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

April 14, 2004

Hello everyone!

I feel so rushed during emailing in that I feel there is so much to be said and read.  A lot of things went on this week and it sounds like you all had a busy one too.  That is crazy to hear you got my flight plans.  Around 3:00 then?!  Ahhhh.. It really is weird to think 7 more emailing days, 7 more weeks of being here.  I've mentioned it before, but I'm getting super scared to come home.  I keep having night mares.  Not bad or scary dreams, but just a lot where I wake up exhausted and more drained than anything and where I just want to cry because I don't want it to be like that when I get back.  I understand life goes on for both sides, and I can see now how RM's feel when they get back and how they feel depressed because they don't fit in.  But I know every missionary goes through that and I will get the hang of things.  Probably won't even have a problem with it and am worrying to much I will.  Just keep me busy and going when I get home with fun activities!!!  

This last week we had a lot of days inside.  Sister Allred has been having stomach problems.  We went to the doctors on Friday and they gave her medicine which helps at times.  So it's been nice to have catch up time on studies and getting things more organized.  It's also been nice to get out and teach.  The biggest stresser this week was getting everything set for Jessica's baptism.  Recap of her situation, the missionaries have been teaching her since October.  She has been wanting to get baptized since, but her dad kept saying no.  Well we came along and told her if her mom says yes, then she can get baptized since her mom has custody over her.  We told her of coarse she still needs to tell her dad and get his permission.  Well we got that a couple weeks ago at the BBQ.  He told her she needs to talk to her grandpa though and get his permission.  Thursday night we got everything finalized program wise and gave her the baptism form for her mom to sign when she got home.  Friday the mom still hadn't signed it and wouldn't sign it until Jessica talked to her grandpa.  That whole night the mom wouldn't give Jessica the grandpa's number or let her use the phone.  So it was frustrating Jessica.  Saturday we went over to see if she called him, but she still hadn't but was going to call him before the interview in a couple hours.  When we came over later for the baptism interview, Jessica looked beyond distraught and said her mom won't sign the paper and doesn't want her to get baptized this weekend.  Jessica went and talked to her privately, and all we could hear was the mom going anti on us and trying to persuade her from doing this.  Jessica stood her ground and a few minutes later came out angry but showed us that the paper was signed.  She started doubting everything herself and was confused why all this stuff was happening.  She wondered why if something was so true and good like this church, why does everyone degrade it and talk bad about it and not want me to be apart of it.  We told her that is all Satan.  He knows it's true and wants to keep you and everyone out of it.  The spirit was not there with us in all of our frustration.  She still went through with the interview, and afterwards was beaming and had that spirit back in her countenance.  We pointed that out to her, and she told us she knew this was true and would continue to fight to be baptized.

So that was all Saturday.  We were very nervous the rest of the day in the fear that the mom was super mad at us and would tell her not to do it.  Sunday morning we went over and woke Jessica up and to make sure she was ready for church.  She seemed ready and like nothing was wrong and things were still on.  The talks during Sacrament could not have been any better for Jessica.  I was just so happy and knew these were the talks meant to help her as she becomes a member.  It was the YM's presidency that spoke.  Thomas Clelland (baptized in Jan) talked about his baptism and his journey getting there.  The other speaker talked about the Atonement using an analogy of seminary students and donuts. (you'll have to look the story up.  It's about a seminary boy having to do 10 push ups for his class mates to receive a donut).  The other speaker talked about his baptism at age 16 and how he was the only member in his entire school and family (Pretty much like Jessica!) and how he had to defend his beliefs and rely on Heavenly Father.  It was great!  4:00 finally came and Jessica was baptized!!!!  I talked on the Holy Ghost.  She was baptized and confirmed since we have Stake Conference next week.  The Relief Society room was packed.  I've never seen such a turn out for a baptism like that.  During "half time" when they were changing, we let people bear their testimonies.  Bro Martin got up just balling and told Jessica he sees a lot of himself in her in that he was just like her where his family didn't approve.  Everyone was crying.  So powerful.  Jessica went up and bore her testimony.  And if everyone wasn't crying before, they sure were by the time she was done.  She really is such an incredible girl.  I have learned SO much from her in fighting for what you love.  I don't know how her family is going to accept her now, but to see that she knows that this gospel is true and will do everything in her power to live it, is inspirational.  Everyone kept coming up to me afterwards telling me how blown away they are with how strong she is.  She's a fighter and is going to make an awesome member. :)  So proud of her and so glad everything worked out to where she was finally able to be baptized!!!!  YAY!!!!!!
That of coarse was the highlight of the week.  Oh and guess what?!  Sister Allred and I found out that we're related.  We were watching "Mountain of the Lord" and they showed a guy plowing.  Allred said, "My great great great...grandpa was the first man to plow in Salt Lake".  I looked at her like "You can't lie to me like that.  That's my grandpa.  You can't fool me with that story."  So I said "William Carter?"  And she was shocked I knew.  I told her he's MY great great great...grandpa!  We were both just confused and in awww.  How weird is that?!  All because of Polygamy, we're related.  Ha ha.. jk  She comes from Sophronia and William.  Very interesting.

 Also this week we had a competition with the Zone on how many people we could invite to be baptized.  Our district lost, but it was kind of fun making that our main focus on every contact we made.  I found it very awkward in being so blunt, especially when people were NOT interested in our contact.  But it was still a learning experience for me to remember our purpose as missionaries.

So your one brief recap of this week is:
- We prayed with a Muslim.  Allred gave her a BOM.  The lady was scared to touch it in fear it was the Bible.

Hopefully you all enjoyed the story of Jessica and her journey in her baptism.  It was a great weekend.  Transfers are next week and I'll will be starting my last transfer.  It seems unreal that all the time of wishing for the end, that it's a lot sooner than I'd like now.  I hope I can keep being a missionary in all that I do when I get home.  I hope I don't forget or lose the things I've learned here.  I'm so glad I chose to come out.  If I knew it would be this hard I wouldn't have, so it's a good thing I didn't really understand! Ha ha..  I have loved the things I've learned through all the pain.  Thank you for pushing me with love and keeping me out here.  I can't wait to see you all in 51 days.  I LOVE YOU ALL SO SO SO SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
- Hermana Sorensen

April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014

What a great Conference huh?!  I was just blown away at how similar but different all the talks were on.  We watched it at the church.  Yes I was the one with you dad that watched it at Winter Quarters.  That was fun.  I think watching it at the church is nice, but not as nice as it is watching it with family and being in your pj's.  Ha ha..  Did you go for a car ride during sessions or do anything fun?!  I'm sure the trees are just blossoming (from what I saw of temple square).  All the trees here have blossomed and are now sprouting the leaves.  We had a cold front this past week.  Really windy, but I'm sure it was still in the 70's or something.  Last night we went knocking doors and everyone was out walking, skating, playing, etc.  Really nice evening weather.  I can't wait for the summer.  

My favorite talks at conference (don't have my notebook for names) were Ballard's for sure.  I was shocked to see for once, that I have seen, an apostle follow-up like that.  I sure wish we were followed up more like that.  I think we all learn a lot and try to apply what we've learned but through time we forget.  I don't know if I liked it all just because I am a missionary and am trying to work with the members right now, or if I'd still like it if I was off my mission.  But the whole idea of following up and seeing if the members are really doing what they are suppose to do from what they've been told is genius.  Good call to repentance I guess.  I also liked the Olympic one with our "4 seconds".  And then the truck load one by Bednar.  Which were your favorites?

Well this week was kind of chaotic.  We were suppose to have a baptism yesterday for Tionna and Daneea.  Everything was set and planned for.  They passed the interview and everything.  Saturday night when we were headed to bed, Tionna called us and said they don't want to get baptized tomorrow.  We talked to Dion the mom and she said the girls don't know enough and especially Daneea since she's to young.  I don't know why all of a sudden Dion has a problem with the girls being baptized other than Satan got to her.  Dion hasn't been home the last week to talk to her about things.  I'm sad that she is more wrapped up in her life then she is in her kids lives.  They live on their own pretty much.  We went to be distressed but knew we couldn't do anything at that moment.  We called them in the morning to talk more about things.  Tionna was suppose to go to Conference with Thomas (her older brother who was baptized in Jan), but she wouldn't wake up.  After the morning conference, we drove over there and talked to Daneea and Dasha about things.  Tionna still wouldn't come out or get up for us.  Daneea really wanted to get baptized.  She had all her clothes out and everything for it.  She cried when we were there.  We told her to stand up for her self and tell her mom that she does know enough and tell her why she wants to be baptized.  We went briefly through all the lessons and told her "see!" you know it all!  Tionna finally came out and just kept telling us she doesn't know enough and wants to be baptized but not today.  So we cancelled it and are leaving it up to them to tell us when they want to be baptized.  It's frustrating and sad to see Satan get them like that and especially Dion.  A lot of stress, but we made the rest of our conference day great.

We still have our date for Jessica Saliee to be baptized this Sunday though and are hoping it's not a flop too.  But we all feel more at ease with this one.  I guess the only thing that could stand in our way is if the Dad changes his mind back to not letting her.  But she really wants to.  She came to church last week and mutual in which she just loved it.  We were happy about that.  Last night we saw her and she is inviting all her friends to her baptism.  So that's exciting.  Please pray for her that things will run smoothly this week and that she will be baptized Sunday.  Thanks!

I can't explaining everything that went on this week, so a few moments briefly are:
- had my 1st Walking Taco here in California.  Ate it with Doritos though and not Frito's.  Still yummy and reminded me of home! :) 
- was told by a less-active family in our ward that Koala Bears can rip your face off.  Yikes!
- woke up with really "low blood sugar" and was out for a day. Not sure what exactly it was, the mission doctor kept telling me something different every call.  Ha ha..
- one of our lessons with an investigator turned into a lesson about ghosts and haunted houses.
- Hit one of the Elders with our car when he was on his bike. (not really) We were going to race each other at a stop light.  When it turned green, we all went, but all of a sudden we see Elder Smith fall of his bike.  Not sure what happened but they keep teasing us we hit him.  I'm a horrible driver!  Ohh I don't think I've even told you, but we drive a truck.  Everyone laughs when they see 2 tiny sister missionaries hop out of it.  We feel pretty powerful in it.

Not sure what else happened this week worth reporting on.  I guess it's good though so I can have some stories to tell when I get back.  58 more days.  I love you all and hope you are all doing good.  Get feeling better Mom.  Hope you had a good Birthday Laura!!!!  We will celebrate again when I get home. ;)  Tell everyone hi and that I love them. 

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

March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014

Thank you all for the Birthday wishes and presents!  It was a good day.  I've definitely had better, but considering the circumstances, it was good.  I'm glad you got the email from Sister Dillon.  I had dinner planned with them back in February.  Such a cute couple.  They made us some yummy chicken!  And then we had Apple pie.  Yes the maplenut ice cream here is really good!  The Dillon's stock up on it I guess because it sells out quickly.  So I felt bad eating their stash, but Mmmmmm.. hopefully you will get to try some of it one day.  It's a seasonal one though so it will be tricky.  I have pictures of my Birthday but I forgot my cord.  Did you get the pictures last week?  Hopefully they worked that time.  If not I guess I will just have to wait.  Thank you for the presents!  I especially liked the Sherlock T-shirt!!!!!!!!!! :) Ha ha.. You all are the best!!!  We also just got back from the Sequoia's.  The awesome Horan's drove down to take us with our Zone.  It was pretty chilly up there.  There was snow and ice on the paths.  But it was fun being with them.  What troopers to drive 3+ hours just to take me and Sister Allred there.  They woke up at They woke up at 3:30am to be here at 6:30 this morning to leave.  I love them so much!  Look for the postcard in the mail! :)  And yeah Ida Ormsby's sister is just like her.  They are a cute family.

That is funny you found the green poster.  Yeah I remember making it, but thought we threw it away.  No never did I think I would be speaking Spanish later on in my life.  Wish I was better with it, but I know enough I guess to do what the Lord wants me to do.
Things here are good.  Jessica is still set to be baptized the 13th.  Dion didn't come to church so we have to postpone hers.  But Tionna and her little sister Daneea are planned for this Sunday after Conference.  Fingers crossed things stay solid.  They are such a floppy family.  They always cancel things and/or it is super complicated to teach them.  James Eason, we sadly dropped.  His mother is not happy we are coming over, so to not push the mom, we have to stop.  It's sad that parents won't let their kids chose for themselves.  I know being a parent isn't easy though and they just want what is best for them, but it's still hard and sad that even though the kids want to learn, we have to stop because of the parents.  And one of our other investigators we dropped yesterday.  He is our neighbor Armando.  He was drinking when we were talking to him.  Sister Allred told him to dump it, but he said it's not beer, God just turned it into tea, and that God wants him to drink.  Hummmm.... yeah I don't think so.  We asked him if he wants to change and he said no.  Ha ha..

I enjoyed the General Women's Broadcast too.  I ached to be with all of you though.  It made me sad thinking you all were together having a fun girls night out.  Next time!  But I loved all the songs and the incredible spirit that it brought to the meeting.  Every one of them I just felt peaceful.  It was good.  This week we also had Sister's Conference.  The topic was "The Time That's Left" and of coarse we talked a lot about how we can use what time we have left to the fullest.  This was the first sisters conference where I felt inspired and motivated to change.  Probably because I only have 2 more months left...but it was just excited, always is, when we learn more about who we are and what we are here to be.  We now have 61 sisters here in the mission!  When we got home, I opened the card I got from Grandpa.  Well, before that, earlier that morning (so Thursday morning), as Sister Miller and I were driving up to the conference (we were on exchanges) I sat there and realized I would never get handmade holiday cards from Grandma again.  I was hurt, got upset and was confused on why God didn't allow me to say goodbye to her.  I stayed composed though and tried to think eternally and to stay focused at the conference and like I said it was great.  Well I opened the card from Grandpa and broke down in tears to see that my prayers were heard in that I was sent a handmade birthday card with all the hugs and loves he had for me.  It crushed me to not see grandma's signature as well, but how sweet it was to know that Grandpa is still there and loves me and is trying to carry on Grandma's love and traditions.  Thank you Grandpa in remembering me and doing that for me.  You have no idea how much that meant.  I sure love you and can't wait to see you soon.

It has been a touchy week, but I've realized I need to turn more to the Lord in my struggles and to get strength from him.  He knows how to succor me and pull me through this time.  (Alma 7:11-12).  I sure wish I could throw my hands up and quit, but I know I have all of you cheering me on and are seeing that I finish what I've started.  So thank you.  2 more months.  Can't give up now!

I love you all so much.  I'm so anxious to get home, but beyond terrified too.  I'm starting to realize things won't be the same when I get back.  Life moved on for all of us and it's going to be a lot of adjustment getting back into things.  I don't want to see the sad that's happened (deaths, sicknesses, aging, even government stuff, etc.)  So bare with me and love me for the awkward person I'm going to return as.  Hopefully it won't be too bad.  Ha ha..

Hope this week is a good one for all of you and you feel of my love for you guys.  I sure feel yours, or else I wouldn't still be out here.  I love being a missionary and am learning to love the different trials and obstacles that God puts into our lives.  I know all of these things are for my good and ours.  You all are the best!

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

March 24, 2014

I can't believe my Birthday is here again.  I thought I had one last year! ;)  Ha ha jk.  It sounds like you all had a fun.....and long trip to Illinois.  That makes me happy you got grandpa to go for part of it.  Did grandpa have fun?  What all did you do there?!  I can't wait to go out there and explore!  How was Kaylor's homecoming though from what you heard?  I'm sure it was good.
Well lately I've been thinking back on my mission and I feel like I don't have any exciting moments or stories.  But this week was one of those weeks when you do!  I'm a bad story teller, so hopefully all this will make sense in an email and I have time to write everything.  But the biggest exciting story is with an investigator named Jessica.  The missionaries have been teaching her for awhile but her dad is against her getting baptized.  Well we found out she doesn't need his permission since he doesn't have full custody of her, she only needs her moms.  So we sent a call out to the mission to pray for her and that her dad's heart will be softened in accepting her being baptized.  We kept asking her if she talked to him but she kept saying no, that she's scared, but thinks she'll talk to him at her sister's Birthday party.  So yesterday was the party.  She invited us to it so that we could meet him and hopefully help soften his heart in that he sees and knows us.  It was nerve wracking to watch her keep approaching her dad trying to figure out when to bring it up.  I felt very awkward being there and especially if it would go bad to be there.  Few minutes past by and she came up to us and said that if there is anything that he has learned from her these past 16 years, is that when she sets her mind on something, she never backs down, and that he can see she really wants this.  So he gave her the approval!!!!!!!!!!!!! Saturday night we actually went over and talked to her and actually asked her when she wants to be baptized.  She had the date for next week (30th) but we knew we had to move it back since she hasn't been to church twice.  We talked about it and she said April 13th.  When she said that, we all felt so excited and good about it.  But we knelt down and asked Heavenly Father if that is when He wants.  When Jessica said Amen, all of us just looked at each other smiling.  We knew that was right, but now just had to get the approval from dad.  And now having the approval, the 13th is set in stone for her to be baptized!!!!!!!!!!  We are just SO excited!!!!!

The other story was with Tionna.  She's having a word of wisdom hold back, so we asked her when she thinks she will be ready.  She said April 19th.  Sister Allred and I were kind of bummed to hear that because we feel she could do earlier, but again, we knelt down and prayed.  When she said Amen, she said "We need to do it sooner, like the 6th."  So, we prayed again and asked about the 6th.  The feeling we felt the 2nd time compared to the 1st was an answer there that the Lord knows when these people need to be baptized.

Also this week, this Saturday we had a Stake Women's Conference.  I'm running out of time, but it was a really good conference.  Its theme was "Keepers of His Light" and centered on having Christs light within us.
Sister Vicki Marshall and me
The main speaker Sister Vicki Marshall from Las Vegas grew up in the Convent.  So she told of her experience as a nun and her run ins with Mormons growing up.  She converted to this church because of a neighbor who listened to the promptings of the holy ghost in making a cherry pie for her.  Why not apple, berry, peach, etc pie?  Cherry?  Hummm...  Cherry however was Vicki's all time favorite and she would "sale her soul" for that pie. :)  This neighbor then invited her to the Relief Society activity and there the Holy Ghost blew off all the negative things she heard and saw in this church.  She was later baptized and now goes around sharing her story.  She was so awesome to listen to.  I could sit there all day.  Sister Crandall and I got a picture with her.  She was so happy to see us sacrificing our time and helping find stubborn people like her to bring the gospel to.  It was nice.

Well my time is up.  Thank you for everything and all the Birthday wishes.  It should be a good day I hope.  I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Sister Sorensen

March 17, 2014

Sisters Allred, Crandall and me with Shamrock shakes.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful letter.  Made me teary eyed knowing you all love me and are here for me.  I'm glad to hear you made it to Illinois safely!  How long are you going to be there?  What's your stops on the way back?  Any fun stops there in Alton?  There is a gentleman in the ward that served in Illinois a while back.  (like 25+ years) when it was all one mission.  I couldn't think of the place Amanda and Solomon lived but I knew it started with an A.  He said Aurora, and I recognized that and said yes, but then realized later that that is where Solomon's parents live.  So you'll have to let me know what ward or area they live in and see if they were around at the same time.  Probably not, but oh well.  Hanford I feel like there are tons of connections back home.  For example.......my bishops wife (Shirley Sopp) is Ida Ormsby's sister!  Awhile back she asked if I knew Thurgoods, but Saturday at a ward activity she came up to me and said she thinks her family knows ours.  She asked me if dad was a dentist in Clearfield.  I said yes.  I asked her the name again and she said Don and Ida Ormsby.  My mouth dropped with excitement.  I told her yeah I know them and can't help but associate them with Scouts and seeing them on the 4th of July and getting food at their booths.  She said yeah they are big into that.  Ha ha..  Cool huh?!?!
Well it's been a good week....only in that Sister Crandall has been here with us the past few days!!!!  Wednesday President Gelwix called and said she will be coming to stay with us for a couple days.  It was been so great being back with her and getting to work together.  This is her last transfer and so she's a traveling trainer.  I'm scared for her to leave.  It's been nice having someone love me.  But tomorrow we have a Zone Conference, so she will probably be leaving then.  Sigh..

That's sad to hear about the Brown's.  What a crazy couple months and year they have been having.  Let them know I love them.  I'm sure they wouldn't really want that news going around, but thanks for letting me know.  Just tell them I've been thinking about them and can't wait to see them all soon.  Have we gotten any word back on their house in Montana then for this summer?

Not a whole lot of new reports to report on.  Dion and Tionna have been slacking.  I feel Tionna can get baptized, but Dion is just taking her sweet time.  But they both didn't keep their appointments this past week and didn't come to church.  But we met a couple other people that have dates.  We saw James Eason yesterday and talked to him about the Strength of Youth pamphlet and how to be better individuals.  He opened up a lot on his addictions to drugs and his time in jail.  He really just wants to be forgiven and leave the past behind.  He said just the other day he bought some weed but seconds later felt to give it back.  He did and just said the person could keep the money.  He's been through a lot and I hope he can feel and see how the Gospel can literally change his life.  We set a date for April 12th.  We hope he continues to have this drive to change and be better.

I want to thank you like always for your thoughts and prayers.

I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!! 79 more days!!!!!!!!
- Sister Sorensen

March 10, 2014

Banana Split at Superior Dairy

I finally went to the famous Superior Dairy here!!!  A gentleman in the Elders ward took us out for Hot Dogs and ice cream.  We got a banana split to share.  It was big.  I don't understand all the talk about the place, but it was still fun.  I'll have to take you all there too.  And yes, I finally got the package.  The blame isn't on the mission office this time, it goes on my zone leaders!  I guess they had it in their trunk and just kept forgetting to give it to me.  But I got it last Monday and have been loving it every night!  Thank you for doing that!  

Guess who I met this week?! A distant relative of ours I'm sure.  Like I said, there are a lot of Sorensen's here in Hanford and everyone asks me if we're related.  There is a Kathy Sorensen in the ward that we've been trying to stop by and see.  Last Tuesday after Zone Meeting, we went to Panda Express and there was a lady standing in front of me talking to me asking if we just had a meeting.  I figured she was a member in the other ward because she knew all the missionary/church terms: zone leaders, district meeting, conference, etc.  I asked her what ward she's in and she said 2nd.  I told her that's the one we're in and inroduced myself.  She then said her name is Kathy...Kathy Sorensen!  AHHHH!!!  She then looked at my badge and smiled.  We got talking and she asked me..."are you from Manti?"  I said my grandparents and cousins live there.  She then asked me if I know the Blackhams!  I told her I went to school with one of the kids: Jordan.  It was just fun talking about people we know and finding connections.  As she was leaving she told me I have to come over and we can talk more to see where we're related.  So that's exciting.  I'm sure there are a lot of Sorensen's in Manti too, but it was a mini blessing from God to help me smile.

This week we set a baptism date for Dion and Tianna.  Dion is the mom, Tianna is 18.  I feel bad, I don't know what all I've told about our investigators and area, but we have a recent convert Thomas who was baptized earlier this year.  We've been teaching his family now.  I feel Tianna is pretty solid for the date (March 22nd).  She's been coming to YW's, church, etc and loves it.  Dion won't come to church because she doesn't have a dress.  Sad that that's what is keeping her back.  I personally think it's an excuse, but hopefully I'm wrong.  At Hannah's House I've been helping them sew pillow cases!  You should be proud of me mom! :) Ha ha..  I think today we're making scrapbooks.  I love going over there and doing crafts like that.  Gets my mind off of things.  
Well I hope your week is good.  Good luck Dad with your choice for work.  Be safe on your travels coming up.  I will look for the letters in the mail.  Hopefully I can figure out how to do the passport thing.  I love you all am looking so forward to our reuniting in 13 more weeks!  And I know it's super in advance, but can you start questioning bishop what he wants my topic to be when I get back?  You know me and the need for advance notice!  Ha ha..  Thanks!!!!!
I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Sister Sorensen

March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014

Thank you for the loving letter.  I don't even know how you do it, but every time I read your letters I literally feel all your love for me and just smile.  I have never known true love until being here.  I hope you all really know how grateful I am for each and every one of you.  Thank you for the letters, emails, packages, kisses, smiles, hugs, and just concern and love for me.  I appreciate it so much!!!
Things this week went good.  Honestly can't think of anything new or exciting.  We met a couple new people and are teaching this family (the Eason's).  I don't know if I mentioned James a while back, but we met him outside his house smoking and asked if we could come back and talk more of Christ.  We did and his mom and sisters sat in on the lesson too and just really loved us being there.  They knew we couldn't stay long and so they said, "go outside, and then come right back in, so that way you can be here another hour!"  Smart kids!  Ha ha..  But we had a return appointment last night but they cancelled.  So we are really hoping tomorrow they don't.

Yes we have been getting some rain the last few days luckily!!!  It's been nice.  Now the fog is here though too.  The mornings are weird in running in it.  You just are drenched in water by the end of your run only because of all the moisture you are running in.  Ha ha..  

That's so exciting Kaylor is coming home soon!!!!!! Can't wait to hear all his stories.  Hope you all have fun on your trip to see Amanda, Solomon, and Gideon.  Yes I would love to go out there and see them when I get back!   And also, no I have not received the package yet.  Again, that is my mission.  You literally have to send stuff forever in advance in order for me to get it on time.  We only get packages when the Zone Leaders go to Fresno for meetings.  So not sure when the next time they are headed there especially with Transfers coming up.  No meetings.  Sorry!  Thank you though for it and I will love it when I get it!  It's weird to think I'll be 23.  I remember turning 21 and freaking out because that was the age to go on a mission.  Yet here I am now, 2 years later on a mission still, and getting older.  Yikes!  Jim and Amie Horan said they are coming to visit me that Monday the 24th to celebrate early with me.  I am super excited for that!  I miss them so much!  I miss everyone in Los Banos so much!  I can't wait to take you there!  I sure hope I haven't missed any ones Birthdays.  I've tried to send a card out around then, so sorry if it comes too early or too late.  And if I've forgotten all around, I apologize.  It's hard to keep track of everyone being away!

I'm happy to hear you all are studying together about Paul. I don't know much about him either but it sounds like you all are learning a lot and applying the things you learn to yourselves.  I've been reading a lot in True to the Faith.  I love reading in the scriptures a principle and then reading more about it in True to the Faith.  I have learned I can't just sit and read and try to find something in my studies, but to read something and go off of that.  Research it.  So like background, history, definitions, etc.  That's where I've found a lot of my understanding has come from the last little bit.  I miss being able to pull up LDS.org or the mormon channel and looking up topics there or listening to them.  Can't wait to do that regularly! :)  

Well I love you all!!!! Hope this week is a good one for all of you.  Don't forget about me!!!!  Good luck dad with hiring someone new.  If you need any help there when I get back, I'd love to.  Take care!!!!

- Sister Sorensen

February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014

Last Monday I attended Grandma's club!!!  An older lady in the ward moved here a few years back and was so lonely.  She went up to a lady at the park one day and invited her over to lunch.  And since then they've invited more and more grandma's to this luncheon.  We are the only "non-grandma's" invited there so it was an honor being there!  Ha ha ha.. A lot of them aren't members and so there was a lot of crazy talk!  One lady said "what kind of finding are you doing?" as she gives me a smirk look.  I laughed but told her I'll do that finding when I get home.  She gave me a hard time with that the whole luncheon but I just teased her back.  It was so fun being around them.  I took pictures but I think my camera is acting up, so I'm probably just going to have to show you most of my pictures when I get home.  I'll try to send some important ones here and there though don't worry.

Also I don't think I told you, but we have been helping out at a place called Hannah's House.  It's a place for mothers trying to gain custody of their kids.  We go there every Monday and do crafts with them.  It's been a lot of fun meeting these ladies and helping them overcome addictions and becoming strong women through crafts and visiting with them.  They have fun asking us questions about the church so we're doing some teaching there too!

I wrote a list this time of things that happened this week that I could write home about, so sorry it's choppy.  But I finally met the Sorensen family here!  Not sure where we're related, but it made me laugh because guess what their profession is?  Dentistry!  :P  Ha ha..  I just smiled when they said that.  He's not a dentist, but works for them though with the deliveries and molding and tools.  So he works for a lot of the dentists here.  And she is a hygienist.  Interesting folks.  There is another Sorensen family here, so they're next!  I don't think I've been asked about my geology as much as I have here!  Everyone I run into asks me if I'm related to so-&-so Sorensen.  You might have to print me off our family tree back to Adam and Eve so I know how to respond or can see really if we are related!  :)

Did exchanges this week again and went to Coalinga with Hna Johnson.  She is big into tennis and apparently has been a ball catcher at one of the Opens.  Jealous!!!!!  So she's met Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, etc.  Her cousin also married Phil Nickelson the pro golf player.  But the exchange was a good break for me and their area is so fun!  Tiny like Los Banos and really on fire with all the missionary work going on.  Hanford is hard.

We had a Relief Society activity this week where we learned about self defense.  I think it scared me more than it helped me.  Made me realize how sketchy we missionaries are in going into all these homes of people we don't know and visiting these people in the evenings.  The Lord really does watch out for us!  And I'm grateful we go in 2's and not just by ourselves!  But it was really good to learn these things and know how to protect ourselves from those around us when we need.  I still just hear Grandma Sorensen drilling it into our heads that we "poke them in the eyes, and kick them where it hurts!" Ha ha..  I'm sure Kimberly and Laura can agree with me on that.  Silly Grandma!

Take care! I'm glad to hear you all are doing good and that you had a fun and safe time at East Canyon.  I hope all is well in your your callings, work, and life.    I love you all!  I love being a missionary regardless of the challenges that have been placed before me in the past, now, and future.  I really wouldn't trade this time for anything else.  
- Sister Sorensen

February 20, 2014

Feb 17, 2014

Happy late Valentines day.  Hopefully it was a fun one for all of you.  It was a good one for me, especially getting your package that evening.  Thank you!  It made me happy.  :)  I needed that.

Thanks for the updates!  Sounds like things are exciting with all the events going on.  I hear stuff here and there from the members here but it's good to get the actual reports.  I'm glad you all had fun at East Canyon too!  Was there not a lot of snow or just enough to do your sledding?  I'm sure it was very different not having the whole crew up there.  That would be hard.  When does Kaylor get off his mission?  Is he extending the amount he was home?  That's crazy the Griffin boy got his call!  I didn't think he was that old!  Tell him congrats.  How is Brother Griffin doing?  Can't remember if you ever told me how he is doing and his health is now after his scare a year ago.  Hopefully he's good.  How's the rest of the ward doing?  That's awesome about Bro Cook being the new ward mission leader.  He will do great.  He helped with the stake mission prep so yes, he is very missionary minded.  How has all of your missionary efforts been going?  Keep it up!

Well this week, Valentines day we went and heart attacked the single ladies in the wards doors.  They all sure loved it.  We even stopped by one of the houses and thought we'd go talk to her.  She gave the lesson at church yesterday and said how we were God's little mercies to her.  Her husband died about a year ago and so she was dreading that day and was headed to bed since she had nothing to do.  Well we showed up just in time and were her little "sweethearts" that day.  I felt really glad that the Lord used us that day when we knew nobody would be home and let us in.  Also this week, we got a hold of Joe finally and invited him to a baptism the Elders were having.  He said he'd come and also to church!  And sure enough he came to both.  He really loved the baptism but felt he can't be baptized yet because he doesn't know enough.  It was kids that were being baptized, and so we mentioned "do you think they know everything?"  He was taken back and replied "no".  We told him that baptism is one of the steps in gaining more knowledge about the church.  You first just need to have faith, and then make the changes necessary to be spiritually, mentally, and physically ready to receive the Holy Ghost to help us access that greater knowledge.  So hopefully it sparked something in him and that he will desire to be baptized soon.  First, he still needs to stop smoking.

Well nothing else really has happened this week sadly that I can think of.  Can't believe February is almost over.  I'm ready for March though.  Well I love you all and hope all is well!  Take care!!!!!
- Hermana Sorensen

February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014

Thanks for the Russian!  Have you been doing the different country dinners and stuff?!  Sure hope so!  I think that has been a fun new tradition!  I'm sad I'm missing it all.  But yes, please keep me updated on everything.
I'm glad to hear you had a good birthday Mom!  Sure looks like a fun one!  We just might have to celebrate everyone's Birthday that I've missed when I get back.  One fun big Birthday party!!
Yes we have been getting rain finally here.  It's still not enough, and I think we need it more in the mountains.  So hopefully we keep getting some rain here and there.  This morning we had fog though which was fun!  I think it was the thickest I've seen since being here, even though it really wasn't as thick as it could be.  But I enjoyed it!

This week has had it's ups and downs.  Thank you for the love and concern and especially prayers.  Things got better the middle of the week, but we are back to what it was. I am just trying to love everyone and not take offense.  Sigh..  But I appreciate the thoughts and love.

This week I taught my first Stop Smoking lesson!  His name is Joe.  He's in his 60's I think.  Such a nice guy and is excited to quit.  It's sad though because we haven't been able to get a hold of him lately and set a return appointment.  We stopped by at his house last night and his ex-wife was there and bashed on us and called us some names.  She's probably been the one withholding communication between us.  I don't think we will ever go back there.  We're going to talk to the Elders here and see if they can teach him so this lady doesn't get more mad at us.

I wish more things happened this week.  It was really long and exhausting.  Door after door after door each night with no one letting us in.  I think that's something that is hard here.  It's very segregated. Missionaries vs members.  No connection or friendships.  Maybe it's just cause I was in my last area for so long and I was able to build these relationships, but here it's sad because Sis Allred doesn't know a lot of the members still.  I'm glad we can work more with new people and investigators, but I know we shouldn't forget the members either.  So that's what we've been trying to fix.  Visiting members.  Do the missionaries still come over to the house often?

Sorry my letter isn't exciting.  I've been chatting with Amanda, Kimberly, and Michelle here and there while trying to write this.  So sorry if it's choppy and not much.  It's been another tough week but I am hopeful for a better one this week.  We're going on exchanges so that will be a good break.  I love being a missionary though.  I really do.  I just am excited to be with people that understand me and that love me.  4 more months.  Anything I can do for you all?  

Hope you all have a good week this week.  Happy Valentines to you all too this Friday!  Will you be mine?!  Thanks for everything.  Take care!!!!
- Sister Sorensen

February 9, 2014

February 3, 2014

Hello family!  So good to hear from you.  I have been looking forward to your email since Wednesday!  Transfers have been super hard.  Amie Horan dropped me off here in Hanford Wednesday morning.  She took her sweet time. ;)  Ha ha..  It was hard to see her leave.
I guess there is a Sorensen family in the ward that everyone keeps asking if I am related to.  And then one of out Part Member families, the husband grew up in Manti!  He knows Ryan and Steve!!!!  He said Steve is his facebook friend.  So that was just weird to know he knows my cousins and knows Manti!!!  Then one of the ward members goes to Odgen to the Children's tree house a lot because he is a story teller.  Pretty interesting!  But Hanford is a lot of what I heard but not at the same time.  It's a lot bigger than Los Banos.  It's like Layton just out in the middle of no where.  Has a mall, stake center, hospital, Arby's, etc.  I didn't think they had Arby's here in California.  I saw it though and jumped for joy!  I craved that place so much in Los Banos and no one knew what it was!  Here I come curly fries!!!!!  The water is awful.  Very sulfur-y.  It's a tint of yellow and very cloudy.  Slowly getting use to it.  And no I haven't tried the ice cream yet.  Don't know when I will.  A lot of the people here say it's really not that good and what all the talk makes it to be.  Church yesterday was super full.  Not use to that!  Not sure I'm ready to come back to Utah and come to big wards.  I've grown to love the smallness of wards.  I now get what the members kept telling me of how nice small wards are.  Don't realize it until you're gone.

That's cool about the TV in your office dad!  I was actually going to suggest doing something like that.  We were at the Chiropractors the other day for Sister Wilhelm and I was realizing how nice and relaxing the TV made you feel and didn't know if that would be something helpful in your atmosphere to help your patients.  Can't wait to see all the changes you have made there at your office and the house and everywhere else.  Hopefully Grandpa Carter can figure his new phone out!

Happy Birthday Mom this week!!!!  Your card will be on its way soon.  Any fun plans?!  No I have not heard much about the Olympics.  I'm super sad I'm missing them.  Keep me posted or updated on wins and events.  It's in Russia?!  When do they start?  I'm sure it won't be hard to know since I'm sure people will be having them on all the time.  Can you record the Opening and closing ceremonies possibly for me?!  Unless they have already started.  

Well I love you all.  I really REALLY love you all. I'm grateful for your patience with me and loving me for who I am.  I'm nervous for the next couple weeks, but I'll do my best!
LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!

- Hermana Sorensen

January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

....Hello Hanford!!!!
After 6 transfers....9 months....half my mission here in Los Banos, it's time to pack the bags and move down south to Hanford.  My new companion will be Sister Allred.  I don't know who she is at all, so I'm nervous but I think I've had my fair share of hard companions, so no matter what I think I will make it 6 weeks since I've done it before.  Hopefully!!!!!  Ha ha..

We've had a good week this week.  Kind of bummed though because we have a possibility of 5 baptisms this next month.  Derek Laguna will be baptized this weekend (he's 10 but hasn't been baptized due to phobia of water, but has been working on it and his parents are quickly doing it this weekend while family is in town to celebrate their Grandpa's 75th Bday).  Then on Saturday we got a new investigator; Zonjia.  She's on of the members neices and took the discussions before but moved, and is now back in town and wants to be baptized.  We set a date for the 15th of Feb.  THEN!  There's a new family in town that has been coming to church the last couple Sundays.  Well apparently the kids aren't baptized but have been raised in the church.  So yesterday the Grandma said the kids want to be baptized.  So there's another 2.  Fingers are still crossed for Lupita.  And then I told you I believe that we can't find the records for one of the boys in the ward and might have to re-baptize him.  All of this excitement happens when I leave.  Oh well.  Hopefully we'll have some excitement in Hanford.  Don't know much about the area other than it has yummy ice cream.  Hanford I guess is known for their ice cream factory.  Mmmmm...  Down side though, the water smells like rotten eggs and not good for you to drink.  Yay for perfume and bottled water.  I can not wait till I can have a nice cup of water from the tap.  I'm getting tired of drinking bottled and/or filtered water.  And from what I hear, my ward in Hanford will be English.  Sounds like the Elders cover the Spanish.  It's one ward though so I'll still have to use a little Spanish.

Your princess tea party looks like it was fun!  I'm jealous!  Can we have one when I get back?!  What all did you do for it?!  Any games or yummy snacks?!  And I hope Jeff and Packer had a good Birthday then.  Sure looks like it!  You getting excited for your Birthday mom?!  We celebrated Sister Wilhelm's birthday yesterday too.  We went to the Horans for dinner and open presents.  She's now 21 so the theme was her being legal.  So we had a lot of Root "beer" and champagne.  We even played a drinking game where you spin the bottle and have to drink the shot and guess what drink it was.  They had some pretty nasty stuff.  Straight Lemon juice, root beer mixed with milk, mango juice, water and apple cider mixed, etc.  We had some good laughs.  Then we went to the park to have a silly string war.  Ohh and I rode their goat!  Ha ha..

This week was very jumbled and spent running around trying to cope with 2 wards.  We did a lot of splits trying to fit everything in.  Saturday we had a ward movie night.  We watched Ephraim's Rescue.  Have you guys seen it?  I thought it was good, but I think I prefer 17 Miracles.  I liked how they intertwined though.

Well I hope all is well for you all.  Things here are on the up hill.  Thank you for all your prayers.  Thank you Kimberly for your email.  I loved it!  Is that your real hair color now?!  And thank you Michelle for all the pictures and update on all the Birthdays!  I love you all and miss you everyday.  Couple more months!!!  Crazy that a year has already gone.  Take care and tell everyone I say hi and send my loves.

- hermana Sorensen