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 🙂

No pictures this week, folks! 

 

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? 🤔

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 🙂

Dinners have been hopping!

Hi mom!

Things are a little hectic. It snowed some more on Sunday, but it never stuck as it is in the 50’s again. Dinners have been hopping! We got fed 3 days last week by members and twice by nonmembers. Sorry for the lack of pictures, there just hasn’t been much new in the way of things to photograph. I will keep my eyes (and lenses) open this week though.

As I recall my time moving up through the Church’s programs I can remember seeing the examples of those around me. Any who do know me to any degree know that I struggle with life as much as the next mortal, but I had a lot of questions that I didn’t ask most of the time. One thing that made it possible to have those questions answered without asking anyone aside from my Heavenly Father were those examples. I can remember “being sick” (i.e. stayed up too late the night before) and staying home from church. One time in particular I thought about how my dad was up as late or later than I was, got up earlier, worked to provide for me, and tried to be involved in my life and my interests. On top of all of that, he always made time for gospel related tasks. Whether it was a Bishopric meeting, a fireside, or visiting with members, he always put forth his best despite clearly being worn out from his life’s tasks. He would probably not admit it, but he does enough work for ten people. He shows love to everyone around him and works to emulate Christ. One thing I remember him telling me and my brother and sister was that the priority we need to place on things are as follows:

1. Gospel
2.family
3.education

As my parents read this, they can probably think of a million times my list looked more like this:

1.Tucker’s swimming pool
2.Spencer’s swimming pool
3.The beach (worlds largest swimming pool)

In my good and long life experience, I have seen why my mother and father placed such priority on the first list. It was not because they didn’t like my friends, that they wanted me to stop using so many towels, or that they didn’t think I would enjoy being out and swimming. They knew that my lasting happiness would come from living gospel principles, spending time with and developing a close relationship with my family, and receiving an education so I could provide for my family better in the future. Happiness is something that is promised as we live the teachings of Christ. Many times in life we burden ourselves under questions and doubts. Those doubts are resolved through Christ and His Atonement for us.

I have seen many of the ward members back home struggle with things that can be seen as overwhelming to many in the world. But I have seen the efforts of their faith to help guide me to know the way to happiness.  Bro. Larson, Bro Morrison, Bro. Makanui, and Bro. Schuffert are other examples of faith that helped me learn and grow. I appreciate many others efforts, from my Primary and Sunday school teachers, past bishops, caring Ward members, and my seminary teacher, sis Waldman. So many people have helped develop my faith, and I know that as a child I learned one important lesson. I have a family that loves me; both in my home, and in my ward.

1. Conference will be sick! I think we will go to our ward mission leaders home to watch it.

2. Freedom to me is the ability to make decisions and live with the consequences of our actions in accordance with laws in place. We always have our agency to decide and must accept our actions results.

3. I think an influential teacher has been the Holy Ghost. I wouldn’t be on a mission if I hadn’t learned a few things from the Spirit.

4. This week’s goal: I will try and have more meaningful relationships with the people I meet.

Lots of love from the D.C North mission, Glen Burnie area!  Sorry for being so late with this. We have Zone conference down in Suitland tomorrow ,so we had to get things ready for that. Sort of a longer drive. I hope you all are well. You remain in my prayers

Love,

Elder Jacob Norris
Washington D.C. North Mission
Trust God, Good Things Will Come 😉

Pretty nutty; has good taste

March 14 ,2017

Hello!

I am doing well. It blows my mind how hot it has been back home. The snow has been a lot of fun. It was coming down pretty good last night. The weather here was pretty crazy this last week. Some days it was almost 70, then some it was 25.  Other than the weather being what it is, everything has been pretty standard. 
We have had a couple more good lessons with Joel. He still needs to get to church though, so hopefully he makes it this next week
1. Glenn Burnie has been pretty good. People go crazy whenever it snows apparently haha
2. Five words to describe Me? Pretty nutty; has good taste
3. Well, teaching the gospel is a pretty good way to share kindness haha
4. Something I wish I was good at a year ago was using the topical guide and index effectively. It makes teaching way easier when you can get a scripture for pretty much everything. Also, it would have been a lot easier if I knew the lessons as well as I do now haha.
Love you!
Elder Jacob Norris

Washington D.C. North Mission

I have cleaned more chapels in the last 14 months than I before thought possible!

March 6, 2017

Hello mom and family!

I am well and was able to enjoy a full sleeve of oreos on Oreo Cookie day!  I also was able to buy more milk today, along with some cheese and crackers. My diet has been better. We get fed by members a decent amount, 2-5 times a week, and I get my veggies too.

Happy belated anniversary! It is good to hear you had an enjoyable trip up the coast. I can’t wait to be able to go to the beach again. I am excited to go to the museums you and dad have been to. Last year you went to the CB Museum, right?

It is good to hear that you are busy with ward business and service. I have gained a huge appreciation of the acts members do to help those around them. Also, many a thank you for always having Kyle and me help with ward building cleaning. I have cleaned more chapels in the last 14 months than I before thought possible haha. Also, we have helped around 3 moves last week, two on the same day. We have been pushing for more ward involvement, and one way we are trying that is to help more with the ward. We have a “service day” where we made ourselves available to the ward families. After we help them, we teach a discussion. So far it has been really successful. We have a few member exchanges set up as a result.

Elder Bias is great. I have known him since my second transfer. We served in the same zone for a long while, and last transfer the same ward. He is from Peoria, Arizona and has been out a transfer longer. I have yet to have a companion I don’t get along with (though levels of stress fluctuate, I do a good job at keeping my patience), but so far Elder Bias is one of the best. We like pretty much all the same things. Something we talk about a lot are books. I never knew I had read so many before having good length discussions about them. Also, we like the same music, have similar taste in food, and like sports. He is a pretty easy to get along with Comp.

Things are well with our investigators. Rosaura is off date, as she is moving to SC in a few weeks, and Keesha missed her date (she has missed a few appointments for medical reasons.) We picked up a new investigator named Joel, a young man who is very bright. He loves the Book of Mormon and wants to be baptized. We are working on a date with him for the service.

We are headed out right now, but I will try and send some pictures before I go to bed.

Love you!

Elder Jacob Norris
Washington D.C. North Mission
Trust God, Good Things Will Come 🙂