Monday, October 20, 2014

My New Ohana‏

Aloha, everyone! (:

As of tomorrow, I will have been on the islands for one week. I can't believe it has only been that short of a time. I absolutely LOVE IT HERE. I am serving in the Olomana ward, the Kaneohe zone. My companion is Sister Teuscher, and she's from Idaho. I stayed on Oahu, and it sounds like I'll be here for a good chunk of time. Speaking of, I have an actual address! :D

Sister Alexis Michelle Noriega

1198 Kapau St., Apt. A
Kailua, HI 96734 

I'll be looking forward to all those letters (hint hint) <3

So first of all, my area is BEAUTIFUL. Want to know something else? I live right next to where the filmed Jurassic Park. Like. How fitting is that!? The mountains, trees, I mean honestly I feel like t-rex will jump out at any moment! And with the hurricane/tropical storm, we were in no danger. In rained for 2 days straight, and I LOVED it! It's so hot and humid, and when it rains it's cooler and cloudy. Our apartment is a little oven with one fan, so I was super grateful for the storm. Our place is pretty tiny, but I have no complaints. Especially with the people we serve, I have no reason to complain. We are safe, we have food, beds, and plus I have an amazing companion. (: Sister Teuscher is so funny, and we got along instantly. She is actually leaving in December. She hits her "1 month until I leave" mark, while I hit my "1 month in, 17 to go!" mark. So I'll be killing off my "Mom". She doesn't want to leave, and she loves it so much. She has a ukulele, so often we sing and make up songs. We leave each other notes around the house, and we bond so well. I couldn't have asked for a better trainer!

The people here are amazing. Aulani was one of the first members I've met, and she's super loving and protective of all the sister missionaries that serve here. When she found out I was diabetic, she told me how I need to refuse food sometimes, drink water all the time, she even started lecturing Sister Teuscher on what to keep in the apartment! Her and her family are amazing. They were married in May, baptized in August. They have an amazing story, I'll have to explain better when I have more time. She and her husband Shanon have 5 kids, and they have a really rough past. They are amazing though, and the kindest family. Everyone here is family, automatically once you meet them. I have never been hugged or kissed so much in my life! They are so loving here, and instantly want to get to know you. We have a lot of investigators and recent converts, and I love visiting them. No, I don't, I love visiting everyone! We are taken care of by members and nonmembers everywhere. Nobody judges here, nobody cares what you look like (which is great, I haven't worn makeup in a week and I don't plan on going back!). You are loved, regardless. It is the Christ-like love of the people of Hawaii that has changed me and how I view the world. There truly is an aloha spirit here, and I have fit in perfectly.

Yesterday was super overwhelming at church, and I cried. A lot. BUT I have Sister Teuscher, and she has been such a blessing to me and my journey already. OH I HAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT SATAN.

There is a less active here named Alex, and he smokes weed. A lot of weed, all day every day. Actually most people on the islands do, I'm in the drug selling/using/recovery area of the island, but yeah when we visited Alex there was a HUGE bag of it just sitting there. Well, I have heard a lot about Alex before I met him. He has a pet chicken, a girl that his parents call Chick-Chick, but Alex has renamed Richard. Richard is Satan. He pecks, and actually got the last sister to serve before me in the face and she was swollen for a few days. Richard is a black chicken, and is just evil. Apparently Alex used to serve Richard weed when she was a chick. So naturally I wanted to meet Alex, and Richard. I was so jumpy though it was ridiculous. It was sad though, Alex has officially asked us to cool it and stop coming by. We're making it a point to go visit again when Sister Teuscher is about to leave. Hopefully I'll meet Richard then, because Richard was banned to a plastic crate when we visited a few nights ago.

So the food. Hmm. I have been exposed to a lot of food. Lots of white rice, lots of tomatoes, pineapple, coconut. Fun story, I thought cubes of tofu were squares of cheese. Yeah I don't like tofu. That's alright, I managed to get it down.! I also had THE most Hawaiian meal on the planet for dinner the other night: White rice, green beans and salmon. I freaked when I finished to salmon, because the skin was on it. Good thing I was done! IT'S ALSO TRUE THOUGH THE PINEAPPLE WAS SENT FROM HEAVEN. My goodness.

I am actually doing amazingly well out here. I have instantly connected with all of our investigators and members. During lessons, I'm not silent, but I ask questions. Especially with Papito (pa-pee-toe), they've been teaching him for months. The first time I met him, he really liked me. I was actually able to figure out why he refuses and gets uncomfortable with praying. The one time he prayed, his brother had just gotten sick and he prayed to God to make him better. His brother died that night, which is heartbreaking. Being a recent convert has become such a huge strength since I've gotten to Hawaii, and I am also a good listener. I'm so grateful for these talents and experiences Heavenly Father has given me that I may relate well to these people!

I love it here. I have one huge Ohana, and I couldn't be more grateful. I love the weather, and just. Everything. I've learned so much about myself, and I can't even begin to cover it in one email. I'm so grateful for the letters and emails! I have read each of them. Please know I want to respond, but holy goodness the time flies here. I have never been so exhausted in all my life, and I LOVE IT. I am usually in bed and passed out by 9:45. Yeah that's a big deal for me.


Please pray for Sister Teuscher and I, that we may find those the Lord has prepared for us, and for our safety. Please pray for our members, converts and investigators. This is such a poor area of Hawaii, and it's heartbreaking. These families have so much love to give, and they give us so much of their food when they feed us. It's hard, knowing that. I so badly wish we could give them money, but I know Heavenly Father will bless them as they come closer to Christ. (:

I love you all, so so much. Send me lots of letters and pictures, okay? (:

Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega!

In Hawaii

View from our home

Hawaiian meal - salmon, grean beans and rice

Me and Sister Smith

Me and Sister Teuscher

Mosquito welcoming party

Provo, UT Temple

Provo, UT Temple

1 comment:

  1. WHOA THAT TEMPLE IS RAD. Also. Interesting choice of name. Richard. Heh.