Tuesday, December 17, 2013

November 2013

Nov 26, 2013

Heyo everyone! 

This week has been crazy, but good. One of the sisters in the adjacent area was sent home for medical purposes so we adopted Sister Reyes and we're now in a trio covering 2 stakes and 14 wards! Woohoo, lots of work, but we love it! Sister Noel actually trained Sister Reyes so it's like family, and she has lots of energy so it keeps us on our toes. 

As far as our work this week, it took a while to figure out schedules, but we did teach plenty of people. Gigi is making great progress! She says she feels the spirit when she reads the Book of Mormon and has been saying lots of prayers! It was hilarious though, one of the lessons we finally got Don (her husband) to pray and he started off "Alright God, I know that you don't want to hear from me, but you're gonna have to" I was doing everything I could to not burst up laughing, but so proud of him for saying that prayer! Also, we got Gigi to come to church with us! Definitely an answer to our prayers since she almost died this past week. Her health is really bad, but that tough little gal dressed herself up and came. She said it was very different from Catholicism, but she enjoyed getting out of the house and coming to church with us. Another miracle is we had an inactive RM who's name is Evan Larsen.  He has a strong testimony of prayer and scripture reading, but hates church and thinks the sacrament is pointless. We had a very spiritual lesson with him and his daughter this past week though and the spirit really touched his heart and he is now trying to align his will with God's and even came to church this past Sunday! Kevin Flores is really struggling right now. He's the man we invited to baptism last week, but he won't be getting baptized soon anymore :/ He's a really solid guy,but is having a hard time trying to find time to read his scriptures, say prayers or go to church. His wife is gonna pass away from a serious form of diabetes any day now, he has two lil' kids he's trying to raise, and works night shifts at a bakery. This last lesson was incredible though. We were teaching him the Plan of Salvation when suddenly he got really upset. He said "how can God love me, how can he forgive me when I killed people as a Marine"...we didn't know he was a veteran and we definitely didn't see that coming. We bore our testimony on forgiveness and how he was serving our country and that's different, but it still didn't settle right with him. So we talked how he really needs to forgive himself and to pray to God to feel that relief. After much encouraging to say a prayer with us there, he finally did and it was probably one of the greatest prayers i've ever heard. His heart was broken and he sobbed as he asked for forgiveness and to know if what we were saying is true. As his tears were spilling, so were mine and my companions. The spirit was incredibly strong and it brought an overwhelming feeling of peace. It was awesome. He still has some way to go until he will be baptized, but slowly and surely he will get there. On a positive note we had a 14 year old contact us and she asked "Alright, I've been going to seminary with my friends, how do I get baptized?" We were

extactic! She had her first lesson with us the other day and we set a day with her to be baptized for December 7th! And then last, but not least Will Hinckley. He is a man from the Ben Lomond Stake (the other stake we're covering now) who's really struggled with tobacco and alcohol and women but came to us crying, asking for help. We taught him and the spirit was able to fill him with hope and he is now getting baptized December 14th! So the teaching is incredibly awesome and I'm loving the work!
On a side note, we had like hurricane winds up here this week and it blew our 70 feet pine tree in our front yard down! We were blessed though because it barely missed our house and the power lines, the Lord was looking out for us for sure! Chopping it up was also fun and now we have like 20 mini Christmas trees. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! In spirit of the holiday season I was challenged to only give thankful prayers this past week (which can get really tough some days haha), but it really felt great to give just thanks to the man in charge. I love Him :)) I definitely recommend doing that. Well I love and miss you all!

Nov. 19, 2013

Hey everyone!!

Life up in North Ogden is swell. That's where I've been assigned and I love it! I also have a great companion named Sister Noel, she's awesome! So much has happened in the past two weeks I don't know where to start, but I'll do my best.

So the MTC was phenomenal! Loved my zone and my teachers and such and learned so much about the gospel. Had a neat experience where our TRC investigator (that's someone who comes in for us to teach and they are either a member pretending to not be a member or they are an actual investigator). We found out that she's an actual investigator and she loved hearing what we had to teach her and she ended up going to church and she loved that too and is considering being baptized! So exciting; I just love her, such a sweet lady and has been searching for our gospel her whole life, it's awesome! Leaving was bittersweet, but it was nice to finally get out into the field.

So at 3am we took the train up to Ogden! The very first hour we were there they assigned us temporary companions and we headed out tracting. The sister I was with took the reigns for the first few houses, and then it was my turn. So I rang the bell, they opened the door and I said "Hi! We're members of the missionaries!" Uhhhhhh haha They ended up being members, but it was a good laugh. I then got my actual companion, my assigned area and headed up to North Ogden!

I love my area. We are the only set of missionaries for an entire stake of 7 wards so we are always busy! But it's awesome. We live in....a very scary basement. The lights flicker, none of the furniture/carpet/wall decor matches, and I wouldn't be surprised if a slimemonster crawled out from behind the walls, but it's what we call home. We have a few nonmembers we're working with, but mainly it's inactives. One of my favorites are Gigi and Don Dyer. Nonmembers, heavy smokers, they bicker like old people do, and she's Polish and doesn't understand us half the time, but they looove music. So the first night I was there, they weren't really listening to our lesson so I felt impressed to sing "Nearer My God to Thee" so I asked them if I could and they said sure. My lungs BuRnEd from the smoke, but I did my best. Well the Spirit touched their hearts, brought tears to their eyes and they were extactic to have us over again and now I sing to them everytime :)) They now want to quit smoking and come to church and we're making great progress with them. They're funny though, they don't want to pray with us there because they get embarrassed, but I had Don pinky swear me he would next time, so we'll see! Another investigator we have is Kevin Flores. On probation for theft, but super solid guy who loves what we have to teach him. Well it's the greenie's job to give the Restoration lesson and invite them to be baptized and guess what lesson we were on with Kevin...haha. So the first time I've ever met him I invited him to be baptized, and guess what he said, YES! So exciting to see him find Christ and happiness in his life. Another investigator we have is Camen. Ohhhhhh Camen. He's 23, very smart, and has minored (yes a degree) in the bible. Let's just say that I sat there dumbfounded for 2.5 hours as Sister Noel took the reigns and answered all his questions haha Yeah, very humbling experience. He has many deep questions, but I write them down and I'm studying as much as I can! But surprisingly we made progress with him and he came to church on Sunday! Don also came! And it was stake conference. We had Elder Summerhaze (from the 70) there as our speaker. Well I thought I was safe from being called up to bear my testimony since it was stake conference...nope! Both in the adult session and the sunday session Sister Noel and I were called up to bear our witness of the Book of Mormon. Yeah sure, no pressure. It wasn't being broadcasted to two other buildings or nothing haha But we did just fine. It was actually a really neat experience as we stood up there and gave our account of the first vision and bore our testimony of the Book of Mormon and how God loves everyone. Brought tears to many peoples eyes and we received many thank yous. It's kinda funny here being a missionary and all. Members treat ya like royalty and are always expecting us to say profound things and when we walk everywhere we wave to so many people I feel like were in a parade. I mean it's not all sunshine and roses, we have gotten doors slammed in my face and rude people, but for the most part it's great here. Anywho, Don and Camen really enjoyed church so hopefully we can have them come with us next week! 

Well besides all that, it's just been snowing a ton (come to find out my boots had holes the hard way. wool socks+snow=wrinkly toes) and lots of studying, but being on the Lord's errand is a great blessing! I love you all and please feel free to send me letters! 4380 S Orchird Ave. South Ogden, UT 84403.
Let go, let God
Sister Kodi Norton

Nov. 6, 2013

Hi everyone!
Wow, what a week. It seems like a lifetime ago since I've seen home and um, it's only been seven days haha. This week has been great though in it's own special way. There is absolutely no time to chill; you're studying the gospel starting at 7am and going until 9:30pm, but it's wonderful though because it keeps you focused and uplifted. Well, where to start. I arrived in the terminal at the airport and was greeted by like 25 missionaries; they were like "hey look! another one! heeeeyyyy sister!" It was fun. Sat next to a guy who's going to Madagascar on his mission who was nervous, but excited, because he's never really been out of the Phoenix Valley and had never ridden a plane before. Basically, he was freaking out during the flight - so entertaining. I got to Provo and was put into a tri-panionship...tri-companionship...there's three of us. I'm with Sister Shaver from Vancouver, Canada and Sister Miller from Tuscon, Arizona. After they threw us together we immediently went to class, and before we knew it we were put into a group where we had to try to teach an investigator! Talk about pressure. The best part was talking to a lady who was a strong Catholic and she just kept saying "I heard you were representatives of Jesus Christ...well are you?" It kind of got me thinking like "woah...this is for real. How am I a reperesentative of Jesus Christ?". It's been inspiring and has really driven me in my studies so I can represent Him well. 
Starting the next day we worked in roleplays and the teachers are great at staying in character and asking really difficult questions to get you thinking, but it helps you feel like you're teaching a real investigator. It gets frustrating at times, especially when you and your companions are very very very different types of teachers, but that's the challenge and it helps you grow. I'm just super grateful for the zone that I have, they are awesome! In total there's 13 elders and 5 sisters and basically the sisters are bossy and such and way by the rules, and even though I'm the oldest in the in the group, I get lumped in with being a bad child like the elders cause I joke around and chew gum and such but oh well, I'm not really doing any harm and the teachers are chill and don't mind so it's all good. The elders are hilarious; they've all become obsessed with bananas and each eat like 10 or more everyday, anytime a girl is talking to one of the elders they shout "23-19!" (like Monsters Inc.) and run over and drag the elder back by the ear, and then sometimes they carry each other to class and have strange bro-mances, but it's great, love them! Oh, and best part was a couple days ago we had a wall-sitting competition and guess who won something physically challenging for the first time in her life haha ;) Yeah, I got way competitive, and I'm still feeling that whenever I walk up the stairs. 

Some other great highlights was it started snowing and the mountains look gorgeous up here and everyone is singing Christmas songs :)) Another highlight is spiritually, this week has been incredible. I can't believe how much each of us have changed. I have such a greater testimony that Christ's doctrine has been restored on this earth and that the spirit something that is truly worth your time and effort to keep around. It fills you with such joy. We started teaching an actual investigator this past week (yeah, they don't waste time here) and some lesson haven't gone so well, but the ones that have bring you so much joy because you're helping them come unto Christ, even if slightly, you can see the changes that they wish to make in their life. I liked an analogy that Sister Miller gave one day. If you have a jar of sane and try to fit rocks in it, what happens? the rocks don't fit. But if you put the rocks in first, what happens when you add the sand? It fits around the rocks perfectly. So if the rocks are Christ and His doctrine, and the sand is our life and all of its challenges, what happens to our life if we put Christ first? Everything falls into place perfectly. Really inspiring! Loved that. Well, I have to head out, but I hope all is well and happy with everyone back home! Love each of you very much. If you want to send me a message send it through DearElder.com and I willl get it the same day you send it as a printed email. Be sure to include your house address though so I can write you back. Also, for those who have questions about exactly what I'm doing, please feel free to ask questions or even check out Mormon.org. Hope to hear from ya'll soon! <3 Sister Kodi Norton

oh, as a p.s. I've seen vince james, lynn ellis, and samuel nelson here!

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