Monday, May 25, 2015

Remember that one time our week was blah?‏

Malo e lelei and aloooo-ha!

This week has been one of those blah weeks. Sister Castaneda was sick for 2 days, so she needed her rest. I did my best to entertain her while we were stuck inside. Our new district leader is pretty awesome, so they took care of all of our needs! Plus, our new district leader is Elder Bergman, who was my district leader for a while in Kaneohe. I've got connections :P

On top of that, nobody was home this weekend once we were able to go out. Curse you Memorial Day weekend!
We did the best we could, though. We have a lot of less-active members who are older, so we were able to focus on them more this weekend.

There really isn't much to report from this week. Not too many people were out and about, so even while we went tracting we didn't have much success. We are not discouraged, though, we know that things will get better! We have interviews with President Warner on Wednesday, and we are going on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders that night. Then we have zone meeting Thursday, and Saturday Martha Turner is getting baptized! I am not going to be able to attend the baptism, but I know that it is only important that she is getting baptized. There is much joy in my heart for her and the Turner family, and I am so grateful I was apart of their journey.

I love you all very much,  and appreciate the love and support you all offer me. I hope you all are able to see God's hand in your lives, for He is with us all day everyday. Remember you are loved (:

Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Transfer number WHAT!?‏


The new transfer starts this Wednesday, and I began using my new planner today. 
Remember that one time that sisters serve for 13 transfers, and this marks the beginning of my 6th transfer?

Okay. Back to my week. (:

Every single day this week we met with Xavier, to finish teaching him all the required lessons before his baptism. Teaching Xavier has been a joy, I have never taught someone who is so inquisitive and interested in EVERYTHING we say. For the first lesson of the week, we had his friend Marley come with us. You think your life is awkward? Try teaching the Law of Chastity to two 9 year old boys who have no idea what chastity is :P We then taught tithing, which was much easier. To explain tithing, I tried to think of how to explain in an easier way that it is giving 10% of your income back to the Lord. I was hungry in that moment, and I came up with this:

It may not be perfect, but Xavier understood! :D
(awkward moment I just realized I gave God the smallest piece sorry about that)

Over the next few days, we also taught him the Word of Wisdom, and went over the baptism questions. His interview for baptism with our District Leader was about 45 minutes. The average interview is maybe 15 minutes. Needless to say we were a little nervous, but when they finally came out he was ready (: On Saturday he was baptized, and Sunday he was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! My companion is sending me pics from the baptism, so those will come later!

We saw many miracles this week, as always. 

We had another super spiritual lesson with Kainoa and ''the army'' of boys that come with to his lessons. We teach a class basically, consisting of 1 investigator, 2 super active members, and 4 less active members. I am grateful for the Spirit guiding us through lessons with them. A bunch of boys under the age of 20 can be hard to keep focused, but we handle them just fine! It was cool, we followed up on if Kainoa had prayed about the Plan of Salvation. He said "I did actually, and I fell asleep a lot quicker". Funny how the Spirit works with each of us (: We know he felt the Spirit as we taught the Restoration, unlike any time before!
My companion and I, we both have different strengths is lessons. Her favorite lesson is the Plan of Salvation, and she's super good at it. My favorite lesson is the Restoration, and apparently I'm a spiritual powerhouse when I recite the First Vision. What a difference, compared to the first time I taught the Resto! I seriously have that lesson memorized through and through, and I'm grateful for that. Now to work on the Plan of Salvation :P haha!

We visited a lot of less active members this week, all who were very receptive to our message. Sister Castaneda and I will be staying in the Palehua ward one more transfer together! :D So blessed to be in such an amazing ward, with members who are so dedicated and passionate about the work. 


Guess who agreed to baptism on the 30th of May!? MARTHA TURNER. MY MARTHA IS GETTING BAPTIZED IN KANEOHE ON MAY 30TH.
Sister Harris called me while we were in the store, and when she told me, literally everything stopped around me. The Spirit filled my soul, and it testified that she was truly going to be baptized. I cried of joy. My Martha is getting baptized, and has requested I be there for it <3
Sister Harris has told me she's going to do all she can to get me over to Kaneohe that day. I remember when I left Kaneohe for Makakilo, the very night before I was transferred, Martha told me "Sister Noriega, I need you to know before you go that I will be baptized. It may not be on April 25th as planned, but it will happen. I needed you to know this before you left." I'm crying right now just typing this out, how much love I have for my Grandma here in Hawaii. I am her hanai-ed Granddaughter, and I KNOW I was sent to Hawaii to find her. I love her with all my heart, and I pray I will be able to go and witness her baptism. Watching her be baptized will mean I will no longer be the only member in my family. She is my family, along with Jackie and Dale Turner. I'M JUST SUPER HAPPY OKAY? (:

I have so much love for the Savior, and all that He has done for us. Please keep not only me, but Martha, in your prayers.
I love you all so much, and please, write me! :D

Sister Noriega

My Martha, the night before I left Kaneohe

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Plan of Happiness

Malo e lelei and aloooo-ha!

Been a very good week here in Makakilo, working hard and trying to better myself as a missionary each day. We've had a meaningful week with quite a few of our investigators. 

The 'theme' for the lessons has been The Plan of Salvation, or, the Plan of Happiness. I remember when Elder Laititi and Elder Murdock taught me this lesson on a Magnadoodle over at the Reay's home! That is the one lesson I can remember them teaching me specifically, and I've never forgotten it. We taught the POS to an 8 year old, 23 year old, and an 18 year old. It's funny, because the message and lesson is always the same, but we have to teach it differently for each investigator.

The Palehua ward is amazing, we were able to have to Toilolo brothers come and teach the POS to Xavier, our young investigator who is being baptized THIS SATURDAY. Xavier is FULL of crazy questions, and we sometimes have a hard time keeping him focused. With the help of the Toilolo team, though, it was much easier and the Spirit was much stronger. We are so grateful for our ward mission team! It was cute, at the end Xavier prayed, and he said:

Thank you for having the sisters teach me that I want to go to the sun, not the moon or the stars. Help me to go to the sun kingdom so I can ask God all my questions.


Teaching the Plan of Salvation is my favorite. Teaching those that we can live with our families forever, and that all who have died will have a chance to hear the gospel. God is a God of 2nd chances, and I am forever grateful for that. He doesn't promise less blessings to one person, we all have the same equal potential for blessings. It is up to us if we follow His commandments and receive the blessings, though. The Plan of Salvation is truly a plan of happiness. Knowing I can live not only with my family, but with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, forever. That is a priceless gift (:

Yesterday, Sister Castaneda and I volunteered to teach Relief Society to give all the Mother's a break. Last week there were 10 ladies in RS. With all the Mother's getting a break, though, there was a full classroom! Cas and I had prepared though, and we taught lesson #10: Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon. What a fitting lesson for us to teach! :D It went so well, and we had a lot of Sisters participate.

Then, we went to a member's home and we were able to see our families!!!!! I am so blessed with a beautiful and supportive family. It's crazy, there are missionaries who have families who are all members, but never write them. Then there's me, getting weekly emails, and cards often (: I LOVE MY FAMILY! I miss them like crazy, but I felt so at peace after saying goodbye. The next time I skype them is the last time I skype them! I go home in less than a year now. WHAT EVEN? Didn't I start my mission like yesterday?

To top off the wonderful day, we had dinner with Brother and Sister Holstein, and guess what I ate and devoured?


After dinner, Castaneda had a prompting to go wash our windows really quick at the gas station. As we did this, we ran into a homeless man named Larry. He was very kind, and told us his story. Lost everything in a divorce, lives in Nanakuli in an area with a few of his homeless friends. Cas and I decided we needed to serve him. I gave him the remainder of my crab (which was a huge sacrifice honestly, that stuff was amazing), and we got him a blanket, and some food from our pad. He was in tears as he thanked us, and told us he was going to share and that his "friends would flip when they see this crab!". I love serving (:

I love you all SO MUCH! Please write me. (: Here's my address!

92-1230 Makakilo Dr. APT 18
Makakilo, HI 96707

'Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May the 4th be with You, Tokos!‏


#teamNori here, to update everyone on the happenings in the Palehua ward!

We will just start with the biggest event of this week: KEANU WAS BAPTIZED
He is officially a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints :D He was confirmed yesterday, given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and also the Aaronic Priesthood. 

It was a joyous Saturday for all of us, but especially for Keanu and his family. As I mentioned before, his parents just joined about a year ago. At that baptism, Keanu was watching via Facetime. At his baptism, the Bishop made a comment: "Keanu, when you were watching your parents be baptized this time last year, did you have any idea you'd be next?" Keanu replied no. Crazy how much a year can change things. The Lord prepares us, and when the time is right, we can have a mighty change of heart (:

Keanu's Baptism

Xavier, a child we just began teaching, came to Keanu's baptism. Xavier is about to turn 9 on May 17th, and he wants to be baptized on the 16th! At first he was terrified of baptism, and going under water. We showed him the Restoration video, where Joseph Smith's Father is baptized in the lake, and Xavier suddenly wanted to be baptized THAT VERY night! We were like noooo, not tonight, but SOON! He's super cute, we love teaching him (:

We did a lot of work this week, and had quite a few trials. Some I cannot mention, because it is personal information involving a few of our investigators, but know this: The Lord can do all things. 

I can see the Lord's hand in my life, as well as all of those around me.
I know that Christ died for us, and that He lives today. That no matter how many times we may feel we've hit rock bottom, messed up, ruined our lives, we can ALWAYS turn to Him and START AGAIN. It is NEVER too late to start. Or restart. I love my Father in Heaven, and specifically this week I am more grateful for the power of prayer, and the role the Atonement plays in my life.

No, this wasn't my best week of my mission. I know I did the best that I could though, despite all that was happening to us and to those around us. I know that this is the true church, and that this is the most important work I could be doing in my life. I love you all SO MUCH. Please write me, if anyone gets the chance. I love getting letters so much. (:

'Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega

Look who came to visit me from Kaneohe