"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, January 17, 2012

Faith Brings Miracles!

Dear family,

I hope to be able to write all that I want today because I have a LOT to write about. So here goes.

This week was a week of faith and a week of great miracles here in Salama. At the concilio last Tuesday I felt that the focus of the whole conference was faith. A few elders and President Watts talked a lot about faith and how we need to have a lot of it so that the Lord can work miracles through us here in the mission. I always had thought that I had a decent amount of faith, but I had never really thought about faith in that way. That I really needed to believe in the Lord, that he could literally work miracles according to our faith here in Salama. Anyways, I came back to Salama thinking a lot about faith. Faith to repent, faith to work as hard as you can, and faith to wait for the blessings of the Lord to come. My companion, Elder Lemus, and I set goals for who we wanted to bring to church and who we were going to work with to have a baptismal date. We filled up a whole whiteboard making goals and plans for who we were going to work with and what to do to help them. After doing that we prayed and asked the Lord to give us faith in Christ so that through His help we could achieve the goals that we had set. After that, we set out to work. We went to the local municipal building in Salama to get the facts straight about marrying Danilo and Reina. They told us that we just need his license, birth certificate, and a certificate saying that he's not already married, and that from there we would have to publish their marriage in a Central American newspaper, (a cost of Q200) bring that newspaper to the office here in Salama and pay Q20 to get them married. We have faith that they will finally be able to get baptized the 28th of this month. They are really excited and so are we!! Please pray for them a lot. Especially pray for Danilo so that he won't smoke at all in these next couple of weeks so that he can get baptized the 28th with his wife. Anyways, we visited Familia Polanco every day this week since we got back from Guate and we visited them with 3 different members to make them feel welcome and loved in the branch. Saturday we went to their house and washed dishes for them and helped them to clean and do their chores so that there wouldn't be anything keeping them from going Sunday. We started a fast Saturday after lunch for our investigators so that the Lord would bless them to be able to come to church.

Sunday morning came and we got up, got ready, called Familia Polanco to make sure they didn't sleep in, and then went to go wake up Danilo and Reina and take them with us to church. Danilo didn't end up going because he said he had to work. (We think he's worried about the money to publish his marriage in the newspaper since they have pretty much no money at all. We  told them to give us their best and we'd take care of the rest. Little do they know that I we would happily pay the fee if they didn't have enough money.) We got to church and it was a normal, same as always sacrament meeting. The only difference was that there was a change in the branch presidency. Other than that it was just another regular Sunday. We got there right around 8:45 and it  was already pretty full in our small chapel. By 9 when we started there weren't even any seats left. Then Familia Polanco came at about 9:10 and they brought around 4 friends with them. We had to pull out a bunch of seats and put them just outside of the chapel in the little hallway. Elder Lemus and I didn't hardly hear any of the talks that were given because so many people came that we had to keep pulling out new chairs, looking for room to put another row of chairs and help people get to their seats. 180 people came to church yesterday. 16 of them were investigators just from our side of the area. We had one brother come from a place called "La Cumbre" which is above Salama looking down into the valley, about 30 minutes by bus. I taught him once during my first change here with Elder Contreras. We didn't really think he seemed interested and he lived pretty far away so we only came back once and only found his wife to teach. He came yesterday saying that he had tried to come once before but had gotten lost. He stayed with us for all 3 hours and said that next week he is going to bring his wife and kids. We had another lady that came from another village even further than "La Cumbre" and it's about 45 minutes away by bus. I saw her at the beginning and talked to her but didn't think that she was an investigator, but at the end, she came up to me and said "Excuse me, I've been investigating the church for a year now and I've decided today that I want to get baptized. Could you come visit me this week?" I told her YES. We had old investigators that came to church as well that hadn't come for a while. Elder Lemus and I felt kind of like Peter when the Lord told him to cast his net over the right side of the boat. We could hardly handle all of the investigators that came. It was a miracle. 

So, the 28th of January we are on track to  baptize 9 people, and possibly 10 with the lady who told us she wants to get baptized. Please keep all of them in your prayers. Danilo and Reina, Roselia and her kids: Gloria, Wendy, Evelyn, Gabriel; Erik and his wife Rosy; Bonifacio and his wife; and Marta. Next week we have the faith that the Lord will bless us with even more people there if we work hard and do our part. I know that God is a God of miracles. He loves His children and wants to bless them. I've been studying a lot from the Book of Mormon this week for a talk that I'm giving Wednesday for a zone conference we are going to have here. I've been studying about walking by the light of faith and about rending the "dark veil of unbelief" that is talked about in few places in the Book of Mormon. I feel like the brother of Jared who began to see the hand of the Lord giving His light to him. I am beginning to literally see the hand of the Lord in His work here in Salama. Like the brother of Jared, my faith is beginning to be unshakable and is being converted into knowledge, nothing doubting. I love the Lord and His work and I know that He is the source of all miracles in our lives. If we have the faith enough to rend our personal veils of unbelief, we will see the great light of our Redeemer and we will see His hands working for our good here on the earth. I love you all and thank you all for your prayers in my behalf and on behalf of my investigators. Please keep praying for us and I know that the Lord will bless us so that people will flock behind us into the waters of baptism.

Well, my times up for this week, but I love you all tons! I'll reply to some of the personal stuff this week next week! Love you!

Elder Norton

PS- mom, I found spinach here and wanted to know what you usually do to make spinach smoothies? love you!

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