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!

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