Monday, July 25, 2016

Hard, but better.....

My oh my.  What a week.  

First of all, before I forget, a bird pooped on me today. :) :) :)

So this week was really good!  I´m starting to understand when people are talking, and I am slowing getting better at speaking.  It´s definitely still frustrating, but I am working on being patient!

Update on our investigators.  Three are progressing and have a baptismal date for the 6th of August.  Our other investigators are having a hard time attending church on Sunday.  

It is definitely hard when your investigators don´t keep their committments.  Because I have grown to love each person, and I want them to enjoy the blessing of the gospel! 

We have been working a lot with Less Active members in the ward.  We have a couple families who attended church yesterday!  But honestly, the members here are so amazing, and they will do anything and everything for the missionaries.  During one of the lunches, the father said that he felt so priveleged to have us in his home becuase we are the closest thing to angels on earth.  How nice right?! 

This week we also had my first divisiones/cambios…  Not really sure what the word is in English.  I went to another area in Jujuy with Hermana Alvez, who is also from Brazil.  It was hard!  I missed my companion, and my area.  But it was a really good experience to see how she taught lessons and how she contacted in the streets.  We had an amazing experience with an older woman that we contacted in the street.  She invited us in her home, and she explained her situation.  She is Catholic, taking care of her daughter´s children, who recently passed away.  We taught her The Plan of Salvation and it went really well.  At the end of the lesson we taught her how to pray and she gave the closing prayer.  She cried and the spirit was overwhelming.  In that moment, I could feel the love that Heavenly Father had for this specific woman.  It was amazing.

A miracle happened this week.  As I was saying my personal prayer before bed, I could hear a dog whining so loud… it sounded like it was in our apartment.  So I´m thinking ¨Great, I´m not going to be able to fall asleep with that dog whining so loud.¨  Then in my prayer, I say¨ Please bless that dog that it will get what it wants so it can stop whining.¨  No joke, right after I said those words the dog stopped.  THE CHURCH IS TRUE.  God does answer our prayers!

But the mission is definitely still hard.. But I have never felt the Savior´s love so strong.  For me, and for the people that I am teaching.  I know that this is where I am supposed to be right now, and I´m so grateful for this opportunity to share my testimony every day. 
I love and miss you all.  Thank you for your love and prayers!
Also shout out to my cousins Lai and Nica.  Good luck on your farewell talk this Sunday Lai, and congrats on your mission call Nica!  Canada and China are getting the best of the best!

With love,
Hermana Norman

PS. We spent the morning cleaning our apartment.....of mold! Yes! So I only had about an hour of computer time. Spent 2/3 of the time trying to download pics and videos. It is so slow here that it wouldn't take videos. But a few pics came through. Sadly, most of the pics were of my last day in America. I did manage to get one with my companion. So hopefully next week we can figure out a better way to get pics and video through.

shuttle to the trax station
  saying good bye to my family on the phone at the airport
we are in Argentina

Monday, July 18, 2016

Argentina is AMAZING!

Oh my goodness, where do I even start? I´m in Argentina!! I arrived last Tuesday, spent the night in a hotel and then met my companion on Wednesday!  My companion´s name is Hermana Melo, she is from Brazil.  She has served for 15 months, so this is her last transfer and I am her last companion!  She is 24, and she was converted when she was 21.  She is so awesome, but it has been so hard because she doesn´t speak any English.

My area is Jujuy, and wowie, wowie!  I am being so humbled right now.  The people here live in houses made out of cinder block, and they usually don´t even have doors, just a sheet hanging in the entry way.  I´m grateful for my apartment, even though it is definitely different from my home in Utah, it is much more than what the people have here.  The first couple days, I didn´t have hot water, so I showered in freezing cold water.  So humble right now. 

But anyway, we are the first Hermanas in our area, and I guess we have to ¨whitewash¨? the area.  We arrived and we knew nothing about our area, and we didn´t have any investigators.  The past week we have been focusing on getting to know the members in the area and asking for referrals from them.  We tried to reach out to the bishop of our area, but he was recently excommunicated.. But the members are amazing!  So kind and so welcoming.  It has definitely been hard because I don´t understand a lot, and most of the time I just sit there trying to figure out what people are saying in the conversation.  But I´m trying to not get discouraged, but it is so hard!

I actually really like the food here!  I haven´t had anything with mayo yet... an answer to my prayers.  But our first lunch with a family in the ward.. oh my.  They fed us so much food, and I had to finish everything on my plate because it is offensive to not finish everything.  I thought I was going to throw up, I had to hold back tears as I tried to finish my food.  Now I know why people get fat on my mission, we have to eat so much.

So during this past week, we have four new investigators with a baptismal date. How amazing, right?!  It is amazing to see that people are looking for a source of peace and hope in this life.  It´s even more amazing that we are able to show them how to get that! Yesterday we taught a Sister that has been inactive for several years, when we showed up at her house, she burst into tears.  She later explained that she had needed someone to come remind her about the happiness and comfort that comes from the gospel and through Jesus Christ.  It was such a powerful moment because I felt like the Lord placed us here to help her, ahhh it was so amazing.
So it is actually very cold here, and one night as we were walking through the rain trying to find the homes of some less active members, I found myself thinking, ¨What in the world am I doing here?¨  I was freezing and we had been walking around, basically lost, for almost three hours.  But then that night, we found one of our investigators who is now preparing for baptism.  This is why I am here!  It is such a privilege to here and to be able to invite others to come unto Christ. 
Thank you all for the love and prayers!  I am so so so grateful to be so blessed.

Con amor,
Hermana Norman

PS.. Sorry to all who I couldn't personally respond to this week.  I had very little computer time. Hopefully next week...till then....
This is my Mom's cousin's (Kuulei Polvado Jacubczak) son's, best friend, Elder Christiansen. Did y'all get that? 
So it's like having a big brother here in my new district watching over me! How cool is that? The gospel truly is a small world!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Last supper

This was a pic that the Mission office sent of Michaela at her last meal before being assigned to her new area and meeting her trainer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

She made it!

This is the email we just got from her Mission Office! She made it... with her 180 lbs of luggage! Yes, you read that right!

¡Querida Familia!

Estamos muy agradecidos por tener a sus hijos (sus misioneros) en la Misión Argentina Salta. Ellos han llegado a Salta después de un viaje largo. Queremos que ustedes sepan que ellos llegaron con seguridad y que ellos han sido asignados a sus primer áreas. Gracias por su amor y sacrificio y por dejar que sus hijos sirvan una misión. Es un placer conocerles y ¡estamos animados para servir con ellos por el resto de sus misiones!
Gracias de nuevo por dejarnos servir con sus hijos y sabemos que ellos van a tener mucho éxito.
Para mandar paquetes y cartas a su misionero, la dirección de la misión es
Nombre de Misionero
Casilla de Correo 429
4400 Salta

Solo podemos recibir paquetes mandados por correo normal, no podemos recibir paquetes de FedEx, DHL, etc.
Si ustedes tienen preguntas o necesitan algo de nosotros por favor avísennos.
Escucharán de sus misioneros el lunes, ellos tienen hasta el 18:30 de la tarde para escribir.
Que Tenga Un Lindo Día, 

 Dear Family!

We are so grateful to have your sons and daughters serving in the Argentina Salta Mission. They arrived in Salta after a very long few days of travel. We want you to know that ALL made it safe and sound and have been assigned to their first areas! Thank you for your love and sacrifice and especially for letting your missionary serve the Lord. It is a pleasure to know and we are excited to serve with them for the rest of their missions.
Thank you again for letting them serve and we know they are going to have a lot of success.
If you want to send letters or packages to your missionary the address is
Your Missionary’s Name
Casilla de Correo 429
4400 Salta

We can only receive packages from normal mail services (like USPS). We can’t receive packages from FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc. They’ll get stuck in customs.
If you have any questions or need anything from us just let us know. You’ll hear from your missionaries next Monday, they have till 6:30 to write.
Have a Great Day,

Monday, July 11, 2016

Good bye Utah! Argentina or bust!

Hermana Norman called us at 9:20 am to let us know they were putting all the missionaries on the Trax front runner to go to the airport. I was at the gym and hurried home and grabbed the two boys and headed over to the Lehi front runner station. We waited 20 minutes for her train to approach the station. WE SAW HER! I can't even explain the rush of emotions that happened! I started crying as we waved and blew kisses to her. Her little brother was in tears! She said she would call once at the airport and mouthed "I love you" as the train pulled away! Then I lost it!
Once at the airport, her Uncle, who works for Delta Airlines, met her and walked her to the gate. He went back to work and then went back to see her off! What a blessing to have these pics from him!
We were able to talk to her over the phone for about a half hour. She was excited and ready to be in Argentina. She flew to Atlanta, Georgia where the weather delayed their flight to Buenos Aires a bit. That gave us that much longer to talk. We laughed about her awkward moments in the MTC and she also shared some neat spiritual experiences that were life changing for her. It is amazing what 40 days in a place where everyone has the same goals, standards, views and purpose, can do to a person. She has matured even more and gained a love for the gospel and her Savior Jesus Christ that she never dreamt possible. She loves her district and especially her companion, Hermana Nokes and her roommates, Hermana Farr and Hermana Thompson. They are her family away from home. Can't wait for her first email in the field!

About 1:45, she walked through the airplane doors saying goodbye to Utah and was off to conquer Salta Argentina! 

We love you Hermana Norman and wish you the best of luck! You are going to be an amazing missionary and Argentina is blessed to have you. Here's to the next 16 1/2 months....
Hasta que nos encontremos de nuevo! Que el Senor te cuide y te guarde. Predican con valor y ayudar a otros a venir a Cristo!

You got this baby girl!

UPdate: one of the elders was able to have his family at the airport to see him off. His Mom took pics for me and sent them after I had posted this:

Saturday, July 9, 2016

THIS IS IT!! Final email from the MTC!

Well this is it.  The next time I email home I will be in Argentina!!  I can't believe it!
This week was definitely bittersweet.. I'm learning that I am not good with goodbyes.  So I'll just give you a little list of what happened this week..

-We watched the Stadium of Fire fireworks from the MTC parking lot

-Said goodbye to one of our teachers, Hermano Dia, I cried like a baby
-Had an amazing devotional by Marlin Jensen, who talked about faith. The spirit was overwhelming, and I received a lot of personal revelation that night.
-Sang in the MTC choir for the last time, sang "More Holiness Give Me", that song is now one of my personal favorites.
-Taught a member from Costa Rica via Skype.. One of the best experiences so far in the MTC.  Her name is Natalia, she is 16, and she is the only member in her family.  She has amazing faith, and an incredible testimony.  We had a great conversation with her, and then shared a spiritual thought, the spirit was so strong, even through Skype!
-Mom sent me Cupbop, and I cried.
-Got a package from Austin, Johans, and Nia yesterday. Cried again, because so grateful.

-Had to say goodbye to one of the Sister's in my district, also one of my roomies, also one of my favorite people in the whole world.  She had to be rushed to the hospital last night; she is having problems with her pancreas, so she will have to stay home to get better for an additional 2 or so weeks.  Spent most of the day in the hospital with her as a district, the spirit was so strong as we sang "Nearer my God to Thee" for her.  Please keep Hermana Thompson in your prayers.

-Also, today one of my good friends that I have made here told me that his Dad passed away.  My heart literally broke for him.  My heart still aches for him, but it is so comforting that we have the knowledge that he will see his father again.  Please keep the Mataele family in your prayers as well.
-So basically this week was full of a lot of crying.  But the thing is, I still go to bed at night feeling peace and comfort from my savior.  I read Jacob 4:7, and found so much peace from this.  
People have told me that a mission is an emotional roller coaster.  I can definitely confirm this.  I have definitely experienced highs and lows, but the highs definitely outweigh the lows.  This work is amazing, and everyday I feel like I am getting stronger.  Thank you all for the love, support, and prayers. I'm sorry if I don't respond to your emails this week; I did not have a lot of time today!  I love you all!

To sum up my MTC experience...4 square and learning to bring others to the temple! Gotta love it!

Con amor,

Hermana Norman

She ran into Elder Tua Ward who used to be in Lehi 42nd ward with us! He is on his way to NY Spanish speaking mission!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

​Happy fourth of July this week!! Hope it is amazing!  Also, today is the first time I did my hair since I've been here at the MTC! Also, we couldn't go to the temple today because it is closed.. so I was able to take a nap!!!!! IT WAS AMAZING.  I also took this picture right after I woke up from my nap, so that explains the weird tired smile. 

Week 5! Endurance is key...

This week was a roller coaster. Wednesday night we have an awesome devotional with Stephen B Allen.  He talked about how Satan is aware of us on our missions and he knows exactly how to push our buttons.  I know this to be true because this week I really struggled with feeling discouraged and inadequate.  I felt like I wasn't progressing in the language as quickly as I was hoping, and I was feeling like I wasn't good enough.  Then after having an amazing discussion with my district I realized that it is Satan trying to put those thoughts of discouragement in my mind.  He knows that I will be doing so much good in Argentina and he wants to do everything to prevent that. But I feel so confident now in myself, my testimony, and in my Savior, I won't let anything stop me from doing the Lord's work in Argentina.  Speaking of Argentina, I leave on the 11th,  so if you have been waiting to send me DearElders and packages, then this week is your last chance!  Ps. I love Trolli eggs.

Well the rest of the week was good, I got a blessing from an Elder in my district, and it was such an amazing experience.  It was the first blessing that he has given, and during the blessing he said a lot of things that I needed to hear, so it was really nice.  Ever since my blessing, I have been able to sleep at night! So I'm super grateful for that.

The rest of the week was basically the same as always.  On Wednesday, our district got to host for the new missionaries coming into the MTC.  I hosted a girl from Lousiana going to California, and she was super sweet.  I did my best to be as happy and friendly as possible.  But... I had to carry all her luggage up 5 flights of stairs.  I literally almost died.  I mean I've definitely lost some of my strength because I'm not playing pickleball all the time, so it was a real struggle.  But I did make it to the top, so the moral of the story.. I can do hard things.

My testimony of the gospel has grown so much, and I've really learned to rely on the spirit while I've been here.  During our lessons, even though we may not be able to communicate perfectly in Spanish, the spirit is still present and it truly does make a difference.  

A mission is hard!! But we listened to a talk by Elder Holland, and it really changed my view of my mission.  Because first of all, this is not my mission, this is the Lord's mission, and I am simply a tool in his hand.  Also, if a mission isn't hard then I'm not doing it right.  Salvation doesn't come easy, so of course a mission shouldn't be easy either.  As I struggle during my mission, I will have small glimpse of what our Savior had to go through.  This is why I am here because I love my Savior!  This mission is not a sacrifice, it is a blessing! How amazing is it to be able to give 18 months of my time to the person who gave his life for me.  I am honored to be a representative of my Savior. 

This church is so true, Jesus is the Christ, and He lives!

Con amor,

Hermana Norman