Friday, December 27, 2013

Feliz Navidad

Feliz navidad! Oye, como estamos? 

Welcome to Christmas in Mexico! The weather is balmy 75 and sunny with 3 kings anticipated to make an appearence on the night of the 24th! haha How are you wonderful people doing? This week has been awesome! I can't believe that christmas is already almost over. It is probably the hardest part of the year for me, but I will also be sad when it is over just because I Love christmas so much! The people are nicer and more willing to hear our message. This week truly has been a week of miracles! We have been trying so hard to stay busy and spiritual everyday so that, when the moment comes, we are able to help those who have been awaiting the gospel. So to start off.... BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was such an incredible blessing, but, as it was my first baptism, I was SO STRESSED!!! First off, no one came because I had been forgetful in calling the bishop and other members of the ward... :/, but luckily her friends were able to come! it was such a spiritual experience because she has truly been waiting to be baptised for such a long time. She was all smile, but when she went to go under the water, she forgot to plug her nose... SHE COULDN'T HAVE CARED LESS! :) She was all smiles when she came out! Oh, you guys probably want to know who "she" is. She is Naheli! She is 15 and lives with her neighbors because her parents are divorced and work a ton! She has been going to church for like a year, and about a month ago she showed up in our ward and we got to talk to her. She had never been able to get permission from her parents before to let her get baptized, but this last week we talked to her dad (scary looking mexican police officer dude) and after about 10 minutes of talking to him and explaining the importance of baptism, he finally said ok!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!! So we got her baptized on tuesday, but schaap had to take the pictures because my camera died....

Ok, so this story is awesome! We had contacted 2 people on friday night and we needed to contact 3 before we went home. I looked at chico and told him that we really need to talk to one more person. I look up and there is a mom, daughter, and dog. I look and chico and said "I follow you". We stopped them for a second and asked if we could take a few minutes to talk. They said yeah, but first they had to put their dog back in the house. We walked down a couple houses, and they entered the house. I really wasn't sure if they were going to come back out, but THEY DID! The mom was so kind and we started talking to her about the Family and how we really can be forever through the Help of our savior jesus christ. She loved the idea of being together forever. We also talked about the pre-existance and asked her what she expected from god in this life. She responded very simply with a smile and the word "love". I then told her that she already had that. She then told me "I want more and more and more". Elder Chico then bore his testimony about how our church has the steps to help us get ever more love from god. It was such an incredible moment, and I almost started to cry as I watch my 2 week old companion testifying of the absolute truth of this gospel. Before we left, the sister was calling us her sons and told us that we are welcome in her house whenever we want. We can't start teaching her yet though because she goes to tiangiis to sell everyday until the first week in January, but it's goin happen! 

We had the ward christmas party!!!!!!!! All I can say is that mexicans know how to throw a party! (hope that didn't sound racist or weird) It started at 5 with some hymns and a small message from our "obispo" (bishop), and then there was a skit. We then set up the tables in the chapel and everyone got seated as the missionaries served dinner. It was incredible how many people were so impatient to get their food. After everyone had eaten and we had put the tables away I just thought there might be some games or everyone would just go home... NOPE! One word: SALSA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I'm not talking about the delicious spicy condiment haha I am talking about the dance. They pulled out a big ol' speaker and cranked it! IT. WAS. SWEET! Even though we couldn't dance, everyone else was just going crazy! And what was really cool is that they were all so different in their style and how they danced. It was like they were literally water. It was so cool to watch and I got to record a couple of songs. It was really hard for my companion Elder Chico because to earn all of his money for the mission, he was a salsa and cumbia teacher. He sat there criticing everyone's dancing and how it could be better. It was so much fun! And all the people wanted to take pictures with the missionaries! The part that made my night was that it was 10 o'clock and the second counselor stands up at the pulpit " I would like to thank all of you for coming to night to enjoy this ward activity, and I would also like to.... (I lost it at that point) and then he says "Also, I need to tell you that the party is going to end.... I don't know when, but it will probably end sometimes!!!!!!!!!!!" and everyone starting cheering and dancing some more :) haha I am pretty sure they didn't go home til like 12. We have our christmas tree up in our living room! We didn't have ornaments, but we decorated with lights and put ties around it like tinsel. I sit by it every night with the lights off and just look at it for a minute. I just love chirstmast! Also, the 12 days of christmas are AWESOME! My companion loves it cause he gets story time every night :) haha  but I am truly so grateful to have the family that I do! I am so excited to talk to them on christmas! Yes mom, i did get the package! I about cried when i read "green eggs and ham"! I am so blessed to have people like you guys (all you guys) who care about me and give me so much support! I love you all and wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! 

I truly know that this gospel is true. It will change and affect our lives in ways that we sometimes never notice or imagine. I truly love the christmas season because it is allows us to truly remember our savior and the many incredible things he has done for us. I truly testify of the atonement. It is the door that will lead us to happiness not only in this life, but the one to come! I truly know that christ is my savior and that he lives. I know that I am here in mexico for a reason and I truly bear witness that God watches over and loves each and every one of us. I love you all and wish you the best in this holiday season! FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Love Elder Norr :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Greetings from the hardest week of my life!

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This week has been the most stressful, frustrating, irritatings, spiritual, helpful, trying, loving, helping, bipolar, free, ñalskdfjañsdlkj week of my entire life!!!!!!!! Training is so stressful! I have never had to have such a large responsibility in my entire life! I had moments like "ok, I can do this!" and I have also had moments of "I will never be good enough or adequate to train a missionary of the lord", but the message that I will have in this email is that God truly does know, love, care, and help all of us. 

Ok, so you guys probably want to know about my son, Elder Chico! I find it funny because I always called madi "chica" and so I find that a lot of the time, I just say "hey, chico, vamos" :) haha but he truly is an incredible missionary! he is almost 19, and he is from leon, Mexico. He is really organized, he wants to work hard, and he is clean. LOVE HIM! He already teaches pretty well, and all he needs is more time, but he is truly an awesome missionary, and I know that the Lord was truly watching out for me when he told President Morales to put him as my son. Before his mission, he taught latin dance classes to save money, so we dance quite frequently (not together, that would be... weird). he loves my music, and he is really chill.

Firstly, I was tell you guys a little bit about my week: PRAYER! That's it! We prayed and went to work. This is the first week that we have been permitted, and encouraged to contact people on the street, and to knock on doors, but it also needs to be as directed by the spirit. We talked to quite a few people, and most of them turned us down, but for some reason, I just felt so good to contact them and to tell them things about the gospel and love of god that they probably didn't know about before. I will share 2 experiences. My companion and I have 3 words (no, maybe, and yes) if one of us is (or might be) feeling a contact, they look at the other and say a word. The other elder then responds with a word as well. We contacted a family that was walking on the street (mom, dad, 2 daughters) we expressed our message, and to our surprise, they responded "we are actually already taking your lessons" WHAT?! I respond "what are the elders names?" They respond "I don't know, but they are..... JEHOVA'S WITNESSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" We kindly explained that we are not the jehova's witnesses and we also explained eternal families, and a little about the pre-existance. They said that we could come by sometime, and we are probably going to call them today to see when we can visit. The other, we walk by 2 women taht are just sitting talking in the street. Elder Chico doesn't really even look at me, but he says "yes" and just walks up to them. He introduces us and goes into a family topic and the comfort of truly having a plan from god in our lives. The woman gave us a couple of different answers to questions and we could see in her eyes that she wasn't happy, and that she was probably having family troubles. She said we could come visit her on tuesday at 7!!!!!!! So excited! Elder Chico and I pray so much to feel what people we should talk to in the street, and we are starting to have success, poco a poco (little by little).

Ok, so another thing. I no longer speak english. It's actually kind of sad. Elder Juarez (nephew) really wants to learn english to be abl to go to BYU, and when he asked me to talk to him in english on Sunday, I COULDN'T.... I was stumbling in my sentence structure, and was speaking about half english with the other half spanish. Also, when I teach Elder Chico spanish, I forget what words are in english... I just find it easier to speak spanish now, even to the white people. I jsut figured "hey, only have 2 years to lose myself in the culture. I can learn english the rest of my life". But I am truly loving the people, the food, and everything that this country has to offer. The only thing I still struggle with a little bit is to try to plan to visit everyone. 

ok, so my mom will have already read this when you all start reading it, and she is probably freaking out, but, I have auschter-slaughter in my left knee. I went in to doctor herrera (head mission-doctor for the country of mexico) and he felt it, and heated it for about half an hour. He then told me i was good. I got down, and told him, that it still hurts when I do a squat and stuff, and I want it to be back to normal. He disappears for a second and comes back with the biggest needle I have ever seen in my entire life! probably almost 2 inches long! I started freaking out cause I thought it was cortazon. He told me to relax and that it would fix not only the auschter-slaughter, but also fix my ligaments and muscles. I still didn't want it, but I truly trust him, especially cause he is in my ward and he is awesome. My companions elder chico had to sit on my foot as my leg was bent and i laid on the bed. The doctor put half of the shot in one side, half in the other, and in the week, my auschter-slaughter will be gone and I will be perfectly healthy again. but I can honestly say it was one of the worst shots of my life, I look and ALL OF THE NEEDLE IS IN MY KNEE!!!!! It felt so weird! Ok, I think that is all almost everything.

WE HAVE A BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After talking to and teaching Naheli for about a month, we talked to her dad and got permission to baptize her... TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited and truly know that we did absolutely nothing, but the Lord truly let us have this opportunity, and for that, I am FOREVER GRATEFUL!

Finally, I can honestly tell you guys that I have never prayed so sincerely, humbly, and frequently in my entire life. I pray probably 10 or more times a day, and then even more times with Elder Chico to help us have unity and the spirit to testify in our lessons. I truly felt completely unqualified this week, and just thought that I was too small for this work. I realize now that I was completely right... But that's the point. I truly testify that God does not put us into positions that we are ready for, but does put us in positions that he knows we are able to fulfill. I will share a very personal experience with you all. So this last thursday, we didn't work because it was The virgin guadelupe day, and we aren't allowed to be out on the streets because there is an ENORMOUS group of people that walk all the streets saying rosaries, and if they see us, well... they don't like us.... But we are all good, and I hope none of you are too worried right now. But we got to chill in the house, I made pancakes, we played boardgames with the district, and just kind of got to hang out for a day. I don't know why, but the realization of inadequecy hit me like a 1000 tons of bricks. I felt aweful. I really just wanted to go somewhere and cry. I just took a nap cause I didn't want to do anything else. I expressed my feelings to elder Chico that night when we planned, and the first thing he did was hug me. I also sat down and opened my scriptures in english. You guys know when a book opens because it has papers or something in that spot? well, that's exactly what happened. I opened to ether 12:27 (which is highlighted in red with a picture) I read it: "I give unto men weaknesses that they may be humble..., but through me, their weaknesses shall be made strong". I got another feeling that made me want to cry and tears started to bead in my eyes. I truly was hit with the even greater realizations that God is watching out for me; he knows that I am struggling, but he also knows that, with his help, I can truly help Elder Chico and fulfill my calling as a trainer.

I have already grown so much after this last week. God truly does know, love, care about, and love each and every one of us. Sometimes we won't recieve an answer as direct as I recieved, but if we pay attention to the details, we will find that the lord's hand is truly working everyday in our lives. I know that this church is true, and I can truly testify that god will prepare and support those that he calls. The power of the scriptures and pray are everything. They truly are a direct connection to god, and to answers and love. 

I love you all, and hope you have an incredible week! The work will move forward! Be a part of it!

Love Elder Nathan Norr

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oye, como están? 4 Months Out

ok, so i don't have much time because it's almost 9:30, and I am actually writing from a members laptop while my companion says goodbye to everyone. We are still together, so no one worry, but Elder Lugo has been here for almost 10 months, and everyone loves him, so we have been running all day! I have a butt-load of stuff to tell all of you guys.

First, mom, the flower poinsetta yes started in Mexico, but here it is called "noche buena" and it was discovered by Taska Guerrera, and it is gorgeous and because it grows here, it is super cheap. For a large bouquet of flowers, it is like 20 pesos, or 2 dollars. We went to visit the familly that has the poinsetta tree in their courtyard and took a couple photos.

Also, because Lugo is leaving, we have been eating with everyone, and so when i checked my weight today, another 2 kilos (5 pounds), but we had teh chance to go to an awesome seafood restaurant with the Bautista Family, and I had a HUGE PLATE of shrimp completely soaked in butter. It was delicious, but as I was eating, I could almost hear my stomach pleading "Why? Why Elder Norr? I don't want to be on the biggest loser after my mission", but nonetheless, I ate it, and it was awesome!

Last night we went to a party, and we ate like 5 times yesterday, and i have never felt soo full in my entire life, but we went to the Gonzales family and ate pasole, and after we had a party to break piñatas and then we sang a bruno mars song. It was soo funny because i broke the piñata, and so the sister went up on the deck and was about to dump it out on all of us. Elder Walker and Elder Lugo were waiting in anticipation for the dilicious goodies that were about to rain down from the heavens. The sister flipped the piñata, and out they fell..... APPLES, ORANGES, and Onions!!!!!! Walker about got knocked out, and Lugo about lost some teeth, but then we all raced to pick up the fruits and vegetables that were scattered about on the ground. 

This week has been kinda hard because lots of people have been busy, and we haven't had a lot of people keep their commitments, and honestly, I feel a genuine sadness for the people that don't let us in, or choose not to keep a commitment because I understand that they are missing out on the blessings of god in their family. I only hope that this week with my son that we will be able to soften their hearts and hlep them understand the blessings that they WILL RECIEVE when they are living the commitments we leave. 

Oh yeah, and lugo and I had to teach a general authority! In front of 2 stakes! My spanish almost completely disappeared, and I have never been so nervous in my entire life! I will tell you more later. 

I got your photos this week, and I would like to say thank you for completely trunking me out with photos of the house, and inside the house! I completely love getting your emails, and I hope you guys know that I truly recieve so much support and motivation from all your letters. 

I know this letter was really short, but I hope you all know that I love you, and hope you are doing well!

Love Elder Norr
Ok, so i just wanted to send you this picture because I'm not going to lie, My butt is FREAKING HUGE in this photo. Try to show it to all the sisters. I need some prospects! totally kidding, but love you all! Hope you like the pictures. The big group is our zone!

Monday, December 2, 2013

.......I'm going to be a dad.....

Ok, so this week has truly been an incredible week, but before everyone totally just trips out over the title that I put, I have a little story for you all. So the assistants to the president came to chew us out because the mission is really losing motivation. They were talking about people who would be training. I thought "ok, cool, no big cause I won't have to." Ok, so they get to that part and start talking about the people who are going to train the brand new missionaries that are going to come in a week. "Walker, Cumbal..... blah, bah blah," and then, "Elder Norr". I really felt like that gut wrenching feeling when you are about to get pulled over, and my expression went "deer in the headlights". Me?, "Yes, you elder Norr" and then Lugo starting freaking out and hugging me and everyone congratulated me. So, here in about a week I will have a son! I have never been nervous in my entire life because my son is either going to be latin american, or from spain, and chances are that he will speak no english. Lugo is my dad, and Also, My grandpa going home in a week; his name is elder buchanan and he came to visit us today. He is really chill, and so we took a lot of "generation photos" which was pretty cool.

We had a baptism this week! It was so incredible be cause we have been teaching this young man named alan for a coupe of weeks, and we go to his house to teach him, and he wasn't there... but his mom and all his brothers were. They have never been really religious, but we took them to a guided visit of the church building. At the end, when we were explaining baptism and showing them the font, the spirit was truly so strong, and Elder Lugo extended the invitation of baptism for the 21 of december. She was very unsure, but Elder Lugo and I bore our testimonies to her, and she ended up committing her and all of her kids to that day! SO EXCITING! The only problem is that they didn't come to church on sunday, so therefore, we have to bump their date back to the 28th. It is sometimes so frustrating because people say that they will be ready to go to church, but we pass by, knock on the door, and NO ONE comes out.... :( it is truly difficult sometimes because these people do not realize the blessings they are missing out on by not coming to church. We are really going to try to amp up our teaching this week and get our people to commit and progress more. 

But anyways, I realized that I didn't tell you guys about the baptism. So Hugo Olimpo, the first man that I baptized has a wife, and her name is guadelupe. We had another guided visit with her, and at the end (on saturday night) we were showing her the baptismal font, and Lugo extended the date TOMORROW. I wasn't sure, but I was a little nervous. She thought about it for a second, and then said "I believe I'm ready" YYEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally! Lugo and his wife are now both baptized and can work on getting sealed after the temple reopens because they still need to get married (by law) but also, about a year ago Hugo had a heart attack or stroke or something that completely paralyzed the right half of his body. Well, now he can almost walk normally, and he can now open and close his right hand as well as write a little bit. He still cannot talk, but he is increasing soo much, and he told me that in about a year he should be back to normal. ONLY A YEAR! I don't leave for 2! I'm soooo excited to visit him towards the end of my mission and see how much he has improved. His family truly deserves to be blessed because they really are such incredible people. 

The spanish is coming along, and apparently it's enough to train someone, but it still is something that I pray about often. My friend brailee (Sister Ogden) wrote me and told me that Quentin L. Cook came to her mission for a talk. She told me that he said "Never underestimate the power of your faith!" I just love that! Faith is truly a principle of power!" And I truly believe that. God truly wants to grant us the desires of our heart, but sometimes we are the ones who lack the faith to recieve the blessings that we want. 

Oh, and I got to wear a luchador mask! Jacobo, a young man in our ward has about 7 masks, and we were eating at his house. We all put one on, and had a little photo shoot! It was so cool, and I really hope I can find luchador masks somewhere because they really are super cool!

One more thing. We got to go teaching with the bishop on sunday night! It is so strange because the people are so much more willing to talk to the bishop than us (makes sense though) and while we were with one couple, the bishop asked them when the last time was that they had went to the temple. These people are active members and hold stake callings, but the answer that we got SHOCKED ME SO BAD...... They thoughtfully replied "6 YEARS....." I was completely blown away! I have not went to the temple in 3 months, and I want to so bad, and it makes me sad because the temple in our mission is closing the first week in January and won't open til July..... OF NEXT YEAR! I will never get to go to the temple during my mission, but I truly bore my testimony of my love for the temple to that family, and I truly hope that they can get their recommends again to be able to go to the temple.

Ok, so i think that is it for this week, but I truly am so nervous to train! I really have felt the spirit this week as we have taught people. I try to be bold and be willing to say everything that the spirit prompts me to; it's incredible at how firm and outright blunt some of the things are that I have said after being prompted and tryed to put it off. I truly have a firm faith that this church is true, and that I am here not only to teach people about christ, but also help them find the path that will lead them to become like christ. I know that Thomas S. monson is a true prophet of God, and that the holy ghost will truly guide us if we are willing to give ear to its promptings. Our lives our good, but they can always be better if will allow christ to become an active part of it. I love you all, and I will not lie, I really was missing the U.S. on thanksgiving. I had my own "special dinner" though :) I know that this church is true and I hope you all have an incredible week!

Love you all!

Elder Nathan Norr