Monday, April 27, 2015

Miracle May!‏

Malo e lelei! It's been another exciting week in the Palehua ward :D

We have quite a few amazing weeks in front of us here in the Hi-Hon mission. Our mission President announced to us that this upcoming May is officially MIRACLE MAY! As a mission, we are shooting for a goal of 100 baptisms. We know that God is a God of miracles, and that as we are obedient and have faith in Him, we can achieve this goal. It's a pretty exciting initiative, and all the different wards and stakes are 100% on board! :D

Who says Miracle May has to start in May, though? Apparently not the Lord, because this week has been full of miracles! 

I'll start with Tuesday. Tuesday was a super long, tiring, spiritual day. We all went to Waipahu and had zone conference! We received training's from our mission president and his wife, our AP's, and our zone leaders. We were there from 8 til 5, and it was so great. We were taught a lot about being in the World but not of the World. How Satan is attacking us so much harder in these days, and how important it is that we cling to the iron rod and continue on in faith. How grateful I am for all that was prepared for us this day, it was a wonderful re-boost! :D I was also able to see a lot of my missionary friends, so there were many photos taken, and there was much rejoicing. 

So Wednesday was when the real miracles began.
Sister Paet (our Mom away from home basically) called and said she was available to go out and make visits with us Wednesday morning. We were so happy! We met with her at our chapel at 10am, and went to work. We went to visit a less active woman and her family, but she wasn't home. We walked away a little sad, because we have tried Rebecca quite a few times these past few weeks. As we were leaving, I saw a lady washing her car, and I suddenly got the prompting "That's Rebecca". I was like what? I don't even know what Rebecca looks like! But I knew the Spirit was directing. I told Sister Castaneda and Paet we needed to talk to this lady, and lo and behold it was REBECCA! She accepted a return appointment, and we were able to say a prayer with her. Gosh, it was a good moment!

THEN we went to visit Judy. Judy is an amazing woman, who was set with a baptism date but backed out the day after we arrived in the area. We had spoken with her over the phone a few times, but were never able to physically meet with her. Judy has some very big issues going on in her home with her husband, to the point that it wasn't safe for us to go and visit her. So we prayed, and the ward counsel and mission team prayed. Judy was able to find a temporary home, and Sister Paet knew where she had moved. We met with Judy, took her out to lunch, and had a long lesson with her in the chapel. Talking to her, Judy and I have a real connection. Literally while she was talking about the gospel, and how she feels undeserving and needs to know everything, I saw myself 2 years ago. 2 years ago I felt unworthy of God's love, of baptism, of being a choice daughter of God. That is what Judy is currently feeling now, and how blessed I feel that Heavenly Father has let our paths cross. She isn't set with a date yet, but we know she is slowly getting there. We just want to continue to help her feel our love and God's love, and all the rest will come in time (:

Within the next few days, we received 2 phone calls with people saying "Sisters, we found you a new investigator, come teach them now!". We had a total of 3 new investigators this week, just from the members finding! How important member missionary work is. As much as the missionaries can do, we cannot do it without the support and work with the ward. If you have time, go out with the missionaries. Even better, invite every one of your friends to hear the glad message of the gospel, help them to know the happiness it brings you. I promise you all, that as you do this, God will bless you with the words you need in that specific moment. No need fear!

Fear departs when faith endures (:

Keanu is getting baptized this Saturday, and everything is falling into place with that. We feel so much love for him, and we know that he has been prepared. He keeps getting mad that his family moved his baptism, he said "GUYS I HAVE TO WAIT A YEAR TO GO ON A MISSION I NEED TO GET BAPTIZED ASAP!". Yeah, he's pretty amazing (:

I love my mission. I love my Heavenly Father, and my brother Jesus Christ. What an amazing time to be a missionary, and to share my happiness with others. I hope everyone is doing well, and I also hope to possible get some mail this week? (: Haha! I love you all, and take care!

Aloha nui loa,
Sister Noriega

Most of Makakilo Zone


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Popping the Question

Malo e lelei and aloooo-ha! Nori here, to update you on the latest and greatest here in the Palehua ward in the Makakilo zone (:

On Tuesday, we had our first district/zone meeting. Our district leader is Elder Southwick, and we have a pretty rad district. We discussed families, and how they are the most important unit on the earth. We also were able to discuss General Conference, and what some of our favorite parts were. One of my most favorite quotes from Conference was "A Saint is a sinner who keeps on trying". We know we aren't perfect, and so does Heavenly Father. We have that potential to achieve perfection, but it will not be in this life and we must know that. We are here on this Earth to learn, and to grow. Because of Jesus Christ, we are able to start each day fresh, no matter how many times we mess up. No, as Saints we do not consider ourselves perfect, but we keep on trying (:
We also decided to go tracting that afternoon, and talk with as many people as possible. We specifically prayed for Heavenly Father to set people in our path that were ready to hear our message of the restored Gospel. We ran into about 5 people, and we have some new potential investigators. How grateful I am, for the power of prayer!

(1st pic in attachments: Hermana Casteneda and I tracting)

Wednesday we had PEARL HARBOR WOOO! It was a blast, as usual. We cleaned the scullery in the USS Missouri. It was extremely dusty, we were required to wear masks the whole time. As a zone we really were able to bond and get to know one another. It was such a fun day!

(2nd pic: Pearl Harbor, AZ Flag again!)

Later that day, we had a lesson with a 19 year old named Keanu. His parents are recent converts, and really love the gospel and each have strong testimonies. We had a few members come with us, and Castaneda and I taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, this is the first time we're meeting Keanu, let alone teaching him. The Spirit was so strong in the lesson, and then I did it. I popped the question: Keanu, will you be baptized by someone holding the proper authority of God?
And do you know what he said?
HE SAID YES. He is set for baptism on April 28th!!!!!!! What in the world?! He is 100% solid. He so badly wants to enter the Temple, to go on a mission, and devote his life to the Lord. What an amazing guy he is, we are so excited for him. I'm so driven by his determination and love for this gospel! Pray that all goes well with Keanu, he has been prepared!

Thursday wasn't very eventful, because my companion, it was HER turn to be sick! AH. This just needs to stop going around to all the missionaries boo. We went on exchanges from Thursday night to Friday night with our Sister Training Leaders in Waipahu, so I went to the Ewa Beach 1st ward. I was with Sister Ranck, who came out just one transfer after me. We had a blast! Waipahu is super hot, though. Ah well, felt a little like home. (:

We taught Keanu the Restoration and Plan of Salvation at church yesterday. Again, Spirit was strong, and he definitely wants to be baptized on the 28th still. Gosh I'm SO HAPPY for him and his family. He's a great example to not only them, but to me as well. His faith and love exceeds many of those whom I've met in the church, and he is just. So ready for baptism. (:

I am doing well! I am no longer sick, I'm slowly learning the ukulele, counting down til Mother's Day, and preparing for Zone Conference tomorrow. I LOVE this gospel, and my mission. I am so happy with this work, and for all the miracles we've seen this week. I know that as we continue to pray to the Lord for guidance, He will bless us with work. With people who are prepared and ready to receive our message of Christ. I love you all so much! Please write me, here's my new address:

92-1230 Makakilo Drive #18
Makakilo, HI 96707

Aloha nui loa,
Sister Noriega

Hermana Casteneda and I tracting

Pearl Harbor - AZ flag!

Monday, April 13, 2015

E Komo Mai, Palehua!‏

What a crazy few days it has been! I was up all Tuesday night, sobbing and stressing about packing/transfers/new beginnings and all that jazz. Needless to say I was extremely exhausted when we arrived in Honolulu for transfer meeting. I was able to see some of my favorite missionaries (who haven't gone home already :P) and they boosted me up! I love how supportive the elders and sisters you have previously served with are! (:

Sister Casteneda is so amazing! It's kind of funny, she's 5 years older than me, but I am the senior companion? Funny how that works out. Her testimony is so solid though, and she followed the Lord's prompting to serve a mission even though she could have taken several different routes. She and I get along so well! She's so hilarious, and really loves the gospel and the work. Which is super convenient because WHITE WASHING IS NOT EASY.

I'm so grateful for the past sisters who we replaced in this area, they left us notes and tips all over the area book. On Thursday all we did was drive. We drove and we drove and we stopped and we drove and we drove and, guess what, WE DROVE. Ugh. Our area isn't large in size, but there are houses literally EVERYWHERE. It's crazy how much you can fit into a little bit of land. 

That night, we had dinner with the Willis family. They have a daughter serving in the Canada Montreal mission, so they love to feed the sisters (: It was a welcomed end to our day, meeting members and getting to relax and talk story. Brother Willis is full of jokes, especially about me. Good thing I have had to learn to be quick on my feet, thanks to certain elders... (:

After dinner, we received a call from a girl named Sina. She's 21 years old and preparing for a mission. She was like "HI I'm a ward missionary, can I come out with you 2 sisters all day tomorrow and show you around?" We were like, umm, let me think about tha-YES! She's amazing, she goes out with the missionaries often and is so willing to help.

The Palehua ward is such a special ward. Every single member is excited about missionary work, and do their part. They invite their friends, they go out with us often, they want to know what they can do to help hasten the work and take care of us. No joke, every single member does this. The ward is small, but mighty (:

The Paet family, they are wonderful as well! Sister Paet is our missionary Mom out here, she loves us and makes sure we're always taken care of. Her kids are also great, she has 4 kids. The youngest is named Caleb, and we had a funny moment with him after dinner: We were sharing my personal favorite scripture, Ether 12:27 which says:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

After we had shared the scripture, I asked the family "What is something you see as a weakness within yourself that you can turn into a strength?"

Caleb shot up his hand, and replied "I am too kind to people. I can use that as a strength to make people feel bad when they take advantage of me."  I died a little, we all couldn't stop laughing!

Sunday was a welcoming day. Everyone was so happy to see us, and introduced themselves. Honestly the spirit is so special in this ward, I really can't describe it. I absolutely love these people already, and I am so excited to continue working with them! We are going to be setting a few investigators with baptism dates this week, and start teaching a few new investigators. What an amazing time for us here in the Palehue ward!

I do miss Kaneohe, but I have no doubts that I will make my way over there before my mission is over. I am so grateful to be here in the Makakilo zone, to take the lead and help others come unto Christ. I LOVE MY MISSION! (:

Love you all, and thank you for the continued support. I sent my Mom my new address, so hopefully she'll be sending that around. Don't be a stranger (:

'Ofa atu,
Sister Nori

Hermana Castaneda

I walk out of church and this is what I see

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Makakilo Bound‏

I don't have a whole lot of time, but I'll sum up my week:


We've gone to Laie twice this week, all the missionaries in the Kaneohe zone participated in the final day of the Youth Conference, General Conference aired, I was on TV apparently, and of course we went to the Temple today and did an endowment session. OH and as many of you have heard, after 6 months of serving in the Kaneohe zone I am being transferred to the Makakilo zone! I will be serving in the Palehua ward, which I've heard many great things about (:

So it's also been emotional, on top of all the madness and work that's been happening.

I just really want to take a moment and talk about Kaneohe. Gosh, what a special place this is. People come to Hawaii and talk about what a beautiful vacation spot it is, what wonderful sights they see and the exciting things you can do here, but there is so much more to it than just that. The Aloha spirit is SO real, and I've felt it in abundance while I've been in Kaneohe. There are so many humble, loving, kind, passionate and selfless people. I can't begin to describe how much I've been influenced for the better by these people, and how much I will miss them. I have grown to love them as my own ohana, and saying goodbye has been the hardest thing. 

I'm grateful I was born in this zone, and for all the members, investigators and missionaries I've had the pleasure of serving with. Words can't begin to express how thankful I am for each and every one of them.

I will be serving with a Visitors Center sister, who has only been on her mission for 3 months now. VC sisters only serve 2 transfers full-field, so her full-field experience will be with me! I met her today at the Temple, actually, and I am so happy, she's super sweet! She's from El Salvador, and has a cute accent (: We are white-washing into the area, so that's a first for both of us. This is also my first companion that I will go home before she does, so that's super weird. I am nervous, but also comforted knowing that my Lord and Savior directs His work. I know I can turn to Him for anything, including the guidance to know and say what He needs said and done.

General Conference was AMAZING. Lucky for us, being in Hawaii, we got up at 5am each morning to watch the 1st sessions at the Stake Center at 6am! :P It actually wasn't that bad, the time thing. I feel like I received so much personal revelation, especially about my future and the woman God wants/needs me to be. I am grateful we have a modern-day prophet on this earth today, President Thomas S. Monson.

I love my mission, I love Kaneohe, and I somehow already love Makakilo. I need to pack still (oops), so no sleep for me. Ah well (: I will let you all know how my first week is on Monday. Love you all, stay cherry!

'Ofa atu,
Sister Nori

Kualoa Beach Park - Chinaman's Hat
The sweet burn I received while wearing sleeves from the pick above #ouch
Love these ladies very much!