Tuesday, June 30, 2015

This is Idaho

So this week has been pretty good. Although the temperature has been peaking in the 100's, we still push on. I'm talking about sweat stains in my collars for days. But on the bright side, due to the heat, some people are a little bit warmer towards us. Get it? No?

Anyway despite the heat this week, as usual, was well worth it. Although a nap would be nice the work stops for nobody. There were some nice people that gave us water but dinners this week were all pizza and hamburgers. No lie. Pizza is the bane of my existence. There is no possible way anyone can eat pizza and then jump on a bike to ride in the oven called Idaho and feel okay. But I will say that I am thankful that we get fed at all.
So very hot!!

So the most exciting thing that happened this week is that I can see a change in some of the members of the ward and some of the less active members. Since 8th ward is so big, Elder Barrow and I have instituted a plan to help get the ward members involved in missionary work. We go to their homes with a map of 8th ward which has been divided into districts. On that map are the names and locations of members who are both active and less active. We show them the map and ask "Will you get to know these neighbors?" Usually they agree. Hopefully once the members know each other, we can step it up a bit and ask them to spread out to the nonmembers that they live by.

We've gotten a few new people who seem to be interested in church and we hope they will see the need for it. One of this weeks greatest successes was Ashley, the daughter of a widowed active member. The mother and youngest son actively attend church but the rest of the siblings do not. Ashley hasn't been attending church regularly so we wanted to invite her to come. On Tuesday while we were sharing a message Ashley had come out of her room to listen. Just looking at her you could probably tell she was having a hard time and didn't seem too happy. After sharing our message we invited all of them, active members included, to attend church. All three accepted. And come Sunday they were all there! It really makes us happy to see people at church. It means they are keeping commitments which also means that they are actively making an effort to change/ repent.

Later that night while on splits, brother Baker told me that he wanted to go see Ashley and her family because his wife does a lot with the young women and she was concerned about Ashley. So we went. We talked to her mother at first and she told us that her daughter seemed to be having a hard time with self-worth. It's always hard to hear that because as a missionary you seem to truly understand that everyone is so valuable. To know that someone doesn't feel the love that God has for them truly makes your heart hurt for them. You wish that you could somehow make them understand how important they truly are. After a little bit of talking. Ashley came and sat down with us.

As we spoke about their experience with other church's I felt that I should invite them to do a family home evening which is where a family gets together and plays games and shares spiritual thoughts. At the center of their family evening that I wanted to invite them to do is the Because He Lives video which can be found at www.mormon.org/easter. As I handed off the assignment to the mother, she turned to her daughter, Ashley, and said "Actually I want Ash to do it." That was inspired. So Ashley has now been assigned a lesson to prepare and I know that if she does it, she will be blessed.

The theme for this week is that you are all valuable. Although there may be times when we are the only ones who cannot see our true worth it doesn't make you any less valuable. We are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. He will always love us and guide us. The only thing keeping us back from those blessings is ourselves. What good is a gift if we do not accept it? Always know that you are loved and that you are never alone in anything. Through the good times and the bad, your Father in Heaven will always be there; Christ will always understand; the Holy Spirit will always want to guide you. If you ever feel lost, humble yourself and pray to God, relinquishing all of your fears and all of your desires to Him. If you are truly willing to do whatever it is that He asks, your own desires will align with His, you will be happy, and you will fear no man because you will know that your Heavenly Father is on your side. He will chase out the darkness in your life with the light of His love and there will be no place where you cannot feel Him close by. You will know that He is there and that He has a plan for you.

Elder Norrell

Awesome watch tan

Various pics of Idaho animal friends

Elder Savage on his death bed...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The importance of families

June 15, 2015


This week was awesome and insanely hot some days but that's okay because all of these people, some were strangers, gave us water and one even gave us popsicles!

So church attendance this week was amazing! We had nine less actives and recent converts attend and two investigators attend as well! It was so amazing to see all of these people who we love finally come to church! One old lady named Linda came and she sat with us. She felt that everything that had been said and done was just for her and she was so glad! She really wants her son to come to church but he is a grown man and can make his own decisions so she will be patient and love him regardless which is wonderful! I think that this past Sunday was the happiest day of my mission so far and it gives me hope to know that a lot of our efforts aren't in vain. It's an interesting thing to see how Heavenly Father is so aware of all of us. Still I'm not going to settle and get comfortable with the success that we have now. Everyone is important and nobody is too far gone and that's why we are always pushing to get God and Christ into every home and every life.

I really want to emphasize the importance of family to all of you. I've been reading True to the Faith and in it there is a lot of information about the eternal significance of the family unit. We have been warned and counseled by modern- day Prophets on how to protect the sacredness of families. This year marks the 100th year since the institution of Family Home Evening which is where once a week families take time out of their busy schedule to teach and learn gospel principles and grow together closely. In 1915 I don't think there was as big of an issue about having time to spend with families as there is now. That was definitely inspired and God knew that we would be where we are today and He knew how important Family Home Evening would be. On top of that, the document titled "The Family a Proclamation to the World" was released twenty years ago . Simply put, the document clarifies that the family is ordained of God, that marriage is between a man and a woman, that children deserve to be reared in a home with two parents who love each other, along with other things. One thing that stood out to me this morning was when I read about how we are all a certain gender for a reason. I wondered if gender identity was really that big of an issue twenty years ago. It wasn't as big of an issue as it is today. It's important to realize that God makes us the way we are for a reason. We endure physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges because we can grow from the and rise above the obstacles. It isn't because God is cruel but rather because He is a very great deal wiser than any of us could ever hope to be. Much like a parent, God knows much more than His young children and even though we may not understand why things happen the way they do, we can always find comfort in knowing that God loves us and that all pain, separation, and guilt can be only temporary if we trust God and try our best to be like Jesus Christ. He is the only way, the only pure example, and the only One that could have made up for our own mistakes and shortcomings. Do not give up hope that your Father in Heaven loves you and cares for you. Remember that we lived forever before this life and that we will continue to live forever after this life and that because we are able to endure this frail existence with faith, our joy can be multiplied exponentially because we will always remember the pains of mortality as well as the joys of eternity. Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy. It is because we know pain that we can feel joy. The sting of death and sin is swallowed up in Christ and everything that happens to us is for to make us all better than we were and better than we are.

I love you all very much and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Norrell