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, May 6, 2009

The twenty-fifth week...


How was the week? Well, mine was really good. These last few days have been the first in Visak that I have gone to bed thinking, “I enjoyed being a missionary today.” I have been on exchange with Elder Nixon and he has really been able to help me in my companionship. So I think I am excited again.

I am down to 91.2 KGs, which equals to 200.7 lbs. which is good, but if I get any smaller I am going to worry.

A quick summary of our Skype call...

Gavin that was probably the best I have ever heard Viva La Vida. It rocked! Burke I was way happy when I heard your song. Ask everyone I started dancing. But due to circumstances here in India I wasn’t able to hear all of it but I enjoyed it a lot. Hair Bear I really liked seeing you, I have contemplated writing your family a few times, maybe this week. KC I miss ya so! It was good to see ya. I really thought the stories about the old people were the best. Mom where were u? I thought u were sleeping or something. Lol. It was good to see you too. I like how u tried to keep it serious, and thanks for the small hint. Dad I could barely see you. You are disappearing. I’m going to come home and you won’t be there. It was really good to see all of you. Everyone is looking really good. I love you all. Sorry that this one wasn’t more for everyone. I love yall. I cant wait to speak to you again…soon!

Elder Sorensen! On a webcam? Yes - it's our "test call" for Mother's Day. We just thought a few screen shots might be fun.

The twenty-fourth week..

Long story short...I was on fire this week.

The Week That Was,
It was a good week here in V-shack. I think I complained about the weather a little too soon. Let’s just say it’s hotter than it was 2 weeks ago when I began to say it was hot, and it’s only getting hotter. That may have been the reason my companion and I were “on fire” missionaries.

The week began with a wonderful Wednesday night. We went to a member’s home and they prepared what seemed like the best beef curry I have ever had. It was so soft and tender. I ate so much, it came back to hurt me though - I had to waddle home - but I have no regrets. They saw how much I liked it and they are having us over again next week. I am way excited.

This week my companion and I found 3 new families that we are working with. All of them have potential to become members of the church. The best family is Sister Diyamoni. We were finding in the hottest part of the day - our appointments for that time cancelled. We were having 0 success. We found a narrow alley that we felt we should go check. Much to our dismay all we could see were Hindu marked doors. One aunty was nice enough to give us some water, even though I don’t think it was a wise choice to drink. She then told us of a few Christians in the area. We went to the said house to find 4 wonderful Christians - a mother Diyamoni, a son Girish, and 2 daughters Vina and Lavanya. After they showed us how wonderful Lavanya was - she is an international classical dancer - we were finally able to share a message about the Restoration. They have already been taught by the missionaries about 1 year back, but they never went to church. So my companion and I have been wondering how we can get them to church, and help them progress. We went last night and we found out that there are 2 more sisters Raja Laxmi and Siylu. Only 3 have been taught by the missionaries and the other 3 are very interested in American men sharing about religion. We committed them all to church, and we are going over again on Saturday for Lavanya’s birthday. They seemed really excited about church that is once we told them we had communion and we also have Teligu. The son will be the hardest - he has no motivation. On Saturday I intend to take his Billa CD and tell him he can have it back on Sunday when he comes to church.

This last transfer I have put more emphasis on my study of the Book of Mormon. Recently I have been in the war chapters, and I love it. I have been finding weird new ways to compare the battles the Nephites faced to the same that I am facing here. This week I was reading in Alma 60. This is when Moroni rips Pahoran for being a traitor. Moroni then tell Pahoran, in verse 16, where it all began. It started when the king-men wanted to fight against the government. I thought about it a lot and the problems that my companion and I have been facing, and then I thought about how I could apply it to the rest of my life. It's pretty much the same concept. The Nephites were at the hardest part of their war, and they needed help, but the government wasn’t able to send it. The same is with us. If we expect the Lord to send us help we must first fix the inward problems. Just like Moroni and Pahoran did. If we are struggling with our family, our ward, or our companion we must first cleanse the inward vessel. It really helped me to see why my companion and I haven’t had any success since we have been together.

A funny thing that happened this week; we were at an investigator’s house and we were introducing the Book of Mormon. I had a Teligu copy I planned to give them. We were with the branch president and everything was going as planned. I gave them Moroni 10:4-5. As she read I listened for the words I knew, but I couldn’t hear them. No problem I thought. Then the branch president’s wife stopped her and flipped the pages and told me that she was reading Ether 10:4-5. My bad. Lol.

That was my week. It's getting time to go. I love you all. I hope you have a good week.

Elder Sorensen

The twenty-third week...

All I can say, this week, is, “Thank heaven for Gold Bond.” Enough said.

Anyways, the week was good. There have been a lot of new things between our companionship. We have tried this new approach we like to call “bus finding.” We have been having less success knocking on doors so we decided that it would be fun to take a bus from one end of our area to the other. We also did this because it’s been 42 degrees Celsius, or 107 Fahrenheit, and we wanted to stop walking, but also do missionary work. So as we sat we chatted with people, gave them pamphlets and our number. So far we haven’t ran into any bad bus conductors - if we did it would be detrimental to our finding efforts. We get a lot of referrals for other missionaries, and we get a lot for ourselves. About 1 out of 6 ppl we talk to actually give us appointments that go through. It’s been a lot of fun.

Another new thing that we have done this transfer is start working in an area called Kancharapalem, or as I call it “The Konch”. When I got here it was the worst area - the Elders say they have been there forever and never found English. My first night we went back there and met a family of 6! Wonderful! Since then we have had the most success finding and teaching there. There is very little English and there is even less desire, but the Lord has truly blessed us. We now have about 8 investigators that we are working with back there, and a few more that have since been dropped. One we are working with is named Das Kumar. Das is the cousin of another investigator named Prem. Das probably had the most inspired OYM (Open Your Mouth) I have ever seen. Elder Castagno asked, “Brother, how many Jesus Christs are there?” The brother answered correctly - one. And then my companion followed it perfectly, “Then why do we see so many churches?” After we spent some time with Das we found out why this was inspired. He has been asking everyone which church was true. He said he would ask his father when he was younger and his father would tell him, “Satan makes those thoughts. All churches bring you to heaven.” If only it were that easy. Das was so excited to learn about the gospel. He had some doubts about how Joseph Smith could have seen God. He also had doubts about authority. He had a small concern with the Book of Mormon. We resolved those pretty quickly. He saw that many people saw God, and that a bible school doesn’t give someone authority from God. Last night we set him with a date for May 10, 2009. So I will see a baptism, and get to call home! His wife, Pushpa Vatti, speaks no English. We are trying to teach her.

I am a firm believer that there are people we knew before this life. I found another one here in V-shack. His name is John Cena. All Indians love wrestling, and their favourite is John Cena. This little kid ran up to me and said, “Hey, John Cena.” Since then we have been best friends. I was very flattered he chose me as his favourite wrestler. I usually reply to him, “John Cena, Namaste!” their family loves it. I want to take them to lunch one day before I go. I love them. One day I was having a really bad day and he came up and called me John Cena. And I got him to call me Batista. It was amazing. He is one little kid that knows how to make my day better.

This week I have been looking through my conference notes a lot. Someone said, I am not sure who said it, “Build upon your foundation.” That is really good. I have thought about it a lot because the church here is so young. Every member here and now is the foundation. Everyone everywhere has to start their own foundation. Once we have a foundation we cannot stop and be happy with where we are. If we continue to build then we continue to discourage Satan and we protect ourselves from him. It’s really cool to think about. I don't know why this is in the update, but it could be nice for someone. I think its more for my younger audience. Everyone will be a much better missionary if they have a foundation, and they continue to build it. When you know Joseph Smith is a prophet, then you must learn what he taught. Then, you must learn what his predecessors have taught. The gospel, and conversion, is a lifelong thing. It doesn’t come from one prayer, it doesn’t come from one scripture, and it certainly doesn’t come from one experience. I am grateful for my testimony, and all the people who have helped it to be as strong as it is. Thank you for all the support and prayers. I love you all!

Elder Sorensen

The twenty-second week....

Salam alacum~
That is Muslim for “Peace be upon you” and the return is Wallum alacum for “The same peace unto you.” I wish Americans had something cool like the Muslims, not just simply “HI!” Anyway, I figured it was time that I told y’all who my investigators are and not just about them. Sounds good?

Kumar- He is a member referral from a less-active sister his age. He is coming from Hindu background. He is very intelligent and I think he has a crush on the sister who referred him to us. His family is paca Hindus, meaning they are actually Hindus not just by mouth but by actions. He wants to have more faith in Christ, but he isn’t sure how to get it - good thing we are here. He has come to church the last 4 weeks, 2 with Surisha, and 2 without her. He is very committed. He has some family concerns, but we can hopefully resolve those.

Satya Raju and Sarhila- they are a recently married couple who just moved to Visak. They are a member- referral from Ghandi family. They have a small son named Jeffy - he’s the cutest in India and he loves to smile at me and not so much at my companion. They have concerns about rebaptism and why we need the Book Of Mormon. We are working on both right now - we think rebaptism is a cover up for a bigger problem. They have wonderful English and wonderful fellowship at church.

Rama Laxomi- Part member. She is wonderful. She is working really hard on her English, with little or no support from the husband. She reads English perfectly, about like I do, and she understands it, but it gets all lost somewhere in speaking. She loves to make us warm milk - I love it.

That’s about all that I can remember, we have a few more but none are set with baptismal dates. Oh well. This week was a lot of fun. My companion and I are getting along now, my worms are gone, and I only got hit by one motorcycle this week. I love you all and I miss you.

Elder Sorensen