"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, 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

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