Monday, October 17, 2011


Dear Mum,

Sorry this will be super short but the first two places we tried to do emails the Internet was down, and on our way home we stoped to check in a little place and we finally where able to get on, but its kind of late now I just didn't want you to worry. I am still working with a stake missionary its actually the same guy Karebwa, its actually been really good he is really fun to work with.

One thing I want to tell you is ,if you remember Taate the lady from Bairiki who was supposed get baptized but then her husband was upset. Well I dont know if I told you but a few weeks after I left she got baptized. We went to Bairiki today and I was able to visit her for a few minutes. It was really nice to talk with her, she told me her husband has softened up a lot after she got baptized. Just thought I would let you know.
Tell everyone hi for me.Love you heaps.

Elder Norton


Dear Mum,

Things are going pretty good, it's been pretty interesting as well, if you remember Elder Pearson he just got called to be an AP and went to the Marshall's. The problem is no one came to replace him so we where missing a missionary, so Elder Flynn went to Buota with Elder Tiree and I didn't have a comp for a few days. Right now I am working with a stake missionary named Karebwa. He has received his mission call to south Africa but won't be leaving for a while so he will be working with me for a while as long as he is free, if he is busy I will find someone else. It's a little weird but Karebwa is cool.

Conference was awesome but I only ended up having one investigator come and some recent converts and a less active. But conference was so good, I always feel so good about life afterwards.

I will think of some things I might want in a box the only thing I know of right now is a jump rope. I think that's about it for now I'm about out of you heaps.

Love, Elder Norton


Dear Mom,
I'm glad you all enjoyed conference, I hope the rest of it went just as well. This will be quick. To answer your question no we don't have a microwave, there is only one house that I know of that has a microwave. I'm about out of time so sorry this is so short but my companion is waiting. I'm doing fine nothing much to report. Tell everyone that I love them.

Elder Norton


Dear mum,

I'm definitely not as sure as you seem to be, that I will do fine as district leader but I guess we will see. This week has had ups and downs but the ups where really good. We had a baptism this week that went pretty good (remind me to send a picture next week). We baptized Roruamwa (the daughter of the couple I told you about last week)and then Kaain a twelve year old boy. We where going to have another person Nei Meekati but as she put it she crashed with the month (or"that time" of the month). She did come and watch though and should be baptized next week. That was the best thing to happen this week that I can think of.One random question what mission is Burlington in. I ask because a guy in my branch just got his call to serve in the
Des Moines, Iowa mission, I told him if it was in his mission he needed to go baptize my Grandma. I thought that it was pretty cool that someone from little Kiribati got there call to Iowa. The two stakes here do pump out quite a few missionaries. In our branch we have two that just left , two who have there calls, and two who are waiting for their calls to come, and those are just the ones I know personally. There are a few others out who I don't know.Well I think that's about it from me I hope everything goes well with all of you.

Love, Elder Norton


Dear mom,

I'm doing fine here, my area is great. We haven't been doing as much teaching as I would like, this past week we seemed to have a lot of appointments fall thorough, but we did get some new people this week.We had one really cool lesson with a couple last week, it was our first lesson and we taught the plan of salvation it went really well. They understood everything really well, but then at the end of the lesson Elder Flynn had them read a couple verses from Moroni 8 the husband(Tekautu) started reading and then couldn't finish because he started crying his wife finished it. Afterward he explained that they had just had a two year old child pass away last year. It was really cool, they said they finally felt peace. They knew where their child was and that they wanted to work hard to end up in the same place. The bad part was that Tekautu was about to leave to work on a ship and has now left. We are going to keep teaching his wife. His daughter has been taking the lessons for a while and should get baptized this week.
I feel bad about Brother Rollins they sent me a Christmas card and I never sent anything back, tell Sister Rollins I said hello. How are the Arruda's, does dad still home teach them? Its good to hear that Oli came to the ward party.
Tell Mattie I'm not sure if Christina will email or send letters, they asked for your address so i'm not sure.
Well I don't really have much else to say from my end. I did just get called as the new district leader, and I'm really not looking forward to it. I would say I don't know why they called me but in this mission its pretty much if you are white you will probably be in leadership, its just pretty small out here there's not much to choose from. I hope everyone is doing good love ya all.

Love, Elder Norton


Mauri Tamau, and au utu nikabeni. (Dad and all the fam)

Its good to hear from you Dad, sound's like things are going alright back home. I'm doing fine this could be really short. I'm in a little Internet place packed with little kids playing games (and tons watching). Anyway the Internet is slow and the power here has been really bad lately ,it just went out a few minutes ago and probably will again. It has been raining constantly for two days maybe that has something to do with it.Let Mattie know that Christina got the stuff she sent.
I'm doing fine don't worry about me, it has been harder being the senior comp mostly just because of who I am with. His last couple companions where good with whatever, rules really didn't mater at all, and that's not how I feel. so that creates problems, I don't think I'm going to really change his mind about things I really don't know what to do about it. The problem is now I'm the one responsible. But I know I just need to change be more blunt and patient.(a lot easier said than done)
Sorry for that really I'm fine ,we have some great people, Elder Flynn is a good missionary. I love you all I hope things go well for everyone.

Love, Elder Norton


Dear Mum,

I am doing well, we had a pretty slow week which kinda stunk. We just didn't get many lessons at all. But we will do better this week.One thing that happened this past week was zone conference which was really good. It was good to see President Shaw again and we had some awesome trainings from the Shaw's and others they focused a lot on obedience, which our side of the mission seems to struggle with quite a lot. It was a really good zone conference and we had a really great lunch, the senior couples did it. They had hot dogs with potato salad, and ice cream for desert. It was so good, they usually do something good for zone conference lunch but that was my favorite so far.As for my area its a pretty cool area to work in there are some really awesome people here. We do need to find more people to teach though. It is a really big area, really spread out partiality because we have the airport right in the middle of it. It's definitely different then any other airport you will probably see not just because its super small but this is Kiribati and no one really cares about much so you can just chill out on the runway any time you want to. We walk up and down it to get to lessons, people drive down it, that picture is of a super nice plane. It lands and then just sits there completely unattended(that's Elder Flynn beside it). I love Kiribati, its so random. As for my companion things are different he doesn't really care about rules much. We will see how things go.I hope everything goes well with your get together, I guess the one is probably over. I did get that box you sent thanks a ton sorry I forgot to tell you it came. I cant think of anything else I need besides the stuff I told April, I'm doing good with clothes I don't think I will really need replacements of anything through the rest of my time (and if anyone sends ties tell them just send cheap ones).

Well I think that's about it for now, not much exiting to say. I hope everything is going good with everyone. Love you all!

Love, Elder Norton


Dear Mum,

It's been an interesting week, getting whitewashed into an area isn't to fun. It is the same branch as Buota but I really only knew the members in my area not so much in Bonriki, so we have tried to get to know the members in our area while trying to find the people we are supposed to be teaching. There have been a few rough days. Mostly because I'm supposed to be leading out since Elder Flynn has only been out five months. I have to do more speaking then I'm used to ( I'm hardly the best at the language) and I seem to be failing a bit lately. I'm just really not cut out to be a leader. But oh well complaining won't change anything. It hasn't been all bad working here this is a pretty good branch, and we have some of the coolest strongest members in our area (and our branch just won everything in the stake singing competition) so I'm sure everything will be just fine. I just need to get used to things.
One interesting thing happened yesterday is here in Kiribati they have big gatherings or party's called botaki's. They have them for things like 1st& 21st birthdays, deaths, and some other weird ones. So yesterday at the end of church everyone got invited to the death botaki at the branch presidents house. So we had to go there was no way out of it. It was fine, mostly we just sang with the ward for the family and watched them bury the body. She was catholic and so was most of her family but her brother is a member of the branch so it was good to support him. The problem was that it took all day, so we didn't teach any lessons. But a few of the people we were supposed to teach were at the botaki as well. It was just interesting. It was the longest one I have been in but its really important in the culture and I didn't know how to get out of it.
Well I think that's about it for now I hope everything is going good, let everyone know that I love them.

Love, Elder Norton


Dear Mum,

I'm sorry this may be short but I don't have as much time as I thought I would. So I finally got transferred on Thursday I am in Bonriki with Elder Flynn from Boise Idaho, he actually used to live in Mountain Home what are the chances eh. He has been out for 5 months so I am senior. It's the first time for me (I went a whole year as a junior comp) and I really don't like it. It's been kind of a rough couple of days because we got whitewashed into our area so neither of us know the area. It's the same branch as Buota but I don't even know many of the members in our area, so that's been hard. I have found that I am not really a leader I really don't enjoy having to make most all the decisions. Well hopefully I will get used to it. Its always hard leaving an area that you had gotten used to, I haven't heard what happened with Taate but there were supposed to be 4 people baptized in bairiki the week I left. It really stinks not being able to see that, but that's the way it goes.
Well I don't have much time left so I think that's about it for this week. I love you all.
Love, Elder Norton

P.S are you guys moving posibaly?


Mauri au utu,

This week started off OK and ended up pretty rough. First off I am still in Bairiki with Elder Lowery, we are just waiting for the new Elders coming from America. They Finally got there visas but their flight had already been changed to go to the Marshall Island first. So we don't really know for sure when they are coming, when they come one will stop in Christmas and my companion will come from there. Then as for Taate well that's really sad, she didn't get baptised this week. We talked to her on Thursday and she said that her husband still wanted her to go to church in the KPC first, sorry that's confusing. Her husband is really strong in the protestant church here but as we visited them he softened up a lot. At first he wouldn't let her come to church, then he said she could go to church in the Mormon Church if she went to the KPC first, so she always came to Sunday school and Sacrament meetings. He said that she could get baptized if she wanted, but they have an adopted daughter who is training to become a Minister in Fiji, because of that he felt he couldn't listen till they let her know. He wanted Taate to keep going to church with him. Well when she told us Thursday we didn't know if that would be a problem, so we talked to the Zone Leaders before the interview and they felt like she should wait. That didn't seem like a big deal. We talked with her and she said she would write her daughter and let her know she was going to be baptized. We felt like things were still OK, she would just wait a week or to until the Zone leaders could ask President Shaw. I was sad because she is one of the most ready people I have ever taught. The real kick in the gut came on Saturday when we went to visit her, she told us that when she told Botara her husband that she couldn't get baptised because she couldn't go to all of church he her told well that's Gods plan that you shouldn't go to the Mormon church and that she couldn't attend church anymore. She told us he has gone back to being really strict with her. She even said she picked up her Book Of Mormon to read on Friday and he got all mad at her and said you can't get baptised so whats the point of you reading in that book, so she can't even read know. We had a good talk with her and told her not to give up but she seemed pretty hopeless about it all so we gave her a blessing of comfort, that was good. She already has a strong testimony of the Priesthood because Pearson and I gave her a blessing once when she was sick and she told us it helped her, so I hope she felt comforted. Hopefully things will all work out we have been praying really hard to know what to do and I'm still not really sure, but I know it will work out.
So anyway it wasn't all bad this week, we should have a few people getting baptized this Saturday so that should be good. The lady in the picture is one that will get baptized this week her name is Mireta, her husband was less active before but they have been coming lately, so definitely some good stuff is happening. Well I don't know of much else that happened this week. That's cool that mMattie got a letter from Wana shes cool. I gave Her your address but I didn't know if she would write so I asked Christina as well.
Well I love you all thanks for the emails p-days have been a lot more enjoyable lately. So I will talk to ya all next week.

Love, Elder Norton


Dear Fam,

I'm doing good. I didn't get transferred yet, the new Elders haven't had problems with their visas so I didn't leave but Elder Pearson did get made zone leader.The Elder that he replaced is my companion here until the new guys come. His name is Elder Lowery and he is from Canada, eh (actually he doesn't say that). He is an interesting guy lets just say that. I will definitely be transferring. I will be going to Bonriki which is actually the same branch as buota. So I will have worked in all three areas in that district ,temaiku, buota, and bonriki. My new comps name will be Elder Flinn, I think he is from Idaho.He is on Christmas Island right now so when the new Elders come one of them will stop there and he will come here with the other three. It could be this week or the week after I don't know for sure.

Other than that nothing really exiting is happening here right now I hope everything is going good back there. I actually got an email from Tressa that was cool. I hope I don't miss any emails, we email a little bit earlier than we had before. I really can't think of much to write right now. Let everyone know that I love them ,till next week I guess, Tiabo.

Love Elder Norton

PS this is just the bathroom in the bairiki house its pretty small.

* Sorry I have not been able to get the pictures on yet.


Dear Fam,

First off, thanks for all the emails from everyone. It was really exiting to hear from everybody (sorry if I made people feel bad), But I really appreciate the emails. I feel bad I won't be able to answer everyone.
We had a pretty eventful week on Tuesday we met with two guys from America, which was unusual. You don't see many Americans here. We first met them last week and set a time to talk with them. They are here from some none denominational church. They said they just wanted to see what God is doing here and help with it. They are from N Carolina. We had an interesting talk (it was weird talking in English) but we actually gave them a Book of Mormon, we only had one in English and they seemed interested to read it. So that was interesting they didn't seem like they wanted to join the church but they definitely respect us. They told us to keep up the good work because they hear good things about the Mormon church here.
We had another really productive week here. We taught a lot of lessons had a lot of people at church. Best of all we had a baptism. It was an 11 year old girl her name is Maurene, she is actually from the Marshall Islands. She doesn't speak much Kiribati so we taught in English which was hard. Her Mom is half Kiribati so she speaks some Kiribati. She is a member but wasn't active, but she wanted her daughter to be baptized so we taught her and she and her mom started coming back to church. They actually live with a member family here. Things went really well for the baptism it was just really cool seeing her get baptized and her mom come back. We actually have a lot of people right now who are really close to being baptized, there should be nine in the next couple of weeks. Neither Elder Pearson or I will probably see any of our people get baptized because he is becoming ZL (which we have known for a while). We just found out that I will be transferring as well. I'm really sad about that this a good area and we have awesome people, but its not up to me I guess I will see what happens.

I love you all so much, thanks again to everyone who wrote and for all of your prayers.

Love Elder Norton

Email 7/24/11 aka The Bubuti

Dear Fam (or Mom I guess)

Before I really start I have a question / *bubuti (and if only you read this Mom, show it to everyone). My question why do I only get one email a week? I have 8 siblings last I checked, and I know you are all busy I don't ask for much, it doesn't have to be long or interesting just something. It would be good for the younger kids even to practice emailing. I have tried to say this other times in a less direct way, last week when I asked for pictures of the new baby I didn't necessarily mean for Mom to do it someone else could email them. So thats my *bubuti for all of you to please email me. It doesn't need to be every week and I probably won't always be able to answer all of them at the same time, but honestly P days here are pretty Kabotu (boring) emails are like the only thing to really look forward to, not that I don't appreciate moms (since that's all I get I REALLY appreciate it). But it would be nice to hear from everyone about whats going on in their lives. Sorry I don't want to make people feel bad I know I'm not good at writing either, but just getting it out there.

Anyways enough of that, sorry about the tirade. Its really good to hear that Mattie heard from Christina I hope they can become friends her and her family are really cool (and her Grandma is one of my recent converts so that's cool). frees him up for So how is the ward doing is it still the same, meaning small? I hope the boys had a good time doing trek I'm sure they did, and that's pretty cool about Sam's drawing that someone wanted to buy, did they buy it ?
As for things for a box just whatever random stuff you think of i really just cant remember anything specific that I miss.
Me and Elder Pearson had a great week here in Bairiki we worked hard and when we added up our stats for the week it was the highest I have had on my mission so far, we taught 30 lessons and 16 of them were member present lessons (our mission goals are 25 lessons 15 mps) the coolest thing was that we had a baptism. It was a lady in her 40's named Teraumone she has been ready and waiting to be baptized for a while but she wasn't legally married so they had to wait for that. Her husband wanted to be baptized as well but he hasn't been able to stop smoking. He was so close but he just got called up to go work on a ship, he left today. So when he gets back in 10 months hopefully he will start being taught again. One other cool thing we had an investigator come to the baptism and then come to church the next day and we had 8 other investigators at church as well, it was a cool Sunday.
I think that's it for this week sorry no pics this week but I forgot some stuff at the house. I love you all I hope I hear from more of you next week.

Love Elder Norton

*The Bubuti system is used on the Pacific Island of Kiribati. It relates to the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights. Under the Bubuti System if someone is approached and says "I bubuti you for your shirt", that person is obliged to give you their shirt. However the next day you can go to the person now wearing your shirt and say "I bubuti you for your lantern", and now you have yourself a lantern.[1]

** We have since repented and are making a more valient effort at emailing on a regular basis.


Dear Fam,

Good to hear that things are going good back there.I hope Paige and the baby are doing good, if John or someone could email me a picture of her that would be really cool. Really any other pictures or emails from anyone would be good too.

As for us here we had an interesting week, it was the Kiribati Independence this week and all of Tarawa pretty much comes to Bairiki for the entire week. We knew we wouldn't get to teach many lessons because every one was busy (we only got 12 lessons). So we set up a stall at the celebration and gave out pamphlets, we sat there from Tuesday though Friday. It went alright but it could have been better. A big problem was since most people came here most all the missionaries came here too, but most of them just wanted to chill and not much got done some days.We did talk to some really cool people who seemed sincerely interested so hopefully something will happen with that.
So yep, I'm doing good. My comp is great to work with ,I have learned from him already and I hope I can learn a lot more.
Sorry this will be short but I had some computer problems and I don't think I have much time left so, I love ya all till next week ,tiabo.

Love Elder Norton


Dear Fam,

Mauri everyone, It's good hearing how people are doing. As for me I had a great week, my new companion has been great. its really nice having a companion who is motivated and wants to work hard, (the only thing that might not be good is we both came from having Kiribati comps so we probably talk in English to much) but we definitely worked hard this week and saw some miracles because of it. This week we really needed to find some new people to teach so we actually fasted last Sunday to find people and we where led to people.Here's one cool story, we had a long hot morning on Wednesday we walked over the causeway to the other part of our area called Nanikai and our first few lessons and our backup plans all fell through so we where standing under a tree trying to decide what to do and all the sudden a bird pooped all over my arm, at first I thought it was just another bad thing but after wiping it of with some leaves I wanted to wash it off so we went to a members house washed my arm off and then we asked if they knew anyone we could go see and they told us about a less active couple to go see and we ended up having a really cool lesson we the guy his name was Titaake. Hopefully that will go somewhere and we can help them come back. But the coolest thing that happened was on Friday things started off much the same as the other time, we where in that same area it was a really hot day,both of us felt really tired ,and we started with a couple appointments falling through, then we had a lesson with a less active guy which went for two hours because he just wouldn't stop talking. Neither of us could get much of a word in (I seriously almost fell asleep). So that didn't go to well and then we went to our appointment with a new couple we had just gotten a referral for and turned out they had gone to an outer island for a week. We where able to teach one of our other investigators that lives in the same house (its a members house) and that went well but really not the day we where hoping for. So then we decided to visit this other less active guy we have been teaching and he wasn't there but some other people in his house told us to come eat, I really didn't particularly want to when I saw what they where eating,but we joined them. There was one guy there who we hadn't really seen before, after we ate Elder Pearson asked if he had met with Elders before. He hadn't but said he would like to so we started to set an appointment, but he asked if we could teach him right then. We obviously said yes so we started teaching a little bit and it seemed to go well, he seemed interested and then at the end of the lesson he started talking and that's when I got blown away. He said he had read the pamphlets we had left with the less active guy and he had also started reading the book of Mormon and said he felt something inside when he read, he asked us how can I change my life and follow Christ. We where both blown away. We him taught again on Saturday and he came to church on Sunday.

Well my time is about up so I will close but, I love you all and hope to hear from more of you next week.

P.S. People outside the fam can email me if they want.

-Elder Norton

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Email 7/3/11

Dear fam
Mauri from Bairiki, I did get transferred. I now work in Bairiki which is more of a towny area, it's kind of weird I have been in more sparse areas before now. My new comp is Elder Pearson from Cedar City, Utah. It has been a great week, I actually found out I was transferring on Monday night and they told me to be ready to go at 7 the next morning so it was pretty sudden. I thought it would be after zone conference which was on Wednesday so it was kind of a crazy week but like said it was good. I am sad to leave Buota branch. I love the people there but this area seems good, it's actually a ward here in Bairiki (that's a first on my mission) and I am really excited to be working with Elder Pearson. He was part of the intake that came just before me so he is only a little over a month longer than me in Kiribati but he is way better at the language so hopefully I will improve my language working with him and he is a really hard worker and wants to be obedient. President did tell us that it might be for only about a month and there would probably be changes again (I think Elder Pearson will be made a zone leader, he is district leader here). I just hope to learn a lot from him while we are working together.
So that's been cool and we had a baptism this week. We taught the kid once before his baptism so I met him a couple times and he is really cool. His older sister is a member who is really faithful and I guess he showed up at church one day and said he wanted to be baptised, he is only 14. So that was cool, we also had zone conference this week which was really good, I felt really motivated afterwards. I think that's it about me for this week, I really cant think of anything I particularly need I'll think about it and if there is I will let you know. And for Mattie the email address for Christina is her dads it might be Sorry, you might have to try a couple let me know if they don't work and I will ask again (it's her dad's name but i don't know if he uses his last as well).
I hope everything goes alright with Paige I'm really exited to here next week if things have happened yet. I hope you all have a great 4th of July, the Kiribati Independence is next week so we aren't sure if the email place will be open so if you don't get an email that could be why. Anyways I love you all I will try and get some letters out soon but I think that's it for this week.

Love Elder Norton

Email 6/26/11

Dear fam
Mauri, as always its great hearing from home, it sounds like everyone is doing good. Tell Erica and Jake congrats from me, that's exciting (that's two now that I'll miss). I wont be able to print Mattie's letters this week because the person that does that isn't here I guess but I should be able to get the email addresses for both girls families and then Mattie can just email them if that would work better. The picture I'm sending is of my religious education class I teach at the primary school in Buota. Elder Tamwe teaches class 1 to 3 and I teach class 4 to 6. They have it at most primary and some junior secondary schools, the missionaries from all the different churches come and teach. I actually really enjoy it here (we did it in Marakei as well), my kids I teach are really cool. But anyways the girl on the end with the long braid is Christina, one of the girls for Mattie to write. She is our branch presidents daughter and is 11 years old.
I'll try and make sure and get things worked out for Mattie this week because we have zone conference this week and I think I'm probably getting transferred, we`ll see what happens i guess. We just got two new senior couples this past week (one from Orem, one from Nevada) because we have one leaving on Tuesday. The name of the couple leaving is the Steed's. Elder Steed was our mission nurse and they were both really cool. They live in pleasant grove so if Dad's still at the airport who knows he might see them. I'm doing alright I'm pretty tired today because last night I spent most of the night in the bathroom, you gotta love Kiribati diarrhea, you never know when it will strike, but I'm alright today. Random question who is the Secretary of state right now? People said he came but I don't know who it was. Anyways not much else to say today. Love you all.

Love Elder Norton

Email 6/19/11

Dear family
Mauri! It's great to hear about everyone, sounds like people are going to have a fun summer. Sorry about last week I thought I would have time to email at the Steed's house but it didn't end up happening so if I don't answer your questions from last week just re ask next week. I'm doing alright we had a pretty slow, kinda rough week but I'll just have to work harder this week. One thing just to let you know mom, I got some money out of my account last week and there was no problem. We didn't have any baptisms last week but I think we will this week. Tell Mattie that I have for sure found her a pen pal (I hope she still wants one) and actually maybe two. I asked one girl about it and she was excited but then Elder Tamwe brought it up at dinner with another family and the mom was excited about the idea so we will see about that. I don't have the address yet so next week just let me know for sure if she wants a pen pal and I'll get the address for her and tell her more about the girls. Not really to much else I can think about myself to say.
Anything else exciting happening? That's cool that you are using those free flights. I definitely agree with April that the free flights should extend to siblings. It so crazy to hear that Molly is going to girls camp. Its still weird to think of her in young women's. I hope Dad and Grandpa both had a good Fathers Day i wrote something to Dad's email but if you could tell Grandpa happy Father's Day. Its been really cool getting emails from a couple people each week so thanks. I think that's about it from me, the picture is of the Kiribati Parliament house. I took it from the bus, I thought it looked kind of cool.
I hope everyone keeps doing good.
Love Elder Norton

Email 6/12/11

Dear Fam
Thanks first off for the emails, it was good to hear from folks but you got me on a really busy Monday so this will be really short and I wont be able to reply to everyone but don't think I didn't like getting them. I'm doing good, I'm on the Steed's computer and someone needs it so I love you all, I'll try to get more out but we`ll see what happens.
Love Elder Norton

Email 6/5/11

Dear fam
First off Happy Birthday Dad !
I feel really bad I completely forgot, I hope you had a good birthday. I always seem to forget this stuff, I saw recently an Elder whose family had sent him a calender that had all their family birthdays and stuff on it. So maybe next time you guys send stuff you could stick something like that in there.
I'm doing alright, I got a letter this last week with tax papers but you obviously already sent them, apparently it took two and a half weeks to get here ya got to love the mail to Kiribati. In that letter mom you asked about the Tsunami warning, apparently all the missionaries on Tarawa went to the senior couples houses at Moroni high but I never even heard about it till after I got back to Tarawa. I guess they figure there is no point in telling us when we're in outies cause there is no where to go. There really isn't on Tarawa either, if a tsunami comes to Kiribati there is no high ground. Anyways thanks mom for taking care of my tax stuff. To answer your questions we did have our baptism with Touati it was pretty last minute so we didn't have many people come, he got interviewed Saturday morning and Elder Tamwe insisted we do it that evening. It turned out alright but was a bit disorganized. I was really happy to see Touati get baptized, he is 18 and even before we started teaching him he has come to church consistently and he started reading the Book of Mormon in English as well as Kiribati, he s a cool guy. Second, we have quite a few people we are teaching right now, sometimes its kind of hard getting to everyone. Third, lately we have had a good mix of ages for people a couple older people, young single age, and a few younger. But in Temaiku it seemed like it was mostly younger people, it seems here younger people are more willing to listen to us but we have good range we are teaching right now.
I'm sorry this will be short but we have our combined p day today and my companion is waiting on me. It was great to hear about everyone, tell everyone that i love them.
Love Elder Norton

Email 5/29/11

Dear Family
Sounds like everyone is doing good I'm glad the girls had a good time in Iowa (I'm sure Mattie in particular loved the Tornado warning). I'm ok, its been a kind of rough week. Mostly with my comp but other things as well, we had our traveling zone leader Elder Morton from Australia stay with us on Tuesday and Wednesday which was fine but at the end of it I felt pretty crappy because he pointed out a lot of things we should do differently but I don't really know how to change with my companion. And we didn't have a baptism this week our district leader wanted him to be reinterviewed but the guy who was supposed to interview him never came, I feel bad for the kid he seems really ready and really wants to get baptized but things weren't really handled the best. Hopefully we can get things worked out for him this week. One cool thing that happened this week was the Tarawa East Stake had there yearly dance festival on Friday. All the wards and and branches competed in traditional dance or mwaei (I don't know if I spelled that right). It was really cool to watch, we didn't see all of it because we had to leave before 9 and it was only half over but we did see our branch, they came sixth. Bikenibeu 1st ward won. The picture of the kids is from that. They're wearing the traditional dance costumes. I took a lot of videos so the card you sent is almost finished but my other ones have a lot of room left I will get a couple of those sent out soon.The other pictures are our last baptism and the other one kind of random I know but in the new conference issue there is a picture from the young women's conference that has the theme for young woman in kiribati. I don't really know what else to write not much has changed this week. Mom to answer your question there is nothing I need at the moment and I haven't tried yet to get money from my account. If I have a problem I'll let you know, thanks. Just one thing, if other people want to email me they can just throwing that out there. I love you all, till next week.
love Elder Norton

Email 5/22/11

Dear family
It sounds like there are some fun things people are doing. I hope the girls have a fun time on their trip, have them tell everyone back there mauri from me if you talk to them. I hope everything goes well with dad's job there. Sorry there are no pictures this time but I forgot my cables for my camera in the house. How is Grandpa Norton doing, is he over completely his sickness? I hope everyone is doing good back there.
I'm doing alright, its been a little rough this week with my companion, I don't really get him but I guess I just have to try harder to have patience. We did have a baptism this past week, a younger boy, his name is Tanentoa, that was good, we have actually had a baptism every week since April 23rd its been pretty cool and we should have another one next week. I think the reason why we have so many baptisms here is because everyone here in Kiribati believes in God and they rely on him a lot. So if you can get them to actually really pray for the truth they will probably be be baptised. We do have some problems with less actives here. I'm always a little worried baptising people if they will be able to endure, but if the wards and branches do their part to really welcome people who are new they usually do, but getting that to happen can be a problem. Lately I have felt really good about our people who have been baptised, that they where ready and they have had pretty good fellowship from the branch.
Sorry that was a random tangent I'm just really grateful that we have had so much success lately. Other than that baptism nothing all that exciting happened this week, just keep on going on i guess. Oh, one thing when Mattie gets back could you tell her that I may have found her a pen pal so if she could send me a new letter I wll give it to someone (her other one got wet and is pretty old). Other than that not much to say this week hopefully next weeks email will be better, love ya all

Love Elder Norton

Email 5/15/11

Mauri au utu
Thanks for the email, I'm glad people have gotten over there sickness. I hope everyone stays healthy. Its exciting to hear about everyone, tell Wendy, Meabo, and Tressa congratulations from me if you see them, that's all really cool. As for me I'm doing great, P day last week was really good the sports that were played were rugby, basketball, and some people even played tennis (it was at Moroni high school so there were plenty of options) but I didn't really play anything, you know sports aren't really my thing. I mostly talked with people I hadn't seen in a while. And then after that on Wednesday we had zone conference. Elder Nielson of the seventy came for it so everyone came in for it, we have two elders staying with us in Buota until they can get back out to Makin. One is Elder Tiree my comp from Marakei and ones name is Elder Normon (everyone mixes up our names) he is from Pleasant Grove. They should be leaving this Wednesday. Anyways zone conference was awesome, I learned heaps as always from everyone who talked, after Elder Nielson talked he gave us time to ask any questions we had and that was really cool. Afterwards we had a nice lunch from the senior couples and I had an interview with Elder Nielson which was really short, he just asked if there was anything the general authorities should be worried about in the mission, and about living conditions. He was only here for one full day and then was going to the Marshall side i think. I didn't get transferred and I still have the same companion. I was kind of hoping for a change of comps but I guess that wasn't the plan.
One thing that was really cool last week was that we had a baptism and it went really well. The lady that got baptised is actually our branch president's mother. Her name is Baneawa, she was really strong in the Kiribati Protestant Church or KPC and before that she had been Catholic or maybe the other way around I'm not sure but anyways she is a really smart lady has lived all over the world (her second child was born in Scotland) which is particularly strange for Kiribati, and knows the Bible really well. So when we started teaching our hopes weren't too high, she seemed interested in what we had to say but wanted proof from the Bible and always compared our teaching to KPC and Catholic beliefs. But things changed, I had some doubts up to the week of her scheduled baptism date if she had a testimony then she bore her testimony and when she talked I got tears in my eyes as did she and she never seemed like a lady to cry, but she knew. Of all the people I have taught and baptized she was the most complete change, it was so cool being able teach her. And then the actual baptism went really well. Our last baptism before hers wasn't very well organized and not many people came so I really wanted to change that and it went really well. We couldn't get her son to baptize her but he did confirm her the next day (in the group picture her son is on the far left). That isn't a very good explanation, I cant write everything that happened while teaching her and I can't express how I feel about it but it was really cool.Anyways I'm good, I'm healthy, missionary work is awesome not easy, but awesome. I love you all, I hope everyone is doing good. Two of the pictures are from Baneawas baptism and one from our baptism up in Tabituea then just me. I'm very happy my camera is waterproof, I hope you like them.
That's it I guess, I wish I was faster and could say more but until next week Tiabo.

Love Elder Norton

Email 5/8/11

Dear family,

It was great being able talk to and see everyone, I'm sorry that everyone is getting sick I hope it's a quick thing. I'm sorry that I was probably pretty boring, I'm just not very good at describing things, I was so happy to see you but then I didn't really know what to say, it's the same with letters and emails there is a lot to say I just don't know how to say it.
This won't be a long email, I don't really know what else to say and this is our one P-day a month that all the missionaries can get together for sports, and this week there is a zone conference with elder Nielsen from the area presidency so all the elders came in from outies. So it will be good to see everyone today and I'm sure it will be a great zone conference.
Well I'm gonna get this sent hopefully the pictures will go with it these are some I took with the new camera. I love you all thank you all for your prayers.
Love elder Norton

Mother's Day Call

We were all able to talk to Spencer on Mother's Day via Skype. It was nice because we were able to see him and talk to him and he was able to see us. He told us the story of how his camera got ruined. Him and his companion were crossing a bridge when they saw someone they knew so they stopped to talk to them. When Spencer put his foot down it was over the edge of the bridge and he fell off into the water with his bike. His camera ended up getting wet and was ruined. The worst part was that it happened the same day that he had eaten octopus and his face swelled up.
It was good to see him and talk to him and hear how he is doing. He seemed to be doing well and now we will all be looking forward to Christmas when we can talk to him again.

Email 5/1/11

Dear Family
First off I'm sorry about last week, when we got to store where we email they had taken down all of their computers because they are redoing the store so I couldn't email last week, i was really sad. I'm glad to hear that everyone had a good Easter (even though you made me hungry from your explanation). I was sad to hear about Emily and Matt's kids and Grandpa. I hope they all get better soon, let them know I said hi and get well soon. I have actually already gotten the Easter package you sent but the camera hasn't come yet, I was surprised. But anyways, thank you so much mom for everything you sent it was really exciting to get, hopefully the camera comes soon (its kind of been killing me not being able to take pictures of some of the cool stuff I've seen).
I am really looking forward to talking to you all in a few days my time is Sunday at 8 in the morning for me so that will be Saturday for you at I think 1 in the afternoon but you'll want to double check the time difference because I'm not sure. I know this is mom's call but hopefully everyone will be able to pop their head in for a minute I'm excited to hear people (and see them). I just want to double check, is dad's skype address I'm not sure, I know I have written it down before but I haven't looked for it yet. If you could just send an email with all the info before Saturday so if there is a problem I can check that. And one other thing I have forgotten my pin # for my debit card so if you have that available mom you could let me know on Saturday.
The past couple weeks have been really good mostly because we had baptisms each week. On the 23rd Tabera got baptized but the other two ladies who where supposed to get baptized had things come up that prevented their baptisms. Nei Tuhe went to an outer island for her son's school so hopefully when she comes back she will be baptized. And Nei Anna had someone from her family show up at her house that morning and insist that she come to Botaki for a birthday in the family (she had already told them no earlier in the week) but she was able to be baptized on the 30th. Both baptisms went pretty well Tabera was baptized by her cousin who is the second councilor in the branch presidency and I got to baptize Anna. It is always awesome seeing someone be baptized but the actual baptismal service is definitely different from back home. They're sometimes pretty hectic it can be hard getting people to come and they almost never start on time (Anna`s baptism started 45 min late because we needed another witness) but it's still awesome.
The rest of our work is doing well we only lost three people because of the Catholic missionary, hopefully they will want to continue being taught in the future. But in the meantime we have a lot of cool people we are teaching and we should have some baptisms next week and in the weeks following.
I think I will close things now, if things don't make sense i guess you can ask me about it on Saturday. Until then I love you all and tiabo.

Love Elder Norton

P.S. I'm really sorry I haven't sent pictures I will do it, it just seems like there is so much to get done on P day I just never get to it, I'm sorry. I'm going to try sending some with the email

Email 4/17/11

Dear family
I don't know if I can remember everything from that other email, mostly I just talked about a couple of people we are teaching. One I mentioned was Nei Tabera, we just started teaching her a few weeks ago. She was a referral from her brother who is the 2nd councilor in the branch presidency. It's been cool teaching her, she seemed really interested from the start, she is 19 and has really good fellowship from the YSA in the branch. She should be baptized this Saturday along with two other people. Ones name is Nei Anna, her husband is a member but is less active. She always comes to church with their kids, they have four. The other that should be baptized is Nei Tuhe she was taught with her husband by the elders before but a week after I got here her husband went to work on a ship, he will be gone for I think one and a half years but they both seemed ready to be baptized before he left so she should be baptized this week. We have some other really cool people we are teaching as well but i'm too slow to tell about all of them.
This week has been pretty good for the most part, stake conference was really good. We had Elder Hamula from the Area Presidency here, he met with the missionaries on Thursday which was really cool. He started by asking about general conference which led to a really cool discussion on hearing the voice of the Lord and then gave us timeto ask questions which was cool, I wish we had more time with him. Afterwards the senior couples had made a really good lunch for us, some kind of casserole (it tasted like something from home), with chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. Then on Sunday morning there was a special mtg for recent converts and investigators(and the missionaries) with Elder Hamula and the Stake President. They both talked about how they knew the church was true, the Stake President, President Tunei came in contact with the church as a teenager while in Tonga attending the church school there, he was actually in large part resposible for the church coming to Kiribati. It was a really cool meeting especialy because we had some investigators come. The general session was also great. Other then that it was a pretty normal week. One really annoying thing happened up in Tabetuea the part we walk to, it actually happened a little while ago. Anyways we went up there to to teach one day and
apparentaly the Catholic missionary went around to some of our people and bubuti'ed them to stop having lessons and all the people he went to told us they didnt want lessons so that was really sad. We have heard from members up there that the church is not really liked there. But this past week we actually found a few more investigators up there so hopefully things will change. I think that is all for now. Thank you so much for all you do mom, don't say you aren't good at things, you're
the best. I love you all until next week ti a bo.

Love Elder Norton

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Email 4/10/2011

Mauri Tinau (mom)

It was great hearing from you, I'm sorry if you guys didnt get an email last week I wrote one but the computer was being really slow and when I sent it something happened and I didnt think it sent but wasn't sure, tell me next week if you didn't and I will try and resay stuff. One question, who sent the email on april 3rd? I wasnt sure if it was a reply to my email or not it didnt sound like mom, was it Kelly? I guess first off I will try and answer your titirake or questions, I am in a different house from before, Bouta is a little ways from Tamaiku but in the same district. Our house isn't bad but it's not great either, I was just excited to be in a house with with power again. About the pictures, I feel really bad that you were expecting them but I havent sent them, I thought I would have time to send them before I left for Marakei with Elder Cole but I didnt have a chance, I'm sorry. My other card was fine after the camera broke and as soon as I get the other card backed up I will send them out. We did see conference this past weekend. It was at the stake center at Moroni high school and it was awesome to hear as always. As for baptisms there was one my first week here so i didnt have much to do with that one and we havent had any since, we have a few people who are ready to be baptized but it was general conference this week so it wasnt going to work and next week is stake conference so they will have to wait one more week. That was the one bad thing about conference. We actually have 6 people with baptism dates for the 23rd of april but three are in Bouta where the branch is and three are in Tabituea the part thats an hour and a half walk away so we might have do Tabituea the week after. And your question about our area, we go to a point in Tabituea, there are elders further on and I do think there is a branch there but that is pretty much considered an outer Island up there. I think that was all of your questions. I'm doing pretty good here, o my companion, its been interesting some days have been pretty difficult to get through but nothing too bad really. Hopefully things will get better im trying to be patient but its not easy some days. Really, I'm sure it's me who needs to change.
It's really good to hear that everyone is doing alright back ther. Thats cool about Johns new job, I hope he loves it. Thank you so much for getting the camera I hope it didnt cost to much to send it here, I'm really excited I hope it comes before I leave Bouta. Elder Tamwe doesnt have a camera either so I have no pictures here and its a pretty area. If you havent sent the other box yet there are a couple things I thought of that would be good to have, a belt 34 waist, some more centrum vitamins, some shave gel. And then a couple things that I dont really need, a Tshirt of some kind, and maybe some pictures but I dont really need this stuff and the other stuff isn't urgent so if you have already sent things or there isnt room dont worry about it please. I have one question John will probably know, what is Missionary Mall's policy for white shirts what if they just get really stained and gross can you get a new one and are the van huesen shirts covered, I forgot? I think I will close up now, let everyone know I love them and am grateful for all they do for me. And one other thing as far as I know others can email me as well so if others in the family want to let them know.
I tatangiringkami (i love you all always)
Love Elder Norton

Email 3/27/11

Mauri au utu! (hello my family)

I guess first of all I am back from Marakei (which was obvious since I'm emailing) and I'm healthy and doing good. Sorry
I freaked you out mom I questioned whether I should of written that, I guess I shouldn't have, I probably shouldn't tell you but I have had to eat octopus again but with no ill affects so please don't worry. Marakei was great and i really enjoyed working with Elder Cole so I was pretty sad about leaving, mostly because I will more than likely never go back there and I came to really love the people. But I'm sure its like that for every missionary and I'm sure I will come to love the people in my new area just as much. My new area Bouta is in the same district as Temaiku which has been interesting since I've run into a few people I knew from before. I'm actually emailing from the Slimprice store in Temaiku so that's been cool. My new companion is a Kiribati elder named Elder Tamwe. I wasn't really exited when I found out where i was going and who I was going to be with, Tamwe has a bit of a reputation for being hard to work with and Bouta would be fine it's just that it is the most isolated area on Tarawa so not to much different from an outer island. I've been trying really hard keep a positive attitude things and so far it's been alright. I'm sure I will learn heaps from Elder Tamwe and the branch in Bouta seems like it functions pretty well and I have already met some cool people. One thing that's interesting about my new area is that it takes in part of Tabutuea or north Tarawa which is a separate island so to get there we have to cross the gap. At high tide there is a canoe or waa that ferries people across but at low tide you walk, the water just goes up to your knees in some places, and then there is another smaller spot later on where you have to walk through the water again but there is a bridge its just a long way out of the way. On Sunday we borrowed bikes so we could go to church in the unit up there (its an hour and a half walk) so we got to Carry our bikes through one bit,
I got a big grease stain on one shirt from it, it was pretty cool.
I'm sorry this is just kind of rambling on there is just so much to say and I'm not very good at saying it. So how is everyone there doing? I just recently got a bunch of letters, I'll try to reply to them all but its hard when so many come at once.Please tell people I really, really appreciate all of the letters so please don't stop, it just might take me a little while to reply. Apparently there are also 4 packages waiting for me but I have to wait for the zone leaders to get them to me so I don't know when that will happen but I'm exited. How are things at home? Mattie said in her email that you might get chickens, that's cool. How is grandpa Norton doing? How is dad's work going? I'm sure there are a million other questions as well, I'm really exited to be able to email again, I wish I was better at it. I guess I will close now, sorry this is kind of long and random but I love you all. Thanks for all your prayers and support, I look forward to hearing from you again.
Love Elder Norton

Friday, June 10, 2011

Letter 2/14/11

In this letter Spencer says that he is doing well except that he did discover an allergy that he didn't know that he had before. They were eating some kika (octopus), he said they were quite large so he didn't really want any but it was Elder Coles favorite so he tred it. He started chewing on a big tentacle and it tasted surpisingly good but about halfway through his lips started feeling funny and the ended up swelling up really big and his throat started to feel weird. It never got hard to breathe but it was hard to swallow. He said they were back to normal in about half an hour. He said he hasn't had any reactions since but he has had some regular seasonal allergies.
He said that things are going well for them. The most exciting thing was that Tebantaake got baptized and her husband was able to baptize her. They did the baptism in the ocean and the waves were so big that he said he and his companion were soaked up to their shoulders just being witnesses.
They are working with some really good investigators and a few less actives. Inactivity is a big problem in Marakei. A lot of the less actives seem to want to come back but are shy or scared of what their family members and friend who are not members will think. There is one village, Norauea, where the missionaries lived years ago and during that time there were quitea few members but when the missionaries left everything just stopped. They are working with some families there and they have been able to start having sacrament meeting there. They already had three other villages they were taking the sacrament to that were to far away from Rawanawi where the chapel is to come to church. They were not sure how they would be able to manage another but they talked to the Branch President and worked it out. Now him and Elder cole go one way and take the sacrament to two of the villages and the Branch President and someone else go the other way and take it to the other two villages.
They should be having another baptism of a 15 year old boy named Teberia. Also, President Shaw is planning on coming to visit them on Marakei while he is in Tarawa for Zone conference.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Letter 1/24/11

I have not been great at keeping this blog up lately so I am going back to January, the first letter from Spencer after Christmas. This will be the first of several new posts.
He said that he got back safely to Marakei with his new companion and that though it was hard and slow at first things have started picking up for them and now they have quite a few investigators who are progressing really well. He says there is one lady in particular that he is really excited about named Tebuntaake. Her husband has been a member for about a year and is very active but she would never commit to anything. The first lesson she told them that she knew the church was true because she had seen the change in her husband and how much it had blessed his life but she didn't feel like she could come to church or be baptized because her mother, a very strong Catholic, would be angry. the next lesson the taught her about fasting and asked her to fast and offered to fast with her. The next time they saw her she had talked to her mother and she was no longer angry about the church. They thought things would be better after that but there was always some kind of problem preventing her from coming. Finally they realized that she was just to shy to come to church. Eventually she promised to come to church and she did. He said it was really cool to see her there and she said she didn't care what other people thought anymore she was going to keep coming to church. She was going to be baptized that Saturday. He said his companion has been good and he has learned a lot from him. He said Elder Cole makes him teach a lot which was frustrating at first but has helped him a lot.
He said that he had just recieved two letters, one sent right after Christmas and one from before Thanksgiving, he said getting mail is pretty crazy on Marakei.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Spencer was very excited to talk to and see a lot of his family on Christmas Eve. We have since received an e-mail with the following:

After we all talked to our family's on Christmas we ate some taco soup made by the Senior Sisters and watched a movie (The Prince of Egypt). After the movie they announced transfers. Elder Cole (my new companion) was quite excited about going out to Marakei, particularly so, because he has worked in Temaiku for nine months, so now he gets a new area. Outies!!! That's what everyone calls the outer islands. So that was a fun day.

We just found out today that we will be returning to Marakei on Sunday, so we got to email because Elder Cole needed to let his family know he is going to an outer island. I was able to see all the photos and videos on the memory stick, it was very cool to see all those, so Thanks! Thank you John in particular for your advice, I will definitely use it.

I do have a bit of mixed feelings about going back to Marakei, it's a great place and I am excited to go back, but I'm a bit nervous about being the one who is returning and has to know everyone, because I don't know that I do.

I am excited to work with Elder Cole, he's a good missionary who seems to really try to always be obedient, so I think we will work well together, and hopefully he can help me with my language skills. It's kind of funny I think, I have had four companions now, and they have all been from different countries: New Zealand, America, Kiribati, and now Australia.

I hope you are all well. I'm good.

Until next time...Ti a Bo.


Elder Norton

The Surprise Call

We were told that Spencer would not be calling until January. However, on Christmas Eve, Dad answered the phone, and it was SPENCER!! He had tried emailing to tell us he would be calling earlier than expected, but no one checked their email. Luckily, someone was home to get his call. He let us know that he would be calling back in a couple of hours, and if we could get it setup, we could skype. We were really excited to try and skype since that would mean we could see each other. This was our first time trying skype, so we had a few "technical difficulties" at the beginning, but it all worked out and we were able to talk to him for about an hour.

This was a really nice way to do it, because everyone could hear him at the same time. He spoke to us in Kiribati, which was cool. He said Marakei was very beautiful and there is only 4 villages on the island, so there is a lot of great beaches and scenery. He said he has never seen so many shades of blue. The primitive part of it hasn't really bothered him at all. He can only speak about church related things in Kiribati.

He also mentioned that all of the small children point at him, because he is the only white man on the island and call him a silly name (we can't remember...sorry). They have very good tuna on the island and he has even eaten it raw. They have a baptism about every week. He said it was difficult going back to Tarawa and seeing some of the members that have already fallen away. He said that after Marakei, Tarawa seemed very big and full of people.

It was great to talk to him, but hard for everyone to say goodbye.

Letter 11/22/10

Spencer sent a letter right after he arrived on Marakei. Some of it may be things that he told us in his last email but there is a lot that wasn't.

Dear Family,
It has been a crazy couple of weeks, I think I will just pick up were I left off. I mentioned in my last email that Katamwaa & Teerina would be Baptized. That took place last Saturday, I was really happy that i didn't leave until the next morning so I could be there with both of them. I was there when we started teaching them all the way to their baptism. It was really cool to watch their knowledge of the Gospel & their testimonies grow. I was able to do the baptism which I was happy to do. There was no water in the font so we had to do it in the lagoon , the problem was that is wasn't high tide so the water only came up to my knees. We walked out quite aways to try to fine deeper water ,but it didn't get much deeper. Katamwaa was first it took two times to baptize her which wasn't too bad. Then she went to change because there was only one dress so they both used it. After they changed Teerina came out and we tried two times and she didn't go all the way under. Elders Flint & Cole told us to try kneeling, it still took two tries but she finally went all the way under. It was kind of awkward and I felt really bad for them but they both seemed perfectly happy afterwards so it all ended up pretty well.

Another thing we did that was fun, was Elder Flint and I decided to have an early Christmas, since he knew that I would miss all the Christmas stuff they would be doing as a mission. So, on Friday, we didn't have a dinner appt. So we picked up some stuff for dinner when we went out so that I could email and pick up some stuff that I needed. Next to where I emailed from there is a store called I-mart, it's one of the bigger stores and it always has good food stuffs. We found some Tim-tams, which are really good cookies from Australia. I also got an orange, which was the first one I've seen here. They also had Easy Mac, so that was my early Christmas dinner.
Along with some stuff from my Christmas package.

Elder Flint pulled out his mini Christmas tree and decorated it. I then opened the Christmas presents that were in my first package. Thanks to Emily and Matt's Families, John, Paige, Eli, and Mom for the treats. I'm sorry if I should have waited, but I wasn't going to be able to take them with me.

The next morning they took me to the airport, gave me my ticket, and said, go through that door and...good luck! The plane was the smallest I've been on and the flight only took 15 minutes. Then we landed at the "airport" really a tiny block building with no doors. I got off, and gave Elder Sippy his ticket. A few minutes later, he was on the plane and I left alone without a single other white person around, including my companion. It has not been easy, even though my companion speaks English, it was not as good as I was led to believe. We have a hard time understanding each other sometimes, which I'm sure will get better as my Kiribati improves.

Marakei is really pretty, I've seen most of it because when someone comes here. They have to travel around the whole island and visit four statues. I guess if you don't do it first thing, everybody hates you. So, we did it last Monday. It took 3-hours on our bikes to get all the way around the island. By the end, my legs and backside were so sore. I hadn't ridden a bike in years. This statue thing was a bit "weird." You are suppose to talk to the statues and leave each of them a piece of candy. At one of them, the leader, you are supposed to do a dance in front of it. That was all weird, but I guess if you don't do it, no one will listen to you. Marakei is known for holding strong to the old culture, and the round-about is one thing that is really important to them. The church is strong here, it's just a branch, but the members are strong and the members have a nice chapel here. Our house is right behind the chapel on the church grounds. It's not a bad house, the problem is, we have no power. We have solar panels, but our battery won't charge, so we only have lights in the daytime. It's not that bad, I'm just glad I have a flashlight.

I'm not really sure what else to write. I'm doing alright. Thank you all for your support, your example, and especially your prayers. I pray for you all as well, and hope that everyone is doing good. Tia-Bo!


Elder Norton