Monday, February 9, 2015

01/06/2014 New Year, New Adventures

I hope you guys all had a great New Year's Eve and a good start to your new year! I went to bed at 10:30 on New Year's and got up at 6:30. Unheard of, huh? Well, that's just missionary life!
It's been an interesting week. I feel like we're still experiencing the effects of the holidays right at the moment so we're not having as much success as I would personally like. However there's still plenty for us to do!
So our dear Joyce is still having a lot of health problems. We went to visit her yesterday and we found out that, on top of her medical mysteries that are going on right now, her boyfriend, Duane, who introduced her to the church, is moving to Texas. She was very upset about it when she first told us over the phone. She really wanted Duane to baptize her, if she made that choice. Well, he's leaving next Monday and so Joyce said to us yesterday that she would like to be baptized on Saturday! Well, we were floored because she was always saying she wasn't sure yet if it was right, but then she said yesterday that she had basically set her mind on doing it anyways, so why not now? There's just one problem - she drank coffee on Saturday, and you must be living the Word of Wisdom for 2 weeks before baptism. Sigh. Thankfully Duane will be coming back into town soon, so we tentatively scheduled her for that time. She just needs to quit drinking coffee!! Anyways.
Our recent convert, Debbie, has a roommate! Who is named Joyce! Joyce B. got here on Friday from Michigan. We helped her unpack and gave her a Book of Mormon and offered to come study with her and Debbie. We are sneaky.
Another "we are sneaky" moment. There's a ward missionary, Brother W (Whitmore), whose wife is not a member. We've become very attached to them and we really want to teach Sister W. Well, Sister Donald and Sister Keihle came up with a plan. Since Sister W really likes us, we asked if we could "practice" teaching her the lessons and she agreed. So this should be interesting.
I almost forgot! This week has been so weird and long. I went on exchanges this week! So, our poor Sister Jones, the STL over the two GJ zones, has also been training a new missionary. She basically has a ton of responsibility and I don't envy her position. Well, last Monday she and Sister Sheppard called and asked if I would come be with Sister Sheppard while Sister Jones went to mission leader council. I agreed and Sister Sheppard and I had a great time in 9th ward! She is a fantastic missionary, especially when you consider the fact that she's only been out for about 3 weeks! Also, for one day I had a companion who is taller and younger than me. Something that hadn't happened yet.
Anyways, that's the news for this week! Hopefully things will start settling back to normal now that the holidays have completely passed. I love you all and hope you're all doing well!

Love, Sister Noakes
Sunset Over the Colorado National Monument

Sister Donald and friend

Sisters Keihle, Donald, and Noakes

"Failed" jumping picture ...

12/30/2013 Christmas!

Dearest Familia,

I just got to see your faces 5 days ago! What a blessing. We had a really good Christmas but I'll get back to that.
Honestly, it's a little hard to be a missionary this time of year! People aren't home, or, if they are, they're with family and don't really want to talk to us. But we still had a good week! We saw our dear Joyce on Friday. She still isn't sure if she's getting the answer she needs, plus she's still drinking coffee. I'm still not too concerned about it because I know she has an answer, she just doesn't realize it. (Maybe next part = confidential?) I am worried about her though. She hasn't been feeling well lately. She has heart failure - water around her heart :( we asked if she needed a blessing but she said she wouldn't be able to come to the door if we knocked! So keep her in your prayers.

We also saw Teaa this week! We taught her, her husband, and her oldest daughter about the Book of Mormon and they were very interested. However, they just put their house up for rent and might be moving to Cortez! I don't want this one bit!! But we'll see what the Lord's plan is, I suppose.
Yesterday we saw a miracle! After church, in our weird gap hour before dinner, we decided to go tracting because we need new people to teach. We kind of randomly ended up in this neighborhood about a mile down the road from the church building. We offer to say prayers, as usual, and the second home we knocked on let us in! Well, the man who answered the door (his name's Sven), was like "No one's ever offered that before, but okay, sure." So we go in, and see a family sitting on the couch watching the Broncos game (what else to do in Colorado on a Sunday evening? hahaha). We say a prayer and then offer to come back and teach them about the importance of families and how families are forever. Sven says (to our shock) "Why not right now?" We're a little taken aback but we agree and he pulls in 3 chairs, they turn off the Broncos game (unheard of), and we teach most of the first discussion and they agree to let us back! The cool thing about Sven is that he's from Switzerland, and, while he was made to take religious classes in school, isn't really religious. But he told us that he had always heard that the best way to learn is to sit back and listen. It was so cool to experience that!
So, Christmas. We woke up and opened presents with the singles ward sisters, then went to IHOP for breakfast with the singles sisters and the 7th ward sisters (aka Sister Cope and Sister Hancock. hahahaha). We came back home for a bit, then went to the Guevaras' for lunch and SKYPING! Well, for me and Sister Donald. Then, home again for a little while. We stopped by the Hollys, a less active family who wanted us to come by and say hi, and then we headed to the Rasmussens' for dinner and Sister Keihle's skyping. Now, if you'll remember back to Thanksgiving when James, a 12 year old Rasmussen, told me my joke was lame... well, ever since then we've had a bit of a rivalry. He ALWAYS wears U of U ties to church (unacceptable), and he likes everything I hate. Not really, but you get the picture. Anyways, I chose to walk into their home wearing a BYU sweatshirt. James took one look at me and ran downstairs to get his U of U sweatshirt. He kept making fun of my "lame jokes", the sports teams I like... and then he tried to say he was the biggest Harry Potter fan. Ohhhh no. So I need some HP trivia questions and lame jokes so I can win this battle. Hahahaha.
I loved Christmas! I'm looking forward to 2014 and my year of missionary work! I love you and can't wait to hear from you!
Love, Sister Noakes

Sister Noakes with her Christmas stocking
(made by her mom)

Christmas Bounty

BYU versus University of Utah

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Additional Pictures (Mostly from MTC)

Sister Sarah Noakes did some clearing off of her SD card. Here are some additional pictures she sent from her MTC days.

Email from 12/23/2013 -- Christmas coming soon!!

Haven't gotten any Christmas packages but I'm sure they'll arrive today or tomorrow. I won't be opening 'em til Christmas morning anyways. Hahaha.
Oh and about skyping. We're having lunch with a member family, the Guevaras, on Christmas day around noon. I can call you and let you know to get on Skype just before I get on there. So probably somewhere between noon and one? I was thinking about Google Hangout and I kind of thought that might be better too, I don't know. Also I realized I'm not sure I remember my skype username for login... is it just my email? I'm dumb and forgot to write that one down. Hahaha.

So, about my week. It's still cold here in Junction and there's still snow and ice on the ground. We're trying really hard not to die every time we're out walking. On Saturday my companions told me I don't know how many times to "BE CAREFUL!" because I kept sliding everywhere. Yep.
Oh, so "companions" - yes, I'm in a trio now! Still with Sister Keihle and we're training Sister Donald! She's from New Orleans (actually Covington, LA), and she's super awesome! She just talks to everyone with that Southern drawl and it works wonders up here in cold Colorado. Hahaha! She's a convert and we're loving our time together, even in our tiny apartment.
So this week has been a lot of fun. We picked up Sister Donald on Tuesday afternoon. We had dinner at our bishop's house, and we got pancakes with blueberry syrup! Yes!
On Wednesday we went over to our recent convert Debbie's apartment to help move her stuff in with the elders. Debbie wasn't there, but her roommate Dixie helped us move everything in. It's been kind of a long week, because of Christmas. You wouldn't believe how many people have told us we can come back "after the new year". Sigh. But it's still been a good week!

We taught a new investigator, Robert. As we taught the first lesson, I remember being so impressed by his willingness to learn about the gospel. He was so accepting! I hope he remains that way. We, sadly, didn't get to see Joyce this week, as she's been sick, but she still came to church and we can still see her exercising her faith. She was sick, and she asked her boyfriend to give her a blessing. She texted us and said "[boyfriend] just left and did give me a blessing so I know I'll be fine." I love her so much! Her faith is so inspiring to me!
I also went on splits with Brittanie Steele. We went tracting while Sister Donald and Sister Keihle went to visit some other people. Brittanie and I saw a miracle, as we found a new investigator. His name is Francisco and he's super awesome! He really opened up to us and I felt the Spirit very strongly as Brittanie and I taught him. I'm really excited to teach him again.
I've also been forced to use what little Spanish I have in my vocabulary lately. We keep running into people who say "No habla ingles" so I try out my "pocito espanol" on them... unsuccessfully. I'm pretty sure they just play along and are like "Let's see how bad this white girl is at this." Hahahaha. But it's been fun.
We've been Christmas caroling to people we see on the street and we are having fun, even with the cold and all the people who don't want to see us for two weeks. Sigh. But it's okay, we are trying and that's what's important.
I hope you all had a great week! I love you and I'll see you in TWO DAYS! :) :)
Love, Sister Noakes

Sister Noakes uploaded a ton of pictures to Dropbox, clearing off her SD card (she couldn't find the second one she took with her). Some of those will be posted separately. But here are some pictures she sent to Spencer. The dad in a family in the ward collects souvenir swords, so Sarah took some pictures for Spencer to drool over.
The "Heronmark" from The Wheel of Time

Bottom sword is Arwen's sword from Lord of the Rings.
Middle blue-sheathed sword is the Heronmark.

Sister Noakes wielding The Heronmark.
(Sword of the spirit, perhaps?)