Monday, January 27, 2014

First week in the mission

La Tinta is about two hours from Coban
Date:  January 27, 2014
Area:  La Tinta, Guatemala
Companion:  Elder Aguero from Peru
Week 6

First off if you wish to send me mail you need to send it to the mission home and then they will forward it to me.  I forgot to bring the address with me to the interent face, but it shouldn't be too hard to find the address of the mission home somewhere.

I have been sent to La Tinta, it is northeast from Coban.  We rode a tourist bus to Coban from Guatemala City and then from Coban to La Tinta we rode a chicken bus, about a two hour ride.  I stayed Tuesday night in the zone leaders of Coban areas house and we woke up at two in the morning to get on the chicken bus to go to La Tinta, which was actually a pretty miserable time because of standing in the rain and carrying all my stuff around.  I know fully understand the need to go around lightly.  I know you can find it on a map.  It is pretty quaint here and there are lots of mountains around us.  All of which are covered in green.  My living area is pretty much a concrete room with a tin roof.  That makes it sounds worse than it actually is but that's pretty much the best I am able to explain it.
My home - My bed is the red.

It takes a long time for photo's to upload here so I'll only be sending a few.

The first thing I want to tell you guys is that here in La Tinta I have to speak two different languages.  First is Spanish of course and the second is a native language called Q'eq'chi, or Kekchi.  Not sure which spelling is correct.  My Book of Mormon says one way and my grammar book says another.  It is a great opportunity for me to learn two languages.

My new companion and Father, in the mission, is Elder Aguero.  He is from Peru and has been out for sixteen months, I think.

My desk
I'm working hard to learn the languages.  I only speak Spanish to Elder Aguero, as he doesn't know too much English.  Actually, he knows quite a bit, we just speak Spanish and we work on his English sometimes in study.

I've been learning how to be patient with myself as I know embark on a journey to learn two different languages.  We've had two lessons in Kekchi, I've only been learning it for three days so I understand nothing.  It is so cool to listen to and really I am striving to learn it.  We'll see where I'm at with it the next time I get to talk to you guys.  My Spanish is coming along.  I need to speak it constantly in and out of the apartment so I have a lot of practice now.

We walk pretty much everywhere and I seat a lot but I am staying hydrated.  We have a nice little store that we can buy pretty much whatever we need in the way of food and some other small items.

Hopefully I will be able to send more pictures in the future.  It takes a while for things to upload at the interent cafe.

We rode in the back of a truck to get to church on Sunday.  Church is the next town over right now as the church in La Tinta is being rebuilt.  The members here are awesome and really really kind.  I've had some wired drink, one called tortilla coffee, which isn't actually coffee but is a darkish color and I have no way to describe the taste of it.

There are still things I need to adjust to, but I'll get there.  I love all of you and I send you the best. Maybe you can find pictures of La Tinta online or something.  It's really something different from what I'm used to back home and even back in the CCM.

My last day in the CCM I received four letters.  One from the family, one from Grandma Mary, one from mom, and on from Amber.  So awesome!  I have also added my sticker to the plaque of history and I'll send a picture of it next week.

Thank you all for your support and you can be expecting more physical letters from me in time to come. Just remember that you need to send any mail to me through the mission home.

- Elder Norte

If you write Elder North it costs $1.10 to send a letter. You do not need any special stamps or envelope you can just use regular stamps equal to $1.10 or you can go into the post office and buy $1.10 stamps. You can also go to and send a letter for free.

Elder Jered North
Guatemala Cobán Mission
6a Avenida 2-36 zona 1
Alta Verapaz

Pictures from the CCM
A giant relief map we got to see on one of
our outings at the CCM
Guatemala Temple a picture out the CCM window
Elder Oliviera from the CCM
Here is some more information about the Q'echi language Jered will be learning.  So excited about this opportunity he is having to learn not only one language but two.  Keep him in your prayers as he adjusts to pretty much everything new in his life. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ultima semana en el CCM

Happy Elder North
Date:  January 14, 2014
Area:  Guatemala CCM
Companion:  Elder Oliviera
Week 5

Yes indeed, it is my final week in the CCM, finally.  In exactly one week from when I send this e-mail out I will be traveling by bus to the mission home in Coban which I will then spend the night there and then head off to my first area.  I do not know when I'll get to send an e-mail again, so yeah.  Also note not to send mail to the CCM anymore, from what I know you need to send them to the mission home.

It is almost a three hour trip from Guatemala City to Coban Guatemala so it is going to be a very long day for him I am sure.  So his mailing address now is.
December 11th - 12 Misisonaries at the Guatemala CCM
Not sure of the order but the missionaries are:
Elder Gubler, Lene, North, Oliveira, Burnham, Chapman,
Guant, Kanahele, Nielsen, Weltmer, Winn, and Sister Giles

Elder Jered North
Guatemala Coban Mission
6a Avenida 2-36 zona 1
Alta Verapaz

And now answering questions.

What is your favorite part of the CCM? - I'm not quite sure I even have a favorite part, the food and maybe Christmas time.

Who is the person you get along best with at the CCM? - My companion, as he's the one I'm with the most and such.
Christmas Time - We all got stockings!
Elder Gubler, Lene, North, Oliveira, Burnham, Chapman,
Guant, Kanahele, Nielsen, Weltmer, Winn, and Sister Giles
Did you receive any snail mail this week? - Other than the first week I have only received two other letters, both were on January 8th, both by Grandma Mary.  My guess is that I'll be getting a lot when I get to the mission home.

It seems strange to me that they are so worried about secrity at the CCM and take away your electronics.  I would think that the CCM is one of the safest places in Guatemala.  Any feedback on that for me? -  I'm still not sure about he reasons, but they have had cameras taken in the past, so it's just a precaution I guess, the CCM is pretty much the safest place here and since it is an ecclesiastical institute, it is a bit safer.

Decorating Cookies
How many missionaries are you at now?  What is the size of your district now?  Who are your leaders in your district? - District doesn't change with new groups, so Elder Lene is still our district leader, although Elder Oliviera was called as Zone leader two weeks ago, kind of forgot to mention that.

Have you struggled with waking up or going to bed?  Have you been tired?  Is it emotionally or physically draining being in the CCM?  - Not at all a problem, it has been somewhat mentally draining here at times as you are in classes and busy all day and I don't have my most standard means of relieving stress and pass times, but that hasn't been an issue.

Tell us what you most often have to eat? - We get a wide variety here...Nothing is really most often, I'll save that for a mission field question.

President Nicolaysen is from Draper Utah and actually goes home about when we go out to the mission field. I'll give them our address and then maybe they could come over for dinner or something and you all could have a nice chat with the man that was in charge when I was in the CCM.

I will tell you about the map outing when I am able to send pictures.  We haven't really gone anywhere else other than Walmart.

The Spanish is coming along.  I am not speaking Spanish all the time but I am progressing and learn something new every day.

This past week we went to the temple for the last time as the temple is going to be closed for three weeks of cleaning.  Also exciting news that I get to miss.  One of the twelve will be visiting the CCM like the day after I leave to re-dedicate the new parts of the building and to give a message which I am sure will inspire those that will be in the CCM.  Kind of sad that I don't get to hear it, but the message must not be for me if he's not going to be here when I'm here.

Things are going well, time is running out here and it is getting exciting.  I'll definitely miss Elder Oliviera, but it will all be really good.

Thank you for the support and for your love, I hope the letters I have been sending out have been getting to you and I hope I will receive your responses some time in the near future.

- Elder Norte
Right after Christmas we got a ton new missionaries.  As you
can see many Sisters and lots more Elders.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Scheduling can be wierd some times...

Date:  January 6, 2014
Area:  Guatemala CCM (Missionary Training Center)
Companion:  Elder Oliveira
Week:  4

So as you have probably seen, this was sent on a Monday, not my usual time during the week I e-mail.  For whatever reason they've decided that it is better to have us e-mail today rather than when I though _-day was going to be on which was Wednesday.  Apparently tomorrow is the actual --day.  So now I'm annoyed at scheduling thingies, and I suspect that I have less e-mails than usual because no one expected me to be writing today.  Oh well, life goes on.

I learned my lesson early on and decided he gets his e-mail Sunday night just like the other two because it bit me one week and I felt TERRIBLE.

So, as with my request I have gotten some questions, which I will be happy to answer.

Do you have to filter water there at the CCM? - No, I do not.  They have water thingies (Water coolers) like in our house where we receive all our drinking water, although the first week I was here I did receive a filtering water bottle.  I haven't been using it because I will be using that in the field.  There is also the fact that the CCM has filtered water, but we don't use it more for us to form the habit of not drinking from the spouts.  The CCM is quite modern and clean so the concerns that we have with cleanliness do not really apply here, and everything is more to form habits.  Like washing your teeth with water bottle water and such.

Tell us your schedule for each day. - On an average day right now I wake up at 6:30am and get ready for the day.  Personal study starts at 7:15am, breakfast at 8:15am, language study at 8:45am.  Fundamentals (something like 'what is the role of the holy ghost in conversion') at 11:00am, teaching a lesson and grammar then lunch at 12:45pm.  After lunch at 1:30 we could have more grammar or gospel study, then companionship study for an hour at around 3:45pm.  Then another class until dinner at 5:45pm.  On Tuesday's we have a devotional after dinner, but usually it's another lesson until 7pm.  During that lesson we do a small companionship study and at 7:30pm we plan for the next day and have sports at 8-9:30pm which then we get ready to go to sleep and then sleep by 10:30pm.

With your companion being from Brzil an dhaving to learn Spanish also you guys will be companions the whole time right? -   Through out the CCM, yes.

How is it different with 60 missionaries there instead of just 12? -   Not too much different, we still do our classes and such, just there are people in the rooms next door.

How many more are sisters? -   I didn't count, and they leave tomorrow and get nuevos Wednesday and Thursday.  We'll be getting around 90 missionaries these last two weeks.

Have they ever taken a picture of all of you? - Yes

Wonder how I can get my hands on those????

Who is in charge of the missionaries while you are at the CCM? -   The CCM president and his wife, Presidente Nicolaysen.

How often do you get to leave the CCM for any reason? -   We get to go to the temple every week and about every other week we leave on a sort of field trip.  Tomorrow we go to the market and see a large map.

Have you found that you need anything? - I haven't needed much, there are the few things I have bought, like paper and envelopes and stamps.

I don't really have much more to write this week.  Life in the CCM is kind of getting monotonous for me, but I fill my time with study and reading and things.  Carlos is still dishing out food that is fantastic and me and my companion get along well.  I haven't received more mail as of yet, but I do believe I will be getting some this Wednesday.  We will see and then you will hear about it next week.  There are letters sent from me, and I have no idea how long those will take to get to the people.

Tell Mikel to e-mail me in Spanish.

Hasta luego,
Elder Norte

We have found that it cost $1.10 to send a letter from us to him and takes approximately two weeks.  If you are interested in sending him mail I would send it ASAP to the MTC address as he has just over two weeks left there.  When he gets to the field we should find out his local address and be able to send mail straight there instead of going through the mission home since if he is not close to the mission home then that because really crazy.  So for the next couple of days you can send mail to this address...

Elder Jered North
Guatemala Coban Mission
Guatemala Missionary Training Center
Bulevar Vista hermosa 23-71
Vista Hermosa I, Zona 15
Guatemala City 01015

You can also go to and go to Guatemala Coban Mission and send it through there.  It is free!

He has been really good about sending actual letters back so if you take the time to write him I am sure he will write you too.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year 2014, the year of the missionary.

Elder North saying Merry Christmas
Date:  January 1, 2014
Area:  CCM Guatemala City
Companion:  Elder Oliveira
Week:  3


So as my title says this is the year of the missionary, what I really mean by that is that this year, for the full year I am a missionary, and that's actually kind of cool to think about.

I didn't get many questions today.  Not any really, so I guess I invite my family to give me one questions by next week for me to answer.  But it is fine, I get to talk about things.

So for Christmas there were still only 12 of us missionaries in the CCM, which actually did mean we got a little bit of special treatment.  We played scout games, like tie the balloon to your ankle and pop everyone else.  We saw a Christmas devotional by Elder Bednar.  It was more of a Q and A.  That was really incredible, although my question wasn't read.

The reason we eat so well in the CCM here is because of Carlos.  He is a professional chef, and he and his crew are fantastic.  Even now while we have around 60 or more missionaries, the food is as good and plentiful as when there were only 12 of us.  We thank him very much for his efforts and I do hope he gets paid well.  I know it's not easy to cook that much food, especially at the variety and quality they do it.  Our Christmas dinner was a ham, a full ham, with green beans and bread and some fantastic potatoes.

Elder North and Elder Oliveira with their stockings
I'm not sure, but I do think I've gained some weight while here.  I'll burn that off in the next 23 months of my mission though.

New Years wasn't as special of an occasion for me actually.  I went to bed a little bit early because I was pretty darn tired.  Guatemalans, or in Spanish, Guatamatecos. (Unsure on that spelling) really know how to party on Christmas and New Year's.  They put on fire works like you wouldn't believe.  All over the city, because there are no restrictions on fire works the entire city, yes, ENTIRE city is one huge firework show at midnight on these two occasions.  It woke me up and I got to watch.  You would not believe the amount of fireworks and stuff exploding in the air.

This week has been as busy as the rest.  Now there are new missionaries, all but three are from Central America.  None are going to Coban from this group.  A couple are from there and I got to talk to them about it.  Pretty much things we already know about the place, like weather and stuff.  With these new missionaries I get the opportunity to talk to and listen to people who nativity speak Spanish.  Every day I get taught a lesson and I teach a lesson to a native.

The Thompson's, Elder North, Elder Oliveira and the Harris's
Today also marks the halfway point in the CCM.  My goal in Spanish is that I will only speak Spanish in my last two weeks here.  That means I have one more week of speaking English.  I think I'll be sufficiently ready for that, but we will see.  My reasoning behind that was that the natives spend two weeks here.  In my last two weeks I want to make my experience as much as like theirs as possible.

Well, It was fantastic reading all the e-mails and such.  I hear there are letters and even a package or two en route to my position.  That sounds exciting.  Each one is important to me and I keep every letter I recieve.  You are all in my prayers, and I pray for your safety, and perseverance in work, school, and other activities.  One thing I try to do with my prayers is to make them very specific, because specific prayers bring specific blessings.

Thank you for all your support and prayers.
Elder Norte

I recieved an e-mail on Christmas Eve from Sister Donna Harris.  She wrote.....

Hi, My husband and I hosted a dinner tonight where Elder North and Elder Oliveira were our guests of honor.  Elder and Sister Thompson were also in attendance.  My husband is in the Temple Presidency and I am assistant Matron in the Guatemala City Temple.  The Thompson's are Temple Missionaries.

My husband was Mission President in the Guatemala North Mission from 2002-20058.  Our mission covered all of what is now the Coban Mission.  It is a wonderful area to serve in and I am sure your son will be thrilled to be able to work in this area.  The people are so humble and loving and kind.  The area is beautiful and he will enjoy being there.  Your son will be a great blessing to these people.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with Elder North.  He is a wonderful young man and I am sure you are very proud of him and his willingness to serve a mission.  Here are some pictures we took.

YES, I was thrilled to get pictures.  I didn't think I would get any and it was a nice surprise when I happened to check my e-mail on Christmas Eve.  Must admit it produced tears.  I am so thankful for wonderful people who stop and send e-mail's or texts with pictures of my kids, it is such a wonderful thing.  So if you see missionaries stop and take pictures and send them to their mommies!  It is crazy to think that all three of my kids will be gone all of 2014.  It brings tears of happiness and sadness to my eyes but I couldn't be prouder of them and their choice to serve the Lord.  I know they will grow so much from the experiences they will have.  Thank you all for your love and support.

If you would like to send Jered a snail mail he would love it and is actually quite good at writing also.  It costs $1.10 to send him a letter.  You can do that by regular stamps or buying a $1.10 one.

Elder Jered North
Guatemala Coban Mission
Guatemala Missionary Training Center
Bulevar Vista Hermosa 23-71
Vista Hermosa I, Zona 15
Guatemala City 01015

Our Christmas Card this year, doing it digital was a good as it got.