I am getting eaten alive by everything that can bite.

Hello mom and family!

Things are going fairly well here in the Patuxent Ward. We had a great week and got a lot of good contacts from members and others. Yesterday we had a Zone Conference on the Book of Mormon and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was really good to hear from President Johnson. We had a service project cleaning gutters for a recent convert today and boy howdy, it was huuuuumid. And hot. Therefore, by default, it was sweaty. I didn’t even do anything except hold a ladder for Elder Lyman and I still got soaked.

This last Sunday we got to go to Why I Believe with two of our recent converts we are working with, Arthur B. and Fred B. They are two awesome men. The speakers were pretty good, and the recent convert testimonies were awesome! The general format for Why I Believe is an opening hymn and prayer, two recent convert testimonies, a special musical number, a slide show of recent baptisms, and two main speakers. The event then ends with a closing hymn and prayer. This last one, there wasn’t a single seat that was empty in the VC auditorium!

 

The Ward is very rural, and BIG. We have a lot of miles allotted to us for driving as the people are fairly spread out in little clusters. It is sandwiched between the Potomac River and the Patuxant river, so it gets suuuuper humid. The area is incredibly green though, as there is an (over)abundance of moisture. It is also super pretty down near the water.

Most of the people hear work at the air station. We see F-35’s fly around every now and then, which is pretty cool.

The Bishop is Bishop Martines. He has a family of 6 and we have been over once this month. His oldest daughter is getting ready for her mission so we have lessons set where she and either her dad or brother meet us at our investigators. They are an awesome family!

We get fed every night except for Monday and sometimes more than once a day! It is a great area for a slim Jim like myself.

Five things I have in common with my companion, Elder Lyman are:
I. We like the same sports, specifically water ones.
II. We both go home in December
III. We have very similar senses of humor
IV. He likes a lot of the same music and movies I do
V. We are both stumped by the fifth part of this answer ūüėČ

The last Miracle I witnessed was a super pretty sunset. Last answer to a prayer I got was a no. Context withheld until later date. It is good to listen to he Spirit!

I like how green it is here, and how the Ward helps us in our labors. It makes things a lot more effective when you don’t know anyone in the area.

I do love being out in nature, though I am getting eaten alive by everything that can bite. Mosquitos, ticks, ants, and more. Luckily no bed bugs anymore, so I am counting my blessings. I have been getting a lot of good pictures of nature out here in the boonies, and I am grateful for it. We have gone to a few state parks like St Mary’s, Calvert Cliffs, and Point Lookout. It is really enjoyable.

I have been on the Governor Thomas Johnson bridge numerous times and have some fantastic photos of the sunset. It is right on the border of our area, which is really awesome for us.

I love you all and hope you stay safe!

Love,
Elder Jacob Norris

Washington DC North Mission
Trust God, Good Things Will Come ūüôā

On the Bay…

Hello mom and family!

I am doing really well here in the Patuxent area. It is Suuuuuuper heavily wooded, and super humid, as it is right on the Bay.

I was with Elder Cowan for the prescribed 6 weeks, and it was awesome, until President asked him to train a new missionary. He was a little upset about it at first, but he got excited after a few days. My new companion is Elder Lyman. He is a missionary normally assigned to the Chinese program,  but is doing a few transfers in english (it is the norm for the language programs to do that.). He is probably going back to the Chinese program next transfer, which is sad as he is a great guy!

I am in the same district as Elder Strubell and Elder Bias, which I am super excited about! For those who have forgotten either of them, I was Elder Bias’ companion for two transfers in Glen Burnie, and Elder Strubell and I were in the MTC together. It has been pretty awesome these last 5 days.

1) Favorite memory of Independence day? I am having a hard time recollecting any specific stuff, but I feel like the few times we went out to Uncle Doug’s, ate homemade ice cream and watched fireworks, and swimming, and Julie playing Kingdom Hearts. I always found that rather enjoyable.

2 The most memorable thing I have participated in within the last three weeks is that Elder lyman and I have been working on building our rocket program up. Over all it has been successful (though our apartment smells like death every now and then) I can only guess what he means by “rocket program”, and it brings to mind a certain campfire scene in a¬†certain Mel Brooks’ movie.

3 I AM MOTIVATED TO TRY NEW THINGS SO THAT LIFE IS NOT BORING!

4  I bought a slurpee once out here with a bunch of missionaries and it was dumping rain _water halfway up our shins kind of rain_ and there was toooons of lightning. It was pretty fun.

I hope all of you are doing extremely well! Stay safe and love you!

Elder Jacob Norris

Washington D.C. North Mission.

 

 

My favorite gift that doesn’t cost money are letters!

Hello Mom and Family!

I am doing well here in Glen Burnie, though it will only be for a couple more days. I am getting transfered down to the Patuxent area this Wednesday, which should be rather exciting.

1. In the next week I look forward to getting a bunch of pictures to send home from other missionaries, as well as serving in a new area.  I look forward to it being good

2. My favorite gift that doesn’t cost money are letters! ¬†They are awesome to get, though I admittedly am pretty poor with return communication.

3. Answering how my home shaped my character is a pretty broad ranging question. I am sure I picked up all of my good habits; like being nice to people and (trying) to let others know what I am thinking. Dad would be happy to know I have used only 1 towel in the last 18 almost 19 months, so my laundry bill has been pretty low. My home has also given me an appreciation for the gospel. Seeing the contrast in the way I lived and the way a lot of people out here live has given me a good perspective on how a family supports one another.

4. This question is a little weird, but I will do my best to answer. A sight I am grateful for is a cupboard with food. A sound… probably something to do with food. And an emotion I am grateful for is the satisfied feeling I get after eating. As I am writing this, I am realizing I have yet to eat dinner, so answers may vary at times. (Dad is worried that he is starving)

I will send some pictures home soon. I asked president for my iPad back and he said he was wondering when I would ask for it!  haha. Wednesday is when I get it, in case there was some confusion. I should be more consistent with writing then.

I love you bunches! Let Julie know I love her. I got her email a little ways back and wanted to reply, but this is the only email I have tiime for.

In other news. today I went golfing for the first time today. It was pretty fun. I did 1 round and golfed a double bogey! I don’t ¬†know if that is good or not. I just used an 8 iron the whole time we golfed. I learned it helps to look at the ball and not the hole when you swing, and it makes a world of difference!

Anyways, love you all a bunch and look forward to seeing you all. December is getting here pretty quick!

Elder Jacob “Splash Bandit 3.0” Norris
Washington DC North Mission
Trust God, Good Things Will Come ūüôā

No pictures this week, folks! 

 

This past week I had some cereal. Lot’s of cereal.

Hello mom and family and friends!

I have been doing well. This last week was pretty good. Things have been going rather smoothly with the ward. We have a meeting at the VC this week which will be pretty cool. I still don’t know what it is about though.

1. My favorite book is either Band of Brothers or Neptune’s Inferno, if I am going for a non-religious answer, and Our Search For Happiness for a religious one. The first two help me appreciate some of the actions my forebearers took to preserve civil liberties and freedom for our nation and others, and the second helps me understand the Gospel and applying it to my life. All in all, good stuff. (I exempted the Book of Mormon, because that is too obvious)

2. Well, this past week I had some cereal. Lot’s of cereal. It reminded me of the time we had like a hundred boxes in our house. Good times indeed.

3. We’ll, I don’t think there is anything I can do that always makes me happy, as there must be opposition in all things, and too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and so on so forth. BUT, ¬†I really do like skiing! I miss backpacking (dad mentioned he was training for August), and playing guitar. Things I still can do include taking really hot showers followed by really cold showers. Another thing is talking about random things with Elder Cowan ranging from the meaning of damnation (the halt of our spiritual progression FYI) and other gospel topics, what our favorite vacations are, former companions, mission policy, sports, family stories and more. Also included in things I am permitted to do is sing, read scriptures, and drive to appointments at sunset (so romantic). Playing basketball is also fun. I have a killer floater that is unblock-able. Outside of what is listed, most of what I do for enjoyment is blacklisted until I return to the golden state.

4. If I were emperor for a day, my first decree would be that every third Thursday of the month people are required to wear socks with sandals, and striped shorts of a neon variety; a checkered shirt in pastel hues, and a scarf patterned in the finest polka dots possible. The name of this day will be Known as Thursday and people will be given 1 ticket for the town ferris wheel. Those who violate this decree will henceforth be known as tacky until compliance occurs.

Sorry, not much in the way of pictures this week. I hope you are all well and good.

I love you!

Elder Jacob Norris
Trust God, Good Things Will Come ūüôā

jacobincereal

From mom’s “Do-it-yourself” picture kit!

I am grateful to know I do not know everything.

Hello Mom,

Sorry for being incommunicado last week, it was a hectic one.

I am well. My new companion, Elder Cowan, is a lot of fun. He is from the same group as Elder Bias and Elder Woodis, so it was a decent batch.

1. I would say the number one reason to prepare to serve a mission is because it won’t just help you if you do go on a mission. By strengthening ourselves spiritually as soon as possible, we can resist and overcome temptations that may otherwise be stumbling blocks for us. Another reason to prepare is that every member of the church is already on a mission. Going to a different place and being called as a full time missionary is an incredible experience. You live the gospel everyday and share it with everyone you meet. However, every baptized member also has made a commitment to share their faith in Christ. Just because members don’t wear tags and go door to door, two by two, doesn’t mean that they have no part in the work of salvation. A quote I like is “Preach the Gospel, use words when necessary.” As members, we need to actively seek out things testifying of Christ. As we do that, preparing for a mission and preaching the gospel go hand in hand.

2. I was told today that I am a little weird, but the good kind of weird, not the bad kind. I guess that counts as a compliment? ūü§Ē

3.I am grateful to know I do not know everything. Few things are more humbling than knowing many people have a far more vast knowledge on a far greater range of topics than myself.

4. Favorite quotes: “If you can’t say anything nice, at least make it funny.”
-Grandpa Kendrick

“Be who you are/ Say what you think/ Because those who mind don’t matter/ and those who matter don’t mind”
-Dr. Suess (I think I quoted this right)

5. Bed bug bites are itchy, but I have only been bit once, so  #blessed and my Amazon Prime  package was received and appreciated.

Elder Cowan is good. I have served around him before. He is from Oregon and his last area was the D.C. 2nd YSA Ward. He has been out 19 months.

I would answer the rest of these questions but I need to go to bed!

I love you bunches!

Elder Norris
Washington DC North Mission
Trust God, Good things will come

My white shirts are starting to do a colormorph…

May 10, 2017

Hello mom!
THis letter has found me doing well. We had the opportunity to go to the temple today, lots of fun.
Glen Burnie is well. Transfers are every six weeks, so they will be next Wednesday for me. We find out if we are staying or going the Monday before transfers, so as of the moment I know not if I will be staying.
Joel’s baptism was great! The ordinance was performed by a newly ordained priest. We were excited for Joel. It was awesome.
I am all good to skype home at 4:30 our time. Hopefully that works! And I have an interview with President on Friday so I will ask him if it is okay for me to call dad (I think it will be though)
I am doing okay. I had a few friends that were released early. I am a bit sad that they had to go home and hope they are doing better in their home environments. I am a little stressed out, but I think I will be okay.
My white shirts are starting to do a colormorph, so I think a couple more long sleeves would be good. I wear a 16 1/2 in collar, if you do end up getting a shirt. I love the pants I got for Christmas. I wear them with my black suit and their is no noticeable difference. The St Johns bay ones are a bit big, as they are a 34 waist, but they are still pretty comfy.
Elder Bias and I are deep cleaning right now, as we have our inspection tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. All is well with the apartment outside of a chronic bedbug problem. No matter what we do after a week they come back. It is really irritating.
I am sorry for the brevity of this letter, but I have had a pretty long day. I appreciate your prayers and your love and look forward to talking to you on Sunday!
As for a gospel message this letter, I would like to encourage all who are able¬†to¬†go to the temple. Even if you can’t go inside, enjoy the grounds and peaceful atmosphere. Iit is one of the greatest gifts God has given to us.
I love you, I will talk to you on Sunday!.
Stay safe,

Elder Jacob Norris

 

Cherry Blossom Festival Time!

April 24, 2017

Hey Mom!

I have been doing pretty okay this week. Things have been a little weird in the mission though. A few missionaries I know have gone home early, which is sad, but Elder Bias and I are well. Joel passed his baptismal interview and will be baptized Saturday at 9. We are really excited for it!

Yesterday we went to Why I Believe with our investigator, Rachel. The speaker was Mason Wells, one of the missionaries injured last year at the airport in Belgium. It was a really good fireside. The recent converts that spoke also did an awesome job. All in all it was a great event for people investigating the church.

I saw the picture of the valentines box, that is pretty weird it took so long to get back to you, after being undeliverable. ¬†haha. ¬†Sometimes they don’t leave packages at the door though. Transfers are three weeks away. After that I will only have five left, less time than I spent in my first area, which I think is crazy! Odds are I will be transferred on the Wednesday after mother’s day, but I don’t know for certain.

Skyping will be a little weird for Mother’s Day, as my ward meets at 1pm-4pm our time. I hope we can find a time to make it work well for everyone.

The cherry blossom parade was fun! I was an usher on the west end of the parade and pretty much just made sure the people sitting in the bleachers had tickets. In other words, I just watched the parade with Elder Bias, Strubell, and Bassey. It was pretty fun.

Currently our apartment is looking a bit rough as we had some issues with bed bugs (again) so I will probably give you a photo tour next week.

In regards to your topic, I too get frustrated with some people’s aspect of “judge not”. I am glad you and dad taught me well because that is a problem many people out here have a hard time getting a grasp of. One way I like to view it is that yes, we do not pass judgement of others salvation. Each of us on this earth are the literal children of God and, as such, heirs to glory (as stated in Romans 8) . However, each of us has agency on this earth to help us grow. God expects us to utilize this agency and make decisions to bring ourselves and others towards him by following the example set forth by Christ. Every day we encounter those who struggle following that example and we, as the Savior did, have a responsibility to encourage those around us to choose the right. If someone I teach is breaking the Word of Wisdom, I let them know they are going against the laws of God and encourage them to repent and follow the Savior. If I do not do my best to help them receive their inheritance by encouraging them to turn to their Savior and repent, then the judgements of God will have full power over them. It is through our own repentance process and the mercy of God that we can return to him. In my personal opinion, people who get insulted by those trying to help them become better people need a dose of humility and the ability to recognize the need of repentance in their life. If you do not believe this, the prophet has given us instruction to read the Book of Mormon more often, and I would suggest 2 Nephi 9: 39-41. Jacob didn’t have a hard time telling people when they were messing up. Encouraging repentance is not a bad thing. As a missionary, we are told to Teach Repantance and Baptize Converts. It is through repentance that we become converted to the Lord. (Feel free to use what you want from that, it did get a little harsh at the end haha.)

Some things that keep me inspired are the Scriptures. Also, President Johnson does a great job. He has to deal with so much I can’t even begin to understand. Last thing I can think of is my memories. Good stuff locked in my brain. When I feel discouraged I just go dig up a good memory, whether it be backpacking, skiing, going to the beach, reading with you and Kyle when we were little, going to a¬†movie¬†with Grams and Gramps, goofing around with Tucker and Spencer. Those little pushes help me stay happy and willing to serve.

I don’t do much to relieve stress outside of walking. A lot of stuff I used to do is no longer permitted, so now the main things are singing and walking around. Sounds sort of lame but I enjoy them.

I smiled pretty good while I was on a killing rampage of all the dang bed bugs in our place. I was pretending to be a velociraptor, making weird noises and such and all in all having a good time.

I love you all a ton. Dad, I guess you still are the rattle snake whisperer. I am glad you have a way with snakes. Did you remember to do your own snake call back at it? If not, I suppose not trash talking it was a wise strategy. Do your best to not step on any more snakes okay?

Love,

Elder Jacob Norris
Trust God, good things will come ūüôā