"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, 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