Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Week #5 - First Full Week in Bogotá Colombia MTC

First full week in Colombia and still alive! It´s way different here than Provo, I like it better. The food is still amazing although I´ve only recognized two fruits here, an apple and pineapple, the rest are crazy but taste really good. 

There is one fruit called Lulo? I think but we just call it brain fruit, it´s really hard to describe so I´ll try to take some pictures when I get my camera back. (They took all our cameras because they are a ´distraction´). The juice is also awesome and snack time is the best part of the day. We usually get chicken or fish or steak, rice is with everything but breakfast, it´s even in the soup sometimes. 

My new district is good, I still have Elder Herrick and Moss in it, the rest are from 3 other districts. My new companion Elder Coffman, from Utah, is super good at Spanish, he took it through highschool and college and just slays the lessons. He helps me learn alot because he knows basically every word in the dictionary pretty much. I´m understanding Spanish alot better and improving in speaking, I still have a long way to go and have to go out Proselyting all day on Saturday so that might be a little rough, but a good experience. 

With only 90 people here in the MTC we get to know President Hall really well. We also found out that next Tuesday morning at around 3 a.m. all the misisonaries here (except for us 8 that got here last week) are leaving out to the field. So that means that it is just us 8 for the entire day. So for that day we get to go to the temple, site seeing, then go to a cathedral on the top of the valley because it´s just a small group. 

Class is pretty much the same as Provo except our teachers don´t know English that well so it´s semi difficult to communicate and my teachers never remember my name. Being here has definately improved me Spanish and can´t wait to see what I´m going to learn. 

Also a little bit of bad news, Colombia doesn´t really have a mail system so it takes a long time for mail to get here, so email is probably the best way of communication (although letters are nice to get) and I can write back a letter or email. 

Today we went to the temple again. It is still crazy driving, people are nuts. There is literally grafitti on every building, almost without fail. Also there are a ton of police everywhere and some army guys just walking around with guns. Oh and I think that I might have saw a dead guy too... but the city is really cool. 

On Monday we had to go to some migration office to get ids and everyone was staring and it was really hard to communicate with the people at the office. Spanish is coming along well, I feel pretty confident in lessons, but conversations are kinda limited, plus the natives speak really quick so I always get to say ´mas despacio´. 

This first week has been great and a little overwhelming, but a great experience. I know that being here will help me learn Spanish and get more accustomed to the culture. I´ve had such a fantastic time here and can´t wait for what´s ahead. I love you all! Abrazos y besos.

District Elders at Temple in Provo
 Some more Mesa Missionaries
 Elders Norberg, Moss (standing), then L-R, Herrick & Soderborg

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pictures from the MTC!!!

Ok, it's been a little slow in getting any recent photos of Nathan from his time in the Provo MTC, but we just got his SD card w/ all the pictures & it was awesome!  The link to see the pictures is:

Nathan's MTC Photos

He sent some videos as well that we've put up on YouTube - some are a real crack up!  You can see those here:

Nathan's Missionary Videos - YouTube

Nathan & Elders Moss, James, Soderborg, Herrick

Nathan & Jerod DeStories

 Mesa Missionaries!

Hoping Holiness will wear off on them!

Nathan & his MTC Companion - Elder Moss

Nathan & Jake Jarvis

Nathan & Kyle Hatfield
Good times - he looks happy & well, for which we're very grateful!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Colombia!!! First Letter from Bogotá MTC

August 22, 2012

This has been a really big week, we finally made it to Colombia! The flight was really long, but very worth it. It was a bummer saying goodbye to my old district though, we have spent so much time together and had so much fun together. 

On Monday night we did compliment circle for Elder Herrick, Moss and I. Us three that were leaving went around the room and gave a compliment to each person, then each person gave us a compliment. It was really cool to see how each person has effected me and helped me learn and grow.

Colombia has been super overwhelming so far. When we first landed we got through customs and found our bags fine, but as we were walking out the doors of the airport, there was just a huge swarm of people waving signs and yelling, easily over a hundred people. People were driving crazy everywhere, reminded me of New York again, but more sketchy. 

A member found us and loaded us into the van to take to the MTC and he only spoke Spanish. We tried to communicate with him as well as we could, it kinda worked. We got to the MTC around 10:00 p.m. There are only about 90 missionaries, only 20 Americans, at this one, so a little step down from over 2,000. There is only two stories and half the building is a stake center.  

Today we had p day and went to the temple in the morning, the Bogota temple is really cool, but I felt totally lost with the only Spanish part.  We came back and had lunch, which was 30 times better than in Provo, then played vollyball for a couple hours. I know I will learn Spanish a lot faster here with everyone speaking it. 

Its been a big last few days but hopefully being down here I will be able to learn Spanish alot quicker. I was glad I got to talk you on the phone at the airport! I love you! Abrazos y besos!

Some pictures biking last summer in NYC.  

{The reason we haven't posted any mission pics is that we don't have any!  Nathan has sent 3 SD cards, and they have been damaged or the envelops arrived empty & we have zippo, zero, nada!  Totally bummed, but hope to get it figured out and some photos soon!}

Friday, August 17, 2012

Visas are IN! Elder Norberg Ships out Next Week!

The Visas for the Nathan & his group came in today, and they are shipping out to Colombia on Tuesday, August 21!  He is very excited and looking forward to the Bogotá MTC!

His travel schedule is:

5:00 a.m.  - Leave MTC
8:30 a.m. - Flight to Atlanta
2:20 p.m. - Arrive in Atlanta
5:00 p.m. - Leave for Bogotá
9:00 p.m. - Arrive in Bogotá

We are all very excited for him & this next phase of his mission!

Picture of Nathan & his sisters in Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Letter #3 from MTC (Provo)

Three weeks down! Kind of a bummer, thought that I would be in Colombia, but it's alright. I'll still get to go down the the Bogota MTC for at least 3 weeks, and we have a lot of fun here. 

We went to a meeting on Saturday with all the people going to the Colombia and Peru MTCs and found out there that everyone that was supposed to be going to Colombia was having visa problems because Colombia changed their visa requirements about two months ago. We're supposed to get them any day, then it's up to the MTC president in Colombia to decide when he wants us all to come, I'm hoping that it is soon. 

During the meeting a guy was telling us about the MTC, it looks like two story motel with the Church sign put next to the entrance, also there are only about 70 people in that MTC so it'll  be quite a significant change from 2,000. We get to go out proselyting once a week which will be fun and nerve racking. 

Spanish is coming along, just need to focus hard on studying and learning new words / conjugations. I feel pretty confident teaching a lesson because I know all the gospel and church words to say, but there is no way that I could have a conversation with someone. 

On Tuesday for our devotional, everyone thought that someone from the 12 was going to come speak to us (They never tell before who is going to speak). Everyone was waiting to get in to the gym to get a good seat finally after being crammed in the lobby for 40 minutes they let us in, we rushed in and hurried to the front and scored awesome seats in the 4th row. After about 10 minutes they flash up the name of the speaker, David F Evans of the Seventy, everyone saw it and let out an "Awwwwww". He gave a really good talk though, I learned a lot from it. 

Sorry that this letter is short, this last week went by really quick and it was really uneventful so I don't really know what to write. I'm having such great experiences and meeting awesome people. Hopefully I'll get my visa and be headed out soon, then I'll also get to make a quick call to tell you when I'm leaving, so you can look forward to that! Love you all, thanks for your support! Abrazos y besos!

Pictures from a NYC Trip in May 2012

A reminder to always be "Bullish" on Life!

Monday, August 13, 2012

No Visas - No Colombia, at least This Week!

Just got a call from Nug from the MTC - he said their group of 8 missionaries who were heading to Bogotá, Colombia MTC, Visas have NOT come through and they will NOT be able to leave tomorrow for Colombia!  He was a little disappointed, but said that hopefully next week as the visas are expected any day. 

He also said:  "I don't know why people say they didn't like the MTC - it's great here!"  He sounded great & feels like Spanish is coming along.  It was way awesome to hear his voice!

Photo of Nathan with his buddies - Pookie J,

Hali Ann,

and of course Douglas the Stray! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Week #2 in Provo MTC Letter

Well I'm now officially over two weeks into the MTC and officially have less than a week before I leave to Colombia! Last week we got our travel plans and we leave on the 14th! We get to leave here at 3:00 am!! Not looking forward to that... It's super exciting, but a little nerve racking at the same time. It's going to be so different from the MTC in Provo, but it'll be a great experience.  

One of the teachers told us that half the Bogota MTC is a stake center and the area around is pretty much the nicest houses I'll see on my mission. Also a cool thing about Bogota is that we'll get to go on splits with the missionaries while we are in the MTC. 

The days are rolling my quicker and quicker which is nice, it doesn't feel like 3 days when it was actually just one. The only complaint I have right now is the showers. There are only 2 good ones where the water temperature is decent, the other ones just alternate between Hell and Antarctica. Basically all you can do is stand to the side of the death stream, cup your hands, and splash water on yourself. I guess the cold showers are good practice for Colombia. 

Nothing super big or exciting has happened this week. The class schedule is consistent and the food tastes consistently the same. We have been teaching more people and I can see my Spanish improving each day. It's amazing to me that we can be teaching a person, Elder Moss will be talking and I'm trying to think what to say next when some words or a phrase will come to my mind. I can really see the Lord helping me every lesson and every day. 

We got a second teacher, her name is Hermana Playa, who was the 'investigator' Adrianna. She is a good teacher and has helped me alot learning new ways to teach lessons simply and effectively to someone. Our other teacher Hermano Davis just left yesterday to go home for a week vacation which is a huge bummer because he was my favorite and yesterday was the last time I'll see him. We took some pictures with him before he took off so hopefully this next SD card will work! That's sucky that the other card didn't work! There were quite a few pics on there. 

I'm doing great though, this has been an amazing experience so far and it's just the MTC. I can't wait to be in Colombia in 5 days and see what I learn there (hopefully Spanish a little faster).  All the classes, devotionals, and teachers push us forward to be the best missionaries we can be. I know that alone I am nothing, but with God I can do anything. I know that if I give my all to this and be the best that I can be, God will make me even better. 

I love you all and love getting letters from you and hearing about how the Olympics are going! Next time I send one of these emails, I'll be sending it from Colombia!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Great Missionary Advice - Courtesy of David Clark

We got this great piece of missionary and life advice from David Clark on Sunday & he has said we could post it here to share with everyone.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Upcoming Travel Itinerary for Elder Norberg

August 2, 2012 (Email from Nug)

Just got my travel itinerary!!!! Going to be leaving the Provo MTC August 14th at 3:00 a.m. then flying from Salt Lake City at 6:00 a.m. to Dallas Texas. I'll get there around 9:35 then connection flight to Miami at 10:20 and get there at 2:15.  I then have a three hour layover till I leaev at 5:10 and get to the Bogota airport at 7:45 p.m.  

I'll probably be making a few phone calls while I'm in the airport in Miami soooo!!!!  be looking out for the phone to ring whatever Arizona time is from 2-5 in Miami!!!!!!  

The picture below was a balloon sendoff we did w/ Nathan on his last day in AZ!  

YouTube Balloon Sendoff

Colors are from the Colombian flag.

Colombian Flag Meaning:
There is no official meaning of the Colombian flag; however there are two popular theories on the meaning behind Colombia's flag's colors. One states that the yellow symbolizes sovereignty and justice; the blue stands for nobility, loyalty and vigilance; while the red represents valor, honor, generosity and victory through bloodshed. The second interpretation states the yellow stands for universal liberty; the blue for the equality of all races and social classes before God and the law; and red means fraternity. There is also a popular Colombian children's song which resonates - "yellow is our gold, blue is our vast seas and red is the blood that gave us our freedom".

Thursday, August 2, 2012

First Email Letter from the Provo MTC

August 2, 2012

Well it's officially been one week!  It seems like I've been here so much longer than just one week.  The first 4 days went by so slow and seemed to drag on forever, but ever since Sunday hit, the days have been going faster and faster.  It's been such an amazing experience so far, I can really see the Lord helping me.  

My companion is Elder Moss, he is from Vancouver, Washington and is a really good guy, we get along/work together really well.  On the third day here they had us teach an investigator, Adrianna, a 30 minute lesson all in Spanish / Spanglish.  It was really rough the first time, but with each lesson it's been easier to say what we want to. We're going to teach a 5th lesson tonight and then next week we'll have two investigators.  

The guys in my district are great, we can all mess around, laugh at each other and have a ton of fun, but also lock in to study and be serious when we need to.  The Spirit here is like no other, one of the best days was Sunday.  We had a great priesthood meeting, then a great sacrament, then an amazing Devotional and Fireside film at the end of the day.  With each lesson, the Spirit was stronger and stronger. 

The best part was when we were ending the Devotional and were singing the last 4 verses of "How Firm a Foundation".  Everyone was singing so strong and loud "I'll never no never" on the last verse and felt the Spirit so strong, it was incredible.  The past couple days I've had alot of lessons and the people will talk about missionary stories and just hearing them makes me so excited to get out to Colombia to serve. It makes me want to be that changing factor in someones life, where they were so low or so lost and needed help, and I am there to give it to them. To help them turn around their life, to bring the gospel to them, to share the love that I have felt my whole life with them.  

I am so grateful for this opportunity, I can't imagine myself doing anything else right now.  I know this is what I am supposed to be doing and where I'm supposed to be going.  "Whom the Lord calls, he qualifies" I have been called to the Colombia Barranquilla mission.  It is where the Lord wants me.  It is where the Lord needs me.  I will give everything to this work and this people.  I love you all and am so grateful for all the support you have given me over the years.
Elder Nug Norberg

{This is a picture of Nug's Grandma & Grandpa Allred}

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First letter that we received from Elder Norberg yesterday!  Good to hear from him & get a few details.  2 more weeks in Provo before heading to Bogotá.

For photos that we took at his farewell & little Fiesta go here:  Nathan's Farewell Pictures