Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 2014

April 15

Hey everyone!
Another great week in the greatest mission in the world! Started off the week with a zone conference where we got a pep-talk from the Assistants to the President and the office staff and from President Hiers himself on how to be...well, better missionaries. It was good though. Really enjoy how President is always so caring and helpful for each of us; we love him!  (No I was not paid to say this, he really is legit ;))

Teaching also went pretty well this week! We met with the Dobson girls and we just want to be there for them as friends and to help get the girls back to church so since they love the Personal Progress program that the church has for young women, we are helping them with theirs and teaching them about the gospel at the same time. So this past week we talked about Divine Nature and what it means and the different traits we can have and then did a bit of soul-searching on what we could improve on. So it's the goal this week to be more charitable! Then we taught Gary some more and he sees to be more hopeful :)) Didn't feel right again to invite him to be baptized, but baby steps-I think right now he just needs to believe that God loves him and that Christ is there for him and knows how he feels. Then we also went over to Shelby's this week and got ot meet all her cousins and they had me play some guitar and sing which was fun and then I got to talk to all of them about the importance of prayer. None of these kids are members so they don't know much about God or why we pray so it was a sweet experience to explain it to them and then to ask one of hem to pray at the end. She seemed petrified, but did a wonderful job and was all smiles afterwards :)) I just love kids and how they have faith so easily, such great examples. Then one day I went on exchanges with my "momma", Sister Noel!! Sooo good to see her! Love that girl! Reason for the exchange was that Gigi (polish lady from my last area) was in the hospital. Her health just tanked and her organs were shutting down and she couldn't breath and had a slight heart-attack on top of it all, so we went to see her. We both got a bit choked up everytime she'd find breath to say "I'm dying". Yeah broke my heart a bit. And then I had to be the smart one and suggest to sing a song (since we know how much she loves music) and we happened to turn to Nearer My God to Thee and wow, the spirit was so strong that I couldn't help the tears in that moment. Love that woman too much to see her in that much pain. She loved seeing us and so grateful that I had the opportunity to do so. I'll have to update you next week on how she's doing. So that evening we were still on exchanges and taught the Maurer family again using the story of Captian Moroni on how he fortified his cities (mentioned in Alma 50:1-6) and the importance of strengthening our own testimonies as a family. THey loved it so much that they kept the drawing and put it up on the fridge. I see great things happening for this family! They are awesome. They've been meeting with missionaries for 16 years and I hope that we're the last ones to make that effort to get them to the temple to be sealed forever! I'm determined.

Well highlight lessons of the week were with Keisean and Gaige. We went and talked with Keisean (11 year old investigator) about getting baptized and so we asked him to pray and we prayed with him about a date and we felt from the spirit the same thing -April 26th!!! So all he has to do is ask his momma and we should be set! This kid is so awesome! I went through the Baptismal Interview Questions with him and he was answering the questions so well and with so much conviction. He's smart and listens to everything being taught to him at church. My favorite was when I asked him what repentance meant and he said "It's like a mini baptism every time you repent-your sins are forgiven and you can start over with a clean slate" Loooove this kid! Then we also had a lesson with Gaige Devlin again. We talked again about the Restoration, just to clear up some questions and then went to put in the Restoration video and her comment was "You guys can put in the movie but I already believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet" yesssssssss. And then after the movie we invited her to be baptized and she so humbly said "Yes, I've been waiting for this for a long time." She's so solid! This girl has been through a lot with drugs starting all the way back when she was 13, but over the last few years has gotten clean and wants to make the right choices and just loves the spirit she feels when she talks with missionaries. So golden! We love her too!

So that i what is new for us. Looooove hangin with everyone in my zone-I've made some real great friends. We had a bonfire this past week for FHE and played football and messed around with uke's and yeah, it was a blast. We work hard and play hard here in the Utah, Ogden mission-lovin' my life right now! Well I hope everyone has a great week!
Let go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

P.S. Pics-went up to Logan last p-day and walked around the coolest temple ever with these gals!

Apr 8
Another fantastic week here in the awesome Utah, Ogden mission! I'm pretty sure this is the best place to serve a mission. I know every missionary says that about their area, but I'm just about 110% sure that this is the place to be. More great adventures have happened this week!

Started with our lesson with our nonmember baptist friend-Gary! He is a very sad man. It was actually really heartbreaking hearing how he just feels like he's in a hole and just wants to be loved by his wife and how much he misses his daughter who passed away a year ago. We shared a lot of scripture to just have faith and that we were there for him to rely on and to learn how to heal all his wounds through the atonement of Christ. He already has a great love for his Savior and really enjoyed having us over and invited us back! It didn't feel right to extend a baptism quite yet, but hopefully soon! But we did extend a baptism date to Brock( 9 year old) and he was so excited! The mom is going to pray herself to see if the 19th on this month will be the best for her son sooooo fingers crossed. He loves the gospel so much and has such a sweet testimony and wants the spirit as his constant companion that I pray it's not delayed any longer. Another stellar kid we are working with is Keisean! He's 11 years old and honestly this kid is the next prophet. He's been going to church for years, but his mom won't let him be baptized (yet ;)), but he has the great support of his step-mom and nonmember father. Their story is really incredible. The step-mom (Jill) and the dad (Jay) met because he was her boyfriends drug-dealer. Well they got married and she was an alcoholic and one day had this awakening while she was watching Keisean and her daughter (Breanna-yes spelled the same way as my only sista!) play that this was real life and that she needed to get hers in order. So she quit drugs and drinking cold turkey and is now a faithful endowed member!
Love that girl! And now has raised the kids in the gospel and what's incredible is how much Keisean has just absorbed. He's one of those kids that listens to everything being taught and could even repeat it back to you if you asked. Anywho, we had a Family Home Evening with them and told them about the purpose of Easter and wow the spirit was so strong that I am pretty sure even Jay felt it (who claims to be a atheist). Keisean loved it and we asked him to talk to his mom about baptism soooo fingers crossed for him too! We also shared an Easter message with Ryan and I did the lovely visual of how Christ took on our sins and infirmities by placing different spices in a cup of water and drinking the "bitter cup" (D + C 19:18-19) as a representative of Christ- I actually drank the whole thing this time! Crazy what a strong spirit in the room can make you do and the great reaction of a guy who wants to understand Christ better. For him, that visual was perfect (even if I did want to throw-up) and he was all smiles and really engaged as we talked about how the Atonement could change him into who he wanted to become, he just needed to have faith. I did the same visual for a less active family we began teaching, the Maurers, and the four little kids freaked out haha But they loved it and now have a goal to make it to the temple to be sealed as a family. One of my all time favorite moments of the week was teaching these two non members-Gaige (23 years old) and Journey (11 years old). They're sister and were curious about the church and so we taught them the Restoration and asked if baptism would ever be something they wanted. They both were all smiles as they said yes and as long as they learned enough to make that decision-we said we could do that for them and they were all smile! So we have two new people investigating the church!! Love being a missionary and feeling that spirit everyday and watching people change their lives for the better. I'm sure I say this every post, but it never gets old for me. I am so privileged and blessed and I know that this the work for the true gospel of Jesus Christ!

Well other adventures included going down to Salt Lake City where my companion and I, along with our less active friend Jacquie, got to attend conference for the first time. Hollly shoot dang, speaking of the spirit! I was skeptical that I would feel the spirit as strongly as everyone professed to feel when the prophet walked in but oh was I pleasantly surprised to have the spirit touch my soul in a way I have never felt before, literally. It felt like Christ was standing in the room and I couldn't help but smile as this added to my testimony of the fact that Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet. Words really don't do it justice; if any of you ever get the chance to go (which it is open to anyone of any faith as long as you have a free ticket) please go. You will never regret it. Jacquie loved it too and really felt the spirit strongly there. All in all it was a wonderful experience. One last great experience before your eyes fall out from reading so much because I always type mammoth-sized posts. Sister Horvath and I were asked to plan a FHE at President Hiers home this past Monday and it went really well. We played the signs game where every person in the circle picks a sign and you have to pass signs around without the person in the middle noticing where it was at. If they catch you then you got hit with a giant stuffed bunny. Lots of laughs with that one.
 To go along with the Easter theme we then had a lesson at the end on the atonement of Christ. We previously had made cupcakes for this event and it was something that Horvath had done in a previous area and I really loved the visual. So we asked the zone to pick someone to represent the group and they picked our fearless zone leader, Elder Berg! Then as I went from person to person with a cupcake Sister Horvath would ask Elder Berg to do 5 push-ups for that person to have their cupcake. Even if they didn't want the cupcake, he still had to do 5 push-ups for them. It was real rowdy at first as they were cheering him on, but with 18 people in the room, after a while the spirit really set in on how he was representing Christ who suffered the Atonement for each of us individually. And especially towards the end when he started to struggle there was a reverence in the room. We bore our testimony of his love and how the atonement wasn't performed to blanket everyone's mistakes and pains, but that He suffered for us one by one because He loves everyone that much. Even if they won't accept Him, He still went through what He did for each of us. We then let others share their testimony and wow, it was just perfect. Really strengthened mine. We then handed out plastic eggs with candy that were each individualized about the things we found special in each of them and all in all, it was an awesome evening.

Well to wrap this up, funny moment of the week was when I had dental work done and my face was so numb that when the zone made me laugh when we were out to lunch, I definitely lost my food . haha Well love ya'll! Hope ya have a great week!
Let go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

 Pics: 1. Horvath and I with Jacquie! 2. Me with some Elders form my last zone-pretty much the greatest eva. 3. The Conference Center! It holds 21,000 people. Beat that Disneyland. 4. Us with Elders Stringer, Berg (ZL) and Cressman (ZL). We be swoll like that. 5. All these lovely ladies have been my comps! Pretty legit.

Apr 1

Hey everyone!!
So its been quite the week. Started it off in the hospital after breaking my femur after attempting a back flip on a trampoline- April fools! haha Couldn't help myself :) you're welcome. Anywho, life in Roy is crazy awesome; learning to love it here. The weather, not so much. The joke here is if you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it'll change. And change it does! This past week started with us playing sand volleyball on Pday to now it is snowing  giant flakes and thundering and lightning. April definitely came in like a lion! (We heard this great story the other day where this little girl asked her mom is it was a "sheep day".She had heard the saying that March "comes in like a lion and out like a lamb" and just wanted to know if it was a "sheep day" haha). But we still work hard rain, shine or snow!

We had a lot of great lessons this past week. One of my favorites was this guy named Derek whom we found tracting (I think I mentioned him in the last post...). Anywho, he's an inactive member so he had us over and we shared a message with him and his 5 year old son about Easter. Had a lot of fun explaining the purpose of why it's celebrated to a little kid who didn't know much about it all. We then adopted a Bermudan cultural tradition by making kites for the Easter season! Apparently it's a tradition there to fly them the Friday before Easter to remember that "He's Risen!" It was a lot of fun. In another lesson we taught Mike and Erica-a newly wed couple just returning to church after years of inactivity. It was great because the dad is making such great changes in his life to receive his patriarchal blessing and to be worthy of the priesthood. The spirit was real strong as we talked about how much he'll bless his family and at the end of the lesson he asked if we could teach his kids in a couple weeks so they can get baptized-heck ya! Then we went over to see Brock (9 year old) to refresh his mind about the Restoration and what it means as we work with the family to figure out a baptism date. While there we met his 15 year old brother who ran away from his Dad's house this past week, lived with just the clothes on his back for 5 days, slept on a bench, drank water from a river which he would boil in an old beer can and eventually got so hungry that he smacked a robin out of a tree with a stick and ate it. Next scout master right there. haha So crazy! We teased about rabies and the bird flu and how he survived hobo-ism - it was awesome. Met a random guy named Gary while tracting who is a nonmember and wants us to come back over and talk to him so we are stoked for that one! Also met another lady who just found out she was pregnant, had just quit drugs and wants to meet with us this next week if the court doesn't send her back to jail. Really great experience talking with her though honestly. She got teary-eyed as we expressed how much God loved her and wanted her to find peace and truly be happy. I really hope we get to see her again! She said she was lost and has had it rough lately and my heart went out to her realizing that through everything she's done, God still loves her and hears her prayers. It's great being a missionary and having those unique opportunities to see people the way that God sees them and to have that desire to help them in every way. I'm so grateful that the Atonement pays the debt that we all create for ourselves-that all we need to do is to choose to change and to pray for forgiveness and God remembers our misdeeds no more.

Well other adventures included us attending a baptism of a girl that Sister Horvath actually found in our apartment complex but being of singles ward age, had to be turned over to the singles ward Elders. Her name is Mel and she's a doll! She was so excited for her baptism and when she came up out of the water her first comment was "I feel like a wet dog!" haha It was hilarious. Another adventure included the whole zone plus senior couples doing a service project at Mandy's house doing a bunch of fix-me-ups that's she's had on her list forever! We had a blast, played a bit of football and got a lot done! Then for a FHE this past week our zone got permission to watch Prince of Egypt!!! If you want to watch a bunch of missionaries freak out and sing random religious songs, play that movie. haha It was a blast! Then I also go to perform with my companion this past week at sacrament meeting! We sang a beautiful arrangement of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and the spirit was incredible. Even saw a few people with tears in their eyes. I received the greatest compliment of "you should be a jazz singer" from the choir director afterwards haha

Well to finish up the week we had a pretty stellar blonde moment. We were waiting for a ride and as this car pulled up we hopped in...and it was NOT our ride! haha Gave the poor lady a heart-attack! So being completely embarrassed we jumped out of her car and jumped into the next car only to smack my face on the door resulting in a split fat lip. Oh the life of being, well... myself.

Well I hope ya'll had a great week! Love ya!
Let go, Let God
Sister Kodi Norton

Pics: My companion made me a Broncos cupcake! And we said goodbye to Melissa as she headed off to her mission in Edmonton, Canada!

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