Saturday, October 4, 2014

First Week (or 4 days I guess)‏

Aloha, everyone! (:

So. The MTC is such an amazing place. I am going to run-down a "day in the life" of all of us here!

We wake up at around 6:30 every morning, and need to be in our classroom at 7 for personal study (hahaha awkward we just realized this yesterday so). Breakfast starts at 7:30, and our entire District eats together. I absolutely LOVE my District! There are 8 of us in the District. Sister Smith and I are the only 2 going to Hawaii, and the rest of them are heading to the Calgary Canada Mission. I have decided to title our District "Al(oh)a Canada!". I'm funny :P

ANYWAYS then we are in the classroom from 8-12:15, then we head to lunch.
Then we are back in the classroom by 1:30, and stay there until 5:30.
Then dinner.
THEN back to the classroom by 6:15, where we stay until 9:30 every night.

I've actually started taking showers at night, because there's no way I'd be ready in the morning. The showers traumatized me the first night, but I've adjusted quickly to it all (:
My bed is super comfy, but I'm not sure if it's because it's truly comfy, or because I'm 100% exhausted by the end of the day. Legit, the day I got here by the end I was so tired I literally fell asleep on top of my journal while I was writing. The page is a little crinkled and torn, but not too terrible!

Basically I spend every single moment with my district, and it's super convenient that I really love them! I'll be sending some pictures (hopefully) and you'll see some of my favorite people! Sister Smith was seriously meant to be my companion. We are so similar and have the same mannerisms, I'm so grateful for her. (: We live with Sister Alvez and Sister Letner, so the 4 of us have gotten very close. I love that the four of us, plus the other 4 elders in our district can have such amazing spiritual conversations, but then at the next moment we can start singing "Amish Paradise". Yeah, I'm loving it here a whole lot (:

Our first night, we had a workshop where we were split into groups and went and taught investigators as a group. We would pass the microphone around to anyone who felt prompted to talk to this investigator. Something I've noticed with me, is that as soon as I meet anyone here I love them. Even if I just see them, I love them. So we met 3 different people. Sarah Mae, Chicho and Chad. All of them had very different stories, different pasts, different personalities. Sarah Mae had a very terrible childhood, had abusive husbands, and really didn't think she was worth it. Chicho had lost his wife about 8 years ago, and he had 7 kids. His youngest child passed away after 2 days, and he felt like he "broke the plan of happiness" because he never had his son baptized or anything. He felt like his son was never going to go to Heaven, and that he would be in limbo for the rest of eternity. It was such a sweet moment, when this sister from Argentina took the mic and explained to Chicho that children under the age of 8 automatically go to live with Heavenly Father. That children cannot sin, and are pure and if they pass before 8 they live with God. Chicho just sat there for a few minutes, and it was such a powerful moment in my life. The fact that he finally was able to hear that his son was happy, and not in limbo. That he was with God again. That was amazing moment. 

The main things I learned from meeting these 3 people, though, was that we can't fix the past. God has a plan of happiness for us, but sometimes (because we have our agency) some people make really bad choices. We cannot change the past of our investigators, but we can teach towards the future. To show them that there is truly hope in their lives, regardless of their past. 

On a lighter note, when we were teaching Chicho, a bunch of us sisters were sitting in the front row. He asked us a question, and we all replied and Chicho said "Oh, so you're like Mormon nuns! You're called Sister, and you live for Jesus!" That's one way to look at it, I suppose (:

On Thursday night, we met our branch presidency and their wives. It turns out that my branch president is a convert! :D He joined when he was 16, and served a mission 3 years later in Detroit. When we had one-on-one interviews, he told me that he was so happy and excited to have me in his branch. I'm (so far) the only convert in the branch, and meeting him meant so much to me. He very specifically told me "Sister Noriega, don't you dare compare yourself to anyone in that room. Satan wants you to compare yourself to others and to tear yourself down, but what you have is so special. Your testimony, your experience will help you be so relatable to so many people on your mission."
I love him so much, and appreciated his words of affirmation, I needed that so badly!
Oh! So I was given an assignment in my district, I am the online coordinator. I will teach the newbies coming in next week the way that they can email, and navigate around the missionary portal (:

Yesterday was long, hard, amazing, very spiritual. Sister Smith and I taught our first investigator, named Ryan. Ryan has a really bad relationship with his family, he works at night and lives with 3 other roommates, he knows God exists but has no relationship with Him. I LOVE RYAN. Even before I met him, I felt such a strong desire to teach Ryan and help in any way possible. Sister Smith and I felt prompted to start talking about families, and the plan of salvation with him. We had made very specific plans and everything, and we felt so ready. 
We met Ryan yesterday afternoon, and taught a 30 minute lesson. Funny thing, it didn't go AT. ALL as we had planned. BUT the spirit was there, regardless. I was able to teach about prophets, and how Heavenly Father shows His love to us in different ways, including through our modern-day prophet Thomas S. Monson. It was so special. 

Yesterday we also role-played a lot with our companions, learning how to teach the order of prayer and doing invites for baptism. The invitation for baptism is "Will you follow Jesus Christ's example and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood of God? ... Will you prepare yourself for baptism on this date?". What a powerful statement that is. I almost cried, asking Sister Smith to prepare for baptism. There is such power behind those words, and our purpose in a nutshell is to follow Christ's example. It was so special, I cannot wait to hopefully invite Ryan to be baptized next week!

Okay, so some funny things I've heard around the MTC:

We went to the gym yesterday (I biked 3 miles WOO), and there were 2 elders that will be serving in the Phillipines in there. They play church films, and one was showing Christ. One of the Elders looks up, and says
"Woah, Jesus was RIPPED!"
I died a little I couldn't stop laughing.

At breakfast this morning, an Elder from England was getting his food and he said
"This is AMERICA. How are there NO DONUTS FOR BREAKFAST!?"
I hope he found a proper substitute.

Elder Williams (he's in my district, he's from England) was telling us a story
"This man went to slam a door in the missionaries faces, and when he slammed it the door bounced back open. He slammed it again, and then yelled at the missionaries ''Elder, get your foot out of the door!" to which the Elder replied "I will, as soon as you move your cat"

I LOVE my district, I love our Heavenly Father and Christ, and I KNOW this church is true. I am taking a Book of Mormon comprehension class, and we went over my FAVORITE scripture (Ether 12:27). Sister Gage is my teacher, and she is so sweet. She has helped me so much already, and we've only met together once. I cannot wait to see what the rest of my time here has in store for me. I'm completely exhausted, but I am so happy. (:

Okay I have to leave in a few minutes to go be seated for General Conference, but please know I love you all so much! Please send letters, they really brighten my spirit after a long day. <3

Aloha nui loa, 
Sister Noriega

((OKAY so my computer doesn't have an SD card slot, and my companions cable is too small, I'll figure out a way to send you pics soon!))


1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a load of fun! I hope if I write a letter soon it'll get to her in time! Before she's sent of to Hawaii, that is!