"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, February 7, 2011

No Matter How Much Pain I Feel, Jesus Christ Has Already Walked That Path

Hey Family!!! 

How is everybody this week? I'm sure the kids had a great week missing almost the entire week of school because of the snow! I'm still bitter about the fact that I didn't have any snow days my senior year! The pictures you sent are crazy. It's kind of hard for me to even conceive snow anymore these days. There's no word for it in Q'eqchi' so people here don't even know what it is. But right now I'm in an area where if it's ever going to snow, it will be in my area. I'm in an area called Yalijux (pronounced tee-ah-li-JOOSH)  in zone Senahu. It's the highest area in the entire mission and it is SO cold up there! It is a pure q'eqchi' area--not a lick of Spanish up there and I'm with Elder Xocop from Guatemala. Elder Xocop is such an awesome comp so far. He's very laid back, kind of quiet and maybe a little timid, super funny, and just awesome. It's honestly such a relief to be with him and I'm loving it so far. So. 

Here's a little more about Yalijux. My area is at the top of a bunch of huge mountains. You have to climb up a lot to get up to Yalijux, and once you finally get to the top, it opens up into a valley in the middle of these big mountains. It's absolutely gorgeous up there. It's really easy to work in the center because it's in a valley, all of the houses are sort of lined up along one long street that goes through all of Yalijux, and we don't have to climb very much when we're in the center of Yalijux. We have a big area though and we have to climb a bunch of mountains to get to most of our other aldeas and areas. We had 78 members in church yesterday just to give you an idea of how many people are members. We live in the church which is fairly small, but it's made with cinder block, not wood, so that's good. There's no electricity at all where we're at so we have to use lamps at night. Most days we came back home around 7 because everyone is already starting to sleep. It get's REALLY cold at night. The past couple of nights I have been wearing sweatpants, a hoodie, socks, and 3 thick blankets to go to sleep, and I was still shivering and was having trouble sleeping because it was so cold.  We're the furthest missionaries away in zone Senahu and we have to do things differently in my new area. We have a house in the center of Senahu which is the first place you come to when going up into the Senahu zone. We leave almost all of our stuff there and come down once a week to bring up the stuff that we'll need for the week. We come down every monday morning, have pday in Senahu, stay the night Monday night, have district meeting the next morning, and leave for our areas Tuesday around 12. So it's crazy having to do that but a lot of fun.

Today we are in good old COBAN for our pday today and for a conference with one of the area Seventy tomorrow. It was quite the trip to be able to get here though. Yesterday we left around 10:30 to be able to get to the center of Senahu so that we could leave for Coban today. So we left and started walking for Senahu. at 5:30 we got to Senahu finally. We walked for about 4 and a half hours with only a couple of breaks. I've never walked so far in my whole life! I thought that I might die, especially since I was fasting the first 2 ish hours that we walked. At 5:30 we finally got to Senahu. I got sunburned really bad because I only had brought the things that I needed for a couple of days and forgot sunscreen. As I was walking I was having a pretty hard time at the end, and I started to feel like I didn't have strength to keep going. But I remembered the words from Dad's blessing to me talking about in the times when I feel that I have no strength or can't go any further that if I will trust in the Lord that He will help me and give me strength. As I thought about that, I realzed that Jesus has walked the exact same path that I was walking. That in reality he had literally experienced every detail of every second of having to make that journey, from the aching in my legs, to the pain from being sunburned, to the pain in my toe. It was just a cool experience for me to realized that Jesus Christ truly has felt every single little pain that we have ever or will ever feel. When I thought about that, I felt a lot of strength and energy and was able to keep going until we finally found a car that took us about 10 minutes to get to Senahu. It was a hard experience, but it was a faith building and character strengthening experience that I needed to have. I truly know now that now matter how far I go, how much pain I feel, how tired I am, how much I don't want to go anymore, Jesus Christ has literally already walked that path. He knows everything. He has already experienced what I am experiencing and what I have experienced and He knows how to help me make it through and he knows the lessons that I need to learn with every step. I'm learning so much here and my faith is being strengthened so much. I love my new area a ton and I've felt so strongly the Lord's help with Q'eqchi'. I know that the things I know haven't come from me or any kind of ability that I have, but have all come from the Lord teaching me and giving me His Spirit to be able to understand.

Alright well I'm already almost out of time so I'll make a few quick comments on your emails..

I'm so proud of you Jack. You are such a good example to me and to everyone else in our ward. Thank you for being righteous and good enough to be able to understand how important the priesthood is. Good luck with your talk next week buddy. Thanks for your testimony which has strengthened mine so much and I'm glad that you are being such a good representative of Jesus Christ. Love you bud.

Sorry guys but I don't have enough time to write anything else. I really love you all tons and I'm grateful for all you do for me. Thanks for your letters and for being a great family. Hope you are all doing well and that there is always happiness in your hearts. Love you!

Elder Norton

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