Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride

Malo e lelei and alooooo-ha! :D

This week has definitely had its ups and downs. Not the best week, but definitely not the worst! 

On Tuesday, we had interviews with our mission president. It never ceases to amaze me how much he and his wife truly love and care about each of us missionaries as individuals. I was able to receive some advice from President Warner on how I can personally better myself as a missionary. I love speaking with him, he reminds me how much I've grown in the past (nearly) 11 months. I also confirmed that this will be my last transfer in Makakilo. Gotta make the most of it!

We have Wednesday in our missions set apart as "Walking Wednesday". As missionaries, we are encouraged to walk around as much as possible, and not use our car. It helps us to not only exersize more (which we all need here in the 40 pound mission), but it also gives us more opportunities to talk to people. Sister Mitchell and I prayed specifically to have the Lord put people in our path, and guide us as we walked to visit. So, 10am, 95 degrees in the humidity and sweat already dripping, we were off! The first person, Kimberly, wasn't home unfortunately, or the Cruz family. Gosh the weather has been awful here, so I was pretty done walking after 15 minutes, but we were determined to keep moving forward!
Next thing we know, we are having a really great visit with the Ma'auga family. They are very less active, and the wife works 12 hour shifts at the post office. Nearly impossible to catch them home. We didn't plan on seeing them, but as we were walking away from our 2 appointments that fell through, we spotted them! 
Afterwards, we went to meet with a part-member family that the sisters had taught about a year ago. Various issues came up, so they had to take a break from teaching. We felt that the time was ready for them though. As we knocked on the door, the son's girlfriend of the man we were coming to see answered the door. Very kind, her name is Herolyn, from Saipen. She greeted us, gave us water (which was much needed) and talked story. She is Sister Mitchell and I's age, and really has a desire to learn more about the gospel! We have an appointment with her this Wednesday (: 
We were able to continue contacting former investigators throughout the day, and boy do we have a busy week this week! Super pumped about it, our planners are full :D

Thursday was really cool for Sister Mitchell and I, we week planned and set goals for the transfer. What we want to accomplish as individuals, as a companionship, and how we can better the work here in Palehua. 

On Friday, we had our first district meeting. Not only was it our first district meeting, but it was also ALOHA FRIDAY. SO against Mitchell's wishes and pleads, I made us wear our MUMU'S! I'll attach a picture of course (:

So that was our week! We worked hard, and were able to see miracles. Our weekend proselyting was cut short, we had to travel to Waipahu, to Makaha, to Kapolei, back to Makaha, then BACK TO MAKAKILO because the sisters car broke down. 

Sunday was great though! We were asked to bear our testimonies in primary :D We sang my personal favorite, Jesus wants me for a sun...BEAM! I was so homesick for the Apache Park Primary, I miss them so much! It was such a spiritual Sunday though. The Lord has truly blessed me, and I look forward to the miracles of this week. I love my Savior, and for the opportunity I have to teach others about God's perfect love for each of us. I love you all very much! Have an amazing week, and mahalo nui loa for all that you do!

'Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega

Aloha Friday!

Our dinner Wednesday night showed this to us. IT ISN'T EVEN US IT'S THE J-DUBS BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE US I COULDN'T STOP LAUGHING

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I Will Go, I Will Do‏

Malo e lelei and aloooo-ha!

This week has been really... exhausting. Tiring. Crazy. Blessed. (:

On Tuesday, we had our first after baptism lesson with Kelliann. It was sad, though, the Dad (who is against the church and is a less active member) changed work shifts again. With Kelli starting school, and the schedule change, we will not be able to see Kelli often. Her Mom is not very happy about it, because she is really set on Kelli growing her testimony. We know they are faithful, though, and that as they exersize their faith the Lord will provide. Sister Mitchell and I keep reminding them of that! Crossing our fingers!

Wednesday was a crazy emotional day. It was transfer day, and Sister Mitchell and I had to drive a car to Honolulu, meaning we were able to say goodbye to many of our friends, including Sister Harris (may she rest in peace). After our goodbyes, and meeting a few of the new missionaries in the zone, we had a lesson with Emilene. We spoke on the importance of baptism! Just a reminder on Emilene's story: She was supposedly baptized in high school in Samoa. Funny thing is, nobody has any record that it happened. She needed to be re-baptized! So we talked to her about how our Savior, Jesus Christ, the most perfect man that ever walked the Earth, set the example for us. That WE have more need than HE to be immersed in water, and to take on the covenant to always remember Him and to keep His commandments. Emilene's testimony has strengthened, and she was definitely ready for her baptism (:

On Thursday, we had a pretty normal day of tracting and making visits. It was Sister Mitchell's year mark, so shout-out to her for that milestone! :D We did service for about 4 hours at a man named Brother Greenwood's house, and boy can that man talk! He told us of his many adventures around the world with his wife, and how we as youngin's need to explore. He said "How can you change the world if you don't go out and see it?" I have a lot of traveling to do after my mission! (:
That night, we went out with our Bishop, Bishop Aken, to make visits to a family who just started investigating not too long ago. They're the Haro family, they have 2 daughters, have lived everywhere due to military assignments, and have welcomed us in since the beginning. We took Bishop to see them, and we were hesitant. We hadn't been able to make contact with them for 2-3 weeks, and weren't sure how they would react to us bring Bishop Aken with us. We went around 6:30pm, and as we rang the doorbell we were met by 2 excited Haro girls saying "I KNEW it would be you 2!". We were invited in, and they made us a big old plate of spagetti and welcomed all three of us in (: As we talked with them, Bishop clicked with each one of them immediately. They all have family in the military, know a lot of the same people, ect. It was a true miracle, and the Spirit was there from the start. About 45 minutes later, Bishop asked them if we could share a message. They quickly agreed, and Sister Mitchell and I both knew it was resto time! We went right into it, and the Spirit grew stronger. We taught of prophets, God's love for us, the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith. We challenged them at the end of the lesson to pray for themselves, to know if these things were true. They agreed, and Cassandra looked at us and said "You know, I've been getting a lot of weird feelings lately. I've been thinking about death, and what happens after this life." Both Mitchell and I looked at each other, grinning, and told her we would come over this week and teach her the plan that God has for each of us, the plan of salvation, the ultimate plan of happiness. It was music to our ears! It was a great lesson, and it truly strengthened my testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost!

Friday we had a brief zone meeting, where we made transfer goals as a district and as a zone. We got to know each other better, and bond as a zone for the first time. We have 3 greenies in our zone, and many new faces, it was a much needed meeting. The rest of the day was pretty normal, but stressful, preparing for the baptism!

On Saturday, we were able to witness Emilene's baptism! She didn't want many people there, just a simple baptism service. There was only a handful of people there (a majority of them being missionaries) but the Spirit was strong. Small but mighty (: Emilene was radiating with the light of Christ as she entered the font, and once Brother McMoore brought her out of the water, she had the biggest grin on her face and gave him a big hug. It was so beautiful to see!

Sunday was a spiritual day, as usual. We had the unexpected but welcomed opportunity to teach gospel principles 2nd hour of church. It was on sacrifice! We talked a lot about how much we sacrifice as disciples of Christ. Whether it's 18 months to serve a mission, many hours of the week to fulfill a calling, or a few moments to help someone with their family history work, we sacrifice daily. Really, though, Christ and Heavenly Father has made the biggest sacrifice for US. Christ gave His life. Heavenly Father gave us His son. I know that because of this marvelous act of love that was performed, we are able to live with our families forever. Heavenly Father, He has everything we can give Him. But, as we sacrifice things to serve, as we turn it all over to the will of our Father, He will bless us immensely. I know this church is true, and that this is God's work upon the Earth. I am blessed to have been given this chance to sacrifice so little time to serve for such a large cause. 

I love you all so much, and thank you for everything. Have a great week! (:

~Sister Nori

Emilene and Xavier

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Round 4!‏

Aloha everyone! :D

First, I'll start off with transfer news: Sister Mitchell and I will both be staying here in the Palehua ward! This will make transfer number 4 for me, and I'll be here for at least 6 months. The Lord has a need for me here, and I hope that I continue discovering my purpose (:

Our week wasn't very exciting, to be honest. We had service at Pearl Harbor, which is always a fun treat for us! It was a fun time, bonding with the Makakilo zone. Especially since nearly every companionship is changing. It's crazy how attached you become to certain missionaries. I love my mission for many reasons, one of the biggest being the life-long friendships I've made. (:

(Elder Neil, this is his first transfer out, and he thinks New Mexico is cooler than AZ :P)

We also had a lot of work today, though. We had do to a lot of tracting this week, so we can try to increase our teaching pool. Sister Mitchell and I have decided this transfer to come into it with fresh eyes, and put it into our minds that we're new and white-washing into the area. This tiny area has so much potential! With the Lord's help, we know we can continue to see miracles!

Funny story: We were tracting up one of the hills, and we came to a super shady house. We walked up, and saw 2 parrots. They were completely silent. Now I love animals, so naturally I was like "Hello!" and I hear a super deep voice reply "HELLO" and it started to laugh. Mitchell and I took off running, before realizing it was literally the bird. Fo' real though, we died a little!

Our week was full of disappointing, cancelled appointments, slammed doors, and some personal hardships. Sister Mitchell and I came up with a motivating quote:

As we strive to do our best, Christ will make up the rest.

I know that the Lord is testing our faith, and that yet again, there are miracles to be realized. We must be patient, and endure all things well. I know this church is true, and that we can see the Lord's hand in our lives each day. We just need to pay attention, and realize how loved we are (:
We also need to realize something else: Conversion is a process, not an event. We must nuture our testimony daily, and rediscover the truthfulness of the gospel every single day. Our tesimony will not stay as strong if we don't continually progress in this gospel. I hope and pray that I will continue to do this everyday, not just on my mission, but also when I come home. I love my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I know He died for my sins, and that through Him I can live with my family forever. 

I love you all so much. I am grateful for all the love and support I feel. Have a wonderful week!

~Sister Nori

Nessy and Nori, prepared for the Nerf war (I love P-day)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Aloooo-ha everyone! :D

We had another good week here in the Palehua ward. On Tuesday, we didn't have a very special, out of the ordinary day. Tuesday night we went on exchanges, and I was able to go with Sister Willardson into the Tongan branch. It was a really great exchange, mostly to help Willardson out. Her companion had to unexpectedly go home for medical reasons about a week ago, so she's been covering 2 wards with another set of sisters. It's been rough on her, and she's stayed super strong! I was so blessed to be with her for exchanges, so we could focus on her area solely, and help her to get her mind at peace again. (: It was a great day!

Wednesday, we also had a zone meeting. We had our zone leaders give a training on the divinity of The Book of Mormon, and how it's a "Divinely designed" for us in this day and age. Gaining a testimony of The Book of Mormon, and the prophet Joseph Smith, is vital in this work. We as missionaries know that the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel, and that is why we must testify and teach with the Spirit; to help others come unto Christ and find this out for themselves. It was a great reminder (: They also showed us this new video, called STRIVE. It talks about how we should STRIVE to better ourselves in the gospel, and to develop ourselves as disciples of Christ. How we can stand as an example to others, and how important we are as individuals to Heavenly Father. Here's the link, it's a great video! https://www.lds.org/youth/video/strive?lang=eng

Nothing super special happened the rest of the week, until Saturday. What happened Saturday, you ask?


It was a Spirit-filled experience. She had so many family members from around the island come to support her, and to participate in the program. The best part, though, was her Dad DID come! As previously mentioned, he's very less active and wants nothing to do with the church. My personal favorite moment of the program was when Kelli's Mom, Lori (on the right) gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. Just the love Lori has for the gospel and for her daughter, it was such a sweet moment (: Sunday at sacrament meeting, Kelliann was confirmed a member and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Another surprise: HER DAD CAME. He came half-way through sacrament, by himself. His wife didn't even know he was coming, it was a great surprise! The Cruz family is such a special family, and I will always remember them and their example of Christ-like love and patience.

Sunday, Sister Mitchell and I also had the opportunity to be interviewed by all the young women in our ward! They had some questions that were hard to answer, just because they were super personal and in depth, and then we had the simpler questions, like "How many outfits did you bring with you?". We have a solid group of YW in this ward, I pray they will consider serving. They're already missionaries in their own respect. It was a wonderful weekend for us!!!

I love my mission. As I move forward in my mission, I realize how blessed I am. I will only get a certain amount of time as a full-time missionary, specifically set apart to do His work. I will be able to do so much in my life, listen to music, watch movies, all that jazz. BUT I only have these 18 months to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I strive everyday to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ, and become the woman that God intends for me to be and needs me to be. I have been so blessed in my mission, and as transfers approach, I have peace of mind. Knowing I will be sent somewhere I am needed, or stay here longer because my work here isn't finished. I love you all so much, and I know this church is true. Look for the little, everyday miracles. I promise as you do so, you will feel the Lord's love more fully and you'll desire to share that love with others (:

Ofa atu,
Sister Noriega

Hawaiian sunsets are my favorite

I still hate hiking, but we did it again as a zone this morning