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, January 21, 2010

December 30, 2009 Update

Dear Everyone,

This was an interesting week. I learned many things about myself, and I realized how much I have learned. It started by an interesting experience I had with an auntie. In prayers here, people like to mumble their own prayers and shout, especially the Pentecostal women. This one lady said her kids couldn’t come to church. So we talked for a while and they said they would come. My companion said the closing prayer, and immediately she began to mutter words and say things “in tongues.” I remembered a quote that went something like, “If you are on the Lord’s service, you are entitle to His Divine assistance.” So when I thought this, I wanted the auntie to shut up. I said in my mind, “God, silence this auntie.” And before I could even say Amen, she was quiet. It's nothing too special, or exciting, but I thought it was cool. It was something that I will be able to remember, and it will help me to rely on the Lord more.

I realized that you can’t know what our mission is really like. I have this culture of India book, and it describes the culture. I read it in the morning, and when we were going to our first appointment we turned a corner and realized that we were sharing our small lane with 7 HUGE buffaloes. One of them even charged us. That’s when I realized that a book cannot tell you how to avoid that, or what to do in the scenario.

I realized how much I have left behind. A lady was telling us that she was afraid to leave her church for a few reasons: she doesn’t know English, she was raised in that church, and her friends are there. I bore testimony and told her about how I left my home country, my language, my friends AND my family. She realized that our Church is correct, but she is afraid. I don’t know what else we can do. I love her family to death, but she fears the world more than the Savior.

We had a bit more luck with a new Roman Catholic family we are working with. They have met with us 3 times and we decided they needed to be set…mostly because we haven’t had anyone set for about 3 weeks. They accepted the date easily. Yesterday, before we came to meet them, the mother called and told us not to baptize them, but to come and do prayer. We went with a sister from the branch who was R.C. She was a huge asset; she helped so much. The father didn’t know his wife called, he said, “I still want to be baptized. Why are you talking about authority? I understand and I still want to be baptized on the 24th.” The wife said, “Absolutely no way.”, but her 2 sons are still excited. She is also afraid of what others will think about her if she leaves her church. Even though she was crying when she said that. We are pretty sure she knows the Church is true. I love you guys. Thank you so much for the letters and the support. I will see you all next Christmas.

Elder Sorensen

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 13, 2010 Update

Well, I made it safe and sound in Chennai. It is a really hot place, but I love it. As I got off the plane I noticed some differences about Tamil Nadu and my beloved Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu smells funny to me. Now that I have been here a few days it’s normal, but still it was weird. The language is shorter, choppier, words that I cannot understand. I am doing a little bit better; I am taking notes and asking people what things mean. The problem is that Tamil seems more “blah blah” to me. It’s kind of hard to describe.

I have found that Chennai is the real Indian experience. When I first got off the plane, it was raining and it continued the full day. My companion was sick so we didn’t go out my whole first day. We have crappy water pressure in our flat, so that means we have to shower with a bucket. I enjoy it. I feel more Indian. The only time I take a bus is when I go to the train station. All of our travel is done by trains. We have a monstrous area, and we can travel 45 minutes by train and still not leave our area. I love the trains. The last thing that makes Chennai Indian is the heat. It hasn’t been under 95 a day that I have been here. It's so hot, and it's so sticky, but I love Chennai. I am so excited to be here. Hopefully I will continue to see success as we get the people who we have set baptized, and the people we are finding progress towards baptism.

Other than that nothing great has happened. I am sorry this is short, but I have less time. I love y'all. Thanks for the letters and the love. I hope all is well.

Elder Sorensen

January 20, 2010 Update


Apparently there was an Elder Sorensen who served in this very same branch about 12 years ago. This week at church a bunch of the members asked me if I was his brother or some sort of relation. He baptized about half of the branch at that time. There are a lot of old time members - people who have been members for about 12-20 years. It reminds me a lot of Hyderabad, except there isn’t as many faithful members here. A lot of them have been inactive for 10 of those 20 years. But, now they are all doing fine and Chennai is getting a building - something that Hyderabad and Rajahmundry have had for years. The longer I stay in Chennai the more I come to realize that my mission will end. I am kind of sad, but excited at the same time. I know it has to end, but I’m kind of at that point where I can see the finish line. It is still far away, but something about being here makes me think I will actually have to leave.

One thing that I noticed about my area in Chennai is that it has over 2 million people. This is now my fourth area - out of five - to have more than 2 million people living in it. President Nichols said, on our first day in India, “Some of you may have times when you will be in an area that has more than 1.5 million people. That is the average size of a mission in the States. Then, some of you will be put in areas that have more than 2 million people living in them. That is bigger than any area of any mission in the states.” That is pretty neat to think about. It's very hard, considering the restrictions that come from the Hindus and the lack of English, but Heavenly Father seems to always have people prepared. The ways are not always the same, but He does prepare people. President Nichols also reminded us a few zone conferences ago that “No one who lives in your area can truly come unto Jesus Christ and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ, except through you! If anyone wants to live in the kingdom of God, if anyone wants to live with God, if anyone wants to be with God, then it has to be through you.” He usually does this to drive home the point that we need to remember our purpose and work hard.

We set a new mission goal for 600 convert baptisms. President Nichols said this is because he has such great faith in such great elders. We haven’t had 600 baptisms in this mission since the time when Bangalore and Delhi split into 2 missions. We haven’t had any American missionaries come for about 9 months and we only have 6 Indian missionaries who have come since that time. Remember what President Monson asked us to do, “Pray for areas in which our missionary efforts are limited, or restricted.”

I love you all! I am very grateful to be serving the Lord. I know He is a part of it. I know HE loves His children in every part of the world. I love the Gospel, and I am so grateful for it. Thank you for you letters, and all you support, and thank you for making fun of my Indian accent.

Elder Sorensen

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Logan's Testimony

Keep your fingers crossed. Kaycee has been our dutiful blog updater until now. When she got a job (YEAH!!!) her blog time diminished greatly. She's still teaching piano and helps me with Algebra for Burke as well. So I'm giving it a go.

For those who don't know, Seminary is a religion class that our teens attend at 6 a.m. everyday they go to school.Each year they study a different text of scripture. This year it's been my blessing, along with my good friend, Staci Dansie, to teach these amazing young people from the Book of Mormon.

Prior to beginning the year, I asked each of the missionaries serving from our ward to write their testimony of the Book of Mormon along with their favorite scripture then send it to me. Our youth have been friends with each of the young men that are currently serving. I thought this would bring more meaning to the study this year.

Logan sent a dvd that had not only his testimony but also testimonies of people he has baptized, his companion and other members of his branch. I hope to be able to post them all over the next few weeks and catch up the blog.

It's interesting that he is so hard on himself. To hear him talk, he was some awful kid. I more than anyone know what a handful he was. But I also saw his potential since the day he was born. Now he's living up to that potential by loving and serving as the Savior wants him to do.

It was great to talk to him on Christmas day. We had the best Christmas we've had in a long time. Probably, because we're all excited he'll be home next year. He does sound just like an Indian now. It's pretty funny. He's still sick. But it's ok. We know he's in the Lord's hands.

He finally (after 9 months) was transferred. Pres. Nichols didn't want to move him from his doctors. Logan received word before Christmas to prepare himself and his doctor because he would be leaving. He hopped on a plane last week and is now serving in Chennai. The first thing he told me this week during email time was, "I LOVE being a missionary". Those are five of the best words a Mom could hear.

Hope you enjoy his video. Check back over the next while. I'll try to update. Leave a comment about his accent and testimony. I'll forward them onto him. He loves to hear the comments.