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.