May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013 Goodbye Modesto!

Yep that's right.  So long Modesto, so long Hermana Crandall. :(  It's been a rough couple days.  But this Wednesday I am headed to Los Banos and will be in a trio.  Yep, I am headed to "The Bath" (Los Banos).  My companions are..... Sister Clauson (English) and then Hermana Miller (Spanish, also my MTC comp).  I don't know all the details, but I think I'm serving in 2 wards, one Spanish and one English ward.  This will be a unusual assignment for many reasons.  I've met Sister Clauson many times and......she's a character.  Then of coarse Hermana Miller and I struggled at times in the MTC.  I feel like those 2 are going to butt heads a lot and I'll get to be in the middle.   Could not sleep that night and all day Sunday I was in tears saying goodbyes and knowing yet not knowing what's ahead in this new area and companionship.  I'm terrified to leave Hermana Crandall.  She has been such a blessing and comfort to have.  I'm sad to leave the Grimes.  They have been so loving and sweet to me.  Don't worry mom and dad, you could never obviously be replaced, but they have become my parents here and it's day 1 all over again for me in having to leave parents.  Sister Grimes is the sweetest person ever.  She knows this has been hard for me and this morning she took us out to Breakfast/Lunch at a place I've been wanting to try called Huckleberry's.  Such a fun atmosphere.  It was all decorated and themed like New Orleans.  Reminded me of Princess and the Frog. :)  I had stuffed french toast with Huckleberries!!!  Mmmmmm...  We are definitely going there when we all come out next year.  And then as we were headed out the door to come email, Sister Grimes decorated the downstairs all with Flamingo stuff.  So we're having an early Flamingo Day here tonight with Hot dogs and chips! :)  Made me tear up and smile ear to ear to see her love for me and doing something like that.  I'll send pictures next week.
I have my bike but it's just out in the Grimes backyard.  Haven't ridden it yet, but I will be in Los Banos. :(  ughh.. right when it gets hot.  I'm gonna have to buy an electric fan to take with me to cool off!  It's been in the high 80's and 90's here.  July and August are going to be insane! Ha ha.. But I have a feeling it's just like Utah, but with more consecutive days being in the 100's.

Angie's Baptism
Angie's baptism was great!!!  She was just so excited and could not stop showing it with all the hugs and telling everyone she's getting baptized.  All her sister's came so that was great seeing them all here and her friend Stephanie.  The Elders were able to baptize Octavio Sen. and Octavio Jr. that night as well.  3 confirmations at church, which also happened to be our Branch Conference.  9 of the YW received their Personal Progress too.  So it was an amazing Sacrament meeting seeing all of these great successes.  All the lessons were great too.  A lot on how we have to do hard things as parents and leaders to show others our love.  They talked a lot about learning English and getting involved in their childrens school life.  Mark, Jeff, and Sabrina again can agree with this in that the Hispanic culture just doesn't view schooling as it should be viewed.  One of the families in the branch, all the kids have been held back in school a few grades, and the youngest failed Kindergarten and is in it again.  How do you fail Kindergarten?  It's just sad.  A lot of drop outs.  So the focus in church was to keep your kids in school and to get involved.  Talk with their teachers, help them with homework, etc.  Because the kids know English and the parents don't, the parents are the ones being trampled over.  The kids are the dominate ones leading the home.
Well things here are good but just hard in that I have to leave everyone.  It's been a great first area with great people.  I hope transfers get easier then what it has been this round.  I hope things are better then what I think they'll be.  Elder Blake and Elder Goettman gave us sisters blessings this Sunday which was very helpful and nice.  Los Banos will be good as long as I make it good.  Our trio will work as long as I do my part in making it work.

Thank you for all the prayers and support.  It's been a rough week of being sick, transfers, and leaving everyone.  I love you all though and pray and think of you all often.  Thank you for the letters and pictures.  I'm sorry I don't get back to them as soon as I'd like.  But I really do appreciate them and will try to write back ASAP.  

- hermana Arianne Sorensen

May 19, 2013

May 13, 2013

Well the weather here is getting SUPER hot!  Blahhh.. Bought me sunscreen today! Haha.. As much as I want a tan, the sun beats down hard.  I had planned on playing the organ, but the official piano player was in town and played.  I was relieved.  Ha ha..  But guess what?!  Candy, Angie, AND Jennifer, AND Maria/Maiki came to church yesterday!!!!  Could not stop smiling to see all the kids there.  I was just expecting Angie.  Candy doesn't feel comfortable in the spanish branch, Jennifer goes to a church in Hughson, and the mom never lets Maria/Maiki go.  But all 4 were there and I felt like a proud "mom" sitting next to them trying to keep them entertained.  Can you do some searching/making and find me something I can take on Sundays if I'm with kids during sacrament?  Like a reverence/quiet book in spanish/english?  Or pictures/activities church related?  I just always feel bad I have nothing but sticky notes and pens to keep them entertained during Sacrament meeting.
Still having stomach pains.  I called the Mission medical coordinator, but she just says it's probably the stomach bug.  I personally don't think so but I am treating it as if it is.  Lots of gatorade and crackers.  I eat 6 Ritz crackers and I feel like I ate an elephant.  It's hard going to members homes and trying to eat there food with out killing myself!  Ha ha..  But yes I hope it gets better this week too.  Thanks for your concern.  I just hope and pray it doesn't get as bad as it did in the MTC.
Well we decided to baptize Angie this Saturday instead of the 25th.  She was SO excited about that and just embraced us when we told her she could be baptized this Saturday!  So cute.  We just bought her a dress today that she can now wear for the baptism and for Sundays. :)  Hopefully she likes it.  The Elders are baptizing a family this Saturday too so we will be having 4 new members in the Branch and in the church this weekend!!! WAHOO!!!!
This week I have learned a lot about "becoming as a child" like the scriptures say.  Seeing the baptizms here, all of them have been youth.  Lexi and Ivonna (the 2nd day I was here), Candy, and now Angie.  Hermana Crandall and I were talking about this and we just love how accepting and loving the youth are.  Adults are harder to change or help them see the need for the gospel in their lives.  The children love Christ and want to follow him and they do.  They are bold.  I think I told you a few weeks ago, one of the families in the branch, the girls were having a slumber party with all their friends and invited us Sister's to come over and teach them.  What missionaries these 12 year olds are.  Then as we've visited Angie and Candy, Angie told us she gave her cousin Stephanie her extra copy of the Book of Mormon and that they read it together when she comes over.  How great is that?!  Then we visit the adults and they tell us they don't have the time to read, they don't know any one they can share the gospel with, and they don't want to come to church.  It's just sad.  We all need to be like children and not be afraid or lazy to share our beliefs.  I know for me I need to be more bold and open my mouth to those on the street I come in contact with and not be afraid of being rejected or turned down.  
 Thank you for all the love and support and for remembering me.  I'm grateful for all the letters, emails, and prayers.  :)
- hermana Arianne Sorensen

May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013 - I made History!

Well, I want to tell you all that I made history here in the Branch.  This Sunday I played the Organ!!!!  Everyone kept telling me they can't hear the piano.  So yesterday I figured, why not?  It shouldn't be that hard right?  WRONG!!!!  I slaughtered it SO bad and could not stop laughing.  Everyone knew it and they for sure let me know.  BUT, Brother Bertinetti (1st couselor in the Presidency) came up to me and was like "I didn't know you played the organ!" I was like "I don't!  That was the first time I've ever touched one!" and he was just blown away and told me how they have been a branch for 10 years and NEVER has the organ been played for them.  He thanked me all day long for being courageous and trying something new and helping this Branch feel like they are special enough to have a fancy organ played for them like the wards here.  We had dinner with them last night and he complemented me in being willing to do hard things.  He learned a lot from me and now says he thinks of me when he's faced with a hard things.  It was so nice of him to say that.  I still can't help but laugh and smack my head in how terrible it sounded, but the fact no one there has heard the organ, I feel pretty good.  Not sure if I want to attempt it this next Sunday again or if I should spare the ears of everyone here.  Ha ha ha..
ANYWAY... this week has been VERY challenging.  Hermana Crandall and I have seen and experienced many difficult things this past week.  Biggest thing I've learned this week is the strength of families.  Can I just say I love you all SO so so so much.  Thank you mom and dad for caring for me and us kids.  I've seen many families this week who don't have that bond and that love in the home.  We helped a women in the ward who's getting a divorce move out of their home and into an apartment.  Now a single mother of 2.  We stopped at Candy and Angie's this week and seeing the lack of love they recieve there in the home from their mom.  There is no support at all.  It's sad to say that and judge.  I know she is a good mother for providing a bed for them and their necessities.  My heart just aches that there is no family meals together, no going out together, no support for one another.  The kids flaunt over Hermana Crandall and I pretty much because we give them tender loving care they need.  Good report from them though this week is ANGIE IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!  She was so happy to come to church yesterday and is just so excited.  It's amazing how the first time we met her she told us she doesn't want to be a mormon but now she does!  Candy however has not been going to church.  So we're trying to help her and figure out why she doesn't "feel comfortable".
Not a whole lot has been happening work wise.  Still just trying to get our investigators to realize the importance of our message.  Met a lot with the YW this week.  Might have another baptism coming up with Daisy Martinez.  She's 12.  But we set appointments and they just tend to fall through.  It's rough.  But other than that it's good visiting with people and getting to know them.  Sorry there really isn't much exciting news to report on and to put on the blog.  We are slowly seeing progress and slowly seeing miracles.  Been out 111 days now!  I know I shouldn't be counting but I feel it gives me more motivation to keep going and see how far I've come.
- hermana Sorensen