Monday, March 30, 2015


Malo e lelei everyone!
Sister Nori here, giving my weekly report for the 5th week of the transfer! That's right, I am almost finished with my 4th transfer of my mission! Time sure does fly (:

I cannot say we had the best week, lesson wise, because Sister Harris and I took turns with our sick days. Fever, aches, headaches, tissues, hot showers, all the lovely things that come with sickness! Somehow we STILL manages to exceed our goals, and continued to hasten the work here in Kaneohe.

Sister Harris and I have become the go-to missionaries to give the "Missionary Moment" at baptisms, so we're pretty much pro's at teaching the restoration of the gospel. It really has been good, we've done 4 so far, and each time I feel the Spirit stronger. I definitely have the First Vision down now! It's such an honor, to be able to be apart of that special day in someone's life. Baptism is the first covenant that we make with Heavenly Father, to follow Him and follow His commandments to the best of our ability. We take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and always remember Him.

Speaking of Christ, there's a wonderful new Easter video that the church has put out! It's called #BecauseHeLives. It's a short video, helping us to remember what Jesus Christ did for us. Because HE LIVES, WE can live. We gain eternal life through Him and His infinite Atonement, which consists of 3 events: When Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world in the garden of Gethsemane, when He was Crucified and died on the cross, and when HE WAS RESURRECTED. How vital it all was, for us to be able to live with our Heavenly Father again and with our own families forever. I am so grateful for Christ, and for the love He has. Please, watch this video and think of how Christ has blessed your life (:

We continued on working through our illness, which automatically made our week slow. We kept going though! We spent a lot of time with our members this week, and really getting to know them and ask them for their help in this work. This may sound silly, but we have gained so much ward trust by going to ZUMBA! They love seeing us there, and that we bring friends with us. The members are so much more willing to give us referrals, and help out. Kind of funny, I love it (:

On Saturday we had the pleasure of watching the 185th General Women's Conference at our Stake Center with missionaries and members from all around our Stake! I absolutely loved it. The theme was centered around families, and how The Family is Ordained of God. What a moving session it was! Before my mission, I received a calling to teach in Primary, and right before I left I was able to help with the Primary Program. I found myself being the only Sister Missionary that knew the words to the song "The Family is of God". (:
How true it is! I love the words to this song:

Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in families

God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the family is of God.

I adore this song, and love even more the truth it speaks. Heavenly Father has sent us here to live with our families so we can learn from them. So we can become what HE wants us to be. I know that without my family, I would be so lost. How blessed I am, to be able to have a loving family who loves me so much and supports me in all that I do. <3

Yesterday (Sunday), I was asked to speak at a missionary fireside that a few returned missionaries were putting on. I was nervous, but I knew it was a great opportunity to share my testimony of the gospel, and how it has personally changed my life in every way possible. It went well, many people from stakes around the ward showed up and brought friends and family. It was amazing!

I can't believe I'm coming on 6 months this Wednesday. I ran into the Ward Mission Leader's wife from my first area, Olomana, at the women's conference. She told me how happy and confident I looked, and that I radiate the love of the gospel. I don't know if that is all true, but I know she meant it. I totally got teary eyed! AND THEN the young women's president in Kaneohe 1st said how much I've changed since I first entered the ward in December, and how much more confident and happy I look and sound. God has been so good to me these past 6 months of my mission. I've learned so much about myself, and what I want in my life. This is the best decision I have ever made (besides getting baptized!), and I know I was sent here for a bigger purpose than I will ever know in this life. I love my Father in Heaven, I love my older brother, Christ, and what He did for us, and I love this gospel beyond anything. I am so grateful for my family, and that #BecauseHeLives I can be with them for eternity.


Still no official word if I'm being transferred, but as soon as I know I'll get in touch with someone. I've been here the longest now in the Kaneohe Zone, so it'll be kinda funny if I stay again. I do love this ward, so I wouldn't mind (: LOVE YOU ALL!

Aloha nui loa,
Sister Noriega

This morning we did "March Madness", and competed in teams of 3 for a grand cash prize of $6! Elder Baker, myself and Elder Bergman came in 2nd place (:

Relief Society Birthday Party! Some of the lovely Sisters we get to serve around (:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

He > I‏

Aloha everyone! Been another wonderful week here in Kaneohe, and I am still absolutely LOVING my mission here in Hawaii! :D

We had a few unproductive days, Sister Harris has been sick (along with a few of the elders in our district) and then I got sick. Gotta love that comp unity :P We still managed to work, though!On Wednesday, we were able to go on splits with 2 ladies in our ward, Aunty Vivian and Aunty Jan. It is so helpful to have members come out with us. There's that bond you can create with the investigator with the member, which is great because us missionaries won't be there forever. Fellow shipping is SO IMPORTANT when helping an investigator. It helps them know that someone besides the missionaries care, and that when the investigator goes to church they'll know someone. I know the fellowship in the Apache Park ward was a huge reason I continued to go to church! Anyways, so we had quite a few amazing lessons. I went with Aunty Vivian to see Martha, and lo and behold, Martha knew Aunty Vivian's parents growing up! It was such a special visit, and yet again the spirit was strong in that little hospital room. Gosh, Martha is just, such a special woman. She has a beautiful smiling face, and wonderful spirit that can brighten anyones day. I truly feel like she's my Grandma, I have such a strong love for her! Aunty Vivian and I then went and saw Sister Stokoe, who has been in Aloha Care for quite a long time. She has severe dimentia, and it's really sad.  We sat with Sister Stokoe, and apparently Stokoe speaks Samoan (which explains why we can never really communicate with her). Aunty Vivian's husband served in Samoa, and so she's somewhat familiar with the language, so there was a few words spoken. Then we sang Sister Stokoe a medley of tunes, including "I am a Child of God", "Teach me to Walk in the Light", "I Stand All Amazed". It was a really cool visit (:That night, Sister Harris and I were asked to give the missionary moment at our zone leaders baptism, which was nerve-wracking but fun I guess! After that, we went on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders. Soooo I went to OLOMANA <3I was with Sister Andre, and it was the usual Thursday in Olomana. Just like when I was there 5 months ago, we scooped horse poop at Uncle Ben's, and then had a day full of visits with many familiar faces! It made my day, everyone was SO EXCITED to see me. Being there only one transfer, I didn't realize how much of an impact I had made on these people. I was able to see the Tavares family, and was able to share a scripture on the importance of family prayer, something their family has gotten so much better at. I am so proud of them, for how far they've come in such a short amount of time. They are finally in a HOME, and not Weinberg village anymore. The Lord has truly blessed them. I feel so blessed to have been apart of their journey <3

That night, we had dinner with the Kahalewai ohana. They couldn't believe it was the Sister Noriega they had met 6 months ago! They kept telling me how good I looked. They said I looked so happy, confident, and that I had matured so much. Also that they like my lighter and longer hair (: It feels so good to know that I have changed for the better in my short six months on the mission. They don't know it, but that dinner conversation meant the world to me <3

The next few days we good, with many spiritual lessons. When I came back to Kaneohe 1st, Sister Harris told me that while I was in Olomana they had set Reuben with A BAPTISM DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's a "faith date", something to work towards. We know that God is a God of miracles, and that if our faith is sufficient, anything is possible. May 30th is what we are shooting for. I cried, I was SO HAPPY!

There have been a few trials this week, but I know that they are all for my benefit. I know that God is greater than I, and without Him I am nothing. I know that as I am serving the people around me, I am only in the service of my God. I love my mission so much, and for the wonderful opportunities I'm given daily to grow spiritually. I am so blessed. I can't say it enough, I LOVE MY MISSION.

I love you all SO MUCH <3 Don't be strangers, write me when you all can. LOVE YOU!

~Sister Nori

Look at this dramatic picture, isn't it fantastic?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Re-motivation, re-activation!‏

Aloha everyone! (:

Dang. I don't really know where to even start with this week. We've been struggling to find people to teach in this area. We find ourselves meeting with the same exact people all the time, and it really isn't that big of a teaching pool. Along with our Ward mission leader, we've taken some big steps towards hastening the work in the Kaneohe 1st ward. This week, Heavenly Father blessed us BIG TIME.

We had our first district meeting, which was super great! We've been aiming to use family history work as a finding tool, and that's what our training was on. We've been given these really cool booklets, so that we can do a little summary of what FHW is, and our own personal experience with it. We discussed our personal experiences with one another, and realized how each of us have had a spiritual experience with it! The training was good though, and as we started our day, Sister Harris and I hit the ground running. We contacted 1 of the referrals we had been given by the elders in our zone. When we got to the address, we asked for David. The lady said David was busy, and so we struck up a conversation with her. Her name is Ellen, and David is her son. She was super nice, and as we talked more she told us she had looked up our church before. Why?


Cool, yeah!? Ellen said that we could come back and help her more with her family history, and talk with her more about the church. Our trainings for district meeting are no coincidence, Heavenly Father places certain people in our path so that we can help them come closer to Christ. Gosh, it was just super cool!
The rest of the day continued to go well! We contacted another referral named Dave. He works for a member of the church, and has met with the missionaries before and gone to church. He was open to having us come over and teach him, so TONIGHT Sister Harris and I will be meeting with him.
The rest of our day went well, had a few good lessons with our usual people, the Higa's, Martha, Steven. It was a great day (:

Wednesday, after my doctor's appointment, we had interviews with our mission president. It went well, and it's always really good to be able to talk one on one with President Warner. It was nice to hear that he has so much faith and confidence in my ability as a missionary, and that he's proud of how much I've overcome on my mission. He mentioned that I'm 1/3 done almost, and that I have changed so significantly. He says he can't wait to see the woman I am at the end of my mission. It was just super cool!
That night we also did ZUMBA. Every Wednesday night at our chapel they have Zumba, and many nonmembers come. Naturally, the missionaries just happened to show up and WORK. (:

On Thursday we had a few really great lessons as well, but nothing too exciting. Friday was our golden day (:

A few companionship's from Kaneohe went to this community garden in Kahalu'u to do service from 9-12. The elders cut some trees down, we fixed up a few gardens, pulled weeds, bit by choke mosquitoes, the usual. We had quite a few missionary opportunities there!

After that, we went home, showered, and got ready for the rest of our day. We had Sister Wood come out with us to make a few visits, all of which went very well, but our visit with Martha was something special. When we walked into Martha's room, Sister Wood and Martha just looked at each other and were beaming. There was a special spirit, and they just talked like they had been friends forever. Then Sister Wood said "I feel like I've known you forever, even though we just met. I felt it as soon as I saw your smiling face." and Martha agreed instantly, and they both got teary-eyed and emotional. Sister Wood started talking about how before we came to earth, we lived with our Heavenly Father in the Spirit World, where we all knew each other. Sister Wood says they must've been best friends, and were meant to find each other. I was about to cry, I felt so much joy in that moment. It's a rare and beautiful experience to witness, 2 sisters from the pre-earth life finding each other once more. (:

The rest of our week was amazing. We've been meeting with so many more less active members and families. We hit and exceeded nearly all our goals as a companionship, and our zone leaders called to congratulate us for our hard work. We helped the zone reach all of our goals, and we "saved" the day. We love being missionaries. I LOVE being a missionary. This week motivated me even more to do all that I can, and my faith has grown exceedingly. I love my mission, and the miracles I'm able to witness as I serve.

I love you all SO MUCH. I will be talking to you all next week. Thank you, for all you do <3

Sister Noriega

Pic from our hike this morning (:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Blessings upon blessings!‏

Malo e lelei everyone!

This week started off super well! :D

On Tuesday we had our first zone meeting of the transfer. All the missionaries in the Kaneohe zone come together for a few hours, and receive training from our zone leaders and sister training leaders. Of course we had our fair share of fun, getting to know the new missionaries who transferred in and all, but it was also super spiritual! We talked about the difference between testimony and conversion, and how we are given tools as missionaries (and members of the church) to receive that help from our Heavenly Father to climb over any mountain of adversity we are faced with. I really enjoy zone meetings, because not only do we get to come together and discuss how we can better hasten the work in this area, but we grow from each others testimonies of the gospel. We all have such different backgrounds and conversion stories, yet here we are, united in one purpose: 

To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. 

On Wednesday, it was our turn to go and do service at Pearl Harbor! We were instructed to clean the railings on the USS Missouri, which was much easier than the last task we were given when we were there last. It was cloudy, but not too chilly. It was so much fun, and just, being able to do service anywhere makes you feel good, but there's a special spirit about Pearl Harbor. There are always so many retired and active military families, and it's so amazing to be able to see them smiling from ear to ear as they learn about World War 2!

Besides that, Pearl Harbor was a fun morning of service as a zone. Look, our little group of sisters even bought matching shirts for the occasion!

Wednesday night we had our ward flood night, where we go out and visit various less active families that we feel would benefit from a visit! Now, at the last ward flood it was discovered that I had a super bad abscess, and had that... memorable procedure and all. I'm very VERY happy to report that nothing bad happened this time :D Haha! Actually I've been cleared by both Doctor Carlile's, I am healed and off of antibiotics. (: 

Then Thursday came.

I woke up extremely nauseous, dizzy, light-headed. It was bad news. I slept literally all day and night, I felt so bad for Sister Harris. She was stuck inside all day with nothing to do! She's awesome though, she took care of me and helped in any way she could! I appreciate her very much!

Friday came, I wasn't doing much better. So I was dropped off at a member's home, and Harris went out with a different ward member to make visits. It was actually super good for both of us!
That night, I asked for a Priesthood blessing from our zone leaders. I have such a testimony of the Priesthood. That authority that men are given to act in God's name to perform special ordinances, including blessing those who are sick, is such a huge part of the work we do. I am so grateful to have worthy holders of that priesthood as my zone leaders. Through their faith and my own, I was able to work hard and diligently all day Saturday!
And thank goodness too, because Saturday was packed full of events!

We went to our wards family history fair in the morning, which is just fascinating. There are a few members who have done their family history all the way back to Adam and Eve! Like, what!? I have a lot of new tools I can use upon my return home, so I can work towards that (:
THEN we had a few appointments that afternoon, with the Baso family, Martha, Steven, and then a baptism in Olomana! What a crazy and spirit-filled day it was, though. There is no work quite like this. I find myself happier and happier as the weeks go by, as I continue to lose myself in the work and grow my testimony of this gospel.

I love my mission. I am tired often, and it stinks to be sick and away from home, but the Lord is protecting us. Our district leader was actually in a pretty bad car accident this last week. They were driving too fast down a hill, and didn't see a stop sign. Next thing they knew, they hit a hedge, the car flipped in the air, and fell about 20 feet. Looking at the pictures and their surroundings, they could have easily died. Literally, the spot they fell was the only little space where there wasn't bricks. They don't have a car anymore, BUT they have their bodies and lives. I know I am being watched over and cared for, and I am grateful that those Elders are safe and working today!

I love you all so much, and I hope you have amazing weeks. Remember how much you are loved, and how important you are!

'Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Love is the essence of the gospel!‏

Aloha everyone! 

This was the first week of my 4th transfer here in the Hi-Hon mission. Time is flying!!!

Our week was super busy/hectic/memorable and spirit-filled! We spent a lot of time over at the Sister's house, helping Sister UV pack and get her bags situated. It was such an emotional Wednesday, not only did I have to say goodbye to UV, but to my "stepmom", Sister Lasike! Transfer meeting was full of familiar faces, and we took so many pictures. Everyone says your mission flies by, and you don't even realize it. I'm learning this to be true more and more as the days go by. I am so grateful I have 13 months left to serve!!!

Back to business now. (:

Not much happened on Thursday, so I'll skip ahead to Friday!

We had an amazing lesson with Martha Turner, who is still currently recovering in Aloha Care. We hadn't seen her in a week, and we felt strongly impressed to see her. Sister Harris has been thinking of Martha a lot, and setting her with a baptism date. I had been thinking the same thing, but with her current shoulder surgery and inability to walk, I didn't feel comfortable setting a date yet. As we were walking in to go and see her, though, I felt myself feeling confident and calm about this visit. I didn't necessarily know that we'd ask her to be baptized, but I knew it would be a special lesson. I shared with her a quote from one of the apostles, which talked about serving those around us and helping them have the happiness that we have ourselves. Sister Harris segwayed it perfectly into the gospel, and that is why we are serving our missions. To share that message that God DOES love EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. CHRIST loves EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. That is why He performed the Atonement: So we can return to live with our Heavenly Father.
While Martha was commenting on the quote, Harris turned to me and simply said "April 25th".
We had originally somewhat planned to shoot for the 18th, but the Spirit was telling us otherwise. That's when I popped the question:

Martha, will you prepare yourself to be baptized on April 25th?

What did she say, you ask?

She said YES
She has been taking the discussions and meeting with missionaries for years, and now she truly feels she is ready. Martha said that before, she focused too much on the insignificant things, like what she would wear and who would be at the baptism and such, and not on the actual significance of entering into that special covenant with our Heavenly Father. Martha also said that April 25th is her Mother's birthday, which would make the day that much more special for her. Following the promptings of the Spirit is SO IMPORTANT while teaching others the message of the restored gospel. We as missionaries cannot convert and convince people of the truth of this gospel, only the Holy Ghost can truly touch their hearts. How amazing it is, to help others in Hawaii recognize the Spirit in their lives! I literally started crying when Martha said yes. She and her family have become like my own ohana to me, and to know she also knows this gospel is true... it really is one of the best feelings in the world. 

On Saturday, Sister Harris, Sister Sateki and her new companion, Sister Latu, went and did service at our Bishops house! We cleaned their home for them, to try and thank them for all they do. The Carlile's do SO MUCH for not only the missionaries, but for others around them. Currently this couple from Idaho named the Wood's are staying with them, and they set up this little service project. It was really nice to do something for the Carlile's! We jammed out to MoTab and hymns, and I showed my skills as a ballerina. (: Afterwards, the Woods took us out to dinner at Pizza Hut, and it was just good fun!

Sunday was nice, it was fast and testimony meeting. The Spirit was so strong! I can hardly believe we are already in March. Didn't I just go to the MTC yesterday?

Our P-day has been SO MUCH FUN. We had a combined district breakfast, and we all brought food. Elder Bergman, Baker and I made most of the food, we feasted, then we played a hardcore game of volleyball. I can't believe how much I enjoy sports now, especially volleyball. I'm actually getting better, once I stopped attempting to dodge the ball... :P

The work is good, the church is true, the book is blue, and Jesus is the Christ! I feel so much love and joy in my heart, unlike any I've felt before. I love my mission, and all the opportunities to learn and teach I have. How lucky we are, as missionaries. God doesn't NEED us to be out here. He could easily to it himself, but he allows us to have this time to learn and grow as sons and daughters, in ways I never knew. I feel so blessed to be apart of God' army, and I'm truly the happiest I've ever been. That doesn't mean trials do not come, but I am strengthened through Christ. I love you all so much, thank you for all your love and support!

'Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega 
Lasike is HOME!!

Transfer board in the AP's office