"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, September 29, 2010

With President and Sister Torres at the mission home.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm Going to the Mission Home!

Hey family!!! 
Thanks so much for your emails! I was thinking that I wouldn´t get any emails because I wasn't expecting to email today, but you both wrote me so thanks so much for that! First of all I just want to kind of answer your questions according to what I know so far. Ok. So the mission home is about 20 minutes from the CCM so we will have to take a bus, but not very far. We will spend all day tomorrow with Presidente and Hermana Torres. I think that most likely we'll meet and talk and get to know everyone and things like that and we'll have dinner and then he'll interview all of us. I think that probably we won't find out where we're going until the next day, but I've heard rumors that we get to email in the mission home as well so I really don't know, but I'll let you know where I'm going as soon as I can! I can't believe either that it's already time for me to go out into the field and do the real work! It's so weird that it's already been 9 weeks. From what I've heard we'll most likely get to listen to 
General Conference in English (depending on where I am I guess...)  

I've heard about Hurricane Matthew that is hitting Guate right now. From what I've been told most of the damage and most of the rain is hitting my mission right where we have the coast on the east side. So I'll be sure to be safe and careful if I get called to an area that is affected by the hurricane. Also, sorry about the money! I didn't think I'd spent that much at all. The only things that I bought were at the Mercado which was less than $100 and then I spent some on food at the mall and candy, and then I bought glasses and scripture cases here close to the CCM. I guess maybe it's just harder to keep track of how much I'm spending since I get about 800 q. for only 100 dollars! So sorry about that, I'm trying to be more careful with my money.  

Matt- thanks for your email! . Keep up the good work and I love you. I will definitely keep Brother Stevenson in my prayers. Also please keep me in your prayers. I've been praying this past week to have a family prepared to be baptized my first week in the field (or probably the second Saturday because of General Conference).   (Oh, the confidence of a new missionary)  Thanks for your advice dad, it's always really appreciated. Hopefully I can answer some more of your questions tomorrow or later. I just want you to know that I love you all and I have a testimony that Jesus Christ lives. He is our Savior and this is His church that has again been restored to the earth.  I can't wait to testify of this in the field. I love all of you and I'll talk to you all soon!! Love you!     

Con amor, Elder Jace Norton.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Can't Wait to Get Started!

¿¿Que tal familia?? 

¡¡No puedo creer qu solo tengo una semana mas aqui en el CCM!! Time is seriously flying by for me down here in Guate. And the fact that I'm already 1/12 of the way through with my mission scares me! It's going to pass me by too quickly! But anyways thanks for all of the emails this week! I'm glad that I had a normal pday this time so that I got to hear from all of you without any problems. Ok let me try and get all of the important stuff that I need to tell you out first so that I don't forget. The lady that gave me the $100: I don't know where the card is but I know that their names are Rob and Leslie Schnieder and they live in OP. So see if you can find their address again and write her a little thank you note for me will you? The only place that I would say to check downstairs would be in the nightstands and in the dresser drawers. Also you said you are sending me a package, so make sure that you send it to my mission address cause by the time I get it I will be in the field. I need a good mesquito net for sure and that's about the only thing that I can think of right now that I need in the package. So I'm looking forward to getting that! 

So about the eye situation, the doctor told us that it's not in the specific rules that you have to wear glasses but that they are working to change that rule and said that if you wear contacts there a good chance that you will get bad eye infections (not because of unsanitary conditions when putting them in, but because of all of the pollutants and other things in the air here that get on your eye and get trapped by contacts). He said one person became virtually blind in one eye because of an infection and he had to be sent home. So I'm just going to not take the risk and wear glasses the whole time. I got my perscription so thanks for that! I had to go and get another pair of glasses while I'm in the city for sure because we are supposed to have 2 pairs of glasses (Hate to say I told you so mom...=P) so I bought a pair and it's going to end up costing me about $50 for the frames and lenses, so not too bad. But I need to withdraw some more money before I go out into the field next week and to pay for the rest of my glasses. I tried taking some out, but the ATM didn't work for some reason yesterday and only let me take out about $20. So could you just check and make sure that there's nothing wrong with my bank account? Sorry I don't mean to pester you with money issues, I just need some quetz. before I go into the field and that will probably be one of the last times I have to get money out for a while. Thank you! Ok. So I think that's everything that I needed to tell you all. 

Ok so now to respond a little bit to your emails. Mom- really glad to hear that sister Beatty and Brother Stevenson are doing better I will be praying for both of them. Please send my love to everyone in the ward! Sorry that you didn't get to talk to me on the phone mom haha but I did try to call you first =P I think maybe it was better that you didn't talk to me =P But dad only got to say about 7 words anyways so it's all good. I'm excited for you to pick Matt up! I can't wait for him to be home and see you all and everything. Make sure you tell him that he better email me more once he gets home! Dad- wow sounds like you are busy and a little stressed! Sorry to hear that. But I pray for you every day so just know I'm thinking about you and the whole family. I pray for all of you :) I hope that you can get a chance to relax a little bit for your birthday. You can go ahead and take some money out of my account and go treat youself to a nice dinner. My treat =P I was actually thinking as well about in D&C how many times the Lord basically says the same thing to people when they ask about their role or what they need to do in the church and how that can apply to us because the work is the most important thing for all of us that desire to work in the church. We need to all be trying to teach the Gospel to others! 

Alright so this week was an awesome week. Monday I got to go contacting in el Parque Central. It's a really beautiful part of the city with big old Spanish colonial buildings and everything. It's really pretty, but we weren't allowed to take pictures so you'll just have to wait or look up pictures online. We taught basically 3 people in an hour and a half. The people here are so talkative that it's hard to only talk to people for just 5 minutes! One person was catholic and wasn't really interested in the Church or our message, but he told us that he appreciated our work and that anyone who is spreading the word of God is good. That's how most of the people are here. Even if they don't want to hear the message, they respect and appreciate us and will listen to us, so the people are really nice and great here. But the 2 people that we had really good lessons with I feel sure are going to get baptized! They were both really great contacts! They first man (I don't remember his name) told us that he had heard of the church and had read a little bit from the Book of Mormon. We taught him a little bit more and gave him a Book of Mormon and taught him about how Jesus Christ came to the Americas and asked him to read in the Book of Mormon where it gives that account and he was really excited to read it. The other man, Eduardo, was absolutely golden! We talked to him and he was super nice the whole time. At first he didn't really seem that interested in our church kind of like the other people, but then he said "my question for you is, why are there so many churches? They all say bad things about other churches and talk about the 'true church' but which is the true church?" We of course jumped on the opportunity. We basically taught him the first lesson all about how Jesus Christ established His church and that because the peoplwe were so wicked that his church and His authority were lost and because of that people began to take some of the truths of Christ's teachings and change things. We eventually gave him 3 pamphlets about the Restoration, the plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Byt the end he was very interested and wanted to learn more and go to church and read the book of Mormon. He told us near the end that 2 months earlier he had had a dream where the Lord had taken him up into some beautiful mountains and he said he knew that that represented him being saved with God, but  that he didn't know how he was supposed to be saved and that he had been looking for the true church and the way to be saved. I testified to him then that God had sent us to talk with him that day to tell him the way that he can be saved and just said "amen". It was really a neat and spiritual experience, especially for my first time proselyting. I can't wait to actually get started! The next time you hear from me I'll be in the field!!!! 

Real quick, we went to the temple today and one of the temple workers came up to me afterwards and told me that he didn't believe that I could still be in the CCM because of my Spanish. I'm not trying to boast or anything of my ability to speak Spanish, but like Alma the younger I glory in the strength of the Lord. I know that I couldn't have learned what I know now on my own and that the Lord has been watching and blessing me. I know that he has given me the ability to be able to speak Spanish and I'm so grateful for that. Well I have to go now but I love you all tons and miss you. Look for pictures next week on Sister Torres' blog! Love you all tons! Nos Vemos!    

Con amor, 
Elder Jace Norton.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spanish Only - A Painful Reminder!

Hola Familia!  

I'm really happy that I got on earlier and told you to write me cause I probably would have cried if I didn't get an email from my mother this week. And yes dad, I'm glad you were inspired to write Sunday, but you stink for having an iPad! Haha it's ok I actually don't really want one to be honest. but it does sound cool. Ok so first of all Kinzie and Jack I am so proud of you both! Kinzie with straight A's-- looks like you might get a dodge neon if you keep it up =P But really, that's really good! Keep it up ok?? And Jack congrats on your part in the musical! That is really cool and I'm proud of you bud! Is it a pretty big part? I bet it is for a 6th grader! Good job buddy, I can already tell you are going to be better than I was! Mom-- haha that's funny that there are sister missionaries in our ward and that there are all these connections. Be sure to tell Sister Nelson hi from Elder Nelson. And I'll tell Hermana Ayala hi from Sister Harmon. (any relation to John Harmon..?) haha that's crazy about the Elders up in Polochic! (I have lots to say about Polochic and Qeqchi' in a minute!) I am going to have to get accustomed to a lot of things if I get sent there because I'm not a huge fan of huge spiders. But yeah I'm actually excited for those kinds of living conditions. They will make for some great stories I'm sure. 

Dad-- Thanks for the advice about D&C 4. I have it memorized in Spanish but I haven't really studied it too much and thought about the meaning of it, so I will be sure to do that this week and try to apply it to my mission like you said. Thanks for your advice dad I really love it.  OK. So now for the stuff that happened this week. Nothing really too exciting happened. We have new gringos and latinos and I'm getting along with all of them and am making a lot of friends still so I'm glad for that. We have pday today because its independence day here tomorrow so we wouldn't have been able to go to the temple. So anyways. Spanish is coming along pretty well I'd say, but I haven't really been doing personal study of Spanish every day because it's not built into our schedule here like it was in Provo. But speaking only Spanish every day is helping a lot. Elder Glenn and I came up with the idea that every time we speak English we have to mark it down in our agendas and then that night we have to pull hairs out of our legs or noses for every mark that we have that day. It's a bit painful but it's good motivation at least for some of us to only speak Spanish. I guess something mildly exciting that happened on Saturday was I got asked to translate for a meeting with the new group. The branch presidency was speaking and there are more latinos in this group than gringos so for the sake of time they wanted a translator and there were no teachers available. So I was kind of nervous because I had never done it before but I had Elder Glenn to help me and I figured the Lord speaks Spanish pretty well, so I said a little prayer and asked for help. It was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. Because at this point I can pretty much understand everything that people are saying especially when they are talking about church stuff, so I thought that maybe it wouldn't be quite so bad. But then when I started saying something in English I would lose half of what the speaker said. So Elder Glenn would jump in and tell me what I missed when I did miss something and so it worked out pretty well and I think that all of the gringos got the message across (I hope haha) But anyways the Spanish is going pretty well. 

Then! the most exciting thing this week happened last night actually! There were two men from Polochic (an area of the mission where they speak a Mayan based language called Qeqchi' and not Spanish) staying in Casa de Huespedes (the place where I stay) and Elder Rowan came and told me that we needed to go and talk to them, so we went out to talk to them. On Sunday I learned from another Elder how to say "¿hola, como estas?" and "bien, gracias" in Qeqchi' so I went over and asked how they were and then I told them that I was good and thanked them and they thought that was cool haha. But it was cool because they spoke Spanish so we could all speak Spanish and explain things and stuff. So I brought out a notebook and they taught me how to say some other things and wrote them down for me. Then I brought out my Book of Mormon in Qeqchi' and he had me read the first verse. I was able to figure out the pronunciation with his help and could immitate his accent fairly well so he kept saying "good...good...good...mmhmm.." and then we were talking about the Elders in Polochic. This is what he said: there are some gringo elders that get sent straight up to 
Polochic for their first area and he said they have 3 months to learn Qeqchi' and if they can't learn it they are tranferred. He said a lot of the Elders that go up there forget English because they only speak Spanish and then mainly Qeqchi'. Then he told me that I could speak Qeqchi' very well and that I could learn it he thought! I got so excited!! I don't know why, but I really just want to learn Qeqchi' and be in a Qeqchi' area. So anyways, I've decided that if the Lord has given me thse desires because that's where he wants me to be then I need to make sure that I am set with Spanish so that I can learn Qeqchi'. So these next couple of weeks I'm buckling down and am going to learn as much Spanish as I can and then put the rest in the Lord's hands. So that just got me all excited. And they were just really awesome people and they were really friendly and humble and I already love them! So keep me in your prayers as I try to learn a lot of spanish this week. Well I'm out of time, but I love you all tons and miss you tons. Next week pday should be normal but maybe you should email a day early just to be sure :) Talk to you all later!!

Love you!! 
Elder Norton

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Hola from the beautiful country of Guatemala! Sorry this is a bit unexpected but they changed our p-day to today because we got to go TO THE CITY today! So I'm a bit sad that I don't have any emails to read this week. Hopefully I'll get some dear elders and letters this week (hint hint) I read your email that you sent to Matt so I can kind of gather some things about how your weekend went. I'm glad BYU beat washington, keep cheering for them for me. And everyone here was pretty surprised about the announcement that BYU is going independent next year. None of the other missionaries have die-hard BYU fan parents (or maybe they just don't want their sons thinking about football..) so nobody else knew except for me here. But I think that it will be good for us especially in basketball to be able to play some good teams like gonzaga and st. mary's, so that's exciting. I hope you all had a fun Labor Day weekend and that you enjoyed your time together without Matt and I. 

Anyways, things have been just passing me by here in Guate. It's so hard to believe I've been here 3 weeks and even harder to believe that I've been gone for 6! All of the Latinos and the viejos (older CCM gringos) left yesterday and today, so that was a little bit sad. We had 2 great roommates that left and I was really close with a ton of the Latinos here, so that was kind of sad. But the good news is that we are getting gringos nuevos tonight and Latinos nuevos tomorrow! So we're excited for that. 

Today was a great day. We got to go to the Market and the city to do our little tour and just spend some time in the city. It started off by getting mcdonalds for breakfast (a heavenly breakfast, although we do get to eat nachos and beans sometimes for breakfast here. yum!) We went to the market first and bought some great stuff. It was fun because we got to barter for everything with the vendors, so you always have to ask for half of what they are asking for at first and work them if you want to get a good price. I have to say that I enjoyed working the price down and worked it down a few times. I bought a jumbo bag that is really cool looking, an awesome poncho, a guatemalan puzzle box, 2 Guate jerseys and some pineapple that was absolutely delicious. (you may be surprised to hear that I did NOT buy a machete. It took every ounce of my strength not to. Presidente Steimle told us that he didn't want us to get machetes, and I am trying to be obedient, so I didn't buy one EVEN THOUGH there was another elder that did get some.) I think that I am in love with pineapple. Something that I had the other day that was so ridiculously good was pineapple slices (like the ones we had at the Gutierrez's house) but we had cinnamon on top. So delicious! So you should try that and tell me what you think. 

So after the market today, we went to Mira Flores which is a massively large mall that is the biggest mall I've ever seen other than Mall of America. It's built on a bunch of Mayan ruins (the whole city actually is) but we got to go through a little museum while we went to the mall too, so it was fun to do that. They first thing we did at the mall was eat fast food. We went up to the foodcourt and I got a large quarter pounder combo and then we bought 2 large pizzas and breadsticks from Dominos. I ate half of a pizza and 1/4 of the breadsticks. I will send pictures at the end of my time here to give evidence of this accomplishment. After that we decided to look for a candy store in the mall. Even though they feed us great here and the food is pretty good, I find that I need treats and candy all the time and I don't have any. So we all got a bunch of candy to take back to the CCM and share between the five of us (me, Elder Glenn, and the threesome--Elders Underwood, Wathen, and Fawcett) so I'm pretty excited for that. The city is massively large and is pretty diverse. There are some really run down and sketchy parts and then there are places like the mall that are nicer than most american malls. But after seeing some of the parts of the nicest city in Guatemala, I can only imagine how run down other places will be. Oh and I forgot to mention that before we did anything else, we went to that map of Guatemala that shows the landscape and topography and everything and that was cool because I got to see how my mission would be in terms of geography. Most of my mission is jungle, not mountains. There are parts of my mission that have mountains, but its not even close to as many as are in Central and Quetzaltenango. I'm ok with only having that many mountains though, I think I'd rather have the jungle. So anyways, that was fun. 

I'm really loving my district here, they are all great elders and I got along well with all of them. Elder Glenn and I are pretty close with said threesome. Elder Underwood is awesome and a ton of fun to be around. He is really tall and redshirted on the BYU volleyball team so he will play when he gets back which I think is awesome. He's a funny Elder and we are going to hopefully make an awesome companionship in the field sometime! Then there's Elder Wathen who is from Provo and is really funny and makes me laugh all the time. We are all going to hang out in Provo when we get back. Then Elder Fawcett is the quiet one who is just really funny and good at a lot of things that I would never expect him to be good at. He's so funny. 

Well I better go now because I think I'm a little over my time. So I love you all, and I'm sad I haven't heard from you all in a couple weeks but I expect a lot this next week! Keep me in your prayers because after about an hour I will be speaking solamente espanol (only Spanish)for the next 2 years basically! I love you all and pray for you every day. Hope you had a fun weekend and I can't wait to talk to you again. Love you all!!!!!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Jace Norton

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Yo Estuve Enfermo


Que tal?  First of all I just want to say that I miss you all and I think about how awesome you all are every day. Ok. So this past week was a little bit rough for me because yo estuve enfermo! (I was sick) Saturday night I woke up in the middle of the night and got really sick and was sick all of Sunday and Monday.  I am pretty much fully recovered now though. Suffice it to say I'm pretty sure that was the sickest I've ever been! (And I get sick a lot =P)  But anyways, Elder Glenn was really great though.  I woke him up that night that I got really sick and he gave me a blessing with my other roommate, Elder Wadsworth, and stayed up with me all night and then stayed in the room with me almost all of Sunday and fasted for me.  I am really grateful to have such a super companion that takes care of me and is just really nice to me. He really is awesome and I'm glad to have him as a companion. By Monday, most of the bad stuff was gone, but I was just too weak to go do anything. There were actually quite a few other elders here in the CCM that got sick with the same thing and so there were a couple other Latino Elders that are good friends of mine that stayed in sick with me on Monday and I talked to them and we just laid in our beds talking which was fun to do.  I was pretty mad though because my district went proselyting in the central park in Guatemala city on Monday and because I was too weak, I didn't get to go!  I was pretty upset that I missed that.  But everyone said that it was a ton of fun and that all of the people here are really nice, for the most part, and will talk to you even if they aren't remotely interested in the church they are still really nice to you.  So I'm pretty excited for that.  When I was sick all of my Latino hermanos came in and made sure I was ok and asked if they could do anything and talked to me and gave me a ton of support so it was just really neat to see all of them coming to help me out and being my friend when I needed them. My gringo companions and friends were really supportive too and the Elders in my district gave me a card so that was really nice.  And I was given gatorade and crackers and soup while I was sick, so I was well taken care of.  So don't worry about a thing.  And I feel great now and I know the Lord is giving me strength daily, physically and spiritually. 

Next week will be fun and sad because all of the Latinos will be leaving on Monday to go out into the field, and none of them are going to Ciudad Norte, so I won't see any of them for a couple years. But we're all giving each other emails and facebook so we can keep in touch and I can come visit them when I come back and do a tour of Central America in a few years (hopefully!) But then we get to go on our little tour and go into the city, to the market, a museum, and a few other places so I'm really excited for that!  I've already gotten some cool stuff here, mostly just a few covers for my scriptures and  a bag.  I already got something for McKinzie and for Jack too so I'll hopefully send you a package right before I leave the CCM!  Our teacher said that we should probably bring about $100 and I'm pretty much out of quetzales as it is right now, so I just want to make sure  that if I go on Monday I will be able to take out about $100 from an ATM.   I'm pretty sure I can, I just want to double check. 

Last night we had a fireside with Elder Clark who is the area president here in Central America. He started speaking and he was talking about learning Spanish and he asked "who here thinks it's easy to learn Spanish?" and nobody said anything. Then all of the sudden one of the elders from my district who's going to my mission (Elder Tolley) yelled out "Elder Norton!" and I immediately turned bright red and tried to hide, but Elder Clark said "Where's Elder Norton?" I was too scared to answer but he asked probably about 4 times, so finally I raised my hand and he made me come up to the front of the room and was giving me a hard time and saying we coulnd't all be like me and stuff so I was thoroughly embarrassed. Then throughout his entire talk he kept singling me out!  Haha, it was funny and embarrassing at the same time. He'd say "who here has read preach my gospel all the way through?" and I haven't yet, so he pointed at me and said "you should have read through it already since Spanish is easy for you!" which was funny, but also kind of made me feel a little bad that I haven't read it through it all the way. So I'm going to read through it all now, haha.  But at the end he talked to me and told me he was just joking around and he didn't mean any offense or anything so it was funny. 

I'm glad to hear Sister Beatty is doing better, but I'm worried about Brother Stevenson. I'll be sure to keep him in my prayers and remember him and his family. Keep me updated on how that goes please mother! Thanks for all of your emails!! I really love them. And thanks to everyone that has written me dearelder.com letters here and in Provo. I really appreciate them and can feel all of your love and support and prayers in my behalf. So thank you very much for that. Mom- I'm glad you liked the pictures! I tried to take a lot for you! Here I haven't taken as many because we're only allowed to take pictures on Pday, so I'll make sure to take as many as I can though and send it along with my package. I especially designed the boy band picture, haha so I'm glad you enjoyed that. Elder Meyer is one of the first people I've ever met that is actually skinnier than me. He doesn't look that young in person haha but he is great. Dad- thanks for your email and your advice. I really love how you always give me advice that relates to scriptures and stuff and it really helps me. So please keep doing that! I definitely agree that just showing my love for Guate and the people will have the same effect and help me to get to the hearts of the people here.  They all have great hearts here. We got to talk to some people at the temple a few days ago and they are all so friendly and humble and kind.  You can tell when you look in their eyes that they have a great capacity for love. Well, I only have a few minutes left, but I want you all to know that I know without a doubt that this church is true. The more I teach and study, the more the Spirit bears witness to my heart that this work is true and that Jesus Christ lives and that this is His Church. I'm so excited to get out into the field and get to work. I hope to hear from some of you soon and I love you all!!  

Con mucho amor, Elder Norton