Monday, June 29, 2015

Second Chances

Aloha everyone! #TeamNori here, with TRANSFER NEWS!

The news: I will be staying here in the Palehua ward in the Makakilo zone! Hermana Castaneda is returning to the Visitors Center, so my new companion is Sister Mitchell! My former compa, Harris, trained Mitchell. I am so excited for this new change! We have had a rough few transfers here, and the new changes are very welcome. I love this ward, and am grateful for this 2nd chance in this ward. 

This week has been pretty crazy. For good and bad. 

Our car has had multiple issues, and we finally had to take it in. Our car was stalling, and we were in danger. We live up a very large mountain, and so it's pretty hard on our car. The brakes were nearly out, and we needed to take our car to Waipahu... and when we did this, they immediately took our car and we were stranded in a ghetto area. It was sketch, but the Lord protects His missionaries (: We had 2, nearly 3 days without a car. And of course, summer just started and whatever... #sweat #gross

The Maili Kai Samoan ward has been killing it lately. We have kept up the district floods each week, and we finally had 2 sisters come out with us! Cas and I were able to go on splits. I was with an 18 year old girl named Ella. She's amazing! Her Dad is pressuring her to go on a mission, and this was her first experience with the missionaries. Our district leader specifically asked me to go with Ella, to help her feel more open to the idea of serving. Let me tell you, Ella is already a missionary! She's fearless and bold, like you need to be on the mission field. She knocked on the doors, testified as the Spirit directed. We walked up back Makakilo Drive back to the chapel, and we were able to have a long talk about missionary work. The Spirit was strong with us, and we were able to clear up any false ideas she had of missions. She told me:

"Sister Noriega, when I first met you, I knew you were special. Thank you, for your testimony and service. I am now going to start my mission papers, and going to mission prep. I love you, and love your testimony. Thank you, for everything."

I cried, she's amazing. Watch out mission field, here comes Sister Kekiva! <3

We also had a different youth named Saini come with us Friday. She just moved here about a year ago, from Samoa. She has struggled. She's the only active one in her family, and has a lot of opposition in her life. Saini was so perfect with me, we have extremely similar stories. She is now starting her mission process. What an amazing few miracles, with active members. I LOVE being a missionary!

We also had another HUGE miracle... A family we've been trying to visit for 12 WEEKS. 12 WEEKS, every other day, trying to visit. We got a very strong prompting to visit this particular family. Luckily, we followed it. AND THEY WERE ALL HOME. ALL 7 KIDS AND THE MOM. We were able to share a message about Jesus Christ and the Atonement, and how we can overcome trials. This family is so special. The Mom and Dad have divorced, and suddenly the Dad is about to pass away in ICU. They need all the prayers they can get. We have another appointment with them this coming Saturday <3

I have seen so many miracles this week, especially these past few weeks. I love my Heavenly Father, and all He has provided for me. I'm grateful for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, chances. I am grateful for the power of prayer, and the prompting of the Spirit. I look forward to beginning this 7th transfer of mine. AHH! Time is flying (:

ALSO THANKS FOR ALL THE BIRTHDAY EMAILS! I can't believe I'm 20 on Sunday... How did that happen? Wasn't I like, just born or something? Love you all! Be safe this 4th of July weekend! (:

'Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega

Friday's District Flood!

My ukulele, Pele (pay-lay), and I (:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Press Forward with Faith‏

Malo e lelei and alooooo-ha! #TeamNori here, reporting from Kapolei library with the latest and greatest. Oh, and how great it's been (: 

We have had some really great and meaningful lessons this week. Quite a few of our investigators went out of town this week, to various places like Samoa and the main land. We weren't able to have our usual lessons with Noe, Xavier, and a few others. BUT, we continued on.

We had our usual district floods, and we have 5 new investigators because of it! Hermana Castaneda and I have tried very hard to pray for our area, and focus on finding families to teach. The Lord has answered our prayers! This family is a military family. They've lived in various places of the world, including Germany several times. They are so much fun to talk to!
It was so funny, we went to their house to contact them. We were having car issues at the time, so we were delayed in walking over. We were frustrated, and said a prayer for our car, and then suddenly the entire family we were coming to visit pulls up. The Dad comes out with choke pizza, and says "Hey Sisters! Come join us for lunch!". Now, an average day for us in Kapolei is "GO AWAY" with a door slammed in our face. So the invite was music to our ears (: Such a kind family, and they believe in Jesus Christ. They are non-practicing Catholic, but say we can teach their two daughters, who are 9 and 17. Such a miracle!

Our ward is super supportive now. We have been in daily contact with our ward mission leader, and the work is moving forward with a positive tone. I love this ward, and the Kapolei area. I know Heavenly Father assigned me here for a bigger purpose than I will ever know. I love the people of Hawaii! My companion is heading back to the Visitors Center next week, and I will most likely stay here in Palehua. I am excited for a new start, and a new Sister to bond with. 

Big highlight of my week: I was able to have dinner with the zone leaders and with one of my favorite members from the Kaneohe 1st ward. What a blessing it was to serve in beautiful Kaneohe for 6 months. No matter what, K-town will always have a special place in my heart <3

I love you all very much, and bless yous for the support. Feel free to write me anytime! 

Mahalo nui loa,
Sister Noriega

Holstein family, we missed them so much while they were in Cali!!!

Look who I ran into at the mission office (: Miss her! Can't believe she goes home in August

Thursday, June 18, 2015

It's always darkest before the dawn‏

Malo e lelei and alooooooo-ha! 

I am very happy to report that this week was a truly wonderful week (:

Trials come, but so do the blessings. After a very rough transfer, my companion and I have made a few big changes. We have talked about how we can better work with our ward, and our ward mission leader. We've been much more in contact with our ward leaders, and truly prayed for the Lord's assistance. Diligence is a word I have come to know and love. I have seen the blessings that come from diligence. We have found many less active members we never came in contact with when we first arrived here, and helping them return to church.

We also have weekly district floods! It's basically where all the missionaries in our district come into our area, and tract for an hour. It covers more ground quicker, and we are able to come in contact with more people who've been prepared to hear the gospel. 

Kelliann, our 9 year old investigator, is progressing quickly. We have taught her the plan of salvation, and the restoration. She and her Mom are keeping all of their commitments, and you can feel the Spirit changing in their home! Unfortunately the Dad is still not on board with baptism, but we're praying the miracles keep coming (:
We've had some great lessons with our 3 recent converts, Reyhania, Keanu and Xavier. How amazing it is, to watch these children of God progress from investigators, to with dates, and then to recent converts! I love doing the Lord's work, and watching how the gospel truly changes lives. What an amazing opportunity, to be apart of the most important work :D

Today was our preparation day, because we had TEMPLE TRIP! :D
I absolutely love the peace and comfort I feel inside the Temple. It came at the perfect time for my companion and I, who have had very difficult issues lately. I love the Laie temple for many reasons, including the fact that it is the Mesa temple's "sister" temple!

I'm sorry this isn't longer, I promise next week will be longer and more detailed. Know that I love you all very much, and please feel free to send me letters! I love yous!

Aloha nui loa,
Sister Noriega

District at Temple

We're traaaa-aaaacting in the rain!