"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, July 31, 2012

Life is a Mission - WA'RANIN

With my new Q'eqchi' hymnbook my Aunt Julie and the Q'eqchi' Choir brought to me.  

Bags packed and ready to go.
Well guys, this is the last time that I will write to you as Elder Norton. 

It's hard to describe how I feel at this point. I feel sort of like I don't have any other life apart from here in Guatemala - kind of like my whole life was just a dream before now. It might be partly because I am really getting a true vision of what really matters in life. My perspective and my attitude have changed a lot about a lot of things. But really I think that being here on a mission more than anything has taught me about this life. I really have felt that the mission is a large typification of life in general. We leave our Heavenly Parents to come to a foreign place where we have to adapt, where we face and overcome new challenges, where we can grow spiritually, and where we sometimes have to suffer. We have limited communication with our Heavenly Father. We have specific things that we were sent here to do in this life. We have to learn how to trust in the Spirit of the Lord to guide us in order to complete those things. We cry, we suffer, we get sick, we get homesick, we want to be able to live a good life and finish out strong, but it's hard. Yet we keep pushing and praying and trusting that this is what we need and that the Lord will bless us. We make sacrifices, humble ourselves, and see miracles. We keep climbing mountain after mountain after mountain to find what the Lord wants us to do in life. Before we really even are aware of it, time passes us by and we realize that our life is coming to a close. There's still a lot of things we want to do- a lot more people to love, more places to see, more work to be done, more progress to be made. But time keeps moving on. It has to come to an end because there was a beginning. And yet this life, this mission, is just the beginning of eternal prgoress and happiness that we will have if we finish out stong and stay on the path. There are a lot of temptations, problems, tragedies, fights, companionship inventories, families that fall apart, friends that fall, members that get offended, people that don't progress like you want them to. But the most important thing is not to get off the path- not to quit. You keep going until every last ounce of strength is used, until the last breath. 

And then you go home. And then everything in the mission becomes the dream. Like you never even left. But you did and you can't ever forget that you did because you aren't the same anymore and you never will be. And then you keep progressing and learning and moving forward. 

And all of that is possible because the Savior Jesus Christ completed His mission. He faced it all and overcame it all, all by himself. And he faced all of our missions all by himself so that we don't have to walk alone in life. If there's anything I've learned on my mission or up to this point in my life, it's that Christ is our Savior. He has already paid the price for our sins. He did that because he wants more than anything else that we can change and become enough like Him to live with Him again. I know that He lives. I know that our Heavenly Father lives and loves each and every one of His children. He sees what no one else can. He knows where each tiny wooden house is scattered in the mountains and trees. He knows, understands, and answers each prayer uttered and whispered in Q'eqchi', Spanish, English, or whatever other language, or the ones not even uttered at all. He is a God of miracles. He provides miracles to those that believe Him. He has perfect purpose in every single minor detail of life. I know that this Church is His true Church because it is the only church on the face of the earth that is perfect- formed by His and Christ's hands. More importantly I know it is His true church because I have felt the influence of His Spirit time and time again establishing in my heart the the truthfulness of the restoration of the Gospel. By that same Spirit I have come to know that God has called once again living prophets on the earth to guide us. I know that Joseph Smith was the first of those prophets to be called in this last era. I also know that Thomas Monson is His living prophet and His only true representative on the face of the earth at this time. I know the work that I've dedicated my life to for these past two years is the very work of that Living God and that it is the most important work happening under heaven. I believe all of these things with all my heart. I feel that they are right and true. 

Nannaw rik'in x'anchalil li wam naq yo'yo aj Kolol qe. Tz'aqal yaal li paab'al nokopaab'ank wi' ut nannaw naq li Kristo nab'eresink re. Ka'ajwi' nannaw xb'aan naq xnaq sa' lin ch'ool. Kik'ehe chi awmank ut chi siipo'k sa' lin ch'ool jun iyaj. Us ex injunkab'lal, oxej tinwulaq aran eerik'in wi'chik. WA'RANIN!!!!!!!!!!! (I'll be right there.)

Love you all more than you know and I'm SO excited to see you all and hug you all again the day after the day after tomorrow. Get ready. See you all soon.

Elder Norton

Monday, July 23, 2012


Well guys my time is quickly coming to an end here in Guatemala.

Before I let myself get ridiculously baggy let me just give an overview of the week:Tuesday I was on divisions with Elder Rodríguez in Saqsuha' and we had a good time. He's a great elder and a good friend. He cooked me every meal we ate and was super nice. I learned a lot with him. I learned a little bit in my studies on Wednesday morning about things I need to improve. Wednesday we had district meeting and we talked about having the spirit. It didn't really turn out how I thought it would to be honest, but it was still a good meeting. After that E. Salazar and I came back to Saqsuha'.  We talked for a while throughout the day, just small talk, and we worked together. Then that night we got caught in a HUGE rainstorm. We were about 30 minutes away from the house walking and it started pouring after we had walked like 2 minutes. It was already dark so we decided to just keep going. It was a little bit nerve-wracking for someone who about a year ago fell into a river in similar circumstances but it turned out to be fun as we pretty much grabbed each other by the hand when lightning struck close haha. It was fun. 

Thursday we went to La Tinta to get all of Domingo and Rosa's paperwork figured out and then came back and worked for a while in the center. Friday we cleaned the house to prepare for a house inspection to be given by Elder and Sister Spradlin (the missionary couple in Senahu) which took us all morning. After that we kept working with our investigators with a baptismal date and went to a little place by bus to teach a family (who by the way ended up coming to church yesterday for the first time! Woo!) and then went back. Saturday the Spradlins came and inspected the house. They didn't chew us out too much. After that we went to church to help them translate to do geneology work with the Q'eqchi'. Not too many people showed up but just enough to help some people out and get some names ready to take to the temple. Then we went and had a few appointments with our fechas and a couple other people. Yesterday we went to Palomar after church which was, as always, very tiring for my comp. I didn't hardly feel it at all. Then we came back and taught our fechas again. So as you can probably all see, most of the work we are doing right now is just getting our investigators ready for their baptism this Friday. I'm VERY excited to marry and baptize another part member couple. 

Today we went to Tukuru to have our pday which was fun. First I saw my convert, Alma. She is doing well and told me she is really active right now in church and has a calling which made me really happy. I guess she had gone through some hard times and wasn't going very much to church. Then we played some soccer there with a few of my converts and with some of the other youth that I knew in Tukuru. They are all doing well and are still active at church.  After that Elder Dilworth and I went to go and say goodbye to a few families (E. Dilworth came to Tukuru in my place when I left and was there for 7 and a half months so we knew a lot of the same families.) I got to see a couple of people that I didn't see in the district conference in Saqsuha 3 months ago. And I got to see my convert, Brenda, who, from what I've heard, has been fairly inactive with her family. It was good to see her family because I really love her mom and dad a lot. They are great people. The dad is still active but the mom says her leg hurts too much to go and Brenda is going to go to a police acadamy to be a police officer where she won't be able to go to church for 6 months...but I encouraged her to keep trying to go to church and told her that I would pray for her. It was good but kind of sad to have the reality hit me that next week I won't be here anymore...But the excitement of being home again outweighs the sadness! I am ready and excited for another phase of life. 

hahaha I really can't even describe how baggy I am right now thinking about the fact that next week I will be home. Next week we'll start our vacation. There's still a little bit of time before I'll see you all again, but when you think about it it's really nothing at all. It's NEXT WEEK! It seems to weird to be true. But it is!

Questions that I have before I forget:1) Mom, what ever happened with me supposedly going to speak at the post office lady's church? I've been thinking about that lately and I think it would be a great opportunity and would like you to find out what you can and let me know what you find out please? :)2) Speaking of speaking, am I going to have an assigned topic for my homecoming talk or do I pick my own topic?3) I think it might be good to go to the Chiropractor too...walking up and down mountains with a mildy heavy backpack, alyways having to slouch to get into people's houses, and sleeping on cruddy beds for 2 years hasn't been the best on my back.

Ok I think those are most of the important questions. Here are some comments:-I'm SUPER excited for our vacation. Hope dad doesn't fall in Fall River (or me for that matter. haha just kidding.) -haha I can't even remember what the whole "those were elk" thing was about. -I'm also VERY excited about my phone. It will be good to be able to leave my number with some people. So If anyone starts calling and asking for me and they are Q'eqchi' just say "mawa'o laj Elder Norton. Toj maji' nachal arin." haha and it will be good. And don't worry about distributing my number to single girls in the ward. I'll take care of that. -Horseback ride to a steak dinner and back sounds awesome.-About the massage:  an hour long massage sounds heavenly. -Yes definintely much better to have just the fam at the airport. I just didn't know how the airport scene normally goes. -As for the open house Saturday: I think that's fine. I don't know if any high school friends could come..you'd have to invite everyone now.  But for church friends definitely yeah. And yes to Mark, Jordan, and my combined open house the 12th. That will be cool. What day does Jordan leave exactly? I really want to hang out with him before he goes.-About money, sorry if I'm spending a lot dad but there are a few more things that I want to get as recuerdos for the fam from Guate so I might use whatever money is left over for that. I also have to print out a lot of photos still to give to people which is a little bit expensive. But I'll let you know next week when I write about anything else.

ALRIGHT well folks, this will most likely be the last time that I really write all that much. If I say too much next week I won't have much to tell you when I see you. All I know is that I will see you all NEXT WEEK!!

Love you all tons,Elder Norton

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Q'ajk We / Ojik Wehin Pan Nupaat

With Elders Dilworth, Salazar, and Snow
In the jungle with Elder Dilworth.

Well guys. I have to honestly say that this week using internet has been the most baggy I have ever been in my whole mission. I just can't wait to be home. I love being a missionary. I love the work here. I love the Q'eqchi' people. I love helping people get married and baptized. But I am ready to come home and be with all of you again. It will for sure be hard to leave and will be a huge change for me, but I am ready for it. I can't wait to get home to be with my family again and be with friends and keep living out my life.

Ok sorry had to let a little bit of bagginess out. It was really exciting for me that you guys went to go hang out with Twoody and his fam. It's funny that you guys surprised him and didn't tell him you were going to visit. Sounds like you had fun together. His family is great and I'm excited to hang out with them again and with Twoody soon. When I saw the pic of Twoody that you guys sent I just thought "That will be me soon."

Anyways. Things here are going well, at least with the investigators. Last week I did a division with Elder Dilworth which was really baggy. He got sick so we couldn't go out and work for a day and we ended up just talking about everything that's going to happen when we get home and everything. We got pretty dang baggy. I'm doing divisions right now with other missionaries just to get some good hard work in. This week I'll go to Panzos to do another baptismal interview so this week will probably fly by. Next week we'll be getting ready for Rosa and Oscar's baptisms and Rosa and Domingo's marriage. Everything is going well with them and they have been coming to church every week. We had some new investigators also come to church yesterday that are more references from members. So things are going well here. The bad news of the week is that I didn't get permission from Pres. Watts to go to do a division to Tukuru to see my converts before I leave. But it's ok, I understand. This past week we worked a lot with members and investigators that speak Poqomchi' so I've been learning a little bit more. (q'ajk we = "I'm about to return" in q'eqchi' / ojik wehin pan nupaat= "I'm about to go to my house" in poqomchi'.) So that's been fun too. Everyone here knows I'm leaving soon which sometimes makes it hard because everyone always says stuff like "You have no more time left in your mission."

Today we went up to Se'nawuq' (Senahu) to play soccer with everyone. It was pretty fun but I hurt my big toe (and you all know how I am about toe injuries...). I'm sitting here using internet with Elder Snow and Elder Dilworth as well which always makes Mondays fun and pretty baggy haha.

Ok well I have some important things I want to mention before I forget:

1)This one's for Matt (mom make sure he reads it and that he responds for next week.) What was it like getting released/ coming home from the mish? Let me know how it was for you and how you felt.

2) I was thinking that it would be super great one of my first days back to get a really nice full body massage. 2 years of walking around with heavy books up and down mountains has really made my tib'el pretty ra if you know what I mean. So figure that out for me will you? I would like that a lot. (We laughed at this one.  We're not sure what his tib'el is, but we think it is his back.  Luckily for him there is a massage place right around the corner!)

3) Will I be going to see a doctor when I get home to check me out and make sure I don't have any weird diseases that I will have brought back from Guate? Just a question.

4) Did you guys buy me a phone yet? If so, what is the number? If not I would like if you could to get me one soon so that I can leave my number with my converts and member families and stuff.

5) Is it just going to be you guys that pick me up from the airport or will you invite other people? I don't know how this whole airport scene thing works but anything would be fine for me. (Oh, we've got plans for the airport, including a surprise visit from his friend Taylor Woodward, aka. Twoody!!!!  We can't wait!)

Ok here are some quick personal comments:

Matt- man you are looking pretty studly in all of the pictures that mom sent! The first one that mom sent really surprised me! Have you been working out? I guess you are making sure to look good for Kili, eh? It could also be that you are wearing my clothes in pretty much all of your pics haha. Don't worry that's good. They look good on you. What did you think of Twoody? Great guy right? It will be fun rooming with him. Love you and see you soon bro. Can't wait to hang out. SOON!

Jack- Hey bud thanks for writing! You look great in all of the pictures. You're like me only better looking, more athletic and cool. Sounds like you had fun at the lacrosse camp. Sounds tiring though. It's easy to see though that you are going to be a ladies man. That's a good thing but you have to remember the mission first, then the girls :) But how's your injury doing? Hope it feels better. Sounds like a fun hike! Yeah I probably wouldn't have had a very hard time hiking up since I'm so used to it by now. But we'll have to go hiking maybe when you come out to BYU for spring break. It won't be long until you'll be hearing me give my homecoming talk. Can't wait to see you either bro. I love you and I've really missed you tons these 2 years. Can't wait to see you soon.

Kinzie- YOU BETTER NOT HAVE KISSED ANY BOYS AT EFY. Hola :) Ok anyways I hope you had fun there. Sounds like a good time. But really I will break those boys arms if they try to go after you. You are looking good in the pics too :) You are stinking getting old!! My only question for you is since when have you been using those big black glasses? Stylish. Ok well you freak I will be seeing you so very soon so you better be waiting for me you little freak. Love you!!!!

Dad- WOO!! I'm really glad and relieved to hear that your case settled. Sounds like those other guys were real jerks. But I'm really glad that we'll have a lot more time now to hang out and that you won't be stressed out about anything else really. EXCITING!! The Lord worked it out I think so that we could have this time together. It will be awesome to go on vacation together. Where do you think we'll go? I can't wait!!! Ok, well thanks for all of the advice dad. I'll try to study a little more the sections in D&C that talk about how to deal with my problem. I know that the Lord puts people that are weak in the Spirit with those that are stronger so that they can become stronger. So thanks. Pray for me and I'll pray for you too. Love you tons dad and thanks for everything. I can't wait to see you soon.

Mom- I WILL HUG YOU IN (a little more than) TWO WEEKS! :) Ok just had to say that. :) Anyways thanks for the email. And thanks for all the pics. You all look great. I'm excited to hang out with the gang again. I'm super excited that you guys went to hang out with Twoody. He said you guys are really funny haha. He wrote me. Can't wait to be his roommate with Matt. Anyways sounds like you guys had a blast at Utah. haha yeah I bet I would probably not have too hard of a time hiking now. We'll have to go sometime to see! Ok. I will look for your Guat nativity set but I might not be able to find it. I'll look for it though. Love you mom, can't wait to see you!

OK! Well, I don't have any time left to write. So, Love you all tons. Don't get too baggy but next week will probably be the last time that I really write you guys anything. The next week after that will be pretty much game over. Love you all tons!!!!

Elder Norton

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Last Zone Conference and Second to Last Visit to Coban

Hey Guys!

I write to you all today from Coban which is a heck of a lot cooler (temperature wise) than the Polochik. It's great! We came down for a combined district activity with the zone leaders, my district and the Tukuru/ Tinta district. We just ate McDonalds and played some soccer with the Coban zone. It was fun but I kind of wished we hadn't played since we can play any p-day anywhere else. So I didn't get to go shopping for recuerdos and in the pacas. The good news is that in 3 weeks I'll be back in Coban for a whole day before I go to the cap. Then it will all be over.

I honestly can't wait to get home. This week was a good and somewhat bad week. The greatest thing ever is that we put a baptismal date with ROSA which means she and her husband, Domingo are getting married this month. We had a good talk with them and put the goal and they said that they want to do it. Rosa said that she wants me to baptize her which is special for me because I started teaching her and everything, and I've worked really hard with that family since I came to Saqsuha'. So I'm super excited. We also had a great (and last) zone conference with President Watts. He chewed us out just a little bit about not losing the Lord's time and posed the question to us "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me." There were some good things that I needed to hear to help me finish the mission strong and there were a lot of things that my companion needed to get chewed out for a little bit. But I'm still going strong and working hard with our investigators to get them ready for baptism. Please pray for Domingo and Rosa so that they'll be able to get married. Please also pray for Oscar.

Other than that things are all going well. I'm just finishing strong. Well I'm going to have to cut it a little short today because we have to get going back to our areas. I just love and appreciate you guys all a ton and can't hardly wait to see you all again. Love you all tons! 3 MORE WEEKS!

Elder Norton

Monday, July 2, 2012

One More Month - Don't Die Before I Get Home!!!

Hello to all!

Ok. I think maybe I might have gotten a small taste of what you all felt when I fell in the river a year ago. It's not very fun to get news about accidents from far away!!!!! haha. It's typical of the Norton family to have it all happen on the same day I guess. I still think that in some hospitals they have a "NORTON" plaque in one of the rooms. But I'm really glad to hear that my brothers are "not dead yet". Come on guys don't go getting all beat up right before I get home!! 

Anyways...THE FLIGHT PLANS ARE IN. I probably knew them before you guys because I got told by Elder Snow who got told by Elder Nelson the AP. I have to say that I got pretty dang baggy when I heard that. Elder Snow couldn't remember what time I got in though to KC. I just heard we'd all be getting into Atlanta around 11:00 or so. The elders from SLC will leave around 2ish I think and the rest of us will wait around a little longer. Poor Elder Dilworth though has to wait until about 8:30 for his flight. He gets to Minneapolis around 10:45 and then has to make another flight to Montana where he'll touch down at 11:56 PM if all goes to plan. so I'm glad that I'll be getting in in the evening on Thursday. The flight plans make everything seem all the more real but it still hasn't really hit me yet that I'm leaving. I know that I am leaving and I can feel it coming but I don't quite feel it yet. All I can say is that one month is not a long time at all.

This week the marraige and baptism went all according to plan and Juana was confirmed a member of the Church yesterday. Friday, Elder Snow came and did a division with me in Saqsuha' to do the interview. It was a super fun division and we even found a new family of investigators that look really promising. We were getting ready for bed when we heard 2 rounds of gunshots that sounded like they were being shot right next to our house. (I found out the next day that apparently it was some drunk guys fighting and that they just shot the pistol in the air. Nobody got killed.) Anyways we didn't sleep for a while because of the gunshots and just talked about baggy stuff. It was on our divisions that he told me about the flight plans and all that jazz. I don't really want to start counting days but...it's not that hard to figure out how many days are in July. And it's not very hard to multiply the amount of weeks I have left in my weekly planner by 7...But the point is that I'm still determined to work hard. I still have at least one more family that I want to get married and baptize the wife. This week we also found 3 other young women that could be possibilities for baptism, most likely after I'm already gone. 2 of them are the yougner sisters of Oscar who we are going to baptize hopefully this month, and the other is their neighbor whose parents are inactive members. We are hoping to start teaching Oscar's family as a family this week and see if we can make some progress with his parents. Their kids are coming to church now. Maybe that will be the key. 

In other news, one of my investigators from Salama, Hermano Lopez, is getting baptized this Saturday with his wife and daughter. He is one of the neatest investigators I have ever had so I'm really happy that he is getting baptized. Elder Lemus is still in Salama and will be baptizing him which is cool. I wish I could go and see it but it would almost definitely be way too far away. I also got permission from my ZLs to go on a division to Tukuru to visit my converts and the members to say goodbye. I haven't been back to Tukuru since almost 2 years so it will be good to be there. But I've seen almost all of my converts from there at the district conference that happened a couple of months ago. It will be good to see everyone though. I'll probably go on that division within the next couple of weeks. 

Today we came to good old El Estor and played some soccer and we are going to buy some little "recuerdos" (souveneirs (sp?)) and some other stuff. I'm ordering some things and buying some cool stuff to take home with me. So that's why I took a lot of money out this week. (sorry dad...) But I took it out to buy everything that I'm going to buy before I got home. I'll be sure to bring you all something cool from Guatemala. Alright here are some quick personal comments:

Jack- WHAT THE HECK!!!!! Dude! I can't believe you got injured like that!!! Well I guess it could have been worse but I cringed with pain just looking at the blood spots in the pics mom sent me. When I read the subject title "pictures of Jack in the hospital" I about fell out of my seat! Be careful man!!! You have to make sure you are all better and back to normal by the time I get home so we can hang out without problems. So you are still going to lacrosse camp then? You're a tough kid though. Glad to hear you're ok. Tell mom to buy you something tasty for me. Love you buddy. Be sure to take it easy and write me to let you know how are you doing! Love you!

Matt- WHAT THE HECK!!!!!! Dude! I can't believe you passed out in your work truck!!! So I get these pictures of Jack, and then the first thing mom explains is that the hospital called and said you were in the hospital for a car accident. I thought to myself "oh man, Matt got in a car accident and Jack was with him!" Haha but that really stinks. I'm just glad you're ok and that the car was the only thing that got hurt. What did your work say? Well anyways I'm glad you're ok. Don't going dying on me now right before I get home! You have to be in top condition to chill out at BYU together!!! What are your classes looking like for next semester?? Are you going to be busy with a lot of classes? I'm sure you'll have a lot to do but I'm just excited to hang out and live together!! That's something I look forward to the most when I get home. Well drink lots of water, don't go passing out on me anymore, and tell mom to buy you something tasty for me. Take care bro. Love you.

Alrighty folks my time is up. I'll write to you all again next week where once again we'll all get baggy and think about the day when I get home to spend time with you guys. I love you all tons and thanks for everything you do for me. Can't wait to see you CHI SEEB'!

Elder Norton

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If Noah's Flood Came Back On the Earth, I'd Be Done With My Mission Before it Stopped Raining!

Hey Guys!

Well. I have to say that it's pretty hard not to get baggy with Elder Snow and Elder Dilworth here with me. It also is a VERY VERY baggy thing for me that Twoody is already coming home. I can't believe that. That just makes me feel even more that it's almost time for me to come home. Mark's home. Now Twoody's home. Next up is me.

BUT, I'm working hard still with my companion. We got everything worked out for Juana and Oscar's wedding and it will be this Friday at 10:00 AM. The baptism will then be at 10:00 on Saturday. It's pretty exciting because she has been waiting to get baptized for a long time, so we're super excited for her. Oscar(the groom)'s mom has been a little bit pouty because they aren't going to do any big party or anything, but we told her not to be so materialistic (in a nice way). It is actually very impressive how they are getting married without anything when the culture here pretty much demands those things to be accepted by other people. They will probably get a lot of "bad reputation" from friends and family, but their hearts are set on doing what's right and keeping the commandments. They are really forming their foundation upon the rock of Christ. So I have confidence that they will be a strong couple and be able to withstand the fiery darts of the adversary.

We are also working hard still with the other Oscar, who is doing well but is having a hard time understanding a lot of things. But he came to church again this Sunday so he's doing well. We went with a bunch of members yesterday to visit Domingo and Rosa and to just kind of give them a little bit of support. They were happy that we went with the branch president and everything. They are saying right now that they have plans to get married in July, so I'm hoping to see Rosa get baptized before I leave.

Other than that the work keeps moving on faster than ever. Yesterday my companion was sitting on the floor in an investigators house when a big rat came running out at him across the room. (my comp has a BIG fobia of rats) So my companion yelled and dove for safety while the rat ran and weasled his way into Juana (our fecha)'s corte (pretty much her "dress" you could say). She stood up and started dancing and jumping to get the rat out and after a couple seconds the poor little creature flew out and ran outside. It was a pretty funny experience haha.

Ok, well not too much else to say about the week. Here's some shoutouts.

Dad- Hey dad! First of all Happy Father's day!!! Sorry I didn't mention anything to you last week but for some reason I was thinking last week that it wouldn't be until this week. But you know that I love you and that you are the best dad I could ever ask for. Thanks for all you've taught me and for being one of my best friends. I know I can always count on you. I'm excited for the stuff we're going to do when I get back. Thanks for the update on the NBA. I was rooting for the Thunder but I will applaud LeBron for his playoff ring. Right now there are a lot of soccer games going on for some preliminary World Cup stuff. Actually, the USA played Guate a couple of weeks ago and they tied 1 to 1. They are matched up in groups of 4 and 2 will go on to compete in another round of games to be participants in the World Cup. USA is the leading team in their group of 4 so it was good for Guate to tie up with them I guess. I'll have to get you into soccer more when I get back. It's fun to watch!! Yeah. It's hard sometimes. But I'm ready for it. I'm going to give it everything I've got with these people these last few weeks, but I'm ready to go back to the blessed USA. Being with these people is sometimes very tiring. It requires a lot of patience and love because they are so childlike. Anyways thanks again dad for all your advice and counsel. It's been some of the most important things for me in my whole mission and I really appreciate it. Love you dad. Thanks for everything.

Mom- Last thing I heard about the Q'eqchi' choir, they won't be coming to Sacsuha anymore to do a concert. That's what the senior couple in Senahu told me at least. They said that they will just be doing a concert in Teleman on Sunday. But I guess President Watts wants it to be a big thing which means we'll probably all be doing there and bringing investigators and members. I'm just excited to get a new hymnbook!! So, you'll have to ask aunt Julie about the deets right now and let me know next week. Either way I will maybe be able to spend a little bit of time with Julie. That's awesome about Jonny finishing his training and everything. I'm not too informed about what a military policeman does but it sounds cool. Kind of surprising that he'll be going to Germany. Will they be learning German or what? Any idea how long they'll be there? Anyways sounds cool. It's really sad about Cody. I wish there was something we could do, but I guess like you said, the Lord will make what he wants to happen, happen. I'm praying for him and I'll be sure to include him in my prayers and my fast next Sunday. Anyways I have to go for now but thanks for all you do mom. Love you!! :)

Alrighty well another week is gone. Tell Twoody I expect him to write me while I'm still here and he's home. Love you all tons and I'll see you soon.


Elder Norton

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Last Change


Today I begin my last change in my mission. I'm staying in Saqsuha' with E. Salazar so no changes for me. In fact there was only one change in the whole zone which means Elder Dilworth and  Elder Snow will also be dying in their same areas with the same companions. It's really just a weird thing to think about. One more daily planner. 6 more weeks. That means that I will have had

6 areas:  
3 Q'eqchi' 
2 all Spanish 
1 Spanish and Poqomchi'

12 companions:  
2 North Americans 
4 from El Salvador 
2 from Guatemala 
1 from Honduras 
1 from Nicaragua 
1 from Peru 
1 from Chile

Anyways enough of that. The point is that, yes, I'm a little bit baggy.

But I've still got a lot of ganas (desires) to work hard and finish strong. I've still got a lot to teach my companion and we've got some baptisms planned for these next couple of months. We taught the same lesson about the marriage of Adam and Eve with Oscar and Juana (our eternal investigators) and they accepted a date to get married. It was AWESOME. Oscar's mom is kind of being a stinker though and trying to takchi'ink (give bad counsel to) him by telling him not to do it until he has more money. But he's really determined to get married so I'm not worried. This Wednesday Juana is going to get her paperwork all figured out and we are going to go and give all of their paperwork to the municipality so that the week of the 30th they can get married and Juana can get baptized. WOO! We also found a reference of a pilas ex missionary in our branch. It's his 17 year old brother in law named Oscar Ixim (just a funny little fact that Ixim means corn.) . We put a baptismal date with him at our first appointment and he came to church this last week and loved it. We're pretty excited. We're going to see if we can work it out so that he gets baptized in July sometime.

Anways things are just going really well. I'm still working hard and focused but it's just really surreal to me about coming home so soon.

About vacation, I could really care less about where we go or what we do. If we don't have time cause of dad's trial I'll be fine just chilling at home with you guys and going to do fun stuff in KS, So Whatever!

Quickly I just wanted to wish a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!! to Kinzie :) I know you're not at home yet to read this but just know I'm thinking about you and I already have a little present for you for when I get back :)

Ok guys sorry it's a little short today but times up. Love you all tons and I'll write you all next week more!!!! Love you!!!

Elder Norton

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Fun Day in Se'muq Champey


Hope you aren't all as tired as I am today!

This morning we woke up at 3 in the morning to head out for a zone activity to these cool pools of water called "Se'muq Champey". We were waiting outside the zone leader's house at 3:30 for the big cow truck to come and take us all up to the place. We waited and looked for 2 hours and finally found the guy at 6:00. We headed out on the 3 hour long drive in the back of a big truck used normally for transporting cows or horses (and in Polochik, lots of people...). It was a crazy and fun ride. Most of us rode kind of on the top sides of the truck and since the path we took wasn't the most traveled by, especially by big cow trucks, there were a LOT of branches that were low and we would have to duck and cover our heads with our backpacks to sheild us from the whipping branches of the trees. It was a lot of fun. Once we got there we semi- met up with the 2 other zones that also went today to the same place (Zones Verapaz and Coban). It was good seeing some familiar faces and other elders from my group. I got to see Elder Lemus, my old comp because he is still zone leader in Verapaz. So it was fun seeing him. We went up this pretty steep hike to a "mirador" (look out spot) where we took pictures of the green, cristaline waters. It's a pretty awesome sight. 

While at the top we ran into a couple different groups of people. The first was a group of 4 whiter girls that were speaking in what appeared to us to be German. They asked me to take a picture of them (in English..they spoke English very well almost without hardly any accent) so I took advantage of the opportunity to ask where they were from. I was pretty surpised when they told me they were from Israel. I wouldn't have guessed that I don't think. They were speaking Hebrew but were all fluent in English. I told them that I was going to study Hebrew when I got back because it had a similar structure to Q'eqchi'. They were really friendly and said that I definitely needed to come and see all of the great Christian sites in Jerusalem. So that was pretty cool. After that we found an American couple from Colorado and talked to them for a while too. Anyways, we got some good pics and painfully watched other people swim in these cool pools and then headed back in our cow truck. It was a good time with some good quality talking time with the other elders during the ride and some good laughs. But one thing's for sure, I'm dead tired.

Well, this past week has gone by in the blink of an eye as well. We got a reference of a young man who is brother in law of an ex missionary. We put a baptismal date with him already because he has already been talking with his brother in law for a while. We put the date for August 4th...I don't think I have to explain to you why the thought of that made me pretty baggy.... (he comes home August 2nd!)

Other than that we had a great lesson with Domingo and Rosa. We had the inspiration to talk to them about "True marriage" as instituted by God to Adam and Eve. We explained that when God married them, there was no party, no caldo, no new corte, no inviting friends, no nothing. Just Adam, Eve, and God making a promise to be faithful to each other and keep God's commandments. They took the lesson really well and we taught as well with a member who didn't do anything special or traditional for his wedding. They were pretty convinced and the only question they have now is about what will happen with their personal ID's after getting married. So we're hoping that within the next couple of weeks we'll see another white weekend.

Alright time's almost up. Here's some personal shoutouts:

Mom- haha that's fine with me whatever you want to write on your calander. I'm sorry to hear that your shoulder has been killing you lately. I hope that you start feeling better soon. Speaking of surgery what ever happened to McKinzie and her supposed imminent surgery? Anyways the Q'eqchi' choir has only been published by me and my companion in Saqsuha. It's not too well publicized yet. But don't worry the Q'eqchi's will know. Thanks for always motivating me to keep doing the small things. I'm helping my companion a lot to learn that as well. He's suffering a little bit, but we all do here. I don't like to complain so I usually don't say anything about the heat or the pain or the tiredness. Being here has toughened me up a lot. I think I'll be ready to play lacrosse when I get home as well with Jack now. If not I could probably get into rugby. =P Anyways things are going well. Thanks for all mom. Love you and talk to you next week!

Dad- hey dad hope your case went well with the psycopath lawyers. Too bad that you couldn't schedule in some time to meet with the president. I'm sure he was disappointed not to have been able to see you. I'm sure it will be big news to see who will be the new seminary teacher. You'll have to let me know when they call someone. Yeah Satan always tries to make us prideful huh? But if I ever knew a humble man, it's you dad. I know you won't ever let youself be lifted up to pride. And I know you'll be great in your new calling. As for the NBA I heard about the thunder and the heat. GO THUNDER! Kevin Durant is the man. Root for them for me will ya? Love you dad thanks for all you do. Talk to you next week!

Jack- that's awesome about lacrosse! You are awesome Jack. That will be awesome going to camp at BYU. Have a good time there and keep working at it to get better. Sick jersey and pads. You already look professional. I don't have much time to write right now but I'll try to write me next week. Love you tons bro!

Ok guys, well my time's oficially up. Love you all and I'll let you know next Monday about changes. Take care!

Love you,
Elder Norton

Monday, June 4, 2012

Time Keeps On Slippin'


Wow, well I got a lot of emails today from friends and family which is great. So thanks guys for all of the emails and all of the great news.

Well, as the subject titles of this email says, time keeps on slippin'. I feel like this past week was about 7 hours instead of 7 days. Things are just going by way too fast to even comprehend. We had interviews with President Watts which was great. I had a good talk with him about things I need to do to finish the mission strong and to make these last weeks of my mission the best. It was good. And also baggy. But I don't feel hardly baggy at all yet. My companion has been struggling a little bit to keep working hard. He has a hard time with all of the heat and with the walking we do. Yesterday I took him to Palomar where I baptized my convert Alicia and he almost threw up quite a few times haha. Poor guy. But he's got a good heart and he wants to work hard. His mom told him if he lost weight that she would stop smoking (his mom's less active..) so we're working hard to get his "wata" (as they say in Chile) smaller. Q'eqchi' is still hard for him but he's starting to learn more. He just has to pretty much make a fool of himself for the next three months trying to speak and he'll learn quickly. He's just got to speak it even when he doesn't know how to say things and learn that way.

So anyways, things are going well. As far as investigators go, we talked to President Watts about how we need to focus more on those who are ready to progress. It's hard because I love most of our investigator families so darn much. But we're working with the people who are actually ready to be baptized in our time here and letting the others have their time with other missionaries. It's really a hard concept to master to be honest but it's what we have to do as missionaries. We don't forget about them, we just don't focus on them as much. So anyways, Erlinda and Carlos didn't come to church which was sad. They said they they had to go to Teleman because their son was sick but I'm not so sure. The good news is that Rosa, the mom of the three kids that I baptized, is coming to church again and is recovered from her child labor. This Sunday they blessed their baby and officially gave her her name (which they made Elder Escorcia and I choose.) Her name is Sara Dámaris Xol Chub. I picked out the named Sara and my comp picked out Damaris. I tried to name her Susan or Susy as they normally say here and then Kensy after Kinzie, but they didn't like those names very much. So it just ended up being Sara haha. But it was a neat experience to name a baby. Anyways, Rosa and her husband Domingo are thinking about marriage right now and I'm sure they'll get married soon. They are such a great family and I love them TONS.

Alright well that's pretty much it on the info for the week. Let me get some personal comments in now:

Dad- wow that's awesome about the new calling!! That will be such a great opportunity right now because I'm sure there will be a lot more interest in the church in the general Kansas City area with the temple and everything. The Lord put you there for a reason for sure dad. You'll be great. I'm not exactly sure how the high council works in regards to missionary work since well frankly I've never even been in a ward in my mission. But I'm sure it will be fun to work with the missionaries and to take more part in missionary work. Like you've always told me, it's all about listening to the Spirit. I'm sure though that you are just the man for the job and that, just like all of ther other callings you've had, you'll do a great job and bless the lives of a lot of people. I just want to thank you again dad for having taught me so much as my seminary teacher. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything in the world. The things I learned from you and the testimony that I've always felt as you've taught has been one of the biggest things that helped me to get out here on my mission and has supported me through hard times here. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Love you dad. Let me know how your new calling goes! Love you!

Mom-well I'll talk about the sad things first to get them out of the way. That's horrible about Cody.  I will pray a lot for him. I really hope that the Lord lets him spend his time in juvenille.  I'll remember Kim and her family in my prayers too. So you said in your email that the stake president wanted to talk to you too? For a minute I thought you were going to get released too! haha. That's exciting about the basement and about Les Mis! I'm very excited to see it with you guys! And yes we'll have to go and plant corn next year! that would be super fun! I'll find out all I can about how to do it and everything and we'll go pure Q'eqchi' style haha! And you'll make caldo!! I would really love that hahaha. We'll have to do it :) Alright well I love you! Another Monday bites the dust!!

Ok guys times up. Love you all tons and I'm so grateful for having the best family I could ever ask for. Thanks for supporting me and for all that you do for me. Write you all next week!!

Elder Norton

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wib' Po Chik (2 Months Left)

Saludes to everyone from down here in rainy Polochik.

This week has been RAINY. Saturday night was the worst with a big storm that passed through and took the power out for about 15 hours during the night. My companion didn't hear it but I swear that a bolt of lightning hit the house. Nearly scared me to death while I was trying to sleep. My companion's a VERY heavy sleeper though. He usually talks to me or at least someone in his dream all night haha. It's kind of funny. Anyways then yesterday there was another big storm during the night and it rained quite a bit. Today it was HOT and really sunny in the morning while we played soccer but right now it's raining a lot. We went back and played some good old Monopoly where I dominated the board. I'm starting to like Monopoly a lot. It's a fun game.

This week was also a week with lots of "auk" (planting). We went twice to go and plant corn with two members. It's fun the traditions that they have here for when they go to plant seeds. They usually call family members and friends to come and help them. In return for their work the wife of the person that is planting makes a really big "caldo" which is just soup. Here they mostly make soup with chicken (in Yalijux they always made it with beef). Its a soup with a huge chunk of chicken or a huge chunk of cow and lots of tortillas and "poch" which are like tamales of corn dough. They also eat a lot of bean tamales before going out to work, so it is a lot of fun. The first time we went to go plant corn it was on the side of a REALLY steep mountain and we weren't able to do very much. The second time it was completely flat and the guy that we went to plant with made it super organized and measured with a little rope where we had to plant each seed. It was just a little rope that he tied knots in through the whole thing a certain distance apart. So that was fun. I thought to myself "it would be cool to plant corn in Kansas."

Anyways, this Sunday was great because we had 9 investigators come to church! Erlinda, who is the wife of an inactive member named Carlos, came to church with her daughter and her husband too. It made me super happy because I've really come to love that family a lot and they always tell me that they are going to cry when I leave because "they are accustomed to see my face and hear my voice" already. So we went with them on Thursday with a member who is really great and likes to help us. We committed them to come to church on Sunday, they accepted, we went to go get them Sunday morning, and they were already on their way down the mountain. It felt great. We also started teaching a gospel principles class with our mission leader with all of our investigators and it turned out well. We are working a lot with our branch president to start up a new branch mission plan. We are dividing the area into 3 areas and calling members to be coordinators and ward missionaries for each area to direct some family home evenings and "Mormon nights" as they say here. Our branch president says that next week he'll be extending the calls so we're excited to start working with that. This week we are having interviews with President Watts which is always something to look forward too. Not to be too baggy but it will be my last interview with President Watts before my exit interview...

Speaking of baggy, today I officially complete 22 months of being out on the mission. You know what that means. This weekend is possibly the most baggy weekend for me in my whole mission because I have a lot of great memories of family tradtitions, especially Celebration at the Station and Worlds Of Fun. I MISS YOU GUYS! haha ok well the good news is that I will never miss Celebration at the Station with you guys again. I hope it was fun. Send me pictures next week!!

Alright well here are some personal comments:

Dad- haha yeah dad I was actually just thinking about how I miss watching manly Memorial Day movies with you. I didn't really watch too many with you other years but I just thought about how I really wanted to watch some good old fashion war movies with you while eating some Minute Made lemonade popsicle things or Luigi's lemon ice. We'll have to do that with Jack and Matt when I get back. Things are going well with my companion. Honestly learning Q'eqchi¡' just takes time haha. But I really want to leave him knowing Q'eqchi' really well. He just has to put in a LOT of his part now and hopefully he'll be a Q'eqchi' master. WOW..that's pretty ridiculous about the shoving lawyers. You should sue them. Did you tell the guy to "TAKE IT EASY!" (Nacho Libre accent) ? And ok well I guess if you count today as well it would be 10, but I don't count today. So to me 9 Mondays left haha. Alright dad thanks. I love you a lot dad. I'm really excited to have some good fatherly son bonding time when I get back. Love you tons!

Mom- haha I'm glad that the weather was perfect for the concert. I'm super jealous! What a great family tradition. We should make more family traditions!! haha don't worry mom. Your suffering and afflictions will be but a small moment before I get home and we can make secret trips to eat fast food together and escape from the "nasty hobitses". haha. Yes, you'll have to show me all of your new BBC classic movies. I'm excited for that. BUT we have to go out and do lots of fun things too and just spend good old quality time together. That really is stupid that BVN didn't participate in those awards! I could have gotten famous! Oh well I guess fame isn't all it's made out to be. =P Wow. I'm kind of mad that I didn't go to Blue Valley too! It sounds like it is overall a much better school for the things that I liked to do and everything. Oh well. I'll make my kids go there and live out my dreams through them haha. Yeah we are mostly working with people to convince them to get married. It's hard because they just have silly little things that keep them from getting married like "well I want to have money to buy my wife a nice new set of clothes (about Q1000 sometimes)" or "I need money to be able to pay for the transportation for my wife's family to come see the family" or "to make a big meal for everyone". So it's mostly with money. But we just promise blessings and try to help people understand that it really is a grave sin and that if they die in their sins it will be pretty hard to get into heaven. Alright well I love you mom and I can't wait to see you soon!!!!

Alright folks. Time is up on yet another Monday. Thanks for the emails and for all of your prayers and support. Love you all!! WIB' PO CHIK! (2 months left)

Elder Norton

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ch'ina Kub'iha' - A Little Baptism


Sounds like you are all doing well and enjoying the last of the school year. Things here are going pretty well. We had a little baptism (ch'ina kub'iha') last Saturday of Reyna (the daughter or less active parents) and another little boy who just turned 8. It was a low key baptism and pretty much only about 30-ish people came to see. I baptized both of them which was neat and lots of fun. So that was nice. Both of them were confirmed yesterday. Other than that we found a new family that looks like they might be some great possibilities. They don't go to any church right now and before they used to go to the Catholic Church. The dad knows a member from a nearby branch that used to take him to church with him sometimes when they were younger. We've taught them twice now and we have another appointment Tuesday, so please pray for them. We also found another inactive family that just barely came back to Church for the first time in a while a couple of weeks ago for the District Conference. They have a little daughter that is 9 years old that wants to get baptized, so we put a baptismal date with her for next month. Her name is Yessica. We also are teaching a girl named Margarita. Her husband (or I should say future husband since they aren't married yet) is a member and his family are all pretty active in the church. We talked to them and he told us that he is decided on getting married in June, which means that Margarita should be able to get baptized next month. We are also still working with Rosa, the mother of the 3 kids that I baptized with elder Escorcia. She is recovering pretty well from child labor and we are hoping to help them get married by the end of next month or the beginning of July. Please pray for her that she'll be able to recover rapidly. That's a little summary on who we're teaching right now. There are a lot of people here that we need to visit and it's actually getting kind of difficult to visit all of them. But things are going really well.

Today we all got together here in Teleman (me and my comp, the elders from Panzos, the elders from Canlun, and the zone leaders) where we played soccer on the little soccer/basketball court at the Church. It was pretty intense playing. We played 2 games and both teams won once so we played a third tie-breaker game. The last game we played to five. It was tied at 4-4 and was pretty intense. I ended up scoring the winning goal which was fun haha. It was a lot of fun but pretty tiring. We played for about 3 hours almost. One of the elders that was playing on my team actually threw up because he was so tired. He's fine now though haha. Then we all went and played pool and Monopoly at this little hotel place with a pool table. So it's been a really fun p-day to say the least.

Well that's pretty much all I've got to say. Things are going well and the work is still moving on. My companion is learning Q'eqchi' pretty well. It's a lot harder that I thought to teach someone Q'eqchi'. It's hard for me to remember that he doesn't understand anything that we say when we speak Q'eqchi'. He struggles a little bit in the lessons even though I translate for him everything that is going on. It's just hard to keep the "flow" going. But I'm working with him to be able to teach small parts of the lessons in Q'eqchi' even if it's just reading things from Preach My Gospel or the scriptures. He's still excited about learning it though which is the most important.

Alright here's some quick comments:

Dad- ok first of all, if you are going to be baggy with writing the numbers next to your emails, you have to put the right number. I will be writing you 10 more times after today. just fyi =P Thanks for finding the creative writing class. I think I should be able to get in by the time school starts. I'll figure things out a little more the month before I go into school. YIKES! I'm really excited though to be back out at BYU. It really is a great place. It will be a ton of fun being there again. My only question now is about food. When I first went to BYU I can't remember the name of the plan I got but I remember that it was probably a lot more money than I need. I'm so used to eating pasta, beans and eggs that I could probably live off of pretty cheap food haha. So let me know about that will ya? How's work going for you lately? still pretty busy/ stressed? Any biking these days? Thanks for the sports update. I'm excited when we can talk more sports in person. I might have to get you into soccer!! Well love you dad, thanks for all you do. See you soon!!!

Mom- hey mom! First of all, thanks for writing E. Escorcia. I know it really means a lot to him. He's a great elder. Sounds like you are having a good time in the new temple! That's great that you are contributing to the temple. I read the talk from Elder Bednar recently about doing family history work and I really feel like I need to do a lot of family history work while I'm at home to keep me active and busy in good works and keep me from falling back into laziness/ old habits. So let's become intense family history nuts! :) That's exciting about getting the basement back and the new popcorn machine haha. It will be fun watching movies down there with the fam. (speaking of which when we went to go play pool there was a tv there and we happened to walk in right on a little preview thing on The Avengers...I'll just say I'm very excited to see it. it looks SICK. haha. ok enough of that.) That's a cool story about a little miracle. Little miracles are the best because they really help us to understand how much Heavenly Father loves us and how much he really cares enough to provide those little tender mercies just to show us that he cares. Heavenly Father is the best! As for your question about the youth, we have a good 15-25 youth that come pretty normally to church. We have usually been the ones to teach Sunday School for the youth but we are going to be changing that soon so we can teach a Gospel Principles class. They are good youth for the most part. They have seminary once a week but they don't show up a lot of the time. Wisconsin sounds good to me with a quick little pit stop in Chicago. I would be totally fine with that. Let me know any other ideas. Love you tons mom. Thanks for everything!

Alrighty well thanks for the emails. Love you all and can't wait to see you soon. Keep strong in the faith and low on the bagginess =P.


Elder Norton

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good Talking to Y'all!

The Polochik Zone


Well guys it was greating talking to y'all yesterday! I have to admit that it made me SUPER BAGGY for the rest of that day. But I'm back to work and it's hard work that we're going to be doing, so don't worry. I'm really excited for this new change with my new companion. He's really fun and we get along really, really well. He may be my best companion of my whole mission. His mom is less active and has some problems with the Word of Wisdom, his older brother doesn't believe in God, and his sister just barely got reactivated into the church. His dad passed away a while ago it seems like. So I respect him a lot for being out here and he's a really hard working and motivated missionary. We're ready to work hard and we even found him a cool nickname in Q'eqchi' which is "laj sak'a" which means "the hard worker". I feel good about being a "dad" and it's fun to train someone in Q'eqchi'. It's kind of hard because it just doesn't occur to me that sometimes my companion has no idea what's going on at all. But it will be good and I'm really excited for this opportunity. 

Elder Norton and Elder Salazar

I also met today an Elder Hansen from Sandy, Utah. I found out that he went to the same high school as Mark Johnson (home of the Beat Diggers) and that he was probably in the same seminary class as him. He doesn't exactly remember, just the name, but he says that it sounds familiar. I think Mark's sister is two years younger than him so he might know Mark's sister. So that was just an interesting little thing that happened.

My district for these last two changes will be us and then Canlun and Panzos which are probably the hardest 2 areas in Polochik right now. Canlun is just starting to pick up a little bit in terms of assistance and everything. Panzos has about 14 active members and they are having a lot of problems right now. So it's my job to oversee things a little bit and work with the elders to help the areas out. We have a really great district and I'm mostly just really super excited to be with Elder Dilworth in the same district. Even though we both entered the Polochik together, we haven't ever been in the same district and have never really had hardly any time at all to hang out and talk together. But in spite of that we're really good friends. We just have a bond I guess you could call it from both being born in the Polochik. So I'm excited to hang out with him more.

Some quick personal stuff:

Mom-I'm super jealous for Memorial Day! It's actually the time of the year that I miss you guys most just for the traditions that we've always had as a family. Especially Celebration at the Station. I really love that event and I'm glad that this will be the last time that I miss it. But tradtitions make everything funner. It's really weird that the kids are finishing this schoolyear already. You know what that means...anyways that's exciting about the temple. I am fine with going to the temple when I get back.  I think that would be awesome! I'm not sure if I'll have to renew my temple recomend right when I get home or a little bit after but I can get that taken care of. I plan on going to the temple very often during the time that I'm home. I will need it to keep the same spirituality with me until I can get up to BYU. I also want to do some family history work while I'm there too. So set that up for me will you! :) Love you tons mom, thanks for everything.

Dad- thanks dad it was great talking to you too. I'm excited to hang out with you again. haha it was really funny what you said about Grandpa Jack wanting to write a book. Sounds kind of like me in a lot of ways haha. Sounds like the red hair wasn't the only thing I got from him. I want to learn moe about him and about his life. Does he have more journal entries and stuff that I can read when I get back? Anyways yeah please look up a creative writing class for me will you? I really think it could be a possibility. But then what would I major in? English? Linguistics? There's still time to figure all that stuff out. I guess really you don't have to have a degree to write books. You just have to do it and write stories interesting enough to sell. Anwyays we'll see. Who knows. Yeah don't worry dad, it's pretty much inevitable. I just have to use them for all of the right reasons and not let myself get attached to them in anyway. But I'm honestly excited for the new technology. It will be handy for classes and everything. That'll be a pretty big change in calling for you I guess huh? Maybe you'll work with the young men? Or knowing you, you'll probably get called to be in the stake presidency. Who do you think will be the new seminary teacher? Is Sister Hirschi going to still be teaching/ helping out? Well let me know. Love you tons dad, thanks for all you do for me.

Well guys not too much else to say for now. I don't think there's anything that I forgot to say. I'm excited for the new chapter in life that I'll be starting. Keep strong in the faith and low on the baggy! Love you all tons!

Elder Norton

Monday, May 7, 2012

Phone Call This Week!

Elder Norton with his birthday package!  He turns 21 on May 10th.

Hey guys!!

Wow, sounds like an awesome weekend. (This weekend was the Kansas City Temple Cultural Celebration and Dedication.) I thought a lot about you guys and wanted to be there with you. But I'm sure that it was an awesome experience and we'll all be able to go when I get back. Good job to Kinzie and Jack for representing our stake! I wasn't able to watch the video but I saw the photos so that's awesome. Good job and enjoy the temple these next 3 months.

First of all before I forget, thanks for the package!!! I got it this past week and have already started to enjoy the nillas, the nutella, the Swedish fish and Sour Patch Watermelons. (And of course the cake, the toothbrush, and the Nike Elite socks- thanks Jack :)  So thanks guys. You are the best. Oh and LOVE the tie haha. It's super great.

Other important info for this week: we got changes last night and E. Escorcia has a change which means I'll be getting a new comp. I won't be training though so it looks like I'll never have a "kid" in the mission. But I'm hoping that I can train someone at least in the Chik. Elder Ware got a change to Coban which is going to be super sad. He's the only Elder that got changed out of the chik. So that means that one new person will be entering into the Chik and I guess it's possible that the new person could come with me. But whatever the case the odds are looking like I'll probably be getting another Latino elder. I was kind of hoping for a Gringo because I feel like I'd be able to help him more to learn Q'eqchi', but I'd be ok with a Latino too. Whatever happens it will be good.

This past week was a pretty good week. We found a new family that accepted a baptismal date the first appointment which was cool. We came back the next day and taught again and they said they were going to come to church the next day. They didn't end up coming and we think it's because the pastor from the church below his house (who happens to be our branch president's brother) went and talked him out of it...so that was kind of lame. But we're going to go back this week and see if we can't get them back on track. We've also got Reina who is a 9 year old daughter of less active parents. They have been coming to church recently with all of their kids so they are doing well and Reina is on track to get baptized the 19th of May. Juana, our other investigator who hasn't gotten baptized because she and her husband haven't gotten married. We're still reading the Book of Mormon with them but it's still hard to get her husband to want to get married. We also found another new family of a man who's been sick for a few weeks and all of the churches in the entire village are going to his house and praying and trying to get him to come to their church. So we're seeing if we can help out and teach his family the Gospel.

Alright well I won't say too much else because we'll be talking on the phone soon anyways :) I'm actually not exactly sure how things are going to work out for the phone call...we actually don't currently have a phone...haha. But we'll either borrow a phone from other missionaries or from a member or someone here in Saqsuha. It's pretty certain that I'll be calling Sunday. I think what I'll end up doing is calling you guys to set things up on Wednesday since I'll be in Teleman with the ZLs waiting for my new companion. So we'll plan on that. I'll call Wednesday to set things up and then I'll plan on having you call me on Sunday. So make sure you get your phone card or whatever figured out so we can talk!!! Hopefully the service and everything will be good.

Well, thanks for the emails and for your thoughts and comments. Love you all tons and I appreciate all you do. Can't wait to talk to you all soon!!!!!!!!!

Elder Norton

Monday, April 30, 2012

Oxib' Po Chik


Last Saturday I hit 21 months of being in my mission. It's hard sometimes because I can see the end coming. Sometimes I get discrouaged because I feel like I haven't changed as much as I need to and I don't have very much time left to be able to do it. But I know that the mission is just the beginning of a lifetime's worth of changes. The mission in the MTC of life, right? So I've still got a long ways to go. But at the same time I feel sometimes like my weaknesses are still pretty weak. I was hoping that my weaknesses would become strength, but right now it pretty much feels the same. Change is hard! But I'm not giving up. That's what the gospel is all about. Everyone has to change and be born again. For some of us it takes a lot of falling down and getting back up and falling down again to make the change. But the point of the Gospel is that you can get back up and you can keep going. The difference between those who make it to heaven and those who don't is that the ones that make it to heaven get back up when they fall and keep going. The ones who don't make it are the ones that fall down, accept the fall as their destiny and then allow themselves to keep falling without trying to stop. Like when I fell in the river. I took a bad step that led me to fall and be sucked into a tube and shot out the other side. When I came to and realized what had happened I knew that I had fallen and felt the pain of falling, but I didn't say "Well, I guess I might as well keep going down the river since I've already fallen."  I held on and sat still waiting for the help I needed and calling out to be rescued. If I had just let myselft keep going I would have fallen down a waterfall to my death. What I'm getting at is that that is the miracle of the Gospel and of Christ's love. No matter how many times we fall into the river, if we hold on and call out for help, Jesus Christ always comes to pull us out. That's why He's the Savior. So I'm not giving up even when I've fallen so many times in the same river. At the same time, you can't just jump in the river and say "Well, I know He'll save me". That's like driving your car off a cliff saying "Well, I know there's a hospital and doctors that can save my life if I do this!"  It's just life. It's hard but we just have to not give up, seek the help we need from those that can help us, and keep moving on. The hardest part is that there are times in life where we have to cross the river and we do take a bad step and get sucked in. But I love the words from the hymn "How Firm a Foundation" in Spanish. I'm not sure if they are the same in English. They say:

Y cuando torrentes tengáis que pasar, (and when you have to pass over the rapids)
los ríos del mal no os pueden turbar, (the rivers of evil cannot disturb you)
pues yo las tormentas podré aplacar, (because I will be able to calm the storms)
salvando mis santos, salvando mis santos, (saving my saints, saving my saints)
salvando mis santos de todo pesar (saving my saints from all sorrow)

Well, I guess I kind of poured out my soul a little bit there but that's what I felt to write. Hopefully it can help some of you as much as it helps me.

Alright well my times almost up. Here's some quick shoutouts

Kinzie- GREAT JOB!! On your ACT score! Wow that's awesome! Looks like you will break the family record!! Really good job sissy I am proud of you :) Now that we all know you are intelligent you have to keep up on your studies and homework. Being intelligent doesn't mean you don't need to study or do your homework. Intelligent people are SMART when they do their studies and their work. Work hard and you'll be at BYU soon enough with me! :) Love you!

Jack- GREAT JOB!! too with your ACT score! That's a great score for only being in 7th grade! Wow. You have to work really hard and you'll be a star athelete at BYU! Keep it up buddy. See you in a few months! :)

Dad- hey dad sorry about the money shortage again...I'm trying to be more financially responsable but because of some activities that I ended up having to pay for and stuff and because I still haven't been reimbursed for some things here in the mission I'm completely out of money. Thanks a lot though dad. I promise that after my mission I won't be such a money sucker. I'm going to work and work HARD for myself and my family. I promise. To answer your question they are going to tell us changes this Sunday. So next week I'll let you guys know if I have a change or not. I'll also know by next Monday if I am going to train or anything like that. Thanks for the bball update. Too bad about Derek Rose. I kind of wanted them to win. Anyways, thanks for your prayers dad. Please keep praying for me. I am going through a rough patch as I come close to finishing the mission. It's a hard thing to do! Well, Love you tons dad. You're awesome. Talk to you soon!

Mom- thanks for the pictures! :) What a beautiful temple. Can't wait to go there with you guys!!! Thanks for the package :) I should be getting it maybe this week since the zone leaders just went down to the capital this week for concilio. Don't worry I'm not looking for anything too special, I'm just excited to talk to you guys on the phone. I'll let you all know next Monday exactly when and what time but it will be NEXT WEEK!! It will most likely be either Thursday or it will be Sunday. So I'll let you know next Monday the deets. I'm so Happy! (King Cuzco) haha wow that IS baggy mom. That makes ME really baggy! WEIRD! Alright love you!

Alright folks well, oxib' po chik (three months more.) (if you are like me you are probably singing the song "One Day More" from Les Miserables in your head with the words "Three months more!" haha :) ) Love you all tons and I'll talk to you all next week!

Elder Norton