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

January 26, 2014

January 20, 2014

Sorry my time is a bit short today.  I am currently in a trio.  Sister Hammer was emergency transferred out (got too attached to the Horan family).  So her companion is now with us and we are covering both wards.  So we only have 2 computers to email from since the Holiday.  But I just wanted to let you know I love you and appreciate all the love you show me.  Thank you for the words of encouragement and support in my decisions here.  Transfers are coming up so we will see what happens.  Really nervous.  I would hate to leave, but I'll do whatever.  I just want to be happy from here on out in my mission.  The Lord knows best though what I need.  

The Forman's said I don't have to pay them for the camera.  Bro Forman had a lot of things fixed on his mission by the members that he never had to pay for, which he was grateful for, and so he's just paying it back.  Such a nice family.  I just can't wait to introduce you to all of them someday!  PS: I kind of committed a Disneyland trip with the Horan's.  Ha ha..  They have a year pass this year and want me to join them.  What is our family schedule this summer?  Just let me know the plans for summer/fall time.

Yes California is having a really bad drought.  We are all told to fast and pray for rain.  This Fast Sunday coming up will be the day the whole stake and more are told to do that.  Feel free to join us and for your area as well!  We need the water!

That's awful to hear about the neighbors.  Where abouts did they live?  How are the Brown's doing?  I've been thinking a lot about them and continue to pray for them and Joel at this time.

Well briefly, this week we had Zone Conference.  We talked a lot about Spiritual Gifts.  I felt very happy and energized for this new year and to finish my mission strong.  I have a list of 21 gifts I have so far.  Only need to do 79 more to hit Amanda's goal of 100.  Ha ha..  But it's cool finding gifts you don't really think are gifts but are.  I'm excited to see what else I have been blessed with and need to grow.  Also, at the Zone Conference I did meet with a gentleman from Family Services.  So he's going to help me overcome some things and help me get back on track.  I'm anxious to see what he can do.

Sadly no new reports to report on this week.  Combining the wards again has been a challenge but we're getting it figured out and trying to get things done equally.  

I love you all and hope you have a good day and week.  What did you do for the long weekend?  Thank you again for everything.  Hope all is well for all you siblings.  Haven't heard in a while from some of you. (hint hint)  Mark and Sabrina, you still alive?!  You'll have to send me pics of the new house and life there.  Kimberly and Laura, you'll have to write me some letters or send me pictures to put up or just laugh at. :)  A lot of people are talking about cat videos and I couldn't help but think of you 2 probably sitting at the computer watching them. 

LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- hermana Sorensen

January 13, 2014 - One Year Mark!

Can you believe a year ago this week I was packing my bags and saying my last goodbyes?!  It doesn't seem like that long ago but does.  It surely has been a journey and life changing experience.  I have done a lot of reflecting these past coupe weeks and I think I'm the one gaining the most out of this.  I guess that's one of the reasons in being sent out.  I'm nervous but excited to see what these last couple months bring.  I think I've learned more about myself and what I need in life then I would have back at home.  I know these things are preparing me for the future.
I'm glad to hear Grandpa is doing alright.  I have been thinking of him a lot lately and yes I will write him a letter soon.  Please tell him I love him so much and have a giant hug waiting for him!!!!  Can't wait to visit with him and play games.

I got a really sweet letter from Amanda that has been helping me remember my potential.

Sister Odor and I with the Horans at Yosemite
So you have probably been wondering why I haven't sent any pictures yet of Christmas or my last trip at Yosemite.  WELL!  While we were there at Yosemite, just as we were leaving the park, we all wanted to take one last photo by the Yosemite National Park sign.  Sis Hammer took one for me and as she was handing me my camera back, it dropped right on a rock and broke the lense.  I was calm and figured it was just jammed.  But of coarse I was freaking out inside with knowing Christmas Eve is the next day and Christmas, etc. and I have NO CAMERA to take pictures of all of this with!!!!!  The Horan's had an old camera they have been letting me borrow.  Well I took it over to the Forman's in the ward to see if he could fix it.  Yesterday at church he handed me a bag of camera pieces and said "Here's your camera!" and left it at that for a while.  I thanked him for trying.  He then smirked and turned the camera on and showed me he fixed it!  HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!  So I now have a working camera again and can start taking more pictures!!!! :)

Sister Odor and I with the Horan family
Not a whole lot has happened since Friday's letter.  I am sad though because Angelina DeHerrera (the one back in August I believe that we baptized) is under foster care right now.  Her whole family is.  The Dad has been in and out of jail lately and missed his probation so is now back in.  They tested the mom for drugs and came out positive.  So CPS took the kids away.  They have 6 or 7 kids from the ages of 18-1 yrs old.  Super sad!  A lot of the members are trying to see if they can open their doors for them and to try to keep the kids together as closely as they can.  So we will see. :(  We have been seeing and hearing a lot of situations where kids being taken away from families.  One of our newest investigator (Breanna) is a foster child right now.  Her mom is in jail.  Destiny, her foster mom is another investigator.  We met Breanna at church.  She is 10 yrs old.  She had her friend Jaylnn come with here so we visited both of them there and then set a return appointment.  When we visited them last week Jaylnn wasn't able to come so we just visited with Breanna.  However, Destiny was talking to us when we first got there and mentioned how she just wants Breanna to have God in her life so she knows what ever happens to her, she always has someone there to hear her and be with her.  We told her that's great and then what we go about doing.  She looked surprised and was like "I've always been curious what the mormons believe.  Do you mind if I sit in and listen too?"  Of coarse not!!!!  We taught them the Restoration and Destiny was very into it.  Breanna is hard to get to with all her walls she has up to strangers.  But she listened and sat there so we were happy with that.  So that's 2 of our new investigators, and hopefully Jaylnn will come next time.  Also teaching an older gentleman named Henry.  He's a veteran and was telling us a lot about the wars he's been in.  He is very haunted by his past and so we talked to him a lot about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation.  He cried a lot with us and it was just a very sweet time with him.  Lupita and Hannah have been slipping.  Lupita still hasn't asked her dad if she can get baptized.  And I think I mentioned it before, the mom says Hannah is too young.  So.. we have a couple that we hopefully can have baptisms for but we're just at a hold up right now.

Well, my time is short.  I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!  4 1/2 more months to go, 142 more days, 40,000 plus hours or something.  Thank you for the suggestions and advice.  But mostly thank you for all the love.  I do know you are all there for me.  I appreciate it.  Let me know if there is anything I can do for you all and again if there is anything you want me to get you here.

Take care!!!!!
- hermana Sorensen

ps. I was talking to Vern Hixson yesterday dad at dinner and he was very shocked to hear you used to be a farm boy!  (we were talking about gardening or something)  :)  It made me laugh. Especially seeing his face when I told him you're a dentist now.  Silly family. I'm so glad you got to meet them!

January 10, 2014

January 10, 2014

Wow, 22 emails and 1 1/2 hours to respond.  Won't be able to get to them all right away, but know that I read everyone of them and was so touched at all the love and strength each one brought to me just now.  Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

Grandma's funeral sounds like it was wonderful.  I was at the Horan's all day Monday after emailing and they gave me lots of hugs and loves which I definitely needed.  Thank you Amanda for the quick response on how the funeral went.  I couldn't wait to hear about it so that was very helpful to get a run down of it and especially see a few of the pictures.  They made me cry.  I LOVED the kisses on the casket.  Michelle mentioned Grandpa was a little hesitiant about that, but I too agree that Grandma wouldn't want it any other way.  It was a great sign and always will be now of our deep love for sweet Grandma Carter.  Thank you for putting a kiss for me.  I can't wait to hear and see more of the services.  All in time though.  I'm just getting back to things and getting a hang of things.  Tuesday the Chowchilla sisters drove up and gave me a hug and we talked for a bit.  The Horan's of coarse have been a huge help this whole time.  I received a blessing from our Stake President Sunday.  Sister Odor has been very loving and helpful to me especially.  She has let me have my moments alone and moments to take a breather and just cry. 

We went to the temple yesterday and I kept thinking to myself that Grandma too is on the other side of the veil like the people we are doing these ordinances for.  She is a missionary like me teaching others about the Gospel.  This life is nothing.  She is where she spent her whole life working for.  She accomplished her test here on this Earth and is a step ahead of all of us.  Sure it's painful being separated and not having her here physically with us still, but this time for us will end too and we will see her again and rejoice and give each other kiss marks on the cheeks!

This week we got a lot of new investigators!  Don't have much time to write about them but hopefully they will progress and that they will accept the Gospel in their lives.  I'll share more about them next email.  PS sorry this letter is late.  Since we had the temple we swapped preparation days and things just went weird and so we are just emailing now.

I love you all and continue to pray for each and every one of you that you will be watched over and blessed at this time.  Thank you for everything and know that I am going to do my best to do what I can here the rest of my mission to make Grandma proud and our Heavenly Father.

LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!
- Hermana Sorensen

December 30, 2013

My heart is so full of emotions.  I just received the call late last night as I was headed off to bed.  President talked to Sis Odor first and then lastly me.  He told me he was calling regarding grandma and that she has passed away.  I knew it was coming yet you still can't even prepare your self for something like that.  It was a very hard and long night.  This morning I felt it was unreal and all a bad dream.  It's especially hard being away because it just feels like everything will be just fine in 6 months.  I have to keep reminding myself that this is it.  I had a feeling it was time though.  The 26th I had a rough morning and wanted to be home.  I had exchanges that day and was able to cry and let things out to my sister trainer leader.  She was my sister for the day.  Things the rest of the week got better but I was still feeling really homesick and just depressed.  Last night we were at a members home and she asked us each to take home something that was in her room.  My eyes went straight to a lighthouse.  I told her it reminds me of my grandma.  Little did I know I'd get a phone call that same night telling me she is gone.
I was so SO happy to see all of you Christmas!!!!  I couldn't stop smiling afterwards.  Seeing you all made things so much easier.  I hate just the phone call like Mothers day.  That made me really homesick afterwards.  But this time I was just so happy.  You all are so beautiful and I can't wait to hug each and every one of you.  After calling you, we headed over to the Schofield's.  It was fun but too laid back for me.  My one Christmas here and I want to use all the time to the fullest and sitting down was not working for me!  I wanted to play a game or watch a movie!  We had a fancy lunch with them.  Then there son in Peru called home so we felt a little awkward there still just sitting around not having anything to do.  So we left and headed back to the Horan's.  I played pirates with Jimmy the whole night until we had to eat.  The whole dinner time he kept staring at me and my pirate sword smiling and waiting for me to "kill" him.  But I told him "I will kill you after you eat your potatoes".  Everyone laughed.  :)  He ended up afterwards stealing my sword, stabbing me, and then stabbing himself.  So we both laid dead on the floor until it was time to watch a movie.  We watched Monsters University!  SO CUTE!!!!!!  I thought it was funny.  Made me kind of depressed though because that's how I've been feeling lately...where do I fit in?  But it was good.  We then went home and watched Wreck it Ralph with Sister Vogel.  Sister Odor loves her movies and wanted to watch as much as we could on this day that we're allowed.  So that was my Christmas.  Thank you all for the gifts and money.  I felt very loved.  

I love you all and hope you all find peace and comfort too.  This is a hard time for all of us and I know it will be very different from here on out.  I send my loves to Grandpa.  I wish I was there to hug you and give you a kiss.  I can't even comprehend your pain at this time.  Mom, you are my everything and I don't even know what I would do if I lost you.  I know you miss your mom and that it hurt you to see her in so much pain and unable to do anything.  I want you to know how much I love you and wish I could be there to comfort you at this time.  My biggest and tenderest hugs and tears to you mom.

I know Grandma loves me and wants me to keep working hard.  And I will.  I pray she watches over me now and helps me the rest of my time here and on.  She was an incredible lady and will be sorely missed.

-hermana Sorensen

Happy New Years too!