"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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Mission Is A Lot Like This Life I've Realized

¿Us hermaan, ma sa sa' lee ch'ool?

Arin wankin chirix li xb'en xamaan re li rox cambio (Here I am after the first week of the third change)

First of all, it was really great to talk to all of you too!! Even though it was really hard to hang up the phone for me too because I feel like I didn't get to tell you half of the things I wanted to tell you! And I didn't get to talk to Kinzie and Jack and Matt as much as I would have liked to. It's true, it's hard having such limited communication with your family. But I've realized some good things from having limited communication with all of you. First of all, I'm so thankful for eternal families and for the fact that if we are all faithful and live the commandments and do all that we can that we will always be together forever and we won't ever have to be apart like this. I've really realized a lot how much I need all of you in my life to support me and keep me going. I've also realized how Heavenly Father must feel sometimes when we don't listen to him or when we don't pray and talk to him. He loves us more than we have the capacity to love, and so we can't even comprehend how much he loves us. I'm sure that he feels even more the desire to talk with all of his children and he misses all of them more than we could ever feel. So it's kind of given me more motivation to really be sincere in my prayers and to really try hard to have true communication with my Heavenly Father more. My mission is a lot like this life I've realized. I've been sent here by my parents to do a work in a place that is on a lower level than my true home. Adjustments are sometimes hard and there are a lot of changes that take place. But just like this life, I have to have these experiences so that I can experience a fulness of blessings when I return home where I belong. So I know that it's hard for you guys too, but I know that your faith and love for the Gospel is getting you through just like me, and that Heavenly Father is blessing you for my service here, and maybe helping you to understand a little bit better how He feels with each one of us. Thanks a lot for being great parents and for always giving me comfort and advice. You guys are the greatest! 

Alright, well the baptism with Tio Nino went pretty well! We had planned for it to be at 1:00 but then all of the family members of him (all members and pretty much the biggest part of our branch) told us that they were busy and that it would be better if we could wait until 3 to have the baptism. I was fine with that, but Elder Lopez got pretty mad. But we carried on sin embargo and had a good service. People here aren't as reverent during baptisms though which is kind of lame because it makes it a little harder to feel the Spirit and everything, but it was still a really good experience. Tio Nino is a really funny guy (he's 67 by the way) and he felt good about his baptism and his confirmation. 

So here's a little run down of what we did for Christmas. It's a little different here because everyone just celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve instead of on the actual day. So everyone will start eating tamales around 7:00 and then they all light firecrackers and little firework things for a while and then people dance and do crazy stuff in the streets. Basically they just stay up all night and a bunch of people get drunk and then on Christmas day everything is pretty mellow. A lot of things were shutdown, but people aren't really celebrating anymore, just relaxing. So on Friday night we went to a few families houses to eat tamales. First we went to the house of Ubando's family and they gave us a tamale and a hot fruit drink thing that was pretty good. We taught them a little Christmas message and then we left to go to the Guzman house. Their three sons are members, but the parents aren't. But they really like the missionaries so they fed us a tamale (made with potatoes instead of corn which was super good) and fruit (for Christmas everyone has normal stateside fruit like apples, grapes,  and pears and things like that, and then they have more things like pineapples too.) Once we finished there we went right next door to visit the family of Hermana Antionetta Guzman who is the grandma of the other family. She knew that we were getting full so she gave us just some cake and a hot fruity drink thing. She also gave us little "old England" toffees which made me think of you mom haha. After that we headed home around 9:00 and the owner of our house called us down and gave us about 4 tamales to take home which was really nice of her. After that I just got ready and went to bed while Elder Lopez stayed up I think basically all night to call his family and his girlfriend. Then On Christmas Day, we didn't do anything until after the baptism. So we left at about 4:30 and visited a couple of families. And that't pretty much it. Kind of lame really, and it hasn't really felt like Christmas too much because of the weather and just because things here are really different. But it was still fun. I will say though that American Christmas is a lot more fun.

Ok first just let me say some things that I need to tell you. I think really the only thing is that if you could put that money that Grandma sent me in my account ASAP I would appreciate it. They didn't send us our money for this month today like they should have, so I have pretty much no money for this week. I had to borrow 100 quetz from Elder Smith to get through the week. Looks like I'll be eating a LOT of beans and eggs this week. I guess it actually doesn't matter that much that you put the money in all that soon since I won't be able to check again until next Monday. So thank you, sorry to bug you with silly stuff like that.

Alright, now to responding to your emails a bit.

Mom- I know, I figured that you would cry a lot after we got finished. =P I didn't actually get too sad after we finished like I thought I would. I just felt boosted and uplifted from being able to talk to you guys. I'm sure that the rumors are flying right now in Red Bridge ward and that things are going crazy. I'll bet that you guys will have a ward boundary change. That will be really sad and I'm kind of upset that this is happened when I'm here because when I get back, my home ward won't be the same! Oh well. It's really funny to Elder Smith and I that you are going to go to church with his family and have dinner with them haha. I'm glad that you are able to have those connections with the other moms so that you can have more support for each other. But don't go doing anything weird..just kidding =P. Sounds like you guys had a good Christmas together. When Matt watches "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" be sure that he knows beforehand that it is loosely based on the scene from Fantasia with Mickey Mouse. That's something that I wish that I would have known.

Dad- Thanks for being a cool Dad. Thanks for all of your advice with Elder Lopez. I was thinking about that too. Just about how his situation is obviously a lot different than mine and how I do respect the fact that he's at least here. He's had a relatively hard life from what I understand. So I try not to judge him and I'm trying to have patience with him and everything. But yeah there are a lot of complications in his life. Regardless, I won't let myself do any less than my best and I'm going to recommit myself to be able to keep doing what the Lord wants even if my companion is bringing me down a little bit. I really appreciate your advice Dad it really means a lot.

Well I'm out of time, so I have to go now, but I love you guys so much. More than you know. Thanks for being the best family ever! Let me know how everything goes with Matt and good luck to you buddy when you go out to college! You'll be great. Love you guys!!

Elder Norton

ps- Grandma, I'm sending you a letter this week so hopefully you'll get it in a few weeks! Love ya!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Hey  lin junkab'al !! How is everyone doing? It feels kind of weird writing you again so soon because it feels like I just wrote you guys yesterday! It's a little bit difficult to type on this computer because the space bar is really messed up but just chaakuy lin maak and try to look past the errors that there will probably be in this email. Ok.

First of all, sorry that I opened all of my presents  all at once. I guess I should learn more patience. But when I saw the frisbee and the peanut butter I just couldn't wait. Plus all of the little cards  (which by the way, I loved the poems, especially the one about Elder Lusty haha.  He liked it too.)  fell off and I  didn't know which belonged to which so I read a couple to try and find out generally where they belonged and I guess I wasn't really expecting them to say exactlyu wha tthe gift was . So I just opened them all. But I've been saving the candy and things like that to last me a long time so don't worry. But everything was seriously awesome, so thank you all so much, I really loved it. I didn't get the insta snow though, I just assumed that  was the thing you said that you couldn't fit in the package or something.  (We sent him some Insta Snow, but apparently it never got there.  I wonder if someone else in Guatemala is having fun with it right now!)

I'm really glad to hear that you guys are getting into the spirit and are helping other people out, and I'm especially glad to hear that  Matt is making good use of my C.A.W. ( Christmas around the world) Santa suit from 6th grade. I still remember when I was in that suit so long ago. I'm a little bit surprised that Matt fits in it haha, but I'm glad to hear that he does. I wish I could be there to make gingerbread cookies and watch dfferent versions of  "A Christmas Carol" with you guys, but as you both said in your emails, I am here doing the absolute best thing t hat I could possibly do during the Christmas season- -  to bring others unto Christ.  Elder Lopez and I were teaching a lesson the other night and I started to be impressed by the Spirit about some things. I was thinking about the Light of Christ and how cool that topic is. When Christ was born, a new star appeared and light literally entered the world.  I thought about how similarly, when Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ, he saw a pillar of light.  And I think he was born on the winter solstace when more light is starting to enter the world right? Anyways, I was thinking about that, and I thought about the wise men who followed the star to find the Christ . In a similar way, there are so many people who are truly looking for Christ and they just need something to follow. We, especially, in this season, need to be their light that they can follow to come unto Christ. We need to let the light of Christ shine through us to be like the guiding star to others who are seeking the truth. It's just cool how many connections there are and how closely related Christmas and the Restoration of the Gospel are.  Just a little thought for all of you to reflect on.

Here's a little update on my area and the work I'm doing:  Alma was baptized and confirmed so that was really good, and we are still on for Tio Nino's baptism this Saturday, so we're exctied for that. We haven't found any new investigators lately though, so we've got to work a little harder to find some new people to teach. With transfers, there were none.  No transfers at all in Zona Polochic and only 2 in Senahu, so not very many. I don't think President wanted to worry too much about changes right around Christmas. So Elder Lopez and I will be together for another change de plano.  I have to say that things are getting better generally because  we are getting along a little better now, but it's still super hard.  But I'm not going to give up and  I'm going to try especially hard this change to learn what the Lord would have me learn from this companionship. We still haven't found a house. We have given up looking in the center and we are now looking in the more surrounding parts to see if there is anything. We were going to maybe live in the church, but there's nowhere to shower, so we can't. I don't know what will happen if we can 't find a house.  It's possible, and probable  that we'll be taken out for a little bit I would assume. But I honestly hope that that doesn't happen because we really are having success here and I don't want to leave my investigators that are waiting behind. It will be at least another couple of weeks before Ubando can get baptized and we have no idea how long it will take with Carlos and Gilberto.  But if we  do leave I have faith that the Lord will keep them in the right path. Carlos is super pilas so I don 't think he'll stop going to church even if we're not  there.   We have some options that we are maybe going to go look at  today. We'll see what happens though. Today we had our pday in Sacsuha and we played frisbee in a big field all morning and it was GREAT!  I've missed being able to play frisbee and it felt good to run around and just play. But I didn't put on any sunscreen so I got pretty burned.  Oh well I guess! Coban was really awesome. It's kind of like the captial a little bit but way more tranquilo. We'll have to go there and visit wheen you guys come down. And also I'm going to buy all of my clothes from here right before I leave because everything's super cheap here. To answer your questions just a little bit, I didn't get to talk with president Torres, but we are having interviews with him and some training in January. Also the Christmas conference was really cool. The theme was cleansing the inner vessel and faith. He talked about how we have to cleanse the inner vessel and change the things we are doing before we can go out and change what others are doing.   It was cool because there were 6 people from my group out of the 4 zones that were there at the conference. There are 3 of us now in the Polochic/ Senahu. But I'm sitll the only one in Polochic. The other two are in Senahu. The highlight of being in Coban-  I had my first warm shower in forever and it was HEAVENLY.

Alright so now a little bit of things that I need to say. Xben Xben, the call this Saturday. Here's what 's going to happen. I'm going to give you the number of our mission telephone, and you are just going to call me. Not too complicated.  So on Saturday morning, the 25th of December, most commonly known as Christmas Day, you should call me at 9:00 AM, GUATE time. I'm pretty sure that right now it's the same, but just in case, be sure to call me  at 9:00  AM Guat time. I don 't know if you can do this, but if you can put Grandma in as a conference call, that would help me  out a lot. We are only supposed to talk for 1 hour (although all of the missionaries here say that nobody follows this particular rule...) so, if you can work something out like that  then that 's good. If not, I'll just call Grandma once I'm done and just have her call me back. So that's how that should work.  If that time is inconvenient, well that 's too bad haha because that's when it's got to be.  If you haven't called me by 9:10, I'm just going to call you and have you call me back, but I trust you guys to call me at 9:00 AM (don't forget that it's in the morning.)   Well I hope that all of you have a super week this week and that you all know that I'm thinking about all of you and missing you. I know this is where I'm supposed to be and that the people here need me to be here to help them. Thank you for all of your love and advice that you have given me in your last emails, I really really appreciate  it.  I can't wait to talk to you all this Saturday and I'm super excited  to hear  your voices! Love you all so much!! Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon!  

Elder Norton                                                                                              


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baptisms, Christmas Presents, and Getting Kicked Out of Our House

Chan xeeril lin junkab'al?? How is everyone doing? Sorry that this email is a little bit late, but our pday changed because of the Christmas conference in Coban. It turned out that we weren't going to have the conference until this week. So yes, right now I'm here in Coban for pday and I have to say I'm pretty exahausted. We had to wake up this morning at 3:00 to get on a bus to take us to Coban so that we could be there by 6:30. Once we got here, we walked around a LOT shopping for things and getting food and everything. It's actually legitimately cold here in the mornings and the nights. Not as cold as there of course but for us chapines it's cold. But it's chab'il.  This morning I saw Elder Dixon who is my good buddy from my BYU ward because he's here right now in Coban and it was a joyous reunion. AND his companion this change is one of my best friends from the CCM, Elder Underwood! I thought that he was still in the capital, so it was really good to see him. They are both doing really well. it was kind of funny that they are companions because they are 2 of the people that I wanted to see most here haha. So that was fun. Also, another elder from my group got an emergency tranfser up to Senahu this past week, so there are 3 of us now here in the Polochic which is cool.

A LOT has happened since the last time that I wrote. We baptized familia Rax this past saturday and they were confirmed into the church on Sunday!! I was really happy that we got everything taken care of and that we could get them married and everything so that it would all work out. We had a nice little service for them and had some of our investigators come to their baptism too, so it was a neat experience. And yes, I know she really is a child, but he's so much worse! and he's 21!  He is the one that really has the mind of a child haha. But we love him all the same, and he's a good guy.  I didn't end up baptizing them because our branch mission leader knew them really well so they wanted him to baptize them. But it's all good because I'm going to baptize someone this Saturday because we have another baptism with Alma!  She has been to church 3 times and is really pilas (intelligent/cool/goodd/awesome- these are all words that we associate with "pilas") so our DL, Elder Howard came down this Monday and interviewed her and she's all ready to go for this Saturday. So that's really exciting! Divisions with Elder Howard was awesome. He is really good at Q'eqchi' and is a really fun elder, so we had a lot of fun. We actually taught in Q'eqchi' too, which was good. With Elder Lopez, we haven't taught hardly at all in Q
'eqchi' because his policy is if they understasnd even a little bit of Spanish (which most everybody does) he just teaches in Spanish. And we haven't worked hardly at all outside of the center and the surrounding areas that are really close. So with Elder Howard we went to an area further up on a mountain and we contacted and taught some in Q'eqchi'. He taught me a lot while we walked and everything, so it was really helpful and I learned a lot. ALSO, we set another fecha this week for the 25th of December with a man we call Tio Nino. He is the brother in law of one of our most active and pilas members here and he is living with her family right now. We weren't teaching him at all (I didn't realize that he wasn't a member I don't think..) and we went to their house on Sunday, and as soon as we walked in they told us "Tio Nino wants to get baptized!" So that was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one for sure. So we taught him and talked to him for a while and set a fecha for Christmas day since he's been to church before. Ubando will probably be baptized in a couple of weeks, we just have to wait until he has 7 times in church and  to get permission from his parents, so things are progressing well there. We also found out that Gilberto and Carlos, whose dad has 7 women, live in a house apart from the others. Or in other words, only them and their mom live in their house, not all 7 and their families like we originally thought. So we're going to talk to President Torres tomorrow to see what we can do and when they can get baptized. Out of all of our investigators right now, Carlos is the most pilas. He really wants to be baptized and he understands all of the things that we talk about. He is just a righteous spirit and he has so much faith. So I really hope that they can get baptized soon. Maybe next change. The work is going well here despite problems we've had. The only bad thing right now is that we are getting kicked out of our house. The owners of our house are going to remodel , so we have to have a new house by the first of January. This wouldn't be that big of a deal, but there are literally no houses left in Tucurú now. There was once, but the mission didn't approve it. So if things don't work  out, it's possible that President will take missionaries out of Tucurú for a while, which I definitely don't want! So we'll see what happens. 

Alright, now to get out a few things I need to say, (I am just about out of time.)

Loved the packages that i got. I have to admit I opened them all. Sorry mom :) (We sent him the 12 days of Christmas, but apparently he just had 1 day of Christmas!  Little Stinker!) But everything was great and I really loved it all. Thank you all so much for everything! But the only thing that I could ask for more is a more recent picture of all of you when you get the chance the next time. :) you're all the best. Also, I beg to differ that I am in fact gaining weight based on the fact that my shirts are all a little bit big, so you just can' t tell that's all.
Also I saw someone wearing a BVN shirt.  (That is Jace's high school here in Kansas.  Isn't that crazy!)

Well I have to go, sorry but I love you all so much,. Don't know the deets about the call, I'll find out. Just let the moms tell you what it is. Love you all so much!!

Chab'il ralankil! (Merry Christmas!!!!)


Elder Norton

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Close Call Fall in Tambayal

Hola querido familia mia! Ma sa sa' lee ch'ool?

I hope you are all doing well and that you are having fun together! I'm glad that you got all of my letters and my pictures too and that you guys enjoyed all of that. It's not much, but I thought I ought to at least do something special for you for Christmas. So I'm glad those got to you and everything. Also, I got my packages! I am so excited for them and thank you so much for sending them and for being such great supportive parents. I just got them today so I haven't opened them yet, but I'm sure that I will love what's inside. :) Well Elder Wixom's parent's took a video and some photos of me to send to you guys so I wonder why you haven't gotten them yet. They're probably just as busy as you guys with their son coming home too. So hopefully you can get that soon so you can have a video of me to watch. I'm glad that you liked all of the pictures I sent. Tucuru is beautiful huh? I love it here a lot. I told you that it's so mountainous! But really pretty everywhere. I will try and send you some pictures to show you how dusty it is here too. I really love the families here too. They are really diverse though. Some people live in concrete houses and are fairly well off, and others live in huts and have nothing. Then there are some people that live in huts with satellite tv. So yeah it's pretty diverse here, and my area is really big so that's part of it too. But regardless, everyone here lives a simple life. The husbands usually work and the rest of the family just stays at home and kids are always walking out in the streets, lighting firecrackers and playing soccer all the time. It seems kind of boring compared to the kind of lifestyle that we have in the states, but the people here are all generally happy and just live their lives. Sometimes I think I would like more of a lifestyle like that. The thing that I really like about some of the families here is that they all live close to each other. They are always doing things together and they go to church together, some of them, and just things like that. I definitely want that for us! We should just all live in Kansas and do fun stuff together with all of our families all of the time. That's what I'm planning on doing at least. =P

Wow time is passing by really quickly here! This change has been going by so fast it's almost hard to believe! I thought for sure it would be a really slow change, but the Lord is definitely helping me out a lot and helping me to work hard and to keep having a positive attitude here in Tucuru. Elder Lopez is still my companion and therefore didn't have an emergency change. Although, up until Thursday he was really worried that he would have an emergency change. But apparently the ZL's told President Torres everything I told them and I guess that it's not time for Elder Lopez to leave yet. I guess maybe one of the safest spots for Elder Lopez to be is with me since I guess President Torres knows now that he can trust me to keep my leaders informed on things he does. And Elder Lopez has changed a little bit I guess. So I'll just have to keep being a good example to him and keeping an eye on him to make sure that he doesn't do anything that he regrets. But in all honesty, he needs to not be here. He's told me a lot that he doesn't want to be here anyways, and because of that he doesn't study Q'eqchi' at all and just tries to study English. He said that he was going to tell President Torres at the Christmas conference that he doesn't want to be here anymore. So I guess we'll see if he's still here next change. But other that that, things are going pretty well here. The work continues to go on, and things are going really well with our investigators. Familia Rax is going to be baptized this Saturday hopefully! They were only waiting on their paperwork to be able to get married, and we got all of their paperwork this last week, so now all they have to do is get married! The only problem is that she's a minor and therefore she has to have a witness, or someone who's responsible for her in order to be able to get married. Her family abandoned her and she's been living with a member in our ward for some time now, so we're hoping that this Sister that she's been living with can be her guardian. So hopefully we'll have their baptism this Saturday! Other than that we have a lot of youth that are investigating the church pretty seriously right now. We have one 13 year old boy named Ubando whose family was investigating the church 11 years ago supposedly, but stopped because they were offended by a member. But he's awesome and treats us like kings every time we come over. He will hopefully get baptized really soon, we just have to figure out what else we have to do with him. Then we have an 18 year old girl named Alma who has come to church twice and asked us when she can get baptized. We've only taught her twice though, so we have to teach her a lot more, but hopefully she can get baptized soon too. Then we have Gilberto and his brother Carlos who I think I already explained their situation. Their dad has 7 wives that all live in the same house, so they are going to probably have to wait a while and come to church a LOT before president Torres authorizes us to baptize them.

The highlighting cool experience this week happened in a place called Tambayal which is up on a big mountain basically. There is a pretty nice little path that goes up to Tambayal, but it's super steep and pretty long. The path goes up in a zig zag pattern so that it's not quite as steep. It had been raining earlier inthe day and with all of the mud and everything the path was extremely slippery. We made it to the top without any problems and talked with a family there and had a good lesson with them. Then on the way down, I was walking normally and came to a particularly slippery patch on the path. I started to slide and couldn't stop myself and so I veered off into what I thought was just a little patch of grass off the the left. It turned out that the little patch that I thought was grass was really just some weeds and rocks. So I tripped on one of the rocks there and started to fall as if I was going to start rolling. I knew that where I was falling was where the path dropped off onto the path underneath and was abouth a 4 foot fall at least. So as I fell I tried to stop my self by grabbing some of the weeds which of course just ripped out. I really have no idea what happened, but somehow I came out of the roll and landed on my feet on the path below without a scratch. So I called it my "close call fall in Tambayal" which I thought was kind of clever.  It was actually kind of fun haha. (Xintane' sa' Tambayal = I fell down in Tambayal.)  Elder Lopez saw the whole thing happen and told me that I was really lucky because I shouldn't have landed on my feet in the first place, and if I hadn't I would have kept going off the steep incline just a couple feet away. So I knew that the Lord had protected me and kept me completely and perfectly safe. And it makes for a good story haha.

What did you guys think ofthe Christmas devotional last night? I really liked it a lot, even though I only got to watch it in Spanish, it was still really meaningful and there was a lot of awesome things in it. I liked a lot how they related the Christmas season to the restoration of the Gospel, and how Christmas should be a time where we think about the birth of our Savior, but also the restoration of His church. I liked how President Uchtdorf talked about how we need to remember Christ's life, and then obey his commandments all the more especially in this season. Love was definitely a central theme and is something that is so true. We have to have love to have Christ's spirit, which is the spirit of Christmas. Think a lot about the things in the devotional and apply them as a family and I promsie you'll have a fun and spirit filled Christmas (even though I'm not there mom =P)

Kinzie- I read your patriarchal blessing and WOW it was cool! You really are really special (and not just in the way that Dad means that when he tells you that =P) but of course I didn't need to read your blessing to know your potential. Remember that your blessing isn't so much who you are right now, but more who you have the potential to become with the Lord's help. Always work hard to be the person in your blessing. Always read your blessing and follow every thing written in it with exactness and you'll be so blessed. Love you!:)

Jack- Hey bud I heard you tried out for A Midsummer Night's Dream in your school! That's awesome. Whatever part you get, you'll be awesome and steal the show. Good luck and let me know when you find out your part. What do you want for Christmas this year? What are you going to ask for from Santa *wink wink* =P Write me an email when you have some time, I'd love you hear from you an Kinzie both.

Matt- how's home life? Heard you have been house sitting for Hayley? Lucky you, that's the best job in the world. Make sure you're keeping your mission habits up and don't just play video games all the time! Help mom out for me as much as possible with Christmas stuff. She needs some help this year. Serve her and others as much as you can while you're home and you'll have a really good experience this Christmas. I love you bro and I can't wait to room with you in BYU!

Dad- Thanks for all of your advice about Elder Lopez and everything. When at first I was deciding on whether or not I needed to tell some one, I thought about what you would do, or what you would say if I asked you what I should do. So thanks for being the kind of Dad that has raised me right in everything. I really can't thank you enough for helping me to be who I am and for wanting to be obedient like you. You're the best. Make sure to root hard for BYU basketball for me and let me know how old Jimmer is doing. You better have a pretty good workout plan lined up old man =P I want to go on some cool bike rides with all of you when I get back.

Mom- I miss you a ton too especially during this time of year! Everytime I listen to my Christmas music I miss you a lot and think about you! Especially songs that we sang in ward choir! Thanks for helping me have great Christmas memories with you. Even though I won't be there this year, you will all have a really fun Christmas. It sounds like you're really busy with everything, but just worry more about the Spirit of the season and providing service for others and spreading love, and then the real spirit of Christmas, the Spirit of Christ will come and help all of you to have an awesome Christmas. Decorating and presents and everything else will come, don't worry. Thanks so much for my packages and don't even worry about little mistakes, it's all fine :) You're the best mom and I love you!

Well I'm out of time, but I sure love all of you guys and miss you tons. Even though I won't be there for Christmas, just remember that I'm thinking about you and that I'm spreading the knowledge and joy that comes from a knowledge of Christ's life. I love you guys and I'll talk to you all soon!! Can't wait!

Elder Norton
Loq'laj Kaqi wiinq


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

People Are So Poor, They Don't Eat Anything on Sunday So They Can Come to Church

All of these kids came running up to us when we got to Vina Roz.  It was awesome

These kids in Chulac really wanted us to take a picture with them.

Me and my city, Tucuru, from up above.  

The dirtiest I have ever been!

My shirt was surprisingly dirty.

No idea how that happened!

The clothes of a hard working missionary!
Hola mi familia!  Como estan todos?  I love and miss you all tons!  I hope everyone is doing really well and that you are all happy and having fun with life.  (As much as is reasonable without me at least : )  I hope you like all of the pictures.  Well, I've had a good change here and its gone by really fast.  If every change gets faster and faster, I'll be done before I even realize it.  I love Tucuru a lot.  Its really a great place and I love the people here.  I'm excited to stay here for a while and really help out this little branch here.  It's weird how much of a difference the little things make.  You don't know how important home and visiting teachers are until you don't have them.  I never really realized how lucky we are to have such a great ward in Kansas.  Some people here have to come from really far away.  A lot of the people are so poor that they don't eat anything on Sunday so that they can come to church.  They have to pay for rides to church, so they can't buy food.  There are some people here that literally don't have an income, and yet they pay tithing every week, and more than 10% too. Its just been really easy to take everything I had back in the states for granted and coming down here I've realized how important every little thing in the church is.  We really are blessed.  So keep that in mind!

I've never done so much walking in my life ever!  I wish I could show you on google earth how far we walk on an average day.  My legs are seriously going to be "molten lava-hard" when I get home.  And Tucuru is really mountainous all over.  There's never a day when we're not climbing up, then going back down good sized mountains.  But like I said, my legs will be in great shape.  Speaking of health, I'm pretty sure I'm gaining weight.  I don't have a scale or anything, but just by looking I'm pretty sure that I am. (We all laughed at this because he looks as skinny as ever in his pictures!)  All of the walking we do makes me extremely hungry and I'm usually never full.  I'm not going to lie, I eat a lot of junk food.  I buy a lot of chips and cookies, and corn tortillas also supposedly make you gain weight.  So maybe I'll be normal sized when I get home!

The lessons we teach are always fun.  People usually give us something to eat when we go, or something to drink. They always share what little they have. Our schedule is a bit different than missionaries in other parts of the world.  It gets dark really early here, so by about 6:00 it's night time, so we don't take an hour for dinner at 6 and we work until usually about 8:00 and then go in for dinner.  We have had a lot of lessons in the dark here because no one (Q'eqchis) usually has any bright light, just little oil lamps or fires is all.  It's also a bit difficult because so many people here don't know how to read.  More people know how to read Spanish, but not very many people can read Q'eqchi.  So its a lot harder to use the scriptures as much with a lot of people, but I don't think that's a good excuse to not use them.  I need to try harder to use the scriptures, especially The Book of Mormon more during lessons.  Now, when its dark AND they don't know how to read, then its pretty hard.  But its great.  I really love it here.  Q'eqchi is going pretty well.  I know the Lord is really helping so much with this language.  There are some days where I get really discouraged and feel like I don't know Spanish or Q'eqchi.  But I know the Lord is helping me learn Q'eqchi and I'm understanding a lot more now.  I still have troule speaking, but I just have to put in my part to really be able to speak well.  

So just for your information, I'll give you a little Q'eqchi lesson.  With Q'eqchi there isn't any kind of verb that means "to be".  That verb is just implied with the adjectives you use.  So for example, the word for "I" in Q'eqchi is "La in" (Lah-een), but it also means "I am".  This is where it gets kind of weird.  The word for man is "Wiinq" (kweenq - the Q is like making a k sound but back in the throat as if you did it with your mouth really wide open.)  So, in Q'eqchi to say "I am a man" you would say "wiinqin"- the "in" at the end of the word is a pronoun that they attach to the end of the word to indicate the verb "to be".  Pretty crazy huh?  Its a tough concept to handle since in both English and Spanish there is a verb for "to be".   

Alright family, I love you all tons.  I think about you and pray for you all the time. Thanks for being such an awesome family and for being such a great support for me. I miss you!  Chexrosob'tesi li qachoxahil Yuwa'  (May our Heavenly Father bless all of you).  Nekexinrah chi anchal inch'ool (I love all of you with all of my heart).  Itexwil sa' jun may po! (See you all in 20 months!)

Con mucho amor,
Lee ralal junelik,
Laj Elder Norton