A fun picture for the week...

A fun picture for the week...
A Satellite View of Elder Sorensen's Trailer in the Church Parking Lot in Many Farms, AZ

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Elder Sorensen is safe...

Pres. Nichols gave special permission for the missionaries to email last night. He sent us a quick note:

Wussup baby? i know you're in the car on the way to new orleans, or something to that affect. but...we were given special permission by Pres. Nichols to email home today. Tell the boys, by name, that i love them. i want u to know that i'm safe. i hope u have a wonderful turkey day.

We also got some pictures! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The first week...

So we were able to "talk" to Logan last night via email. It made for an interesting around the globe discussion to say the least. For Logan, it was around lunch time and for us - the middle of the night. Mom and I were the only diehards to stay up and "chat" but we'll forgive Dad because it was his birthday and he hasn't been feeling so well!

I have tried to make a semblance of order to randomness, but I don't know how well this will flow as you read it. Just remember - this was about 50 emails we received from Logan over the space of about an hour.

The actual emails will be preceded by "ES:" for Elder Sorensen (duh!) and "M:" for Mom.

ES: Guess who's here?????? Logan!!! ANYONE THERE???

Logan chose to email like an instant message after Mom asked him a load of questions. He said that it was easier to answer one question at a time. He can only check him email on p-day, but his District Leader/Companion said it was ok to check the day before since they were working out some moving arrangements. Mom wondered if the move had something to do with the Bangalore and Sri Lanka areas being closed. Logan explained that the Brethren have said only one companionship to a flat, so since there are 3 companionships in their flat, they are moving. The areas closed have specific restrictions right now. Logan told us that "conversion" was a touchy word to use in India.

ES: the word "convert" here has different meanings. we say that we are "teachers from church." conversion here is like we bribe or force them to join the church. and this guy heard what they were doing and asked them to come teach him back at the apartment and when they got there he had camera crews and everything. he was yelling "These men said they would give me anything to join their church." it was all over the news here and they had to go on lockdown all over the mission for about a week. the missionaries in bangalore have to take off their badges when they tract or eat. they can only wear them walking. and DL and ZL have to wear color shirts. and no one wears ties when they eat. i dont know why.

M: so what do you call a new member or the process of being born again?

ES: we just say "We are teachers from church with a very special message we would like to share." everyone will say yes.

The lockdown happened around the end of October (the time when Logan was in the MTC).

ES: it was a while back. i feel safe. its awesome. i feel safe.

How do you get around?

Since the area is the size of The Colony, Carrollton, and Frisco with about 3 million people (or so he has estimated), they walk or take "autos."

ES: Autos are little rickshaws that have 3 wheels and are an amazing experience. once we are where we need to be we walk the rest of the day. we walk about 6 or 7 miles. maybe more. we walk a lot.

How's Elder Toleafoa (companion)?
His trainer is the District Leader and he's a Samoan from Hawaii. Logan says that they have "too much in common," "get along too well," and "love each other." I am guessing that means that they might be having a little fun while they're serving the Lord.

ES: my companion is amazing. he lets me say things is lessons and whatever. he lemme b/c no one else would.

Logan says that the next transfer (Christmas) they will be split and "the hard mission will start" since it seems that everything here has been too perfect.

ES: i'm waiting for the storm.

How was church on Sunday? How many missionaries are in your branch? How much area does a branch cover? How does the caste system affect the church?

ES: i ruffled some feathers at PEC. i was told that i would see a major divide between some ppl and no one would support the president. i chose the presidents side and upset the EQP. he was bashing the President and i told him to stop. "from what i see the president is doing amazing and its his job to run the branch not yours."

M: Bishop Miller will be proud you are sustaining the presiding priesthood. Just make sure you do it in a kind and Christlike way.

ES: there are 6 missionaries. and an older couple. the kaspers. there are 150 ppl in the branch. No one here knows the size. there are 4 branches in hyderabad. the difference between the caste system here is amazing. we have ppl who we teach...their house is smaller than our front room, minus the dining room. and our landowner doesnt let anyone but his brothers and colleagues sit on his couch b/c he is so high in the system and he lets us sit on the couch.

How are your feet in those shoes with all that walking? A rickshaw - What does that cost?

Logan keeps expressing just how cheap everything there is. Since Logan is his mother's son, he is a good bargainer and they usually spend 20-40 rupees (or about 50 cents to a dollar).

ES: last night i spent $1.10 on an auto. that was from one end of our area to the other. so it was the most expensive one yet. but its still super cheap here. everything is.

He says his feet are doing great and never hurt, but he teaches lessons sitting on the ground and that hurts, "but its ok." They sit on the ground to teach because people don't have beds and chairs, but just mats on the floor. Logan said that people will try to give them a seat whenever they teach.

ES: i wouldnt feel right if i sat in a chair while they sat on the floor. so we sit indian style on the floor.

M: that's my boy!! that is why you are in India. You are awesome!! You love people!!

Logan is also quite amazed at the "bathroom habits" of India. Apparently, he is reverting back to his 2-year-old days of camping and learning to pee on a tree. He has already learned to check before you go though because it might be someone's home (like your investigator). This makes for an interesting aroma as you can imagine -

ES: the smells here are too hard to describe. its a mix of poo, pee, trash and fruit. awesome huh. some places are just poop smell though.

ES: some unique things about India:

  • put the food in a tuperware when u send it.
  • ppl shake their heads for everything, if the chin moves then they mean "no" if it doesnt move then its a "yes" or a sign they understand.
  • i never see kids at school. all day everyday there are kids running around. my first day i played soccer in the street with some kids. its amazing.
  • i've been called fat about 30 times already.

How's the food? What do you eat?

ES: the food is amazing. i've eaten some really good food. what i've eaten hasnt been bad. some was super spicy. but they have a lot of cheap american food. subway and KFC and TGIFridays. we go there when we wanna listen to american music.

They went to KFC for lunch on p-day and we pointed out to Logan that the prices at those places are about the same as in the States. Since everything else is so cheap though, they have enough to eat out occasionally, especially since they don't eat dinner. They eat cereal at home in the morning and then have lunch wherever they are during the day. With all the walking and the lack of dinner, Logan has already lost 6-7 lbs and he says it's "mostly in his legs."

Are you feeling better after the flights, mtc sickness and time change?

ES: honestly i dont feel like i'm on the other side of the world. i feel like i'm just in south texas. like EFY. jet lag was gone after 3 hours. and my stomach feels weird every now and then. thats b/c i drink a little bit of the water each meal just so i can get used to it. we buy a water bottle a day. its like 10 rupees. CHEAP! and i wanna get used to it so i dont offend ppl when i enter their homes. everyone offers us Tea, Coffee, water, food, anything.

Have you seen elephants, monkeys or the unmentionable rodents?

ES: i have seen tons of monkeys. no elephants. there are tons of monkeys around our flat. we saw some stealing food on sunday. they are hard to get pics of. and they are greyish brown. they are "Dirty" and they are not lazy.

Gavin will be excited that he saw "Apu."

What is it like when you teach people?

ES: its super hard for ppl to understand. i pray for the gift of tongues almost everyday. and they dont get it too much. they need lots of understanding and explaining. its all good tho. they are really sweet. and a lot have the light of Christ. but its really intimidating...it's ppls eternal salvation at stake u know?

On his first day in Hyderabad, they were able to find 8 new investigators, including a Roman Catholic family who had a good understanding of the Bible and understood what prophets are. Logan was excited to teach them because many of the people they speak to don't have that understanding.

Logan also told us about one of their investigators - Rajini - who has been learning for 3 months. They haven't been able to teach him because "his family thinks we are of the devil." He's a young guy with his own place and he comes to church every week, but was missing this past Sunday. Elder T and Elder S decided to go visit him. He had been sick for a week and boiling dirty bath water to drink and only eating rice. He didn't want to worry his family by asking for help.

ES: he looked horrible when we saw him. i felt horrible. i just wanted to lay him down and pray for him. we brought him medicine. he wouldnt take it. we asked if we could give him a blessing. we explained them to him. he said yes. elder t asked who should give which part, he turned to me and asked me. i looked like a deer in the headlights. my heart swelled for this man. i was so happy. we used my oil and gave him a blessing. i almost cried. we went to another appointment and came back. we read Matthew 9 and pulled out some bread and water. we told him "We arent Jesus, but we are His servants." he finally ate some bread and water. at this point he was so much better. we answered some questions he had about church. he finally said he wanted to be baptized. he brought it up not us. we taught him the Word of Wisdom. we are meeting with him later today, wednesday, to answer any more questions. we called him back on tuesday and he was out and about. didnt feel sick or anything. it was truly a miracle. everytime i see him now he says "Thank you brother." and gives me a big hug.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

He made it to India!!!

Please remember - he is sleep deprived and he only had 5 minutes!!!

From: Reid Sorensen
Subject: Re: Fw: Did you make it to India??
To: Mom
Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 4:31 AM

i'm not gonna be able to respond to all u wrote. wednesday is my p-day. i'll get on around 11AM my time. so if u want we can chatter together. kinda like a txt or an IM. they said i have 5 minutes so i'm hurrying. i love this place. its so amazing. y'all cant even understand what i'm seeing. things i thought i would only see in new york. except there are little children running around and in front of cars and riding mo-peds. its awesome. the cows here are twice the size of the longhorns around EDS. thats why no one moves them. i saw a few laying around. its so amazing. well...i've gotten 5 hours of sleep since i left the MTC. the plane rides were horrible. we got off the plain in frankfort and we literally ran to the next teerminal and we waited in line for 3 minutes and were on the plane. thats how close we were. i wont know where i'm serving till tomorrow. they might let us email u. but i'm not sure. Pres. Nicols and his wife are awesome. he said i can email brian but not every week and i have to email y'all first. they made us eggs and pancakes this morning. we'll never ahve another good breakfast they said. we got here last night at 1:30. by the time we got through customs and got to the apartment it was 4ish. we didnt get to sleep till 5. y'all were playing around. then we had to wake up at 6:30. not fun. pres. nicols will be sending some pictures soon. he said when u send packages write "Missionary Supplies". dont write on there the value. the ppl delivering the package will charge about 50% of what u put on there. they say not to b/c the ppl are corrupt not b/c we are trying to jip the gov't. i got alot of ruppies. 1150!!! the exchange rate is 48 ruppies to $1. so thats about $50 or something. thats for the next 5 days. you'll do awesome on your talk. u wanna know how i know? cause your an awesome mom. i love all of you. i miss ya tons.

Lots of hugs and lots of kisses.

A Letter from the Prez

From: Melvin Nichols
Subject: Elder Sorenson
To: "Elder Sorenson Family"
Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 8:52 AM

Elder Sorenson arrived safe and sound in Bangalore early this morning. We picked up he and his companions and brought them into Bangalore. They got to bed about 4:00 AM. We then had them come over to the Mission Home where Sister Nichols fed them a great breakfast. We then gave all the elders an orientation. Then we took this photo of Sister Nichols and I and your son. This afternoon we brought them all into the Mission Office and covered a number of items with each elder. I then had a wonderful interview with your son.

I will meet with him again tomorrow morning and give him his first assignment. He will be assigned to the Hyderabad II Branch, in Hyderabad, India which is due north of Bangalore about 500 miles. His companion will be Elder Toleafoa, a district leader and an outstanding young man that I trust very much. Your son will be in good hands.

Hyderabad is the city where the church is strongest. He will be in a great branch with a brand new chapel.

He seems to be doing well and adjusting though he is still suffering some from lack of sleep and jet lag. Thank you for sending us your wonderful son.

Please do not hesitate to contact me.

President Melvin R. Nichols
India Bangalore, Mission