Sunday, November 24, 2013

11/24/13 - The Work Continues

Hello Everyone!
    This week has been a great week! It was a little slower this week than last week when it comes to lessons and such but regardless the work continues to move forward. One thing that I learned this week is that even though you may not see very many people or teach very many lessons every little bit counts. No work goes wasted because you never know what small act of kindness can do for someone. Or maybe even that one person that we were able to teach was affected greatly.
    Tuesday we had a big Zone Conference it was sooooooo good! I love my President and Sister Lew they are so amazing! During Zone Conference we sat on the front row and I was so engaged in the conversation. I swear I was talking the whole time! Not really but I did have so much to say I couldn't help but share. Afterwards President came up to me and thanked me for all my comments and he could really tell that I wanted to learn. One topic that we talked a lot about was the Importance of working side by side with the members. While I have been on my mission I have gained a testimony of how important it is to work with the members. The work becomes so much lighter when we are working with the members. We wouldn't be as successful if it wasn't for our ward. We know that we can call anyone and they would be willing to come out and join in a lesson or give us a ride. Or we know we could stop by anyone's house and they would be helpful in leading us to a friend or someone who may benefit from the message we share. I also learned about the role that the Book of Mormon plays in conversion. The Book of Mormon is evidence that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that the gospel has been restored on the earth today! What a wonderful blessing we have to have that knowledge.
  This week we met with this girl named Kristal who is one of our new investigators. She is truly amazing! I spoke a little bit about her last week and how she came to our Christmas party and to church. This week we visited her a few times and every single time she had questions for us either about the last lesson or about something she read in the Book of Mormon or the pamphlets. She has truly been prepared at this time to receive the gospel of Jesus Chist. Just like it reads in Alma 13 I know that Heavenly Father is preparing the hearts of His children to receive the gospel at this time. We just need to rely on Him to find those individuals. Kristal is one of those people. This week we invited her to be baptized and she said yes! She has a strong desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ and she said that she has been waiting for something like this to come along in her life. The date we have set for her is on December 14th so I will have to keep you updated on that.
   Also another miracle I saw this week was with the Lam family. One day we were visiting a part member family but they weren't home so we were trying to figure out what to do next and where we needed to go. We walked past this Vietnamese lady that was sitting on her porch with her little boy and she smiled at us. Sister Fa'agase and I looked at eachother and said, "no one ever smiles at us like that." We kept walking but I knew we were both still thinking about her. So we finally just turned around and went back to that lady. We found out she didn't speak much english but she ran inside to get her husband. He could speak just a little better english and we told them a little bit about us and what we do as missionaries. We then invited them to church and they said they wanted to try it out. They said they are buddist but also have been interested in the Christian Church but aren't sure which way to go. We promised them that this gospel will bless their life so much. We got their information. Just yesterday we called them and they said they were coming. So we quickly called some members in our ward that could speak vietnamese and asked if they could fellowship them at church. They came and greeted them at the door and pretty much took them under their wing. They are an amazing family and said they would like to come back next week. We are going to also visit them a few times this next week as well. Wow it is so amazing how the Lord works.
  I forgot to share a funny story last week. Last week we were tracting and we found this old man that is blind and lives alone. We spoke with him about the gospel and he was so happy to find someone that is kind to him and wanting to talk to him. I could tell that he is really lonely. Anyways when we went to leave he just put out his arms and wanted to give me a hug. I honestly didn't know what to do...he's a blind man and a lonely man so of course I gave him a hug. Next thing I know he was trying to give me a little kiss on the cheek. Well you can imagine a blind man trying to give you a kiss on the cheek yeah he had a hard time finding my cheek. But I just quickly had to move and get out of the way. haha but me and my companion had a good laugh. It was so funnny! Oh the experiences on a mission.
Anyways better go but I love you all very much and thank you so much for all you do for me. This is the Lord's work. Have a wonderful week!
    Sister Sorensen
P.S. Moroni 8:3

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Letter from 11/17/13

Dear Family and Friends,
   This week has been good! The work here in the Green Valley ward is going great! This week we got 2 new investigators and have heaps of new potential investigators. We have been praying for weeks to find new people to teach and this week we have been blessed with my new individuals to teach. The Lord truly does bless us and answers our prayers! 
   Many were asking how the baptism was. It was great! It was on Thursday night and it went so well! It was a great experience to witness Anikka's baptism. It was such a different experience at a baptism then ever before because I have seen her progression and I know her individually. The gospel of Jesus Christ does truly change lives. Anikka is so happy now and I have seen the difference in her. We had a lot of support from the ward as well. It was great to see everyone come out and be there for Anikka. We had to sing in the baptism. Lets just say that I sing more than I've ever sang in my life! But its good and I think I'm getting a little better, I think I can carry a tune now. haha but who knows!
     We also had the ward Christmas party on Friday night. Wow do these fobs (islanders) know how to party! There were heaps of people there. And they had HEAPS of food. I have found here that you have to get up and get some food right away or else it will all be gone. Like I said they are mostly Samoan so they like to eat. haha There was also  a DJ playing some fun music all night. They had a dance floor in the middle and the kids were going crazy. Many members brought non member friends and also lots of less-actives so we had a lot of people to meet. My companion and I were split up the whole night just talking with different people. One cool experience. I saw this man sitting by himself at the Christmas Party and so I just stopped and simply said hello and introduced myself. He was a very nice man and I found out that he was not a member. And as a missionary if you find out someone is not a member you get this feeling like...yes! So I got to know him more and found out that he is very strong in the catholic church and he has even been a minister. But Brother Fiu ( a member of the bishopric) has been fellowshipping him him and invited him to come. He mentioned that he seems like something is missing and he enjoyed being around kind people that accept everyone and his family as well. I started teaching him about the restoration of the gospel right in the middle of this party that was happening. Maybe not a good time to start but I was so excited to talk to him. But we got a return appointment and he expressed how grateful he was for me coming and talking to him. It was such an amazing experience!
    Another miracle we had this week was with this girl named Kristal. She was a lady that we met at the library one day when we were emailing home...imagine that! Well we got her information a few weeks ago and a return appointment. But she had a death in the family and our appointment with her fell through. The other day we were in a suburb called Miller and we had another appointment fall through and Kristal's name popped into our head and we decided we would try to find her house and visit her. We found that her and her little boy were home. We actually had our ward Christmas Party that night so we invited her to come. She accepted our offer and so we quickly called some members and arranged a ride for her. She came to the Christmas party and they loved it! So she wanted to come to church on Sunday as well. Last night we were around her house and needed a bathroom so we stopped by. We weren't planning on teaching her a lesson but she said that she had already read the restoration pamphlet that we gave her. My companion and I looked at each other in shock! I was thinking wow! Who is this girl? So we started going over the pamphlet and answering all the questions that she had. She is seriously another GOLDEN INVESTIGATOR! We are so excited!
   Oh and this week I went back to drivers ed again. I had to go to a driving test on Saturday. I had to go to the mission office to sit and watch a video on safety and I went out with one of the AP's for my test. It was so weird driving on the left side of the road! I really had to focus on everything more than ever. But I must say I think I was a lot better than some of the other sisters doing their test. I seriously thought I was going to die at some points. Haha not really but we ran over a few curbs and such. But we are going to be getting a car soon so that will be really good! I passed my driving test!
  Anyways I better go. Australia is great and I'm really starting to love the people here, especially in my ward. I know that this is truly the Lord's work! I love you all so much and thanks for all the prayers in my behalf.
   Sister Sorensen

Anikka and I at the Christmas Party
Anikka's Baptism

 Dinner with the Halahola family. They have the cutest kids, I had so much fun with them!
We decided to go Hawaiian one day while we were tracting.
My driving test was a success.
This is the Saipele family. They feed us every Sunday. They are the best! 

Sister Sorensen's Letter from 11/10/13

Hey Family and Friends!
    This week has been great! I love being a missionary! This is truly the work of the Lord and I'm reminded of that daily. This week we had our Sister Training Leaders come and do exchanges with them. The last pictures that I sent were the other sister's that we share a flat with so we got to spend time with them a lot. But it was great to have the sisters come and help us. I learned so much from them, they are wonderful! It was great to see some of the things I could improve on so that I can continue to progress and improve as a missionary. I find so many weaknesses of mine as I'm serving but as it says in Ether 12:27, God shows us our weaknesses so that we can make them strengths. And I know that we can't do that on our own, we need to rely on the Lord in striving to make our weaknesses our strengths.
  I have seen many miracles this week. In fact I see a miracle almost every day and I know that as you look for miracles that you will see them. One miracle that I saw this week was when I was on exchanges and I was with Sister Davis. Sister Davis had the car so we went to go visit a less active but there was no where to park on the road so we had to go and find a place to park a little ways down the road. So we parked and walked. We visited with this sister and testified of the importance of keeping the faith. On the way back to our car we passed by this man who was watering his lawn. And as a missionary we talk to EVERYONE. So I said hi to him and kept walking but Sister Davis started to talk to him and ask about his day. She then said "do you mind if we give you a card?" (pass-along card) He then came over to us and we started to introduce ourselves and let him know who we are, representatives of Jesus Christ. He was a very kind gentleman and we invited him to church. He said that he woud be interested in coming one time. But he didn't want to commit to a specific day and he didn't want to commit to a return appointment either. But if we wouldn't have parked where we did that day we would have never talked to Frank. And one thing I have really learned is no work or lesson that we teach goes to waste. Even though we didn't get a return appointment we still planted that seed and helped him to feel of the spirit a little bit. He also said we could stop by again sometime so we will definitely do so when we go back to his area. But it is just amazing how EVERTHING happens for a reason. We are placed in certain places at certain times for a reason. We may not know at the time why we are there but God does have a plan for each of us. Look for the small miracles or tender mercies in your daily lives. I promise that when you look for them, you will find them.
   Yesterday Sister Fa'agase and I had the opportunity to teach Relief Society in our ward. We taught on missionary work...imagine that. Missionaries teaching on missionary work...haha. It was great! One thing that we taught the sisters is that we are all missionaries as members of the church. Just as the apostles have taught us, every member a missionary. It is so true! Since we all have the fulness of the gospel and we have that knowledge it is now our responsiblity to share that with others so that we can save their lives. So that we can help them to feel the happiness and joy that we feel. We shared with them our purpose as missionaries it is:  "To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end." Even though this might be a purpose for missionaries we taught that it is also the purpose for ALL members. I challenge you all this week to think about this purpose and and think about how it can help you in your life. How can this knowledge help you to be better and help to lift others up that may be falling away.
   Another great lesson I have learned is that our purpose is not only to help those that don't know the truth but to also help those individuals who have fallen away from the truth. We need to help one another in this life. That is why we are all here, to help one another.
  Remember that we are all sons and daughters of God and this is the Lord's work. He has restored this Gospel on the earth today so that we could have the fulness of the gospel on the earth again. Like it says in D&C 88:73 The work of the Lord is hastening. That is why it is so important to take action now in spreading the word of God to everyone.
I love you all so very much and appreciate your love and support. I thank you also for all the prayers in my behalf, I have definitely felt them. I hope you all have a great week.
Love ya!
    Sister Sorensen
 We went to a relief society service project this week
We had zone p-day last week and we had a huge tug-a-war. It was so much fun!
Us and the Sister Training Leaders. Sister Penumaka from India and Sister Davis from New Mexico
 Me and Sister Fa'agase made breakfast for the other sisters.
We got slurpees one day when it was so hot!
Me and sister Bretzing had some banafi pie last night. So good!
Anikka and me and my soa

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tender Mercies of the Lord

Dear Family and Friends,

   I would be lying if I said that this week was great. It has been a rough week. I think the first week I didn't even have time to think about everything and just jumped into everything. But this week I have had a hard time adjusting to the culture and life here in Australia. Its all part of missionary work though and I know it will get better. I have learned how to rely on the Lord more fully in helping me in the work. I have shed many tears but I have also had so many great experiences this week as well. I have spent a lot of time on my knees this week asking for strength to help me through and I have seen countless tender mercies from the Lord as I have done so. I know that God is there for each and every one of us. He hears our prayers and He cares about us so much more than we can comprehend. That is why this gospel is so wonderful and helps me to keep pushing forward in the work of the Lord. I'm so grateful for the Atonement of Christ. My testimony has been strengthened greatly of the Atonement. I know that Christ not only suffered for our sins but also for our pain and sorrows. He understands us more than we understand ourselves and He will help us through every trial that we are given. So I would ask you all to get on your knees and pray if you are wondering where to go or are struggling at all. He will be there for you and the Holy Ghost will help you to feel peace and know that you are not alone. As we turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer he will poor blessing upon us and as you pay attention and slow down a little bit to listen and observe, you will see the hand of the Lord in everything that you do.

   I want you to know that even though this week has been rough I also wouldn't have it any other way because I have also learned so much. I have been strengthened and my testimony of Jesus Christ and this gospel has grown tremendously. For without trial we cannot learn and grow. This life on earth is a time to learn and grow and become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. We can become like him as we learn of Him and study His teachings in the scriptures and also develop a strong relationship with Him through prayer.

  I know that I'm here for a reason. I love it here in Australia, the people are so wonderful. They are so willing to do anything especially for the missionaries. This week was hard with my companion. We had several disagreements but we talked about them and worked them out. Now I'm learning to really love her more and more and as that love grows our lessons become better and we have seen so much more success.

   This week we had several lessons with Anikka (pictured below) again and we invited her to be baptized. She said YES! Me being the new missionary I had to extend the invitation, I was so nervous because I haven't ever done that before but it turned out great. The spirit was so strong, we taught her about the Plan of Salvation and many tears were shed from all of us during that lesson. Then as I started to ask her if she would be baptized she said yes before I even finished asking. That is how amazing Anikka is she is so willing to learn. So we have set the date for November 16th so that is so soon! But I know she will be ready but we will be meeting with her several times this week and we pray daily for her so that we can know how to make sure she is ready. She comes to everything. She comes to mutual, church, firesides, FHE...everything! Yesterday we went to the recent convert fireside with her. That is a fireside for all missionaries in the mission to bring any investigators or recent coverts. That was such an amazing fireside. They had about 6 recent converts speak about their conversion story. It was so powerful to hear their simple but powerful testimonies of this gospel. Something that really stuck out to me was that anyone can teach and we can all learn from one another. We are all sons and daughters of God and we are all here to learn and help one another return to our Father in Heaven. I challenge all of you to reach out to everyone because we are all God's servants here on earth. We are ALL missionaries on the earth today and we ALL have a responsibility to spread the gospel to everyone.

  They celebrate Halloween here but its definitely not as big as it is in the U.S. But we had so much fun on Halloween. We went to a baptism that night and we took Anikka and Ari (a member who is fellowshipping anikka). This was an amazing baptism because this lady has been investigating the church for about 8 years and FINALLY is baptized. It was such a spiritual experience and there were so many people there, mostly missionaries but still heaps of people. Its because she has had so many different missionaries that have helped her in her conversion and have taught her. It was such an exciting night for many of us and also an uplifting time. Even though I didn't know her we went and I learned so much because the spirit was there. The spirit is the ultimate teacher for sure. After the baptism President Manusso took us to KFC for dinner. It was so much fun we went there with heaps of sister missionaries and had a fun night together. It was also so good because we also got to know Anikka at a different level. We got to know her personally and now we have a better relationship with her.

I know I have super long emails but there is always so much to tell you because there are countless experiences daily. I love being on a mission! I want you all to know that I love you all very much! This gospel is so true, spread the gospel to everyone that you can.

  Sister Sorensen

These were all of us after the baptism on Halloween

This is Anikka Welsh

This is my zone. They are all so fun we had zone training on Friday

These are the sisters we share our flat with. Sister Bretzing is my "twin" and Sister Tito. We have so much fun with them. We are in totally different zones and districts but we have the opportunity to live with them. I love these sisters!
The Sister Training Leaders came to visit us. We had a blast with them. Sister Paki and Sister Nunez. Sister Nunez is the short one and Sister Paki is the tall Kiwi.