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

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.


Tanya said...

I am so glad you are posting all of this. I love to read what he is up to and it is comforting. He seems like he is doing awesome just like I expected he would. Cheree, you guys must be so proud. Please keep posting! We have loved the letters he has written so far. They are just from the Mtc but he just sounds so spiritual!

michelle k said...

Wow. Keep posting!! We think of Logan often. Can't wait to see more pics along the way. Sooooo awesome!!

Cindy Ardis said...

I love you guys posting all about Logan. I miss him and I know you you guys miss him even more. The picture of him is awesome. Sounds like the missionary work is good there.