Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 2014

Mar 25

Sooooo my first week in Roy...hahah Its been an adventure that's for sure. Ya know those places in life that stretch ya a bit? Where you think you've explored outside your "box" and then come to find out there's a whole different box of life full of craziness that you wouldn't expect? That is Roy, Utah for this girl. Roy is very special; I tease saying it's the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. As far as I know it though the Lord doesn't plan on destroying this city any time soon so there's good to be found and heck, lots of potential as I see it!

So our teaching pool here consists of drug-addicts, broken families, felons, abused spouses, stalkers, and the unmentionables. (Note that I say this all with a smile on my face. I do not fear and honestly, it's makes tracting and lessons really interesting) My first dinner here we ate with a family whose daughter is leaving on a mission next week to Edmonton, Canada! And while there we were visited by her stalker, twice. He's been stalking her for the past few weeks and comes to the door almost every hour on the hour....yeah. Poor thing went into tears because of how scared she was of him, but we prayed with her and encouraged her to have faith in God-and lots of hugs. It was quite the way to start off this area. We started off our teaching with the Hurst family! Grandma and grandpa are active members, father was a meth addict and the son had just gotten out of jail. As crazy as the situation is, they want a change in their life, and it was really neat to relate to them the need to daily spiritually nourish themselves. We showed the video from titled Daily Bread:Pattern (highly recommend, it will spiritual feed your soul for at least a solid 5 hours-it's that good) and basically bore our testimony on how they need to make those daily little changes if they want to grow closer to God. It went really well and the son ended up showing to church! Now just preparing them for the temple. Then we went over to another home where we are teaching a 9 year old boy who wants to be baptized named Brock! The family is less active, but believe strongly in baptism so we taught him about the restoration of Christ's gospel and it all went really well! No date set quite yet on him to be baptized, but next lesson or so we will invite him for a specific date. There's a delay because their 7 year old, Brody, will be 8 this next month and the mom figures that they could just have their baptism at the same time on the same day. It makes sense, but we want to try to see if she'd want to make those days individual and special for each of her boys and to get Brock baptized sooner since he's really prepared and wants the gift of the Holy Ghost. Work in progress. And then as we were knocking on doors we ran into this less active man named Derek who has a 5 year old son and a wife who is in jail for drug abuse. Really nice guy who wants a change in his life so he is having us come back over to teach him and his son-we're really excited! Love it when you find that "one" who is just ready to make changes to bring them closer to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Golden. The rest of the week was spent mainly organizing ourselves and meeting all the bishops and ward mission leaders. We cover quite a big area and have a total of 6 wards in this stake. I did get introduced to the missionary mom- Mandy Hadley! Super sweet lady with a crazy house full of kids who's a single mom and works a daycare out of her home and just absolutely loves the missionaries. Honestly helps us with anything right when we need it. We did a service project where we helped her clean up her house and it felt good to give back to a lady who has given so much to the missionaries here. Also met her gang-member friends and now feel a lot more safe here-for real though, they really like missionaries. haha

Well my new Zone is pretty awesome! We have four sisters and fourteen elders and lots of senior couples! Everyone has a pretty goofy sense of humor so our meetings are filed with lots of laughter. It's gonna be fun here! Annnnnnd they play speedball! Which will be great and feed my obsession.  Although I only cover 6 wards now, my new area is a lot bigger considering how low the Mormon populace is so we walk a lot, but the weather is warmer so that's okay. It's very much a city here-no stars at night. But plenty of airplanes to count and keep us awake all night as they almost hit our house to land at the airport right next door. haha We live in an apartment that is much nicer than my last area and I can actually stand up all the way in the shower!! Oh the little blessings of life haha My new companion is Sister Horvath from Gilbert, AZ! She loves music a lot so we have fun talking about that and singing together as I rock out on my ukulele. And we're going to tear up this place! Good things to come for sure :))

Well funny/strange thing of the week is we went to a dinner where they had this pumpkin on their counter that has been there since Halloween! And it looks brand new. No joke-proof be in the picture. So we named it Tuck Everlasting because it won't die haha Pretty cool. Well that's about all for this post! Hope everyone is doing well! Will catch you up on my new adventures next time! Love ya'll!
Let go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

PS: Pics- my new comp and the eternal pumpkin! 

Mar. 18
Hey everyone!
Wellllll I can't help myself to tell you the biggest news of my day-I'm getting transferred! Headed down to the Roy North Stake and I will have a new companion, Sister Horvath. Basically it's the big ghetto city part of the mission so I'm sure to have some great stories coming from my new area. My last week in North Ogden was a lot of fun though and I'm sure gonna miss it here!

So we got to see Don and Gigi a lot this week. Gigi's health is getting pretty bad and it has me a bit worried. They both still sit in the living room and listen to our messages. In one of our lessons this apst week I even invited her to be baptized again (there should be an award for baptism invitations because I'm pretty sure I'd win since I just commit this lady to it all the time) but she turned us down again. My heart broke a little on that one because of the state of health she's in and how I wish that she would get baptized before she passes away. Still praying for miracles on that one. Then we taught Julie Fraga again and finished up The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
She looooved it because it mentions in there simply how to have a successful marriage and family
 (check it out if you haven't! It's pretty legit). She wants to make crafty object to place in her home to remind her of the importance that families are to God. Love the fire that girl as back in her life to strengthen her relationship with God and Jesus Christ! Saw Evan some more this week and he's doing really well health wise! We taught him and Kaimee about the Plan of Salvation (check this out if you don't know what it is or would like a refresher- bc/content/ldsorg/ content/english/ manual/missionary/ pdf/36950_the-plan-of-salvation-eng.pdf?lang=eng) to help their understanding of where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going. It got really deep at some points about what truly was the meaning of life and I liked what Evan said on how it's "love". To love God, to love Jesus Christ, to love your family, to love your neighbor, to love yourself, etc. It really is true that to find that peace we just need to become like our Savior and love everyone.

TheOverduyns let us in their house again and committed to coming back to church! Stoked for that one. Also taught the Robertsons (non member) family this week and had a real great lesson about the Atonement. We talked about how it not only is for our sins, but for our infirmities as well (Alma 7:11-12). We described how infirmities were any time we get hurt, or when we're heartbroken, or when we feel sick, etc. because Christ suffered all so he could be there for us in every way. So I got out a cup of water and a bunch of spices and we listed off what different sins and infirmities Christ can help us with, adding different spices and such to the cup every time they listed something. Then just like Christ drank the bitter cup
(Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19) as He performed the atonement, I tried to drink the bitter cup...haha it was a fail on my part.But I got a lot of laughs from the little kids! So I made the point that Christ was the only person who could have performed the Atonement and that we need to turn to him always because He loves us and understands us completely. It was a blast :))

Well as far as the rest of the week, I was on exchanges a lot with Sister Whitfield and Sister Tuiala which was fine with me since it was Tuiala's last week before returning home! She headed back to Samoa this past week and will be dearly missed here in Ogden! We had fun getting spoiled by members taking us out to lunch and getting us pedicures (Whitfield and I were dying laughing when they were scrubbing our feet ) and then even taught lessons together and I just love teaching with them because we think on the same level and the spirit is always so strong. Tuiala sat me down and gave me some last bit of advice before she left telling me to "work hard and run to the tape! You can rest when you get home", so run I will. :)) Before she left she gave me a lava lava (its a skirt wrap thing) and we all took 100 pics together and off she went. Going to miss that girl.

Since Sister Tuiala and Elder Walz were both going home we all went to Toads on P-Day (it's a arcade/lazer tag/go-cart place) and we all had a blast running around in laser tag and and causing wrecks while 10 of us raced at the same time with the go-carts - it was awesome! Love the friends I'm making here :)) Of course missing the ones back home and my family as well though! But all is good. Just gotta let go, let God and keep pushing forward. Serving a mission has brought me such great joy and if anyone ever reading this has questions about anything just let me know on facebook! Hope ya'll have a great week!
Sister Kodi Norton
  P.S. Pics: Yeah, lots of them this week since I'm leaving the area! 1. Pedicure's! With Whitfield (blue) and Tuiala (pink).Felt really girly, but it was a lot of fun. 2. Me and my homies Elder Phillips and Elder Clarke! We were in the MTC together! And since the MTC Phillips and I have never been separated and now he's headed up to Milad, ID as I head south to Roy. 3. Love this Tennessee girl! 4. haha Our fearless zone leaders, Elder Destories and Elder Morales. 5. Elder Reis (from Brazil)! Loved those sunglasses and would steal them all the time. 6. Me and my companion :)) 7. My North Ogden Mom and Dad Peterson! Loved them. Took care of me a lot and even bought me my favorite juice as a farewell gift. 8.My first distric leader, Elder Hainsworth! Props to Clark for the awesome photo bomb.
 9. The Povey's! Gonna miss this family. As a farewell Ben (the baldy-kept complaining baout his hair so his mom shaved it off lol) and I argued about who was better, Seahawks or Broncos...pretty sure I won ;)) 10. Me and Sister Tuiala! Gonna miss this girl! Definitely going to visit her homeland one day to go see her! 11. The Packers! Spent Christmas with them and Brother Packer even shot me with a nerf gun as a farewell. 12. Us just being awesome...Love being a missionary :))

Mar. 11
Many adventures happened within the past week. Many more appointments cancelled like crazy, but we know that as long as we keep doing our best we will be blessed so we are working super hard!

The week started off really great with a district meeting on the Atonement. Elder West did this really cool thing where he had a bunch of random things written on the board from sharks, ukulele's, dogs, cats more important things like the holy ghost, the priesthood, scriptures, etc. Each of us went around and erased an item off the board that we could live without in this world (my first one was "cats" Eventually the last things on the board were the important things in life and we all were asked to be silent and really consider life without each of these items as we still each erased and item at a time. Ultimately the last thing on the board was "Jesus Christ" and Elder West got up and slowly erased it. It was actually really neat to sit there and reflect for a moment what life would be like without Him.
And wow, I couldn't imagine it. I hope none of us could considering how through His atonement we can obtain peace in this life, and how much He truly loves each of us. Really great visual. We also got to teach Memphis this past week and long story short, his mom isn't letting him get baptized any time soon :( He was really down, and I hated seeing him like that, so my wheels started turning in my mind and I came up with a super random game on the spot! I knew Sister Watts had sticky hands because she bough them a long time ago to play a family Christmas tradition of mine using the sticky hands to pick paper off the floor which eventually just turns into a war. So I snuck out of the room, got the sticky hands, took pieces of lined paper and tore them up and then wrote "GOSPEL" on one of the pieces of paper. I went back in and threw the paper all over the floor, handed everyone a sticky hand and asked "How much do you love the gospel?" "A lot" "How much are you willing to fight for it??" "A lot!" and the war as on! you wanted to collect as many pieces and the "GOSPEL" paper was an extra 10 points. It was a fun game with a simple point that no matter what, we have to be continuously striving and fighting to have Christ more in our lives and to understand His gospel-to never give up!
And to never give up on a bunch of children attacking you with sticky hands haha Then also this past week we got to meet with this nonmember family-the Robertsons-and we made a "blessings volcano!" where we made play dough and then added "commandments" (baking soda) and then "God's love" (vinegar) and the blessings overflowed! haha The little girls loved it and htey want us to come back weekly now :) Then the final miracle of the week was finally getting through the threshold of the less-active family, the Overduyns! Since I've first been here we've been trying to get in there and finally they let us in! Super chill family who love their tattoos and piercings and are just way down to earth and hilarious. They're snowboarders, surfers, hurricane-survivors, and hard workers. What was the coolest thing to hear was how much the Mom loves to read her scriptures. this lady works about 12-16 hours a day and still reads her scriptures for 2 hours before she goes to bed. She said "Take everything away from me except my family and my scriptures and I'll still be happy"-pretty legit. WE shared a message with them and they really liked us so we will be coming back weekly now! Life is moving right along.

Another highlight was getting asked to sing in sacrament meeting at church this past Sunday. So I drug my companion into doing a duet with me and it went really well! A slideshow video is soon to follow so keep your eyes out for that on facebook. Another cool things is we heard rumor that the writer for the beloved children's primary song "I Am a Child of God" was buried in the North Ogden cemetery and yup-rumor has it right! Naomi Randall in the flesh-sorta...Daylight Savings was this past week! Yeah, I know "She's such an Arizonan". Losing a precious hour of sleep for us missionaries was a bit interesting; it was like waking up the living dead haha I need like a "I survived daylight savings" tshirt or something. And then final bragging moment of this post, we played football and speedball this past pday aaaaaaaaand I made a touchdown and a couple baskets!! Kind of a big deal. haha

Funny moment of the week was explaining what the slang "in a pickle" meant to my Japanese companion-how it's an old American tradition where we climb inside a giant pickle when we need a break from the rest of the world. I think i was received quite well haha

Well that's all for this week! Hope all is well. Love y'all!
Let go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

P.S. pics: 1.jammin on the uke in the gorgeous sunshine! 2. All of us celebrating Elder Dean's birthday and Zhangs! (closet Elder to the camera) 3. Went on an adventure, found a gorgeous spot right at sunset. 4. Catchin a ride from the Elders lol 5. Me and my Ben...who completely shaved his head-classic.

Mar. 4

Happy March everyone!
Oh Spring is coming and I can hardly wait! All the snow is gone now-hallelujah! Now we just run around in the rain :)) I have no complaints though; rain is much warmer, and for any Arizona missionary here, it's a beautiful sight to see water falling in its best form! I did lose my umbrella though in someones car, but thanks to the great sympathy that our senior missionary couple, the Longhursts, have I won't be melting this Spring (contrary to all the anti-mormons beliefs). haha

Well this past week had its ups and downs. Getting the worse out of the way, we knocked on doors like crazy and I now am well accustomed to having doors closed in my face. I know what you're probably thinking, "It's Utah.. how hard can that mission be?" but since it is Utah, everyone already knows what you are when you knock on their door, and they don't even give you a second to say your name. I'm considering buying a plastic arm and putting it in the door as they close it to stop them for a second so they will take a minute to hear what we have to say, but alas, plastic arms aren't abundantly stocked at Walmart these days. So I'm left with just grinning and bearing it until we find people to teach. The work will come though, I know it, we can only be blessed after the trial of our faith and so try we will until we find someone to teach!

The people we did get to teach went really well though! We got to teach Memphis some more :)) I learned that I'm not very skilled at teaching the law of chastity (sexual purity) to a 12 year old boy. Kind of got a glimpse at how parents feel when trying to explain this haha Oh dear. Pretty much was a fail because by the end of it he thought I was talking about swearing the whole time so thanks to Sister Watts, I was saved with a video that explained it a lot better than I did. I made up for it though by buying them (Britton [Deacons President] and Memphis) Milka chocolate (my favorite!!). I then had a chance to redeem myself the next day by getting to teach him again, but after high-fving his sprained arm and finding out that he choked on the chocolate that I gave him, Brother Watts concluded that I was trying to kill him haha  The greatest quote from him that night was while we were teaching him about how to pay tithing Memphis asked "If I hunt my own food, do I still pay tithing?" Oh I love this kid. I did have super spiritual awesome lessons though, don't worry! We started teaching this less active, Eric, who hasn't been to church in 25 years who is now dating this girl and wants to get back in the swing of things. He was so sincere and wants the priesthood so badly and while we were teaching him he got choked up every time he went to speak saying how loved he felt coming back to church and how he's now found purpose in his life and doesn't want to lose it. Then Sister Thorpe (ward mission leaders wife who came with us) bore a sweet testimony that it's because of this gospel she's also found purpose and knows of Heavenly Fathers love, which is a huge comfort to her as she's battling stage 4 cancer. Wow the spirit was so strong. One of my favorite lessons this week was talking to Cal who felt like a "worthless piece of junk" since he suffers from major depression. We had a great discussion about the Atonement and how it literally heals those who are searching for help. Since Christ suffered everything, He knows everyone perfectly. I then had an overwhelming impression to tell him that if he diligently studied his scriptures daily that he'd be healed of his depression. Really neat experience. And then of course, one of my favorites, Evan Larsen! I went way overboard on  preparing for his lesson, but I wanted it to be one to stand out and really speak to him personally. So we started by going through Alma 14:8-11 (Book of Mormon) and the story of how the righteous were being being burned and how Amulek wanted Alma to stop them from burning because he knew he had the power of God through the priesthood, but Alma responds with "The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand"   and talked about how sometimes we don't understand why certain things happen, but we just have to trust in the Lords plan and I related it to his situation with his heart-attack how he's limited to do things now. We then spoke about how he was fortunate to live and how the priesthood blessed him to live since that was the Lord's will. Then we went into how the Lord is not only their to help him with his sins, but also his infirmities (Alma 7:12) and then finished with the Mormon Message of "Mountain to Climb" to really emphasize that the Atonement is real, that it can heal and help us, and that things are gonna happen that don't make sense in our lives, but that we just need to trust in the Lord. It was so fantastic :))

One of my other favorite moments this week was Sunday during the fast and testimony meeting. Brother Watts got up (he's Memphis' scout leader who has been there at almost every lesson we've taught Memphis to be a support to him) to bear his testimony in church and was talking about how much he's enjoyed helping us. He never mentioned Memphis' name, but after he sat down almost every deacon got up there and bore their testimony of how much they loved Memphis and are praying that he gets baptized and they even told stories of how Brother Watts has done the same thing. Brother Watts turned 50 shades of red, but the sweetest moment happened next as Memphis bravely walked up there and said "I know this church is true. I can't remember what else I was going to say, Amen" That spoke volumes to me. His testimony is simple, but I add mine to his that this gospel is Christ's true gospel restored on the Earth. I know it through the witness I've receieved over and over from the Holy Ghost. I hope you all will come to find it as well. It bring such joy to my life and it can bring joy to everyone. Pray for that witness and I promise you will find the same testimony as my bud, Memphis. If anyone reading this ever has questions, please feel free to ask. Also if you would like a Book of Mormon:Another Testament of Jesus Christ also let me know and I can get that for you. I love you all very much.

Let go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

P.S. pics: Nothing slows us down, not even the all-manner-of-water-falling-from-the-sky type rain! And the Thorpe's (mentioned previously) went to Hollywood and got to hang out with some famous people so Kirt's (a local staple-kind of like a Sonic) greeted them back with this sign, love this town!