Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015

Miracles miracles miracles! Hello to all of my favorite people!

So this week has been wonderful! My legs are super in shape and stuff. I mean I can bike for days no lie. So this week we didn't really have anyone say anything rude or try to offend us which was pretty cool. We did have an old guy that wanted to not so subtly insult organized religion but I'm not exactly sure what he was trying to accomplish. You can always tell if someone is truly trying to serve The Lord by the way that they treat you. If all they want to do is tell you what's wrong with you and make you feel bad then you know that they aren't doing God's work; they're doing man's work. And so far I've had nobody even attempt to help me grow closer to God. Usually the Nazarenes and the Jehovah's Witnesses flee for their lives when they realize who we are.

So there's this family, we will call them the Crawly family for the sake of anonymity, and they are blessed. Around 8:30 Elder Savage and I got home from a long day and for some reason it just didn't feel complete. We walked inside and I was like "Wooh! Let's go again!" So we opened up our area book and saw the name which has been replaced with Crawly. "Let's go see them." we said. So we walk a ways because it isn't too far from our home and we knock on their door. An older gentleman who looks to be in his late fifties opens up the door and is standing there in his white tank top and jeans looking at us kind of confused. "Hello." He grunts. "Brother Crawly" Elder Savage states, "We are your missionaries." Brother Crawly just stood there. I can't recall exactly how it went but he ended up telling us that he hadn't seen missionaries for a while. When he said that tears began to well up in his eyes. "I've been turning away the missionaries for twenty years" he says "My wife and I have been going to all of these churches and praying a lot recently trying to find the right one and here you are." His lips turned upward into a smile as more tears came. "Would we be able to come back, Brother Crawly?" I asked. Immediately he said "Yes." And that, my friends, was a miracle and a witness to me that the LDS Church is the true church and that God's hand is seen there. It is a church of fellowship, love, and forever growing faith.

This week hasn't been easy. I will tell you that. Sometimes it's hard when everyone knows that you are the new guy. But I won't settle for that. I promise you that I will do my best to keep going and to stay worthy of my calling as a full-time servant of The Lord. With sufficient faith there is nothing that we cannot do to fulfill all righteousness. Stay faithful and trust in God. He is there and He is ready to bless you. All you have to do is show Him that you are ready to accept whatever he has in store for you.

Elder Norrell

April 20, 2015

Hello! So funny story, my companion Elder Savage, who was transferred into Kuna with me, and I were contacting someone and we saw this Elderly woman in a hover round and the end of the street. So after we contact this person we turn around and here's this old disabled lady in her hover round across the street from us yelling something incomprehensible. So being the Elders and stuff we walk over to her and she's STILL shouting nonsense at us and we haven't a clue what she's saying. All we can make out is "Mormon" so we are all like "Yes! We are the Mormons!" and then this woman, we'll call her Hanna, is yelling "CULT! Ahhhbuuhcookiiluuuaaahhh! CULT!" "No we aren't a cult." and THEN she starts yelling again and we have no idea what she is saying. So she pulls out this laminated sheet of paper with the alphabet on it and this woman is BASHING us one. letter. at. a. time. APPARENTLY Hanna went to a Lutheran Bible College so she MUST be well versed. She's going on and on about how we are man made and whatnot and how we are awful people. "All we want is for people to be happy." we say. She disagrees. So I pull out the big guns and say. "Do you hate me?" Her mouth opens up as wide as it can go. Her tongue is sitting there and some air begins to whistle past her tongue. The corners of her mouth turn up to show her teeth a little and she answers "YES!" as she nods her head up and down. And I'm just over here like "Oh really?". Eventually she accepted a Book of Mormon and we tell her "God loves all of his children and Jesus Christ does as well. We know that if you read this book and pray to God with a sincere heart, your relationship with him will be strengthened. "Yes yes!" Hanna is shaking her head the affirmative while pointing to the designated "PTL" which stands for "Praise The Lord" on her alphabet sheet that sits between the "YES" and the "NO". "I love everyone!" Says Hanna. But that was about all we had from Hanna.

People like to Bible bash in Kuna. We are biking about ten miles a day at least and my quads are constantly on fire but it's all okay! I love it though! Kuna is this small town and Elder Savage and I have about 900 members between 8th and 6th wards which are the two we cover. That's about half of the stake! There are rolughly 350 active members in 8th ward and 150 active in 6th and with all of the subdivisions being built people move in weekly. It's been a little tough. We have to bike to go see everyone, records haven't been kept in the area book for about sixth months and the Previous elders left a VERY bad taste in everyone's mouth so we have some repairs to conduct with our relationship with the town. The list of "Visit Weekly" people that the previous Elders left us is basically a list of hangout spots where people intend for us to stay about three hours to hang out. Homie don't play that. Overall though we are having GREAT success. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it here! Some people are really nice but others not so much. The population is about 17% LDS. Some people even care so much about us that they can only use hand signals to express their concern for us! To think that we could have such and impact! I mean there are young people that give us advice as they drive by and even one guy in a truck waving a sword around shouting for joy! The Nazarene's are a different story though. I'll tell you what they can sure be verbally hostile. But there are people here of every religion and their views of the Mormons are very colorful to say the least.

Fight it all you want. God still loves you! I know I'm doing the right thing and I love it!

Love you,
Elder Norrell

I can only do one picture at a time.P.S. Elder Hamlin my MTC comp is the one on the far right.

Here are pictures of Kuna.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Greetings Outsiders!

Hey. Stop freaking out. They just made us wait for over a week since we got here to let us have a P-day (preparation day) to do what we need to do!

The missionary training center (MTC) is pretty cool. I feel like I've been here forever. If you want to know what the food is like just look up Jeremiah 4:19. So I've done a lot and I have nowhere to start. I've taught some people and the lessons are going well. My companion is Elder Hamlin and I don't think I could have gotten a better companion. He's quiet but we get along super well and he makes funny comments that only the Elders in my district hear and we crack up during our six hour long study sessions. We have 0 time for anything else. Usually I try to keep the room clean but this morning we had to be at the temple for a session that started at 7:20 so I didn't make my bed like I usually do or put all of my stuff away and GUESS what happened. A surprise room inspection occurred while we were gone and we failed miserably. But that's okay. At least we know we might as well not worry about cleaning our room anymore. I think I'd rather go to the temple and get chewed out than be praised and have no temple time.You can't get a break in the MTC. We get out of class at 9:30 and have to be in bed at 10:30. 

My district rocks. We all get along super well and the Sisters are all very nice. Every meal I write stuff on napkins so that when people go to get napkins, they have something nice or funny to read. Other than teaching it's the highlight of my day. So we have investigators which are people that we teach and one of them is Ashley a.k.a. Sister Baer, one of our teachers. She's pretty cool and it's strange teaching a pretend investigator. They tell us that almost everyone you teach in the MTC is actually a member but I don't think Dan is. Dan is by far my favorite investigator. He is a BYU student who came from Japan to study. Dan is severely physically handicapped and has a hard time using his hands as well as most of his body but when I asked him what it was like he found a way to consider himself lucky. Dan isn't religious and has never even thought about God so at first he was difficult to teach because he knew hardly any of the terminology and on top of that his first language is Japanese so some English phrasing that we all understand, he doesn't understand. But although he was difficult we kept trying. I fasted and prayed on Tuesday for help in teaching Dan and lo and behold there was a MIRACLE. Not only did Dan begin to feel comfortable with the missionaries but we went to a devotional later that night that was on teaching those without Christian backgrounds! My prayers were answered because I had remained faithful to my promises, fasted, and kept myself aligned with God! It was unbelievable! And more miracles followed! On Wednesday when we were teaching Dan he expressed a new found love for nature and we didn't follow our planned lesson at all but instead felt inspired to talk about the Creation. After hearing about the creation Dan said "I think it's stupid for anyone to believe that everything happened by coincidence" and it. was. TRUE. Dan, the guy who was afraid to pray because he was almost sure that there was no such thing as God was now expressing a belief in something more than what we can see! I was so happy! Elder Hamlin and I expressed our own testimonies of the knowledge that we have of God and his Divine power. The feeling in the room was like walking on clouds. After we shared our testimonies, Dan said "Do you want me to pray now?" YES DAN YESSSSSS! We had been asking Dan to pray but he was too afraid of disappointing us by not getting an answer and there he was WANTING TO PRAY! His first ever prayer was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. It went like this
"Dear Heavenly Father, are you there? I love nature. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
At that moment it was as though the gates of Hell themselves had been wrent in twain and no force on Earth could hinder the power of his sincere first prayer. I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear and tell dan how much I loved him. I could not cease to praise him. He said that he felt overwhelmed and that I was, as the Japanese would say, "Killing him with compliments" He told us "I don't think I've had anyone ever care about me this much after only three days." and that "I thought all religious people were crazy but I don't think you're crazy." Thank you, Dan. We felt that we should give him more time to clearly see the answer to his prayer before we invite him to be baptized but hopefully on our next and final visit, he will be ready. I know that he will get an answer. I know that nothing is coincidence and that there was a reason I felt so motivated to read that entire Learn Japanese book. I know I am where I need to be and that Love is the pick that can break even the hardest of hearts.

Elder Norrell

P.S. The MTC computer is weird and I don't think I can send photos. I'll send some when I get into the field.