"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


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



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!

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!

Elder Norton

With my buddy, Elder Underwood.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Concilio and Another Trip to the Dentist


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!

Elder Norton