Sunday, July 14, 2013

´´minor side affects may include, drowsiness, minor headaches, loss of sleep, minor back pains from sitting at a desk all day, reduced morning study time, accelerated hearing degeneration from constant phone calls, little to no lessons taught weekly due to ´TO DO LISTS´ the size of spain, etc.....´´ (Sam)

Hi Blog followers! Because of family vacations, etc I got behind a week with Sam's emails as well.  Below I'm posting one from last week and then this week's.
Jon bought this t-shirt for Sam...
Elder Samuel Parker Norton

July  6, 2013

What a week!!

   I hope you´re all doing as well as I am! Its been a craazy week but things are great. The older AP thats here right now goes home at the end of this transfer aka in 2 and a half weeks and I had forgotten how different it is living with missionaries that are so close to going home.... haha he´s a great elder and his not slowing down or anything, (he actually teaches TONS of lessons especially for being AP) but today we ended up going to a mall and to a bunch of clothes stores cuz he´s buying all of his clothes for home here...... super weird! 

   You guys remember how a couple of weeks ago I had the ´´busiest week of my mission´´?? That was transfers week...... Aaaaaaand, we´re already closer to THE NEXT TRANSFERS WEEK than we are to the last one. ITS COMING BACK TO HAUNT US! :) The truth is though, that´s what we´re here for... I´ve been having a little inner lucha against myself about what is required of us here in the office/how we´re supposed to work here in the office. The truth is that we may never know exactly, and I don´t think we´ll never completely agree as an office staff either, but my take on it is that we have been called to... how would you say it?... save or protect... the rest of the mission´s time. WE (the office missionaries) have to do the not-so-fun, too-hard-to-do-so-i´ll-forget-about-it-for-now kind of things that missionaries don´t want to think about... for example..... residency, looking up/buying travel stuff, apartment finding, paying rent and bills, phone bills and problems, money refunds for cost of living, scheduling and daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly planning for the mission......... are all things that any normal person in the world would have to think about. THE REASON office missionaries exist, is so that street missionaries DON´T have to worry about that stuff, and so that they can ONLY focus on the people.... Cool right? Yes. ´´minor side affects may include, drowsiness, minor headaches, loss of sleep, minor back pains from sitting at a desk all day, reduced morning study time, accelerated hearing degeneration from constant phone calls, little to no lessons taught weekly due to ´TO DO LISTS´ the size of spain, etc.....´´ :D haha but THAT is why I´m here right now.
   I´m out of time but thank you so much for your emails and support. I´ll be fasting with you! Those of you out there that have written me letters, I WILL WRITE BACK! Mama, I got my international drivers permit and the spanish songs cd. That was the one I was looking for! Thank you! I´ll let you know next week if anything else comes. Thanks! Love you!

Élder Norton
La Misión España Málaga
La Iglesia de Jesucristo S.U.D.

(^ what I put on each of my emails that I send out from the office..... :D)

July 13, 2013

Heey! Great to hear from you! We had an awesome week here. Its starting to get pretty hot here too!

Well the week was actually quite eventful, so i´m gonna go in chronological order...

Our car broke down exactly two weeks ago and last week I think I mentioned that we took a taxi out to the dealership to pick it up and it was closed so we had to walk all the way back.. hah so this monday morning we went and picked it up. Monday mornings are probably the busiest day for us cuz we have a meeting with president in the morning that we have to get everything ready for, its the rest of the mission's pday and we have to get the mission bulletin and message and stuff ready and just for being the first ´work day´ after the weekend everything just starts back up on monday.. So anyways, we got a ton of work done on monday and I got a bunch of huge pieces of apartment rents done too. It felt really good.

Tuesday morning was normal office work and tuesday night and wednesday morning was district leader training. I´m district leader her so elder butler and I were able to go attend that meeting. It was really fun to go see a bunch of people again too.. elder núñez was there, a buddy named elder hooper, a bunch of people, so that was fun. We learned in the conference about why and how we should use the Book of Mormon in our teaching. and then that night we were actually able to put it into practice with one of our less actives thats struggling. Really cool to help him feel the spirit again.

Thursday we drove out to a morning cita about 45 minutes from the office and the family wasn´t there. :\ ...... It was family of one of our Filipino members and we were going to meet up at a spot to then go to there house but when we got there they were already gone... :( huge let down. That afternoon the hermanas here in fuengirola had a baptismal interview set up with one of their investigators. They met with him at about 5:45 and the interview was going to start at 6:45. My comp and I got there at about 6:35, and waited outside the room for them to finish. A man walked up to the church about 6:55 for the english classes the hermanas were gonna do at 7 and when he presented himself I recognized his name as another one of the hermanas investigators. It was nice to meet him and we talked for about 15 minutes outside and then we realized he didn´t really know how a baptism would happen so we showed him the baptismal font. We walked in the room and you could just feel his interest.. and that he was intrigued. :) The spirit was really strong there and my companion and I were very pleased to be able to show that to him. The hermanas walked out of their cita and started their class and my comp and I walked outside to our car. The hermanas investigator left the building the same way and we got another really good chance to just stop and talk with their investigator. Great guy with a really hard life. Trying to get things figured out and I think a simple conversation with some simple Q and A´s with us really helped him. Its interesting how the work is changing with so many new sister missionaries. Almost ALL the areas that are open now either have or will have at least one set of elders and at least one set of sisters by october. It is a huuuge blessing. What president is doing (he is so inspired) is encourage teamwork... meaning, the elders come and visit once with the hermanas so that the investigator meets more members/missionaries. Or things like doing a contacting activity all together in one of the areas to help specifically that area and all the contacts from both companionships go to that companionship. Anyways, things that build unity and friendship. Things that help us remember we are all a team. And for the most part, its working! I love meeting the hermanas investigators... and the hermanas know that we aren´t gonna try to take their investigators or anything and so they actually want us to meet their investigators too! So its fun. The work is moving well.

Friday morning we had a short, sweet, and powerful district meeting. I have the best district! (Elder Castillo, Hermana Castillo, Hermana Ramsay, Hermana Theobald, Elder Butler, Elder Norton, Elder Estrada, and Elder Góchez) Friday evening we went out to a town about an hour from fuengirola to visit the family from estonia. Its been soo hard to visit them for 
1) cuz they are so far from the office and 2) just because of the sheer demand of the office work. But we finally got to visit them and Elder Castillo came! He´s soo awesome! He´s actually really funny too! I don´t know if you could get that over the phone but he is hilarious. Ex-drama teacher btw. We talk drama and shows all the time. Anyways, the family is doing great. The mother, oldest son, and second oldest all accepted the baptismal invitation. The youngest two are not 8 yet.. but the only problem is the distance... and money. They have no way to get to church.. cuz its basically 14 euros a person to and from church... and if all 5 go.. 70 euros a sunday..... imposible. So we´re praying... and they´re praying... pray with us please! After that cita, Elder Castillo took us out to dinner....... :D and we went to a cool restaurant that had everything in english, spanish, and german... just cuz there are so many different types of people that come through. I think we had Russians on our left, English in front of us, and Scandanavians to our right.. the waiters were Spanish and we were Americans. 5 nationalities at one restaurant. :) fun night.

Saturday! P-DAY. The AP´s went with my comp and a member this morning to malaga to play soccer with the missionaries there and I went with the Spainhowers (the missionary couple that let us use their skype at christmas time) to go golfing! :D They finish their mission in a week and a half and I mentioned that i wanted to go golfing and they said well lets go before we go home cuz we haven´t golfed yet!.. I invited president too cuz I think he´s been itchin to go but he couldn´t make it so I said, ´´we´ll go another time´´ and he goes ´´good cuz I want to go!´´ :) I mentioned it to justin, presidents son and he said, if you guys go i´ll go! So I´m gonna go golfin with my mission president and his son!! :P I´ll attach you some pictures from today. It was suuuunny! We had fun. The course was really small, basically a chip and putt course.. (I used a 52º and a putter the whole time........ and the one time I used a 7 iron a overshot the green and hit it into the street... hahah :) but I played all right for so long without playing.
Elder Spainhower and Elder Norton

A couple of interesting things going on in the mish! just to finish up...
- Khaki pants are now allowed.... as well as sweater vests, tie pins, and a couple other random things...
-They are starting to ask that we don´t use backpacks... interesting...
-They are suuper downgrading the phones we buy for missionaries to use....
hmmmmmm the work is changing! I think the last one is cuz one day iPads will be used here.. and the only thing the iPad won´t do is call so they just want the cheapest gadgit that can do the job.. (might as well just go back to smoke signals though.. they suuuper downgraded the phones.. look up the nokia 100 if you wanna see what we have to use now.. haha)

Anyways! Thats it for now! That was a really long email! Sorry.. Love you!

Élder Norton

ps. Elder Castillo relayed your message back to me and I couldn´t wipe the smile off my face. :) Love you.

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