Sunday, August 6, 2017

Elder Sorenson - July 31, 2017

Hi Everyone!

Well, I definitely forgot how crazy Guayaquil is compared to Machala. It is very loud and there are so many more people here. It is super fun being companions with Elder Bourtschi!! He is from Las Vegas and he has just a little over a year on in his mission. He works super hard and I love having him as a companion. We really are great teachers together and the things I am not so great at, he is, and vice versa. 

Some highlights from the first week back in Guayaquil are being able to say hi to some of the families from when I was first here. They were all shocked that I am able to talk to them in Spanish now! Ha ha we also had our entire zone participate in the talent show for our ward. Because we are missionaries, our talents are limited, but we were able to get the crowd laughing and we made some really funny jokes. Ha ha! but the ward I am in is so loving and they are so great! They all just love helping the missionaries and giving us food and everything. 

My companion and I have found so many people ready to listen to our message! They actually read and pray, which is super rare! We have three people that have baptism dates and they all are super receptive in what we have to share with them. They are all working really hard to be able to know for a fact that our message is true. They are really wanting more and more. Their desires to learn more are incredible and inspiring.

I honestly do not have much to say this week because I am learning a lot and trying to learn my new zone, but I want to bear my testimony that I know that this is His work and that I have been sent here for a reason. I know the book of Mormon is true and that this church is true. I love being on the Lord's errand and being able to share my testimony to everyone here in Ecuador. I know and testify that our families are eternal and if we are worthy, we will be able to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father! Love you all and I hope you are all enjoying your summer break!

Love Always, 
Elder Sorenson

Monday, July 24, 2017

Elder Sorenson - July 24, 2017

Well, I am sorry everyone I have no time today because I got a call and received changes!! 

I am now back in Guayaquil in the same zone I was before. My new companion is named Elder Bartschi!! He is from Las Vegas and a super hard worker!! 

Since I was transferred I am no longer a District leader, but now my companion and I are Zone Leaders! What does it mean to be a Zone Leader? It means that my companion and I are here to work and help others along the way! 

Last week was really hard for me because I was kind of expecting changes because of how long I have been in Machala, so saying goodbye to my converts was super hard for me. I have made a ton of family and life long friends in Machala! 

The trip back to Guayaquil was fun and it brought back so many memories. What is super funny is that the house I live in now is right next door to where I was living in my first sector. Like literally, it is the same building, just the door to the left this time. Haha!  I am excited to be able to visit my old converts and old members and actually be able to talk to them in Spanish this time!! 

I love all of you and I hope you had a great week!!

Love You All,

Elder Kyle Sorenson

Elder Sorenson - July 17, 2017

Hi Everyone!

This week went really well and was filled with quite a bit of laughs, cries, and all that good stuff.

I learned so much, especially from my converts, that I really can help people and I really am helping people come closer to Christ!

First, I want to share the funny story of the week. On Monday, we had a great day and were coming into the house and we saw a rat in our kitchen!! So we thought of a way we were going to catch it. I recorded it, you're welcome to watch it! Just watch the video and you can see why it is so funny!!

Anyways, the Elders and I finally got done with that huge service project that took two more days to finish! But we finally got it done and it was such a good feeling taking up the last bucket of dirt. I love service so much and it's such a great way to help other people!

We also had a meeting with our Mission President and he taught us something incredible: The importance of inspiring questions in lessons because we all know nobody is perfect. He taught us a theory of an iceberg and how we can only see the top of the iceberg, but the ice under the water is a lot bigger. In order to know the problems of the investigator, you need to their gain confidence and then be guided by the spirit to know what questions to ask. It was one of the most spiritual moments and experiences I have had on my mission.

It is crazy what can happen when you rely on the spirit 100% of the time. My companion and I applied the lesson to our investigators and they literally told us their life story and completely opened up. It is incredible to physically see and witness the spirit in conversion and in the hearts of the people here in Ecuador.

The best experience I had this week was yesterday. While we were trying to talk to a family, there was a huge party outside. I swear everyone here are either going to or already have hearing problems because of how loud they play the music. Anyways, everyone was dancing and partying outside. The family we wanted to teach ended up being at the party, so we were a little bummed about that but we went to the next house over, which is Sister Rosa (my most recent convert) and her entire family. We found them reading an Ensign magazine together and reading the teachings of the Prophet! All of a sudden, when we entered their house the music outside disappeared and we were filled with the spirit. I couldn't help but cry with joy.

This mission is not only changing the lives of other people, but those people are changing my life every day.

Love Always,

Elder Sorenson

John 16:33

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Elder Sorenson - July 10, 2017

Hi Everyone!

The Fourth of July was definitely a lot different being in a different country, but I still had a great day! My converts (Valeria and Justyn) made me an American flag and gave me a liter of coke and popcorn. They know me. Then, Oscar, my missionary leader, came over to our house and we had KFC and french fries so I guess you could say it was a great day! I was just missing fireworks and watermelon!

This week went pretty well. I learned a ton and am now seeing myself thinking and dreaming in Spanish. I kind of forgot English, especially in praying. My companion really wants to learn English so sometimes we pray in English and, I don't know why, but I have forgotten how to speak. Haha! It is okay. It is only going to get worse!

Two things that I learned this week are the importance of service AND the importance of stretching before service! We were able to help build a house for an investigator and it was so fun. We had to move about 2,500 bricks of concrete and a mountain of dirt to the 4th story of the building! First off, I found a fault in only eating rice - nobody has a whole lot of muscle or a ton of strength. So, what we did was put dirt in a bucket, hooked it to a pully system (made of wood so it was very safe mom) and then pulled it up to the 4th story, dumped it out and repeated the whole process.  I don't know what they see in Gringos, but they think I am strong. I ended up doing the pully for the majority of the time! It was super fun! The next day I couldn't lift my arms....haha! But honestly, it was a great experience and the investigator showed up to church yesterday! That just showed me that when we share the gospel in a different way - not just teaching the lessons - but by doing service, people can receive their testimony through our actions and acts of service.

As a District Leader, I interviewed 3 people for baptism this week and it was such a humbling experience for me. I got to see and listen to their testimony. It made me realize the importance of the Lord and the importance of listening to the promptings of the Spirit!

Also, my companion and I found some new investigators that seem really nice! They said yes to baptism! These spiritual experiences I am having are seriously incredible. I can't count the blessings I have been able to witness or take part of because of this mission. I can't tell all of you enough how much I love missionary work and how much I love this church. I also can't express to you enough the importance of having faith in Him and knowing that this is not the end. We will live with our families forever if we commit to the ordinances and promise Him that we will obey. If we endure to the end, we will receive eternal life.

This mission is honestly going by way too fast. I love being a missionary and being able to be the example for other members of the ward. I am so grateful for the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I do not want this mission life to end and I know it won't because when we have something and we know it is true, we will find ourselves always wanting to share it with other people (Luke 8:16-17, 1 Corinthians 9:14).

Also, after the baptism interviews I did, I got asked to baptize one of them! It was great and an honor to take part in an ordinance so sacred and dear to me. The man I baptized is a UFC trainer and he works at a gym. The baptism was a day after we did the heavy duty service and it was a great experience. I couldn't even lift my arms, but I was able to (with all the strength I had left) put this wonderful and humble man under the water. He made a splash that got the front row of seats wet!! Haha!

I love you all and I hope that you are doing well! I hope you have a wonderful and safe summer. You are always in my prayers and thoughts. If you have any questions for me or need someone to talk too, please e-mail me. I am always here and will give you the best advice I can! Talk to you next week! See you soon!

Love Always,

Elder Sorenson

Luke 8:22-25 - Where is your faith?
Mark 13:12-13 - Endure to the end, no matter what.

This video is available through e-mail. Please e-mail Kim Sorenson if you would like to receive/view the video.

A homemade flag that was made for me to celebrate 4th of July!

The back of the homemade 4th of July flag!

Shoveling a mountain of dirt to go in the bucket that would be sent up to the 4th story of the buidling 

Dirt in a bucket, hooked to a pully system made of wood and then pulled up to the 4th story, dumped out and repeated until the project was finished!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Elder Sorenson - July 3, 2017

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

Well...don't worry! I didn't forget about my favorite holiday and I made sure my District didn't forget either. I am the only white person in my entire District that would even know about 4th of July. Haha!

This week my companion and I literally didn't do anything after Tuesday! On Tuesday, we were doing service for someone by lifting bags of dirt in one spot and putting it in a different spot, I guess it made it look nicer and more organized, I don't even know. The bags of dirt we were moving were HEAVY and I am a pretty big guy - at least compared to the Latinos here in Ecuador. The bags were pretty heavy for me, so just imagine how my companion felt! My companion had lifted a bag of dirt and was taking it to the other side. To get the bag of dirt to where it needed to be, we were walking on a piece of plywood because the ground was really rocky. Well, long story short, my companion stepped on a rusty nail and it went through his shoe and punctured his foot so we stopped our service to look at his foot. I didn't think it was that bad, but we needed to get it checked out so we went to the clinic - the same one we went too when I had bronchitis (Oh, I also found the guy that told me I had asthma and let him know that he was completely wrong - haha!). The doctor looked at my companion's foot and gave him 2 or 3 shots. Luckily my companion had got his Tetanus shot in the MTC. The doctor then told us that he wasn't allowed to walk for a week! So I have been in the house from Tuesday until today. Great week, right? I learned how to solve a Rubik's cube, watched the same 4 movies twice, started to read the New Testament (I am now in 1 Corinthians), and wrote cards to families for when I leave this sector! So, yes, I would say it was a successful week!! Haha! But in all honesty, this past week has taught me patience and how a little incident/accident can change your whole week. I really wanted to leave and teach people (I found myself walking in circles in front of the door), but what was best was that my companion's foot get better. I am happy he can now walk normally and we can get back to work!

I definitely learned patience this week and that our health is really important in this work! One little thing (a rusty nail) can change every single plan of the week! I know this happened for a reason and maybe it was for my companion and I to strengthen our relationship even more.

I hope all of you have a great and safe week! Be smart and be careful with those fireworks because we all know that I wasn't! Haha!

I love you all!! Light off an extra firework for me!

Love Always,
Elder Sorenson

Matthew 25:1-13 "We must always be ready and have our lamps filled."

Monday, June 26, 2017

Elder Sorenson - June 26, 2017

Hi Everyone!

This week was filled with service and I honestly still can't feel my arms. My companion looks for service so we can get to know the people and in hopes that they will become investigators. It is a great idea and he and I have been very successful, but my body is telling me otherwise. Ha ha! We did have quite a successful week and had some fun while working!

I want to tell all of you about the investigators I am currently working with. As of now, we have eight investigators progressing and taking the discussions with us.

Family Sanchez is such a great family and we just started teaching them. They are lifelong friends with a family in the ward and we have been able to help them find more happiness in their life! They have a daughter who is 17 that doesn't believe in God (the first person I have met on my mission that doesn't believe in God). It has been a little tough teaching her the basic doctrine, which is faith, when she doesn't have faith. It is a new challenge for me that I know I can overcome!

We also found (through a recent convert of ours) a whole family of penguins (little children) that want to hear our message. There are literally seven kids and the mom! The mom can't go to church because of work but her kids do. All seven of them. In Ecuador, that is a ton of people in one group. So when they walk into church, I feel like how other people felt when, after my Fuller family reunion, we went to church and all 30 of us showed up and filled the whole chapel in Newport Beach. Haha! But they are great and I will keep you all updated on how they progress! Our other investigators are doing great and I love them to death. I would have to say the biggest problem here is marriage. Hardly anyone is married, and if they are, it is to another commitment they had 10 years ago. I can name five people that would be baptized tomorrow if it weren't for problems with marriage. But, I have been able to work with this and find a solution. Anyways, those are my investigators with a little update on who and how they are!

The families that I have already baptized are doing great as well! Valeria and Jostyn, they are literally my best friends and I love them more than the world! Their mom reminds me of my mom (sense of humor, loving, caring). They are a great family and they will always be in my heart.

We also had a meeting with our Mission President this past week that went very well and we learned a whole bunch! We were able to share our problems we have been having as a District and our President helped us come up with solutions. Our Mission President is so loving and kind and he really thinks with his heart. He is a wonderful man!

I am so blessed to be here and so blessed to be able to serve a mission! It is one of the greatest decisions that I have ever made in my life.

I love you all! You are always in my thoughts and prayers!

Love Always,
Elder Sorenson

Matthew 5:13-16 (favorite scripture of Ryan)
Salt = Example

Monday, June 19, 2017

Elder Sorenson - June 19, 2017

Hi Everyone!

This week went well. We ran quite a bit of errands and completed the extra tasks we had to do. My first week as a District Leader went great! I can see my personality positively affecting the hearts of my District and I really believe I am gaining trust in my District. At the beginning of my mission, I was pretty shy out here and those of you who know me, you know that I am not shy whatsoever. Haha! It was the language barrier and the fact that I didn't have a clue what the mission field was like that was making me shy. I would just go wth the flow and hope for the best. Now, a little more than 8 months into my mission, I can see my true self, that I know, blossoming even more. I can see the flaws that I had before my mission that I have been able to fix. Obviously, nobody is perfect and you live and learn. There is always room for improvement.

I have realized the essentials I need in my life to live with true happiness and everlasting joy. The first essential thing that I need (and you need too) is our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We are imperfect, but we can be perfected and we can repent and change, but only through Them. I have seen it firsthand in my mission! I have taught people who were so lost, didn't know where to go, and had so many difficulties in their life, but were open to me helping them change their path! A convert I recently baptized is now in seminary every day and taking mission prep classes to serve a mission. She is dong better in seminary then I was! Haha! This mission is incredible and the miracles I have been able to see and witness are beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I don't have words to explain how powerful the Holy Ghost has been and continues to be in my mission.

Also, my first District meeting as District Leader was this last Friday and it went super well! I was able to teach and share what I know with my District. I also got to share my testimony with them. Having and sharing your testimony is a huge thing! It is the greatest feeling when I get to share my testimony with every single person I encounter here in Ecuador. Some of my responsibilities as a District Leader include leading our weekly district meetings, making phone calls each night to each of the companionships in my District to gather their numbers of investigators and scheduled baptisms, and overseeing and conducting all baptismal interviews.

I also found a new taco place here! The tacos are incredible, better than any I have had. Please pray for me that I don't spend too much money there. Haha!

I love all of you! Thank you for all you have done for me and for helping my build my testimony!

Love Always,
Elder Sorenson

D&C 6:19-20

My convert who is preparing to serve a mission in a few years! 

Our District goals, the plan to get there, and our vision as a District Chantandro!! It isn't as pretty as it would be if one of the sisters made it, but it will do!! Haha!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Elder Sorenson - June 12, 2017

Hi Everyone!

 I forgot to tell you all last week that I experienced my first earthquake here in Ecuador! My companion and I were praying and we both thought it was revelation until people outside were screaming, "Terremoto!" Haha! It started in Peru at a 5.3 magnitude earthquake, it was (I am going to be honest) super cool and not what I expected an earthquake to feel like! Luckily, the earthquake did not cause any damage in our apartment and nobody got hurt in our area.

Anyways, I am finally starting to get over my sickness and am able to breathe better. It was driving me crazy having to be in the house a little extra time because of the sun. I felt super unproductive and I just wanted to get out and do something. Haha!

 Our lessons went well and we taught quite a bit of people. I find myself more successful with getting new investigators by not being too pushy the first lesson or discussion we have with them. The most effective instrument and tool (so far) has been the ability to speak English. I, being whiter than white, obviously do not belong in Ecuador and people look at me (not nonchalantly) and try to speak as much English as they know in the 3-5 seconds I walk past them. It is usually, "Hey you, my friend!” “Good night!” “1-2-3 Mickey Mouse!" At times there will be a few other things they say, but that is how 2 or 3 of our investigators are now discovering our message.  A few times they sound a little too good in English and it catches my attention, so I will stop and talk to them. It is so fun teaching them English! So what I do is teach them something cool in English or answer the questions they have for 5-10 minutes and then we teach a term of the gospel. The students here have English classes as well and their teachers are Ecuadorians, so they have quite an accent because it is honestly hard to read and write in English. So during visits, sometimes I will have 11-12 year old kids come up to me and ask if I can help them (do) their English homework. They are fascinated that I can read so fast in English, that I know the answers, and that I pronounce it so well! I wonder why?!?!?!?  Haha! You might be wondering, "Okay, I get how he is in a third world country and nobody speaks English, so how does this relate to the gospel?" but that's the thing, this past week, I was reading my own notes from general conference and remembered the great talk that Jeffrey R. Holland gave about singing in the choirs of heaven. A quote that comes to my head of his, goes something like this, "Not all the voices in the choir are the same" this is literally how I feel everyday and felt when I was in the Green Valley choir room 24/7 during high school. We ALL have different voices and we ALL share different things to make a choir sound in unison and harmony. There are men that can sing lower or higher than others, there are women who have beautiful vibrato, and there are singers that know dynamics of a song like the back of their hands. There is diction, vowel shapes, facial expressions, and so much more that is involved in singing. But no matter what, when we sing together we need to have "one voice in harmony" with the Lord and that is what we have in common in life - the Lord. While we are singing in the anthems of eternity we should stand as close as we can to the God and the Savior, because They have the perfect pitch. They have the note that we can't quite reach. They have the rhythm that we might struggle clapping out. Like a choir, we depend on the strong singers when we aren't 100% confident on the notes. Those strong singers in life are God and Jesus Christ. With Them, and only with Them, will we be able to "sing" our way "in perfect harmony and pitch" to the Kingdom of Heaven. But as I said earlier, "not all the voices are the same" but "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Therefore, His true church is the same in every part of the world! I don't belong in Ecuador because I am not from Ecuador and I don't sing (speak) like Ecuadorians, but because I am on the Lord's errand, there is a space for me here too.

Every one of us is a child of God and we are part of His eternal choir. There is room in the choir for all who wish to be there. I am so grateful for the humble and wonderful people of Ecuador that I have met. They have accepted me to be in their choir for 2 years to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." It doesn't matter that my first language is English and theirs is Spanish, the language that we both speak together is the language of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 I love all of you so much and I know God loves you. Pray to Him for all thy support. He knows who you are and where you are. He is just waiting to hear from you through prayer. "Come as you are, but don't plan to stay as you are."

 Love Always,

 Elder Sorenson

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Elder Sorenson - June 5, 2017

Hi Everyone!

These weeks are getting crazier and crazier as the weeks go by. This was by far the craziest and up and down week. EVER. My companion had to go to Guayaquil on Tuesday to get his Visa, so I stayed in Machala and was in a trio with Elder Barnom and Elder Soto. It was a super fun day, but I was so tired because we got up at 3 in the morning. When my companion got back, we had to stay in the house because my companion has Dange or Zika. I know, it stinks, but it gets worse. We weren't able to teach very much this week because we were in and out of Urgent Care and buying medicine. The next day I woke up and felt a little sick, but I just wanted to fight through it. We had a meeting with the mission nurses and they gave me a list of medicine to buy. I wasn't feeling any better and so they set up an appointment for the "clinic" (a hospital that doesn't have doors). The doctor checked my breathing and that stuff. Well everyone, it looks like I got Bronchitis, ain't nobody got time for that! Anyways, my President and his wife were near the clinic so they came to check up on my companion and I. It was a little embarrassing to see the President at 1in the morning with an oxygen mask on my face, but it happens to the best of us.

After doing two oxygen/air treatments, I was still not able to breathe without feeling dry in my lungs so the doctor made this great conclusion and said, "Oh no...tienes asthma." I went from the flu, to bronchitis, to asthma. Gotta love it! So anyways I received about 12 different medicines and an inhaler. I also am not allowed to sleep with air conditioning, so isn't that ironic? Haha! I am happy to say that I am feeling better and the medicine is working but does anyone want a slightly used oxygen mask? The hospital here makes you take it home and if you need to return to get more oxygen, you have to use the same mask. I guess it is their version of soda refills in the U.S.!

Oh! Also, we had a baptism on Friday, June 2nd! We baptized two wonderful people that have a firm testimony of this gospel. I hope you all had a great week and that you are in good health! I love you all and thank you for your prayers and support. WOW! 8 months down!!

Love Always,
Elder Sorenson

1 Corinthians  10:13


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Elder Sorenson - May 29, 2017

Hi Everyone!

This week might have been one of the hardest weeks I have had on my mission. We are really working hard and doing all that we can to find new people to teach. There has been some drama throughout our zone, but I think we got it all cleaned up! My relationship with my new companion can be up and down at times, but I can't deny that I have already learned so much from him.

The lessons we had this week went well and we taught by the Spirit. An investigator we have been working with for a while wanted us to come talk to her and we when we did, we found out that she really wants what we have! She is so sweet and I can honestly see it in her eyes that she is ready to receive our message.

I went on companion exchanges with my District Leader, Elder Salazar. It was so fun to be with him because he is super hard-working guy. He is from an Indian tribe in Ecuador so he has long pony tail. We got so much attention that day, a gringo and a native! Haha! I learned quite a bit from him and learned new ways to explain terms and how to find new investigators.

Like I said, this week was an up and down week. We gained a ton of confidence in the investigators that have a baptism date, but two of them found out they are moving to Chile this next week and they were so sad to tell us. Then the next house we went too, another baptism date told us that she is moving to Quito for 2-3 months. I really experienced the phrase, "2 steps forward, 1 step back" this week.

They only way I can handle the situation I have had this week is through patience and also being the bigger person. Obviously it is easy to loose your patience with your investigators that know the gospel is true but will not read, pray, or go to church, but when we show our patience towards them, it helps them to realize that the gospel is true in a whole different way because it is their journey, not ours. Our patience for our leaders or even our companions is a virtue.

I hope your week was great and that all of you are doing well. You might have had a rough week and you might not want to try it again, but I challenge you with, "I dare you to move. I dare you to lift yourself up off of the floor. I dare you to move forward today like you never have before!"

Love Always,

Elder Sorenson