March 23, 2013

March 18, 2013

In Modesto, I am in a car area but I have my bike too.  Our area is just so huge that we would get no where on bikes.  There are Elders though that cover all the ward areas here and we just get those in their areas that are Spanish.  The members here are great.  We get dinners every night at 5 with them.  It's all yummy food.  Mostly beans, rice, and meat.  Ohh and of coarse tortillas. :)  So far I haven't eaten anything I haven't liked.  ((knock on wood)). 
Pues...  This week went by pretty fast!  Tuesday I spent the day in Riverbank with Sister Gage doing exchanges.  It was very interesting seeing how they did things there in that area.  I learned a lot from what Hna Crandall and I do good and what we need improving on.  I'm so glad to be in Modesto though.  Everyone I talk to (Elders, Sisters) and ask where they have served so far, all of them if they have served in Modesto say they loved it so much!  I agree!  Thursday we had Zone Conference in Turlock.  It was really good!  We talked a lot about using our time effectively and finding.  Our mission has succeeding in finding that we have to stop finding/knocking in that we have too many names and no time to teach.  So our new focus now is to make return appointments and start finding through that.  In our Zone here in Modesto, we are working on ATM's (Awaken the Members).  We are visiting more and trying to get their trust and help to find friends and family to teach and how they can be missionaries themselves.  Our Branch is great, but it can be better.  This Sunday we met with Brother Bertinetti (1st counselor in the Branch Presidency).  He is SO amazing.  He just has a great understanding and love for missionary work.  He is very connected with the spirit.  But he told us how much he appreciates our example and efforts.  He wants us to be more bold and blunt with the members.  We are to push them and make them work.  When talking with them, don't hang up the phone or leave them until they give a date/time they can help or name of someone who can.  It's hard to get the ball rolling, but I am so excited to see the effect of this push in ATM's and getting there help to help us in inviting others to come unto Christ.  I never knew the heart and soul of missionaries, but man I have such a respect for them.  Please help those missionaries in your area!  If they need rides, please offer.  If they need dinner, please provide.  If they need names, please start thinking.  And if they need support, please be their shoulder.  We are nothing with out the ward/branch members.
Well we really have no progress this week, but Leo's baptismal date was bumped back to the 30th due to WOW issues.  But we are praying hard that she can keep it and continue to come to church, pray, and do those things in order to be baptized.  We also met a girl this past week named Candy.  She is 12 years old and wants to be baptized.  Her 15 year old sister was baptized in November, so Candy wants that change herself.  They came to church with us yesterday, but they don't like speaking Spanish, so we might have to hand her over to the English Elders in the other ward.  So we won't get to take on her baptism.  But we'll see.  She might even get baptized in Hughson where her sister is living/attending church.  With our focus being on the investigators we have, we are trying to narrow down which ones to keep or which ones to drop.  It's hard and sad to say we need to drop them, but I know there are people ready and needing our full attention now.  This week is our "Do or Die" week.  We're praying hard to know what we need to do.
Hermana Sorensen with Pres. and Sister Gelwix
At Zone Conference, President Gelwix assigned us a new project that I would like you guys to do as well. :)  It runs to August and requires reading everyday.  In the Topical Guide under Jesus Christ, start looking up those scriptures  and start reading.  I'm excited to hear what you learn from it!  By the end of this week be finished with the first section about Jesus Christ (I believe it's like Advocate or something like that).  I'm excited to start this as well and I know it will draw us closer to Jesus Christ.  I love him and am so grateful for his sacrifice.  You don't appreciate it until you are put in an area where people argue your beliefs or don't know who Jesus Christ is.  I'm so blessed to know the truth and have this knowledge.  This Gospel is true.  It just makes sense and lines up perfectly.  I love it!  Thank you for all your prayers in my behave.  I feel them everyday.  Take care!   xoxoxoxo
- hermana Sorensen

March 11, 2013

Modesto - 1st Week

Our Modesto home
I love the neighborhood we're living in.  Brother and Sister Grimes are so nice.  The branch members are so kind too.  Sister Crandall and I's area is super huge.  Our stake/area covers 5-6 wards.  In those boundaries, we have it all but pick out those spanish individuals.  Elder Blake and Elder Goettman are the only 2 spanish Elders serving with Hermana Crandall and I.  So they take the West side, we take the East.  It's very scary here but very safe.  Police cars and sirens go off pretty much 24/7.  Everytime we hear them, I say to Hermana Crandall "Good morning Modesto!" 
I spoke in Sacrament yesterday (luckily I just had to introduce myself and bear testimony), but I also had to play the Piano too.  It was intimidating playing in front of the whole branch, but I realized no one knows if I make a mistake because they all don't know how to read music very well.  Sunday's here make me laugh because they are just SO different from church meetings in Utah.  It doesn't matter if you were jeans, tanks, flip-flops, mini skirts, etc.  It's very rowdy.  And everyone sits in the back.  But I love the people here.  I'm actually more scared contacting white/American people.  They are so mean!  I got my first door slamming this week.  Sure I've had people reject us, but they "kindly" say they don't want us.  Well this week I knocked on the door and began saying "We're representatives of Jesus Christ and......." the lady then replies "crap!" and slams the door.  It hurt but it's no longer my concern.  We tried, and she'll be shown it's the true church eventually.
This week has been a little easier getting use to things, but also very hard.  We realized we really don't have any progressing investigators.  We're teaching lots of lessons, but they are just not keeping their commitments and we've been slacking on getting after them.  So that's our goal this week.  We also are starting to visit more with the members.  Sister's aren't really allowed much in the evenings when appointments fall through.  So we decided to start visiting those members we don't know.  We picked a name and drove to this house.  Her name is Lidia.  She was baptized August 2011.  She hasn't been to church in awhile.  Talking with her though, we knew God picked her name for us to visit that night.  Her landlords are pocketing her payments and not sending them through to the bank.  So the bank is kicking her out of her apartment.  She has been so stressed trying to find a new apartment.  We talked about the different areas she could choose.  Long story short, we'll be helping her pack in the next couple weeks.  And we got her to committ to coming to church Sunday. :)
Another miracle this week was Josie Mendoza.  We were doing HB's in Empire and went to this apartment complex.  The first door we knocked on was hers.  She just looked at us with such confusion.  We left a blessing and she still was just so astonished at why we were at her door.  She told us she's a single mom of 5 and is looking for a job.  Just seconds before our visit, she was praying to God to help her know what to do in life and to give her the strength to continue.  Right when she said Amen, we were at her door.  I can see now why she was so shocked! Ha ha..  We've been checking in with her a lot.  She just needs friends to talk to so we are there to listen.  We were suppose to teach her and her family tonight but she had something come up so we'll stop by later this week.  The Lord definitely knows who needs us and where to place us.  It's crazy to see the Lord's hand in everyone's lives.
Thank you for all your prayers and love.   - hermana Sorensen

March 5, 2013

My First Week in the Vineyard - I made it!

California is muy bonita!!!!  Wednesday we got in and were welcomed by the returning missionaries here and then later met up with President Gelwix downstairs.  It was very weird hearing and seeing him in person! But we all loaded up in the vans and drove to the Mission office.  There we quickly grabbed a lunch to go and we were out the door to "Open Your Mouth".  I went out with Hermana Organista.  She is a native speaker so it was nice but hard to be with her for the day because I wanted to ask her if spanish get's easier, but she of coarse would not be able to answer that! Ha ha.. But we went out and did Harvesting Blessings.  That is where we go out and ask people if we can leave a blessing with them and their family of peace and health.  I was doing so good and was happy at first because it was all in English.  But then we started knocking on doors and I soon realized I don't know Spanish! Ha ha..  It was super hard not knowing what was being said and not being able to respond back.  I just sat there and questioned why I'm here.  All the Spanish Hermana's here think I'm so baby I'm sure by now because when we got back to the Mission office I was pretty much in tears.  The Hermana's were all so sweet giving me hugs and cheering me on.  There at the Mission office we then had to fill out forms and what not.  After that we headed over to the Mission home.  SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!  I can't wait to show you the area and their home.  Orange trees, Lemon trees, Grapefruit trees, and PALM TREES!!!!  Ahhh I just love it here!!!! We had dinner all together and had a little devotional.  President & Sister Gelwix were going over rules and stuff when our Assistants to President Gelwix started wispering and arguing.  We had to stop everything and clear up what was going on.  SUPER awkward.  Apparently one of the Elders thought the tie of the other Elder was against the rules Pres & Sis Gelwix were just going over with.  They were disagreeing and it was just very intense.  President and Sister Gelwix got in and started yelling at them too.  I couldn't help but think "Not the MTC again!"  I wanted to leave and get out of the situation.  BUT......apparently it was a role play and was planned. THANK GOODNESS!!  Contention is of the Devil. Ha ha.. We then learned the proper way of handling situations with companions and stuff.  Sigh...  We then all headed to bed.  Us Sisters stayed at the mission home.
Thursday morning was hard again.  Had to hold back tears.  But we headed back to the mission home to be assigned our trainers.  I was so scared.  I didn't want to leave Hermana Miller.  We were the only 2 that knew each other.  Everyone was new and all the other English sisters were in a zone together in the MTC so they were very close and didn't talk much to us.  But I was first to be assigned.  President Gelwix said he felt really great with this companionship and knew we would work extremely well together and accomplish much good.  He then introduced me to.....Hermana Crandall!!!!!!   :D  Ahhh I just love her so much!  She is just so sweet and caring.  She just smiled and loved me all day.  We are assigned to MODESTO!!!!!!!!!!  I was so shocked to hear that!  :)  I wanted to serve there but didn't think it would be my first area.  I was excited.  Hna Miller even knew that so she thought that was awesome.  Well the rest of Thursday we had trainer and trainee meetings.  Then Hna Crandall and I drove to Modesto that night and got all settled in. :)  She is from Provo.  She just finished her 12 week training so she is still all new to this as well but she is just amazing.  I'm scared to think after I'm done training, I'll be a trainer. :(  Pray for me!!
Friday night we had a baptism!  2 cute girls in the branch were baptized.  I got to meet them Thursday night so that was nice knowing who they were. It was a beautiful service and I can't wait for those services to be of investigators. :)
Well I want to share with you about one of the Investigators we now have.  Friday night we went to visit an investigator named Paloma.  When we went back to her door, there was a group of people.  We talked to them and they told us Paloma wasn't in.  We stayed and talked with them though.  They were so nice to us and had fun talking to us.  They were shocked us white girls knew spanish!  Ha ha.. (I love getting that reaction.  People will come to the doors saying "no speak english" ((and just trying to get rid of us)), but then we surprise them and say "We speak spanish! Let us talk to you!" Ha ha..) Back to the story.  So we talked with these 3 individuals. Their names were Leo, Ephraim, and Paloma's husband Ramon.  Leo and I spoke english while the rest spoke spanish. Ha ha..  But Leo wanted us to come back and teach her about the Bible.  We agreed.  So Saturday we went back and taught her the Restoration.  She loved it!!  She cried and told us how she's been praying to God to send someone to her to bring her to God.  I invited her to be baptized on the 23rd and she just smiled and said "oh yes! I want to be baptized!"  AHHHHH!!!! Only 2 days in and I already got someone to committ to baptism!!! Such an amazing lesson!! We invited her to church and she said she'd be there.  However, yesterday, she did not show.  We taught her that evening and asked her what happened.  She has diabetes and I guess her blood sugar went crazy and she had to go to the doctors to get it checked.  But we taught her the Plan of Salvation last night and she just is amazing.  There is so much to say about her but I just can't even put words to describe her.  She is such a cute, talkative sister.  She's 66, been married to Ephraim for 10 years. Lives in the garage/shed of Paloma and Ramon's home.  It's not even a home.  We have to sit outside to teach her because her "house" is just a bedroom.  Their fridge is outside along with their couch.  It's just crazy to see the living situations here.  So humbling.
Things here are good though so far and I'm slowly getting the language piece by piece. 
I love you all and hope all is well.  Good luck with everything!
- hermana Sorensen