Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 2013

 Dec 31, 2013

Happy New Year!! Hope everyone is doing well. This past week was pretty legit. Christmas Eve was fun at the Noyes where we ate dinner and met lots of family and the grandpa spoke to us in Dutch a lot and the Garrittsons where we ate dessert and played games. Christmas was fantastic! We started off the day at the Povey's where we ran around and played with the kids, and I got to skype my family! It was fun seeing them and looking at their presents. They tried to get my dog to find me, but she wouldn't look at the screen; just kept looking around for me cause she heard my voice haha It was great to get to talk to them all and hear about life back home. And I got to talk to both my Grandpa and my Gumper! Christmas is the best :)) Then we headed to the Gross' where we played games. Then off to the Dyer's for dinner and they made this really yummy orange, pineapple ham. And Gigi knitted us some scarfs!! Then we headed to the Packers where we played games, had a nerf war, ate food and then ended the evening by sitting around the piano singing Christmas songs, it was perfect.

The rest of the week was really great too. We are constantly going from house to house, but we meet some really great people both members and nonmembers. It's great meeting with members because they'e given us so many referrals and we have a few pretty promising potentials now. I think one of my favorite moments this week was when we went over to President Reeves house (stake president) and shared with him a message on Christ and bore our testimony. Well being the boss that he is, he also took the opportunity to teach us and we went through 3 Nephi 13 verse by verse and learned how to listen to the Spirit more, and how to trust in the Lord better, and prayer is important because God knows all of our intentions and He has a great plan for each of us, but prayer is a way to show that you're interested in what He has in mind and that you're willing to listen to Him. Not sure if that just made sense, but I really loved it. Then at the end President was bearing his testimony and he said "I'm so grateful that you two are Christ adversary's..."  haha We think he meant advocate, or at least we hope he did! It was pretty funny.

I loved Sunday this past week. We started off the morning by teaching a Young Men/ Young Women combined class. It was so much fun! We talked about how to fortify your testimony and the importance of it. We related the importance of fortification to Alma 50: 1-6  and preparations that Captain Moroni did to fortify the cities against the Lamanites. We related the heaps of earth being the foundation to church, prayer and reading being our foundation. Then we asked how we could take that foundation a bit further and we related tithing, word of wisdom, law of chastity, 10 commandments, etc. to the timbers of wood. Then we added that when we need extra strength, just like the pickets added to the city, we should look to repentance, fasting, sacrament, baptism, etc.And then to never forget the people looking out for you, like those on the towers, such as your parents, friends, the prophet, church leaders, etc. And that there still exists today places of security, and these places include the spirit, such as church, your home, the temple, etc. And that the final and greatest way to fortify your testimony is to "cast stones" at those pressing against your beliefs by bearing your testimony by the way you live. After our giant fortified city drawing on the board, we went on to point out that it all looks a bit overwhelming to fortify a testimony, but it's actually really simple; if you just come unto Christ and try to live like Him, everything else comes naturally. We bore testimony that they could become like Moroni (Alma 48:17) by relying on Christ and finished with our testimony that He lives and loves each of them. I think it went really well!
Then we spoke in sacrament meeting the next hour for another ward and we talked on the importance of setting New Years Spiritual Resolutions. How they should be focused on bringing you closer to Christ. And then importance of actually writing them down because " A goal not written down is only a wish".
Then we ran to another ward and taught the gospel principles class the same lesson as mentioned above. This time the bishop was sitting in (Bishop Jacobs is awesome! He's the one we taught seminary with) and he pointed out how in the 1st verse in Alma 50 it says that Moroni never stopped making preparations for war and that when he was making these specific preparations it was during a time of peace. He then went on to say how important it is that we make these spiritual preparations during the peaceful moments in our life so when the storms of life come, we are prepared. I loved that! It was a fantastic day with a lot of great principles learned.

All in all, life is great! Noel and I have a lot of fun and learn from each other every day. I've been told like a dozen times now by different people that I talk like a Californian when I teach haha But no worries, as long as I strive to have the spirit, he'll make up for what I'm not saying right. I love this gospel and hope ya'll have a wonderful New Year!

Let go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

Pics:1. Me and my awesome comp at the Noyes house 2. Us with the Garrittsons playing games 3. The Poveys! Ben, the 9 year old, gives us football updates. Even chased us down the other day to tell us about the BYU bowl game haha 4. Don and Gigi and our homemade scarfs 5. My gift from Sister Hala'Api'Api haha 6. Dream Team Nerf war champions!

Dec 24, 2013

Hey everyone! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Wow, that's tomorrow, where has the time gone?
This past week has been great! It's been crazy with the holiday because everyone is so busy, but we were able to meet with a few. We started the new week with another lesson with the Garritson's. They are so sweet and are making great strides with making changes and coming back to church. We taught them the Word of Wisdom (by request too) and committed him to stop drinking his 3 pots of coffee a day and so far so good for him! We had a couple other lessons with Don and Gigi about the Plan of Salvation and it went really well! We also gave Gigi Polish pamphlets and she was so excited that she just started reading right away and we just talked with Don the rest of the lesson haha They're not ready to get baptized yet, but they love reading the Book of Mormon and love having us over saying how much of a sweet spirit we bring into their home and ho happy we always make them. They love learning from us and want to learn more and more. Progress is slow, but sure and we don't mind seeing them, no matter how many times their chihuahua attacks us.We FINALLY go to meet with Kevin again his week! Poor guy has been working so much he only gets about 4 hours of sleep a night, but he found some time in his schedule for us. He figured out that we gave him a secret Santa gift by comparing our note with an old sticky note we gave him haha Crazy Sherlock Holmes moment, but at least he's kept our assignments and is doing his best to read the Book of Mormon and such. Speaking of which, we were going over the Restoration with him again (since it's been a month since we've seen him) and at the end I was like "I know we've asked you to pray about the Book of Mormon to know if it's true before and..." before I even finished he said "I wouldn't be meeting with you two if I didn't already pray and know it's a book of God, I'd be sleeping" ...Music to our ears!! But it gets better, I then went on and said "Well I know we invited you to be baptized before and..." "When! Where! How!!" You can only imagine our faces, we were extactic! So the date is set for January 11th! He even came to church this past Sunday (first time) and he loved it. He is SO golden, love him! And we finally saw Julie again this past week and she's been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy, already in 2 Nephi, and has so many questions, but is so excited when we can answer all of them. She's making great progress comign back to church. Besides those lessons we met with a bunch of members and shared a Christmas message and even asked each of them to bear their testimony of Jesus Christ and it was just sweet to hear everyone's personal testimony of our Savior. We mainly gave that message at our dinners and oh my word we had some great ones this past week.

We had dinner with the Barkers (funny thing here....everyone is a Barker. There's even a ward here where the Barkers all sit on one side of the congregation, and then there's everyone else who just sit wherever haha) Anywho, great family. They live on a farm and we got raw milk and fresh honey and the best lasagna, it was fun! The greatest part was Grandma Barker though. She has amnesia and probably asked us where we were from a couple dozen times always saying "Okay, I promise I won't forget this time if you tell me where you're from" And when she would realize why everyone was giggling she'd just laugh with us and say "whoops I forgot again!" She was so sweet. The family started telling us to tell her we were from other places and her reaction was so funny, especially when I said I was from Burley, Idaho (I was told to do that by the son in law) and she's like "I hate that school there!!" we all died laughing. She was so sweet though and took it all in good humor. Another dinner was at the Watts where we were all sharing mission stories and I was laughing so hard I was crying. Brother Watts told us this story how he was teaching this lady and her cat wouldn't leave him alone and so when she stepped out of the room he hit it on the head and accidentally killed it! Not knowing what else to do, he stuffed it under the couch, haha I was dying laughing. It was great. Then we had a dinner last night where I got to read the story of baby Jesus from Luke as the kids played out the whole nativity scene and it was adorable and fun. And then for dinner we had crab, YUM!! I ate the most out of the whole group of like 30 people, I was in heaven!

Anywho, life is great up here in Utah, I love it! Definitely a different culture. I'm looked at like "are you actually mormon??" when I tell people there are only 3 kids in my family. Also, people shovel their driveways here at like 10pm when it's so freezing cold. Also, snow blowers don't blow slushy snow too well haha Everyone says "Oh my heck" like all the time. People always think I'm from California or Texas and that I'm only 19 years old. Um, ice is dangerous, don't run across busy roads in the ice. Another thing is that everyone has always lived here. Like if they were born here they have always lived here and plan on always living here. And it still shocks me that everyone recognizes who we are as "sisters" no matter where we go, but people spoil us here. They are so nice and give us so so much all the time. We have even started to re-gift the goodies because we can't eat it all. Dropped some chocolate off on a door the other night with a beautiful poem written "Snow is white, Chocolate is brown, Santa Claus is coming to town!" hahah We have fun. All in all, God is good and loves everyone and can bring miracles if we are patient and trust Him and try our best to align our will with His. Christ lives and I'm so grateful for all that he has done for me and everyone who has ever lived. Life is good, MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! Go out and tell someone you love them today, don't waste a moment to change someone's life, it brings so much joy to your day.

Let Go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

Pics: 1. Yummy fruit basket set with pineapple in the shape of reindeer dipped in chocolate, definitely my favorite! 2. So stoked for crab, east coast comp, not so much haha nah, she wasn't feeling too good so she had to skip out. 3. Like a boss. They took a pic of how much I ate, it was so good. 4. The nativity scene. 5. Breakfast with tons of families at the Christiansons. Next to Sister Noel is our Stake President, he is awesome!

Dec 17, 2013

So this week has been pretty good! Let's see, where to start. Well the District meeting we had this past week was pretty sweet; I really liked what we learned. He asked the question "When do we ask our investigators/less actives to repent in our lessons?" We all gave random answers, but he answered back with "We invite them to repentance every time we invite them to do something. Repentance is change, to change and help us become closer to God. So when we ask them to do something we're asking them to change their life and thus, repent." Loved that, gave me a whole new perspective in teaching.

This past week was our mission Christmas Special! My mission is so huge that they have to divide the mission in half and the north half has a party and then the southern half (my half) had a separate one. It was tons of fun though! We had a member of the 70 speak to us named Elder Fisher and he was great; loved what he said "Everyone wants to be on the top of the mountain, but nothing grows at the top. Everything grows in the valley's; we only grow in the valley's of our life!" Legit. We then ate tons of food and watched each zone get up and perform their talent. Lots of peopled rapped, there was a comedy skit, lyrical poetry, but ours was the best! (may be a bit biased haha). Big T (Elder Thomas) got up and sang a rap that he wrote, and then our zone broke into It's Time by Imagine Dragons equipped with a ukelele, piano and stop-claps that everyone joined in with. Then I broke into a solo during the bridge and it was fun, may have gotten a bit dramatic in my mic grab, lots of laughs. After all that Mr. Richard Benedict got up on stage and talked to all of us! He stars in Ephraims Rescue, has small parts in 17 Miracles, and has lots of Santa Ads this year, great guy! We then all watched Ephraims Rescue and later got to ask him questions about the movie. Noel and I went up to him and asked for a picture and he was a super great guy to chat with, talked to us for probably 10 minutes. Then we were excused to go grab our Christmas packages and the coolest thing is that so many wonder Utah peoples donated gifts to our mission that every missionary got two extra bags full of gifts! Love the people here, they are so thoughtful.

As far as teaching, it's been hard to meet with people because of the holidays, so we've just made random visits to a bunch of people. We just show up with cookies and they usually let us in haha One of our neat experiences was we met with Don and Gigi a few times this week and we tried to convince them to come to church, but they were hesitant since Don works night shifts and they would be exhausted, but the spirit was so strong and we promised Gigi that if she came, her health would get better. So we showed up on Sunday and she was dressed and ready to go and I asked her how she felt and she said "I'm actually pretty good today!" Never have I ever heard her say anything positive about her health, but that day she got better, the Lord is so good and is blessing them graciously for their efforts! We met with Camon for the last time this week since he's moving up to Logan, but it went so well! He still has SO many questions, but we told him to invite us to his baptism whenever he gets an answer about this gospel, super neat! Then we visited the Palmers randomly (inactive couple who don't want much to do with the church) and they kindly let us into their house. We all chatted forever and they were so glad to see us. We then went to share a Christmas message with them and Noel clicked on a video adn it ended up being a 3 min video of Mary riding a donkey...obviously the wrong one haha I then said "Well, we know that Mary rode a donkey for a very long time to get to Bethlehem..." hahah They laughed and it broke the ice really well. We then went on to have a really spiritually uplifting lesson with them and tears were in Sister Palmers eyes and then even at the end she said the prayer! Which is a miracle if you knew them, loved it! Last story, I went on exchanges yesterday and was in Plain City with some other sister and we taught one of their investigators who is getting baptized next week. Super great guy who lost his son last month but is now wanting to change his life and get baptized. Well the really cool part is he's from Zimbabwe and I asked him to speak in his native tongue and it sounded so crazy! Full of clicks and strange sounds! Like a total blonde I was like "How the heck do you write that??" He died laughing explaining that they have a written language too....still have no idea how though.

Anywho, I've written a ton already, and I wish I could keep writing all of the stories cause so much happens every week, but I guess I'll just have to share the rest of them went I get home. Utah is great (minus the smog that has set in now that makes it difficult to see past like 50 yards), love the people here, Noel and I are still companions for another transfer (woo hoo!) and she was made STL (like a sister zone leader) so I'll be left with members a lot to teach basically by myself a lot when Noel goes out on exchanges. I've only been out a month and taking the lead, woohoo! Please pray for me haha It'll be great though, I'm excited :)) And besides all that, life is great! Everyone has me sing for them now that they found out here that I sing, but I don't mind, it's fun. Hope ya'll have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and love ya'll!

Let go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

P.s. Pics 1. This is Richard Benedict, aka Santa 2. I'm in the same zone as Elder Jamen (from my hometown) 3. Noel and I at the Christmas Special 4.This is Elder Brady Hamblin (His mom is a Soward from Manasseh, CO) 5. We got trapped! haha

Dec 10, 2013

Hey everyone!
 I don't have much time to write this week, but I'll catch ya up on a bit. Basically this week was Christmas party after Christmas party after eating way too much and more Christmas haha Bu it was fun! Saw many cute reenactments of the story of Christs birth, another had the adults sing The 12 Pains of Christmas (hilarious!), and my favorite was when the Weber Chamber Choir came and performed-they were incredible!! Their teacher is a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and this small group are his top kids so they did a whole hour of beautiful songs. They even picked up hand bells of various sizes and would sing and ring those at the same time-loved it! Met also many people who aren't members or who are less active and they want to meet with us so we got a lot of new people to teach which is exciting. 

This week has been neat because at every dinner appointment there's like only one little daughter and they draw us pictures and want to take pictures with the missionaries because they want to be one someday too, its super cute! One of my favorite dinner appointments was yesterday when we had dinner with the infamous Hansen twins that were joined at the top of the heads and surgically separated when they were infants. They are THE sweetest girls. We made gingerbread cookies and decorated them and they were all smiles and total angels! 

As far as the investigators this week, it's been hard to get a hold of a lot of them because so many are either sick or they're busy with Christmas things so Sister Noel and I made cookies and just went around and delivered them to a lot of homes. Also knocked on a lot of doors and met some interesting people, but being the season most people were really nice and we got to share small messages of Christ here and there. We did get to see Don and Gigi and they're slowly but surely making progress! Gigi loves the Polish Book of Mormon and Bible that we got her and has been reading and Don finally prayed in our lesson the other day without arguing!! (which is a miracle for that stubborn old man haha) And they even came out to the Christmas breakfast this past weekend! We love them, they are awesome. 

Highlight of the week was the baptism of our 14 year old investigator, Kestin Cable!! Regardless of the fact that it was a total blizzard outside, people came and the room was packed! She was so nervous of "messing up", but when she came out of the water she was all smiles! We even had her go up front and tell everyone how she felt and she just jumped up there and said "I FEEL GREAT!" and sat down haha She is a special kid and is gonna go far in life. We loved teaching her and it was just neat for me to see someone who I helped get to this point get to feel of the spirit and make their first covenant with their Heavenly Father. Not gonna lie, got a bit teary-eyed. 
Well not much else really has happened. Oh, Noel and I gave a talk on Sunday and it went really well. Um, it's freezing here and just snows all the time. Noel and I have fun with it though by having shoveling and ice-chipping races and when we're standing on doorsteps we blow our "chimney-smoke" at each others faces and try to see who can get the last blow before they open the door, it's pretty funny. Love the work, love the people, life is great and I hope life is going well for all of you too!! Merry Christmas to each of you, have fun and send me pictures!! 

Let go, Let god
Sister Kodi Norton  

 P.s. Should probably explain the pics. 1. This is Don and Gigi making silly faces. 2. We decorated gingerbread cookies with the infamous Hansen twins! Joined at the head when they were born. 3. Our baptism, Kestin! 4. Our little missionary star, has her own name tag and everything!

Dec 3, 2013

Hey everyone!
Another great week out here in the field. Days are beginning to blend together now though, but I'll do my best to catch ya up! haha

Well last Wednesday we had interviews with President Hiers and that was awesome. He's such a sweetheart and is so helpful and kind, love him! While sitting around though I started talking to Elder Brady Hamblin and come to find out that his mom is a Soward from Manasseh, CO! (For those who don't know, he's from my Dad's hometown). He races against Hunter and has played basketball against Bubba and his cousins hang out with Mariah! Small world. The rest of the day we just met with random people. Tried to convince a guy that instead of gambling on Thanksgiving to play Thanksgiving food poker instead, not sure how effective that was though. We then later had a lesson with Will Hinckley (an investigator we are baptizing on the 14th) and it went pretty well. We were teaching about the Plan of Salvation and he was crying and the spirit was so strong as we were teaching about the atonement and then Sister Reyes said with all seriousness "Never forget, you are alone" ...I couldnt help but laugh haha she meant to say "you are not alone", but it came out all wrong. The she went on to say "Sometimes we're not the smartest people in the shed" haha another fit of laughter. Oh how far from being perfect teachers are we, but at least we have God on our side to touch their heart on what we mean to say. We also saw Kevin Flores this past week and he's been so sick that he had to go to the hospital, but he has been studying and has felt God forgive him and lift him from the pains he felt for doing what he did in the military (HUGE step) and is so unbelievably happy now. Not that what he did in the military wasn't honorable, but he feels a lot of sorrow from it all, but is now focusing on the man who can heal that and is just so happy, it's awesome! Kestin (14year old investigator getting baptized this weekend) is just golden! Loves what we're teaching her and can't wait until she is baptized. She understands everything so well and we just love her! Don and Gigi haven't made much progress but that's because Don works night shifts and is always tired and Gigi's health isn't doing too well, but Gig is reading the Book of Mormon and the bible regularly now and wants to come to church with us, I just love her! 
Utah is such a different culture, but it's good. Kind of funny being a missionary here. The members treat us like idols and are always asking us to speak in church and they have their kids come up to talk to us and they wave at us in restaurants and hand us money and such haha but the nonmembers and inactives, well they don't like us at all. They know so much about the church and you just have to rely on your testimony and hope for the best! It's great though, I love it. Strange thing though is that church here is backwards. They start with Relief Society and sacrament is last. And then the last Saturday of every month is when they do 8 year old baptisms because there are always so many every month. So for that Saturday they have all the families and kids go into the chapel and its proceeds like a normal baptism, except that everyone gets the same talks at the same time and then one by one they make their way to the font. The girls don't wear jumpers, they wear dresses, and one girls dress came all the way up, oops!! haha Kinda funny. Utah is more foreign than I thought ;))

Well finally Thanksgiving was super awesome! Started off the day in downtown Ogden feeding the needy at the Summit hotel. It was really cool because there were over 50 round tables set up with gorgeous china (set up by indvidual families) and we served food and everyone was so happy. Sister Reyes got kissed on the hand by a super smelly hobo haha that was funny. After that we stopped by Don and Gigi's jsut to say hi, but they wouldnt let us leave until we ate some of their food. But of course Sister Reyes threw me under the bus and said I wanted more and Don was adamant that I ate every scrap on my plate. yeah it got to a point  that my gag reflexes were kicking in because I couldn't fit anymore in my stomach. I was chewing my food until it was liquid in my mouth, but was having the hardest time swallowing. So I started throwing my food under the table to the dogs haha We left and headed to our actual dinner appointment to a family who cooked soooo much and we had to eat like we hadnt already eaten! Quite an interesting challenge. I was hurting. Well then we headed over to another house where they fed us more and dessert! While there they did this cute thing where the daughter just found out the gender of her baby so she made cupcakes and we all bit into them at the same time to find pink frosting in the middle, really exciting! And then we went over to one last house where they gave us more dessert. Needless to say, my belt no longer fit, I had a giant food baby, and basically slipped into a food coma at the end of the night. Loved it all thoguh and had lots of fun!

At the end of the week Sister Reyes got a Visa waiter from Hawaii who's eventually going to head to Australia so It's just down to Noel and I again. Love this gospel! I know that my redeemer lives and that God answers prayers! 

Let Go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

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