Friday, January 30, 2015

Uneventful, but nice!‏

Aloha, everyone!

This week has been... well, not really that eventful. Haha

Grandma Martha is still in the hospital, after having emergency surgery the day before Lasike left. She was in the ICU, but now she is in a regular room. Harris and I go and see her often, and each day she is looking and sounding better than ever. She is so strong, and has had a lot of time to reflect on her life, and thank Heavenly Father for all she has been given. I'm not sure if I mentioned this before or not, but Grandma Martha is not a member of the church. Her son and daughter-in-law are, but not her. She's been taught all of the lessons, and has had several baptismal dates. Things just haven't worked out, and that is totally fine! Her faith far exceeds many who are members of the church. She is an example to me, and I love her very much. I shared a scripture with her, from the Bible:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world.

This scripture has slowly become my favorite, and when I shared it with Martha, she asked me to re-read it. What a true blessing it is, to know that Christ has suffered all pains known to man. That He knows EXACTLY what we have gone through. That He paid the price for us, so we can return to live with God again. It's found in John 16:33 (:

So with that, the rest of the week was slow, really. We received a referral from the Visitors Center, and we also have started reteaching a former investigator. We have a total of 3 new investigators! It's super exciting, they are all really great ladies. I'm excited to see their journey, in coming closer to Christ. (:

Okay I'm just now realizing I've already shared this scripture in a past email, buuuuuut it applied to my week and a very spiritual moment I had with Grandma Martha, so I'm keeping it in :P

Love you all very much! Hopefully I'll have some more info to share next week.

Mahalo nui loa,
Sister Nori

Exploring a little - don't worry, I'm not touching the sand

Relief Society Lesson

... complete with breakfast!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Don't get too comfortable!‏

Aloha, once more!

Dang. This week has been cray-cray beyond all things ugh.

Thursday, Sister Lasike and I were doing our studies as usual, and we got a call from the mission president. There was an emergency in Maui, and they needed to transfer one of the sisters out. Sister Lasike and I were told we were BOTH being transferred to Maui, where we would be Sister Training Leaders. AND we were leaving Friday morning, in less than 24 hours when we got this call. So we both start coming to terms with this, and realize that they would be white-washing two areas, which is hard. We call President Warner, and he tells us that Lasike will be switching with Sister Harris, and that I'll be staying in Kaneohe and take over the area. It was one of the most heartbreaking days, especially after this was Lasike's last transfer and transfers were already OVER and we were both told she'd stay and die here. Saying goodbye, is, hard for all of us. You get so attached to the ward, and the investigators, and just. I felt so bad for Lasike, she hasn't been off-island her entire mission. Her final one now, she goes to Maui. It's been so hard for all of us.

Saying goodbye to Sister Lasike

So here I am, Sister Noriega, senior companion in the Kaneohe 1st Ward. This day came 6 weeks earlier than expected. I was not prepared for this, and it's been so scary honestly. Being a missionary requires a lot of hard work, and taking the lead and initiative on a lot of different things. What even. I can't believe this all happened, but it happened. Heavenly Father has an interesting way of helping me grow. I'm super uncomfortable, to be honest. BUT I know that I will be able to do this! 

I really love my new companion, her name is Sister Harris, and she's from New Zealand! She's super great, she's been out just about a year, and has served on the Big Island, Kawaii, Maui, and now finally Oahu! So crazy, yeah? Here's a pic of us we took about an hour ago:
Say hello to Sister Harris!

We will see how the rest of the week goes. We go on exchanges tomorrow, and then the rest is normal. PRAY FOR ME PLEASE.

Prior to all this madness, the week was really great! A lot of my favorite elders were transferred out of Kaneohe, so it was bittersweet. I will most likely see them again, though! All is well here on Oahu!

Shout out to the birthday boy, TONY! I can't believe my littlest bro is turning 5. SO CRAZY. Time really does fly!

Love you all so much! Have an amazing week!


Monday, January 12, 2015

The Most Wonderful Sound I've Ever Heard

What an amazing week it has been for Sister Lasike and myself. First off, with transfers and all. WE ARE STAYING IN THE KANEOHE 1ST WARD! That means I will be killing off my 2nd companion at the end of February, which is extremely bitter-sweet for both of us. I really love Sister Lasike, she's such a blessing to me. I've learned so much about the gospel, and myself, and just. Wow I am blessed to be her final companion (:

2nd of all... Saturday was such a busy day, but one of the best days of my mission so far. Let me start off by quoting a song we listen to frequently:

The most wonderful sound I've ever heard,is the sound of water running, in the church
as someone I'd come to love got dressed in white
my eyes saw their first glimpse of heavens light

Anyone remember Sasha, from when I was serving in Olomana?
The week after I was transferred to Kaneohe 1st, Elder Doloroso and Elder Arave called to tell me she was getting baptized finally. I CRIED I WAS SO FLIPPIN EXCITED! Her Grandma had kept putting the whole thing off, and Teuscher and I were so sad. We wanted to see her baptized, but we knew she eventually would be. Sasha loves the gospel so much, there really was nothing that would stop her. For her birthday in November, we asked her if she could ask Christ for anything, what would it be, and she answered "To get baptized!" immediately.

This Saturday, Lasike and I drove to my old area, and I was able to witness Sasha enter the waters of  baptism. Someone that I taught from the beginning, I was able to be apart of her baptism and surprise her by showing up. She cried, and gasped SUPER loud when I walked in. She was so happy, and she couldn't stop hugging me. I love this little lady (:
I was the chorister for the baptism, and it was a spirit filled day. The traffic was awful on the way there, but the bishop got stuck in it to. So I made it for the whole thing.

What an indescribable feeling, seeing someone get baptized that you helped teach. I take no credit, though. It is a joyous moment, but it's all because of the Lord.

 On top of all this, Sister Lasike and I went tracting a few times, and we have several potential investigators. The cool thing is, well, it wasn't cool at first I guess. We needed to get gas in our car, it was nearly on empty, so of course we go to the gas station. When we get there, our card is rejected several times. Soooo we were out of luck. We were lucky, we were able to drive home, and we decided "Okay Heavenly Father, we'll walk." And so we did. And it was hot. And there were hills. But we ran into this older man pulling his weeds, and he said hello to us. Now, we were in our nice missionary attire as usual at this point. ANYWAYS we asked him if he'd like us to help him pull weeds, and to our surprise he was "Sure!" and just like that, we're having a conversation with this guy and pulling weeds together. His name is Ed, he's a retired general contractor and is super nice. He let us pray with him, and said we could come back anytime. 
Lasike and I easily could've stayed home and waited for the elder in charge of our car to call us back, but instead we took action. We were obedient, and dedicated ourselves multiple times this week, and there were choke miracles. (:

One of the others ladies we met, she invited us in (thankfully, it was so hot that day), and asked us questions about missionary work. She thanked us for our service and claimed we would see miracles. She of course clarified "You won't see miracles with me, I'm stubborn, but you'll see them with others!" Oh Aunty Nora, was that a challenge? :P

Also, I just have to say, I love this ward. I feel so much love here, and I feel like I've lived here and known these people all my life.

Tuesday was a rough day for me. It was the 1 year mark since my Grandma passed away. The Turner family fed us that night, and we actually made a gingerbread house with Grandma Martha that night before/after dinner. It reminded me of spending time with my own Grandma, and how much I missed her. I just started to cry while I was saying the closing prayer, and of course they all asked what was wrong. Earlier in the night, Grandma Martha listened to me talk about my Grandma and all that she's done for me, so she knew why I was upset. She explained to everyone, and Sister Turner looked at me and said "Just imagine her right now, dancing in Heaven with her cowboy boots". Was that inspired or what?! I hadn't told the Turners at this point how Grandma danced, but she just knew what to say. Grandma Martha then said the sweetest thing I've ever been told: "I know I can't measure up to your real Grandma, but you have me." Dang. How blessed am I? The Turners have done so much for us, but this was the most meaningful to me personally. I love and adore them so much.

I love my mission, and I love this ward. I love my Heavenly Father and Christ, our Savior.

Here are some other fun pics from the week:

Ofa atu, everyone!
Sister Nori

​Sister Lasike and I did our week planning in the Hawaii Botanical Gardens!

​Sister Tani, from Kaneohe 1st, feeding her favorite missionaries (besides her son, who is serving in Tacoma Washington!)

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015~ The Year of Miracles!‏

Aloha yet again, everyone!

This week has been really great. So far with permission from our mission president, we've watched Frozen (Christmas day), Despicable Me 2 (New Years Eve) and The Saratov Approach (New Years Day). So naturally it's been a really great week! But really though, who thought it was a good idea for a bunch of missionaries to watch the Saratov Approach? Go Google the movie and you'll understand :P

Wednesday night, after we watched Despicable Me 2, Sister UV & Sister Sateki came to our pad and spent the night. Thing about Hawaii, fireworks start going off at about 10pm, and didn't stop til about 5am or so. It is SO BEAUTIFUL THOUGH. Pretty much anyone here can shoot off fireworks. Lasike and I actually live on the 2nd floor of a members home in our own pad, so because we are elevated we were able to get a clear view of all the fireworks (: It was a special moment, and we rang in the new year by drinking. Being Mormons, we naturally drank champagne. 

JK we drank sparkling cider, fooled you didn't I? :P

Happy New Year!

On Thursday, we had our P-day! The 4 of us sisters in the zone went shopping, and we went and got pedicures! It was a fun day, and I just really love my companion. This is our last full week of the transfer, so by next Monday I'll know whether either of us survive and stay in Kaneohe 1st ward :P

So on Friday, I started getting sick. Remember in like, August or September when they had that big hurricane come through but it ended up being nothing?
Well, this time there was no hurricane, but the winds and the rain were severely terrifying. Funny thing, Lasike and I were TRACTING AND WALKING AROUND FAR FROM OUR CAR WHEN THE RAIN AND WIND HIT AT THE SAME TIME. So much for my sickness getting better, eh? Look at this madness

This picture was taken at the beginning, I was even more soaked and freezing by the time we finally climbed UP THE HILL to our car. It was traumatizing, but somehow I loved it. (:

Saturday, as expected, I woke up even more sick that previously stated. I had a fever, bad cold, and I was just so tired and miserable. There was something in me, though, that told me to get up and go. Sister Lasike, she really is the best, she tried to make me stay in bed and rest, but I wasn't having it. I kept saying "We are going to see miracles, I just know it!". The Spirit was so strong. I knew it wasn't time to rest, yet.
Back-track a bit, so we got this refferal from the Kaneohe 3rd ward elders, to this lady named Chasity who has 3 sons who were just baptized a week ago. She was previously taught by the sisters who just left last transfer, and was uncomfortable with Elders. Lasike and I had gone to her house 5 times, and every time there was no answer. It's about 1pm at this point, and we decide to just try again. RIGHT BEFORE we knocked on her door, I said super loudly "We ARE going to see miracles!" and the next thing I know, we knock and Chasity opens the door.

She cried. She was so happy, and she kept saying "I knew the Lord would answer my prayers and send you to me!". She is a dry Mormon. She knows the Book of Mormon is true, she lives it and knows the gospel, except for one thing: she and her boyfriend are not married. She wants to get baptized SO BADLY, but until either he moves out or they get married, it's a no go. BUT she wants us to come and teach her 2 times a week starting this week, and she thinks they will get married this year. DANG THE SPIRIT TOTALLY GUIDED THIS ONE. I literally couldn't stop grinning the rest of the day, she and her boys are the kindest little family. Can't wait to teach her on Wednesday (:

Fast and testimony meeting yesterday was extremely powerful. We had a full chapel (because church starts @ 9 instead of 1 now), and so many different people were there. We have some amazing people in our ward, who inspire me with their stories. Gosh, I love this gospel so much!

Just so you know, Mom, I am doing nearly 100% better today (: No more rain! Haha, for now.

I LOVE MY MISSION. It's hard, but it's the best. My Mom just told me I hit my 100th day in the mission this week! So crazy! I am anxious/excited to see how this next transfer goes. I will let you all know ASAP. Love you all! Stay safe, stay cherry, love others and tell those around you how grateful you are for them! :D


This is me currently, I'm proud of my hair so just humor me and look at my fab hair :P