Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 28, 2013 -- Email and Newspaper!

Hellooooooooooooooooooooooooo everyone!

So this week has been crazy and OF COURSE I forgot my journal so I'll really have to try and remember everything that happened. Hahaha.

Last Tuesday we had zone conference with 4 other zones! We had Elder David S. Baxter of the first quorum of the Seventy come! He's from Scotland so I obviously enjoyed myself. Hahaha. And it was wonderfully spiritual and I learned a ton! But the accent made it that much better. Plus, I got to see a bunch of my missionary friends! It was a lot of fun. Then on Wednesday we did some service for Mesa County Food Distribution, and we taught a newish investigator, Katrina, who is friends with the mom of the two children who got baptized this weekend.

Anyways, the most exciting part of Wednesday was this: Sister Masima and I had to go to the library because she had online training to do. As we're leaving, a lady in our ward stops us and asks if we would like to be interviewed for the article she's writing on younger missionaries. Of course we say yes and we also got the singles ward sisters and our elders in on it. So we all got interviewed Wednesday night and the article was in this Sunday's paper! I'm sending home a copy for you to look at and read and all that good stuff. On Thursday, we went on exchanges with the sister training leaders again. I went over to 9th ward with Sister Jones and it was a ton of fun! 9th ward covers Clifton and Palisade and it was SO WEIRD to not be in my area. Sister Masima and Hermana Bennett found 4 new investigators that day and Sister Masima and I have found 2 others this week as well. On Friday we taught one of those new investigators and got photographed for the paper. I also got a blessing from Brother Becker (ward mission leader) that day. Sister Jones told me I HAD to get one, as well as talk to him about if we have a ward mission plan and some other stuff. I love that blessing and I cried and it was great. I just love the Beckers SO MUCH. Anyways, this Sunday was this ward's primary program and it was definitely the cutest thing I have ever seen. Oh, and let's not forgot. This Saturday we had TWO BAPTISMS! Yay! Conner and McKayla got baptized and the baptismal service was so good. McKayla was crying before her baptism but afterwards she was really happy. HOORAY!

Sisters Noakes and Masima with Conner
Baptism kids Conner and McKayla with mom, grandpa, and uncle
I love you lots! This week was pretty wonderful and the work is getting better here. Now let's all pray that I don't go anywhere!

Sister Noakes

Front page of GJ Sentinel, texted to Mom by Sister Larson
So we took these pictures last Monday at FHE at Melanie's. Across the back is me, Hermana White, Sister Masima, Hermana Gailey and Melanie. Across the front is Elder Jacobson, Sondra (with Oreo, the puppy), Hermana Arcia (who taught Sondra), Sister Caisey (her current companion, from Bermuda!), and Elder Austin.

Aren't the elders just little punks? Dumb Elders and their faces. Hahaha.

Book Cliffs (Mom note: There really are formations CALLED Book Cliffs! Just thought it was a street name ... heh.) and Mount Garfield, from when Sister Noakes was on exchanges.

Book Cliffs outside Grand Junction
Mount Garfield
 And Mom got a text from Sister Larson with this picture.

October 21, 2013 Email

Hello my familia! So let's see what happened this week... The “B” kids are getting baptized! Conner and Mckayla passed their baptismal interviews and they're getting baptized this Saturday! Hooray! Things are moving right along with them and I'm looking forward to it. We also started teaching the B’s neighbor, Katrina! She's been friends with Sister B for a while and when Sister B started coming back to church she invited her friend along. She's pretty interested and hopefully things will work out great for her too! We also were supposed to meet with this potential investigator, Penelope, this week, but when we showed up for our appointment she had left a note on her door asking us to come back later. She texted us and told us 630, but when we showed up, there was no answer :( we were walking away when her husband came out and apologized and was like "You have to understand how hard I work and that I don't want company right now and blah blah blah" and I REALLY didn't like the way he was talking. He seemed very controlling and that makes me grumpy. Hahaha. Why do we keep finding willing women with controlling husbands? (remember "We're Catholic, LEAVE!" guy? Yeah. Anyways.) But they said we could come back another time so we definitely will.

On Friday we had the ward social! it was pretty fun. GJ 1st ward has a chili cook-off every year at their fall social, and Brother Wynne wins every year... this year was no different. I don't know if I ate his chili or not though, they were all anonymously labeled. Someone made some delicious clam chowder though, and I liked that! It was a ton of fun to see the ward all dressed up, especially the little kids. We got to say hi to a lot of the ward in one place and meet a couple of new people. It was fun and a nice "break". They also do the traditional costume parade and our dear elders naturally pranced across the stage. They're such children but I think it's great. I don't call them "eldren" for nothing (a combination of elders and children... we came up with this in the MTC. Hahaha.). On Saturday we helped with the ward service project, which was yard work for 6 homes for people in hospice who can't take care of their lawns themselves. Not a lot of people showed up because a soon-to-be-missionary in the ward was going to the temple for the first time and there were quite a few people who went to that instead. So we split up into small groups we thought would be sufficient... NOPE! Myself, Sister Masima, and Sister Green and her daughter were NOT enough people to tackle the lawn that we had been assigned to. It worked out okay though, we called in for help and got the job done.

On Sunday, Brother Becker gave us a surprise... about 20 minutes before sacrament meeting started, he asked Sister Masima and I to teach gospel principles! We don't even own the manuals! So we rushed to the library and spent sacrament meeting studying and whispering plans to each other. Hahaha. Good thing the lesson was on missionary work! It went pretty well, I think!

And now for the funnest part of our week.. on Sunday night, Brother Gylling called us. He's a ward missionary and we're always pestering him to let us serve him. Well, last Monday he brought down a bull elk on the mesa. His wife told us they'd need help cutting it up and grinding hamburger meat out of it. Well, Brother Gylling called to tell us he was cutting up the elk! Sister Masima helped him skin it (she's hunted pig and skinned it before, back in Samoa, so she knew what she was doing and I didn't really want to participate in that aspect hahaha). I was mostly just moving meat from the table to the cooler when Brother Gylling had me come over and cut some myself! So I've helped cut up elk steaks and yes, there's a picture.

So that was our week! Things are hopefully going to keep picking up as we meet with more members and they get the message more and more that they NEED to help us!

I love you guys!!! :)

Love, Sister Noakes
First is myself and Sister Keller and her daughter at the ward social. Sister Keller comes and does service with us and she LOVES us sisters. She invited us over to her house for Halloween and I'm a little nervous about what's in store for us. Hahaha.

The next is Sister Masima, myself, Sister Hilton and Sister Collins at the food distribution center doing service and throwing up the shaka. hahaha.

Last is me at the Gyllings' house, helping them make cupcakes. Yum!
Why is my hair up in all of these? I rarely do that! Apparently we just like to capture it hahahaha.

Elk pictures!

Sister Noakes, looking a little terrified.

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 14, 2013

Dear Family,
So this week was a tough one. Isn't every week with me though? Hahaha I feel like that's how it's going. But Sister Masima and I are going to keep working hard and hopefully things will perk up a bit around here, eh?

On Saturday, do you know what happened? People actually let us serve them! It was great! Usually people tell us, oh no, but thank you. But on Saturday we actually got to do service! First of all, Sister Masima and I were finishing up our morning studies when I looked out the window to see a woman struggling to carry a heavy box down the stairs. We waited to see if she would bring out another one (since she was at the bottom when I saw her), and when she did, we ran out to help. Turns out the guy directly across from us was moving out, so we helped him do that! Him and his two friends were amazed at how quickly we were able to get stuff done. Then, we went to visit that less active woman whose two children we've been teaching. She wasn't home, but her friend across the way was! Sister B had brought this friend to church once, so we went and talked to her and helped her do dishes and clean house. Sister B showed up and was talking to us about how she was for sure coming to church tomorrow (finally haha), how she was bringing her friend Katie (I changed the name don't worry), and about her children's baptism (WHICH IS ON THE 26TH YAY!!!). Anyways, before we left we asked Katie if we could come teach her some more about our church and she said yes! So we're dropping by later this week on her day off to do that. Finally, at dinner with Sister Atkinson, she put us to work flattening boxes to go to the recycle. It makes me happy when people let us serve them. They should do that more often.

On Friday, Sister Masima and I were tracting and this guy let us into his house. We talked with him for a while and we were going to say a prayer with him. WELL he brings up out of nowhere that there's a ghost in his house. He's telling us about all the creepy stuff that goes on and I REALLY don't like hearing about it and it just feels different as he's telling us this. Well, guess who gets to say the prayer? Me, naturally. When we pray with people as we're tracting, we say "In virtue of our calling as missionaries, and as representatives of Jesus Christ, we ask for the Savior's peace and blessing to be on this home and this family." and then you add whatever else you want. The elders say something about the priesthood which they hold (I haven't really heard them do this, for obvious reasons hahaha). So anyways, I got to pray that the ghost/spirit/whatever was troubling them would leave in peace. I have never wished so much that I had the priesthood so I could have the AUTHORITY to make it leave. Maybe we'll send elders by there later on.

Hey so fun fact: Elder Jacobson, the new elder in our ward and our new district leader, has the same birthday as you mom! We found that out because we had dinner with them one night, and because my birthday, Sister Masima's birthday, and Elder Austin's birthday are all within about two weeks of each other. So we thought it'd be cool if all four missionaries in the 1st ward had birthdays around the same time, but Elder Jacobson had to go and ruin it for us. Hahaha.

Anyways, still loving being a missionary and still missing you guys! We're looking out for people to teach and opportunities to share the gospel with more people.

I love you guys so much!!!

Love, Sister Noakes
Sister Noakes with member's dog

Sisters Noakes and Masima at ward trunk or treat

Mom note: We are having a special stake conference on 10/27/2013, with Elder M. Russell Ballard as our special guest. Turns out Elder Ballard is also visiting Grand Junction, Colorado! He’ll be there on 11/17/13. Sister Noakes is pretty excited about that!
Our stake is supposed to read Elder Ballard’s last General Conference talk (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/put-your-trust-in-the-lord?lang=eng), and also read about his trip to Rome in September (http://www.lds.org/church/news/apostles-organize-stakes-in-rome-paris?lang=eng). 
Sarah said: We're (I say "we", but the letter from the stake presidency was addressed to the families/members in the Grand Junction West Stake) supposed to ponder and pray about how we can increase reverence before and during the meetings. That way we can be more prepared to hear the message he'll be bringing. It's at OUR building too, because that's the stake center, and I imagine we won't be allowed to save seats either. But I also think he'll probably talk to just the missionaries out here as well. We'll see.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

October 7, 2013


SO this week has been pretty fabulous. I mean, we taught a whole 3 lessons instead of just one! Yippee! And Tuesday was a miracle! We invited our newest investigator, Samantha, to be baptized. She was the one who came up to us in the street and asked for us to teach her. We taught her about the plan of salvation this week and invited her to be baptized. She started crying and said she would love too. AH IT WAS THE BEST MOMENT EVER. Then, we went and taught the two children of that one less active lady in our ward. And now they're both on date for baptism as well! So Tuesday and its lessons were great. On Wednesday, we did EXCHANGES. Sister Bennett joined our companionship for the day. Oh man, she is AWESOME! Let me tell you: I am having a hard time with this area. I just don't know what to do with it! Sister Bennett gave great guidance and direction and at the end of the day, during our companionship inventory, I was able to just tell her everything that had been going through my mind, how stressed I was, and how much I wanted to succeed but felt like I was failing. She gave me great advice about working with members and branching out from there. I feel a lot better and hopefully as I apply what I've learned, we will find success. Plus, with conference this weekend and Saturday afternoon basically being entirely about how members need to do way, way more to help the missionaries, I think this plan just may work. On Thursday, we went with Sisters Cope and Joslin to do service at the Mesa County Food Distribution. It was tons of fun and the time just flew right by! We grabbed lunch at this place called Main Street Bagel, which was so good! Then, Greg, the guy in charge, gave us a HUGE box of toffee. Not just any toffee... Enstrom's toffee. So, the good stuff. It's way delicious and we've been handing it out to people because we have way, way too much. Haha. Conference this weekend was AMAZING. We watched it at the church building with all of the other missionaries. I just loved loved LOVED it. I noticed that a recurring theme was 1) MEMBERS GET INVOLVED IN MISSIONARY WORK (hello I loved that one. Obviously.) and 2) "Come, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Seriously, that one was in there at least twice a session. I guess that that's something that we tend to forget, that when we are struggling and are searching for relief, the place we can turn to is our Savior, Jesus Christ. He knows our sorrows, our weakness, and our adversities. He is where we will find peace and comfort. If we turn every hard thing or sad thing over to Him, He will help us overcome. As a missionary that is so important. Turn your whole heart over to the work, over to your Savior, and He will give you rest. It's so true, and definitely something I need to work on.

I love you all so very very much! I feel your prayers and your love every day. Thank you thank you thank you, and you're always in my prayers. LOVE YOU!

Oh, Sister Bennett is one of the sister trainer leaders for out west. An STL is kind of like a combo between a zone leader and an AP, but just for sisters. Her companion, Sister Jones, is from Moses Lake! She went with the singles sisters. We help at the food bank every week! They love us there.

Have fun/good luck at your interview! You'll do GREAT. I pray about you guys every night. I hope it goes well for you.

Oh, and about missionary work - I'm now super duper curious about the missionary work back home in the Edison ward. You want to ask the elders for me? (Do we still have elders, or are you blessed with sisters yet? ;)) But really, I am very very curious! You could ask and report, or I guess they could write me a letter/email and tell me. I want to know these things!

Sisters Noakes and Masima, visiting with Sister Julie who sends me pictures!

Whole lotta toffee!! Sisters Joslin and Cope.

Sisters Joslin, Cope, Noakes, and Masima between Conference sessions.

Sisters Noakes and Cope, being silly.