Monday, February 26, 2007

Watch Out for the . . . Skunks!

First, Happy Birthday to Catherine! I reminded myself all week to write you last Monday and of course I did not remember until 10 minutes into dinner! Also Happy Birthday to Dad (and happy Blessing day to Peter) this Sunday.

Well that great time of year has finally arrived in the Greater State of Jefferson--certain people up here believe that they live in the 51st state in the Union, the Greater State of Jefferson and not California. From the number of skunks we have smelled and seen both in the road and skulking alongside the road, it is clear that skunk-mating season is once more upon us. Sister Rowlands says that when she got here a year ago everyone she met in her ward told her that it was skunk-mating season, so now she's feeling nostalgic. Thankfully, we have yet to be served skunk for dinner. Though in the last week or so we have had elk, venison, and Johnny. Yes, we were sitting at dinner last Monday eating a roast when our hostess remarked, "umm. Johnny tastes good." It seems we ate their grandson's 4H project. Kind of sad, but apparently he made a good Ham.

The sun disappeared for most of the week. We had cloudy skies, cold and heavy winds, rain, hail, and even snow in some parts of our area (not that we were there when it was snowing, but we did experience the hail) and yet people continue to lament the lack of rain. Everyone that is except Carol. Carol is one of our investigators in her 50s--she had a baptism date set for last February but it never went through. She told us NOT to come up this Friday (we go every Friday to see her and her sister Maggie who is also investigating, but they've blown us off the last three weeks) because she was certain that we would drive off the cliff in "all the snow." Californians. We went up anyway and the roads were completely dry and we had a good lesson with Maggie.

Friday we had to get rides down to Gridley to attend the Trainer/Trainee conference. It was nice to see a little more of the mission and the Conference was good. It was fun to see the other Elders who came out when I did and we had some good lessons from President Perry, Sister Perry, and the Assistants to the President. But work should continue as usual this week.

A few more notes on Sister Rowlands. I forgot to mention the most important things about Sister Rowlands last week. Namely that she was studying Nursing before she came out, so she took exemplary care of me when I had a cold the other week. But most importantly, and now brace yourselves; she was actually IN Disney's High School Musical, a fact that simply amazes Chloe our 9-year-old investigator. I hope all continues well with everyone else!

Sister Sorensen

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Streets of a Different Name

Dear Family and Friends,

Well once again I am running super late so I'm going to try to type this frantically so that our dinner appointment doesn't have to wait too long.

The roads up here in Palo Cedro are very special. First, there's the fact that at least half the ones we have to drive on are dirt. That's fun. Particularly when it has been raining for four days straight. But then there are the names. Asides from the named driveways, and the streets which have names but no signs, there are simply the names themselves. There is a Neverending Street which sadly you can see the end of. Then there is Dragonback next to Lancelot; Putt-Putt and Frisbie; Appalossa by both Harness and Bridle. Or there is even We-Too, Xanadu, Nubbin, and Hootenanny. Then there is a cluster of streets Pony Express, Dusty Spurr, and Last Frontier. Let's not forget Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, Colossians, Corinthians, and Pharisee. South Cow Creek Rd is one of my favorites. But my very favorite are over in Shingletown. One neighborhood has Sleepy Hollow Ln, Figaro Dr, Cleo Dr, Clarabelle Ln, Bambi Dr, Thumper Dr, Tinkerbelle Ln, and best of all Chip-N-Dale Drive. Now how can anyone resist living on Chip-N-Dale? Maybe because you can also live on Star Trek Lane or Obi Wan Kenobi Rd. At least we have variety.

Other high points? People have been complaining ever since I got here that there hasn't been enough rain. Well it rained just about nonstop from Wednesday until Sunday morning and it started again this afternoon. This made tracting for several hours on Saturday especially fun. We were actually doing all right protected by our coats, but since it hadn't been raining too hard so we'd left our umbrellas in the car. I encouraged Sister Rowlands to park farther down the street, but she decided that I just hadn't wanted to walk up the hill to get back to it. So sure enough when we were leaving our last house way down the street it started pouring. By the time we got to the car we were absolutely soaked. That certainly makes life fun. We also went over to Sister Burton's (the less active lady who is simply too old to drive to church with a bad hip and has the 22 year old cat that can barely walk) and I got to meet her raccoons. Apparently she feeds raccoons every night--I should have gathered this from the raccoon wall paper in her kitchen. When we got there at 7:30 there were seven raccoons waiting at her glass door all sitting back on their hind legs expectantly and not long after she'd put out the cat food she had left there were 11 all sitting around chowing down. The original seven waited casually out on her deck for the next hour hoping that she would put more food out, but alas they were disappointed. It was just so strange, but charming. Are you getting any ideas Mom? Maybe we could train the squirrels.

I hope everyone is doing well and that you all have a great Valentine's day!


Sister Sorensen

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Reigning Dogs and Cats

Dear Family and Friends,

There are some very important things I forgot to mention last week. First, I ate at In-N-Out for the first time. If that's how you spell it. The fries were kind of weird, and the burgers not super impressive, but the shakes were good.

We have the coveted mission car up here, a Mazda 3. Which is good because we have lots of windy roads, and many, many dirt roads. I have also discovered that many of the roads which are on our map do not actually exist. Instead they are driveways which people have chosen to name, but which they have not placed signs on. While this is all in good fun, in fact it gave me a few ideas in regards to our own driveway, it makes choosing streets for tracting the night before rather difficult. So far none of the streets I have chosen have proven very profitable. But as we only tract for an hour each day, that is not so bad. Most of our time is spent visiting less active members and part member families, or still trying to meet the ward and encourage them to give referrals. Did you know that by increasing member referrals by 2.7 each month (ie ward members give missionaries 5 referrals a month) we could easily double baptisms per President Hinckley's request? Our mission's goal is to baptize 800 people this year. So far we're falling short. Alas.

As I mentioned we're kind of in the boonies. In that everyone and their cat has a dog. And if you are at all worth your salt, you have two or better yet five. Plus a bird, 6 cats, a ferret or two, and goats, horses, and/or llamas. Yes there are a surprising number of llamas and alpacas up here. Who knew? The exception here is Sister Burton (who is 88) and has one 22 year old cat named Tom. Unfortunately not all these dogs are friendly, which makes tracting fun. Also almost all the dogs want to get dirt and saliva on our clothes, which makes us more interesting/confusing to all other dogs we see that day. But the work is good. We have about 7-8 investigators right now. Much to our dissappointment we discovered that two of the investigators we were ready to pick up last Tuesday turned out to be extremely inactive members who seem to have forgotten many principles of our church. For instance, one is meant to attend church. Also you are supposed to move your records with you when you relocate. And thirdly, oh yes that we do believe in the Book of Mormon. LeRoy is older (50s or so) and grew up active, but his son Jeremy is about 29 and though he was baptised when he was 8 he knows just about nothing about our church. We're going to go see them again tomorrow.

This week is zone conference, so we had to spiff up the car thus very little time to write. More about the streets of Palo Cedro next week.

Sister Sorensen