Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The wheather outside is... Well... It´s fantastic really. (Week 2)

Date:  December 24, 2013
Area:  Guatemala CCM
Companion:  Elder Oliveira

Well, I think my first order of business this week is to answer the questions I have been given.

What mission is Elder Oliveira going to? - He is going to the Honduras something or other mission. That is in Honduras.

Are most of the 12 there now staying in missions in Guatemala? - Yes, most of them are going to the Retaulello mission (incorrectly spelled, not sure how to actually spell it)

How many in the Coban mission?-- Right now only me and Elder Gubler, that will change this week as we get a new group of missionaries entering into the CCM. As far as how many in the field of Coban currently, I have no idea.

Who are the others in my district? - Elder North, Elder Gubler, Elder Lene, Elder Oliveira.

Last week on Wednesday I did send out a total of three letters, one of which is to Great Grandma Nielsen, so if I am correct, it should be arriving sometime in a week, and I did receive a letter from Grandma Pam on Friday, the day after I wrote last time.

So... This week was a little less exciting as it is the second week and things are not that new and exciting as they were during the first week. The food is still good and we receive three meals each day, so I still have quite a few granola bars and other little treats that are slowly being depleted. I was able to attend a session in the Guatemala City temple and I will be going again this Thursday, where I will dwell on some of the more pressing things of my mind that are of a bit more spiritual nature, I do think I did mention I went in my last email.

I´m not homesick if anyone is wondering, things are great here and they are quite warm, this city isn´t called the land of eternal spring for nothing. I plan to open my present’s tomorrow evening and I do wonder greatly what´s in them. Our plans for Christmas day is to stay here for the most part of the day and later in the day we will watch a devotional that will be shown to the missionaries in all the CCM´s across the world, so sadly my brother and sister in arms will not see it since they are both in the field.

I´m progressing well in Spanish and have recently felt my ability to teach grow as well. (You, my family, will probably be able to hear how well my Spanish is going when you call.) Me and Elder Oliveira practice teaching about every day in a lesson we choose at the time we start, it helps with Spanish and it helps with our teaching together and in general.

A little bit of how Sunday´s go in the CCM. Sundays are a bit more relaxed as they should be, although breakfast is thirty minutes earlier than normal and I kind of don´t like that, we then have sacrament meeting where everyone has prepared a lesson on a subject and we find out who is speaking at that time. After is priesthood meeting where we learn a lesson, last week was Obedience, and then it is District meeting where we get together as a district and companionships are chosen to give a lesson on a pre-determined subject, much like sacrament meeting. In this past sacrament meeting Sister Nicolaysen, the president´s wife, spoke about Christmas, while the rest of us spoke about the Apostasy, as it was the chosen subject. Sacrament meeting is in Spanish for the most part, but the rest of the day is more English.
Later in the day on Sunday, we usually watch a couple of videos, this week we watched the video, Testaments, Legacy, and a devotional that occurred in January of this year in the Provo CCM, the speaker of that being Elder Ballard.

Pray every day, read scriptures every day.

I love you all and hope you guys get a little more snow, (hehe) so that this Christmas can be a white Christmas for you.

Palabra de el diá - Sacerdocio = Priesthood

Elder Norte

Thursday, December 19, 2013

And we shall call it the first week.

Date:  December 19, 2013
Area:  CCM (MTC in Guatemala City)
Companion:  Elder Oliveira

I'm not sure how well structured my e-mails are going to be, but we shall see.

First of all, I did safely make it into Guatemala and someone was waiting for us at the airport to take us to the CCM about a 10 minute or less drive away.  I am in the district of Isaias, with three other missionaries.  There are certainly only 12 missionaries in the CCM right now, until next week when it is projected that we will get a large group.

My companion is Elder Oliveira, he is from Brazil and speaks Portuguese and a bit of Spanish and a very little bit of English.  We get along well, the language barrier isn't too hard of a thing to get over for me.  My four years of Spanish have helped immensely and after just one week I know all the tenses.  (I have been going ahead of my class studies in my study time as most of it is review for me.)

Elder Gubler is alive and I guess technically he was my first companion.

I was able to take a total of four pictures, one of the airplane, one of my last meal in the States and two in the CCM the first day before my camera was taken from me, for security reasons.

I will usually e-mail on P-days which I did figure out is on Wednesday's for one hour.  We hd some very unusual happenings here.  The CCM is under construction.  Because it is being renovated this week they needed to turn the power off for three days while we stayed in the temple housing.  Which wasn't quite different from the CCM housing, just smaller and less showers.

The facilities in the CCM are built for more than just twelve missionaries and they are good and warm and there is food.  Plenty of food, three times a day, and I have had no complaints.

I haven't needed to exchange my money for quetz yet, I have spent some money.  I needed to buy some new deodorant because I misplaced mine, and I also bought a tie.  I will get a picture as soon as I get my camera back.

Yesterday we did get the chance to go to an English session in the Temple, which is literally one block away.  It is smaller than the temples at home, but not lacking in spirit.

I did receive two letters yesterday, one of them from mother that was sent on the 4th of December and a Christmas card from the North's in Texas.  A few letters are on there way and I will write more.  So it takes about two or so weeks for letters to be received here.

My journal is filling up as I have indeed written in it every day.  I was hoping to have it with me as I write this e-mail, but I left it up in my room.

While we were staying in the temple housing a family that was from Coban were staying there as well.  They are from the Coban stake.  He showed me some pictures and shared with me a fantastic story of a large group of baptisms that occurred on the same day.  That area looks very green and a bit warmer than here, but it will be fantastic.  He also told me a bit about the native language there, that if I do well in my Spanish and learn it well.  I may be called by the mission president to go to an area where I need to speak that language.  That's what I think right now.

I did find a letter in my folder that was fantastic.

Now about the weather.  Guatemala City is called the city of Eternal Spring, and the weather here is perfect.  It's not too humid here.  I'm not sure about Coban, but here, it's fantastic and it has rained about four times, each time for about 4 minutes or less.  There is green all over and it is very pretty.

We got to attend a fireside with one of the seventy, he didn't give a talk, rather we had a question and answer, where he answered what it was like to be a general authority, and how much he traveled, and what his favorite part of being a general authority was.

As you probably already know, the life of a missionary is very busy and one outside the states is no exception.  Our time is filled with Spanish studies and spiritual studies alike.  At the current moment I have put the grammar part on the back seat in my personal studies and have been focusing on my vocabulary.  I am learning so very quickly and I have the desire to learn, both of which are fantastic blessings.  There have been times where I think a lesson is a bit boring, but I have still paid attention and taken my notes.  There's one page in my notebook that has some of my most useful Spanish notes about the grammar portion and I refer to it often.

When I call on Christmas, or rather when you call me, I'm sure you have the time written down and can't wait for that moment.  Also remember that if I do not pick up right away, keep trying.  I am thinking in one weeks time from now on Christmas day dad will have a pretty good time having a conversation in Spanish.  It is my goal.  To speak only Spanish and have a meaningful conversation with him that day.  If I do this all of my work thus far will definitely be worth it.

Lo siento por cualquier tipos en mi email, este computadora es en espanol y quiereme escribir solomente en palabras de espanol.

I look forward to more e-mails and more pictures.  I love you all, and thank all the North clan and the Barnson's and all the other people that have helped me get here.   Hopefully I have sated your questions for now.

Con amor,
Elder Norte

Favorite Spanish phrase.  'Espanol es Pan comido'  An expression that pretty much means that Spanish is as easy as eating bread.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The First Day

Date: December 11, 2013
Companion: ?
Area:  CCM (centro de capatacion misioneros) in Guatemala City

Lo and behold I am making it through my first day.  There isn't a lot of missionaries here at the CCM right now because apparently a lot of them just left.  Now there are a total of 10 Elders and 1 Sister I believe.  I met up just fine with Elder Gubler.  We have made it a challenge to one up each other in Spanish.  I will be writing a much fuller letter next week on P-day.  For right now I only have 5 minutes to just give a small summery of what has happened.  I look forward to reading and replying to letters next Tuesday.

With Love,
Elder North de Guatemala

So that is it, looks like his P-day is going to be on Tuesday's while at the CCM (spanish for MTC - Missionary Training Center).  When he leaves the CCM (after six weeks) he will have Monday's as P-day's (preparation day)  Glad to hear he made it.  Of course I want more info but it will have to wait, hopefully Tuesday brings a nice lengthy letter full of details.  :)  Elder Gubler is from St. George Utah so they were travel companions and the only missionaries this transfer from the United States.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Saying goodbye for two years is bitter sweet.

It is not an easy thing to let your child leave for 2 years to serve a mission.  You don't have contact with them whenever you want.  You can only talk to them two times a year (Christmas and Mother's day) and e-mail once a week.  Trust me it can be so frustrating when you have asked the same questions for a month and still not gotten an answer because you are just e-mailing and they are ignoring that question for some reason.  You can't just call them up and say, HEY answer the question.  It is not easy at all but I am thankful for not only my children's willingness to serve missions but also their worthiness to be able to serve a mission.  I know that they grow so much in part because they have to do it on their own.  We will miss Jered, our bear boy, but we wouldn't want him any other place.

Jered is our fourth missionary from our house.  His oldest brother came home from South Carolina in May, his older sister left for Chicago in July, and a brother who left for Arkansas in July.  All three of those kids went to the Provo MTC (missionary training center, where they learn how to be a missionary).  We are from Utah so we were able to take them to the MTC.  When you arrive at the MTC there are a BUNCH of smiling face Elder's and Sister's waiting to greet your child and show them the way.  When your child goes to a foreign MTC you take them to the airport where you are with them as they check their baggage (breathe a sigh of relief when they are not over weight) and then walk them to the security gate.  You embrace them and tell them goodbye and then watch them make their way alone through security and disappear down the hall. There is nobody there to greet them and make sure they are doing things the right way and getting to where they need to go.  Yes these are technically adults, but anyone that has ever had an 18 or 19 year old understand that they are really not grown up yet.  They are still our babies.  They have so much on their minds, they are leaving EVERYTHING they know to go to a foreign land where they don't even speak the language yet.  They have a lot on their minds and they are alone and we are so happy they are doing it but sad because we can't do more for them.  Jered's flight is currently boarding while I write this.  After he went through security he had a bit over an hour until it was his time to board.  He will get on the flight and fly from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles where he will have a two hour layover.  He will then get on a new plane at just after midnight and fly all night (or four hours) to Guatemala City.  He will get off and look around for someone from the CCM (MTC in Spanish).  The language, smells, and sights will all be new.  There is one other Elder from the US going to Guatemala and Jered should meet him shortly as he boards the plane as the Elder was coming from another plane.

Here are the pictures from our farewells today.

Saying farewell to the snow.  Actually he had me take one of him
on his camera so that he can show what he came from.

Putting the first sticker on his chart.

Our missionary wall.  Good thing we don't have four that
can go right now we don'g have room for another poster here.

Group photo of the kids left.

See ya brother


Older brother Deven

Silly Taryn

Mikel will most likely be gone on his mission by
the time Jered comes back meaning it will be just over
31/2 years they don't see each other.


Great Grandma is 97 and told Jered to do well and be good.  She said thanks for
coming by to tell me goodbye.  I will not be here when you get back but
I WILL see you later.  She is 97 and ready to go home to our
Heavenly Father and to see her husband who died in 1995.  She is so sharp
and enriches each of our lives we do not look forward to that day.

With the luggage 

2 years worth of stuff in two bags and a backpack.

Getting the boarding pass.

Checking in - whew, both luggage's were 49 pounds.

Last picture with mom and dad for two years.

Heading for the security gate

The fun of security, take off everything and hope your clear.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pictures from Jered's farewell

Here are pictures from today's festivities.  Thanks to all who made it a special day and came out and celebrated with us and said goodbye to Jered.

Yummy food all around.

Taylynne and Olivia talking to Great Grandma Nielsen

Cousin Taylor and soon to be Elder North


Load up your plates

On our TV was pictures of Jered through his 18 years.

People eating while looking at the photo's of Jered through the years.

Sam, Jake, Jered, and Brandon.  Brandon's farewell is next Sunday.
He is going to North Carolina.

Snowy day outside so everyone took off their shoes.

Grandma North and Aunt Shannon

Elder North with his sugar cookie name tag.

Ucle Tony, Aunt Shannon, Elder North, Jayden, and Tyson

Sign up here if you would like to receive Jered's weekly letter. 

The photo's really did hold everyone's attention!  Made me cry.

Elder Jered North with his Great Grandma Opal Nielsen.
This woman is amazing and doesn't let anything stop her even at 97 years old.

Grandma and Grandpa North, Elder North, and Grandma Nielsen

Aunt Bethany and cutie pie Bryson

Uncle Karl and Elder North

Both soon to be missionaries.  Way to go boys.

mom and daughter.  My niece Leah and my sister Jennifer.

Zane kicked Jake out of the way and sat next to Sam and cuddled up to her
and declared he was now her boyfriend.  

The Blackham Family!

Long time childhood friends these two.  They have know each other since birth.
Caice South and Jered North - yup you read that right!

Say hi everyone!

Seirra, Taylor, Jered, Leah, and Ammon
Sierra is going on her mission in April to Japan!

Taylynne getting some baby time in with Alyssa.

Steve getting some rest but still part of it all.

Grandma Mary and Jered

Silliness with friends

Kids playing

The Larsen Clan

Uncle Jed schooling Daniel in some Foosball.

Jered fading fast

Uncle Karl with Olivia bug

Church friends stopping by to say farewell

A serious game of chess in front of the Christmas Tree.

Look I am actually in a pictures.  This is me, I am Laura, I am mom.

Jarmon Family

Both going to be missionaries in foreign lands

Nutty, Jered, and Nathan

Aunt Karoline, kido's and Bear.

Olivia didn't want to take the group picture but after
went and hugged on Jered.

Zane wanted in on the action.

What happens when you ask to silly people to take a picture!

Jered and Kat

Nutty's lips

Jered and Caice lifetime friends


Time to get your game on

The clean up crew

Chess is no small matter