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

Friday, June 26, 2009

The thirty-second week...

I had a great week. We had lots of success. We have 0 baptisms...but no problem - we are working hard and will be rewarded. Just like Aunt Amee said...I leave my mark. I missed sending out my letters a couple of weeks - but i havent gotten anything in a while. Hopefully some will come today! The best thing this week was our power going out last night at 8 pm! Then it came on when I was saying my night prayers! I was very happy. hen it went off again at 9ish - but no problem. My favorite thing about Gajuwaka is the size and the heat - both are HIGH!!! We found 16 new investigators this week. I was way excited. 3 of them are about 300 lbs - which will be interesting if they are baptized. lol. We met some really good christians the other day. They all have bible names, and they all love our message. Better part-they have a calander of Hilary Duff in their home. It does make it hard to teach, but I will be fine. The funniest thing this week was this exchange we had last night. We got bunked a few times. We took the member to this crazy family and found out that they are strong investigators. The daughter is flirty, but they are calling themselves and their children Sorensen and Sakamaki! lol. Their names are Sunitha, Sujatha, David, Rahul, and Dilip. They will be set with a date next week. The Magi family is getting baptized on the 5th! I am going to see them today. We are also going to buy beef! I am learning how to make curry. I am pretty good.

Other investigators
Vijay - he is a stud, but has college on Sundays. Joshua is having some rough times with his Pastor. David Wesley is reading the Book of Mormon and we plan to set him soon. Another family is Indira, Keyshore, Rutnam, Kiran, and Sonia- they have read, not prayed, and not received an answer. We want to set them but they are still confused about our message and about their church. That's about all that are progressing.

How are you and your companion getting along? Is he a hard worker?

We are doing well together. We enjoy our time together. We are talking a lot more. We never had pillow talk, but now we do. He is a hard worker. He is pretty tolerant wth me. Usually I don't like to talk too much, but he doesn't like to talk at all - so it's kinda hard. He is open to me now. I think it's all good.

Logan mentioned a medical procedure last week in an email to dad, but didn't explain or elaborate. Needless to say, Mom and Dad were concerned and bothered! He finally cleared a few things up this week.

They found a few ulcers. They don't know what caused it. I don't think it's the spice - it's been a constant in India. I am taking a few meds right now. The anesthesia doctor was a female and I accidentally made her think I wanted to make out. lol. She even held my hand! lol. I am still kinda losing weight - slowly now! My weight is about 195. I feel bad most all the time - but no worries. I have clean water all around me - in my flat, inside shops, in some homes. I am fine. Don't worry. The area is a desert, very rural, food is the same, and water is a little cleaner - it's less polluted here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The thirty-first week...

I am a transfer pro. I shifted on Thursday - the new flat is brand new but it's crap. It's my least favorite. My new companion is Elder Sakamaki. He is from America but he is full Japanese. He likes cars, has no girlfriend, he got to the misson at the same time as my last comp, and he likes to teach the whole lesson. I like my new companion. He doesn't like my music, but no problem I will slowly desensitize him. I listened to "Everything" this morning. I got 0 letters this week. (I guess that's his way of saying he'd like to get more mail)

Naturally I am feeling better. I am doing a better job at not drinking unfiltered water. I am taking a TON of pills...only 3...but no problem. My new area reminds me of Htown. It's big and has no boundaries. . It's about 45 minutes travel time and it's not too slumsy. Everyone speaks English. We have a lot of rich people in our area... I mean it's huge! We had an appointment last night at 6 pm. The thermometer inside the house said 102! That's stupid! I am in a desert area now - it's very dusty and very sunny. We don't have the big city pollution to protect us from the sun, so I have been sweating challa! We are about 1 hour out from the Bay of Bengal. It's really funny - we have MOUNTAINS in our area. It's pretty bad. A lot of people live on the mountains - making it a nice sweaty hike to get there. I have hit the pillow hard every night in Gajuwaka! The branch is small. The girls here are way flirty and touchy...enough said.

What do you do about the flirty touchy girls?

I flirty touchy them back. lol.

(notice how Mom just ignores this...)

How many in the branch?

This week was amazing...we had to actually get more chairs and we had people standing - but still only about 50 people! lol. We are building a new sacrament hall upstairs. I don't really touch the girls back. I just giggle and smile. (Thanks for clarifying!)

I just found out that the Magi family, the 4 who were set when I left my last area, are reset for a different date. I was worried about handing them over. I didn't really have faith in the ZL to be able to handle them. Oh well.

Funny Story from this week

We were walking down the road the other day and this kid was chanting some telugu, then all of the sudden he starts singing, "My humps my humps my humps my humps. my lovely lady lumps check it out." I was laughing so hard I almost tinkled my pants!

The thirtieth week...


I am transfering to Gajuwaka, 3rd branch, and I will be leaving behind a name and a fame which cannot be slain. I was loved my my people, and those whom I served. no problem, IT'S ALL GOOD! President gave me permission to come back to 1st branch for the baptisms of Sailu, Veena, Girish, and Lavanya. I talked to the district leader and he said I will for sure be doing the baptisms. I am way excited. When we told them that I too was leaving they began to cry very much. They said they would cry if Castagno left, but they thought I would stay. They said they would come to 3rd branch, but I told them to stay in 1st. They almost brought me to tears. We are going to visit them tonight and teach them about living prophets. I find that people who learn about prophets early in their conversion will stay stronger. I love the people in my area, I will miss them, but I will do my best.

As you can see we had a baptism this week. It was the first in Visak 1st since March 15, 2009. Ravi Prakash and Saraswathi are amazing. They were so excited for their baptism. We went to their home and we found that she would have to have surgery on Sunday morning. Uh oh! We talked to them and they moved it back. It was cool - she wouldn't be baptized for another month if she had the surgery. Currently she is actually being operated on. During the interview they both said, "I want Elder Sorensen to baptize me." It was cool - but our district leader felt that my companion should be able to baptize one of them, even tho its not what they want. Saraswathi was baptized once - by me! It was a trademark Elder Sorensen baptism; she was under the water for 1/2 a second and she was out (she was even lifted off the ground a little bit-its happened in all my baptisms!). Ravi Prakash, however, didn't really seem to be comfortable with Elder Castagno...it took 6 tries! It was Castagno's first time. He almost dropped him all 6 times. Ravi just didn't wanna get his hair wet. It was awesome. After we went to their house, that night, and we had dinner. There we broke the news that both of us would be gone. It was a very sad night. They were my favorite family in Visak 1st branch.

I went to see my new area. The Elder who is there will be taking my area. We have just been showing each other investigators and sweet members - but lemme tell ya, I thought the Visak city was hot, NO CHANCE! Gajuwaka is so much hotter. There is no ocean breeze, there is less pollution to block the sun, and it's more of a desert. It was bad - but I am excited for the new area - I saw the church - it's small - but I will do my best, and I WILL leave the area better than I found it. While we were there we met with 2 potential investigators. They soon became investigators as we shared about the Plan of Salvation. They are Hindu, and life after death really intrigued them. I am very hopeful about these two - they will be able to strengthen each other and help each other develop in the gospel. The only thing that I found to be negative about my new area is the lack of places to eat. I will surely miss the food in 1st branch - hopefully I can rely on the members a little more out there.

I love y'all! I miss you chawla! You are way sweet! I will send you some more pics also!

~Elder Sorensen

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The twenty-ninth week...


One more week down and so many new adventures to report on. This was another good week here in the V-shack. We set Girish, Veena, Sailu, and Lavanya for baptism on June 21st. I am very excited. We had a way spiritual lesson with them and we committed them and they all are ready. The son, Girish, is usually called Lucifer in his home. This is b/c he will never pray or go to church. But in the 7 weeks we have known them he has prayed 3 times and he has been to church 5 times. We told the family his new name is “Michael”. Then, we had to have a lesson about how Lucifer was defeated, and how Michael is a way cool angel. Now, they think that they have to change their “Indian” names to “Christian” names. That is a whole different lesson. Their family is doing well. We were finally able to take a family over there, 6 weeks after we met them. We brought over the YW 1st and 2nd counselors, they just happen to be mother/daughter. They were excellent fellowship; they invited the mother to church - something that we have been unsuccessful in doing. They also were really good teachers and helped us out a lot. To get their family excited about reading the Book of Mormon we told them, “whoever is farthest when we come back will get a big chocolate.” We called them last night and I could hear Lavanya yelling, in the background, “Brother, Veena and Amma are hogging the 2 Telugu copies. It’s not fair.” Even if it’s only for candy, I am happy they are reading.

Sunday night we went to Ravi Prakash’s home. He and Saroswathi are rocking the house. Ravi has a bit of a hard time reading, so Saroswathi reads to him while he listens. It was sweet. They really love each other. I even found out that they thought they had to buy their own baptism clothing, so Saroswathi, a major shopper, bought Ravi a bright white shirt and a shirt to wear afterwards. She is making him buy the white pants though, lol. While we were there we went over the baptism interview questions and they were having a blast. She thought she wasn’t going to be ready, but she is on fire. She knew all the questions, and she even read them from my planner. Ravi wants to serve a mission when he is older. They said that they want a branch in Narciputnam, which is Saroswathi’s village. We have been teaching her nephews and nieces that are in town, and I had a dream that Ravi and Saroswathi would baptize their family and bring them to the gospel and a branch would be formed. It was way cool. Ravi said he had the same dream - out of the mouth of 2 witnesses. They are so prepared to make a difference in their life and the life of the members here in Visakhapatnam. We still have to do all of their paper work and their interview in the 2 days we have with them when we get back from Hyderabad.

Nothing else is too exciting. I had a 13 hour train ride to Hyderabad. It was way fun. I took lots of pics. I will send most of them home. I love Hyderabad. I feel like I am home, and it's always good to see all the people whose lives were changed for the better. I miss them, but I am excited that we will be able to see each other on the other side of the veil.

Thanks for all of the support and love, both to me and for my family. Keep the letters coming.


The twenty-eighth week...


This week I determined that when I return to the U.S. I will not be able to speak English. I had a dream that someone caught Rainbow Trout in a puddle at Wal-Mart. I was starving and he was selling them 3 for 300/-. I tried to bargain with him - it’s a very common thing to do here - but it didn’t work. Now I am afraid when I return I will be bargaining for everything. Plus, I already know I don’t use the same words, phrases, or pronunciation - everyone will think I am a loon. My words are different and my accent would throw people off. Hopefully when I come home I can lose the Indian in me, but still keep that relaxed feeling that comes from being in India.

One thing that I found in my studies this week that made me laugh was 2 Thessalonians 3:1. Churches just misread it. They thought the apostles were saying “Pay” for me, when really they were saying “Pray” for me. That’s been my new head of attack this week. “Does you pastor ask you to pay for his car?”

Santosh was supposed to be baptized this week…notice I say supposed to. He passed his interview, which is good, considering he has investigated the church for 1 year. Elder Nixon came out and said he passed, but then Santosh asked,”Brother is the church in Vijewada?” Apparently he is going to college in 3 months and if he does he won’t be able to attend church. So we are holding off on the baptism until we can get him into a college somewhere that has the true church.

We met with this wonderful family of 10, the father’s name is Keyshore and the mother’s name is Susheela. Both speak amazing English and are very posh. We were teaching their family about the Book of Mormon and they loved it. We came back another time and they told us that something came up and they will be gone for a few months. They loved our message!!!! I was bummed. But, the wife will be coming back and she wants to learn more. So we will have to find a way to teach her while her husband is gone.

Ravi Prakash and Saroswathi are preparing for their baptism. They are very excited. We had a very spiritual lesson with them this week. We reviewed about Word of Wisdom and we also talked about temples. They lost a daughter 17 years ago. They really are excited about being with her again, and I am way excited for them. But that is all for this week. Nothing too exciting, except its getting very hot! I love you all. Thanks for the letter!

Elder Sorensen

The twenty-seventh week...


So this week is going to be short! I found a really cool buffet this week! It’s called the Grand Bay Hotel. It’s the richest place in Vizac and it’s delicious. I was 197 lbs, and in the last 3 days I went up to 204. No problem. I am going to have to cut back - it’s expensive and it’s too fattening. I can’t have my dad beat me in the weight program.

We took over a new area called KGH this week, no one was using it, so we decided to enjoy it. It's full of slums, but we also have a lot of wealth. It's really sweet. We are teaching a neurosurgeon and his wife, who is going to be some kind of surgeon. I don't know what kind. We are having a baptism this week. The brother’s name is Santosh, which means happy, and he has been investigating the church for 1 year. He is a really nice, very smiley brother. He is only 17 and his Hindu father doesn’t want him to “take the baptism,” but we got permission from our mission president to go ahead and baptize him.

We had our movie night/missionary fireside. It was AWESOME! We watched the Prince of Egypt. I missed movies, a little bit, but I gained a stronger testimony of how prophets are just men, especially the ones like Moses who had no predecessor. I also like the burning bush part, when Jehovah scolds Moses. But, quickly right after He reproves him with such an amazing amount of love. I really felt the Spirit a lot. Like the parting of the Red Sea. But, the underlying question in the district has been, “after the parting of the sea…how did they build a calf?!!!!”

That’s about it from my life. I forgot my planner that has all my doings in it. I love you all and thanks for your help and letters! Hugs and kisses from India!

The twenty-sixth week....

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jamming in Jelly

While watching "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s" today, I was enticed by an advertisement for the new Chicken Burrito at Taco Bell. I convinced my brothers to make a run to the border with me (really it wasn't THAT hard...). When we went out the car Gavin said "There's no where for me to sit!" (Mom had been couponing this morning and stocked up on some cereal....)

We quickly emptied a spot and set off in Grape Jelly (that's the name of my car) to get some cheap Mexican goodness. Upon our return, Mom asked the monkeys to unload the back seat and put all of the cereal in the garage. About 30 minutes later, Mom asked me where the boys were. I looked out the front door to see where they went, only to find them Jamming in Jelly. They had the radio blasting (the windows were up and I could hear it across the street!) and were lip synching along to a couple of our favorite songs. Later on this evening I discovered that not only were they being cute, they were also being silly and had recorded their jam sessions. The results had to be shared with the world. And so without further ado.....the world premier of the first 2 episodes of "Jamming in Jelly" starring B & G......pure Sorensen greatness....

and yes we do have TV in Texas!