June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014 - Last letter Home.

Dear Family,

What a bitter sweet day this is.  My last email home as a full time missionary, and my last day here in Hanford.  At 7:30am tomorrow I leave for Fresno to spend the day there with President and Sister Gelwix and all other departing missionaries.  And the next, I will spend the morning at the airport waiting for the new missionaries to arrive and welcome them as we wait for our flights out.  At 3:09 my plane will land and I will come down the stairs and be welcomed by my loved ones.  The next chapter to my story will begin.

I have come to realize that my mission really has been a life changing thing.  I have been doing a lot of reflecting and pondering about the things that I have learned these past 18 months.  I have taken it all for granted and have over looked my potential.  However, I have been so touched as I've said my goodbyes and seen these people tell me the impact I have made in their lives.  It always feels good to hear and see your worth in life.  I didn't think I made much of a difference here on my mission in being shy and a little more reserved then most here, but I was really touched with the members I said farewell to yesterday.  One family is the Oberst's.  They love having the missionaries over and missionaries love them.  So I figured I was just another one of them to come through their house.  She wrote in my journal saying: "Now there are a few sisters who have served in our ward that I have particularly enjoyed - and I wanted to let you know that you are one of them.  Why?  Because you are not shy, yet your not in people's faces either.  You laugh when you think something is truly funny and not just because others are laughing.  You are quiet and ponder - but not shy..."  Another special family to me, the Valdez's, said: "Seeing you go is like having to say goodbye to a daughter or a granddaughter.  You will be sorely missed."  Brother Valdez shook my hand as tears ran down his face as he bore his testimony of this Gospel to me and told me never to let it out of my sight.  Hold to it and never forget God's love for us.  During Sacrament, Andrea Faldon and Thomas Clelland (both recent converts) went up and bore their testimonies of this Gospel.  I just smiled as I looked at them knowing less than a year ago they were lost and yet now they are here, in the safe arms of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I'm amazed at the power they have and love for this gospel.  We saw Jessica this week and I wanted to cry in hearing how her family and friends have turned against her and are harassing her for joining this church.  To hear her share her beliefs to me and Sister Bee and how she is hurt by what they all are doing to her and yet in knowing she made the right choice only makes me appreciate what I have.  I am not being persecuted and rejected because of the choices I made or make.  Thank you mom and dad for loving me and respecting my choices regardless if you know if they are good choices or bad for me.  I have learned SO much from Jessica about endurance and staying strong in what you know to be true.  She is that light on a hill that will never be put out.  She is a great example.  

I wish I could explain all in detail the things that have happened these past 18 months.  I'm not good at story telling. (I've been figuring that out as people ask me what has been the greatest moment on my mission, spiritual, etc.)  I never know what to say.  Yet I know in my heart the great impact it has had on me and will continue to have on me as I reflect more and more on these things.  It's an awful feeling to know you are leaving this wonderful atmosphere to go back to the "natural world".  I never recognized the spirit we as missionaries have or the lifestyle we live by.  It just becomes natural after awhile.  But now, I know it's not going to be like that.  And with that, I am sad.  We met a previous Elder that served here about 10 years ago the other Sunday. He told us the biggest challenge in going home is trying to make sure you don't go back to who you were before the mission.  God sent you on a mission to make you into the person he wants you to be.  So now you have to go back to the world you were in previously with the skills and knowledge you now have and try to make things work in moving forward, not backwards.  That is the biggest challenge.

I have a strong love for this gospel now more then ever.  I'm still learning each and everyday and am not perfect.  I haven't had much experiences of powerful miracles, yet I've seen the Lord's hands in the work here in Fresno by small and simple things.  My biggest growth has been in myself.  I know God needed me to experience these things in order for me to be a good daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, teacher, etc.  There are many things I wish didn't happen while I was out, losing Grandma Carter, birth of nephews, illnesses, weddings, moving, etc.  It's hard being away for all of those things and not being there with your loved ones at that time to help out.  I am grateful I stuck it out though and I can now say "I did it!"  I really did it!  All these years of imagining what a mission would be like for me is at an end.  It was not what I thought it would be like.  I would not trade or change it for anything though.  I've come to love a quote that Amanda sent me a few months ago that I have lived by to help me through my weaknesses.

"I may not be who I ought to be.  I know I'm not all that I want to be.  But I've come a long way from who I use to be.  And I won't give up on becoming what I know I can be." 

I know I'm not who I ought to be.  We all have such greater potential then we give ourselves.  We doubt ourselves and tear us apart.  We've gone a long ways though in our lives and as long as we learn from the past in making our future better, then God is happy.  I had my final interview on Saturday.  I asked President how I can know if I did do a good job and believe it when I'm always hard on myself.  He told me "I always tell my players at the end of the game to look at the final score, not the halftime."  Yes I will look back and critic my journey.  That's natural.  But to know that I never gave up and stayed strong, I won right there!  Take that win and be proud of what you accomplished.  To make the next game an even greater win, take those mistakes from halftime you want to improve on and improve.

Well, I don't have much time left.  I want you all to truly know the appreciation I have for each and every one of you in all the help you've given me and support.  Thank you for your testimonies to me and the spirit I've felt from you.  I'm excited to see you all on Wednesday at 3:09!  So until then, God be with you till we meet again! :)

- Hermana Arianne Renee Sorensen

May 26, 2014

My goodness I can't believe I can now say I will be seeing you all NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!  Hope you're ready for me.  Ha ha.. I don't think there is really anything to get ready.  And to invite.....Kimberly can just post it on facebook to tell my friends.   Thanks!

Well this week has been good but kind of stressful.  Just one of those weeks you want to push hard yet everything else is pushing against you.  A lot of our appointments fell through.  One that bugged me was with one of our members.  We keep planning a time to come over and everytime we are on our way, she cancels on us.  She set up a time this past week saying that day is the best.  Well.... she called and said we can't come over any more because it's the Dancing with the Stars finale.  Sister Bee and I were so annoyed.  What an excuse.  Someone needs to write a book of all the dumb excuses you hear as missionaries or just members in general.  My goodness.  I hope she enjoyed the show more than she would have enjoyed her time with us.  Anyway..

Had my last Zone Conference this week too.  It was what I needed to hear.  I've been beating myself up lately (I guess not lately, I always do, but more so this week then others) on what kind of missionary I've been.  I feel very ashamed I didn't give it my all.  President Gelwix's nephew came and spoke to us.  He was just released from his mission 2 weeks ago.  He was one of the missionaries serving in Ukraine that was released early.  We all had a long talk about how you can't expect to give it your all later on in your mission, but that everyday needs to be your all because you never know when it really will be your last day.  He says he has no regrets and is glad he feels that.  I know I've done a good job even though I know I could have done better.  It's hard not to have regrets in certain aspects.  I hope when I get back and look through journals and pictures, that I will feel more of the effect that I truly made here.  I know you hear about them all the time, but I am grateful for the Horan family in helping me see what impact I have had in their family.  Jim is the sweetest guy ever and has really been a blessing in my life to see just how dumb I am to beat myself up all the time.  I can't wait for you all to meet them along with all the other wonderful families I have met throughout my mission.  At the conference though, as I gave my farewell testimony, I got up there and had to go first.  I had tried thinking of what to say for the past couple days but had nothing.  As I went up, words were literally coming out of my mouth. I know you hear that all the time, but my brain and mouth were not connected at all and it was crazy that I could actually tell.  In my head I was thinking "what am I saying?", as I just am rambling on.  I sat down and had no idea what I just said.  Everyone said they liked it, so I guess that's a good sign.  Ha ha..  Never had that before until then.  

I know I still have one more emailing day, but I just want all of you to know just how truly grateful I am to each and every one of you in all that you have physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and socially done for me.  I honestly can say I would not have been able to stay out here had it not been for all the support, love, and encouragement I received from ALL of you.  I am so glad I made this choice to serve a mission.  I wish more people could experience the things you experience on a mission.  I guess that's why we all just need to go on one!  :)  I don't even know how to explain the things I've witnessed or felt.  But I know what I know to be true.  I love this gospel so very much.  It really can bring us such happiness if we do what we are asked to do.  I have seen how it's not "cool" to do the things that are required and asked of us, yet have seen an even greater witness to the blessings and power that comes from doing those things that are required and asked of us.  I have a greater understanding of Gods love for each of us.  He literally is our father in heaven, and just like our fathers here on earth, He wants what is best for us and knows exactly what we need in life to help us be successful.  I hope you all take a moment and ponder about the things that you know to be true.  I know there will come a stronger knowledge to you that those things are true.  Thank you for sharing this year and a half with me and learning and growing with me.  I hope we all can continue to have missionary opportunities and experience the joy of this Gospel.

This week will be weird as I start saying goodbye to those families and friends here in Hanford.  I'm ready to come home and see you all!  It's been a long year and a half but also very fast.  I was telling Sister Bee the other day about my 1st day in arriving at the MTC.  I had to stop myself from crying all over again.  What emotions and feelings that day brought.  Now I'm at the end and have made it through.  What a journey! :)  

I love you all and hope this week is a good one for you and that you enjoy this last week using my bedroom, clothes, furniture, movies, etc. without me caring.  Ha ha jk.  Until next Monday!  Take care!!!!!
- Hermana Sorensen

May 26, 2014

May 19, 2014

I can't wait to see how the yard looks.  I'd say you could send me pictures, but I think it will be fun being surprised instead.  Hopefully the weather will be nice that day.  Fingers crossed!!!!  That's exciting Stephanie is having a baby!  Does Callie have a wedding date?  And that's okay about Chad being blessed on the 1st.  Sure it would have been fun to be there, but I understand.  I guess they just have to let me play with him and get him all to myself when I get back. ;)

Who was the returned missionary?  I have a rough draft already of my talk but it's hard not being able to sit down and just write it all and figure it all out.  Hopefully we won't be TOO busy that weekend I get back so I still have some time to work on it.

Glad to hear all is well there in Syracuse.  Things here in Hanford are good too.  Beyond hot though.  We had a couple days in the 100's this week.  And to make it even better, we don't have a big teaching pool, so we had to do a lot of finding this week and knocking doors.  It was tough.  On Friday after planning, that's all we did till night time.  We actually met a couple good potentials.  One is Morgan Kelly.  Apparently we met her a few weeks ago and gave her a card.  So after saying a prayer with her she said she recognized us.  We tried to figure out where and when, and then we did.  She lost the card (not sure if she intentionally did it or not) but she was really happy to see us and told us her grandpa died a few months ago and left her his old family Bible.  She didn't know why he was giving it to her and not her other family members.  But meeting us she felt like it was her grandpa telling her she needs to learn more about the bible and Christ.  We tried to set up a time to come back, but she told us the house we were at was actually her boyfriends parents house.  She was just there taking care of the animals while they were out of town.  So finding her was a miracle itself.  She gave us her number and we gave her ours.  We were kind of bumbed with no address or appointment (all missionaries worst nightmare).  We figured it just probably wasn't suppose to be.  Yesterday though we figured to invite her to church.  She nicely responded and said she was at her nieces b-day party.  We told her to let us know when she was free this week to meet up.  Well this morning during studies she texted us and said she wants to meet this Wednesday!  Sister Bee and I were jumping for joy!  I think she's the first person that I've ever found on my mission who actually kept their word and called/texted us on when to meet.  We are excited to meet with her.  Hopefully it keeps going this way and that she loves the message we share with her about Christ and his gospel.

Had a good lesson with Josefina this week.  I don't think she will be getting baptized the end of this month as we had planned, but I know for a fact that she will very soon.  Gonna have to make a trip out for that day!  She really is the greatest.  I hope she continues doing these things.  I'm seeing a lot this transfer of the danger of staying in your comfort zone. I think that's the problem with all our investigators right now.  They are fine where they are at action wise other than they know they should be doing something.  We told Ivy that we give her these assignments to help her grow.  I think if she really doesn't start doing these simple things we are asking her, then I think it's just not her time and we need to put our attention on others.  We haven't been able to find Dennis home the past week and more.  Not sure where he went.  It's hard to get a hold of him.  You either catch him all the time for a good section of time, and then he drops of the earth for some time, and then back to visiting him, etc.

Funny moments of the week:
- Met "chatty" Kathy. (she's disabled after a coma) Met her at the Rehab center.  She told us a bunch of jokes and would not let us go without telling us all of them.  My favorite....
knock knock....who's there.....oink....oink who.....are you a pig or an owl?
- Had a conversation with the elders the other day. We'd only text them scripture references back and forth
- Was at the Relief Society activity (Activity day girls served us ladies a mothers day dinner) and then they performed for us impromptu.  Of coarse they all chose to sing and perform Frozen for all of us.  So if THAT didn't get me even more anxious to see it, I don't know what will! :P
- Shot a "Bug-a-salt" gun!  (look it up on ebay!)

Well I can't think of much else to write about.  It was just a week full of finding.  Can't wait to see you all in 16 days!  I'll start praying for nice weather for us that Sunday.  Ohh and did Bishop say how long he wants my talk to be?  Let me know.

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I've been so blessed to have you all in my life and supporting me in this journey.  I could not have done it without you all.  Thank you!  Until next week.
-Sister Sorensen

May 12, 2014

It was so good to hear and see all of you yesterday!!!!!  It's crazy to see how much has changed in all of you. (mostly your blue hair Kimberly) :P  It was weird to me in that I felt like I just talked to all of you, but I guess that was Christmas time.  It will be even weirder to see you all in 3 weeks.  I've been thinking more of the questions you asked, and last night as I laid in bed, I realized the biggest thing that I am going to miss being here is the service I have been able to give.  We visited a bunch of the widows and mothers in the ward who don't have kids and family around to wish them a happy mothers day yesterday and it hit me that this has been my job every day for the past 17 months, to cheer up the sad and help them feel loved not only by me, but by our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ.  We stopped at Josefina's to drop off a card and candy and she didn't say much, but I could literally feel that she needed that and just seeing her smile made me realize what I'm going to miss.  Yes I can and will do service and help others when I get home, but being a set apart representative of Christ, it's a different kind of service.  I guess you that have served missions might understand me.  All my time and attention has been on helping Gods children here and I know I have seen tender mercies through out this time.  I love it and will truly miss it.

What I won't miss is waking up at 6:15 every morning!  Ha ha.. jk.  It's actually nice getting things done early. :) I also won't miss this heat. I won't miss the cockroaches, giant june bugs, groundhogs, and pesky dogs that either bite you or jump on you either.  Never will I live in the Fresno valley again. Ha ha..  

For meals when I get back, please no stir fry for at least a month.  I've had that over 10 times in the past month I bet.  Must be a Hanford thing.  The Lemon Chicken pasta does sound pretty good, (my version though not Laura's. Sorry Laura!) and I would LOVE to have that Ice Cream rice crispy dessert.  Mmmmmm...  For the Sunday meal, I'm fine with just sandwiches and salads.  There is a yummy fruit dip a member made here so I'll get the recipe for that to have.  We could have apples, grapes, pineapple, etc. to dip in it.  I'll keep thinking of stuff though.  I'm excited to try out the few recipes that I have gotten with you all.  Don't have much now, but hopefully I'll get more once I get home when the ladies email me.

Well I don't have much to write this week only because nothing has changed a whole lot since the last 24 hours..  Ha ha..  I love you all though and I hope you had a good Mothers Day mom.  Happy Birthday Mark.  I did send you a card, but wasn't able to send it out on time, so it should be there some time later this week.  Sorry!  Happy Birthdays to all that are coming up, Anniversaries, graduations, parties, etc.  I will give you all a personal greeting when I get back. :)

LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
- Sister Sorensen

May 7, 2014

May 7, 2014

Things here in Hanford California are going well.  May has been good to us so far.  We had a really awful heat wave last week but luckily Monday and yesterday it cooled down.  I'm just glad I'll miss the heat this summer. 

Well today we had the temple.  We got lost and didn't make it on time, so we ended up doing initiatory's.  I was kind of bummed, but I guess I get to go in 4 weeks before I leave anyway.  My mind is so scatter brained right now sorry.  And also I can't write everything or else I won't have anything to talk about on Sunday!!!!!  Yes we can Skype, so get it working!  We'll be Skyping at Sister Couch's.  Maybe we can try for 4:30 your time, 3:30 my time?  Sister Bee is having her family call at 6:30ish their time (which would be the same time).  Not sure if you can Skype 2 at a time on the same user.  SO....I'll have Sister Couch call or text you if something changes or final details.  But let's plan on 4:30 for now if that's okay.  I can't wait to see and hear you all!!!!!!!!!!!!  Remember it's 40 minutes.

 Yesterday morning I read through my journal and I felt very proud of myself for the growth I've made and the things that I've learned.  I know I've failed in many areas, but I've tried to do better.   I'm trying to stay strong and end strong.

So we don't have any real new investigators, just still the ones we've been working with.  We set a baptism date with Josefina for the 24th.  She finally accepted a date and actually accepted it very well.  I'm so happy for her.  She's my 44yr old BFF!!! :) Ha ha ha..  We also have a date with Dennis for the 31st.  Got to get him to stop smoking first.  Ivy still has a date for the 31st as well.  Not sure how she is feeling about that.  AND!!!!!! We finally got back into Tionna and Daneea's house and talked to them and Dion (the mom) after a month.  Turns out that a certain sister missionary I was companions with for 2 transfers before Sister Bee........pushed their buttons too much and they did not like her.  When they found out she was gone and accepted my apology, she gave us permission to come back again and teach the girls!!!  YAY!!!!!!!  We're going to take it slow, but I am so happy we squared everything around and are back in that house.

Don't know what else really to say.  Ohh I did catch someone stealing and totally caught them and asked for the item!  It was in the morning when we were running.  There are lots of dumpster divers here and this lady was walking around collecting water bottles.  She went past this apartment complex and picked up a plastic baby scooter.  I ran up to her and asked her for the scooter and told her it belongs to the boy that lives there.  She looked embarresed she was caught.  So I took it and ran it back to the house.  The next day I saw the scooter in a different place in the yard and smiled knowing that the kid enjoyed riding it that day without even knowing it almost went missing.  Ha ha..  

Well I don't know much else to say.  I can't wait to talk to you all Sunday!  Happy Mothers Day mom and Happy Birthday Mark on Monday.  I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Hermana Sorensen

May 2, 2014

April 28, 2014

Thank you all for the updates, pictures, and letters.  I'm so glad everything worked out for Amanda and Dameon, Sabrina and Chad.  I am just so excited to meet them and Packer!  So many new faces to meet I guess when I get home!
Things this past week have been good.  I have a great new companion.  Sister Bee is bubbly and energetic which helps me to be bubbly and energetic as well.  Yes she is from Georgia.  Most of my companions have been from the south but yet have no accents.  Kinda sad.  She's 25 yrs old though and goes home in July.  

Well not much has happened this week.  We did lots of service.  Probably not the best use of our time, but it was good to get some good hours in.  On Tuesday we helped clean a house for a lady in the ward who just lost her sister and needed help getting the house ready for family.  Then later in the week we helped our ward decorate for the Mormon Prom.  The theme was Wizard of Oz.  Guess I'm gonna have to watch that when I get back too because I was lost.  Never seen it all the way through.  On Saturday morning we also had Mormon helping hands.  We painted walls and slides at a water park.  Sister Bee and I painted a killer whale and angel fishes.  It was a bit chilly because we too had a rain storm the day
before (and hail).  Are shoes were super muddy.  But it was fun being out with the ward doing service.  Does Utah do Mormon Helping Hands?  Hopefully you get the pictures I sent through.  Can't wait to explain them more in depth.  

We've been working a lot in getting to know the members better and figuring out who all the inactive members are.  Haven't found many new investigators this week.  Still trying to work with Tionna and Daneea, Josefina, and Ivy.  Ivy started opening up to us on why she's struggling with the gospel.  She has a lot of anger still towards God in something that happened to their family 5 years ago that they are still trying to get through.  She doesn't know why this is happening and why they can't find a way out yet.  So we're trying to help her understand why we have trials and certain challenges in life.  Any suggestions or stories to share with her?

Man I am stumped at what to write about.  Sorry!  I did get lost here and we started driving up the off ramp to the freeway.  Thank goodness we noticed the arrows on the road showing it was a one way.  So we quickly turned around.  ha ha..  Not fun getting lost in another state.  I guess just getting lost any where!  Ohh.. this Sunday Jessica spoke in sacrament meeting!  She just shared her conversion story.  I have never seen a ward talk so much about a recent convert than I have with her.  The ward loves her and are being taught so much from her.  I know she is what they need to help get them excited about missionary work and reigniting their conversion process.  Couldn't stop smiling the whole time she was up there.  So proud of her.  :)

So for Mothers day I'm thinking I'll call either in the morning (if we don't have meetings) or once you guys get home from church. (So my church starts at 11:30, so 12:30 your time.)  So maybe I could call like 10:00 here, 11:00 your time.  What time works best though for everyone else?  I can definitely call later in the evening too to catch more of you all home.  Unless I'm just talking to mom! ;) Let me know though!  Haven't heard if we are allowed to use Skype again...but I guess a phone call is just fine this round in knowing I will see you all 3 weeks after that. :D  Eeekkkk!!!!!

I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!  Good luck this week with everything!  And if there is anything you want me to pick up here in California, please let me know!!!  What kind of souvenirs do you want?  I don't even know what I want.  Haven't found much.  So you all might have to be fine with shirts or something.  But please let me know!  I'll be doing a lot of shopping the next few weeks here in Hanford and Fresno to find stuff. :)

Take care!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxo

April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

Wow, lot has happened it sounds like and I am in shock! Ha ha..  Congrats Mark, Sabrina, Vanessa, Owen, and Sariah.  Can't wait to meet Chad!!!!  Thanks for the picture.  Hope he is a strong healthy baby.  Can't wait to hear about Dameon.  Hopefully next week I will.  Good luck Amanda, Solomon, and Gideon.  So fun!  Well all your changes has brought a few changes here.  Transfer calls were this weekend.  I will be staying here in Hanford for the remainder of my mission.  Sister Allred is going to Merced.  My new companion is Sister Bee.  She is in my zone, so I've seen her around the last couple weeks and she flew out to Fresno with us.  I don't know her super well, but it should be good.  She's a little different, but I think we'll get a long more than Sister Allred and I did.  So I'm glad.  Also just knowing it's for 6 weeks makes it more bearable too.  I believe she's from Georgia if I remember correctly.  So I've had a fellow Utahn (Crandall), one from all over (Miller), New York (Clawson), Texas (Hammer), Maryland (Wilhelm), Aruba (Odor), Tennessee (Allred), now Georgia (Bee).  Pretty good selection I'd say.  Guess when I go back east or south, I got hook ups!  Ha ha..
When will Matt be there?!  That will be nice for him to stay with us to save money and just have fun hanging out.  Laura, make up your mind on which room you want. ;) Ha ha jk.  You still liking your yellow room?  I'm sure Matt will like that more than a pink room.  Kimberly still living at home?  Awesome eggs by the way Kimberly!!!  Hard boiled?!  How much did you sell them for?  I'm sad I didn't get to decorate any this year.  Can't wait to play with all of you though.  Hopefully you're feeling better mom too so you can be ready to help the Nairs.

This week was good.  We had a Zone Conference here in Hanford.  We talked a lot about how to be a successful missionary.  The whole time I just kept thinking about how I can be a successful missionary when I get home.  How I can keep sharing the gospel with others.  I know it's going to be hard to keep up with stuff when life comes in the way, but hopefully I'll make time.  I think that's the dumbest excuse I've heard on my mission: "I just don't have time."  I keep my mouth closed most of the time especially when I feel like being sarcastic and rude to them by saying something like "It's a good thing God doesn't have time for you either then or else you'd be wasting his time."  Again, very harsh and I'd never say that, but I sure feel it and wish they'd realize what they are saying.  They won't or can't make any time for Heavenly Father or Jesus?  And when they can't make the time, they still expect Heavenly Father and Jesus to make time for them.  That's sad.  
Okay so quick updates this week:
- might be in the Los Angeles newspaper.  Was teaching a family and the press came to interview and shadow this family.  So they snapped a bunch of pictures of all of us.  
- met a black gentleman that told us Jesus is black and that we all evolved from black people because black is dominant where as white is recessive.  He asked for a BOM and had us autograph it.  I'm a superstar!
- met Elder Auna (Quorum of the Seventy) from Hawaii at our Stake Conference Saturday and Sunday.
-  found a bunch of Easter Eggs!!! (he he he.. I'll send the picture next week.)

Yesterday was the outgoing missionary farewell.  Sister Crandall and Sister Odor are headed home tomorrow.  :( So sad they are leaving.  It was an awesome farewell.  I saw LOTS of familiar faces from Los Banos there: Horan's, Hixson's, Forman's, Hernandez's, Branvold's, etc.  The Hixson's asked how you were doing. :)  We went with the Sheltons (Scott, Ivy, and Brian).  We talked Ivy into getting baptized sooner.  We set a date for May 31st.  Still hesitant for some reason, but I know she can do it!  So the farewell was good for her I think.  We went to the temple afterwards so they could get pictures of it.  They've never seen it, so that was exciting for them.  On the way home Ivy opened up a lot and so again I hope she's more receptive then previously to baptism and being a member.

I can't think of anything else big that happened this week.  Easter was good.  We had Stake Conference.  The temple president and his wife was there, Pres and Sis Gelwix were there, and then Elder Auna.  He was really cool.  Very laid back personality but good speaker.  After Conference, we went to our Ward Mission Leaders house (Bro Brasil) for Lunch.  Then went and said goodbye to a couple families Sister Allred wanted to.  Had dinner with the Kerr family.  It was a nice meal and they sure spoiled us with a yummy filled Easter basket, but the whole time it was sort of awkward.  The boys were not very respectful.  The parents were trying to have a nice fancy meal, but the kids were not picking up on the hints of using their silverware rather than hands, table manners, and social manners, etc. (the kids are from 8, 12, 15, 17).  I felt bad, but again it was very nice of them to have us over.  It was fun.  Then we broke into one of the Elders apartment and hid Easter Eggs and candy everywhere.  Couldn't break into the other Elders apartment, so we decorated their door.  Hopefully they liked that. :) Ha ha..  The rest of the night we spent in Fresno at the fireside.  Next farewell fireside is mine!  So weird.  Last transfer of my mission begins tomorrow.  44 more days.  

I love you all so much.  Thank you for all you do and for the courage and strength you've given me while I've been here.  Good luck this week.  Can't wait to hear from all of you and especially hear from all of you in a few weeks when I call home.  My church is from 11:30-2:30.  But we will figure a time out when it gets closer.  Take care!!!!  xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
- Hermana Sorensen