Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas!

Dear Family and Friends,

Surprise! I thought I'd send you all your letter today early, just to surprise you! Actually, the mission changed their minds about our phone calls and so I had to write today to inform the family. Now you all will have a suspenseful holiday weekend wondering did Sister Sorensen get transfered or not? And if so, where is she now? And, since that is the case would anyone who chooses to write me this week write me through the Mission Office since it is uncertain where/if I might go. To be completely honest, I don't know who is going, but personally I think I'm staying and that Sister Kawasaki will move on despite her urgent wishes to stay; but I can see some reason for President Perry to leave her here, so I just don't know.

This was a crazy week. We had to make a lot of preparations for a double baptism this weekend. But the baptism did go forward despite many, many things which just happened to happen and cause hitches. Including, the fact that the Lincoln 1st and 3rd Elders did not inform us that their 2:00 baptism had been moved elsewhere, which is how we planned to get into the building and have the font already filled. But we managed to get into the building and break into the font after several frantic calls to the missionaries in Rocklin to get the correct keys and Sister Kawasaki's resourcefulness (she opened the door into the font through the women's bathroom with a nickel) and had our baptism only an hour late with the water only half as warm as we would have liked. I'll save any more interesting details for tomorrow.

Other exciting events of last week: we actually were able to have two lessons with investigators we picked up the week before; return appointments that actually went through! Also we found one investigator and one good potential investigator last week and had 3 investigators at church!

I hope you all have a great Christmas Eve!

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS Grimshaws thanks for the package, I haven't opened it yet though, so I'll have to write more specific thanks next week

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa Ran

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a pretty good week last week. We were able to find 3 new people to teach/try to teach and at least two of them seem pretty promising. One is from a part member family, and one we just started talking to while he was out on the street. We taught an entire Lesson One and he pretty much set up the return appointment. So we'll see how that all turns out.

Saturday we had the Santa Run. The Santa Run is when President and Sister Perry (well, and the Craners--an office couple, the Biglers--another ofice couple, and President Barnes) come around to the various zones and bring us our Christmas Packages complete with stickers from the Mission Office which say "Don't you dare open this until Christmas." Where is the trust? The Santa Run also included the opportunity to watch (gasp!) a movie. Oooh, ahhh. So we watched "The Chronicles of Narnia" and maybe it's just because the only other things I watch are church films, but it was pretty gripping. It was interesting to muse on a few other scriptural parallels I had not noticed before as well.

That is about it. We are trying to stay busy this week, and it looks like we should succeed. We have a baptism for a husband and wife this weekend and that is exciting. I don't know when I'll be emailing next week. It probably won't be until Thursday or Friday as transfers are on Thursday. I still don't quite have it figured out. Sister Kawasaki keeps telling people that I am leaving, which sort of ruffles my feathers, but we'll see.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Minor Miracles and the Work Goes On!

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank goodness for minor miracles! We finally pulled out of our very, very low finding slump last week. Not by a lot, we only found two and one wasn't there when we went back for our return appointment, but we broke the 1, 0, 1, 0 trend! Also we had some really good lessons with investigators and set two baptisms for this month. I know that will please President Perry. Finally Sister Kawasaki finally snapped out of her something, I don't know exactly what it was but it was wearing, and was much happier this week. Plus we were able to get 9 people to go out with us on lessons and other missionary activities this week. And on top of all that we had exchanges with the Sisters in Auburn and Sister Kawasaki got to go on her very first mission "sleepover" as she went to Auburn to work with Sister Furhriman while Sister Fultz came up to Lincoln to teach with me. We didn't really have too much else exciting go on. No snakes in our car--of which I'm glad because one that would be slightly creepy and two Sister Kawasaki has an intense fear of snakes. I did prepare a little Christmas surprise for many of you, so look forward to having that come your way. I think that is about it! I'm sorry things are short, but we're in a hurry. We are only having a half p-day because we have our "Santa Run" this saturday.

Love,

Sister L. Sorensen

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Dread Pirate Roberts

Dear Family and Friends,

Okay so truthfully, my week did not include any encounters with men of the nautical or mariner persuasion of any degree of infamy. Tuesday, however, I did come down with that dreaded disease of every winter more commonly known as the flu. Luckily it turned out to be a pretty quick case as I was back in Pros (for non missionaries this is a mission term short for Proselyting and is in reference to the clothes worn by missionaries for Proselyting purposes) by Wednesday--even if knocking a fairly easy street for an hour did require me to sit down in the car afterwards and do a practice teach with Sister Kawasaki to gear up for heading out again. The highlight of that experience was that I completely passed out for the very first time in my life; an interesting experience probably more indicative of my own lack of thought than the severity of the sickness. It was fortunate that I managed to pass out at a time and in a location where the event was unwitnessed by either Mary (the member we live with) or Sister Kawasaki. I did learn on this time around with the flu that Gatorade is an effective combatant because you can drink it just a few sips at a time, which will keep your stomach from becoming fully aware of the nutrients you are sneaking in and getting too angry with you, and it helps replenish the sugars and salts in your body. You can also heat it up in the microwave and have it hot for when you're cold. Things to keep in mind Elder Sorensen in case you are ever in need of such remedies. I have to admit, however, that it is strange drinking hot Gatorade. Anyway I'm glad to have gotten somewhat innoculated against the flu, and to be better.

The work the last few weeks has been going quite slow for Sister Kawasaki and I. Our finding has been so low and our investigators so flaky that it has been quite difficult getting lessons with a member present. I have been rather fretting over this for a few weeks now, but the Lord has been patient and last week I finally was able to connect a few dots, have a very effective weekly planning session, and I think put in place a plan for this week which should yield some more results. I do, however, plead with you all to do what you can to help your local missionaries including asking them if they can/will take you on a tour of your local meeting houses. I realize this is not fully implemented in all missions, but it is something that we have been trying to focus on since this summer and the members have been so slow to get behind this great finding method. I crunched the numbers myself this week (based on the average from the British Columbia mission who have been doing chapel tours for a while and have 1 in 7 of the people who go on these tours with members take the lessons and be baptized) and in our mission it means that if we could take 10 nonmembers on a tour per stake per week we would double our baptisms, which is something President Hinckley asked us to do as a church in 1997 and which we have still not been able to accomplish. That's it 10 people per stake! That is typically less than one person per ward. And then when missionaries do what missionaries do on top of that (tract, do service, street contact, work with part member families etc) imagine the results! So please, just take 30 minutes and go on a tour I promise you will see the possibilities and will be able to think of someone you know who you can invite on a tour. And your missionaries will be very happy!

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

P.S. Here is a picture of Speedy, the hero of last week's entry. As you can see, he is not on my head, you will just have to imagine that particular scene on your own!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Turkeys, Rats and Winter Coats




Dear Friends and Family,

I have to admit I rather panicked today when I realized I have approximately 28 weeks left on my mission. I really need to buckle down and get to work. But in the meantime I'll give you an update of our week. Well I had my first Thanksgiving in the field with the firm expectation that I was not going to be able to eat anything. Even as I sat down with my plate of food I was completely nauseous, but then the miracle of tylenol kicked in and after eating I finally felt much better than I had all week! We also had the excellent fortune to be able to eat dinner with a family where the cook also did not care for pumpkin pie and so I avoided having to subject myself to being forcefed my 2nd least favorite pie (the first being mincemeat pie). Okay, so I doubt they would have forcefed me, but I have a hard time telling people no when they get so excited about foods they've taken the effort to make for us. Sister Kawasaki's thoughts on her first Thanksgiving experience: I ate too much.

Aside from Thanksgiving we had some other interesting exploits this week. We rode our bikes over to do service for a less active family whose landlord's surprise visit landed them in some hot water. What do people let Sisters do for service? Clean. So whilst Sister Kawasaki and I were taking Miracle Erasers to the walls and lysol wipes to the baseboards who should come out to inspect our job but their pet rat. While I admit I don't have any qualms about the rat, I even held it on our last visit, it was very much getting in the way of optimal cleaning. So I had to keep sliding it across the floor in the opposite direction from myself. But that did not satisfy the curious rat, and so I found myself with a curious climbing sensation along my back as I continued to work away at the pantry door, until I realized that I was now cleaning with the rat on my head. If only I had a picture. That actually didn't bother me, aside from the slight fear of him doing what rodents tend to do when you're holding them and making my progress a little slower. I did draw the line, however, when he started to climb up my pant leg!

We also had a distinct change in the weather this week. Several mornings I've actually been cold (Sister Kawasaki has been sleeping with 4 blankets on her bed for weeks now), and Sunday when we went to church it was in the upper 50s. I keep trying to convince Sister Kawasaki that this really isn't even winter weather yet--it was 62 today when she said "Oh, its winter!" but to little avail. This from the girl who didn't even bring a coat to the mission, was cold in Provo in September, and whose coat--when it did arrive--is really only a jacket. I forsee many cold days to come; for her at least.

Here are some pictures at last! One is of Sister Kawasaki, Sister Fultz, and I at the start of this transfer (we had a third companion for a day because Sister Fultz's companion was going home). The second is of Eric, who was our miracle baptism for October.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Already?

Dear Family and Friends,

I can hardly believe that it is time for Thanksgiving already! Well the work continued this week. Somehow or other I always feel slightly disappointed when things stay the same--no matter how much I like my companion. Where's the fun in that? Though I bet Elder Sorensen would kind of wish that he would have one companion for more than 6 weeks at a time--or maybe not. Anyway last week seemed pretty slow. We had very few lessons--I have been trying so hard to get our lesson numbers up for weeks now, but someone--or some two or three people--always fall through or cancel at the last minute! We also had another 0 finding week which is so sad! I know that there is potential out there, but it just has not been coming to fruition lately. It is a bit frustrating when I want so badly to be able to do what I know is possible--to reach finding and teaching numbers which I have reached in the past--and not have it happen. But we did have some good lessons last week, we are going to have a baptism this weekend, and we are looking at being able to have 4 next month (though at that point we are going to need to do some serious finding because that is pretty much our entire "reliable" teaching people--that is if you can count some fairly flaky people as reliable). But there is so much potential in this ward that there are definitely bright points.

Another bright point was a brief visit from the former Sister Howard yesterday morning (ie my third companion, the one who went home in August). She was in town for a wedding and popped in at Stake Conference. Her visit was just the thing to lift my spirits a bit and make me want to try harder and be better! So we'll see what this week will bring us!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Antis and Authorities

Dear Family and Friends,

Last week we received a sign that President Perry truly has been called of God (okay so this may verge on the blasphameous for which I apologize). Last week he declared that our "Suit Season"--during which all missionaries must wear their suit coats all the time (and Sisters must once more don their knee-his and nylons)--would be starting on the 8th with the first day of Half Mission Conference and having a General Authority, Elder Lund, in the mission. Until November 7th we were still experiencing weather in the upper 70s, but on November 8th it cooled enough that wearing a blazer was almost comfortable and the weather continued to cool from there. If I had known that was all it was going to take, I would have asked him to declare Suit Season earlier. In other news, a new transfer has begun and Sister Kawasaki and I are staying put--perhaps to her chagrin. I also learned that instead of what I had heard about having a 5 week and a 7 week transfer, this transfer is going to last until December 27th--just two days longer--so we are staying put until Christmas.

Last week the work was kind of slow even if our schedule was pretty full. In fact last Thursday I was feeling a little put out because we were two hours behind schedule and I was irked that I was not going to be doing that much missionary work on my birthday, so at the end of our weekly planning I slipped off into one of the classrooms to say a little prayer that I could get unruffled. And then we took off to go about our work. I had forgotten the paper that I'd written down the visits I wanted to make on exchanges that night at our house so we had to go back and get it--annoying I thought, and a waste of miles, but as we pulled into the "neighborhood" I felt prompted to tract one of those streets instead. We began to knock doors and proceeded to get anti-ed again and again (always at my doors too) and I just had to laugh because despite these people's best efforts I kept feeling the spirit and even figured out one of our investigators concerns. It just goes to show you that Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways. So I enjoyed myself and had some good missionary experiences on my birthday.

I hope everyone is doing well.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS between Mom, Anne, and my friend Julianne I definitely do not need any more candy/sweets anytime soon. Good thing that there are always some Elders not too far away who I can pawn off some of the extra sweets to. I do appreciate the thought, though!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This canNOT be November!

Dear Family and Friends,

I keep trying to tell myself that this really is the month of November, the eleventh month of the year, but the consistent weather in the upper 70s and 80s is making that very difficult for my brain to grasp. That said this is going to be a short letter as today we have to: prepare for a lesson, move, shop, email, wash the car more thoroughly than it has ever been washed before, wax the car, travel to Roseville, have a song practice with the Sisters for Half Mission Conference, travel home from Roseville, eat dinner with a Part Member Family and convince the nonmember that all of his doctrinal questions really have been resolved, go to our lesson, come home, and finally set up our room. It's a little crazy.

As previously mentioned, however, today we are officially the first sisters in the mission to move into a member's house. We are living with a single, fairly recently reactivated lady who actually served her mission in the Rochester mission (and even served in Pittsford) some 20 years ago. It seems like it is going to be a good arrangement. I think Sister Kawasaki's favorite thing is that Sister Thompson has two dalmations--though she says she is going to miss the peacocks at our apartment.

As for this last week we did have some success finding, and had a great lesson with the family we are teaching. But our actual number of lessons was way down and I still can't figure out why. We stayed so busy! Oh well, I will continue to Pray Harder and Work Harder.

I hope you all have a great week. I am still trying to decide whether or not to tell the ward that it is my birthday this week. I don't think Sister Kawasaki is scheming anything, she is all too innocent and confused about most things. Oh, thank you to everyone who has written letters she gets very excited to receive them and I think she now officially thinks each one of you is the coolest people in the world.

Love,

Sister L. Sorensen

PS Here is my new address:

203 Hambledon Ct
Lincoln, CA 95648

That said, next Tuesday is transfers so please make sure that anything you send me will definitely arrive by Monday or send it through the Mission Office until you hear from me again. I highly suspect that we are both staying--but I've been wrong on transfer predictions many times before.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween in Lincoln

Dear Family and Friends,

I have to admit that today, I am exhausted! We spent from 10:30-4:30 Deep Cleaning our apartment. Elder Sorensen, do you do this in your mission too? I have to say that even with all that cleaning it isn't exactly spotless, but it is much better. I highly suspect they kept us in this apartment just long enough to get us to do this for them as at about 4:45 we got a call telling us we are moving in with a member sometime after the 31st (TBA soon I hope). That will make us the first Sisters in the mission to move into a member's home. That's kind of exciting. I do have to say I am looking forward to not having any more cleaning inspections. Though the Elder in charge of housing told us our new "landlord" is naturally a very fastidiously clean person. She also has two dogs so Sister Kawasaki will be happy. If you thought I was bad about liking animals, Sister Kawasaki is worse. The funny thing? I usually win the dogs over without even trying while she tries very very hard to win them back.

Well we had a very full week. We had Interviews with President Perry on Tuesday; Trainer/Trainee on Friday; a baptism, chapel tours, and the ward Trunk-or-Treat on Saturday; and church and all the meetings connected with that on Sunday. In response to Elder Sorensen's assertion that being a missionary for Halloween is lame, I went to the Trunk-or-Treat as Sister Kawasaki and Sister Kawasaki went as me. Okay so all we did was switch name tags, but I thought it at least mildly amusing and at least a few other people did too. We thought about borrowing ties from the Elders and going as Elders but the flyer said not to cross dress, plus I don't have a white shirt--I'm always paranoid I'll spill on a white shirt. We also were able to meet some very important goals this week such as finding 4 new people to teach and getting 5 investigators to come to Sacrament Meeting. We are still woefully short on our lessons with a member present, however, so that will get much attention this week, hopefully. But our miracle investigator did get baptized on Saturday at a very nice baptism (very crowded too actually, sadly mostly with people from our ward and not from his new ward). He is still very sad about having to be in a different stake and is even considering moving. But anyway, we worked hard and had some good lessons and good things happen.

Now this week we are going to continue to work hard. On Wednesday, aka Halloween, we have to be in our apartments by 6:00 no exceptions. And we pretty much have to do extra studying. We don't have any candy to hand out either, so I hope trick-or-treaters don't hit up our apartment. On Thursday I am going on my first ever missionary exchange. I've always been too far away from other Sisters to do them before. I am going to go back up to my old area in Yuba City and work with Sister Levacy-Sabin while Sister Nielson comes down to Lincoln to work with Sister Kawasaki. They have some good lessons lined up for that day too.

I hope you all have a good week. Dad and Amy, please take good pictures of nieces and nephews in Halloween costumes and send them on!

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fairytale Investigators

Dear Family and Friends,

Things continue to be interesting here in Lincoln. For instance, today the internet keeps kicking me off so I am typing this letter in hope that I can get on long enough to copy and paste it into an email. This week has been a little crazy. We have been working hard, but with mixed results. It started off with cleaning inspections. But our inspector came at 9:00 am, when did they expect us to clean? It is a good thing that I cleaned fairly thoroughly the week before and really just had to touch up most things on Monday. We also had to spend the week touching up the car trying to make it is nice as possible (since I knew they would be paying particular attention to our car this inspection due to our accident the week before). I am happy to say that we did win one of those prizes (in fact the Sisters very nearly swept car inspections, a rare feat). As part of this effort we discovered that the Shell station’s car wash here actually has fairly decent wax—unfortunately it doesn’t clean perfectly so we ended up with some suds marks under our wax job (which I didn’t even realize we were getting, by the way). Oh well, Ichabod is nice and shiny this week.

The real news is two fold. First, I forgot one of the oddities last week; an increasing pet peeve of mine in fact: golf carts. Our area covers part of “Sun City” which is a very large retirement community. On all of the roads throughout the community there are golf cart lanes. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve never seen a golf cart lane before. What is even weirder to me is that some of these more senior citizens seem to think it is okay to take their golf carts out onto the parkways—not on the side of the road or in the bike lanes or anything, right there in the middle of traffic—across I-65 and over to go shopping. Now that just seems dangerous, they don’t really have all that much protection. Today we saw a gentleman driving his golf cart on the parkway today with his Labrador sitting in the passenger seat. These things don’t have any doors, what would he do if his dog saw something it wanted to chase and jumped out? People do strange things.

But the real news is about a very surreal experience Sister Kawasaki and I have been able to be a part of. On our second day here in Lincoln we started teaching a new investigator. He works at the pizza place here and one of the families who goes there fairly often started a friendship with him and invited him to church. He came for two weeks and then they asked if he would like the lessons (enter us). The weekend after we taught him the first lesson (in the member’s home) was General Conference—he watched all 5 sessions. The second lesson went really well and he liked it a lot. He always did all of his reading assignments and more as the members kept sending him home with church DVDs and optional reading. This past week we taught him the third lesson. Next Saturday he is getting baptized. This seriously has been like teaching exactly out of Preach My Gospel; he has literally been the perfect investigator. I guess it just goes to show that the General Authorities really knew what they were doing when they wrote the “text” and that it all really works. It has been neat to be a part of this. The only “down” side is that he lives in Roseville, so technically it is going to be their baptism, but hey it’s all the same mission and the same gospel and we get to go anyway.

Now hopefully we’ll be able to actually find some more people to teach this week since sadly we had 0 new investigators last week. That is the first time that has happened for me in 20 weeks. This week will be busy though, since we have interviews with our Mission President tomorrow and Trainer/Trainee to go to on Friday. But with concerted effort I am sure we can do it.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Life in Lincoln

Dear Family and Friends,

There are definitely some strange things about Lincoln. For one, we went to church yesterday and everything people told us was true. We fill up all the way back to the stage, two babies were blessed, two baby births were announced, and three new families were read into the ward. Kind of weird, plus it was loud with lots of kids running here there and everywhere since many of them were sitting in the gym and thought it was play time. But the ward is really enthusiastic and full of young people and old people who each have their pluses (young people mingle and refer people, old people are home during the day and can go with you to appointments sans kiddies). Other weird things? There are multitudes of wild peacocks residing outside our apartments. Apparently nobody really knows where they come from but they are wandering around all the time. The Spanish Elders have discovered that if you catch one and call animal services they pay you somewhere between $20-50 dollars which brings up frightening possibilities since we already have discovered that the previous tenants of our apartment did indeed catch one and keep it in the apartment for some period of time (we have feathers to prove it). Oh the possibilties when you house 8 Elders together. Another thing, EVERYONE around here is doing some serious decorating for Halloween. And I mean serious, there are giant spiders and that spider web stuff, mummies, inflatable haunted castles and caves, monsters, graveyards, the works. Is it because there are so many young families? Because I simply do not remember seeing this degree of Halloween decoration growing up. Also one of the main roads here is named Ferrari Ranch Road. Has anyone ever seen a Ferrari Ranch? I am curious what that might entail.

Well this week I got lost fewer times, but I still got lost plenty. We had a good week though. We got to meet a few more of our investigators (and drop a few). We had some excellent lessons, and we really do have some excellent fellowshippers in this ward. That is really exciting as a missionary. We also were able to meet and begin teaching an entire family! Okay so not entire because three of their five sons are younger than 8, but they were present for the lesson. They took the lessons a few years back in Roseville, but then with the move to Lincoln and other things in their life they stopped. But they say everything keeps pointing them back to this church and they seem very serious so I am excited. Also this was a referral from the Bishop, yay Bishop! And last, but not least, we got rear ended on Saturday. We were just sitting completely stopped in traffic waiting for the light to change when the SUV behind us hit us. We're both fine and actually the only damage is possibly a scratch--we're not that familiar with the car so we don't know if it was there already or not--so we were pretty lucky. But the odds of not getting into another accident are in my favor now, right? I'll hope so.

Also note to Elder Sorensen: it is officially the Church's new housing policy for North America to have all missionaries living in members' houses, so prepare yourself for the future. We still have not heard anything about us getting into a house, which was supposed to be resolved by this point, but we'll just hang out in a half unpacked apartment until we do hear.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS I've been trying to teach Sister Kawasaki American jokes but she just insists they are all stupid. And, when I asked her what she would say if I called her a cheesu-no-atama so simply could not comprehend it. Anne did you teach us made up words? Sister K does not get why calling someone a "cheesehead" would be either funny or offensive, or why you would call anyone that in the first place. We continue to work on teaching her how to see "would" or "wood" instead of "ood" and teaching her the mission song. In fact I had to tell her we could not listen to any music in the car until she had it learned, which she was displeased with but it has provided the proper incentive.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

You've Got to be Kidding Me!

Dear Family and Friends,

Watashi no namae wa Sorensen simai desu. Does that give anyone a hint as to who my new companion is? I am currently serving in the Lincoln 2nd Ward in the Rocklin Stake with Sister Takako Kawasaki. I have to admit while I had some sentimental thoughts that it would be kind of cool to train the Japanese sister given our family's record with Japan and missionary work, I was quite surprised that President Perry and the Lord are having me Shotgun Train with a foreign Language missionary. Partly because this simply cuts out an hour and a half everyday of extra study time that Sister Kawasaki gets, but I'm sure it will all work out. After all I trust the Lord and President Perry a great deal, so they must know what they are doing right?

Now for proper introductions. Sister Kawasaki comes from Kumamoto, Japan (even though all the mission stuff says she comes from Tokyo, I guess that is where she was living just before she came out). She joined the church when she was 18 after taking some of the free English lessons the missionaries were offering and feeling obligated to repay their services by listening to them teach the gospel, but merely as a courtesy. Of course, that changed and she has now been a member for four years. She is the only member in her family, and her family is apparently a little less than supportive in her decision to come on a mission, particularly all the way over here in California. That said, would Emily, Anne, or Travis like to brush up on their Japanese? Sister Kawasaki gets very little mail, and while she is very nice and polite about it, I can tell it bothers her a bit. She's graduated from college and all that, and apparently worked as a nurse for a year before she came on her mission. That job, however, was not to her liking so she is also trying to figure out what else she can/will do when she goes home.

Okay so how about the ward. There is only one word I can use to describe this ward/area and week: crazy. While I love General Conference (I particularly liked Elder Boyd K. Packer and Elder Robert D. Hales talk this time round), it did fall at a very inconvenient time for trying to get to know a new ward. This ward is absolutely huge! (By all accounts, since I have not yet actually witnessed this). It has 750 members, very many of whom are active. There are three nurseries (which equals to 60 kids between the age of 18 months and 3 years), 120 other children in primary, and apparently there is almost literally a baby born each week. For the last two years they have read at least one new family into the ward each week and sometimes it is closer to three or four, and during the block every single room--including the kitchen--is being used. There is also a chunk of a fairly large retirement community in the ward so there are plenty of old people too. The only thing in scarcity, it sounds like, are teenagers and people in their 40s. Meanwhile we have only met six or seven families. We spent all of last week and this weekend trying really, really hard to meet the last set of Elders' investigating pool with very little luck. This people are nearly impossible to get a hold of! We've called them all, gone round to their houses at different times during the day, and left notes on their doors with very little return. We are probably going to have a baptism this month though, which is fun (we do have an appointment with this person tonight). And we started teaching a friend of one of the family's last week and not only did the lesson go very well, but we all met at their home to watch Conference on Saturday; he ended up watching all three sessions that day, and was supposed to have gone back over for Sunday's sessions as well. Another plus about this ward though is that there are lots of ward missionaries and the Ward Mission Leader and Bishop are really on top of missioary work, not that the ward really needs any new members, but hey. Apparently the big hold up is that there is simply no other building to put another ward and so they cannot split Lincoln 2nd (there are at least three wards meeting in all the buildings in this stake).

So this next week is going to be a great big adventure. Sister Kawasaki and I are going to press forward and work really hard; if we can't find all their old investigators we're just going to have to go out and get some of our own.

I hope you all had a great week, sorry about the delay. The computers went all weird last Monday.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Land of Lincoln

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, another week of working hard, and happily, another baptism. It was actually a very eventful baptism, which included our recent convert swimming across the font (after he accidentally went up the Women’s side trying to get out of the font). All I could do was shake my head and laugh. The entire thing was very characteristic of him. I don’t really know what else to say about this week—we worked hard and found some more people. We also, unfortunately, had a lot of teaching appointments fall through this last week. I guess it’s just that time of year. But overall things went well and I feel good about leaving the area. Unlike my first area, I feel that I really made a difference here and helped to change some people’s lives; and that is a great feeling.

That said, I won’t make you all wait. Transfers have come with extra surprises. They are splitting the trio up just about as much as possible. Sister Nielson is staying here to keep working with our investigators, while Sister Mauga heads back up to Anderson Zone to shotgun Red Bluff with a Sister I really wish I could serve with, but I just don’t think the timing will ever work out! I, meanwhile, am finally passing that invisible line into the “south” of the mission. I am going to go Shotgun the Lincoln 2nd Ward in the Rocklin Zone/Stake and I’m going to train while I’m at it. So, that means I don’t know who my companion is and I won’t find out until tomorrow afternoon so none of you will know until next week. Unless you have some secret sources I don’t know about, which I suppose is possible, but I doubt it. The candidates for my new companion are: Sister Kawasaki from Tokyo, Japan, Sister Methot from New Hampshire, or Sister Rollins from Arizona. So place your bets and I’ll let you know who the lucky winner is next Monday. Anyway, once again I’ll be in a car, another red Corolla. And apparently it is a very large word with around 730 people and three nurseries. It seems to be partly old people (for some reason or another I attract the old people wards) and partly young people in an area of town that is really growing. Anyway I’m excited for the adventure of being in the “south” plus shotgun training.

Another point of interest—somehow or other I’ve reached my 9-month mark. Isn’t that crazy? I can honestly say that I love this work and I am not at all counting down the days until I go home. In fact, that is something that President Perry and I agreed not to even think about (we’re going home about the same time).

I love you all and I hope everything is going well wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Afterthoughts: Besides not knowing the exact address, our housing situation in Lincoln is going to be temporary, so just keep sending everything to/through the mission office.

California Roseville Mission
8331 Sierra College Blvd., Ste. 208
Roseville, CA 95661

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

By George, I think she's got it!

Dear Family and Friends,

Despite my worries last week, something finally clicked for Sister Mauga this last week and she's really coming along on her bike riding. We've been able to enjoy a little outdoor exercise the last several mornings, and I have to say it makes me so much more awake for personal study! Too bad we're heading into the rainy season and that might not be possible for too much longer!

We had an eventful week if not entirely as productive as we might have liked. We did have some really excellent lessons (particularly firsts), but our finding and OYMing was WAY down this week. It doesn't help when cool/rainy season corresponds with flu season + Sister Missionaries shaking a lot of people's hands and what not. So needless to say Sister Nielson had a rough time of it this week, never full on flu but treacherously close. We also learned this week that Sister Mauga has been having sinus headaches for 4.5 months without telling anyone or taking anything for them--so while we picked up so flu medicine for Sister Nielson we got her some sinus clearing stuff. Great descriptors, I know.

When we arrived home Friday night from a day's worth of proselyting (with Blizzards in hand, might I add, because we went to do some daily contact with one of our less actives, the husband of one of our strongest investigators) we realized that both Sister Mauga and Sister Nielson had locked their keys in the house. I stood there for a moment contemplating what a Sister Missionary with dripping ice cream is to do in this "emergency": call the Bishop--sometimes they have a spare key, and if that, then which one, does the District Leader have a copy? and my I was glad we had a cell phone. Sister Nielson turned to me and asked if we'd put the bar back into our sliding glass door after bike riding that morning. Hmmm, no because our patio door locks and was indeed locked at that time. So she decided to attempt climbing over the extremely ivy-covered (except that it is not ivy) fence and squeezing between it and the overhang to get in, while she was dizzy with flu symptoms and flu medicine. This upset Sister Mauga who was certain she would fall. Then Sister M realized that the screen on our Study Room's window was still bent from when she tried to wash the outside from the inside for our apartment checks. So she and the sock-footed Sister Nielson squeezed past the treacherously prickly bushes in the dark to investigate. It was about this time that Sister Nielson lost her sock to the bush. Sister N couldn't get the screen off so she decided to try and climb the fence on the other side, but thought it would be easier if she could turn her skirt into pants "King and I" style. Meanwhile Sister M worked away on the window, while I was still around front with everyone's ice cream wondering what was taking so long. Finally As Sister N was trying to scale the fence, Sister M got the screen off and tried to convince Sister N to climb onto her shoulders. Sister N, always seeing the opportunity to teach, instead instructed her on how to do a cheer leader toss and successfully made it through the window at last. So we finally made it in--though Sister N was still worried our neighbors would call the police on us as they have a bit of a "Rear Window" habit. The police never came, however, and on Saturday morning we found Sister Nielson's keys in the car where they had been sitting the whole time. Isn't life fun as a Sister missionary?

We decided to end the week with a baptism. After all something has to come at the end of this story.

Until our adventures next week,
Sister L. Sorensen

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

So Easy to Do, So Hard to Teach!

Dear Family and Friends,

There isn't too much to report this week. We worked hard, we got a lot done, but there is a lot still left to do. One thing we failed to do, is to teach Sister Mauga how to ride her bike. I've discovered that this is actually quite a hard thing to do. We tried, believe me. But I think it is kind of just something you need to figure out yourself. So I try to just be supportive and go sit outside with her in the mornings as she keeps trying--I don't feel that riding circles around her would do much for her morale. So yes, we just keep working hard.

It was rather a weird week schedule wise because we had interviews with our Mission President on Friday, so we had to do Friday Morning Planning on Thursday and some how that just throws me all off. But interviews were good, thus far my longest and most revealing interview (it was probably about 6 minutes instead of 2). Zone Meeting was really good too, very inspiring. I love this Zone, the work is just going along so well here. That said, this is your two week warning. The next transfer begins October 2, so please keep that in mind for any letters which will hopefully be coming my way (as in next week when you write me letters, because I know you all will, send them to the Mission Office and not to my Yuba address). I have very strong premonitions, shall we say, that I will not be here next transfer. That makes me sad, but it had to happen some time.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hello, Don Carlos!

Dear Friends and Family,

How has your week been going thus far? Hopefully not too bad as it is only Monday. Last week went really well for us. It started out a little stressful as we spent most of Monday pretty much deep cleaning the apartment (including experimenting with using a ward member's carpet cleaning machine), and trying to get the car spic and span. But it perked up after that.

We had a great district meeting: Sister Mauga fed us all Samoan food for reaching our District's finding goal. Then went out to do some more work! I'm so pleased that our companionship has been able to work so hard the last two weeks. Despite the fact that Sister Nielson and Sister Mauga were still fairly sick last week they were real troopers as we tried to OYM everyone possible. I've noticed that the Lord rewards our efforts; the more we try to OYM, the more people He puts in our way to OYM. Last week we had a goal of 50 and were just 2 shy, but still that is pretty good because we forgot to factor in that we would be at Zone Conference a big chunk of Thursday. We also found nearly twice as many new investigators than we had aimed for--thanks to the fact we were able to go on some good exchanges and have been opening our mouths more. We're still trying to even out our investigating pool between the two wards, but we just seem to find more solid people in Sutter Buttes (though we are finding a lot of people in Buttes Vista as well). We also got some great lessons in and it looks like the first baptism of my mission will be on September 23, which is very exciting. I am fast approaching my 9 month mark--doesn't that sound crazy?--and I was really hoping to see some baptisms before that point! Now I should have two, and we are all very excited about that. Other news? We won apartment inspections finally, so the carpet cleaning must have been worth it.

What else is there to report? We're healthy (mostly by this point), happy, and working hard. Today we're even going to have the chance to head over to the church parking lot and teach Sister Mauga how to ride her bike--in pants though, skirts come next, and then roadside (it is lucky that Yuba City is nice and flat). Oh, we did learn at Zone Conference last week that there are three more sister coming out next transfer, so there is a possibility that I will be training. Or I may be shotgunning again, but nobody really knows. In all events, it should be an exciting transfer call next time round.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS Elder Sorensen, I'm glad to hear you are doing better and that you got more miles. I hope you have a great week

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Goodbye, GusGus!

Dear Family and Friends,

I got an unsettling call late one night last week. And by late I mean 9:45. No, it was not about Elder Sorensen's mishap--for which I am sincerely sorry and I hope you are recuperating very well. Elder Blackard the older Elder who is in charge of the cars called to inform us that we needed to make sure our car was extra spiffy on Thursday for Zone Conference because, gulp, they're taking GusGus away and selling it. Now the bright side of this is that we get a brand new car; the down side? Byebye Mazda 3, hello Toyota Corolla. Not that Corolla are bad cars. I actually have no idea because I've never driven one, but there is something about having one of the Mazdas. Oh well, we will get over it. In fact we're already considering names for the new car. The forerunner right now is Don Carlos after Don Carlos Smith, but we'll see it probably depends on the color.

Not that we are totally obsessed with the car. We actually had a great week. I was feeling personally responsible for not quite meeting our goals the week before so I repented and rededicated myself. I am happy to report that we bettered ourselves in all the areas we hoped to. Particularly in reaching our Finding, OYM, and lessons with a member present goal. Hurrah! And all of this with all three of us having bad colds--not so hurrah. But the Lord is merciful and helped us because we really tried to push through and accomplish everything we could despite the heat and the illness. For instance last Friday while we were home doing Friday Morning Planning an old investigator who we had never met called us up and said he finally realized that Tithing--which had been his hold up--was not about the money but about having the faith to be obedient and wanted the lessons again so he could be baptized. It is not every day that happens so that was pretty cool. Then we had 4 families come on Chapel Tours (one even brought his less active sister and her non-member husband). Then Brother McPeters, the second counsellor in the Bishopric and one of people to bring his families on a chapel tour, bore his testimony on Sunday about how much he felt the spirit during the tour. That was also pretty cool, though we still don't have anyone coming for sure this weekend. Alas. But all in all a great week with another great week ahead!

What's coming up this week? Zone Conference, new car, cell phones (we're getting cell phones as a mission, so either DI is getting a lot of phones donated this month or the church is going to sell them or something), and a lot of lessons, finding and OYMing. It should be good folks. Plus I really think our baptism on the 30 will go through, we should be able to set another baptismal date this week, and things are generally looking up. Oh and we DEEP CLEANED the apartment yesterday (we even borrowed a shampooer from a member and did all our carpets) so hopefully we get higher than 3rd place this week on Apartment checks.

Elder Sorensen I hope you get feeling better!

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Thursday, August 30, 2007

That Was Unexpected

Dear Friends and Family,

Well after one week of being Senior Companion I am ready to switch back, but Sister Nielson won't let me. So Elder Sorensen enjoy the freedom of being able to work really hard to meet goals without feeling that when you don't meet those goals it is your fault. I probably shouldn't be feeling that way--well at least hopefully it isn't my fault--but I do. I know that the goals we've set for OYMs,finding, and lessons are attainable, but for some reason or another we did not make them last week. So to make myself feel better, I will blame it instead on the fact that it was the first week of the transfer and we had to help Sister Mauga (pronounced Mao-ng-ah [the ng is like at the end of sing, there us no "uh" sound after the g]) get to know everyone, move in, etc.

Last Monday was weird. First we packed up Sister Howard and sent her off. Then we spent the day teaching, doing errands, and me realizing that it is harder to drive around here in the dark than I anticipated. Tuesday we had our regular morning routine until all the Sisters arrived to swap companions and then we gave Sister Mauga some time to move in before we headed to an appointment where the person was not there. So instead we went tracting and found a new investigator, waited for the APs to deliver our 3rd desk, and sundry other visits before our evening appointments. And our week generally continued in that pattern: introducing Sister Mauga to ward members and investigators. I am bound and determined to do everything possible today and throughout the week to get as many OYMs as possible and to find new investigators. Though we were able to find some more people in the Buttes Vista ward last week which was good.

But I guess things are going pretty well. The 16 year-old we're teaching has set another Baptismal date which hopefully we should make this time. Sister Mauga is really funny. Her English is very good (though I admit that extra hour of language study everyday is giving me cabin fever); she is quick to laugh and smile, and she wanders around singing random church music--all in English. We're going to have a very musical apartment.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS We've had no hot water for 3 days. That is no fun. But our hot water heater breaking did give us the incentive to clean out a closet full of junk from the last 10 years of missionaries living in that apartment. So there is a positive side to everything!

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Mission World Goes Round and Round

Dear Family and Friends,

Another Zone Conference has come and gone. It was weird to have one of my companions giving her parting testimony, but the rest of it was really quite great. We talked a lot about helping our investigators make commitments, and while I still struggle with the fact that the Zone Leaders and APs seem to be able to do it all so easily with the people they are teaching--it just never seems to work out that way with ours--I think I learned a lot that will help me be better in the future. Unlike Elder Sorensen, nobody I've taught has been baptized yet. Though I did hear at Sister's Conference that the two sisters we were teaching in Round Mountain (back in my Palo Cedro days) are getting baptized in August. Many days I feel that my role is simply to help people progress and that it falls to other sisters to bring about the baptisms. That said, however, two of the people we are teaching do look rather like they are heading towards baptismal dates in August which is quite exciting. It is also nice that there is one per ward; though that means we are baptizing half of our active teaching pool in Buttes Vista which is bitter sweet.

Mission life seems very cyclical. You have a very good week and then you have one of those not so good weeks. This past week was on the slow side. We were unable to reach our goal of finding 4 new people (though on the bright side, we did start teaching one of our other investigator's sisters and that look rather promising). We had a lot of appointments set up followed by a lot of cancellations. 7 people were supposed to come to church and we only had 1. And then we discovered that only 2 people had signed up on the Buttes Vista dinner calendar for the entire month. But there were some good things as well. We sang a musical number in Sutter Buttes (they were doing a missionary theme for the 5 Sunday and they had already had two of us talk) with one of our investigators and his newly re-activated friend. It was kind of boring in that it was just a hymn, Hark All Ye Nations, but we needed something that we could learn fairly quickly and would require minimum practicing on Sister Howard's part (as she was our pianist). But we received a lot of compliments (Sister Nielson has a very nice soprano, plus I think people were just impressed we got the other two to sing with us, though truth be told our investigator volunteered himself and his friend). One old man asked me after the meeting if I had ever considered develping my talents, and seemed surprisingly disappointed when I told him that no, I hadn't. I am after all content to restricting myself to singing in church.

I hope everyone else is doing well at the family reunion, baby blessing, and other festivities. Enjoy your summer.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS. Yes, Mom we are doing fine on miles (we have nearly 300 left). And no, I forgot to bring my camera cords so no pictures. Sorry!

Editor's Note: This is a letter from the end of July that I never got posted. If it sounds a little out of order, it is not your imagination!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Getting to know GusGus





Dear Family and Friends,

I know you're all waiting to know what happened with transfers today. Just imagine what fun and excitement you have awaiting transfer news from both Elder Sorensen and I for the next 7-8 transfers! It turns out that the Japanese sister was delayed in the MTC for another 6 weeks--I would rather presume that means she would appreciate more time to work on her English. So there had to be another threesome of Sisters in the mission. And yes, Sutter Buttes and Buttes Vista wards were the lucky winners once again. I really don't know why this is, it seems like they would share the experience around, but I guess Sister Nielson and I are just getting good at this (it will be her third, almost consequtively, and my second back to back). Sister Muaga, the sister from Samoa, will be joining us fresh from Palo Cedro tomorrow morning. And it turns out we are the companion swapping spot because another set of sisters is coming up to drop off the new Palo Cedro missionary. So it should be a fun little meeting tomorrow morning. I rather suspected that Sister Nielson and I would be staying together, but there is a definite surprise ending. For some reason or other I was made Senior Companion and now have driving duties. We can't quite decide if it is because I have a slightly cleaner driving record than Sister Nielson, if it is just because I know the area better than her, or what. But I am trying to be very conscientious of her feelings in the matter and she is being a very good sport about it as well.

This last week was quite good. We had a rough Monday proselyting--your body just kind of gets used to having its rest day at a specific time and does not like it when you change things up. But we had some good lessons on Tuesday and then were able to go down to the temple on Wednesday. It was quite nice to go down to Sacramento, the temple is very pretty and it was an enjoyable and quite full session. It was a little nerveracking because we were supposed to be meeting Sister Rowlands and Sister Gurr there and they did not show up until the very last minute possible (despite the fact that they live/work in the area closest to the temple). But there was a mix up afterwards and we didn't end up getting to see them and take pictures with them which was sad because I did not get to say good bye to Sister Rowlands. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we tried to focus on finding more people to teach in the Buttes Vista ward to little avail. Though we did start teaching two new people in the Sutter Buttes ward. The work in that ward is going great, we had two investigators at church, and all our lessons with members present were there this week. But we would love to balance out the effort. As a mission we have started offering chapel tours (see the article on Member Missionary work in the August Ensign) and we have gotten very good at setting the building up, and even doing them. But nobody has actually shown up for a tour yet! We keep inviting the ward members out so they can see what they are and get excited to invite friends to them, and there should for sure be people there this weekend. Hopefully. We really hate wasting our proselyting time by sitting at the church even though we did get some good Area Book updates made.

Anyway that is pretty much how my week went. Here are a few pictures. I was very sad to see Sister Howard leave this morning, it is nice to work with someone when the work both goes well and is fun. We have really been able to help get a lot going in Sutter Buttes ward which is exciting. And I am also sad to know--if not see--Sister Rowlands leave as well. But the work will go on.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS I'm sure we will have lots of fun teaching Sister Muaga how to ride a bike . . . in a skirt. And, in case you were wondering GusGus is our Mazda 3.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sister Howard's last week . . .

Dear Friends and Family,

I don't know that I have too much to report. We kept busy last week with lessons, finding, and car repair. Having our car in the shop (pointlessly as it turned out) gave us the opportunity to ride bikes Thursday and rather surprise the older couple who we do yard work for by showing up on our bikes. I think I am finally becoming proficient in lawn mowing; though I still make Sister Howard do the front yard because I figure that one should look nicer and I am well aware of my physical inability to do just about anything in straight lines.

We did have excellent lessons last week, but we lost our one baptism date and were unable to set baptism dates with the other two investigators we thought might be a possibility. But the work continues. Sister Howard is trying so hard to stay focused on the work and to continue being the best missionary possible while still having to figure out essential details of her imminent departure. I have to say that I will miss her a lot. She has been an excellent companion/leader/teacher, plus we both think each other's jokes are funny--always a plus. I don't really have any idea what will happen at transfers next week. The new sister from Japan is not coming out for another six weeks so that means a sister's area has to be turned over to the Elders and another threesome. So who knows, we may get a third sister back in Yuba City, but I doubt that. Anyway its possible that I move, but I don't think I will. Next Monday we will be travelling though, so I don't know if/when email may be.

Have a great week!

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Pizza in the morning, Pizza in the evening, Pizza at suppertime. . .






Dear Family and Friends,

It was a great week. We started teaching 4 new people, 4 of the people we are teaching came to church, we set a baptism date, and we had 7 progressing investigators. Even nicer and more rare, last tuesday we had no time to tract because we were going from one teaching appointment to another the whole day (well aside from Zone Meeting where we actually did work on Tracting skills). So that was quite nice. We generally have been able to do quite a few lessons each week with members present (the ideal lesson) which is really nice. For the most part, the Yuba Stake/Zone is leading the mission and it is always nice to be a part of that. We were disappointed though that two of our investigators who were supposed to come to church did not show. But things are really going great in the Sutter Buttes ward, if only we could catch Butte Vista up!

Other news of interest? In the past 2 weeks we have been fed pizza 6 times. Sister Howard was very distressed. Apparently her last week or so in Orangevale she also had a pizza rush; including a notable day where she had pizza for two meals, and another day when members/investigators fed her KFC, McDonalds, and pizza. Other than that we haven't really had anything that interesting served to us in Yuba City. Thus far on my mission I have had venison, elk, I had my first artichoke the other week too. Not that artichoke in and of itself is that weird, but I had no idea how I was supposed to eat it and I suppose my pride crept up a little bit because I did not want to ask. So instead I watched my one companion as she ate it very intently which didn't work because it confused her. I'm not entirely sure I ever really got the hang of it, but apparently the artichokes could have used another few minutes boiling, so perhaps it is not my fault. Other than that I don't think there is anything too weird happening out here.

Just a warning, next week we are going down to the Sacramento Temple so you might get very short emails on Monday. Then the week following that Sister Howard is leaving, so we have to go down to Orangevale and I don't know if/when we may be emailing then either. So that is your two week warning of/on transfers. I think I will be staying at least one more transfer with Sister Neilson here in Yuba City which I am rather looking forward too.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Pictures: One of Sister Rowlands, Howard, and I at Sister Conference; Sister Fultz, Sister Nielson, Sister Howard, myself, and Sister Gore at Zone Conference; Sister Howard pondering the path of her feet.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Living in a "Harry"-less World

Dear Family and Friends,

Elder Sorensen's letters home have made me realize just how boring my own are. But I don't like to write too much about the people we are teaching because 1) I think it is kind of boring to read about people you don't know (for those of you who do not know the people involved) and 2) I don't know how they might feel if they were to discover themselves on the internet. But if you--as in you, my general readers--want to know let me know. We are teaching some people right now who probably really wouldn't care. So what did we do this week? We taught a lot of lessons--there are several people we are teaching in the Sutter Buttes ward who are progressing quite well--and went on a lot of exchanges (again mostly with the Sutter Buttes ward). We feel bad because it seems that a lot of our time and energy end up focused on that one ward, but that is where we can find the people who really are interested and willing to make commitments. Most of our finding is actually in the other ward, but we usually end up dropping a lot of those people because we either can't stay in touch or they really just aren't that interested. So we are still trying to figure out how to get the Buttes Vista ward excited about working with us and doing member missionary work.

The other big highlight of our week was Sister's Conference. All 13 of the Sister missionaries in the California Roseville Mission convened at the Stake Building here in Yuba and we taught little talk/lesson/workshops on different subjects. Okay so the 4 greenies didn't teach but everyone else did. The third day that I was "in the mission" (i.e. in California) we had a Sister's Conference, but at the time I was still really tired from the traveling schedule just a bit dazed. But this Sister's Conference was absolutely excellent. I was able to learn a lot, particularly on "Mighty Prayer" which is what I had been assigned to teach about. Most of my thoughts stemmed from an article in the December 2006 Ensign--it was called "Mighty Prayer"--and it was really exactly what I needed to be learning and focusing on as a missionary that week. The topics came from each companionship of Sisters; they suggested things which they wanted to learn about either because they have been struggling with them or would simply like to be able to do better them better. It was not only great to be able to see all the Sisters and catch up on the news and people from your old areas and companionships, but it was a powerful meeting. I think it was a needed pick-me-up and a great introduction for the new sisters. That and I also learned a little Hula from Sister Ah Puck who was in charge of introducing the Sisters and talked about magnifying our talents. But alas, I forgot my camera cords, Mom, but I WILL actually send you some pictures next week. I promise.

This week will be great though because we have some good appointments set up already not to mention Zone Conference. We also are singing in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday with the 15 year-old we are teaching and his best friend who will finally be able to get her less active mother to come to church. It also is a great excuse to tell the people we are teaching that they HAVE to come and support us. We aren't doing anything too fancy, just "Hark All Ye Nations" because our 5th Sunday topic is on Missionary work.

So I am not only jealous of all you who get to read Harry Potter, but I am debating whether I just want to get someone to explain the whole thing to me so I get a good explanation or risk it and see if I can actually go a whole year without someone ruining the ending for me. I guess time will tell. The hardest thing is seeing the book just sitting on counters at so many members' homes. I've had to keep Sister Nielson from reading the last page several times!

I hope you all have a great week. And by the way, Eric, if you sent that Spanish OYM to Palo Cedro with the French Book of Mormon, then I never got it and Erynn Scott was probably pretty confused about that. Could you send me another one to my mission address? Thank you.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS Mission Address:
Sister Lindsay Sorensen
California Roseville Mission
8331 Sierra College Blvd Ste 208
Roseville, CA 95661

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Yuba's Finest

Dear Family and Friends,

Apparently I forgot to give my new companion a fair introduction. Now in addition to Sister Howard and I, the Sutter Buttes and Buttes Vista wards are being served by Sister Nielson of Orangeville, Utah. She is the youngest of three kids, went to Snow College studying something in the fine arts, and does not like milk.

Well this past week we had a busy week. We were able to teach a lot of lessons and leave a lot of good commitments with the people we are teaching. We were not, however, able to get any of them to church except for the little girl who is moving to Kentucky next week, so we were sad. I guess that is life as a missionary. Before I came on my mission I always heard about how missionaries would get discouraged when people kept slamming doors, but thus far the door slams and the many, many "Not interested" responses we get don't discourage me at all. What gets me, more in wonderment really than depression, is when we teach really good lessons where I can feel the spirit strongly and then the person declines to have us back again. It is hard to believe that they don't want more peace, answers, and understanding in their life.

Other exciting things this week? We stopped by the Heritage Fair at the Yuba Sutter mall briefly on Saturday to see if we could help the members who were running the Church's booth and not only did I get good homemade bread (though I did not try the Jalapeno jam) but I also ended up with my picture in yesterday's paper. So, you never know what is going to happen. It has also been exciting to see how one of the people we are teaching, a 15-year-old whose father is in the Spanish Branch, really start to progress. He had a hard time getting along with some of the Elders but has really opened up to us. He is still praying to know for himself, but we have high hopes.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Two Funerals and Nearly a Baptism

Dear Friends and Family,

Transfers have come and gone and not only am I still in Yuba, but I am still with Sister Howard! I was a little worried there at the end that either we would get split up (in which case I was probably the one moving) or that nothing would happen and it would feel anti-climactic. So instead President Perry sent us a third sister so that the Sutter Buttes and Buttes Vista wards could have just one more sister to fawn over. Isn't that crazy? I don't know how many times in the last 6 weeks I've heard about how these wards have NEVER had sister missionaries before--now they will have three!

We had a pretty good week. Our talks in Sacrament meeting went quite well--we were even able to get two of our investigators to church (finally) and some of the less actives we have been working with as well. I have to say that our talks complimented each other nicely. We were also able to start teaching 5 new people even if our OYMs were pretty low. My "excuse" is that people are hiding from the 108 degree temperatures. The nice thing about tracting in that heat? People first tell us that it is too hot to be doing such work, and then they offer us water even when they are not at all interested. We participated in my most interesting finding effort to date, we helped a ward member prepare 78 copies of the Book of Mormon with his late mother's testimony in it to hand out at her funeral on Friday morning and then handed them out. We also almost had a baptism when a 12 year-old girl the Elders in Citrus Heights were teaching moved up here the day before her baptism was scheduled, but President Perry decided to postpone it and interview her today due to her special circumstances. The second funeral you ask? One of the people the Elders were teaching died yesterday morning. So we may be going to that funeral as well, I don't really know.

Our Fourth was pretty uneventful. There weren't any fireworks around here because there was an accident at the fireworks last year which resulted in some teenage girl having to get her leg amputated. So instead we met up with the Elders at the church in the afternoon and played Soccer Volleyball which was surprisingly hard to get a hang of. I am afraid I was in no means any good, but I tried not to be too much of a hindrance to the Elders on my team who were quite good.

Talk to you next week.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Monday, July 2, 2007

Yuba Thus Far

Dear Family and Friends,

Well I forgot to mention to you last week, but transfers are next week. I know six weeks already? I am not exactly sure how that happened. I suspect I will stay here, but there is a chance that I'll be shipped off because we are getting 3 new Sisters and we are not entirely sure who will be training (Sister Howard has only trained one and then there are certain other factors so she might be training another. Though I told her that she could just consider herself as training me since I am learning a ton from her). So you are duly warned and I suggest any mail you send this week you send through the mission office just in case.

Before what I have learned, how about a little bit more about the area? I don't think I've really talked about it much. It is much smaller than Palo Cedro and rather more culturally diverse. We cover parts of Yuba--some apartments with interesting tenants, lots of new development, and then a little town called Sutter which apparently was at one point in running for becoming California's capital--although the Marysville natives (Marysville is just across Feather River from our Buttes Vista area) say that they were supposed to become the California State Capital. Anyway Sutter is pretty small but has a lot of members. It is our unofficial goal to tract every single street there before Sister Howard heads home at the end of next transfer. So far we have 3 streets down. We also have the Sutter Buttes in our area (if you've seen the mission logo, which most of you probably haven't it has Mount Shasta, the Sutter Buttes, a redwood tree, and a rose in it. So far I've seen Shasta, the Sutter Buttes, and technically been in Roseville so all I have to do is make a tour up to the Redwoods. Which is not very likely since they don't have Sisters in the Redding Zone.) Apparently Black Widows are pretty common over here; but thus far I've only seen the webs and not the spiders. Something which I do see with almost alarming regularity, however, are Chihuahuas. Everyone around here has Chihuahuas. I have yet to figure out why, but I will let you know when I do. And how about that Sister Howard? She is from Southern California, Brawley (sp? I don't know exatly where she went or I would ask her how to spell that) which is 30 minutes from Mexico in the Imperial Valley. She graduated from BYU-I in Business Marketing, and plans on working to go get a Masters or go into Cosmitology (with the goal of eventually opening her own school) when she goes home. Anything else you would like to know? She is a great missionary and keeps me on my toes, especially to make sure I am teaching well and OYMing like I should.

What I've learned? Well, now that I have no time to really write about that I'll just give you a taste. I have learned how to edge lawns and weed whack with some skill. So Dad if you need some help with that in a year I'll be glad to give you a hand.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS I have to give a talk on Repentance this coming Sunday so if you have any ideas/quotes/talks you'd like to send me that would be appreciated (but you'll have to send them rather soon for me to get them on time with the holiday this week, like today or tomorrow).

Monday, June 25, 2007

Gathering in the Sheaves

Dear Family and Friends,

So what is going on in Yuba? We are finding sheaves. At our last Zone Conference we focused on how to help members know how to have gospel conversations with the people around them. We have been using this theme for our dinner thoughts so one Sunday when it was my turn I pulled out Doctrine and Covenants 33:8-10 (well at least I think those are the verses), about how when we are willing to open our mouths the Lord will not only tell us what to say but he will--to paraphrase--put sheaves (ie of wheat, the field is white ready to harvest) on our backs. Then on Tuesday at District Meeting Elder Medwin, our District Leader, asked us to give a quick thought on OYMing. This is not my strong suit but I have been working very hard to be better about it. Well I was suitably chastened by D&C 60:2 (or maybe that was 12?), and Sister Howard and I decided to try to get 70 OYMs last week (we had very poor numbers the week before and were feeling a little down). According to Elder Ballard if we as missionaries strive to have at least 70 OYMs a week it will lead to doubling baptisms (among other efforts). So all week we tried really hard and I have to say I am improving. I am sad to report that we were only able to talk to 59 people, but it was a good effort and I know that this week we can do better. But even just from that added effort we have already been able to see some sheaves not only in our area but in the District Leader's as well. So it must work.

What else? Well we learned how to play Yahtzee from an OYM who turned out to be an ex-Mormon. Also on Saturday we had a car stand down day so we walked a LOT and then made an 8 mile round trip bike ride to our dinner appointment. Actually the bike ride was really fun my larger "hybrid" tires allowed me to keep up with Sister Howard extremely well. In fact the only complaint I have is that as soon as I get going at a good clip the skirt starts to flap. So I am beginning to perfect the art of riding with one hand on my knee. Any tips Anne or Emily? Sister Howard also taught me an elegant dismount, which I can show off in about a year. I did alas give myself blisters this week with all the walking we've been doing--it gives us more opportunities to talk to people. We have generally been walking several miles a day, more or less from 1:00-5:00 pm. And apparently when you persist to walk with little rocks in your shoes you get blisters. But we have been trying to remain hydrated, Mom, and typically drink 4+ water bottles a day plus lots of water at meals; so never fear about that.

That is right folks. I am hitting my 6 month mark next week. Now it is time to play a game which I call "Watching your life pass by with Sister Sorensen's Mission". Isn't it fun. 1/3 down, 2/3 more to talk to lots of lots of people. I better get even busier! And despite rumors to the contrary, it was absolutely no temptation for me to call home on Father's Day. Sister Howard and I both told the Doolittle's directly that we would not and only discovered later that sweet Sister Doolittle decided to call you anyway and pass along our well wishes. Speaking of the Doolittles they are taking us out to dinner at Jack in the Box tonight in my honor because I've never been there. I'll let you know how that goes next week.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In Honor of President Hinckley

First, to whom it may concern,

I received information last week which stated that some people are concerned about comments I have made in the past few weeks regarding some of the Elders in my mission. Please be assured that I have the utmost respect for the Elders in our mission. I think they are great and they are truly an asset to the church and bring a wonderful boldness to the work. Elders are great people and I enjoy working with them immensly. I do find at times that particular Elders may be wanting in maturity in regards to certain decisions they make and would therefore encourage all to strive to be the best missionaries they can be.

That said I appear to have run out of time again. Know that this is the Transfer to Honor President Hinckley's 97th Birthday (which incidentally is on Saturday). So on top of having certain goal all transfer long for all the missionaries in the mission to have perfect mornings (first two weeks through end), Effective Finding (3rd and 4th week to end), and effective dinners and evenings (5 and 6th week) we are having a car stand down day on Saturday to try to talk to everyone possible. Also it finally broke the 100s last week. Or at least that is what Stella told us, and she might be crazy. She did tell us she was psychic. But I believe her because it was pretty hot.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Give your missionaries referrals!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Covering Two Wards

Dear Family and Friends,

Yesterday we had the great pleasure of attending 8 hours of meetings in the church building, listening to 6 talks, receiving the lesson on Chapter 9 of the Spencer W. Kimball manual twice (for the third and fourth time that I've heard that particular lesson, and singing 14 hymns--including #220 Lord I Would Follow Thee twice. Oh the joy of covering two wards! Well Sister Howard and I continue to work hard. I now know the area geographically pretty well. Once again we were able to find 5 new people to teach last week and had 42 OYMs (we could do better but between Zone Meeting, Interviews with the Mission President, and some service on Thursday we just weren't out and about on the street that much). This is rather better numbers than we ever had in Palo Cedro. But we still feel like we are struggling to learn all the ward members names and back stories; after all that is rather a lot of people!

I don't really know what else to say, and I am being rushed off the computer 15 minutes before my missionary time allotment is up. Thanks to everyone for the letters. Anne, don't worry about a Hindi OYM as it seems the quite substantial East Indian population here are mostly Sikhs/Punjabis.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

PS could someone send me some information about Sikhs and Punjabis? We are curious to know what their religious beliefs are. Also could someone send me the definition of anathema and harlequin? Those words have been bugging me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Great City of Yuba!

Dear Family and Friends,

I know what you're wondering. What are those apostate sisters in Yuba City doing emailing on another non-Pday? Well these things can be explained. We washed the car yesterday--which was greatly needed, thanks again to the Elders who previously inhabited our apartment (did I mention we had to take 3 hours to give the apartment a scrub down last week?)--and apparently that upset the car because then it stopped working. We of course discovered this once we were late in getting to an appointment we had set up. See we do do work (the double dos were intentional) we taught a lesson on a Pday. So we walked over there, taught a great lesson, and came back to give the car a second try. No luck. So then we spent a nice hour on and off the phone to Elder Blackard who is in charge of the mission cars, then an hour or so calling tow companies for estimates and seeing if we could find a Sister from one of our wards to give us a ride from the car place to grocery shopping. When the tow guy came though he jumped the car for us and we were able to drive it down to the dealership where we got to spend another fun hour or so while they replaced our battery. Thus Sister Sorensen did not get to do her laundry, we did not get to email, and we barely had time to go shopping. That is okay though, as I was able to get the laundry done during study this morning and here we are contacting a member referral and emailing all in one!

As for Yuba City, Sister Howard and I have decided that we like it. Aside from the fact that we are more or less in the ghetto of the mission it is great to be able to go out walking or biking for proselyting and to simply have people out on the street that we can talk to. In fact last week I nearly tripled the most OYMs I had ever gotten in one week and we were able to find 5 new people to start teaching. Of course we also spent many hours trying to figure out exactly who the previous Elders had been teaching, where those people really lived, and what they had written about their lessons on the teaching records. So, Elder Sorensen (Zone Leader), here is my humble plea that you keep good, detailed, and respectful teaching records once you make it to the field. Emphasis on the respectful--I couldn't believe what they had written on some of those teaching records. And while learning the names, faces, and callings in two wards is definitely harder than one, I think Sister Howard and I are making good progress.

Hopefully next week my letter will actually be interesting.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Friday, June 1, 2007

Anybody Miss Me?

Dear Family and Friends,

I am most sorry to have kept you all waiting (as I am very sure you have been, on the edge of your seats, constantly refreshing the internet browser just waiting for that email/blog entry to come up). But, in all seriousness (almost) yes, it finally happened--I got transferred. So despite the fact that Sister Ah Puck and I thought that we were being very clever by creating a giant transfers possibility grid with sticky notes, we were still very wrong. I am now in Yuba City with Sister Howard (Sister Rowland's MTC companion, and she's served with her twice in the mission too). We are shotgunning--or in non-mission lingo, opening up an area for sisters--two wards: Sutter Buttes and Butte Vista. It has thus far been quite interesting since we have no idea who people are and more importantly where. We do have a car (another Mazda 3 even) but guess how I got to the library today? Yes folks pa min cykle. No, that is not a typo, just Danish. Those kind elders, we only have 1.9 miles left in our allotment for the month, so we probably will go over when we go on exchanges with the Butte Vista ward tonight. Speaking of which we left a message with the Ward Mission Leader of that ward informing him that Sisters had moved into the area but we have not heard back from him so I hope he knows.

But as for my last week in Palo Cedro. It was actually quite good. We taught a lot of lessons with members, pushed, planned, and pleaded very hard to save up enough miles for the last week of the month so that we would not go over (yes, just in time for me to leave!). We had pretty good success with the ward and had some very good visits with some of the less active people in the outflung parts of the ward who the Ward Leadership asked us to visit. In Palo Cedro tradition we saw a bear (a baby one, which reminds me I saw a fox two weeks ago). So the work was picking up pretty well for Sister Muanga (sp?) the new Samoan "Greenie" to come to.

I've acutally forgotten a lot of the other things I was going to say since I planned this email out on Monday. Anyway (in response to Laura) I did send a picture of the pigman home--oh yeah that was one thing, we tried to go talk to the people at that house and discovered that the pigman was actually a cow in clothes, still odd however--but I also sent another picture of the Zebra and I don't know which one went up on the blog (as I do not control that) so it was not my photography skills which were at fault.

To Eric: Thank you for sending the French Book of Mormon and writing to tell me that you were sending it! I think I put the Mission Office Address as the return address on that letter so go ahead and write me back there because they forward the mail on. As for the monkey stickers, guilty as charged, but someone gave them to me and I've been trying to use them up. Feel glad that I didn't send you the "Girl Power" stickers. Though perhaps I should. . .

Oh yeah, my address. I don't really know it. I live at 605 Queens #3 in Yuba City, but I don't know the zipcode so I guess you can all just write me at the mission office address and they can forward it on. I guess that's easier.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Heading for the Border

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this week Sister Ah Puck and I decided that we just couldn't take it anymore and made a run for the border, with our District Leaders, and an older couple from our ward. That's right--a District Temple trip! The Myatts were great and fit all of us into their Pickup and we went to the temple in Medford, Oregon. We left at 7:00 am and didn't get home until just barely in time to head to our dinner appointments (somehow the 2.5 hour trips turned out closer to 3 hours both ways). But we got to stop in Ashland, Oregon to eat dinner with a nice scenic view of the park where they have the Shakespeare festival. It was all in all a good trip. It did, however, mean that we had to proselyte last Monday in lieu of our P-day (just leaving time to get our laundry done, go shopping, and send out our emails). So sorry to everyone I meant to write last week, but there was no time! Also I meant to tell the Odhiambos happy birthday last week and completely forgot! So, Happy Birthday.

What else happened? Well we helped Sister Abbot move; which was sad but good. She and her sons were baptized on December 31 and so her church membership had a nice parallel to my mission. But she moved to be closer to her boys so that is a good thing. Then we were actually able to get a lot of lessons with members this week. That was very good. And one of our investigators came to a baptism with us (another one of them gave us a ride to and from the baptism, which was kind of weird but we managed to get another lesson out of it). And two of our investigators came to church! Getting our investigators to church has proven to be at least as difficult as setting baptism dates. Particularly when we don't have the good excuse that one of us is speaking! So there were definitely some good things. Now one more week until transfers and Sister Ah Puck and I are so confused about what might happen that I think we're going to draw up a massive transfer possibility board, and even then we probably won't be right.

Love,
Sister Sorensen

Monday, May 21, 2007

Stalking the Pig Man




Dear Family and Friends,

No, this isn't the creepy kind of stalking its more like the slow and sneaky, Crocodile Man kind of stalking. Sister Ah Puck and I have been trying to meet everyone in the ward. This is rather difficult as some of them are intentionally reclusive. But one day as we went to knock on the house of an older gentleman in the ward we noticed that the people across the street have a rather large statue of a pig wearing clothes--this seemed a bit strange. Anyway we've tried to meet the man several times, and therefore have been to his house several times, so finally on Saturday I decided I had to get a picture of the pig man. But we aren't supposed to look like tourists while we're proselyting so we tried to be sneaky and take it from the car (while the man out plowing had his back turned). Success. Now see if you can find him. We also discovered that the Pig Man's neighbors have a Zebra, Water Buffalo, and Camel out in there pasture. I think I know where we are tracting tomorrow. Explanations must be had.

Other news of the week? I got to call home for the first time which was nice. I was bitten by a dog for the first time--this was not so nice, but not too bad because I reacted quickly enough that he didn't have time to break the skin. And think, we hadn't even entered the yard, there was no "Beware of Dog" sign, and he was even wagging his tail. But that's okay because we greatly impressed a lady on Saturday that we were brave enough to go through her gate despite the very loud barks of her two dogs (and she had a "Beware of Dog" sign, but the dogs didn't seem too bad). She was also impressed that I knew what kind of dogs they were and then I completely blew her away when she went to show us her purebred cats and I knew what kind of cats they were. I guess there is a reason I am up here in Palo Cedro after all. We also literally lost our first investigator (he got evicted or something). Dennis the 38 year old convict with the 666 tattoo. Its too bad because he always made us laugh and he'd already read half of the Book of Mormon.

I hope you all had good weeks as well. Also, just a reminder, there are two weeks left in the transfer so keep that in mind for mailing.

Love,
Sister Sorensen

It hit 99 degrees today. Ewww

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Viola and Beyond!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this week we had Zone Conference. I don't know, this may be bad, but Zone Conference is my favorite day of each transfer. It was particularly exciting as it was in Chico so we got to drive for a while--the fact that we used 140 miles round trip was not so exciting--plus we also tied for first place in Deep-clean Inspection and won car inspection (I think that is because we were the first ones to arrive, plus it also probably had to do with the excellent tire pressure maintenance by a certain junior companion). I also was called up to do one of the 3 minute talks on Obedience. And wouldn't you know I had lost my talk! Nevertheless and notwithstanding I think I gave a creditable talk on Obedience.

The other exciting thing about last week is that one of the dear Sisters in our ward went adventuring with us and we not only made it all the way out to Viola but we went beyond it and had lunch at Lake Manzanita which is at the very furthest point of our area (well at least in area 4). It started to snow while we were there too--just barely--and Sister Ah Puck was pretty excited. So we tracked down some more less actives including figuring out the Towers brothers (they are twins who live way out there and are both less active).

Congratulations to Meg for her Solo Festival accomplishments! I bet it is because I went out to Viola (Vie-O-luh), but her practicing might have had something to do with it.

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Something in the Water

Dear Family and Friends,

I have noticed a specific abnormality in a large percentage of the cats in our area. That is cats with 6 toes on their front feet. This makes it look like they have opposable thumbs, or mitten hands. While it is comical, it also seems strange. Of course I have considered that this may be the result of one specific cat getting around, but I've seen them up in the further reaches of our area as well--which minimizes that theory. So then I thought, hmmm, perhaps it is something in the water of the Greater State of Jefferson. Then finally I realized, that the cats must be evolving so as to better be able to deal with the very large dog population. Clearly that is the only logical answer.

In other news? I gave my first talk as a missionary last Sunday (not yesterday, the week before, but I forgot to tell you last week). The topic was the "Three Degrees of Glory" which seems odd. You'd think they'd have the missionaries talk about missionary work, no? Not the Palo Cedro ward. They pick one topic and every single speaker that entire month talks on it. Luckily I was one of the very first to do so (because of General Conference and then Fast Sunday), or what else would I have had to say? It is a pretty straight forward topic. I actually talked more about repentance and how it is possible for everyone to be able to reach the Celestial Kingdom and how the Plan of Salvation really is all about Heavenly Father's Love and hope. I think it went pretty well considering I had 4 days notice and next to nothing to work with (just whatever Ensigns we had in our apartment).

I've also been thinking about Amy's baby. Now the first three names of grand children in our family were all characters in French Kiss (Juliet is still available Amy). But then there came Peter. Despite my sly suggestions that he be named either John of Paul--as there is a Jean-Paul in the movie--Emily chose to name outside of that movie. Therefore I had to start thinking of names of people in movies/books with Peters. Here is what I came up with for the new Thomason: Wendy, Beatrix, and Hermione (or any other girl in Harry Potter, for instance Lavender, Parvati, Padma, Ginny, Bellatrix, Minerva . . .). I haven't had that much time to dwell, but it opens up new possibilities.

Last but not least, I have been working recently on developing greater patience. Even though I rather expected to be here this transfer I was still a tad frustrated when the transfer call finally came. But then that morning as we were doing Companion study the very first thing we read was the part in "Preach My Gospel" about Patience and as I was reading its like a little light turned on that this is something indeed which I can expand on. Things are going pretty well, I think I have become more patient. I'm also trying to be more humble and to have greater charity. What have I noticed? I have been much less fractious and been able to let more things just roll off my back this transfer. I hopefully I am also a better servant to the Lord this transfer.

Well that is it from me. I hope all is well with all of you out there!

Love,
Sister L. Sorensen

Thursday, April 19, 2007

So You're On/Going On a Mission

Dear Family and Friends,

Yes today was that long anticipated day of reckoning: transfers. The result? I'm in Palo Cedro for another six weeks. There are good things about this and there are definitely some hard things about this news. The most important thing, however, is that you can all start writing to me again. Promptly. Hopefully.

That said, I long ago ran out of interesting things to say about Palo Cedro, so what can/will I write for the next six weeks? This will be an exercise of my ingenuity. As for this week I thought I'd write some advice for all those who are about to embark in the service.

Last Minute Mission Advice (from a greenie on her last day as a greenie):

- Learn to make a bed (from the mattress up, particularly fun with MTC sheets that don't really fit the bed).
- arrive at your MTC room as early as possible so you can have your choice of bunks (the Elders in my MTC district said they didn't have ladders to get onto the top bunks)
- wear a shirt on your first day which allows you to roll up your sleeves far enough to get any shots they feel you really do need to have.
- Make sure you know some simple cooking and how to shop on a budget.
- we really only have to buy stuff for lunches which is pretty easy, but I have heard several Elders complain that they run out early in the month while the sisters always seem to have surplus.
- Be wary of the condiment dispensers at the MTC as I witnessed rancid ketchup exploding out of them all over missionaries' suits on several occassions.
- Also, the ice cream in the back corner freezers is really old.
- When anyone flushes the toilet while you're in the shower at the MTC, the showers run really hot (pretty near scalding) for a minute--often this is desirable because all the showers get cold quite quickly).
- if you get to the laundry room by 6:00 am on you Pday you should be able to get in and out pretty fast (you can take a nap later in the day) or go to like an 8:00 am temple session and do laundry at around 1:00-2:00 when everyone else is waiting in line at the temple.
- practice your 4 square skills as it is a very popular game during gym time.
- Be able to clean according to the "Mom Standard".
- get into regular sleeping habits before you go to the MTC so that you don't annoy all your companions by staying up reading until 1:00 (plus that's against mission rules and breaking mission rules is not cool.)
- ask your teachers if you can watch Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's "Miracle of a Mission" (or as the teachers know it "Don't ever go home") at the MTC because that is the only place you can see it.

Also, would someone please put this in front of Eric as I don't flatter myself that he actually reads my mission blog? Thank you.

Love,
Sister Sorensen