoughts so perfectly though….a woman in Relief Society raised her hand and made a comment about how we, the sister missionaries in the ward right now, are like her little sisters and how we are gems in this ward who they are really grateful to have. I felt overwhelmed by my Saviors love at that moment. The day only got better from there. Had a deaf lesson and it was awesome. The woman from the family we met at Ross last week was actually there and sat in on it, loved what she heard and wants to learn more. Incredbible. Also, during the lesson the deaf little girls fell asleep at the table…you know she is deaf when you are in THE loudest house in the world and she is sleeping hahha.

Overall everything turned out. We have a good week ahead of us and I’m looking at it on the bright side :) I hope to have more time to share some neat spiritual experiences with you. I keep running out of time lately :( sorry. Love yall.
Sister Toolan