"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, May 17, 2011

Safe, Sound, and Very Happy

Hello wonderful family and everyone else reading! 

First of all I have to say a little bit about the massacre that took place yesterday here in Peten. I didn't know about it until today when President Torres announced it in the zone conference. All he told us was that there was a massacre, that it was fairly close to one of the areas of missionaries there, and that yes, it was drug related. It is pretty much secret combinations and violence just like in the Book of Mormon with the gadianton robbers. President Torres talked about how violence like that will only increase as the world comes closer to an end and how we just need to live righteously and keep spreading the Gospel to combat the evil in the world. So, that being said, I am very safe here in Yalijux. There is for sure no drug problem at all in Yalijux so no need to worry there, and I'm pretty sure there's nothing much in Senahu either. And even if there was, I feel completely safe in the hands of the Lord doing His work here. So no worries here :)

Alright, well I better start with the events of the week. This week has been a fantastic week. We have worked really really hard this past week and the Lord has really really blessed us. I think I told you this past Sunday that as a zone we were going to start a fast to be able to reach the goal that President Torres had set of having 5 baptismal dates with one family. So my companion and I did our fast and prayed hard, and then went to work. We had one of the hardest weeks of work we've ever had and tried to find as many new investigators as we could. We did a LOT of contacting and we could feel the Lord directing us in everything that we did. We were given the opportunity to give a lot of priesthood blessings this past week (which is cool since it was right around the anniversary of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood) A little girl came running up to us when we were contacting and told us "my mom sent me to find you because someone in our family is really sick and we need you to give them a blessing" (more or less haha.) So we went over and gave a blessing to a little boy who I think had been having a lot of seizures. After that we started teaching them the next day about the restoration of the gospel and the priesthood power. It was a neat experience and they are a really big family so we really hope that they will progress over the next couple of weeks. We also found a couple of families where one of the parents had died, and so we taught them about God's plan for us in this life and the next and taught them about where their loved ones were. And finally, near the end of the week, we taught a family where the son is already a member. We had been teaching them about the Book of Mormon and used it to teach them about the truthfulness of the church and to teach them about baptism. We were able to put baptismal dates with the whole family of 7!! I was so happy I just felt like hugging the dad. They are a really neat family and I really love them a lot. The only problem is that recently the wife fell down and we think she broke her leg. So, that means that they didn't come to church since the wife, Matilde, can't walk. We gave her a blessing and have been back a few times to pray with the family for her recovery. But I know that the Lord blessed us to be able to have the baptismal dates we were supposed to have, so I have full faith that the Lord can help us again to help her recover so that they can get baptized on the 11th of June. Please keep her and the whole family (the family of Victor Manuel) in your prayers especially in these next few weeks. And I know that you all prayed for us as well this week so that we could find people to set baptismal dates with, so I'm really thankful to you all for doing that for me. This week I have felt maybe the most guided by the Lord in the work. It seemed like everywhere we went and all that we did was guided by the Lord. It was a really great feeling and I have the feeling that if we keep up the good work we are going to start seeing a lot of success. That's pretty much what President Torres talked about in my interview with him yesterday. He talked to me about an area in the mission that was supposedly the most dead and hardest area in the whole mission and they were going to close the area. But, the missionaries started working as hard as possible, being obedient, and praying for the spirit. After a few weeks of that they began to baptize in an area that hadn't had baptisms for over 3 years. It was a neat story and I felt really inspired and impressed by the Spirit to keep working hard and being obedient with my companion.

This zone conference was really good. We watched the MTC devotional again by Jeffery R. Holland again and it is incredibly powerful. (mom, if you could please look it up and try to email it to me please :) it was given January 11, 2011 in the MTC) It's such a good talk and very inspiring. President Torres talked a lot about the same kinds of things that he talked to me about it my interview.I learned a lot and felt the spirit a lot. It was weird though because it will be President Torres' last zone conference. We'll see him again in a couple of weeks for our district conference, but it was the last interview I'll have with him. I'm really excited for President Watts though and I feel like he'll just be a great president. Sometimes changes like that can be a big help for the mission. It will be cool to see the transition. So all in all it's been a GREAT week. (I'm pretty sure that talking to you guys pushed me to work so hard too :)) 

Oh, and also I hada great birthday thanks to everyone! The elders in my zone (Elder Larsen) made me a cake that said "hey pich' " so it was fun.

On to the shoutouts:

FIRST AND FOREMOST- CAMILLE! How the heck are you doing!!! I hope that you are doing really well and that you can stand being at my house without me there to provide entertainment for you. I'm mad that you are going to be there so long when I'm not there!! Haha but cool that you can hang out with my family for a while. My mom told me that you told her that you sent me a letter through dear elder, but I haven't gotten it. When did you send it? It might reach me someday, but who knows, letters are hard to come by up here in the mountains a lot of the time! How's school?? I heard that you got some Gassy Scholarship?? All I have to say is tell me how the heck to apply for that cause I think I could definitely qualify!! Haha no but that's awesome. I have been thinking about writing you lately but I haven't had time yet. But maybe soon I'll send you a little gautemalan "hello". But if you ever want to write me just write me on this email and that way I'll for sure get it. I might not be able to respond on email, but that way I can respond later on paper. Well, have fun with my fam and be sure to make 'em all laugh for me. Love ya!

Mom- hello wonderful mother mine! thanks for the email. that's funny that Twoody's mom emails you a lot. She is so awesome I had a really fun time with Twoody's family when I went to visit. We'll have to do a fun vacation in Colorado sometime and go visit them. Be sure to tell her to say "hi" to Elder Twoody for me. (I sent him a letter a long time ago but who knows if it got to him.) Maybe I'll send him a letter again sometime soon. That's also cool about the ward choir song you are doing. I love that song! That will be neat to do at Sam Cockriel's homecoming. Be sure to tell Sam congrats on finishing his mission for me. Love you tons!!! (ps- the last picture is from the mother's day activity that we did and is probably the best I can get for you for your relief society picture. Hope that's ok for you :) Love ya!)

Dad- hey dad, thanks a lot for the email. It's true that it's much harder in normal everyday life to stay focused on what's most important and to keep a good perspective about everything. And I know you guys aren't the most social butterflies out there with neighbors and other things, but I know that the Lord blesses immensely those who always strive to do little missionary acts. They don't always need to be teaching people the gospel with the scriptures and things like that, but with just kindness and being really open about the church. I know that I wasn't very good about doing missionary work before the mission, but I am committing myself to always try to do more missionary work when I get back home. So I appreciate you thinking and praying about it and wanting to do better. I'm glad that you're such a great dad and I know that you'll lead the family to be able to be more "missionary minded". The Lord will bless you SO much as you try to do that more. Love you dad.

Alright, well I've got to go. Keep praying, keep studying the scriptures, and keep listening for the Spirit to help you spread the gospel and be examples of the believers. Love you tons!

Elder Norton

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