"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

Monday, December 26, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

We had a wonderful phone call with Jace on Christmas Day!  It is always fun to hear his voice.  He made us all laugh!  He sent the following pictures and letters the day after Christmas.


Members preparing their Christmas dinner.  Ewwww.



Somewhere over the rainbow in Salama!

Elder Norton and Elder Contreras.
Hey Mom!

It was great talking to you too! But it felt like we didn't even get to talk about all that much in the end haha. But that's ok we'll have lots of time to talk when you come in August to pick me up! Any news on plans for that? You probably should start planning that now because it is going to sneak up on you! Like I told you the change conference will be the 1st of August. 

Sounds like you had a tiring Christmas! I was pretty tired too. Not because I stayed up late but because I got woken up at midnight. The tradition in pretty much all of Central and South America is to light firecrackers for any kind of holiday. So of course Christmas is a time where EVERYONE lights firecrackers. So at midnight I nearly fell out of bed as the firecrackers in ALL OF SALAMA exploded for like 15 minutes. We had to turn the fans on in the house so that we didn't choke to death. We ate some a lot of food for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day- mostly good, some REALLY gross. Last night this lady gave us this giant wad of meat loaf that was pretty disgusting to be honest. But she's less active so I ate the whole darn thing and a huge chunk of "layered rice". But let's be honest, NOTHING compares with the delicious prime rib, yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and gravy dinner you make. Or the breakfast =/ But I'm excited to eat it next year :) I was telling my comp about the Christmas and New Years traditions we have and it made me baggy haha. Are you guys going to do anything fun for New Years? 

Sounds like the xbox is pretty cool! I had heard some stuff about it and it sounds pretty awesome. We'll have to box it up when I get back :) And don't worry mom, I know that I'm your favorite, but really it's only because I know how to make you laugh. So when you are at a point where you are about to get mad at me I just do some silly accent and it softens your wrath =P   Tell the other kids they just need to learn from me and learn how to appease you =P   And even though dad apparently doesn't favor me like you do, I know deep down he really does. He's just a lawyer so he's all about politics- he just has to make the public think that he doesn't favor me =P haha, just kidding. Love you mom! Talk to you next week!

Elder Norton

Hey Dad!

Thanks for writing a bit. It was really great talking to you guys too. It's weird because it's just normal to talk to you guys on the phone even though I've only talked to you guys on the phone a few times in the mission. But yeah I felt the same way too. I wish we could have skyped! But unfortunately we couldn't. It's weird that it's not very long at all until I'll be home! This Christmas has really made me realize that my time here is growing short. It kind of scares me actually! I'm not ready to come back yet! Maybe I'll extend my mission =P That way I'd come back after the semester starts and I'd just chill at home and work all winter =P just kidding. I need to get back out to BYU ASAP. 

I'm excited for BYU sports this fall. BBball is what interests me most. I don't think I'll even go to very many football games. But who knows. I'm going to start watching more soccer now that soccer is something that actually interests me. Speaking of BYU I know it's kind of early still but I need to start thinking about when sign ups for classes is and everything like that. I was thinking yesterday for a little bit while my companion was taking all of the dats. I think I might study linguistics. I just thought "I really enjoy learning languages and it fascinates me to see the differences in languages. maybe I should just do that?" But I'm not sure. I thought though about the 3 things that I enjoy the most: music, languages, and the brain. I'm not really concerned about making money as much as I am about doing something that I enjoy and doing something where I can keep learning throughout my life. So we'll see. But some languages that I'm already thinking about taking as classes- Hebrew, Arabic, Portugese, Mandarin. I think my first year I'll take Spanish just to get the credit and brush up on grammar, Portugese because it's REALLY easy to learn if you already know Spanish, and Hebrew because it comes from the same root as Mayan languages. But I don't really know for sure I'm just doing some thinking. 

Anyways, let me know if you could when I need to sign up for classes and everything. Thanks for everything you do dad. Love you and I'll talk to you next week! 

Elder Norton

6 DAYS!


HELLO!

Alright well this week I'm not going to write much because 1) I'm short on time and B) I'm going to save it all for when I call you in 6 DAYS! 

I just want to let you guys know that I DID get my package and it was AWESOME! Haha, you guys are the best. At first I was so confused when I saw a little tiny shirt and tie with little placks. I thought "Are they sending me stuff that used to be mine when I was little or are they sending me something that my kid can wear someday?? And then I pulled it out and realized it was a stocking. haha it's so cool! Tonight I'm going to look for a place to hang it up. Also thanks for the belts, ties, the flashlight, the little gospel art book, the cards, and of course the candies :) You guys are awesome! I love my family! :) And thanks to all the seminary students for sending me nice little cards. Even though they are all the same haha.  I'll hang them up on a line in my house like Mr. Bean. 

Ok, as for the calls this week: I already told you guys this in the other emails that I sent you but we'll plan on you guys calling me at 1:00 PM. YOUR TIME because I'm not exactly sure what the time difference is. But it doesn't really matter because I only have church from 9- 10 my time and then I'll be at the house. But anyways, the NUMBER is -----------: once again that's -------------.   BUT if you call RIGHT NOW...haha just kidding. So that should be good with the plans for the call. 

Other than that this week has been good, I'm feeling happy and in the Spirit of Christmas and I'm ready to talk to everyone this week! Love you all tons!

Love,
Elder Norton
Stocking that my mom made for me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Conference and a Trip to an Orphanage

At the orphanage. 


Hey guys!

This week has been tiring but overall good. Tuesday we had concilio which was really helpful to me personally and I learned a lot from it. We ended up leaving later than usual from the office which meant that we didn't catch the bus on time to go back to Salama on Tuesday. We had to get up a little earlier and leave Wednesday morning which added a little bit to the tiredness but meant that I got to hang out a little longer with my good buddy Elder Fadel in the office house which was fun. We worked and everything passed by pretty quickly looking back now. But it felt pretty slow in the moment. We taught some good lessons and walked a lot. It was a pretty OK week at the end of it all for having missed a couple of days and being really tired. We didn't end up getting back to the gym until Friday which was kind of lame. But now we're back on track. My back has felt a lot better since I've started working out so I'm feeling really good and in the best shape of my life since my 5th grade victorious season of regional basketball. 

Anyways, Saturday night was the cultural event which was pretty cool but honestly it was like the same thing in every act (each stake did a dance).  There were a couple really good ones and then the rest were all pretty much the same. But it was still cool to see and hear. It was also disappointing because pretty much only the cultures of Quetzaltenango were represented which meant that Q'eqchi' didn't get mentioned or shown hardly at all. The dedication was really awesome. President Uchtdorf presided and Elder Anderson, who was with him, directed. We stayed for the first two sessions in the morning and heard some great talks about the temple and some powerful words from both Elder Anderson (who speaks Spanish surprisingly)  and President Uchtdorf. It was cool and my first time seeing a temple dedication (since for the Nauvoo dedication I was at home taking care of an appendix ruptured Matt and cleaning up all of his vomit) Anyways it was cool. Yesterday, Elder Gallo, one of the AP's that came here to Salama with President Watts, met up with us to go on divisions and stay at our house. We had a good lesson with Danilo and Reina who are going through some pretty serious relationship problems lately. Please keep praying for them.

Today was our multizone activity and conference wihch was a lot of fun. First we went to a local orphanage that is in the area of San Jeronimo which is really close to Salama. It was a really fun and touching experience. We were there with 93 orphans playing with them, singing them Christmas hymns, singing Christmas songs in English, and at the end we gave them all little gift bags with socks, toothbrushes, candy, toys, and a picture of Jesus Christ. It was such a neat experience. As you guys all know I love little kids and I just love playing with kids so I had a really great time. It was the most touching of all when near the end, a little 4 year old boy named Roberto (the little kid sitting on my lap in the picture) gave me a hug and told me "you're my friend." But anyways that was awsome. After that we went to a pretty schnazzy restaurant and hotel where we ate a fancy breaded chicken lunch, watch the movie "Entangled" (yes- watched a movie. President and Sister Watts watched it with us and it was HILARIOUS haha. I wasn't sure if it was really that funny or if it's just that I haven't seen any movies for more than a year. Either way we all had a good laugh) and then we had a small spiritual message from president and Sister Watts. Tomorrow we have interviews and district meetings with President Watts so I'm looking forward to that.

OK, time is pretty much gone but here's a couple quick things:

Dad- thank you so much for all of the funny "Elf" quotes in my email. I laughed so hard hahaha. Thanks for being funny dad. Hope things settle down a little bit for work for Christmas. Love you.

Mom- hey mom sorry about the conference mix up. The assistants had told us that those were the dates that were possible for the conference so that's what I thought. I'm not sure when I'll get my package but don't worry I'm not too worried about it :) I'll let you know when I get it. Thanks for all of the pictures too. Love the house and Matt looks like he's a dancing fool with his girl.

Matt- loved the pics. Watch out for Christmas...she's gonna want something. Love you! 

Alright, well my time's up unfortunately so I've got to go. I love you guys all so much and don't know what I'd do without you guys. Thanks for all the letters. Talk to you all SOON!

Love,
Elder Norton

With my buddy, Elder Underwood.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Concilio and Another Trip to the Dentist




Hello!

Hope all is cold and Christmasy back in the states and that everyone is enjoying the Spirit of Christ that is so strong this time of year. 

The Christmas Devotional last night was really awesome and I loved it. We ended up bringing 7 investigators to the devotional, two of them being Maynor and Karina who we have been trying REALLY hard to get to come to church. So that was awesome. Of course they left after President Uchtdorf's talk, but they enjoyed it a lot and we had a lot of support from the members who greeted them and sat with them and were really nice. In the end they said that they really liked how everyone was so friendly and how everyone just seemed to know each other. We still haven't taught them in like 3 weeks, but hey, they're making progress. Ana, who is another investigator that we have right ow who is reading right now in ETHER (yeah, she's pretty pilas) she said "oh yeah, I'm just reading right now about the Tower of Babel and the Jaredites and it's pretty interesting.) She's kind of a history/art/theatre lover so now she just has to understand the importance and the significance of The Book of Mormon. But she and her friend came to the devotional and said they liked it. We also had Danilo and Reina as usual and they enjoyed it as well.

Haha you guys just know me too well because as soon as Brother Okabe came up on the screen I turned to Reina who was sitting next to me and said "I know him! He used to be in my ward!" Also as we waited for the broadcast to start they were playing clips of the MoTab choir, and Julie came on the screen a couple times. I kept saying to everyone "That's my aunt!" And they were all surprised and thought it was cool haha. I really loved President Eyring's talk at the end about the patterns related with Christ's brith- the light that came into the world and how God declared a lot of things by angels-and how God has done the exact same thing with the restoration of His true church. I always love relating Christmas and the restoration because the restoration of the gospel is one of the greatest blessings we could ever have living in these days. I also loved President Monson's talk because I knew exactly the stories he would talk about haha. I love that man. It was not quite as good hearing the devotional in Spanish because it's not the same as hearing their actual voices, but it was still good. 

This week we started going to a gym about 5 minutes away running distance. It costs Q100 monthly which is roughly 12 bucks. It's not too big but they have good machines and a guy who basically is like a personal trainer for us. We went Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and we are feeling healthy and fit. (and Elder Contreras also wants to go, so it's not just me.) I bought protein that I'm going to start drinking in the mornings as well. So hopefully by the time I leave Salama I can at least get into the habit of doing a good workout every morning. It does relieve a lot of stress so that's nice. 

Getting down to the Cap this morning was brutal. We woke up at 3 in the morning left around 3:45 and got to the bus stop just in time for the bus to drive by PACKED with people. (Here, if there aren't any more seats, people just crowd themselves into the aisles and stand..) So we waited for the next bus at 4:30. It came and about 30 people just crowded into the aisles, so we had to make the whole trip standing up. And not just standing up - standing up with your feet in the exact same spot because there were so many people we couldn't even move at all. We left at 4:30 and I finally got a seat at 8. (or course, like 2 minutes before we came to the stop.) So that was pretty lame and I will most likely be very tired this week. But after we got here we went to the assistants house and got ready a little bit and went to go play soccer. We played with about 10 other elders on a court that's inside a church building here. That was pretty fun, but probably wont help tonight with me being so tired haha. 

Alright, on to some personal comments:

Dad- hey dad thanks for the email. That story is great. I first read it when it came out in the Liahona in October for the special Book of Mormon edition. It's a really cool story and we've used it already once with a less active sister in our branch who told us she didn't know how to read. We promised her that the Lord would bless and help her if she kept trying to read The Book of Mormon. Yeah, the people here are a lot of times more receptive because of the season, but at the same time the people here are also a lot more drunk because of the season. Here, the parties start since december 1st haha. December is pretty much a whole month of partying here. But we've had success talking about the prophecies of Christ's birth in Helaman and 3rd Nephi with some people. I love the story in 3rd Nephi chapter one. Oh and  by the way, the cultural event isn't until this Saturday because the dedication of the temple is this Sunday. So maybe you'll be able to find it on the computer or BYUtv. I'm sure there's a way to see it. That's cool Grandma will be there for Christmas which means I'll actually get to talk to her! I hope Michelle comes too so I can talk to her more too! I still need to write her a letter. Anyways, thanks for all you do for me. Love you dad!

Mom- hey mom! Thanks for the email. Sounds like you are just as busy as ever with all the stuff you're doing to have a nice, spiritual Christmas. I am glad you guys are still going to do the 12 Days of Christmas. It's one of my favorite things to do for Christmas and one of the traditions that I hope to pass on with my family someday. It's really true though, that the most important thing about Christmas is the Spirit of Christ that makes us feel happier and makes us feel like being better people. (although the chocolate calanders are always a good part of Christmas too haha) Thanks for sending my christmas package. It will most likely get to me by Christmas. Next Monday, President and the assistants are coming to Salama to do our Christmas conference and district meetings so I might even get it then. And don't worry about the wrapping and the cute cards. I kept all of the notes from last year so I will always have a memory of them :) Thanks for being so caring and concerned for all of the other missionaries here mom, it's really great of you. You're the best! Can't wait to talk to you in a few weeks!

Jack- hey bud! I was thinking about you the other day because we started teaching a new family that has a 12 year old son and I said "hey that's cool that's just like my little brother!" Then all of the sudden I realized that you are OLD! You are about to turn 13 next month! It was a really weird thought that literally made me say out loud (in English) "Jack is going to be 13!" Everyone just looked at me weird haha. But how are you lately? What do you want for Christmas? Any good stories to tell from school? Tell me about any cool new games that come out so we can plan on playing them together with Matt when I get back. Hope school is going well and that you are excited for the holidays. I love you lots bro and I miss you. Write soon!

Kinzie- HI! How are you sissy? I hope you are behaving youself! =P How's school going? Any more ridiculous changes with the choir? So what's the deal with you changing to BVHS? Are you going to end up doing it soon or waiting until next year? You're getting old too! You are already 15 and soon you'll be 16! It's just weird to think about. I hear you're quite the pianist now! That's not surprising though because you have always been really talented with music. I still can't hardly play anything at all, but I'm learning how to play hymns a little bit when I have free time in the church. I know how to play "Jesus the Very Thought of Thee" and I still remember how to play "Gracie's Theme". Other than that, you'll just have to teach me when I get back. Love you and miss you tons! Talk to you soon!

Alrighty guys, my times up. Thanks for your emails and for all of your prayers in my behalf. I love you all tons and I'm grateful for you all. Talk to you in a few weeks!

Love,
Elder Norton

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

16 Months and 16 New Investigators!

Today I am completing 16 months being on the mish. That's weird because that means I've only got 8 months left which is weird because 2 months later it will only be 6 months left which will mean I will be 3/4 of the way through my mission. It is such a weird thought! I'm not baggy, just kind of freaked out! Today it has been surprisingly cold here in Salama. You guys would probably feel great in this weather but us Salamatecos feel the cold quite a bit. But the good news was that it was nice weather for playing soccer in the morning with a bunch of youth from the branch and the other elders. 

Anways, sounds like you all had a great Thanksgiving week. Hope you are all a little fatter from the big Thanksgiving meal. You'll have just enough time to work it all off by the time the next big meal comes at Christmas and then you'll all have a reason to get back into shape for your new years' resolution. (Speaking of working out, I've been using my perfect pushups and have been doing other stuff to work out pretty much every day for a few weeks straight now. My back's getting stronger and it doesn't hurt quite as much now. I'm going to try to really get into shape so that you will all be surprised when you see my Arnold-like build. I'm going to buy some protein this week to start bulking up. There's a gym really close to our house with a ton of workout machines that I've been thinking about starting to go to. We have permission to go to gyms, but we have to pay for it using personal money so that would be the issue...We'll see.  I know you're all laughing right now, but as the scriptures say, "fools shall mock, but they shall [be crushed by my huge muscles!] (you know the accent.. =P )) Anyways, I'm glad to hear it was a good week for all. I'm jealous that you got to eat Fernando's delicious cooking without me! We definitely have to go back to Dallas before I go back to BYU in the fall. 

This week was a pretty good week for the most part. We really saw some great blessings from the Lord. This week we found 16 new investigators to teach with 6 families which was amazing! We usually don't hardly find any new people to teach, so it was a huge blessing. Now we just have to work hard with all of them to help them progress. We have another couple that we are working hard with that are both pretty cool people. They are Camilo and Brenda Galián. We're helping him to give up drinking for good and trying to get them both to come to church. Next Sunday we set the goal of bringing 27 people to church with us (four families) because if they come for the Christmas Devotional it counts as an attendance in church. So we are going to work really hard this week to get people to come. Hopefully you guys will invite some friends to come with you to the devotional too! We're still working with Danilo and Reina to get their papers. Thanks for your prayers in their behalf and keep praying and fasting for them this week! We're also working with the Poqomchi' family that I told you about and are working a lot with the dad, Pablo. We had a lesson with him for  the first time this week and he seems like he wants to change. But from what we're told, he goes out to get drunk for 15 days at a time sometimes. So we figure if he doesn't change it will be really hard for anyone else in the family to change (since Julia and Cecilia didn't come to church this week... =/ ) So please pray for them too. 

Things are going really well with me and Elder Contreras. We get along really well and we have a lot of fun together. Of course he's getting to the point where his body is tired of getting up at 6:30 every morning so what he'll usually do is get up and pray with me and then lay back down while I exercise and shower. Then he'll get up at around 7:30. But he's not too baggy yet. The bad thing is that with Christmas coming up it's pretty much impossible NOT to be baggy. But we're still working hard. I won't let him slack off too much. Next week is concilio in the cap which will be good I think. I have to go to the dentist again next Monday because I have a tooth that's killing me recently every time something cold touches it. We are also going to have some other fun stuff coming up the weekend after this weekend with the dedication of the Temple in Quetzaltenango. You guys should see if you can watch the cultural performance on Saturday night (the 10th) at 6 or 7 at night. Our investigators won't be able to come to church the 11th because it's the dedication, so we are going to bring investigators Saturday. We also should be having our Christmas zone conference sometime between the 19 and the 24th of December. So it should be a really fun month.

A kind of funny experience of this week: this less active family in our branch invited pretty much everyone in the branch to come to the birthday party of their daughter who was turning 15. They are a VERY poor family of about 9 children and live in a tiny little house made of wood and a lot of tarps. So when they invited us, we were obviously thinking that it would be more of a small family gathering with a lot of members there as well. We thought it would be a really good opportunity to help the branch get involved more with their family and help them all become active again. So it was pretty surprising when we got to their house and it was pretty much a discotech. They were playing pretty wordly music with HUGE speakers, some pretty fancy lights and a disco ball and everything that they had set up on their very large piece of land that they have underneath the hill where their house is. We definitely felt uncomfortable. But don't worry we didn't dance...too much...jaja just kidding. We ate the food they gave us, said congrats and booked out of there. It was a weird feeling.

Here's some quick personal comments: 

Dad- I'm glad that you enjoyed the holiday week and that  you guys had an enjoyable and peaceful time. I'm sure we'll all be together for the next Thanksgiving which makes me super excited!  Anyways, thanks dad for all you do. Sorry for taking money out today but I need to buy a new backpack, a machete and a few other things. Love you!

Mom- hey mom thanks for the email. I'm glad you guys had a good time with everyone there. It's cool you guys got to see Carson. I hope she's doing well. Tell her I said hey for me.  And thanks especially for being so thoughtful about my investigators. Also yes I was referring to the red ones. Or if they have flavored colored ones other than black I'd take that too. Anyways, I'm trying to get buff so anything cool you could send me to get ripped would be awesome. Maybe not this package but for the future..There are some people here that have pullup bars that are just bars that you put inbetween two walls or a door post and you just tighten. But that's for later. Love you mom, you're the best!

Alright well times up so I've got to go. But thanks for the emails. Love you all tons and I'm thankful for your prayers. Love you!

Elder Norton

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Thanksgiving (feliz día de acción de gracias) to all reading this!

I write to you all from good old Salama. Saturday night we got the changes and it looks like Elder Contreras and I will be staying together another change here in Salama! Woo! That means a few things: 1) I will be Elder Contreras' last comp and will be the comp he spent the most time with  (up to this point in my mission he will be the comp that I have spent the most time with too...just as a side note, I told that to Elder Gutierres when I thought I was going to stay with him too and then the next day fell in a river...so you never know haha.)  2) We will both be here for Christmas. 3) We will be baptizing a family in December! (more on that to come.) 4) I will most likely be in Salama at least one more change after this next change (or in other words until February or possibly more.) and  5) my chances of going back to Polochik are getting much slimmer...BUT we are both pretty excited to get the change to work together his last change here in Salama!

This week we put 4 baptismal dates with a family and two other people. The family are Danilo and Reina. They are our most pilas investigators. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned them a lot but they are the ones that always come to church and are more faithful than a lot of members. Anyways, there's been some problems with their paperwork since he's from nicaragua and he's and ilegal immagrant here in guate. BUT, we are exercising our faith and we put a baptismal date with them for the 24th of December (we're dreaming of a white Christmas..) We have to be VERY diligent in order for this to work and we need a lot of prayers and faith in their behalf. So I'm asking all who read this to remember Danilo and Reina in their prayers and also for me and Elder Contreras to get all of the paperwork done that we need. Fast sunday we are going to do a fast for them and I'll probably remind you all and ask for you to help out as well in that fast. The other 2 people are daughters in a really big poqomchi' family that we got as a reference here in Salama. We're trying to help the whole family prepare for baptism, but as for right now only the 2 daughters, Julia and Cecilia, have accepted a date. So please pray for them a lot too. They are familia cun cho. And we are still working hard to get more opportunities to teach Familia Morales  who I've mentioned before. They are really great and I'm sure they will get baptized someday but we just need to find them more. So please pray for all of them!! 

Well, this week is Thanksgiving and I can honestly say that I'm pretty sure I won't be eating things near as delicious as mom's meal and pies. But it was kind of funny last week because we went to the house of the family of our two most recent converts and the dad made us turkey with stuffing. Definitely wasn't the same as the original American kind, but I was still really surprised and it was pretty good. I should have taken a picture but I forgot to. Anyways, it's all good because I still am able to get in the Spirit with the EGG NOG that I found in the little store here. It's not as good, but it's good enough haha. But I want to say that I'm thankful for all of you! Thanks for all that you have all taught me my whole life and for helping me to be where I'm at today. I'm thankful to awesome parents who have taught me all that I know and have set a good example for me in everything they do. I'm also thankful for 2 wonderful brothers and my amazing sister who have always been there to be my friends and who always make me smile. I'm thankful for my grandparents who are converts to the church who had the courage to change their lives to live the Gospel so that I can be here now. I'm thankful for Jesus Christ who makes every good things possible and I'm especially thankful for all that He has suffered for me so that I won't have to if I can put my trust in Him. I'M THANKFUL FOR MY FAMILY :) You guys really are the best. Eat lots of good food for me, epsecially apple pie and ice cream. 

On to the shoutouts:

Dad- haha reading your email made me baggy. I have good memories of those feelings of this time of year, but mostly it just makes me anxious and excited for the many more memories to come. Thanks for the advice about giving it my best. I was talking today to another elder about how it's much easier to work out when you have someone there that keeps telling you to do one more pushup or to keep going. I think that pretty much sums up giving our best to the Savior as well. When we let him be our "trainer" He's always there to encourage us and give us the strength neccesary to do even more, but we have to invite him to be with us to help us. I promise that I'm going to really try hard in the months that I have left in my mission to let the Savior really be my personal trainer and to keep telling me "you can do it" when I feel sure that my strength is all used up. thanks for helping me understand that more. I'm glad you are feeling the real Spirit of the season and that you want to make Christmas really special this year. I really am not too sure how to make Christmas even more special than we always did by doing small acts of service. But I always think about the story that President Monson tells about the little German family and their apartment that he helped to make really nice for them. If you want Christmas to be really special, do a really special service for another family in need. We'll have lots of fun NEXT year when I'm home for the holidays! alright, enough of being baggy. Love you dad!

Mom- hey mom! :) I think I forgot to tell you that I already got my Halloween package. Thank you so much! All of the candy was delicious as usual and most imporant, American. You are just the craftiest person ever and that's why you are the best mom ever. My wife better love you! Anyways, thanks a lot for being so "creepy" with crafts haha. There was a nationwide stake conference here yesterday that we watched by satellite and they talked a ton about getting ready to receive the blessings of the temple since they are going to dedicate a new temple in Quetzaltenango in a few weeks. It was great and Elder Holland spoke spanish a little bit for his talk which was really funny and great haha. So I'm glad you are doing your part there in KCMO to get ready for the new temple. I'm really excited for it to be done! Matt's wedding will be awesome there haha. (mine too for that matter.) By the way I loved your description of how to pronounce Kilinoe haha. You are so funny. Well I'm definitely going to miss you and your cooking a lot this week, but I'm thankful for you mom. The only other thing that I thought of that you could send me for Christmas- some Twizzlers, and lately I've been craving Reeses. I don't know, I'll be satisfied with whatever you send haha. But I actually could use a new belt. The black plasticky stuff on both of my belts is coming off. I think that's it. But I'll be happy with whatever you send :) love you mom!

Kinzie- HI! ok just to respond a little to you last email, I heard from Jack beforehand that you were thinking about switching to Blue Valley high. (I would too if the choir teacher was that horrible. Maybe I'll come back and teach choir at BVN...hahaha no way. BVN is going downhill...but don't worry BYU will be awesome! :) We'll get to go together for at least a year or so! Love you tons and I'm thankful for you! Have a good week! :)

Jack- sorry to hear that the play is really lame..but it happens sometimes. I'm excited for you to play baseball though! Baseball was one of my favorite sports to play as a kid so I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun. I'm sure you'll be able to get into the "swing" of things (did you catch the pun?) easily enough. You are a great athelete. But the most important is just being a great deacon! Which you are, so just keep up the good work and you'll be fine. Love you and I'm thankful for you!

Matt- my times up, but you know I'm thankful for you too! Tell Kilinoe I'm thankful for her too for putting up with you! haha just kidding. Eat lots of pie for me. 

Alright, times up. I love you all and am thankful for all of you. Hope you have a great week and that you all can show your gratitude by serving one another in the house. I'm praying for you all!

Love,
Elder Norton

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Message of the Restoration of Christ's Church is Important Enough for us to do Anything to Share it With Others!



Hey guys! Hope everything is going well there and that you are enjoying the fall weather. (it's HOT in Salama.) I recently got back from Guate for another dentist appointment with my comp. He's doing pretty well but he's got some TMJ problems. His jaw is locked up on one side (like what happened to me for a while on a couple of days.) But it's fairly unusual since it's been like this for a couple of weeks now. So he was pretty worried about it and really stressed because of it. So we got permission to go to the cap today to check things out. We left yesterday afternoon and got to the cap last night and came back this afternoon. So it was kind of fun I guess to get to go to Guate again but I would have rather stayed here since the dentists couldn't really even do anything anyways. They just told him that it was normal and that he had to keep eating bland foods and do jaw stretching exercises. But oh well, he feels a litle bit relieved now so that's good.

This week was good since we were back in our own area again. It was a little hard at first since we didn't really have any set appointments because we weren't there so long. But we were blessed a lot. The assistants came and stayed with us for a couple of days and we went on divisions with them to work and we had a lot of success. It was really nice to have the extra pair of missionaries and we were able to have some great spiritual experiences. My companion and Elder Williams went to an area pretty far away and contacted a woman who said her husband worked every day from 7 to 9 and that the only time to come would be at 6 in the morning. So my companion scheduled an appointment for 6 the next day. He told me that night and I was convinced that he was out of his mind. I was actually surprised at 5 in the morning the next day when he actually got up and started to get ready.  At first I thought about just staying in bed and pretending like I was asleep so I wouldn't have to go, but he was way ahead of me and put the alarm of the phone next to me so that I would have no excuse not to get up. I got up and prayed and asked for the Lord to give me a positive outlook on the appointment and to help me to have a good attitude about it. So I got up and felt much better, got ready and we left. We found a bus to take us to her house and went to knock on the door. The guy who answered had definitely been sleeping right before and was pretty surprised that we were there. But he eventually let us in. In the end, it doesn't really seem like that couple will ever progress very much, but that lesson was really important for me and for my testimony. I just felt in my heart "the message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is important enough for me to go to someone's house at 6 in the morning to share it with them." We knelt to say the opening prayer and I was having trouble fighting back the tears because I felt the Spirit so strongly. So just remember, that the message of the restoration of Christ's church and gospel is important enough for us to do pretty much anything to share it with others.

We also did something kind of new this week as well. We have a really great family that we are trying really hard to help progress and we gave them both a copy of The Book of Mormon. They said that they hadn't read it because the husband drives a lot to Guate and can't read while he drives. So we decided to go to the internet shop and had them download all of The Book of Mormon in audio on disc to give to them. They were really happy when we went over to give it to them. He told us now that there wasn't any excuse not to read and listen to the book of mormon and so we're hoping we will get to work with them more now. Their names are Mynor and Karina, so be sure to keep them in your prayers. 

Alright time's almost up so here's some quick shout outs

Dad- thanks a lot for your email. it really helped me out a lot. It's so true that if you think about obedience in terms of circumstances or situations that it is REALLY hard to be obedient. I need to apply that more to my life and help my zone to apply it as well. haha Don't worry too much about Matt with his new girl. He's got to learn sometime! And now is a good time. He'll be just fine. That's sad to hear about the two missionaries in Texas. I know you always pray for me, but this week if you could say a few special prayers for me I would really appreciate it. Sometimes I have trouble overcoming my own self. It's just hard sometimes for me to push myself to do my absolute very best sometimes. I want to do my best but I've just never really ever exerted myself beyond my limits in my life to this point. I'm trying to change that and kill off the natural man in me. So if you could remember that for me I'd really appreciate it. I'll always remember you guys in my prayers too. I love you!

Mom- hey there! Glad you liked the pictures I sent! and just so you know, the artistic photos were all by Norton Photography inc. (I should have been a photographer...=P) yeah, I really like the new suit. It's REALLY fit to me though which means it's a bit tight sometimes. I just have to not gain too much muscle weight so that it will still fit when I get home and I can wear it to church. =P Working out has helped my back out quite a bit and I'm getting stronger little by little. Thanks for the talks you sent, I really liked the idea of Pres. McMillan's talk. Love you!

Alright, well times up so I gotta go, but I love you all tons!

Love,
Elder Norton
With Elder Lusty in our new tailored suits made of the exact same fabric. 

Another artsy pic with me and Elder Lusty!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Little "Vacation" to Tactic

Elder Norton looking good in his new Guatemalan made suit!
Hey Guys!


This week has been a pretty crazy week. But it has been pretty great. It started off with concilio which was awesome. It was really spiritual and I received a lot of revelation. I learned a lot about gaining the Lord's trust. The Lord loves every single person on the earth, but He can't trust everyone. I just really felt during the concilio how truly precious and important His children are to Him, more important than anything else in the universe. If we as missionaries (or as parents or members) want to have success in finding people to teach and help bring to baptism, we have to first gain the Lord's trust so that He knows that we won't let His children fall- that we will do everything we can and everything in our power to bring them back to Him. It was a really strong impression that I felt from the Spirit so I am going to try to work really hard in everything I do to gain the Lord's trust so that He knows that He can trsut me with His children. 

Anyways, the concilio was awesome and really fun. I spent a lot of time talking with Elder Fadel about the NEW BOOK OF MORMON IN Q'EQCHI'. I totally forgot to tell you guys last week that I just got a copy of the new triple combination in Q'eqchi' with a new and better translation, with the new orthography and normal sized! It is SO cool! We just talked a lot about all of the new translations and how cool they are. For example, the new name for "Doctrine and Covenants" in Q'eqchi' is "Li Tzol'leb ut Sumwank" which translated means "learning tool (doctrine) and faithful existence (covenants)" AWESOME! So I'm really excited abou that and it just makes me want to go back to Polochik even more because the people understand the Book of Mormon and all of the scriptures much better now with the new translation. I hope I go back soon! 

After that I went to a doctor's appointment to just get some advice about my back  (nothing too serious, just since I was already going to be in the cap and it's a new doctor I thought I'd go see him.) Mostly I just feel a lot of pain after waking up so I was kind of expecting some kind of special pillow or something like that, but he just told me I need to get buff. He said there's nothing really to do at this age other than get ripped and work out every single day. It's apparently really common among a lot of good atheletes who have just had to become really muscular to fight it back. He's a great doctor so it was nice to actually get some real good advice. He also gave e some advil for the pain at night. Anyways, so I did that. Wednesday my comp got 3 wisdom teeth taken out and he was really suffering a lot. They didn't put him to sleep or give him any powerful drugs. Just advil. So he was in a lot of pain and couldn't talk or eat for a while. In the end I ended up leaving my comp in the capital and coming back with another elder whose comp also got his wisdom teeth out and we left the sickies there in the cap. So right now I'm back in good old Tactic visiting and waiting for my comp. I've been here since Thursday night and it's been cool to see how everyone's doing. The Lord has a purpose in everything that He does so it's been cool to see that. One quick story: back when I was here a member family gave us a reference of a neighbor family of theirs. We went and taught, and the mom was a litte more receptive but the husband ended up rejecting us in the end. Well when I went to church in Tactic yesterday the member family told me that the husband of that family had been murdered a couple of days ago in Coban. I felt really strongly that we needed to go visit the wife so we did. We ended up having a neat lesson and some great new possibilities for the elders in Tactic. 

I have been using my Poqomchi a lot more since coming here. All of the members that speak it just try to speak to me in Poqom to test me now. I can understand some things but it's still hard. But I have to say I'm surpised at how much I can still remember. Anyways, I found a Poqom family in Salama recently who also had someone in the family pass away. It has been cool getting to teach them. I went back to Salama Saturday just for a couple hours to do some stuff and to teach that family. It was a cool lesson. But, on a bad note, the whole zone pretty much had the worst week ever. It was kind of sad to see how hardly any areas have investigators that are progressing. So the work is kind of hard here right now. I'm struggling a little bit to know how to best help the zone to get back up and to keep working hard. But I know the Lord will help me and give me revelation for what I need to do.

Alright, quick personal stuff.

Mom- LOVED the vocal point song!!! It's so AWESOME! I am trying to put it on another elder's usb right now so that I can have it. BUT I would really like for my next package any religious vocal point songs you can find on a disc (and any other a capella songs that are religious too as a matter of fact.) They are going to win for sure if they are singing like that! But if they win it will be really hard to get in when I get back...well it will still be hard to get in no matter what happens. Anyways, thanks for the really cool story about that lady from Africa. I am going to use that and teach that to our zone to find new families to teach. I'm glad you had a good time at Time out for Women, but I have to say I am totally down with the idea of Time Out FROM Women. Tell dad I'll back him up with that idea haha. My package is still in the cap because I didn't get the chance to bring it with me, but I should have it tomorrow when my companion gets back. Love you!

Dad- hey dad! Yeah everything's resolved with my comp. It wasn't a huge deal really just kind of discouraging at a bad time. But now everything's back to normal and I'm feeling great. Thanks for all of your support. Yeah I think it's definitely a good thing to be concerned about. Something that my MTC teacher taught us from alma 5.30. He talked to us about sarcasm and how we really need to eliminate it in every way. We're always sarcastic with each other and everything, and it's not a huge thing, but if we were just always sincere and loving to each other our relationships would be a lot better with everyone. Hope that helps a little bit. But you are a great example for everyone dad, so don't worry too much. I know you're doing all you can to receive revelation from the Lord. Love you dad.

Well, sorry guys, time's up but I really love you guys tons and I miss you all! Hope you have a great week!

Love,
Elder Norton


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to everyone back in the states, and feliz día de los muertos para todos los latinos. Halloween is VERY different here and it's called the day of the dead. It's kind of neat because everyone goes to the graves of their loved ones and they paint them bright colors and then fly kites. (All of the graves here are above ground) So there are a LOT of people with kites and the graves all look pretty cool so colorful and bright. We wanted to go to a graveyard and just start contacting people about eternal families and vicarious temple work, but we will be here in the cap almost all week so that's a bummer. 

I'm writing you from an area in the capital with a bunch of other elders from zona molina. We got together today and played basketball in an indoor court of a chapel here (that's one of the good things about the cap.) I also picked up my suit today which is pretty good looking if you ask me. I like it because it's fitted pretty nicely for me. Apparently it's the exact same fabric as Elder Lusty's new suit that he got, but we didn't plan that. I'll have to take pictures tomorrow and send them next week. This week is probably going to be a little long and boring for me since I'll be here in the cap until at least Thursday and probably until Friday. Elder Contreras is getting all four wisdom teeth out on Wednesday and he will be out of it for at least a couple of days, so we're thinking we probably won't even get back until Friday. But I'm excited for concilio with President Watts and It will be nice to eat good food and take really nice showers for a while. 

This week has been a pretty good week. The Lord blessed us (and me) a lot this week so that we had a good week. We had an actual full, normal week of work which was really nice and it helped us to get a lot of work done. Things with my companion are great, we've talked a lot and worked everything out. But it's still very likely that I'll be getting a new companion next change. It was never something between us and it wasn't anything really too bad. But it was just a pain to have to deal with it. But it's all over now and in the hands of the Lord. He's a good guy though and I love him. 

The cousin of Gilsa and Nieves that had a baptismal date said that he can't get baptized anymore. He talked to his family about it and they all got mad at him and told him that he couldn't, so he felt bad and said he didn't want to anymore. We encouraged him to keep praying about it and keep going to church and said that we would go and talk to his brothers and his grandma about it. His parents live in the states and have lived there since he was 1. So we're not sure what will happen with him. We've also got the older sister of Nieves who told us that she wanted to get baptized but wanted to know if she could still go to her other church. So we've got some work to do, but I think that eventually that they will get baptized. We also received a reference this week from a really great member named Moisés and it turned out to be a cool experience. He took us to their house and I immediately noticed from the way that the women wore their corte that they had to either speak 
Q'eqchi' or Poqomchi' so I asked her where she was from. She told me she was from Taktik which meant that she spoke fluent Poqon. It was really funny to see how surprised they were when I started saying things to them in Poqon. They just laugh and cover their faces and think that it's great. And I think it's great too haha. I really like Poqomchi' and wish that I had had more time to learn it better. I still can't hardly understand anything even though I can speak a little bit. But it was because of that little connection that the whole family just opened up to us, let us come in and teach them a lesson, and made them feel comfortable. They are looking forward to another appointment for this next Saturday. We'll see how things turn out with them.  Another interesting story: We were talking to a lady that I had contacted beforehand and wanted to go into her house and teach her but her husband wasn't home. We explained that we couldn't come in unless the husband was home. She told us that the husband didn't like to listen at all and that it would be very hard to come over at a time where he would be there. So we started to walk away when all of the sudden a guy comes riding up on his motorcycle and calls us back. It turned out to be the husband, which was a surprise. He invited us in and told us that he really like us- that we were really great guys. He said he wanted us to pray with him and that one day he wanted to invite us over for dinner and eat with him. He was also very drunk. But I'm going to hold him to his word about the dinner with his wife as my witness, even if he doesn't remember anything. 

We also had a funny experience when we found a possum digging in the trash outside the house. After kicking it a few times (my comp did that) I tried to hit it with the broom but it just ended up running past me into the house which we had left wide open. After that it was about a 10 minute ordeal trying to get the darn thing out of the house and then to get it to leave the small garden in the front yard. All of the people here that heard about that story told us that we should have caught it and sold it since possum is a delicacy here in Guate. I also went on divisions this week with Elder Vestal which is always a good time. 

Alrighty, well that's pretty much the best parts of the week. Now on to some personal stuff!

Dad- haha as we say here, that girl is "mala onda" (it's kind of like saying "that's messed up") for dressing up like you and making fun of you. But you'll just have to call on her for every question from now on haha. She'll regret her decision someday. Loved Will's costume hahaha.  Thanks for all the advice dad I really appreciate it. You always know how to encourage me and help me do what's right. Things are fine with my companion now, but yeah sometimes it's easy to get discouraged when someone who should be doing what's right messes up. But the important thing is treating your companion like an investigator and helping them to move on and change. Thanks for everything! Love you dad.

Mom- first of all I'm really happy to hear about the baptism in the ward! I can't wait to get back there and work with the missionaries and help the missionary work in the ward. It will be fun. ok before I forget, I honestly don't remember if it was snowing or raining. I just remember that it was REALLY cold, that I got REALLY wet, and that some guy gave me $5 in the bathroom haha. (that sounds weirder than it actually is.) But anyways, sounds like you are busy! I know the feeling. I haven't gotten your package yet, but I should be getting it tomrrow at the concilio. I will be eating LOTs of candy this week :) Thanks for always praying for me mom and for caring so much about me. I know that I am supported so much by you and by everything that you do and for your love and confidence in me to do what's right. Love you tons and I'll talk to you soon!

Matt- man, you are just a ladies man these days! I'm glad to hear you're doing really well and I'm really greatful for your letter man. It means a lot. Good luck with school and with everything you are doing there. Love you bro!

Jack- thanks for the email bud I love you tons! You sound way too old so quit growing up! It's freaking me out!

Alright, well I'm sorry guys, I don't have any more time. I love you all tons and I'll write and send pictures next week. Love you!

Elder Norton

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

15 Months

Hey guys! Hope everything is going well at home. Things here have been good and we have seen more miracles of the Lord working together for our good. But, as always, with the miracles come lots of tests and trials of our faith. 

The miracles: First off, we had a really great and spiritual conference with Elder Amado of the Seventy. It was a pretty big struggle getting everything together for the conference because of some landslides that happened. President and Sister Watts and Elder Amado didn't actually end up getting to Coban until Wednesday when we were supposed to have the conference on Tuesday. We had to stay in Coban as well because of the landslides which was a slight inconvenience but worth it. I got to go on divisions with Elder Fadel to an area that is now closed called "Chikojl" which is part of Coban but is PURE Q'eqchi'. It was the best feeling getting to go to an area that is pure Q'eqchi' and speak Q'eqchi' with one of my best friends in the whole mission. Elder Fadel is so much fun and I just wish that he could be my companion. It was also a little bit depressing going there because I really just felt like going back to the Polochik. Anyways, the conference was really great. Elder Amado spoke a lot of inspired words of the Spirit and we received a lot of revelation for things we need to do here in the zone and for me personally.  Also I helped prepare a special musical number with Elder Dixon (who is a DL in my zone right now and I'm SO Happy to see him and hang out with him again!) that we sang for the conference. We sang "Abide With Me: Tis Eventide." and did a little part in Q'eqchi', the rest in Spanish and also had just one little key change that Elder Dixon worked out. It sounded really great and made Sister Watts cry! So it was a job well done for the Elders that sang and for Elder Dixon.  Then, this week we baptized 2 precious souls and children of our Father in Heaven- Gilsa and Nieves. It was a nice little service at 7 at night on Saturday. We weren't able to get it very publicized because we were gone for most of the week with the conference, so we didn't have too many members of the branch show up. But the whole family of Gilsa and Nieves came to the baptism, including Nora, Vidal, Cristian, and Erick who aren't members. That's another miracle. Cristian (their cousin) this week told us that he wanted to get baptized. This was a huge shocker because we had been told that he had already been baptized. We later found out that he had in fact been baptized...in the Catholic Church as a baby. So we are starting to teach him and have a baptismal date with him for the 5th of November. Also Nora, the older sister, and her son Vidal, are great possibilities. She told us that she knew that her baptism wasn't valid because she didn't feel cleansed from her sins and that she wanted to get baptized. Now the only problem is that she goes to a different church and we need to bring her to ours. So, it has really been a miraculous week with everything that happened.

The trials: these really aren't that important in comparison with the miracles we've been seeing. Just a few problems with my companion that will most likely result in him having a change, possibly before the changes come, and some things that have just been wearing down on me and making me feel discouraged. Also the district here in Baja Verapaz has been a little bit...rebellious and it's been really lame. I wish I could be closer to the other district with Elder Dixon!!!

But anyways, I'm doing well and I'm just trying to be who the Lord wants me to be. I'm learning a lot and I'm seeing how the Lord is helping and blessing me. Sorry that I'm not sending pictures today, but my memory is at the house downloading pictures that I have to a disc to send home to you guys this next week. 

Quick shoutouts:

Mom- thanks so much for the email. I really love to hear from you and know that you are doing well. I love you tons and I'm so grateful for you. Keep the posts with the family that is getting baptized. Be sure to go all of you and support them and be good friends to them. Thanks for your love mom! :) 

Dad- hey dad thanks for finding the time to write me. Don't worry that it wasn't much, I'm just glad to hear from you and know you're doing well. Good luck with "defending truth and righteousness" haha. I'm praying for you. Love you dad.

Kinzie and Jack- heard you guys did a good job on Max's performance thing. Wish I had been there to see it but I knew you both did great. I want to hear from you guys soon! Love you both.

Matt- Love you bro, hope you're doing well and hope school's going well. Write me soon.

Grandma- Sorry I never wrote you back but thanks so much for the email and for your prayers. You're the best living Grandmother I've got! :) love you!

Alrighty guys well times up, so I've got to go. Next week I'll probably be in the capital for most of the week for a dentist appointment with my comp and for concilio. I'll write next Monday! Love you all tons!

Love,
Elder Norton

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baptism This Week!

Hey!  I am writing to you all today in San Cristobal after playing an hour and a half of soccer in a little synthetic field. Definitely fun, definitely tiring, and definitely something I needed.  Normally we are down in Salamá for pdays and it is REALLY lame pretty much all of the time because we have sisters in our district there and so they never want to play sports or anything. So we never end up doing anything fun. Ever. So I finally decided I need to make an emergency 2 hour drive here to play with the elders here. It was worth it. 

Well, I hope you guys all had as good a week as I did. I can honestly say that this past week looked a little bit iffy from the start, but it turned out to be a Spirit filled, successful week.  We started off staying in the house pretty much all day Tuesday because we had another elder with us since his companion left. He supposedly had "horrible BU". But from what I saw/ heard it was a very whimpy BU. He wouldn't have made it in Polochik...But anyways that was kind of lame. Wednesday morning we received the changes. After that I told the elder with the whimpy bu to take some pills and man up and we went out on divisions to work. I went to go work with a really cool memeber from our branch, Hermano Armando. He's great and always goes out to work with us in spite of knee problems. Anyways, then Thursday was pretty hectic. We had to take care of the new missionaries that were coming to a couple of areas in the Baja Verapaz district. They "whitewashed" the area of Rabinal as we say here (which means they took out both elders and put in two new elders who have never been there) so we had to go to their area and show them the house and help them to figure out where some of the most important things were. Then after that we came back and got a little work done. Friday we had a zone meeting with all of the missionaries to talk about some things that we discussed in the concilio and to set some goals. We felt impressed to set a kind of different goal. Normally we put numbers of how many families, how many priesthood holders, and how many individuals we want to get baptized. We felt impressed to instead of setting a goal of how many individuals to just set the goal that every area can have a baptismal date with one complete family. We have baptized some here in the zone but most have been just individuals- kids, teenagers and sometimes single adults. So we're going to work really hard to find more FAMILIES because they are the most important. 

A cool story to go along with that: This week I was on divisions with an elder from Tactic in Salamá. We had walked around pretty much all day and had only gotten into one house. (everyone else just let us talk to them at the door.) All of the appointments we had for the night had falled, we were tired, and it was starting to rain. I really didn't know what to do to be honest. I waited for a couple minutes for some kind of Spiritual impression or some kind of "aha moment" to tell me where to go, but nothing came. So I had to think for myself of people that we could possibly visit. After thinking a few minutes I thought about a couple of families that lived back where we had just come from about 15 minutes away. But they were the only people that I thought of, so we went. The first family didn't have time, but I can honestly say that it was really good that we passed by because the dad of the family seemed really appreciative that we cared enough to pass by in the rain at night. After that we went to another man that we taught a couple of times named Mynor. We got to his house and he was actually there and invited us in. With him, he has normally made it seem like he is the only person willing to listen to us in his very Catholic family since we never even went into the house, just sat outside underneath a small "garage" I guess you could call it. He started off by asking us for some advice and personal experiences about how we have been able to endure and keep doing what's right even when we're tired and in spite of our weaknesses. I immediately thought of what had JUST happened. We shared a scripture in Ether 12:27. He liked it so much that he said he was going to get get a pen to mark it. He came out with a pen and his wife which was kind of surprising. He told her that that was why he loved talking to us- because we knew just the right scriptures that he needed to help him. After that I testified of the Spirit and how the Spirit had led me to his house, had led me to share that scripture with him, and how the Spirit was really the biggest part of how we as members of the Church are able to keep going in spite of weaknesses. We ended up teaching a LOT of stuff about the Book of Mormon and about the Restoration and they both were REALLY interested by the end of the lesson. It was great and we now have a new pilas family to teach. So pray for Mynor and Karina. 

This week we have a conference tomorrow and the baptism for Gilsa and Nieves will be Saturday! We're so exctied. AND their sister who is a faithful member, but of a different church, accepted to be baptized last night after a really awesome and spirit filled lesson about the law of chastity and keeping ourselves pure and clean. It has been a miraculous week. I'm really thankful to all of you for your prayers in my behalf. I ask for some special prayers that we will be able to find, teach, and baptize more complete families. Satan is working really hard against the family, so we have to work even harder for the families here. I know that the Lord loves us and wants to bless us if we keep his commandments. This is the Lord's work and it is a work of miracles. This week has been a trying week for me and I want to really thank you for the prayers that you have all said in my behalf to help strengthen me and to overcome my weaknesses and put off the natural man. I love you all tons and I'm sorry to cut this short but time's up. Love you all and I can't wait to hear from you all again next week! 

Love,
Elder Norton

Not sure what Elder Contreras is carrying, but it looks heavy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Staying Put in Salama

Hey guys! How's everything going? Sounds like you are starting to enjoy some nice Fall weather. I wish it was like that here. It's just hot and rainy every day! 

Alright well I guess I'll get right to it since I don't have a ton of time left today. Well, the news about the changes is pretty boring. Both my companion and I will be staying put in Salamá for another change it looks like, so we're buckling down for another change of hard work and are going to try to do better this change than the last change. I'm glad that I get to stay because that means that I'll get to be here for the baptism with Gilsa and Nieves on the 22nd of October so that's good. We're hopefully going to help some other families out and try to find some new possibilities here in Salamá. I still have things to learn from my companion and from the people in Salamá so I'm excited to learn more from the Lord. In our zone there are a few people that are going to the capital, but not too many, so it won't be too stressful to send them all out and get things taken care of for the changes. 

This week was a pretty busy week. Tuesday we had the concilio (zl conference) which was really good as usual. I received a lot of personal revelation and learned a lot from President Watts. He's just so great and spiritual. I really love him a lot. I didn't have the chance to take any pictures (sorry) because my camera was out of batteries when I went to the cap. My suit didn't get finished which is kind of lame, but we're going back down to the cap on the 24th cause my comp has to get his wisdom teeth taken out (definitely taking videos!) so maybe it will be ready by then. Anyways after concilio we came back and had a couple of mostly normal days of work. Then, Friday we headed out for Tactic to do divisions with the elders there for a baptismal interview and then our plan was for me to come back to Tactic Saturday to be able to see the baptism of the kids that I had put baptismal dates with. But right after I had got on the bus with the elder from Tactic that I was going to do divisions with, the assistants called and said that I couldn't do divisions right then, that I needed to go back and get my comp, go back to Salamá, find another elder from a different district, and come down to Guate with him that next day for an emergency interview with President Watts. I was a little nervous at first about why I needed to go to Guate  but then they said it was an emergency interview with the other elder that I had to go with. So anyways, Friday we spent the whole day looking for this elder because he was doing baptismal interviews close to our area. Once we found him we told him that he needed to go back to his area and get his stuff to go to Guate the next day and my comp did the baptismal interviews. So we didn't get ANY work done pretty much on Friday. Then I made the 3 and a half hour trip to Guate to wait for a couple of hours and then have the interview for a few minutes and then take the bus back to Salama. It was pretty tiring I have to admit. So, after the concilio and all the drama of the emergency interview, the week was pretty lame for work. But we still tried to do our best and work hard throughout the week. 

So anyways that's what has been going on here. Now for some comments about what's been going on there:

Dad- I'm really thankful for Grandpa Jack too. I've read his journal entry that you guys sent me a few times while I've been out here on the mission. I really admire him a lot too for his courage to just change his life for his family. He really is a man that has a lot of faith and I am really thankful for his legacy that he's left us too. The world really needs more people like him, that just want to do what's right so that their families can be happy and have what's most important. Those are the people that make the biggest impact on the world in the end, even more than the most influential or powerful people that have lived on the earth. I'm thankful to have been born into that legacy and also with Grandma Cawley's legacy as well. I can definitely see how blessed I've been by the Lord in having everything prepared for me to be born into such a great family. hahaha I laughed pretty hard about your "fabricated story". Don't worry you didn't fool me haha. Love you dad, thanks for your uplifting email.

Mom- hey there mother dear! yes..I did want to go back to the Polochik REALLY badly. But it's not about what I want. So maybe someday, but I'll just try and do whatever the Lord wants. Thanks for the updates about the investigator family that has been coming to church. It makes me really excited to hear about them! They sound awesome. It's so cool to see the Lord working in the lives of other people. What a huge blessing for the members in the ward and for the missionaries. (there are missionaries in the ward right?) I'll pray for them for sure too! I'm glad you're keeping yourself busy so that time will go by faster. I'm getting to the point right now when time is going by WAY too fast and I'm trying to slow things down just a little bit because I have so much to do before I go home still! But santa vaca Christmas is next change! weird. Speaking of that, the only thing that I guess I would need are a few nicer ties. I don't really have too many actually nice ties. They are all pretty ugly since those are the only ones I can afford here. The nicer ones are expensive! So just that :) I'll let you know if I think of something else. Love you mom!

Alrighty, well time is up, so sorry this is a little shorter than usual. Love you all tons. Thanks for writing and for uplifting me with your love and support. I rely on these letters every week more than you guys know. Love you all tons! Talk to you next week!

Love,
Elder Norton