June 30, 2013

June 24, 2013

This week we knocked on a door when the lady said "Wow, missionaries haven't been to my door in 13 years! Come on in!"  Her name is Montserrat Morales. She's 26, single mother, son is 2 (Joshua), and lives with her parents. She was very nice and open with us. She is very polite and kept saying "I don't want to offend you but I believe this...." and it would be what we believe too.  She feels a lot of guilt in her life and told us she knows she's already going to hell but doesn't use that as an excuse to do bad stuff.  We told her that she can be forgiven of her sins and return to live with God.  She was astonished at the thought. She has a lot of really good beliefs and feelings. I hope she doesn't let fear or doubt come in.  She said we're wasting our time, but with how genuine and real she is with her questions, we all feel really good about her and want to help clear up and misconceptions she has.  We taught her plan of salvation and she really enjoyed it.  Michelle Reno isn't really progressing, but we visited her with a member in the ward and had a lesson on the Restoration.  She doesn't understand or can't grasp the concept of Joseph Smith.  We have lunch with her Friday so hopefully we can continue to work with her as well.  ALSO this week we met with Andrea.  She was a referral from the Mercy Springs bishops daughter.  It was actually for the little girl Emily, but we stopped by and the mom said she wants to study with us.  We visited her and she is just so sweet and loving.  She's the one who calls US to reschedule when she has to cancel.  We were suppose to have a 2nd visit with her this weekend but she had family come into town and she called us and just said she felt really really bad and asked if it's okay to reschedule.  Tomorrow we'll get to see her again.  When we were visiting with her the 1st time, we asked her what she wanted or expected from us.  She said she wants to be closer to God and be baptized!  So naturally we set a baptism date for her and hopefully July 6th she can!!!  We know she has a smoking/drug problem so we are praying that won't hold her back.

I too attended the Mission President training broadcast!  I thought it was incredible!  I wish more people would have taken it more serious and come to it. It can be watched online now right? I hope! I had the goose bumps the whole time just seeing all those missionaries and those teaching moments.  It's always funny when I see missionaries and get excited for them and their adventures and then realize I am a missionary too!  It has been fun and it has been an adventure.  I loved how much the members need to be involved now.  This truly is their missions.  Us missionaries are just here to assist them and help them.  Our 2 wards are SUPER small and the only way to get them to increase at the rate we need and want is to get the members to start helping in the efforts. I don't even think I told you much about my wards. Mercy Springs is the "Spanish" ward which covers Dos Palos and parts of Los Banos and where we translate into spanish for.  The bishop is Bishop Nuno.  Los Banos ward is Volta, Santa Nella, and the rest of Los Banos.  The bishop is Bishop Lee.  Bishop Lee actually has stage 4 cancer and is very very ill. It has been hard for the ward and his family. Bro Andersen has pretty much taken charge, but the stake does not want to release Bishop Lee.  It's sad to see him and his family just living it moment to moment.  The son is getting ready for a missionary but has put that off for a while to help the family and be there these last few days or weeks or months.  Dad, he actually served in Quebec!  It's been fun getting him to reflect on his missionary days and some what feel a connection from you serving there. He says he hasn't used much of his french sadly.  He actually is the Principal at one of the High Schools here but has resigned. He's a good man.

Well I love you all and appreciate all your love and concern for the work here and for me.  Tell everyone I say hi and send my love too.  Continue helping the missionaries there! :)

Love you all!
- hermana Sorensen

June 17, 2013

June 16, 2013

It's been an unusual week.  Both Hermana Miller and Sister Clawson have been ill off and on to the point we have to go home and rest.  So its been a very very slow and unproductive week.  All yesterday Hna Miller and I watched all the church videos we owned while Sis Clawson was sleeping off a stomach bug.  Earlier this week we had a specialized training though in Modesto.  Greg McKeown came and spoke to us.  He is really big in the business world and is an essentialist.  You'll have to look him up.  It was really good!  We learned a lot about how to learn what is the essential things of the day and to just focus on that.  There are many things in the mission that distract us from our main purpose.  It was very interesting to see how we can still do everything but cut down those things that aren't essential.

After this training, everyone headed out but Sis Miller had to talk to Sister Gelwix.  When she was done, the Assistants to the President asked us sisters if we wanted to go out and eat with them.  So President Gelwix, Sis Gelwix, the assistants Elder Kahuhu and Elder Cameron, Greg McKeown, the 3 of us sisters, and a few of the Elders there in Modesto, we all went out to dinner!  It was very fun and nice to have that one on one time with "the head of the mission" leaders.  They are great people.  We didn't get home till late that night but they say if you're with President you're okay.

Thank you for your love as always.  I am grateful for this gospel and the peace it does bring.  We did visit with a lady this week; Michelle Reno.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she kept saying how it was like we were completing the puzzle of life she has never been able to do.  She was a referral from an older couple in the ward who I guess are good friends with her.  The lady we live with is actually another one of her friends and so they all have tried teaching her.  We've done a lot of service for her and she is now opeing up to us and letting us teach here and there.  But I think with this past week and filling in the pieces to the puzzle, she will continue to be receptive and let us teach her.  

- hermana Sorensen

June 16, 2013

June 11, 2013


Well this week has been super slow.  The work is just not going any where. Our teaching pool is really small and our leaders are chewing us out for it. It's just hard when they personally can't see your efforts and the work you're doing.  But I know they are just doing there job and that they get just as chewed out from President.  Our zone here is a lot different from my last.  Modesto we were very unified and supportive of each other.  Here it's just they'll talk to us when they have to get our numbers or for role plays.  We have a lot of Hmong Elders though!  Our District Leader is Hmong speaking.  Him and is comp are from Kaysville.  So it's fun to hear them speak the language.

We had Zone Conference this past week on Tuesday.  It was really good!  I loved how the topic wasn't really "gospel" oriented or "missionary" like, it was on how to be better people and to see how our missions will benefit us in the years to come.  It was just a good self motivator and reminded me why I am out here.  We all have been held back to come at this time.  We knew the people we would be and become.  As a missionary, I did not come to California to be miserable. I didn't come on a mission to be 99% obedient, sleep in, drag my feet, want worldly things, etc.  I came because I wanted to prove myself.  I knew this would be hard yet I still accepted the call.  Sure it's okay to miss home and want things, we're humans, but it's controlling those desires and wants.  In a year I'll have all that again, but for now I am here because I love Him.  I enjoy making an impact on others lives.  I've grown to love the people here so deeply.  I've grown to love you all so deeply!  I have found appreciation for my life challenges.  I've learned to communicate and be a good friend.  

Well we've been teaching a lady named Lucy and her daughter Naida.  They are a cute family.  I think I told you about her before how we stopped at her house and she told us of her family and how they are all sick with cancer, in the hospital, and just struggling in life.  She's been reading the Book of Mormon and enjoys us coming over.  We've also been visiting a lot with the Lagunas family.  Anthony (12) is getting baptized next month.  He was suppose to get baptized last month and then this month, but the families schedule is hectic this month so hopefully next month.  He wants to be baptized now.  Last Monday we had FHE with them at the Betham's home and he just kept saying "why can't I get baptized now?".  We watched Finding Faith in Christ.  The mother was baptized a while back but is not active so we are trying to target her and the rest of the family.  But Sis Lagunas really enjoyed the video.  She said she just gets it now and why we do what we do.  Last night we did FHE again and it's just beautiful to see Sis Lagunas greatly benefit from these lessons.

Thank you for everything!  I'm so blessed to have you all in my life and for the love that we have and share.  
Te quiero mucho!
- hermana Sorensen

June 3, 2013 Only one year left!

Well this week in 1 year I will be coming home!!! CRAZY!!!

Things here are picking up.  Starting to feel more better with the area.  SUPER hot though.  It's been in the 100's this past week.  One day we were just so hot and exhausted that we had to go home to cool off.  Spent that time making phone calls and going through Area Book.  It's a really new town.  Lots of flat open fields.  I guess they started a bunch of neighborhoods back in 2000 but then with the housing crash, they never built the homes.  So a lot of the streets are dead ends and empty.  We live on a corner on Cardinal Street.  We cover a lot here.  We go down to Dos Palos all the way to Santa Nella.  So everything in between is ours.  It's about a 20 minute drive both ways, so 40 minutes from end to end.  Thankfully we have a car! Ha ha.. But we only get 1200 miles each month and our Stake Center where we have Zone and District meetings each Tuesday is in Merced, which is about an hour.  And we don't get to write off those miles.  So we are super careful with where we drive and go.

This last weekend we had a baptism!  Elayna (9) and her sister Audrina (8) were baptized!  So fun and cute.  Their cousin Angelina was suppose to get baptized with them too but we weren't able to give her all the lessons in time and I think there was a little family fued going on too so they backed out last minute.  Angelina's mother says in 2 weeks she can get baptized.  So fingers crossed!

We haven't been teaching a whole lot.  A lot of cancelled appointments or people just not interested.  We found a couple of great people this last week that we are hoping go somewhere.  One is Lucy.  We knocked on her door and she just opened up with us saying yes we can pray with her.  She let us in and we got talking about family.  Her family life is ridiculous lately.  Her brother is in the Hospital getting psychiatric help. (I guess the night before he ran into the freeway trying to get hit but the other brothers and family members ran out and got him).  With that one of his daughters panicked and started cutting herself.  Another of Lucy's sisters recently was diagnosed with cancer.  The mother is in remission of cancer.  Another sister is sick....the list goes on.  Lucy broke down and just wishes her family would be okay.  She and her husband have 2 kids.  We set a return appointment but she had to cancel because her brother was in the Hospital again.  We are going to stop by tonight to see if she's home and see how things are going.  Then last night we went and visited a referral we received from one of the YW in the ward.  What an incredible family they turned out to be.  He's actually a minister in his church, but they were so nice to us and so accepting.  They said we are welcomed back and they'd love to talk more with us.  They have many questions still and found the church they're going to had most of the answers but still want to know more.  We are going in with love of building on top of their beliefs and church and not taking away or belittling their doctrine.  We kept saying "they're Mormon, they just don't know it!".  So pray for the Tapia family that they will continue to be accepting of our beliefs and see how this church can bring them to more answers.

I love the area though and the members are great.  There is a popular store out here called Sorensen's, and so everyone is asking me if it's family.  I've been asked so much here about my family.  So keep up the geneology dad!  I need to know if I'm related to all these people they're asking about!
Well I love you all and pray for you all the time.  Thank you so much for all your words of encouragement and love.  It really does make a difference and I am doing my best to take it all in and use it.  I'm sad I don't have the time to sit down and write you all letters back, but I really do appreciate all the mail and letters received.  I love you all and I wish you could see how much it means to hear from you.  Thank you for everything!  This mission has been such a blessing.  I've learned so much these past 6 months and I know I will continue to learn lots this next year.  God loves us all and has a plan for each and everyone. Stay close to him.  Do the primary basics: read, pray, and go to church.  Take care!!!!!

-hermana Sorensen

May 28, 2013

Hola!  Things here in Los Banos are going good.  It's been hard getting use to the area, but I've been blessed with great members and friends.
I still don't really know where I live, but we live with a member Sister Vogel.  She actually is in Oregon so I haven't met her.  She lives alone and is retired and so she just goes and stays with her kids for a few weeks.  Don't know when she's coming back but it sounds like she's really nice.  We have a pet cat now.  Ha ha..  It reminds me a lot of Socks and so it and I are buds.  Don't worry Kimberly, Sock's is still my favorite.  But it's nice to go home at nights and cuddle with something.  Reminds me of home.  His name is Monkey.
We serve in 2 wards: both english: the Mercy Springs ward and the Los Banos ward.  We have the spanish investigators and members attend the Mercy Springs ward and there we just translate for them.  It's been very weird for me to go from all spanish to pretty much all english.  We have contacted a few people this week in spanish which actually turned out really good.  Our first contact I was super nervous, but I just spoke what I knew and Hermana Miller spoke what she knew and we were able to carry a good conversation!  We walked out just blown away at how that just happened.  I've actually spoken more spanish here I feel than in Modesto!  Hermana Miller and I just talk to each other during Language study which has been fun.  It's nice being back with her in that our spanish is at the same level and so we know how to help each other out.  So the language is getting better, but I am just scared being in an english area it might not progress much.  But I will keep practicing and using what I know. 
The trio has been hard.  I had to sleep on the ground the first night here because we didn't have a bed.  The Zone Leaders helped set up a bunk bed the next night.  So now I sleep on the top.  Don't even have a dresser either so I'm still living out of my suit case.  It's very tight in the house.  It's hard to not step on each others toes especially now with all of us getting set in our previous ways and trying to combine ideas of how to run the area together.  But we will learn and things will settle down I'm sure.

Guess what?!  Yesterday I went to YOSEMITE!!!!!!  So beautiful there!!!!  Our Mission Leader in Mercy Springs Bro Betham and Sis Betham took us there.  Headed out at 6:00am and got back around 4:30.  I was thinking about you all the whole time wishing you were here to see it with me.  Made me miss camping and traveling.  I'm excited to show you all and take you there soon.  
Well we have 2 baptisms this weekend.  A 8 and 9 year old (sisters).  So that will be fun.  Still just trying to get to know the area still.
It was hard saying goodbye to Modesto.  Sure enough, the Grimes gave me a Flamingo day farewell.  I sure miss them.  It was also very hard saying goodbye to Candy, Angie, and Maria.  Angie couldn't stop crying and just held onto me the whole time we were there.  I love those girls with all my heart.  I'm so proud of them and how far they have come.

 hermana Sorensen