Monday, October 28, 2013

First week in Australia!

New companion - Sister Fa'agasa
Hello Family and friends!
I'm officially in Australia and it is incredible! I have so much to tell you that I don't even know where to start. First of all that plane ride here was the longest plane ride of my life but its all good now, I made it so thats all that matters. I only slept about 3 hours or so because I was stuck in the middle row between two people and the flight was completely packed! there were only 4 open seats and that was only because those 4 missed the flight. But it was ok because I was able to get up and walk around and I went to visit sister Prete a lot which helped me to enjoy it more. And we had a group of 33 missionaries traveling with us on that flight so I had a lot of missionaries to talk to. But we got in Australia on Wednesday morning at 7:00 so I never experienced October 22, 2013 which was really weird but then when I come back I guess I will experience the same day twice, kinda crazy!
     When we got there we met the Mission President. Boy was I glad to see him after a long flight. President Lew and Sister Lew are such incredible people and so happy. I love them already. We made our way to the mission office and there we had to do heaps of paper work and we got to email. Then we fed us some lunch as they told us the rules of the mission. We then all met in the chapel and all of us new missionaries (33 of us) each bore our testimony. Then we heard from President Lew. Later on we were then assigned our trainers. My new companion is Sister Fa'agasa. You probably won't be able to say that correctly but the "g" sounds like an "n" sound. She's awesome! She is from Brisbane but she is Samoan and I love her! She has been teaching me how to speak Samoan so when I come home I will know how to speak it. She actually is just learning samoan because her last ward was a samoan ward. She also teaches me about all of the words that they say here and what everything means. So Talofa! Ou mai oe? (That means, hello! how are you?)
 It is so crazy how many different words they have for things and how they speak. They don't speak anything like we think they do. Well at least the normal people don't speak like we think they do, the australian accent is great! I think maybe the outback people speak like that but not all people. And they don't say good 'a mate as much as you think. But they say "a" a lot at the end of their sentences. So we all thought that Canadians talk like that but actually Australians say that so much more than Canadians do. And they call McDonald's "Maccas." My Soa (which means companion in samoan) (we call eachother that) asked me if I liked Maccas one of the first day's but I had no idea what she meant. That happens so much I have learned a lot about their culture and she's learned a lot about ours. We always ask eachother how we say things from where we're from. They also say Heaps instead of "a lot." It is so much fun to to talk to them and experience this wonderful culture. I love it! Oh and instead of calling our home an apartment we call it a "flat." We have a new flat and it is sooooooooooooo nice! Really it is like top notch! I will try to send some pics. *pics below*
    Australia is so much different than I ever thought it would be and I mean that in a good way. There are so many different people from all over the world that gather here in Sydney. It is so great because then you get to experience so many different cultures and people all at once. There are heaps of Islanders here. A lot are from New Zealand and from Samoa. In my ward, the Green Valley ward is about 95% Samoan or other islanders. I love their culture! I live in a little Suburb called Green Valley. And like I mentioned before I'm assigned to work in the Green Valley ward which is an english ward. But they have all kinds of wards in this stake. They have a spanish, samoan, tongan, and several english wards. Mom, you should ask Maoha if she knows anyone in my area that I can visit. In the green valley ward there are now 6 missionaries assigned to their ward. 4 are Elders and then their is me and my soa. The members of the ward are incredible! We are the first missionaries they have ever had in their ward so everyone has welcomed us with welcome arms. They all want to come up and meet us because they love sister missionaries. So its great to be able to serve in this ward, it makes me want to work harder and make a good impression for the sisters.
   I'm doing wonderful though. I had a rough time the first few days adjusting to everything and also because of the jet lag but now I'm good! I'm loving the work! I'm not going to lie though its a lot harder than I thought it would be. We have been struggling to find people to teach only because we are new to the area and we don't know anyone yet. So the last couple days have been spent walking all over and getting to know all the members of the ward and also getting familiar with our area. We haven't talked to a lot that aren't members yet but we have talked to several that are less active. But as the days go by we are able to find more potential investigators. So it is getting a lot better but it has been a rough start with the work. But the members are so wonderful and so helpful here, they help us so much! We had a wonderful opportunity to eat dinner with a great family called the saipele's. They fed us heaps of food! It was so delicious though! We got to know them really well, what great people they are! We now know who to call when we need food or even a ride. We depend on the members a lot to help us with so much but they are so willing I love it. 
   Oh and the elders have given us all of the female investigators for our area so we do have a few that we have started to work with. The 2nd day we were here we had a lesson with a girl named Anikka she's palagi which means she's white and she's an Aussie. She has met with the elders a few times and she has attended church once before we taught her. But she was able to come yesterday with us. It was so great to have her with us there. We are also now teaching a little 12 year old girl named Alyssa. She is great as well and has such a fire about her, she is so willing to learn and really has a desire to be a member of the church. She has a baptism date for december but in the mean time we are working with her to help her understand more about our church. She was also able to come to church with us yesterday too.
   The members here all have about 10 kids its crazy! You thought that all Utah families had large families but here they all have huge families! I think they all try to compete I swear. So its really easy to tell if a family is mormon just by seeing if they are a lot of kids or even by looking to see if they have a big passanger van.
I have so much more I could talk about to you all but just know that all is well for me here in the great land of Australia! The work is good and we are working hard to help spread the gospel. My P-day is on Monday's probably around 11 or so or after we clean our flat. Just so you know the address for the mission office is:
For letters: PO Box 456
                  Mortdale, NSW 2223
For Parcel (packages) : 2 Breakwell St., Mortdale, NSW 2223
I love you all very much and miss you heaps! Peace and blessings, peace and blessings!
   Sister Sorensen
Ps. Mom I was so happy to hear that Grandma Sorensen was finally able to be sealed to her parents. I wish I could have been there but what a great experience! I know I feel of her love and strength while I'm here, she's my guardian angel for sure. I also hope that the Halloween party's went well, I'm sure they were so fun!

The new "flat"

Saying goodbye to Sister Prete :(

Sister Prete and her new companion Sister Pea, and me and Sister Fa'agasa

The elders minus Elder Carter. They are serving in the Green Valley ward. We work with them on a daily basis, what great Elders!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013 (plus pictures!!!)

Hey Family!

    Wow I don't even know where to start because so much has happened in just a week. I got your package yesterday! I was so excited to get it, thank you so much it made me smile.  I have also received all your letters. Thanks so much I love mail! Life at the MTC has been great but a little crazy. I'm going all the time and trying to study and learn as much as I possibly can while I'm here so that when I go out to the field I can be the best missionary I can and know a little bit of what I'm doing. I never realized how hard it would be to actually teach the gospel to someone who has no idea. It has definitely been a challenge, I definitely understand all the doctrine myself but putting it in a form that they understand is a challenge. But we practice roll playing all the time here so I finally feel more confident and ready to teach. Sister Prete and I have had 2 investigators that we have been working with while we've been here. One of them is Mariana Martinez (she is really our teacher Sister Poulsen acting as an investigator) but she is so good and she is definitely challenging us. I have definitely learned to rely on the spirit and teach through the spirit. I have also learned it is so important to learn more about the spiritual needs of the individual before you can begin teaching an investigator. That way we can teach to their needs and "teach people, not lessons." We also had another investigator that we had never met. They have volunteers come in and act as investigators. This girl's name is Sarah and honestly she wasn't very good at acting. She was probably the easiest person to teach, we committed her to baptism the 2nd lesson but she would have said yes the first visit as well but we got scared to ask. haha its a little nerve racking. I'm loving my teacher and I have learned so much more in one week then I ever thought possible. I feel like I have been here so much longer just because I feel like I have learned and changed so much in one week plus a few days. I'm so close to my district and my companion as well so I feel like I have known them for so much longer. 
    I got a new travel itinerary yesterday and instead of leaving on Sunday we now are all leaving on Monday. My flight leaves at 6:10 p.m. so I will be calling you sometime during the day. We are leaving here at 12:30 so I'm sure I will be waiting in the airport forever so I will call for sure. I'm loving my calling as a STL although it can be a little stressful at times. We have had some interesting problems that have arouse with the sisters that Sister Prete and I have had to handle. But it has been good and our Branch President is awesome and so helpful in assisting us with the issues. I have had to call the Branch President several times already. But I love the sisters they are all amazing! I feel like I have a greater love for them in this calling as I have been striving to really get to know them and attend to their needs. Just so you know I probably didn't make it clear in my last email but as a Sister Training Leader it is like a Zone Leader for the sisters. We got a new district that came in on wednesday and Sister Prete and I along with the zone leaders had to prepare a little orientation to tell the new missionaries some of the rules and what to expect here at the MTC. Sister Prete and I were so excited to meet them we could barely handle ourselves all day. We just wanted to see them and get to know them. Those sisters are all so amazing and we have a lot of fun with the new sisters. I almost feel like I'm there mom or something because they always come up with questions and need help with different things, but I'm glad they know they can come to me when they need something. I have definitely had some stressful days but I get through them quickly and get back to work. I'm learning so much about relying on the Lord in guiding me in the work.

  Oh mom for devotional Tuesday night we had a great opportunity of hearing from Elder Oaks! It was so amazing! They never tell you who is coming, you just go in and then see who walks in and it was a wonderful feeling when he walked through the door. He shared with us a great message on what sets us apart from other churches. Mom tell him he did a great job and I loved his talk!

I'm learning so much and I'm loving every minute! I can't wait to leave on Monday and finally be able to get to Australia! I love you all and thanks so much for all your letters. Enjoy your week and I'm not sure when I will be writing to you next but I will definitely let you know as soon as I get there. I love being a missionary! Love ya!


Sister Heidi Sorensen

P.S. I will be sending you some pictures I just have to figure out how to send it on these computers. They aren't working very well.

My companion, Sister Prete
Roommates! Sister Prete (companion), Sister Faber, and Sister Brewer
My district and Branch President, President Born
Sister Ellis is going to Thailand!
 (Former roommate Brooke Ellis's sister from BYU-Idaho)
These were the STL's before we became them.  Sister Perkes, Hurst, and Blatter.
They are now in the Florida, Tallahassee Mission


Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 3 at the MTC

Dear Family,

It is only day 3 here at the MTC and it feels like I've been here for so much longer. Maybe that is because the first day was super long and overwhelming. But needless to say I'm loving the MTC! As days go on I'm starting to love the missionary life and I'm starting to catch the real purpose of why I'm here and the importance of it. My companion is Sister Prete and I absolutely love her! She is from Alberta Canada and she is so fun and outgoing. I think its just perfect that they paired us together because we get along so well and its been such a short amount of time. Last night we had the opportunity to meet with our Branch Presidency and introduce ourselves and why we decided to serve a mission. Then we were interviewed so they could get to know us more. They then called District Leaders, Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders. Sister Prete and I have been called as Sister Training Leaders we aren't official yet because our STL's haven't left yet but we will be made STL's officially on Sunday. I'm so excited to be a Sister Training Leader you all know how much I love being a leader and there are so many wonderful sisters in my zone that I'm honored to be over them to help them. I love my district they are all so wonderful and we all get along great. There are 4 Elders and 4 Sisters so it works out great. Yesterday I saw Davis! It was a little weird to not be able to give him a hug but it was great to see him. He looked great and he is doing a great job with his language, he taught me a little bit of the Madagascar language it sounds intense. I just found out that my Visa came and so we will hopefully get to leave for the mission field on October 20th but I'm not positive yet so I will let you know for sure when I know. There are so many missionaries that are going to Sydney Australia South mission. Our whole zone is going there so that is about 7 sisters and 10 Elders and I'm sure there are more. Its crazy but awesome! I'm loving all of the classes and even though its only been a few days my testimony is growing so much and I'm learning a lot about ways to teach. All we do I feel like here is wake up and get ready super fast and then go study, then we eat, then we study, and then we eat, study, and eat some more. Today was the first day that we were able to work out and it feels great! Me and Sister Prete went running around and did an ab workout. Sometimes we go to the cafeteria and we aren't even hungry but we just eat anyways because we know we won't have another chance to eat anything. Mom, I got new scriptures and they are really cool I like them a lot. In fact I got them last night and I've already marked so much in them because we are always reading and studying the scriptures. It is truly awesome! We have been practicing teaching investigators and it is kind of scary. Its hard to know what to say, we know the doctrine but its so hard to form what you want to say and how to say it. Monday we will get to meet with a girl called Mariana and we will have the chance to teach her for real and try to practice. The last couple days its just been me and my companion but its hard to really practice because we know its not real but I'm excited to finally try it for myself and see how I will do in a real setting. My P-day is on Friday so I will be emailing you next friday but that will be my last time in the MTC emailing you. I will have to let you know when my P-day is in the field.  I'm sorry my letter is all over the place there are just so many things happening that its hard to know where to start and remember all that has happened. I love you all and miss you already but I know this is exactly where I need to be and I'm so excited to be able to teach the people in Australia!

Sister Heidi Sorensen

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Farewell Brunch

 Alli Brinkerhoff came all the way from Idaho to come support me. I'm going to miss you Alli!
Here is a good picture of the whole group that came to my farewell. I'm so blessed to have so many wonderful people that came to support me.

Jill Brockbank is a friend that I played soccer with for several years. I haven't seen her in years so it was great to have her come.

                                                      The Brockbank Family.

                                                Amy Croft and her boyfriend Kyle.

 Jordin Giles is one of my best friends. I'm going to miss that beautiful girl! 

                                       My wonderful cousin Nicole, Davis                                                   

 Bonnie Monsen and Jen Lash have become some of my good friends. Thanks to a stake temple night I was able to meet these wonderful girls.

Left: Brett Swensen, Greg Robbins, Jordan Briggs, Garrett Briggs, Wade Edwards, Bonnie Monsen, Jen Lash. Great friends from my singles ward.

                                  Left: Aunt Judie, Uncle Dennis, Alisha and Jeremy Sorensen.

                         Left: Omar, Tiffani, Tyson, Miranda, Preston, Gia, Dillan, and Evelynn.

                             My cousins, Travis, Jill, Reese, Will, and Jessica.
Breanna and Vickie Empey. Great friends from my home ward. Vickie was also one of my favorite young women's leader. And Bre is like my mini me.

                                 Carlene Peterson was one of my favorite young women leaders.

                                       Lacey Aston a great friend from the singles ward.

 Jenny Bass, and Suzanne. They are good friends from my home ward.
                 The wonderful Horner family plus my parents. I'm sure going to miss all those cute kids.

 Left: Haelie Chatwin, Whitnie and Trae Sorensen, Nicole Davis, Jordin Giles, Amy Crofts, Kyle
These are some of my cousins and best friends.
                                              Spencer and Ashley Flitton.

 Ashley Berg Flitton has been my best friend since high school. I'm so grateful for her and all she does for me. I'm going to miss you Ash!
                          Tom Whipple and Nathaniel. Some good friends from the singles stake.

         I'm so grateful for a wonderful family and friends that are a wonderful support system to me. As you can see I'm very blessed. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture with everyone that came but I got a lot of them. Because of my family and friends and the great examples they have been to me throughout my life I'm now ready to go out and serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Farewell Talk

September 22, 2013

How can following the prophet help you to become truly converted?
·        Thanks to the Horner Family
·        What is a prophet?
In a talk given by Claudio R. M. Costa (of the seventy) he says,
“In the guide to the scriptures, we find the definition of the word prophet: “A person who has been called by and speaks for God. As a messenger of God, a prophet receives commandments, prophecies, and revelations from God.”
·        In Preach My Gospel it reads:
“One important way that God shows His love for us is by calling prophets; who are given the priesthood-the power and authority given to man to act in God’s name for the salvation of His children. Prophets learn the gospel of Jesus Christ by revelation. They in turn teach the gospel to others and testify of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer…In essence the prophet acts as a steward to oversee the household of God here on earth.”
·        Why is it important to have prophets upon the earth?
·        In Ephesians 4: 11-14 we read:
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:”
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”

·        One question that came to my mind as I was preparing for this talk was,
“How can following the prophet help us to become truly converted?

·        What does it mean to be truly converted?
In True to the Faith under “conversion” it reads,
“To be able to receive the blessing of eternal life, we need to be ‘spiritually minded’ and conquer our unrighteous desires. We need to change. More accurately, we need to be changed, or converted, through the power of the Savior’s Atonement and through the power of the Holy Ghost. This process is called conversion. Conversion includes a change in behavior, but it goes beyond behavior; it is a change in our very nature… Conversion is a process, not an event.”
·        “Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little...” (2 Nephi 28:30)

·        In a talk called “Converted unto the Lord” by Elder Bednar he also gives a great definition of what conversion is. It reads:
“True conversion brings a change in one’s beliefs, heart, and life to accept and conform to the will of God and includes a conscious commitment to become a disciple of Christ.”
·        Even members of the church have to continue to strive to be converted unto the Lord, Jesus Christ because we all have our ups and downs. We are human and we do make mistakes.
·        What is the process of Conversion?
As found in Alma 37 it is by “small and simple things.”
-Reading the scriptures regularly
-Daily prayer, going to church
-Serving others
-Listening and following the prophet and other leaders of the church.

·        Another quote found in that same talk by Elder Bednar reads:
“Samuel the Lamamnite identified five basic elements in becoming converted unto the Lord:
1.      Believing in the teachings and prophecies of the holy prophets as they are recorded in the scriptures.
2.      Exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
3.      Repenting
4.      Experiencing a mighty change of heart.
5.      Becoming “firm and steadfast in the faith”
“This is the pattern that leads to conversion.”

·        To now answer that question posed earlier of how can following the prophet help us to be more truly the converted?

-By following the prophet we are exercising our faith in God
-By exercising our faith in God we are experiencing a mighty change in heart and becoming more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.
-In turn we are then becoming converted unto the Lord, Jesus Christ.

·        Experience of me becoming more converted.

“Testimony is the beginning of and a prerequisite to continuing conversion. Testimony is a point of departure; it is not an ultimate destination. Strong testimony is the foundation upon which conversion is established.”
“Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony. Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion.” –Elder Bednar

·        Challenge to watch and really listen to the prophets and apostles in General Conference