"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, June 28, 2011

Setting Hospital Records and A Baptismal Date

Hola from rainy Guatemala!  I hope you guys are all doing really well and that you have had a good weekend since the last time that I wrote. 

Ok before I write anything else I need to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY KINZIE and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DAD! Don't worry I didn't forget about you guys it's just with all of the crazy stuff going on I ran out of time last week after writing the letter and forgot to say something in my email. (Although I have to say that me calling home last week worked out pretty nicely to get to call for Father's day (and Kinzie's bday too) ! ) So I hope both of you had a great time and that you were treated well by Mom Jack and Matt. I sent a package with Elder Larsen with pictures and with a letter for Kinzie for her b-day but I'm assuming that it hasn't gotten there yet? If not it should be getting there pretty soon.

Anyways, things are going really great here and I feel better than ever. I feel ready to go back to the Polochik! First I guess I'll fill you guys in a little bit on last week in the hospital. Everything was really fine I just had pnuemonia and they were worried that I might have some other type of infection from the water and so they wouldn't let me leave until I didn't have a fever anymore. So I was there until Friday. I actually broke several records being there.  1) longest time spent in a hospital. 2) Longest time spent wearing a hospital gown. 3) Longest time gone without shaving/ longest scruff I've ever had (not saying very much at all yet...) 4) Longest time spent in front of a large flat screen tv without watching it. 5) most saran wrapped meals received consecutively in one week. 6) most times losing at chess to Elder Mitchell in one week. So those are some of the things that will give you a little idea about my visit to the hospital.

Friday and Saturday we didn't work and just stayed home and rested for the most part. Sunday we went out and taught a couple of lessons. It's been raining a lot here these days so it's been hard to go out and work. I'm not really supposed to work in the rain...But the good news is that we put a baptismal date on Sunday! We have a really neat investigator named Juan Antonio who is just a really awsome guy. He has been reading all of the pamphlets we have given him and has been reading the Book of Mormon. He understands pretty much everything and is progressing really well. On Sunday we talked to him about baptism and about how important it is for him and after that he said that he needed to get baptized. He feels sometimes like he's not ready or that someone needs to be almost perfect in order to get baptized so we're helping him with that. His baptismal date is for the 23rd of July and we are hoping to baptize him and his wife, Maria Natividad. So that was really cool and I'm glad that the Lord has blessed us so much, even though I've been sick and we haven't been able to work too much. In other news, Elder Rivera already left for Coban for his echange on Friday. Then, Saturday Elders Vindel and Wadsworth (From my group!!) came to be the missionaries of El Fiscral 2. BUT, just yesterday we found out that Elder Wadsworth has another emergency change for another area in the cap and we are being put in a trio again with Elder Mitchell and now with Elder Vindel. I had to go and have an interview for my temple reccommend yesterday with President Torres. It was cool because I will get to be one of the last people that he interviewed before he left. He really is a great man and has helped me out so much here. But I know that President Watts will recieve the same revelation and help the mission out . So anyways, we are going to work as hard as we can and show Presdent Watts our love and support for him.

Other than that I don't think there's much else to tell. Today we left really early and went to the temple! That was the first time in about 9 months! It was so refreshing and awesome. I listened to the whole thing in Q'eqchi' and it was amazing. I felt the Spirit super strongly and it was just really cool. Hopefully I'll get to go back sometime. Oh and yesterday I went with the doctor to do a check up and he told me that I look fine and that he thinks I'll be able to go back to the Polochik after another week or so. Woo! So we'll see what happens!

Alright now onto a few shoutouts·

Matt: I'm really happy to hear that you had a good date with that girl and that you are doing so well with your work! It really makes me happy cause I've been praying a lot for you! So keep up the good work. Thanks for the email and thanks for being a great brother!

Mom--here are the answers to your questions: I feel pretty much all recovered. I still am on some antibiotics but other than that I should be off the pills pretty soon and from there I'll be all better. Elder Mitchell is from the city that never sleeps, Las Vegas. We get along really well and I just love being his companion. It will be interesting now to see how well things work out with him and Elder Vindel. Elder Vindel is also from El Salvador.  Elder Victor Manuel Guttierres.  (I asked him for Elder Gutierres first name so that we can send him a thank you package.)  He doesn't know too much English but yeah somebody can help him translate. As for my package the only things that I can think of that I want is one of those changeable mechanical scripture marker pencil thingies. That's the only thing and my glasses and a camera. Thanks mom :) I'll get to meet President Watts on Friday in a big conference for all of the missionaries from the capital. Thanks for your support mom and trust me when I say that I know you would have been down here in Guatemala at my bedside in a heartbeat if you were allowed to come see me ;) But just make sure you use this story to help get girls to write me more ;) ;) Love you mom, you're the greatest!

Dad- I hope you had a great father's day! I just want to let you know that I think you are the greatest guy ever and  I really do look up to you more than you know. (Even to the point of thinking that doctors here in Guatemala look just like you. Speaking of which I was never able to get his picture, but I swear it was you Guatemalaficated.) (He told us that his doctor looked just like a Guatemalan version of his dad) Thanks for having such a great sense of humor and for also being the kind of dad who gives me a great example and who has taught me all of my life the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope to be like you someday and have the same qualities and traits that you have. You are the best! I can't wait for when I get back and we can hang out again. You, me, Matt, and Jack will have to have some awesome father-sons outings and hang out.  Just know that I love and respect you very much and wouldn't trade you for anything. Not even an iphone and an ipad =P  PS. yeah I for sure want to live with Matt and if Mark and Twoody are down I'd love living with them. I'm not sure if they were still planning on it or what, but if you want to try and coordinate it with their parents that would be cool. Love you dad!

Kinzie- FELIZ QUINCEÑERA!!!!!!! Mi hermanita ya no es muy chiquita! Ya eres grande, pero todavía tu corazón esta con CANDADO! Te amo mucho y eres mi mejor hermanita. I hope you had a really good birthday you little freak (King Julian) and I better not hear about any birthday hugs from boooyyysss! (Arnold Schwarzenegger) Know that I love you and I'm glad you are my sister :) Keep up the good work and being such a righteous girl. See you in a year!  (He even uses accents in his letters.  That is SO Jace!!)

Jack- just wanted to say congrats on scout camp! Sounds like you'll get your eagle scout award a lot faster than Matt or I ever did haha. Keep preparing yourself by camping so that when you get sent to Guatemala you will be used to it ;) Love you Jack and write me whenever!

Alright, well my time is all used up. Sorry if this letter is not as great as others, I've actually been struggling to stay awake! It's been an early morning and a long day with a lot of food so that's probably why =P But I love you all tons and I'm just grateful for all of you and for everyone supporting me and thinking about me here in Guatemala. Love you guys!

Elder Norton

Friday, June 24, 2011

Never Felt Better! (He's Out of the Hospital : )

Hello to all of my wonderful friends and family and to everyone reading along. I feel like the star of some drama show or something haha! I write you all from my area El Fiscal since I've been released from the hospital and things are pretty much back to normal.

Alright well since I feel like this is more like a missionary drama series than a missionary blog, I guess I should start by saying "Previously on LOST in Guatemala (on a mission)"...

I was able to call my parents and let them know the real story that happened, but for everyone else I'll give a quick rundown of what really happened. I have some pictures that I'm downloading to make it easier to explain.

I was working in a small area called Se'chaj which is about an hour away from the bigger area, San Francisco. In Se'chaj there is a little waterfall that comes down and opens up into a little pool on the right hand side of the road that you can see in this first picture. (ps all of these pictures are Elder Mitchell's so thanks to him and that's also why you'll see him in a lot of them.) 

Anyways, that pool of water is actually fairly big and sufficiently deep to sit pretty much completely underwater in the deepest part. All of that water goes under the road in a pipe that you can see in the bottom of picture 2. 

Normally the water goes pretty casually through the pipe and doesn't fill the pipe all the way up. And all of that water leaves on the other side out of the pipe and goes down into a little river and falls on some fairly good sized rocks and looks like picture 3.  

This is where he came out of the pipe!  YIKES!!!
But there was much more water as you can see in one of the pictures below.
But when it rains really really hard (like it was the day that I fell) the water level rises a LOT. It rises so much that it covers the road completely and looks like picture four (only Elder Mitchell says that it's worse than that picture.) 

The water is so high that you can't even see the road or the pool with the pipe.
When the water level is that high, the water coming out of the pipe looks more like picture 5. 
A view of the pipe emptying out from under the road and down into the river below.
So, the story is that we were walking back to San Francisco at about 7 at night and it had been raining VERY hard for a good hour and a half at least. We got to that part in the road where the little waterfall was and found that the water was completely passing the road. The road slants down away from the waterfall a little bit though so that the only part of the road where we could actually see the rocks happened to be the very edge of the road and the pool. Of course, we didn't know that at the time. So my companion, Elder Gutierres walked accross first and then I started accross. Right when I got to the middle of the road I put my right foot just a little too far to the right and stepped off into the pool of water. Pretty much as soon as I fell into the water I was carried by the strong current of the water right into the pipe. My feet went into the pipe but I was able to grab a hold of my companion up on the road and grab the rock of the road a little bit so that my chest was being pushed into the part between the road and the pipe. My companion was trying to pull me out and I was trying to push out of the pipe with my feet, but the water was strong enough that I couldn't get my feet out of the pipe. I was pulled under the water a couple of times just for a few seconds and swallowed and or breathed in a little bit of the river water as my companion lifted me back up. I was never really scared during the whole experience because I knew that I wouldn't die and would be ok, but I didn't know what to do. But after coming back up the second time and breathing in the water I just felt the impression come to me that I needed to let go. So I told my companion to let me go and I would just go under. My companion obviously didn't want to let me go and told me to just hold on and push harder. So we gave it one more shot and I tried to switch my arm to get a better hold. As we switched positions the water took me completely underwater and this time I was too far under for my comp to bring me back up and he had to let me go. I was completely underwater at this point and didn't see anything at all since it was also pitch black and my glasses were already gone. I just felt myself go through the pipe and felt myself banging around in there, then I felt myself leaving the tube and falling onto some rocks and I just felt that the water was very strong. Then I lost consciousness a little bit. The next thing I knew I could see the flashlight of my companion up on the road about 10-15 feet above me and I realized that I was sitting up on a rock that kind of inclined a little bit upwards right in the middle of the river. The water wasn't very deep, but it was very swift. So I grabbed on to a couple of rocks and shouted out to my companion for help. He pretty much scaled/ jumped down the 10 foot bank/cliff filled with trees to get to the tiny bank on the side of the river. He grabbed a tree branch and then grabbed me and helped me pretty much climb up trees to get back up to the road. Then we walked for an hour back to San Francisco. The rest of the details are pretty unimportant and for lack of time I'll just let my mom fill the rest in. The river carried me basically to the first turn. Two more turns and the river drops down into this pretty good sized waterfall called Se'wilix which means "among the birds" and there's a picture of it in picture 6.

This is what he would have fallen down if he hadn't ended up on the rock in the middle of the river. So Scary!!!
SO! That's the story. Pretty exciting and pretty miraculous. I know and can say without a doubt that I was saved by the hand of God. Firstly I know that angels were there with me to "bear me up."  I'm positive that there's no way I should have been sitting up after such a big fall and it wasn't luck that I happened to be stopped by a rock in the middle of the river. And my companion, Elder Gutierres, will always be a saving angel to me.  Just like I told the Q'eqchi' people in the area where I fell, my fall is a witness to me and to everyone else who hears the story that this is God's true church and that His angels are literally with His missionaries to protect and help them in His true work. I know that if I hadn't been doing God's true work that I would have died in that river two weeks ago. This Church is truly the literal Church of Jesus Christ and He guides and directs it. I'm thankful to the Lord for giving me this special experience and for allowing me to keep serving the people here in Guatemala. The only question now is when I'll go back up to the mountains to keep working there. 

Time is almost up but just some other details. Elder Mitchell is my companion now (WOO!)  It makes me so excited because Elder Mitchell is seriously just the greatest guy ever. Super humble but we have a ton of fun together. And he's from my group! I'm very excited. We'll see how long we get to be together!

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all of your thoughts and prayers in my behalf. I can't express to you all how grateful I am for all of you who prayed for me. Thank you for your faith and for supporting and praying for me here. My love goes out to all of you and the Lord will bless you all for your thoughts in my behalf.

It was so good talking to you guys on the phone! I think I'll fall a couple more times between now and Christmas =P  Alright, well my time's up, but I love you all so much and I'll talk to you all on Monday!!
Love you guys!

Elder Norton

Monday, June 20, 2011

Update on Elder Norton

We got a call today from Jace who is in the hospital.  He has pneumonia and some minor swelling on his brain, both most likely caused by his fall in the river 2 weeks ago.  He started to get a fever, chills and pain in his lungs yesterday, so he was told to go to the hospital and was admitted.  He is feeling better now and recovering.  He said that it was almost worth the near death experience to be able to call and talk to us ; ) We were able to get the REAL story from him, which is pretty much the story that Elder Howard told in his letter.  We are so grateful for the Lord's protection.  We know that he is mindful of his missionaries!  Thanks for all of your prayers on his behalf!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Elder Norton's Fall

After receiving Jace's letter yesterday, we thought that he might have downplayed his fall as not to worry us.  You don't usually get an emergency transfer just because you had a little fall and lost some things.  After reading Elder Howard's blog today and reading about his account of what he heard happened, we realized that it was much more serious than Jace had let on.

We have total trust in the Lord and his promises.  Jace received three different blessings before his mission which all promised him that he would be protected on his mission, and we have literally seen this fulfilled.  We are so grateful that the Lord is watching over him and all of our missionaries.   Thank you for all your concern and prayers!


A Fall, and a Change to the Capital - This Time For Real

Hello wonderful and beloved family! 

I hope you guys are all enduring the heat (especially Kinzie and Jack in their little camp things.) and
that you are all healthy and happy.

I have quite a bit of news to share with everybody that will surprise you a little bit. I guess I spoke too soon when I joked around with you guys about having a change to the capital haha because on Thursday I got an emergency change to the CAPITAL! This time it's not a joke haha. It's kind of a long story and not really all that exciting or
anything like that. Here's what happened:

I was working in one of my new areas with Elder Gutierres on Tuesday and we were heading back up to San Francisco to go sleep there. It was about 7:30 at night and pretty dark. We were walking back up and
only my comp had a flashlight because I had left mine on accident in Senahu. I was looking to see where my money was which I keep in my agenda, my mission manual, and sometimes in my scriptures. So I had my
agenda and my mission manual in my hand and had my backpack in front of me with the main pocket open. Right when I found the money in my scriptures I tripped on a pretty big rock that I didn't see. I happened to be walking at that time on a road that had a small little river that came out underneath in a tube and went down and emptied out into a waterfall maybe 50 feet away. So, I tripped and fell kind of close to where the river was and as I fell, I threw all of the things I was carrying right into the river and the things that were in my backpack all managed to fly out. I was also unfortunate enough to have my glasses fly off during the fall so that they flew into the river as well (it's not really a big river, more like a good sized stream). Elder Gutierres managed to grab me and make sure that I didn't fall into the river myself so I just got a little tiny bit banged up on my knee. But I lost a LOT of things haha. All in all these are the things that I lost: My glasses, my mission manual which had my driver's license and my temple recommend, my Spanish triple which had 600 quetzals in it, my agenda, my hymn book in Q'eqchi', and my camera also popped out into the water. The camera I was actually able to recover a little bit down the way because it got stopped fairly early on by a rock. But it was ruined because of all of the water that got inside. And also, my plaque in Q'eqchi' was attached to my mission manual when I dropped it so that got lost as well. SOO it was really pretty unfortunate but I'm fine and I can't really complain. I didn't have a plaque anymore though because it flew off and so I wanted to go back down to Senahu to get at least my Spanish one or my clip on one in Q'eqchi'. So Wednesday morning we went down to Senahu to get my plaque and a couple other things and we told the ZL's what happened. Once we got to Senahu everything was fine, but then we couldn't find a car back to Yalijux, so we stayed Wednesday with the ZLs in Senahu. Wednesday night (After the changes were already over) I decided to call and to start trying to get permission to get some of my things back. They told me Wednesday night that I had permission to go to Coban the next p-day to get new glasses and to do whatever I needed to do. But then on Thursday morning as we were just leaving to go back to Yalijux, I got a call from my ZL's telling me that I had an emergency change to the CAPITAL! I was honestly a little bit nervous and didn't really know what to think. I was at first trying to figure out why I would have an e-change, but I just realized that President Torres had received revelation that I needed to have the change and go to the cap. So I went back up to Yalijux Thursday, packed, and said goodbye to the families up there that I love so much. It was really hard to have to leave Yalijux because I love that area and the people there so much. And that means I won't be there for the baptism this Saturday and I won't be there when the other family gets baptized. :( But I trust in the Lord and I know that he's got a plan for me and wants me to be here right now. Friday I was traveling from 4:30 in the morning until 7:30 at night to get to the Cap. From there I stayed with the APs and the office elders in the office home and then Saturday morning I got to my new area.

Here's a little bit about my new area, El Fiscal! It's actually a really cool area. It doesn't really feel very much like the capital where I'm at. It's pretty much mostly hills and a lot of trees, and pretty big hills/mountains that make me feel almost like I'm in the Polochik ...(kind of.) Only the people don't speak anything but Spanish here. The house I live in now is really big for a missionary house! It's weird having things like a fridge and electricity, a nice bathroom, lights, and all of that good stuff. But there's no water heater at least, so when I shower I still feel the same. The water is a lot warmer here though since it's pretty hot here right now. My new companion is Elder Rivera, a Latino from El Salvador and he is an awesome comp. We've only had a couple of days together and we've already had a really good time. He speaks almost perfect English to the point that I almost thought he lived in the USA. He's never been there, but he lived in Belgium for...10 years I think and so he knows Dutch and more or less knows French. He's very smart and very good with languages! He's a really nice and humble guy and has a year in the mission. So I'm really excited to be with him. I'm still in a branch, not a ward, and the members are way cool here! Both Elder Rivera and I are new to the area since his old companion who had been here for a change went up to Yalijux in my spot. But anyways, we don't know the area at all and it's a pretty big area. All of the members were coming up to us and inviting us over so that they could show us around and show us the houses of the members and people who are interested in the church and everything. It will be so nicet to be able to work with a branch where the members really want to help the missionaries, where we have a really great and pilas ward mission leader, and where the people are really eager to bring the gospel to others. Like I said, we're the farthest area outside of the Cap, but we still get all of the benefits of the Cap like WALMART!!! I just went there right now and I was just loving it. I didn't even buy anything there but we went to go eat there in the food court. I had Taco Bell and McDonalds. I was in heaven. We also have a HUGE mall in our zone that we aren't allowed to go to unless the whole zone goes or something like that, but it's cool that it's in our zone. It feels weird being here since I haven't been here since I entered the mission. I definitely like being in Polochik much better, but I'll go where the Lord wants me to go. It was also really good seeing a TON of Elders in Walmart just barely. I saw a lot of elders from my group that I haven't seen in a while. So that's been really fun. It's been a little annoying because everyone keeps asking me what happened and everything. Apparently there's a rumor going around down here that I actually fell in the river and got hurt really bad. So everyone keeps asking me things like that and when I tell them that I'm fine they don't understand why I got an e-change haha. But anyways. Another cool thing is that Elder Mitchell from my group who was living with me every Monday and Tuesday pretty much since I came to Yalijux (he was in Chijolom.) is also in El Fiscal since there is another pair of missionaries there. So it's fun to at least have someone that knows a little bit of Q'eqchi' as well so we can keep it up haha. The Lord has blessed me a ton so far to be able to adjust and switch my mind into Spanish gear again. So far I haven't had any problems so I've been really happy and I am glad the Lord is blessing me so much.

Now for a little bit of shoutouts:

Dad- that's cool about the inspiration and revelation you received about Moses and Joseph Smith. I'd never thought about the parallels between the two stories either but that's really cool. The Lord gives us tender mercies like that to teach us and help us learn and I can testify of that now with all of the tender mercies that I'm receiving
right now. Thanks for being righteous and good enough to receive cool revelations like that. :) So I am going to unfortunately need a little bit of money =/ I hate to have to ask, but I need to get new glasses and a new camera. (I think I want to try and find a waterproof one now but I don't know because those are usually a little more expensive. But tell me what you think next week so that I can maybe go and buy one next week. Also I have to get new glasses which will probably cost at least around 500 or 600 quetzals. I think that's just about it. But just tell me next week how much I have in my account so that I don't have to check or anything and so I can avoid losing money. Sorry again for the inconvenience but you know I love you :) Thanks for being so awesome!

Mom- haha are you so sad that your last little baby boy is going to his first scout camp! I bet you are a little worried about him and on top of that with his diabetes I'm sure it's hard to let him go all by himself! But he has to do it just like me and Matt. And it's pretty much garaunteed that he will get rained on a lot and it will be a painful experience for him just like it was for me and Matt. But I know how on board you are with the scouting program so I know that you are helping him to make it through =P.   Tell Jack that all of the lame things that he has to go through there will help him to be prepared for his mission in Guatemala =P   Sorry for scaring you last week but I
guess it was just a subconcious premonition. But I won't do that again to you!! haha. Be sure to send pictures next week of all of the things going on at the house and of scout camp/ pioneer trek with Kinzie. Thanks for being the best mom ever. You are amazing! Be sure to look for a package with photos that should be there sometime soon. I sent it with Elder Larsen. Did you talk to his mom/ think about what I said about going to his homecoming? =P Anyways I love you tons!

Matt- way to go on the job! Sounds like you are really super busy with everything but that's really good. Keep working hard and keep finding time to study the scriptures and give a little time to the Lord every day too. Write when you can and let me know how work is going and also about the date! Hope it went well and that maybe you can go on a follow up lesson sometime. Love you bro!

Alright, well my time is up so I have to go. I'm sure you'll have lots of questions so I'll answer everything next week. Be safe, pray always, and I'll talk to you all next week! Love you all!

Elder Norton

Monday, June 6, 2011

Change Seven!

Hello dear family and friends from beautiful Senahu! The weather is nice today but there is a lot of "musmushab' " (when it's drizzling or misting). It's actually kind of nice because it means that it's not quite so hot. It's been pretty hot here lately so I'm thankful for the cool weather.

First and foremost I have to say that I'm not sick at all anymore, I feel great, and I'm really happy. Sorry if that last email sounded sad or homesick. I really wasn't all that sad haha I just was thinking about how I loved Memorial Day weekend. I am still just as happy and focused here on the mission and I'm doing really well. So no need to worry. I'm happy, healthy, and doing better than great here in the Lord's work.

OK- on to the big news about changes! I found out on Friday that I will be having a change to...THE CAPITAL!! I don't know exactly where I'm going, all I know is that it will be a lot different from here in the Polochik! I'll find out on Wednesday exactly what the name of the area is and who I'll be with. I leave for the capital tomorrow to be there for the change conference. Haha I'm totally kidding. I don't have a change at all!  (What a stinker!  He had us all worried for a minute!) I'm staying in the blessed land of Yalijux with my same good old comp, Elder Gutierres. Things will be pretty much the same except for the fact that we will be covering two new areas now in San Francisco and Sechaj. They ended up closing Chijolom and the Chijolom Elders were the ones who worked in San Francisco and Sechaj, so now we'll be covering those areas instead. San Francisco is about an hour from Yalijux and Sechaj is about 45 minutes from San Francisco. I've never been to Sechaj yet, only Yalijux, but Sechaj is supposedly really beautiful. There's a really cool waterfall there that I think you've already seen pictures of. I'm not sure when we are going to start working there yet. Maybe this week! Im really excited to be able to work in these new areas. We'll probably work in the beginning of the week in the new areas and then go up to Yalijux Thursday or something like that. I'm not sure. But we're getting to the point where we've contacted all of Yalijux and we're running out of new people to teach. So it will be fun!

Now about this past week: I was on divisions this past week with an Elder Tambriz who is in Se'ritk'iche'. My comp went with our DL in se'ritk'iche'. Elder Tambriz  and I had a good week. We found an older man and his wife that are really awesome! We started teaching them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we taught them about the things we need to receive and do in this life in order to live with God again. We taught him about receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and we asked if he had received the gift of the Holy Ghost. He told us he hadn't and so we taught him all about what it is and how it's so important for us to be able to get through all of the trials of life. He was getting pretty excited about receiving something so great and asked how he could have it. Then we read from Acts 19 where it talks about a group of people who were baptized and Paul asks if they had received the Holy Ghost. They told him that they had never even heard of the Holy Ghost and asked what they should do. Paul then baptized them in the name of Jesus Christ and then layed his hands upon their heads to give them the gift of the Holy Ghost. He was really getting into it and really wanted to receive this gift and so we told him that he needed to be baptized again in the name of Jesus Christ in His true church. He said he wanted to do it but that he was already in another church and had been there for 8 years. The Q'eqchi' s are very sensitive about changing churches because they say that "going to church isn't a game." At the same time they also say that "the church where we go doesn't really matter as long as we do what's right and as long as we worship God." They are a very confused people. But we told him to pray about it and testified to him that his church is a good church, but its not the true church of God. It can't be because it doesn't have all of the parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm thinking and praying that he will come to realize the truthfulness of this church and will be baptized someday. So we'll see! We haven't been able to meet with him since.

In other news, the family that we had baptismal dates with have been faltering a little bit. All of the kids have been coming to church and are doing well but the dad and the mom are starting to waver a little bit. The dad is having a lot of doubts like what will happen when Elder Gutierres and I leave and about little things like "sometimes the people in your church talk bad about other people." What it really comes down to is that he doesn't truly have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and this church yet. It kind of stinks because he can't read which means he can't really gain a true testimony of the Book of Mormon all that easily. But I think that we will read more chapters together with him and keep trying to strengthen his testimony so that they can keep progressing and be baptized soon. Also, we wil be having a baptism Saturday of next week with a girl named Ana who is getting married to pretty much the most spiritual family in the branch. She is really cool and is doing really well. She's come to church already 3 times, so we are going to get them married next saturday and then baptize them here in Senahu. I'm really excited for my first baptism in Yalijux! The Chijolom Elders told us that there are also a lot of people in our new areas that are progressing and will hopefully be getting baptized soon, so hopefully we'll start seeing a lot of success soon. Keep praying hard for these areas and for the family of Victor Caal, for Ana, for Vicente Caal (the one who hasn't received the gift of the Holy Ghost), and for everybody out here. Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers in their behalf and in our support! :)

Now for a quick few comments:

Matt- WOO!! Haha I'm really happy that you got a date and that you found a possible job! I've been praying a lot for you so be sure to thank the Lord for what he's blessed you with and I'll keep praying for him to bless you more! Hope the interview went really well and hope the date is fun. Let me know next week. Also you should keep trying to go to the singles ward with Sam and Daniel! It might be a little harder to go there instead of with mom and dad, but you  are already being blessed a lot for going there and you'll probably be blessed even more! Also that way you can find cute girls to write me ;) love you man and I hope you are always doing well. You better be studying your scriptures in between job searching and watching the Anthony what's-his-face case.

Dad- Thanks for the bit about Moses. I love that story too and it's so true that the knowledge of who we are and faith in Christ can help us to cast Satan from our presence and even cause him to tremble and shake. Christ has infinitely more power than him and he allows us to use that power as we are righteous and faithful. It's very true that as missionaries we have to a lot of times literally cast Satan away with temptations and things like that. I'm thankful for Christ's power and righteousness to help me fight off the sins and the fiery darts of the adversary. Also thanks for telling me about the Book of Mormon you gave away. It may not have been a huge thing, but for that person it could be the most life changing thing ever. Make sure to follow up a little bit after a while and pray for that person. You'll see miracles! Love you dad!

Mom- hey! :) sorry if I sounded sad last email. I promise you that I am far from sad and I'm not homesick too much :) I just can't wait to do those things again when I get back next year. That's cool about the conference and also about everything going on at the house. Be sure to send pictures so that I'm not too surprised when I get back! Also I liked the story about President and Sister Watts. They seem like they will be a really neat couple to be here working with us. I can already tell that they love us which is good because we already love them too! Elder Larsen says that you guys are invited to go to his homecoming haha. It will be around fathers day. He says you should talk to his mom about going to CO to visit. They have a cool lodge and can show you the beautiful places where they live. Could be a fun vacation and you'd get to talk to Elder Larsen! Love you!

Kinzie- WOO!!!! (that was about your good grades on finals!!) Did you end up with all A's in your classes or just with the finals? That's really great though and I'm proud of you for doing so well. Keep up the good work! Sorry i missed your dance recital in your fruit rollup sea monester costume. But Don't worry there will be plenty more of those to come ;) Love you tons!

Jack- just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about you either. Love you bud! Hope you are having a fun summer and that you are helping mom around the house and being a good deacon and representative of Jesus Christ. You are my hero bud. Keep having fun. Love you!

Alright well my time is all up so I hope you all have a great week and I will write you again next week. This is the Lord's true church. The Saviors lives and is coming again to rule upon the earth. Always do the work of the Lord and prepare to receive the Lord at his Second Coming. Thanks for everything! Love you

Elder Norton

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Food Poisoning and 10 Months in the Mission

Hello dear family and friends! 

Happy Memorial day to all on this Monday in May. I hope you guys had a really fun time over the weekend. I'm glad to hear that you are all safe and sound despite the tornado scares during the week. 

Well first off I'll tell a little bit about the week. It was a bit of an up and down week. I stayed in Senahu with Elder Fadel my ZL (Elder Larsen was my ZL in polochic. he's a DL now but for a different district.) So we worked Tuesday and Wednesday and had a lot of fun and had a good time. Then Wednesday night we both got pretty bad food poisoning. We were both sick at pretty much exactly the same time which in the end, looking back, is kind of humorous. It wasn't too funny at the time though haha. We didn't sleep much Wednesday night and were in the house all day Thursday sleeping and being sick.  Friday our comps came back down from Yalijux but I was still pretty beat up. I was feeling better but very dehydrated and weak, so I stayed home all day and slept. Saturday I was still feeling a little iffy so I didn't end up going back to Yalijux. But since we have investigators with baptismal dates and everything somebody had to go up to Yalijux to bring all of them to church. So, Elder Gutierres went with Elder Alvarado and I stayed in Se'amay with Elder Larsen until now. We had a good time. I was feeling much better by Saturday afternoon, just weak. So we ended up going to a couple of appointments and making a PIZZA (yum. I got the recipe that Elder Larsen's mom sent him so now I can make it when he's gone.) And that was pretty much the week. I didn't get to go to Yalijux at all this week which was kind of sad and the parents of the family that have baptismal dates didn't come to church again so that was also kind of sad. But the work goes on.

Today was a normal pday with nothing much going on. It was really hot here today so we played with water balloons and ended up just having a big water fight. It was pretty fun. And of course we ate ice cream.

This week has been a little bit of a baggy week for me to be honest haha. I wasn't working most of the week because I was sick, Elder Larsen and a bunch of other Elders that I am pretty good friends with are going home next week, I completed 10 months Saturday, I was thinking about Memorial Day/ Celebration at the Station/ Worlds of Fun over the weekend and how much I missed being there. And to top it all off they have played the song "Hey Soul Sister" by Train (one of my favorite songs) twice now in the internet place that I'm at. But I'm not baggy. Technically I can't be since I still don't have a year in the mission. I'm still homesick ;) But I was thinking a LOT about Celebration at the Station yesterday. Memorial day weekend is one of the weekends I looked forward to the most during the whole year. It was always a ton of fun, so I missed it a lot. But I'm glad you guys all had fun and are enjoying Worlds of Fun right now. Thanks for all of the pictures too.

That's fun that Sam is home again! I'm sure it's a huge transition being back in the states. I know for me I will feel probably a little uncomfortable or bad at first because of how much we have and things like that when I get home. I'm sure it's a hard transition to make. But that's good that he's changed a lot and has been really humbled. I'm sure a lot of missionaries will just be so excited to get back to fancy electronics and movies and nice things, but the ones that have really been changed by their missions will feel a lot less of that. So hopefully I'll be like Sam and be changed by my mission enough to feel like that.

Mom- ok sorry that I told Camille a little bit more like the earthquake and when I fell. I thought I did tell you about the earthquake last week though! I must have forgot because I wrote it to Camille first. Sorry. That's crazy about all of the tornadoes happening. It really is the last days huh. Only thing to do is be prepared and trust in the Lord more. It would be a really neat experience to go and help clean up in Joplin. Hopefully you guys can go and do that as a family sometime. I miss being there for family traditions too! But it's OK cause when I get home we'll keep up the traditions and start even more. Love ya mom!

Dad- haha shoot dad, I miss watching the "Memorial Man" movies with you.  (Every Memorial Day weekend, Mike watches the old war movies, and when Jace was little he used to call them Memorial Man movies.)  I was thinking a lot about that on Saturday and now today about watching those black and white movies we used to watch sometimes. I really wanted to be there to watch them with you! And Worlds of Fun of course to ride the Detonator with you and Jack haha. It seems like just yesterday we were there for Memorial Day last year. Yeah, Elder Fadel is a great elder. Very humble and really great. He's a Q'eqchi' master haha so everyone's always talking about him. We had a lot of fun together. And haha i know you were gone all week cause I got an email from your work last week saying you would be gone and to contact Cynthia Batts in case of emergency haha. I appreciated that. Love you dad.

Alrighty, well I am pretty much out of time but I love you guys tons and I miss you all tons! Thanks for the letters, pictures, prayers and support. Things are still going great and I'm still happier than I've ever been. I'll know by next Monday if I have a change or not so I'll let you know! Love you all!

Elder Norton