¿Ma sa lee ch'ool lin junk'abal? (¿Como está familia mia?/ How are you my family?!)
How is everyone doing lately?? I hope that everything is going well back home in the good old land of Kansas. How was the temple trip? I'm sure that it was really fun, those trips to Nauvoo always are. Jack will be able to actually go into the temple the next time! That's really exciting but also really weird...I hope everything is going well in the ward with everyone. How is Brother Stevenson doing lately? I really hope he's ok. Send him my love and tell him I'm thinking about him for sure. I'm really glad to hear that seminary is going well! Sounds like you've got an awesome class, Dad. Be sure and tell them from me that seminary has been the most influential thing for me on my mission and that seminary can really teach you so much if you put forth the effort. Always read your scriptures and pay attention in class and you can learn so much! Also when you have such a good teacher for a class it's easy to learn and to enjoy seminary. Thanks for being such a great seminary teacher Dad. I'll always remember the lessons you taught me there and everything I learned from seminary. Sorry that you had to miss out on the Nauvoo trip dad, but hey me and you both.
The weather here in Guate has been really fresco lately. I haven't really experienced a truly hot day yet in the mission. But it's winter here I guess so I'm sure that I will soon. They only have two seasons here in Guate. Winter and Summer. Summer starts in January I think and then the hottest part of the year is supposed to be about april. But my area especially has been really nice and we've had really great weather pretty much the whole time I've been there. Although it's REALLY dusty all the time. But we don't have fall here and the colors don't change. But that's ok because the colors are beautiful here and the forests and mountains wouldn't look the same if they changed colors. It really is beautiful here. Right now I'm in a place called Senahu way up the the mountains. We are having interviews with Presidente Torres today and zone conference tomorrow. Zona polochic and zona senahu both meet together though since we're both fairly close and everything. So we went up to Teleman last night where our ZL's live and then drove up to Senahu this morning. The other gringo elder that was born in Senahu is here, Elder Dilworth, and it was good to see him. He is doing really well I think and is learning Spanish and Q'eqchi'. So anyways, I haven't seen too much of Senahu. but from what I have seen it's really beautiful. We're staying at a hotel that's really nice (for a Guat hotel at least) and they have mildly warm showers! I thought that I had cold showers at home, but I didn't even know what a cold shower was until I got here.
So. To answer some of your questions. The big blue building that you see (on google earth) is the market building we're pretty sure. I don't really know my directions all that well but I think that the buiñding is...north of our apartment? Anyways our apartment is right off of the road that comes in from where you come from coban and it's right next to a pretty big yellow church. There are also some REALLY big stairs that are right next to our apartment. Yeah we are in Alta Verapaz so I'm not sure where that other place is. And I don't actually know too much about Coban, but it's fairly far away from Tucuru, I think to the south. It's a pretty big place though so it's probably the bigger place. Also the word "wink" means man in q'eqchi'. It's pronounced "kweenk" though. So yeah, they call me "red man". I also ALWAYS hear "mas nim li roq" which means literally "his foot is really big", or in other words, he is really tall. So I've learned how to say "mas nim lin koq" which means "I'm really tall!" Q'eqchi' is coming along really slowly, but I feel like I'm starting to understand at least just a tiny bit, so that's good. What Elder Hexom said is absolutely right, the Q'eqchi' are basically like little kids. They live very simply, do simple things, and have really simple conversations. For example, a lot of times Elder Wixom will have conversations with people and just say "where are you going?" or "don't drop your food!" or my favorite "you're awesome" to which the response is usually "we are." Its pretty great. So yeah that's good advice to just try and do the simple things that I can t oexpress my love and God's love for the people here. And that's what I've been trying to do. I just try to always be friendly and smile. I've written out some simple things like a prayer, my testimony, and a few things to say to contact people on notecards that I pull out and use. I can also sing in Q'eqchi' ok, haha so that helps. Mostly I just try to be kind like the Savior would be and be a good example. So anyways, everything is going well!
We had a baptism on Saturday that went well but was also pretty stressful. I went on divisions with Elder Burden on Friday so that the other ZL could interview Hermano Genaro who was getting baptized. So I went up to Teleman with him on friday and spent the night there. Teleman is also a really cool place and I liked it a lot. It's in a valley so most of it is pretty flat. It's even more dusty than Tucuru which is saying a lot. It's REALLY dusty there. It almost feels like a different country there because it's dusty and there are palm trees and things like that. But it's a pretty cool place so we'll have to go there when you come out! The thing I love about the Polochic is that it's really safe and you don't have to worry about anything really, so we'll definitely come and visit here. Elder Burden is really cool. He's from Las Vegas and has 19 months in the mission. He has been in the Polochic for a little over a year now so he knows a lot of Q'eqchi' and was able to teach really easily. We had a couple of really powerful lessons in Spanish while I was there and I could definitely feel the Spirit strongly. So the next day we both came back to Tucuru for the baptism. The thing you need to know about Hermano Genaro is that he is a really really old frail old man! We were seriously a little bit concerned for his life while he was getting baptized. The water was pretty cold, so we got a lot of pots and boiled water and dumped it in to try to get it warmed up more. We eventually got it luke warm so that was good. Then we had to baptize him sitting down in a primary chair so that he could just lean back and be baptized. It took three times because he kept lifting his feet up, but we got him baptized in the end. Hermano Daniel (our branch mission leader) baptized him. Yesterday was kind of disappointing because we were hoping to get a lot of our investigators to church with us. We had a few families in particular that we especially wanted to get to church. Famalia Xol is a really great family of 6 that we are pretty sure are going to get baptized. We've been working a lot with them and have been trying to help them a lot. We were expecting them to be at church because they've been telling us all week that they would come, but they didn't end up coming. We even called them that morning to remind them and they said they'd go, but they didn't come. Only their son, Rodolfo came. Then we found a family of 14 this week that seemed kind of promising so we went up Sunday morning to invite them to church, but they didn't come either. So that was a bit disappointing. But we had pretty good results this week and our %animo (a way of standardizing and measuring to see how well missionaries are using their time during the week) was 111%, so that was really good.
So anyways it was a pretty good week this week and I am learning a lot about myself and can feel myself changing a lot. I'm trying to honor you all that are supporting me by putting forth my best effort to serve the people here and make you proud. Thanks for being the best family ever and for being so supportive. Im sad that I missed an email from you Mom =/ but I forgive you and I still love you. :) Hopefully I'll get my package today! You're the best, Mom. Thanks for all that you do. I miss you all a lot and it's hard having to miss out on time for 2 years, but I'm missing two years with my family so that other families can be together forever, so it's all worth it. Thanks for your prayers and your support. Hope everyone is doing well back home! I love you all tons! I'll write you again in a week! :)
Con mucho amor,
Elder Jace Norton