"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

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

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