Saturday, October 11, 2014

Al(Oh)a Canada

Aloha, loved ones! (:

This in 2 days, I will be on my way to Hawaii. The time has flown since our first weekend here came to an end, and I am SO not ready to leave this District. I'll admit, I'm so ready to eat real food again. But that's alright, I'm grateful for the work and prep that the MTC crew go to so we can eat!

So on Monday, we began teaching Barbara. She and her husband just moved here from New Jersey, and she wanted to know about our church. When they moved in, relief society swept in with their plates of cookies and made her feel welcomed! Sister Smith and I felt so comfortable with her the first time we walked in there with her, and I instantly loved her. She and I love theatre, Disney, and have both been through rough times with our mental health. We started teaching her about having faith in Heavenly Father, and how much He is SO AWARE of each and every one of us here. She questioned God's parenting though, because of the things she's been through. Both her parents are Holocaust survivors, but her Mom passed away when she was 4 months old, and her Dad when she was 14 years old. Barb also has no siblings, or any other relatives for that matter. We truly connected with her when we taught her the Plan of Salvation on our 3rd visit, especially about Spirit Paradise (where we all have the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel of Christ). She loved that we were all given a fair chance, no matter our background.

FUN STORY: Also on that 3rd visit, I was wearing my red polka dot skirt and black button up shirt, along with my Mickey Mouse earrings. Barb looks at me and says "You look just like Minnie Mouse, Sister Noriega!" I was so happy, and told her I planned it. She told me the next visit, she'd make sure and wear her Mickey Mouse watch and earrings. She kept good to that promise (:

ANYWAYS during our 4th visit, she revealed to us that her and Harvey DID have a baby boy, but that he died. We were able to comfort her, and let her know that her baby was safe. That he was living with Heavenly Father, and she would get the opportunity to raise him. At that moment, I felt prompted to teach her the steps to enter the celestial kingdom. We explained that our purpose is to bring people unto Christ, through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism by immersion, and by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. She accepted the invitation, and will be talking to her husband about it. I am SO HAPPY. She's such a sweet and loving person, there was a point that she stopped the lesson, looked at me and said "Thank you, for sharing your struggle with depression. When I see your face it has no trace of all the pain you've been through". I cried, it was such a sweet moment (:

We've also been teaching Ryan, who felt God existed, but wouldn't pray in fear of not getting an answer. He has a really bad relationship with him family , and is struggling through community college and juggling a night job. He is really so sweet, though, and needs our message. We realized after our 4th lesson that he was afraid to pray because he didn't have a true knowledge that God existed, and then Sister Smith and I came up with an idea.

In John 3:16-17 it says:

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Well, when we taught Ryan, we made it much more personal:

For God so loved RYAN that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn Ryan; but that Ryan through him might be saved


He almost cried, and he then accepted the invitation to be baptized. He prayed with us, and it was the strongest I have EVER felt the Spirit. The Spirit is testifying to me every single day that this gospel is true, and I cannot believe how fast I am coming to love every single person here in the MTC. I feel myself developing more faith in Heavenly Father, and how to trust Him that he will fill my mouth with the words that need to be said. It is hard. I have had a few mental breakdowns, where I've just started crying and not been able to stop. Elder Johnson (who is basically my best friend now we're literally the same person) gave me a blessing, and then the next night my branch president asked if he could give me one. Both were so sweet and sincere, and I have a strong testimony of the power of the priesthood, and I am so thankful for worthy priesthood holders using there gifts to bless me. It's so funny, every time I start crying I am terrified they'll send me home. I told this to my branch president, and he said "Sister Noriega, even if you wanted to come home I wouldn't let you. Your district loves you, and they need you. The people of Hawaii need you. You are needed, and you better not be comparing yourself to any of your classmates. You have a special gift, for loving others, and you also have the unique experience of being able to relate to investigators. We love you, I love you, and Heavenly Father loves you"



On a lighter note, my district loves to make me laugh. Elder Johnson and I (as mentioned earlier) are literally the SAME PERSON. We are both walking Vine videos, and we are the only 2 that understand any reference the other makes. Example, in class the other day Brother Singleton was teaching. We were taking a break and we were all standing up, and Brother Singleton said "Okay everyone, take your seats!" and Johnson and I at the SAME TIME said "Where?". It was amazing. We make literally the worst puns imaginable. Everyone says I have a contagious laugh, and that my laugh is funnier than any of the jokes that are made. (:

It's been such a spiritual, hard and defining week in my mission. A sister that I live with and is in my district is going home, because she needs physical therapy on her back. It's heartbreaking, but she'll be able to enter straight to the field once she completes treatment. None of us want to part from each other. I adore everyone here, but I will admit, I am ready to go outside again. We are legit in the classroom ALL DAY LONG. I am learning so much, but at the same time it's hard. Everything is so green here, and the leaves are changing colors. I will say though, nothing beats that Arizona sunset. <3

I'm going to try and send some pictures, but I'll have to switch computers to do so. I will be logging off and attempting all the computers in here! I am determined!

I love you all, and thank you for all the emails and letters. I'm sorry if I don't have time to respond individually, but I am reading them all. (:

Aloha nui loa,
Sister Noriega!


[regarding pictures]

So these are the 4 gals I love with. In the group pic of just us 4, it goes me, Sister Alvez, Sister Letnar and my comp Sister Smith.
Then with the Elders, it goes (from left) Elder Harris, Elder Johnson, Elder Williams, Elder Roberts and then from left again it's Sister Letnar, Sister Alvez, Sister Smith and I

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if they ever quoted the YAAA Kid or the Rebecca Vines