Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Elder Sorenson - January 30, 2017

Wow .... Mondays come so fast and I don't know how I feel about it. This next Sunday (Aspen's birthday) marks four months since I have been on a mission! My mission is flying by but I am definitely enjoying every minute of it!

Today I, along with all the missionaries and Guayaquil, had our zone meeting with our Mission President. It went really well, but it was six hours long! We learned more about our purpose as missionaries and the importance of obedience, patience, and diligence. After the meeting, I made a promise to myself to be positive and be patient with this language!

We had another meeting today and our PD day got changed to start at 8 AM instead of 10:30 AM, so let's just say today, my companion and I had time we didn't know what to do with! I learned today that when I focus 100% on what a person is saying, I can understand exactly what they're saying, as long as they don't speak 1 million words a minute.

We found three new investigators today and two of them came to church yesterday! They are such sweet people and so open to listen to our message. They read every day and have so many questions, which is such a great thing! I am also writing in my journal in complete Spanish, and if that doesn't say I am improving, I don't know what will!

One of our investigators confirmed for baptism today! Our lessons went really well and we definitely taught by the spirit in every lesson. During one of our lessons, I got bit by something on my forearm and I couldn't feel my arm for two or three hours and it was swollen and sore. Ha ha! So that night, I called my mission president at around 11:15PM and he told me to go get medicine, and that if the pharmacy wasn't open, I would have to go to the hospital. Here is where it gets very great. We were walking to the pharmacy and the owner was closing his door, but we got there in the nick of time! Definitely an M&M (Mission Miracle)!! Don't worry mom, my arm is completely fine and I didn't get the Zika!!

Today I was super comfortable in the language. I felt super confident all day and I haven't had a problem talking to anyone sense! The gift of tongues is real! I talked one on one with an investigator and I didn't have a problem communicating with her or trying to get my point across. She told me my Spanish was incredible and could actually understand me!

The climate here changes more than I can even describe. One day it will be nice, then it will be raining all day, and then the next day will be super hot. So let's just say my sinuses are all messed up! Our lessons today were about two or three only because we had a meeting with our stake president and the meeting went longer than we expected. He talked about the importance of working with the members and I understood everything!

This week went very well and I am enjoying the time I have on my mission. I really do think this is where I need to be at this time in my life. The members, the youth, and my investigators all seem to like me and I just can't help but smile at the fact that I get to bring these sweet and humble people the gospel and ordinances needed to live with Him again. It is honestly such an honor and a privilege to wear a name tag with my name and the Savior's name on it as well. There is no doubt in my mind that when we live these gospel principles and abide by His standards, we live in a state of hope, joy, humility, and happiness because we will know that the Plan of Salvation will bring our families eternal life and eternal happiness.

I truly learned the importance of patience and diligence here. For example, when I am hard on myself and say I am not good in Spanish, I don't feel the spirit and I don't improve but when I "Press forward, have any steadfast in Christ," I see the miracles and blessings I have in my life.


Love Always,

Elder Sorenson

Mosiah 4:26-27




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Elder Sorenson - January 23, 2017

Hello Everyone!

I hope you have had a good week. This week I hit my two month mark being in Ecuador! It is crazy how fast time flies when you have a set schedule everyday and you don't have to worry about anything - only spreading and sharing the Gospel to all those that are ready to receive it.

TUESDAY - 9,886 Steps
Today we received a burst of refrencias to go and teach so I was pretty excited about that! Tonight I taught my Bishop English. I am so grateful that I know English. It is such a hard language to understand! On our way home, my companion and I were talking and this dog came running at us that I didn't see. So what does my companion do? He yells, "Cuidado!" and pushes me towards the dog so he could get an extra boost from the dog! Don't worry mom, the dog didn't bite me! 2 points - Elder Sorenson; 0 points Dog.
WEDNESDAY- 7,964 Steps
I realized today how humble these people in Ecuador are. I realized how many things I took for granted before my mission, like hot water, a clean house with air conditioning, cars, washer/dryer, phone, food, and money. Here, about $10 can get a single person through two weeks. In my ward, there are about 4 or 5 young men preparing a mission. One of them leaves for Columbia in March. I now realize how fortunate I am for all the support I have and the blessings I have been given. The young men here serve because they love the gospel. Even if they only have 2 shirts and a pair of pants to their name they don't care, they serve for Him and not for recognition. These young men are true examples of what true missionary work is. It's not about the recognition; it is about working with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength.
THURSDAY - 4,227 Steps
We didn't have any lessons today, but it was my favorite day of the week. My companion and I did six hours of service in the house of one of our members! We painted for them and I had so much fun doing it!! I was covered in white paint from head to toe so I looked like a “gringo” more than ever before when we were walking back to our house to get changed!
FRIDAY - 9,021 Steps
We were pretty successful with lessons today; we received two new investigators that are such sweet people! We were invited to go to a Family Home Evening with the family we painted the house for. It was the son’s birthday and so I bought him a cake. While I was in the store to buy the cake, the TV in the store was on and the channel on the TV was on a news channel that was showing Donald Trump at his inauguration. I get asked by so many people here what my thoughts are on him, it is crazy! Anyways, people celebrate birthdays so much differently here. He didn't get any presents, but we all went in a circle and talked about what we loved about him and gave him advice. He started crying. It was such a sweet and special moment and I was so honored to be a part of his birthday.
SATURDAY - 5,614 Steps
Today was such a crazy day!! My companion is the District Leader and so he is responsible for baptism interviews. He interviewed a sister for baptism that the sister missionaries in our zone taught. It went well but after the interview, the girl getting baptized asked for me "the gringo" to baptize her! So we ran to the house, I got my clothes, and then we went to the baptism. Also, we gave one lesson today and it went great. It was a family of five or six and they are all girls. We got two new investigators in the family and one of them went to church with us yesterday! Then I had my English class and 10 people showed up! It went well and they actually learned and thanked me so much after the class!
SUNDAY - 12,824 Steps
We had four investigators show up to church today, which is a lot, and our class had 10 recent converts in it! It was great, my companion and I (more me because my companion doesn't even know how to cook rice) cooked for a family and it turned out really well!
It was a great week filled with lots of events and lessons! I love you all. Please look for ways to serve this week! Service is a great way to come closer to not only your family but to your Heavenly Father!
Love Always,
Elder Sorenson
Enos 1:15



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Elder Sorenson - January 17, 2017

Hello everyone!

I feel like I haven't talked about my investigators at all so this week's e-mail is going to be a bit different from the ones I have sent. The families that I have really loved have been baptized already, well at least part of the family has.  Hermana Lilah, my first investigator we got to baptism, is 80 years old and one of the nicest ladies I have ever met. She really reminds me of my Grandma Fuller because she always puts others before herself. She loves reading the Book of Mormon and reads at least two or three chapters a day. She also loves the Gospel Principles book. She has one son who lives with her and is about 50 or 60 years old. He hasn't seen daylight or gone out of the house for four years. He reminds me of Howie from the movie Benchwarmers. I love him so much and I am working on him for baptism!!

Another family that will forever be in my heart is the Alvarado's. There are a total of seven people in their family; mom, dad, an uncle, and four children. The two oldest kids, Alex and Emily, were the ones I baptized last week. Their uncle, Oliver, is less active but is always in the lessons! We confirmed another one of the Alvarado's for baptism in February! We are working on the parents but it is super hard to contact them because they work every single day. This family is so special to me and I know Heavenly Father sent me here in Malvinas at this time for this family. The uncle calls my companion and I, "familia Alvarado's Angels!" I look forward to seeing this family every day!

One last family I want to tell you about is the family Salazar. Only the daughter and mom are members but oh man are their testimonies strong! I help the daughter every day with her English homework and they always feed us! We started teaching the dad yesterday and I actually had a 20 minute conversation with him and understood everything and my companion didn't say a word! That was a huge language builder for me. Anyways, these three families are so awesome.

As of right now, we don't have any other family investigators but I know the Lord will lead us to the more families in the coming days!

Highlights of the week:
*I had companionship exchanges this week and my companion was with another zone so I had to figure out where everyone lived without my companions help. It was rough! Ha ha!!

*I feel like I can understand literally everything when we are talking about the doctrine, but in normal conversations I don't understand everything that is said.

*I overcame my disliking of seafood. Now the only seafood I can't stand is fish. Crab is alright and on Sunday I had shrimp and it was actually pretty good! It's only the fish that is killing me when I eat it now.

I hope you all had a great week and are having a great school year! I am all good here in Ecuador. I have gotten used to the food and the language is coming to me. If I focus in on the lessons and not get distracted by things in the streets or in peoples houses, I actually know what they are talking about. I know the Gift of Tongues is real because if you knew me before my mission, you know that I could not speak a lick of Spanish but now I have a big enough vocabulary to maybe, but not perfectly, express how I feel. I speak enough for people to understand the message I'm trying to get across to them.

My tip for the week is always remember that "When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you're only in the service of your God." Please look for opportunities to serve this week and I know, with all the sincerity in my heart, serving others will bless your life more than you can possibly imagine.

Love Always,

Elder Sorenson

Monday, January 9, 2017

Elder Sorenson - January 9, 2017

Hi everyone!

Tuesday - 11,600 Steps
I woke up this morning and got told that I needed to get a shot, so I went and got a shot and didn't  even know what it was for. The lessons today went really well and we had a member with us the whole day and he speaks English! My two favorite lessons were also the most dangerous. We are waiting for someone to answer the door and then something hit me in the neck. Four or five kids had airsoft guns and one of them (on purpose) shot me in the neck. Then the boy came over and apologized so I gave him a "Gospel of Jesus Christ" pamphlet and it talks about repentance. My companion thought it was so funny! Then we went to another house and I wasn't paying attention. I went to knock on the door and I heard a growl and a dog's mouth opening. The dog was about 3-4 inches away from biting my leg! Then come to find out my companion showed me that the dog had rabies!! Good thing I got a shot today ha ha!

Wednesday - 7,004 Steps
We had an abundance of lessons today but my favorite one was with a guy who was baptized two years ago. He saw us on the street and wanted to talk to us! He sang random Spanish songs during my companion's prayer, kept interrupting him and telling my companion what he wanted in the prayer. It also rained today and it hasn't stopped all day. Another member came with us today and he served in Chile. He knows Parker Phelps and my teacher in the MTC, Hermana Horsely!  I had pizza today and I have never been more in love!

Thursday - 9,767 Steps
I tried to focus 100% during the lessons and I can honestly understand most of what they are saying! I can see myself improving. I just need to stop being so hard on myself.

Friday - 12,875 Steps
The bug bites are starting to come back but I solved it with my insect repellent! I get them on my toes and so it is terrible when I walk! I'm starting to get closer with my companion because I can actually talk to him! Tonight, we had an activity with the youth and it was karaoke. They all know I sing so they made me go first. Jacob, one of the YM in the ward, chose the song and he made me sing Elvis Presley! I had a good day. I am starting to see how big of an impact the Lord is having on me to understand and learn this language!

Saturday - 9,105 Steps
Let's just say I can't return my baptism clothes anymore because I baptized my first investigator! His name is Leo Alexander Bonia Garcia Alvarado. Guess how many times I had to repeat his name? Zero. I got it the first try! What was so funny was that my companion baptized his sister and he had to do it twice. I was so nervous that I wouldn't completely get his body underwater, so I accidentally threw him down into the water ha ha! I am convinced that South Americans do not know the essence of time. The baptism started at 7:00 but it didn't actually start until about 8:15. Alex and his sister also wanted me to sing a solo at the baptism so I sang "I Believe in Christ" in both Spanish and English! I got so many compliments afterwards that I didn't understand!

Sunday - 9,339 Steps
We had so much food today and it wasn't just rice! Church went well. The bishop announced that I am teaching an English class that I didn't know about so we will see how that goes! We had lunch with one investigator, then dinner with the family, and then dinner again with another family. We are homemade tacos that were so good. I ate so many I couldn't walk afterwards!

I had a fun and entertaining week. I learned that with the Lords help, I can accomplish anything as long as I put 100% of my effort in it! I'm feeling my testimony grow and my language improving. This week I also learned that missionary work is largely dependent on the agency of others. Actually, almost completely dependent on it. We can work our tails off, but it is up to the people we talk to to decide whether they will meet with us or give us their phone number or take a book of Mormon or except our message or whatever the case maybe.

Yo quiero compartir mi testimonio. Este iglesia es un cosa muy especial en mi corazon y yo se que es verdadera. Lo se con todo mi corazon que el Libro de Mormon es palabras de Dios y el mas nosotros leemos y oramos, el mas fuerte nuestro testimonio es. Yo amo este iglesia y este mision. Gracias por tus oraciones y tu apoyo porque sin ellos no se donde estaria. En el nombre de nuestro Salvador, Jesucristo. Amen. 

I love you guys and hope you have a great week!!!

Elder Sorenson

Monday, January 2, 2017

Elder Sorenson - January 2, 2016

Happy New Year!

TUESDAY - 10,686 steps
Today was a pretty good day, it wasn't crazy eventful, but it was still fun. One of our investigators had her baptism interview! Let me just say, South Americans are not too concerned about start times. There was an activity scheduled for 7:00PM but didn't actually get started until 8:30PM.

WEDNESDAY - 13,614 steps
I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite elders today because he went to a different zone and it made me super sad! Also, we got shut down on lessons today and only had one or two. People are not home because of the holidays.

THURSDAY - 16,884 steps
I had companion exchanges today! I was with Elder Garcia and he is so funny! I love him so much! He gave me some really great advice and I want to share it with you guys. What does H2O stand for? It doesn't stand for water. The "H" stands for Humility 2 Obedience! When I am humble or when we all have humility, it will lead "2" "O"bedience! Obedience is the biggest focus for missionaries because it is needed to accomplish pretty much anything!

FRIDAY - 12,326 steps
I'm happy to say I am not carrying my English scriptures anymore! I can understand enough of a verse written in Spanish to know what is it is talking about! I also had my first baptism today, Hermana Lila. It was such a spiritual experience seeing her get baptized. It also rained today and, let's just say, if this rainfall is what they call rain, I sweat more than it rains here. Haha!

SATURDAY - 5,993 steps
Happy New Year's Eve! We couldn't teach today because everyone was partying on the street! A tradition that they have here is that the men dress up as women and ask people for money so they can buy fireworks. Now that is dedication! We ran into Hermana Lila and taught her for a few minutes. She complemented my Spanish and said she can completely understand everything I was trying to say! Then my companion and I ran to the house because we had to be inside at 6 PM for safety! There aren't any laws here so the entire night was music, fireworks, and screaming. I did not sleep at all!

SUNDAY - 12,821 steps
I was dying today because I was running on about one or two hours of sleep. We tried to get people to come to church but they were all passed out! There was a total of 20 people who took the sacrament and my companion and I had to prepare and bless the sacrament because there weren't any young men there! Hermana Lila got confirmed in sacrament. It was so great to see how happy she was! The family we always eat Sunday dinner with has a son named Jacob who has become my friend. He shared with me his favorite song and it is called "Patience." The words in that song are so powerful and exactly right. I need patience with this language in order to receive the blessings and the opportunity to sing it!

I had a fun week and hope you all had a wonderful and safe new year! I invite you this new year to look for service and love your families because when you're in the service of your fellow beings, you're only in the service of your God! This mission is difficult and I am struggling with this language but I know, without a doubt, all things are possible through Him. I can't believe I have already been gone for three months! I only have 21 more fast Sundays! I love all of you! Thank you for supporting me. I love your messages of encouragement and can feel your prayers! I know I am here for a reason and I know God has a plan for all of us, we just need to give it all to Him and He will return the favor tenfold. I know hard work is the key to making dreams become a reality and I may not be perfect in this language but I know people don't care how much I know until they know how much I care. I love you all!

Love Always,
Elder Sorenson

Elder Sorenson's First Baptism! 

Elder Sorenson's First Baptism!

The New Year struck at 10:30PM for Elder Sorenson! There was no sleep for him due to the music, fireworks, and screaming! 

The New Year struck at 10:30PM for Elder Sorenson! There was no sleep for him due to the music, fireworks, and screaming! 

Video of the New Years Eve celebration in Elder Sorenson's current neighborhood!