Thursday, November 22, 2012

"when I say "Thank you," there is much more to it than just those eight little letters." (Hilary)

Dear family,

I love you all so much and am so extremely thankful for you in my life. I love to give thanks, but sometimes I hesitate because I know I can't express what I want to. But (I received the November package, thanks Mom :)) feeling gratitude and not expressing thanks is like wrapping a present and not giving it. Every second of every day I feel grateful for my family and friends. Know that when I say "Thank you," there is much more to it than just those eight little letters. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Okay, we had an eventful week and I am so excited to be able to write you all and tell you about it.

So, to begin with, here is part of my letter to President.

We have spent a lot of time in this transfer, as well as the last, with an investigator, L, who has progressed so much. His life has changed so much and he is so much happier. His baptism was planned for Saturday, but Thursday he told us he wouldn't be baptized (This might have been one of the saddest moments of my mission. I cried in front of him, which I really didn't want to do, but couldn't help.). He said he enjoys reading the Book of Mormon and will keep attending church and he promises the change in habits will last, but he says it isn't yet time to be baptized. It is not something he has ever wanted to do. When he told us all this, we were heartbroken. It was a moment I took to really reflect on what I am doing here and the purpose of my mission. We did everything we could, and continue to help him, but we are now waiting on the Lord's timing and L's willingness to obey completely.

Once again, this week we found a few people who seemed to be amazing investigators. Only a little later did we realize that they are already members (who somehow hadn't remembered that they had been baptized into the church until a member reminded them). It is neat to be able to work with them though, and bring them back to the church. I have a firm testimony that we can achieve the greatest amount of happiness when we base our lives on the principles of the Gospel of our Savior.

F and L are two children of an older couple that we contacted. When we visited them, a family member of theirs reminded them that they (the parents) had already been baptized. They told us that Sunday that had to build a bathroom 
(They have been living without a bathroom for years after some natural disaster or something. [Sorry, still have a few small holes in my understanding with the language barrier]) and couldn't attend church, so Saturday we helped them with that so that they would have time to attend Sunday. The ward was extremely warm and receptive and F and L are really looking forward to being baptized.

Cool. Okay, so to respond to a few things, Dad, tell Michael Kimball I say hi! Of course I remember him. We were in Missionary Prep together. He is a good kid. Also, I am looking forward to reading your talks. But, did someone record it? Because, I want to hear it, too. I know I am asking a lot. And, Dad, know that your mansion in los cielos is getting better and better every day. I have always been really impressed by your humility and willingness to do all that is required of you. Thanks for your example.

Mom, don't worry. You are not sending too little, never worry about that. I love receiving packages and letters from home and Hermana Marca tells me that it helps me keep going, so much good comes from it.

Okay, how cool that The District is going to be a TV show. I can't wait to watch. Yes, missionary work is so incredibly hard. Outside of the mission it is not something you can comprehend. But. It's important. It's what God asks us to do.

So, the other day we knocked on M's door and she answered crying. She has been super sick lately and finally the doctors told her she has breast cancer. What I have learned I guess is I really am able to see how God blesses us with trials and challenges that really match our capacity to withstand. M is the strongest teenage girl I have ever met and she is sure that God will help her along the way. She has really had some amazing experiences. I admire her a lot.

So funny side story. There is an hermano here in one of our wards that is so great. He has a car and drives us around to a few of our appointments that are really far away where there are no buses. He always teases me about his brother who goes to BYU. Anyway, yesterday we were visiting his family because his dad is the bishop and we were having a little meeting with him to really figure out how we can work more effectively with the ward members. We are in their home talking with the bishop when we hear the Skype sounds going off on their computer (that they recently just got, along with internet access). For the first time since 2006 they were able to see and talk to their son. Anyway, he lives in King Henry and was talking a lot about Utah. It was a really weird moment for me. I got a little wierded out thinking about it/listening. But it was good, because I realized there is no part of me that wants to be anywhere but in the mission.

Okay, well time to go. But I am still waiting to see pictures of Caden's birthday party. I hope you all have a good time in California this week as a family. I love you all. Happy Thanksgiving! I will pray for your investigators, Sam. Please pray for mine!


H. Norton

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