Tuesday, September 24, 2013

1st Week in the Mission Field....ROUGH

I Love how brutally honest he is in his email...hope things go better soon

Wow, no puedo creer que esté in méxico!!! wait, sorry. I said that I cant believe that I am in mexico!!!!!!!!! Im sorry, Im definitely still in spanish mode. I might accidentally use a couple of spanish words, but Im not going to try to go back and fix them because all of the keyboards here are spanish. There are NO apostrophes and the shift key is way small. But anyways, this week has been brutal! Im not going to lie to you guys, I have had a really hard time this week. The first day was crazy, especially in the airport. The mission home that we stayed at wasnt what I was expecting. It was really compact, had 5 floors, and had graffiti all over and around it. It was good to meet my President, Morales, but its weird not being able to speak in english. The first day was a lot like the first day of a sports tryout, or practice. My mind was fresh and I was keeping up with the spanish pretty well, and then the next day happened; the day after the first practice when all your muscles are shot and you can barely keep up. I couldnt really follow much for the next couple days, I would get the first couple words, and then completely drown in the rest of the sentence. For a while, i was really just trying to keep my head above water. 

I have never prayed more than I have this week. I have never been so sad or homesick to see my friends and family in my entire life, but I then would look to the Lord to comfort me. I can truly testify that the Lord will strengthen us, and will help us out of our trials and difficulties if we are willing to put our faith in him. I have already had moments here where I have been so scared by people, I just felt the entire spirit leave me. We have a certain investigator who scares the... nevermind. I dont really like talking about it. I might tell you guys about it someday, but not anytime really soon. It still freaks me out. but the first day was really hard. My companion, Elder Lugo, is from Tijuana, and he speaks spanish CRAZY FAST! For the first couple of days I couldnt really pick up anything of what he was saying, but I am starting to understand more. We went around to different people in the ward so I could meet people for the first day, and we gave lots of little mensajitos, como un small lesson. There are soooooooooo many menos activos in the ward its nuts. We have 40 less actives in our area, and there are 3 areas in our ward. And those 40 arent people, theyre families. We only have 1 or 2 investigators, and I havent met one of them. Michele is 14, and I feel I have really grown close to him since Ive got here. Elder Lugo is big into teaching lessons, but I have talked to michele at ward parties and stuff (yes, we have already had 2 fiestas, one of which, we were all wearing soccer jerseys over our shirts and ties with our ties out overtop of the jerseys, and we were singing "hero" by Enrique iglesias in both spanish and english at the pulpit in front of almost the entire ward, I definitely recorded it, and will show it to you guys some day) But anyways, michele is really worried about stuff, and I really think we need to stop worrying about lessons as much, and just really focus on the needs of the people here. The other weird thing... WE DO NOT TRACT!!!!!!!!!!! We are NOT ALLOWED to tract, only recieve referrals. It really kinda bugs me because I will want to talk to someone on the street, but I dont quite know enough spanish to just go up and talk, and my companion wont do it. It has been kinda hard.

The food. Ahhhh, yes. The food. 3 words: NOT MY FRIEND. Lets just say that my body wasnt designed for spice. However, we haved talked to the members, and they dont cook anything really spicy anymore, and I am slowly trying to build up to where I can eat all of the food, even if it is spicy. The other thing, we eat a HUGE 3 course meal everytime we go to the members homes. I literally am shoving down as much food as I can physically take, and then they bring out dessert. I have been having some stomach problems because we only eat at 6:30, 2, and then at 9:30. But Im surviving. You guys dont even know! Im going to come back from Mexico INDESTRUCTIBLE! I''ve had a pretty rough time so far, but it will be better! Oh, guess what?!?!? The first thing they told us when we got here "do not eat the street tacos" what did I do on the 3rd day? Ate a street taco... It didn't bug me, but I don't think that they are all that amazing. so I probably won't eat that much, even if the other elders give me A LOT OF CRAP. 

We have hot water, which is nice, but we ran out of toilet paper on wednesday. PROBLEM! Mainly because thursday, we were eating lots of spicy food. Instead of a roll of toilet paper in our bathroom, we have a spiral bound notebook. yes. I think you can imagine the rest. We really need to go shopping today, both for food, and for cleaning supplies.

we have lots of incredible people in our ward, and I really think I needed to make it to sunday so that I could get out of my own head and start to really love the people. Im not a 100 percent comfortable with the language, so almost every other person asks me why im so serious all the time. Can you believe that?!?!?! ME!? SERIOUS!? So Ive decided to just dive into the deep end and act how I normally am, and if I happen to construct a response that happens to be incorrect due to my understanding, I will learn. But I realized, that if you are just going through the motions, you are developing, but you arent developing you, you are developing some person that really just makes you lame and you wont have success. Today is my first day trying it out, and so far, not too bad. It will get better.

Ok, now for the fun interesting stuff. We went to do service for Hermana Valencia. Her daughter and grandson live with her. The little boys name is "Angel". we were working out on the roof, fixing her clothes lines (they dont have dryers) and we were using nasty rusty nails and trying to hammer them into this cement building. OH, huge fact #1, this place is like build a block workshop. All these houses just have reebar sticking out, and if they want an addition, they go by the cement mix, and get to work. Its funny because we are going into houses that are literally concrete shacks with waves sheet tin for rooves, and they have an ENORMOUS stereos system, like 7500 watts (Thats huge!) and then an enormous 60" flat screen, brand new tv. I laugh each time I see it. But anyways, Angel. He's a little monster. His grandma gave him a little hammer to play with, and he was hitting everything (it was an actual metal hammer, but it was small). Finally, I was standing there holding a line while Lugo finished up, and I feel a little bit of pressure on my leg. I look down. Angel (4 years old) has got his hammer cocked clear back, and he is pressing a 3" long, rusty corroded nail lightly up against my thigh!!!!!!!!!!!! You can imagine how I responded. "ANGEL! No me pega!" Then he called me a word that he shouldnt have known. No body freak out. Im still fine. For now haha

Next cool thing. Tiangis! These things are like swap meets, only BETTER! they cut off an entire street, and they sell everything. They sell legitimate nice clothing, watches, shoes, bags, videos, EVERTHING, and it is dirt cheap! Everything is between 100 to 500 pesos. My companion has a calvin klein watch, and he bought it for 150 pesos (12 dollars). It is soo cool. I took 200 pesos today, but I didnt find anything I really wanted. But it was still really cool to be there. we go every pday. I was going to take a picture, but then I realized I didnt want to get robbed or stabbed, so I didnt. I might take a picture some day.

I have heard lots of music, most of which I cannot completely understand, but that doesnt matter. I can finally hear some music occasionally, and I LOVE IT! Its funny, cause all the spanish companions brought ipods with a buttload of american music, like songs they shouldnt have, and they will blast it, and sing along, but have no idea what they are saying!!!! haha Its funny, cause they refuse to listen to us because we are gringos :)

I pray everyday with more effort and pleading than I ever have before, and I know that the Lord is watching out for me, no matter how many problems I have have. I found one or my new FAVORITE SCRIPTURES! 2 NEFI 1:23! one word, "ARISE". I definitely use that scripture to help push me through the day. Sometimes, especially this week, I have had lots of moments where I have almost cried. And I have thought about all of you guys more than you could possibly imagine. Everyday I think about you guys, each and every one of you who is going to read this, and I just get more drive to go out there and change the lives. Sometimes life is hard, but, MOM, I want to say thank you, I had never really noticed your quote you wrote for me on the sticky note. It tells me "you can do hard things" I look at it every morning. And the pictures of you guys are all above my bed, along with the quotes I have, and a picture of the stripling warriors.  

If you guys are reading this, I TRULY DO THINK ABOUT YOU EACH AND EVERYDAY, and I hope you guys know that I LOVE YOU ALL SOOOO DEARLY, AND HOPE YOU ARE ALL DOING WELL. I appreciate the prayers, and I hope you know I receive great comfort from them. This truly is and incredible work, but at the same time, it is work. we have work for the things that are truly worth it, but I know that as we strive to push ourselves, and stay in that growth zone, we will be able to stand before God someday, and tell him that we truly did our best. 

I LOVE YOU ALL again, and look forward to getting your emails every week. I apologize if I dont respond to all of your emails, but I dont have much time. please dont stop writing them. I love to read them. HAVE AN INCREDIFANTASTICAMAZING WEEK. (hope you could read that :))

Love, Elder Nathan Norr :)

Oh one more thing we taught this lady who is deaf, and speaks spanish sign language. Yes, there is spanish sign language too. i was asked to offer the opening prayer for our lesson, and I have the overwhelming prompt to bless her that she would again receive her hearing. I neglected to respond to that prompting, and did not pray for it. I wont avoid a prompting like that again. We receive promptings for a reason. Please dont ignore them. If we ignore them, we are possibly missing out on the opportunity to bless others, or ourselves. THIS CHURCH IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Hope you like my socks mom

Friday, September 13, 2013

Week 6 MTC-Last Week

This week has been a good last week! Last saturday it POURED on us!!!!!!!! I went out for less than a minute, and I was so soaked that my hair looked as if i went swimming, and then elder lund and I had to go back and change ALL our clothes, including our garments. We were soaked clear through! So that was awesome, but then since we are on the bottom of campus, all the bark chips and stuff are now right outside our doors. Then, on sunday, we had an awesome talk from the mtc coordinator Richard I. Heaton on Prayer. He described how someday, when our name tags are no longer worn on our shirts, they will be engraved on our hearts. I hope to be the missionary that it is evident that the name of Jesus Christ is engraved on my heart. And then he explained that we can better our prayers and make them more sincere to help us build a stronger relationship with God. My prayers have really changed since I have been here, and i find that i am truly pleading with God for the assistance that I need, whether for the lesson we are teaching, or for the entire next day.
Tuesday we also had an INCREDIBLE talk, but this time, it was a general seventy member, Elder James B. Martino, and I got to sit in the FRONT ROW and SHAKE HIS HAND. Haven't washed it since tuesday... totally kidding, that would be weird... One of the best things he said was that "our attitude dictates our altitude in this life" and that really opened my eyes. Too many people force themselves to live on the bottom because they refuse to have expectations that will allow them to truly grow and become successful. i hope that all of us can have an attitude that allows us to reach celestial altitude. I know that we really will be bless for keeping a positive attitude, and we will be able to help life those around us as well.
we are getting really close as a district, and I can't believe sometimes that we are going to leave them. If feels like we have known them forever! i love them all to death, and i can't believe how much fun we have. This week we have 3 feet long PVC pipes and a huge box of nerf darts, and you can do some pretty serious shooting. Also, we play soccer each week, and things get pretty physical, but it's so much fun because everyone is normal, and we can just enjoy the time we have at the MTC. They truly help me grow in testimony, and i have had the incredible opportunity to be in on all the blessings they've gotten in the last couple weeks. We learned that it is always best to have someone write down blessings as we get them; that way, we can have them later to remember them in times of need.
Ok, so I have been STARVED from music for the last 6 weeks, and then it happened!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One song. During computer lab time. Blew my mind.  Brighter by Jessie Osmond. I was JAMMIN' for all of 2.5 minutes of it. Our district refuses to stop talking about it. It was played on mormonchannel.org. I can't wait to get out to the field where I can listen to it with my companion while gettting ready.
Well, it seems like this just happened yesterday, but i'm packing again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't believe it! I have so much more stuff, but I REFUSE to leave the superman basketball hoop!!!! That thing IS COMING to MEXICO with me! I can't wait to get down there and start helping the people out! I can't wait to teach a lesson in some hut and be able to feel the spirit! I love you all, and I don't really have anything else to say, but I will have more stuff next week! I love you all, and I will send you the pictures mom and dad! I will give you guys a call at 6:30 Utah time, and I will probably call again when we hit phoenix. I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH! This church is true, and I can't believe that I am actually serving the Lord right now! I know that through faith, we can call upon the power of God and receive the strength we need to overcome whatever obstacle that may be ahead of us! again, I LOVE YOU GUYS MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE RIGHT NOW!
My next email will be from MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Elder Nathan Norr :)
These are from the sister's cameras. The one with all of us in red white and blue was 9/11! and All the sisters say hi and that they love you guys!

 This is the "snapchat" face, and then Red, White, and blue day!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 5 MTC

This week from the MTC prison grounds! We were threatened to be thrown in the hot box without our scripture or food for 3 days if we spoke english! Not really, but it almost feels like that sometimes. We had a sister in our district for the last couple weeks, Sister Reyes, and she was ALWAYS FREEZING, so she would put the air on 4+ and I about sweat my clothes off. I was right underneath the vent, so i was always super hot, and the air coming out of the vents was pretty warm too :) haha We had some great devotionals this week! First, we had the President of the las vegas mission talk to us about the Philipino MTC and then on Tuesday we had a devotional about Elder Evans of the Seventy. He gave a good talk in which he described, " the most important part of missionary work, is work" and if we are willing to work as hard as we can, we can "know that the lord is laboring with us". Kyle, You were definitely right. There are people who don't want to work, and it is SO annoying when people just dink around and don't want to do work.
This week has been pretty chill week, but at the same time, it has been really good. Going to the Mexican Consolate in Vegas was weird! It was the weirdest thing. It really was like that return home from my mission feeling, but at the same time, i was just going to be there for like 5 hours. Oh, btw, not a fan of flying! Got a little sick both ways, and by the time I got back up here, I was just ready to pass out. I didn't realize how crazy it is to wear my tag out in public until I hit the SLC airport! EVERYONE says hi, asks where we're going, and then pulls out their phone and offers to let you call your family. I apologize for not calling anyone, but i just felt like it wasn't the right time. I get to call you guys on the 16th though! I'll make sure I try to get of hold of you guys! I'm not sure how many calls I can have, so we might have to do a group call, if that's possible?
Yes, I did get to see Bro. Stuart and it was so great to see a familiar face. I also love it when you guys send me pictures, whether it be through an email, the mail, or they are printed onto the letters you send me. I love getting to see your shining faces. Plus, I get to show my district that I am related/know some good looking people.
The new district is just gettin better. They are so chill, and lots of fun. i feel like every time any of us run into each other, there's some form of hit, punch, slap, pop, wink, laugh, or some other random funny thing. There are a couple people who I struggle with sometimes, but i just try to remember that they are here to serve a mission, and that means that they deserve my love and respect. Not going to lie to you guys though, it's pretty hard sometimes; especially with the people like kyle mentioned.
I got a robe this week! Yep, bath robe! Our districts found them in the free bin like 3 months ago, and now they get passed down through the "generations" of districts. I got a black plush one that feels just like my blue blanket at home! It's pretty sweet, I always feel like that weird steward guy off of the last Lord of the Rings movie when i where it.
We had a lesson with native speakers! It was sooooooo cool to get to finally hear someone who could just ramble a billion miles an hour when they respond to us or ask us a question. I truly am a believer of the gift of tongues! Sometimes I don't even really think about what I'm saying. The words are just coming at 1000 words per minute and, by the looks of the investigators faces, it actually makes sense sometimes! Sometimes, the spirit is so strong, it's almost like a tangible thing that you could reach out and touch.
Kim and Ez, loved the package! The first thing my roommates said when I opened it was "we need to take that to the field tomorrow!" and thank you for the BYU shirt too! I've kinda been needing another shirt to wear on p-day or free time. Also, Nat, I love getting the letters you type and getting pictures of the little demon munchkins. Nic! I got your letter today, and I always almost cried when you told me that Rigden kisses my picture every night and every time he sees a missionary he thinks it's me! I love getting letters and packages from you guys. As of right now, I don't really know anything that I want or need, but I just like getting letters during the week, even if it's a dearelder that says "hey, we love you". It makes me feel so good to hear from you guys, and i truly hope that I can be the missionary that you guys have always taught me to be.
Last thing, and definitely the funniest! Our buddy, Elder Knighton (the one with the kinda red spiked hair has been sick FOREVER! I swear he was going to keel over half the time during class. So the doctor gave him some "special cough medicine", but little did he know, Elder Knighton is VERY SENSITIVE to medication, and the cough suppressant turned into a narcotic! I walk in the room (an he only took a half dose that night) and he was practically asleep, with eyes half open leaning against the wall, I shut off the hall light, and while I'm walking back to my room, I hear "elder norr, elder norr, elder norr, elder norr, elder norr" in a totally monotone, kinda excited way. I walk in and his arms are fully extended above his head. "look at my hand" he say, I look at his hand and it is making the love symbol. "That's for you bro! I hope you know I love you elder norr!". Then I said goodnight. Last night however, he took a double dose!!!!!!!!!! I walk in, and I could tell he was doped out of his mind! He tells me that he has a hilarious scripture to tell me from Alma! He reads it and busts out hysterically! I knew what could happen and I just got really excited about it and said "hey man, that's what we're all about" This then develops into him jumping up on top of his bed (standing) saying,"i am king mosiah...wait, nevermind, I am alma the younger. he then goes into a sermon about missionary work. I'll send you guys the video. We then later walk in. And he is just GOING TO TOWN in his journal! We ask him what he's doing. he responds,"I am Alma. I must write the story of my people on large plates." this is then followed by the question from us "who are your people". He responds,"well, of course, you are my people! You are the fruit of my loins"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We all about pass out from crying and leave him to sleep off his "medication". The weirdest thing: he remembers nothing! we are a little worried about him, and are going to monitor his "medication" use tonight!
I hope you are all doing well, and I hope you know that I love you guys with ALL my heart and soul. this church is such an incredible church, and i know that there are people out there in the world that have been specifically prepared for us. We must be worthy to receive the guidance to help them! Love you all once again, and i know you guys are all doing great!
Elder Nathan Norr
This is my Vegas trip and the temple trip!

 the elder asleep is biggs

the guy with me with the dark hair is Mcwhorter
 The older gentleman is my branch president

 This is our district! Apparently I wasn't looking, but here they are anyway! 
 And before my first haircut here!
 The Lord of the Rings Robe

So this is what I think is a really cool story that I want to share so that Nate will remember as well. I think every one has at least heard of how missionaries exchanges ties both in the MTC and the mission field. Well the morning Nate was going into the MTC Kim was getting Luke ready and Ezra took Nate back into their room she wondered what was taking them so long and went to go see. Ezra had taken Nate into the closet and told him to pick any tie he wanted as kinda a reminder of home. Nate was hesitant and asked what if he picked Ez's favorite tie. Ez told him it didn't matter he could have any one he wanted. Nate ended up picking this purple stripped one in the picture above and below(which was one of Ez's favorites). When the missionaries started exchanging ties I guess lots of them wanted the tie Nate had taken from Ez and he refuses to trade it for any other tie. I thought it was a sweet thought Ez would do that.