"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah."

Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:8

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Week One in Guate!!

Familia mia!!!!! 
Como estan ustedes?? Espero que toda esta bien el nuestro hogar. Things are going great here and I'm loving it!! Elder Glenn is the best! He's really really laid back about everything and is super nice and we teach together really really well in English and in Spanish. We have taught I think 2 or 3 in English and 2 in Spanish. He has 3 sisters I think and 2 that served missions (one Italian speaking and one Japanese speaking)   But he's great.  

The food here is pretty good though for the most part. There are some things that are a little gross or weird, but that's when you just add the "green sauce" that they have which is really spicy and it makes everything taste better. I have bonded really well with everyone here I feel like and I'm excited for that because I like being friends with everyone and talking to everyone. I've especially bonded with the Latinos that are here which is great cause I love them, they are all really really great. I think they mostly like me because they think I'm funny and because I can communicate fairly well in Español with them for the most part (if they don't talk too fast!) When I first met them I would tell them all that I was from Guatemala and that I was a unique redheaded Guatemalan or "chapin". After I started saying "soy chapin pelirojo" one of the guys who works in the lobby of Casa de Huespedes (my rooming place) asked me (in spanish of course) if I wanted to know what they called "chapines pelirojos" in Guatemala. He told me that they call them "fosforitos" which means matches or matchsticks. So then I told all of the Latinos that story and now they call me "fosforito" or "Elder chapin fosforito" haha and I love it. It's great. I`ve also been called "Elder Weasley" of course and "Elder Carrot Top" so I've got quite a few nicknames. So it's great here, I love it. 

Anyways- on to respond to your emails! Mom- oh wow sounds like you have a ton to deal with! What was the sisters name that died? I probably didn't know her, but I might remember her. And Sister Beatty!! That's crazy!! I'm really glad she's ok and that Brother Beatty was there to save her! What a guy. I'll keep Sister Henry and Sister Beatty in my prayers and of course you in your calling :) Elder Glenn said his mom would love it if you met her or went to see her when you are in San Diego. I don't know what part he lives in or anything but let me know if you want his info or anything next week. And yeah Elder Rowan is a great guy and fun to have in my district. I still think it's funny that we already met before we came here haha. He and I get along really well and I'm glad to be able to help, but I don't ever really have to help him, he's doing really well in Spanish. My Spanish is ok. Mostly just my accent is what is best and that's not even that good yet. 

We went through the temple today and it was supposed to be in English, but the whole thing was in Spanish haha, but I understood about 80% or maybe a little more. So that was fun. Dad- first of all I just want to say that I love getting letters from you and the advice and counsel that you always give. Our mission president was talking to us about how dads never write and it's usually just the moms, but I'm glad that you write me and that you write good letters. I really do appreciate what you say and am thankful to have such a caring and loving father. I will definitely fast with my fellow norte missionaries on the 5th of September. I'll write it in my planner so I don't forget. And I knew that somebody  had President Steimle as their mission president but I couldn't remember his name so thanks for sending that to me! I'll be sure to talk to President Steimle when I can. And thanks for the advice for living conditions. I'll start preparing myself now and try to be ready and get used to "camping like conditions" I also liked what you said about Alma 7:11! I was thinking kind of the same thing but you put it into words for me so thanks! 

Jack! thanks for your letter buddy! I like getting email from you. Sorry that my phone is a piece of junk, but have fun with football and with your acting! I'm proud that you are folloing in my footsteps and I know that you will be way better than I ever was cause you are awesome! keep up the good work buddy! Kinzie! I hear you're liking seminary and are being a really good influence on the class and a big help to dad. Good job sis! I'm proud of you! I got you a bag today :) I'll send you all something probably at the end of my CCM training. Matt- I don't have much time, but I just want to say that I love you and I know that you are doing a fantastic job in your mission and in your duties as district leader. Keep it up and push yourself for your last couple of months!! I'm really sorry to hear about the bad experience you had with your last companion but don't let it discourage you. You'll be blessed for doing what you're supposed to. I love you buddy. Well everyone, I'm unfortunately out of time, but I love you all very much!!!!!! You are the best and I loved all your letter. I'm doing really great here and I love Guate already. the people and the country and the best ever. Les amo mucho familia y la iglesia es verdadera! Yo se prometo! Love you all!!!!!!   

Con mucho amor, 
Elder Jace Norton

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hola de Guatemala!

Hola de Guatemala!!!!! Estoy aqui en el mejor pais en todo el mundo! This keyboard is a little bit different so if things are kind of messed up then you'll understand. The flight was great! It was a litle bit scary flying into Guatemala City because we flew into a thunderstorm for a little bit and there was lightning all around us, but I knew that it would be safe so I wasn't too worried. I sat next to Elder Nelson on both flights so we got to talk and he's really great. I hope that I get to be companions with him someday. We landed around 8:30 and then got loaded up and had to wait for the other people flying in on a later flight so we were waiting on the side of the street for about an hour and a half or so. We didn't actually get to the CCM until around 10:30. My first impressions of Guate...AWESOME! It's the best!! It's HUGE!!! The city goes on forever and is just a really massive area. When we were stopped on the side of the road we all got out to stretch and these two families had little stands set up to sell stuff and they sold us drinks and they were all so nice and everything! The coolest thing I have seen here was a Chuck E. Cheese's!!! I was laughing so hard when I saw it it was hilarious haha. Alright so on to the CCM. It's a heck of a lot smaller than the MTC in Provo. Only one building really, but since we have so many of us, there wasn't enough room in just the one building. So they're letting us use the rooms at la casa de huespedes (west house) which is normally for people who come to go to the temple and need a place to stay. The veterans all say that our rooms are nicer, but I don't think that they're that much nicer. We have two sinks and a bathroom and shower in our room which is nice, but we have no desks or anything and the rooms are a bit smaller. So we won some and we lost some. But it's still awesome! My new companion is Elder Glenn from San Diego California. He is definitely more at my level of Spanish and I think we are about at the same level generally and we both know more about different things so it works well. We've only been companions for a day, but I can tell that he's going to make a great companion, so I'm really enjoying it so far. We have 2 Latinos that we just met today staying in our room with us along with 2 other North Americans. We are the largest group of North Americans to come to the CCM in history, so we're pretty proud of that fact. And yes there are actually two Hermana Alaya's here. They're twins, so I'll have to talk to them and see. (One of the teachers at the CCM is Sister Ayala who served her mission in the Independence Missouri Mission, which is the mission we live in, so I told him to look for her.)  But anyways! The food is pretty good. Not the same selection as the MTC in Provo, but still good. They have thick tortillas here which will take some getting used to haha. But I really love it here so far and I'm really really excited to be here!! I saw Elder West (my friend from college) here my first night and he's doing well so it was good to see him and I see him all the time. The schedule is quite a bit different and I'm still figuring out when I get to do everything. I'm pretty sure that everyone's pday is on Wednesday so that's when you'll be getting emails from me for the next 6 weeks. I'm able to communicate fairly well with the Latinos so Spanish feels like it is coming along great and I can't wait until I can really speak it fluently! I also can't wait to get my cool stuff from the vendor that comes to the CCM. There are quite a few teachers here that all speak English pretty well so I have been pleasantly surprised. Although they don't want us to speak English very much haha. After the 3rd week here no mas ingles para nosotros. Well anyways we only have 20 minutes today so I'll have to cut this a little short. Just know that I'm loving it here much more than the MTC in Provo already and I can tell this will be a great experience for me and will be tons of fun. It was great talking to you all yesterday and I love and miss you all tons. Write if you can!!! Love you all!!!          

Con amor, Elder Norton

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm Going to Guatemala Next Week!

Mi Familia!! Como estan ustedes!!!!! How are you all doing?

I hope everyone is doing alright. Hopefully Dad is getting better from being sick? I think that I got "sympathy sickness" because yesterday I started to get sick. I'm feeling pretty sick today, but I had a priesthood blessing from my roommies last night so that made things better. But my stomach is just feeling off lately and my throat is soar. Pero, toda esta bien! All is well. I'm still really loving the MTC, it's a great place. I see Elder Mark Thomas all the time now that he's here. He's the district leader of his district (I could have guessed that.) and he's doing really well I think. I also see Elder Twoody all the time now too. I love seeing him haha, he's the best. I got some pictures with both of them and a lot of other people that I've seen here that I know so I'll send those to you before I leave NEXT WEEK! Haha yes I am leaving for Guatemala next Tuesday! How did you know that?? I got my travel plans last Friday or something. But anyways, yes I'm super excited to get down there and let my spanish really start to get better. To answer your question, yes I do still feel like the old wise sage of the class. I don't really know all that much, but everyone else thinks that I do so they ask me stuff all the time. I have to admit I feel like I'm in too easy of a class. I can bear my testimony in Spanish and can do a pretty decent contacting job too. Elder Hogan is still struggling with Spanish but he's doing better and he's great. He and I get along well and we are doing really well together. I feel already like I've learned to be so much more patient and loving with other people and I want to stay that way even after I get off my mission. So hold me to it!

Kinzie- thank you for your letter! I was really happy to have gotten a letter from you :]  I'm very proud of you :] Tips for high school? Stay away from boys, and do your homework. You'll be so much happier if you jsut do your work and try to do it joyfully, because you won't be as stressed and you won't have to deal with stinky teachers!! So just do it and be happy :]

Jack! How is football going buddy? I hope you are doing well and that you aren't nervous anymore. I want to see some PICTURES so make sure that you make mom and dad take some of your games and send them to me ok? Tackle somebody really hard for me :] My advice for you for middle school...stay away from girls and do your homework! Almost the same as kinzie =P Just do all of your work and try to do your  best in everything you do ok? Never do less than your very best, and I promsie you'll be a lot better off than I was. You'll be great in middle school. I love you Kinzie and Jack :]

Also thank you to Uncle Richard who sent me a dear elder last night! Words of support and encouragement are always appreciated!

Alright I have a lot to tell you guys so hopefully I can remember it all and get it all in. I am leaving next Tuesday at about 8 in the morning from SLI airport. I will land in DALLAS Texas (woo!!) around noon central time. I'll be in the Dallas airport for about 5 hours waiting for a layover. So, that means I'll get to call you guys!! So on Tuesday, try to be available to call between 1 and 5 ish ok? I'll be sure to give you a call and talk to you :] Also, speaking of Dallas, there are a bunch of guys going to the Dallas mission in my zone, so I'm going to tell you some of their names so that you can tell our people in Texas to look out for them. Elder Reed, Elder Field, Elder Moody, Elder Nestman, and Elder Sedgewick. Those are all the ones i can remember for now, but be sure to tell them! They are great missionaries.

That's good to hear that the Torre's are all ok and that there wans't any damage to their house.  (His Mission President's son and daughter in law who are living in their house while they are on their mission, had to be evacuated due to a brush fire in Taylorsville. Thankfully they and the house were fine!)   The Lord is watching over them I'm sure. Speaking of the Torres, I met their nephew today!! His name is Louis Torres and he lives int he same building as me. I told him I was going to the GCN mission and he said "Oh so President Torres is your mission president?" (except in Spanish) and I said yes and he told me they are his Uncle and Aunt. So that was really funny and cool that that happened. He gave me a letter to give to them when I see them so I'm excited for that.

Mother, I still haven't gotten your package yet, but it's all good because your emails and dear elders have been good enough for me :] Thanks for writing me. Elder Hogan is going to send you a letter today I think so you can watch out for that as well. Um, We have had a couple GA's come to speak to us. Last night  we had Elder Evans of the 70 and he gave a great talk about the Book of Mormon. Then we had Elder Kendricks the week before who is an emeritus. So yeah the devotionals have been awesome. I met a lot of Elders going to the CCM on the same day as me, so I figure there are about 30-45 of us all going down there the same day. I met an Elder Nelson who is going to my mission who knows Ian Freeman, and Ian had told him to look for me, so it was funny to meet him and he's going the same day as me too.

All is going well here. I love it here and I love the people here.  I can't wait to get started in this wonderful work. I know that what I am teaching is true and I know that it will bless people more than anything else in the world. I want to share this Gospel with everyone I meet and encourage all of you to try to do the same. I love you all tons and miss you and can't wait to get to call you next Tuesday! Please send this along to Matt to and tell him I love him and I'm praying for him and his responsibilities as DL. Yo se que la iglesia es verdadera y que Jesu Cristo es mi Salvador y Redentor. Nos ama mucho y quiere ayudarnos a estar mas cerca de El. Les amo much familia. Miss you tons and I hope to hear from you all soon!

Con mucho Amor,
Elder Jace Norton

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Mi Familia!!!!!! Como estan ustedes!!!

First of all, thanks for the package that I got!! I didn't actually get it the first night I was there even though it was sent to the MTC the same day. We didn't have a district leader yet (the one who picks up the mail for us) so I didn't know that I even had a package waiting for me! The candy is great, but I find that I really don't have all that much time to eat it. The only time is like at 9:30 at night and by then I'm getting ready for bed and about to brush my teeth really, so I haven't had the chance to fully enjoy the candy yet. (although I do use the chocolate covered cinnamon bears to keep myself alert and awake) And the Ammon action figure is sweet. I especially like the machete, but even more, I like the sheep. It's cool. Also I wanted to thank Jack for his awesome testimony in my first letter. It basically made me cry! I'm so glad you have such a strong testimony Jack and want you to know that I do too. This church is true and you are a good kid, so keep doing what you're doing and keep strong in your faith ok buddy? KINZIE! You better write me you little stinker.

Sounds like you guys were able to keep it together ok after I left which makes me happy! Sorry about leaving the downstairs closet and the upstairs closet such a mess. But I'll make sure to keep my mission closets extra clean. I'm really loving the MTC here. It's such a great environment here and I feel the Spirit really strongly. My district is really really awesome they are all really strong in faith and they are all nice and service minded and want to work hard. So I love them a lot. There are 12 of us in our district: 4 hermanas and 8 elders. All of them are going stateside except for Elder Hogan and I and we're both going to the same mission. It's pretty hard to believe it's already been a week! Everyone has told me that the first few days/ first week are the slowest and hardest, but I haven't had a dull moment! Time's been flying by and I'm trying to keep up with it!

So here's a little more info about mi comanero. His name is Elder John Hogan and he's a convert, like I said. His parents are not members, and as far as I know are not investigating the church at all at this point. So for that, I really admire Elder Hogan and think that it says a lot about his character that he's out here and choosing the serve the Lord. So it's a blessing to have him as a companion to help remind me not to take things for granted and to serve with all my heart.

So here's a little how the MTC works nowadays. I guess  they actually just started doing this a couple mounths ago. We actually use "key indicators" which are like lessons taught, lessons taught with a member present, baptisms, confirmations, investigators with a baptismal date, contacts, referrals recieved and contacted and a few others. How do we do this in the MTC you say? Well we use roleplaying. So Elder Hogan and I have been teaching a bunch of people and they pretend like they are investigators. The idea is that when you play the role of an investigator, you are supposed to think of someone you know that is less active or a nonmember or someone you know if they didn't have the Gospel. And then we practice teaching on each other. At first I didn't know how I felt about it because it seemed like a strange idea. But the Lord blesses us with the same Spirit that he blesses us with when we teach actual lessons. Plus it's supposed to give us insights on how to help the people we are pretending to be. So it's really very cool. Yesterday we taught a lesson to an Elder Stoner in our Zone. (He's one of my favorite people ever and he's going to Madrid Spain in a few weeks) And he just made up a character to be. He was a 20 year old college student who had had his best friend die in a drunk driver accident and he prayed to God and said he didn't feel him or his help. I don't know exactly why but I felt the Spirit so strongly and Elder Hogan started to move on to talking about prophets (he was just really sticking to the lesson plan) but I stopped him and just started talking about prayer and God and I told him about the scripture in Alma 14 where they have to watch the people getting burned and I testified to him that I know God loves him and that he cares and then we invited him to pray again and ask God if he's there and he said he would try to and during the closing prayer I was crying. He told us that it was an outstanding lesson that that he really appreciated me steering the lesson to meet his characters specific needs. It was awesome and I felt the Spirit. I really love it here and I'm so happy. It's a little bit ridiculous how much I've changed in the past week and I hope that I can keep changing and that the Lord will keep changing me to be a better person. I love you all tons! Can't wait to hear from you again.

Con mucho MUCHO amor,
Elder Norton

Monday, August 2, 2010


Hola Mi Familia,

How are all of you?  I hope you had a safe drive home and that it wasn't too tear filled.  How is Kinzie feeling?  Hope you are better hermana.  And Jack, don't be nervous about football!  You are a great player and athlete.

I hope this doesn't make you sad, but as soon as I left you guys I wasn't homesick or weepy eyed or sad at all.  The moment I stepped into the MTC I felt comfortable and at home.  It's only been one full day and I already love it!  Everything here has been awesome so far.  My district is made up of 8 elders and 4 hermanas and is a really strong district.  My companion's name is Elder Hogan.  He is from Las Vegas, Nevada and is a great elder.  He is a convert to the Church of just 14 months, so I really admire the faith and courage that he has.  He is really a great first comp.  He treats me like I'm a celebrity and is really nice to me.  For example, when I first got to our classroom, I met him and he hugged me and I left all of my things there while I went to do some orientation on the computer.  When I got back, he had set up my desk for me and gotten the things out that I needed.  He is super humble and just great.  He sometimes has trouble expressing himself, but he has the Spirit strongly and has a firm testimony of Jesus Christ and His church.  We are the only ones serving foreign in our districto (district) and we are the only ones leaving after 3 weeks. ( Jace will only be in the Provo MTC for 3 weeks total, and then will go to the CCM which is the Missionary Training Center in Guatemala.)

Our schedule is packed, but I really enjoy that too.  I've heard that the first few days are supposed to be very long and hard, but I don't believe it!  It's been amazing and fast so far!  As far as Spanish goes, I'm in an interesting situation.  I don't think I really know enough to be in the intermediate group, but I feel that I'm not learning as much as I could, but am kind of reviewing some things.  Most of the people have never taken Spanish, so I spend more time trying to teach others than getting to really learn a lot more in Spanish. But it's only been un dia, so I'm sure I'll be able to plan personally to work on Spanish on my own to improve.  I feel kind of like a wise old Spanish sage because people keep asking me how to say things, or rules about grammar (when really they think I know more than I do).  Elder Hogan especially thinks I'm a Spanish guru, but I think in reality he just doesn't really know very much since he took only two years of French in high school.  I have no doubt he'll be fluent by the time we leave El CCM de Guate.

OK, now it's time to tell you all of the cool experiences I had my first and second days here!  First of all, and by far the most surprising, was that I SAW MARK JOHNSON!!!  (Mark is his roommate and good friend from BYU this past year!  He is going to the Spain Barcelona Mission and left in May, but was waiting on his visa and has been serving temporarily in the Los Angeles Mission)   Can you believe that? My very first day, and he was here!  I was eating dinner and I saw him coming towards me and I stood up in shock and went to go give him a hug.  I really couldn't believe it!  He said he had just gotten his visa to go through and had to come back to the MTC before he goes to Spain.  It was so, so cool to see him and it made me really happy!  I also saw the Elder I met at IHOP  (the one going to Denmark) and talked to him for just a bit.  Then I saw Elder Dressman, Elder Santa (best name ever) and James Stewart all from my BYU ward, so it was good to see all of them.

The funniest coincidence was when I met Elder Glenn in my district who told me I looked familiar to him.  He asked if I was friends with Dylan Lambert and I said yes, and then he said that she had shown him "I Hate Provo Dental" so he recognized me from that.  I thought that was funny, if not a little bit embarrassing.  (Jace was a little "out of it" after having his wisdom teeth removed, and his wonderful friends made a hilarious video of him that they posted on facebook called where he talked about how he hated Provo Dental)  Oh, and I also saw Bryce Romney too!  So all in all, life is awesome here.

I miss you guys tons!  Please pray for me here and know that I'm praying for all of you.  I love you tons! Hope to hear from you soon!

Elder Norton