Saturday, June 25, 2016

This is a chance of a lifetime!

I can't believe that I only have 2 1/2 weeks left here in the MTC.  Time is going by so fast!  My teacher told me something that really hit me hard.  He said that we will never have an opportunity or an experience like this ever again.  The MTC is such a sacred place where I can constantly feel the spirit.  I am so grateful to be surrounded by hundreds of people who are also representatives of our savior.

Our devotionals this week were amazing.  On Sunday, we had missionaries who had been converted within the past two years share their stories about their conversion.  It was so amazing to hear about their stories about how the gospel truly changed their lives for the better.   One of them said, "The gospel filled a hole in me that I didn't even know I had."  It really touched me and me so excited to be able to change people's lives in Argentina.  That devotional reminded me of a quote that says "The gospel isn't just a good way to live life, it is the reason why we live our life."
On Tuesday, Brent Nielson spoke to us about how we measure success on the mission.  His wife spoke before him, and I really loved her talk.  She described the MTC experience as a time where we are being pruned, like a bush.  We had everything that was comfortable to us taken away: family, friends, hobbies, cellphone, etc.  But she said that is was important that we disconnected from everything else in order to connect to Christ.  I think that is so true.  I'm grateful that I am disconnected because now I can focus on my purpose as a missionary.  As for being successful on my mission, I know that if I am exactly obedient, and I do everything that I can to invite others unto Christ, then I will have a successful mission.  He said said to remember, " The world measures success by how many people you're better than, the Lord measures success by how many people are better off because of you."

The rest of the week was the same old schedule, except they are having a seminar for the new mission presidents right now so we have general authorities coming to the MTC!  I haven't been able to see anyone yet, but I see all the security guards so that's cool.

It has honestly been so amazing here.  I have the best teachers, who are so in tune with the spirit, and who really help me and strengthen my testimony.  The language is slowly getting better every day, I am starting to get more confident when I teach investigators in Spanish.  

Thank you all for your love and prayers!

Love and miss you all!

Con amor,

Hermana Norman

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Half way there!

I can't believe it has already been another week here in the MTC.  Time is starting to fly by.  I am basically half way done here at the MTC!  So last Sunday, My companion and I taught Relief Society, we talked about Enduring to the End.  Near the end of our lesson, I shared something from a blog post that Grandma Ho Ching sent to me the day before.  It said:

Did you realize that while Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He would have known exactly where He was situated on the Mount of Olives that excruciating night. He knew the landscape and geography very well. His friends were asleep. He was all alone under the cover of night. He would have known that all he’d have had to do to avoid what he called “His hour” and what He knew of Roman brutality…was to walk up that hill over into the Judean desert, and no one would have known. He would be gone and no one could have traced Him…but He stayed. He endured. He fulfilled His mission. For you.
And we can do the same for Him.
I got emotional trying to read this because over these past three weeks, my love for the savior has grown so much.  I have developed such a strong testimony of the atonement, and whenever I think or complain about being tired then I just think about what the Savior has done for me and it motivates me to keep enduring and to finish my mission, not just these next 18 months, but for the rest of my life.
Sunday night, Mark Lusvardi spoke at the devotional, really awesome talk about staying on course during our mission and making course corrections whenever we veer off path.  The Tuesday devotional was also amazing.  Ulisses Soares spoke, and he talked about being 100% obedient, and the importance of representing Christ. He said, "The happiest missionaries are the obedient missionaries."  I definitely know this is true because I know the Lord will be able to work miracles in my life when I am exactly obedient.  
On Wednesday, I won Four-Square.  It was a huge deal, I almost cried because I was so happy.  Also, my companion and I still play rock/paper/scissors for fun. 
This week we starting teaching our first TRC, her name is Viri.  Our first lesson with her went really well, we talked about the Restoration, and asked her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  Our second lesson was awful, she seemed really disinterested in our message, and she basically looked like she was going to fall asleep as we were talking to her.  So we left that lesson not feeling too confident, but then we decided that we were only going to learn from it and just do better the next time.  Yesterday, we taught her again, and we taught about the principles of the gospel, and she said she would prepare to be baptized! This really taught me that I can't waste time being discouraged when something doesn't go exactly the way I want it to, this is all in the Lord's time.  I'm really learning to really on Him and on the Spirit.  
I've also memorized the first vision in Spanish, and every time I recite it during a lesson the spirit is so strong.  My testimony and appreciation of the prophet Joseph Smith has grown so much.  We sang "Praise to the Man" as a choir this week, and the spirit was so strong.  Choir is seriously the best thing ever.
I love my district, my roomies, and my companion.  
Learning Spanish is hard but I'm slowly getting better and better.
I love and miss you all, thank you for the DearElders and emails!
With Love,
Hermana Norman
Love my companion, Hermana Nokes and roommates!


meal time!

Elder Utai also going to Argentina Salta Mission

Elder Satuala got my camera

another package from my Momma

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ella habla espanol

Her roomies!
Where she spends the majority of the day studying Spanish
Guess they liked the cookies from MOM!

So exhausted!

This week has been the most exhausting week of my whole life, but I have also learned so much in the past week.  First of all, I would like to say that I know everyone was worried about me waking up on time in the morning because I love to sleep, but I am happy to say that I have never used my alarm clock while I have been here.  I wake up on my own around 6:15 every morning, it is honestly so strange. But anyway,  I guess I'll just talk about my week then..

Breanna's Birthday!  Happy birthday to my beautiful sister.  I hope Jordan spoiled you. I love you!
I love love love Sundays here at the MTC, they are so spiritual, and it is so nice to have a break from the constant studying.  For our Sunday night devotional, Sheri Dew came and spoke with us.  She was amazing.  She talked about how important it is to ask questions, and she explained that we are seekers not doubters.  Then we watched a talk by Elder Bednar, titled "Character of Christ."  I cried for the first time in the MTC when I listened to his talk.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  He spoke about turning outward instead of inward, thinking more about the people we are serving instead of being selfish.  It honestly has changed my whole perspective about missionary work.

Monday: Regular day. About 9 hours spent in the classroom studying and learning spanish.

My favorite day in the MTC so far.  I had the opportunity to sing in the MTC choir during the Elder Bednar devotional.  It was so special because we sang a song that Elder Bednar wrote himself, it is called "One by one."  It was the first time that this song has been performed, and some of Elder Bednar's grand kids sang with us.  So Elder Bednar spoke to us first, and you could feel the spirit as soon as he entered the room.  It was amazing to have an apostle of the Lord come and speak to us. He spoke about how the Lord knows us one by one, and how there are no coincidences when we are on the Lord's errand.  Following his talk, the choir sang.  I was in tears as we sang because the spirit was so so strong.  I will never forget that experience.

The rest of the week is honestly a blur, all the days seem to be the same.  Lots of time spent in the classroom.  My day usually consists of sitting in class and eating.  It is quite exciting.

I am getting along really well with my district; we are all really close with each other already.  They all think that I was on Suite Life of Zack and that's cool.

Thank goodness for exercise time.  You know what is super popular here? Four-square.  I get so competitive playing that game.  Also, after being in the MTC for almost two weeks you notice
things that weren't fun or funny before the mission are all of the sudden super fun and funny.  I find a lot of joy playing rock/paper/scissors now.  That's actually really sad now that I think about it.  But it's all good, I enjoy living in this MTC bubble completely disconnected from the rest of the world!

I would just like to thank everyone for writing me DearElders, they are honestly the best thing ever.  At the end of a long and hard day, it is so nice to hear from family and friends.  Please keep writing them, but could you also put your email addresses on there, so I can email you back!

Just want to say that its official.. I have the best mom.  Somehow on the days when I was feeling a little discouraged, I always got a package from her.  These aren't just little packages either, they are filled with all the treats I love, and with quotes and talks that I needed to hear.  Also, she sent me my favorite homemade chocolate chip cookies, I cried because I was so happy. And yes mom, I did share, which is a big deal for me.  But hey that's me now, being all Christlike and such.

We get to go to the temple today, and I am so excited for that.  It's the spiritual boost I need after such a long and exhausting week.  I also have not been sleeping very well here, and I guess I have getting up during the night and I walk around.  It is starting to freak my roommates out, but oh well!  Whenever I feel so tired, I just read Alma 17, great reminder to keep going no matter how hard it is!

Well, I love and miss you all!  I love it here, and I am learning so much about this gospel.  The church is true, and here is a little inspirational quote that I like, "When you help a man to the top of the mountain, you often find yourself at the top too."  

With love,

Hermana Norman

Pics to come...still trying to figure out how to upload!
And here they are!

 Sister Nokes!
Elder Satuala is one of my best friends from college

 Our district

 Elder Clarke (my first cousin on my father's side) going to Texas Lubbock Mission!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

1 week----zipping by!

Reflecting back to a week ago....

uncles always keeping us smiling

 I remember my heart feeling like it was being torn into a million pieces as we let her go. However, today, through our faith in Heavenly Father, we know for a surety that she is where she is supposed to be.  She has always told us she wanted to serve a mission.  We have always wanted her to experience that.  Yet happy tears, but never tears of doubt flow every now and then. Her presence is missed here in our home. Now we can turn her over to our Heavenly Father and know that he will watch over and protect her.

On a side note:
 Hermana Norman had asked, before she left, if I would make my chocolate cookies. We never got around to it as we were eating out quite a bit--trying to get in her "last meals"! My boys and I decided to make some and send them in a box with moleskin that she needs for walking her 12 miles a day in Argentina.

 They are as big as my hand!