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