Monday, December 29, 2014

Bitter-Sweet Christmas


Well, Christmas came and went out here in the mission and it was WONDERFUL. We had so much fun and so many Christmas dinners and a ward Christmas party/talent show and all was just very jolly here in Ecuador. On top of that I got to skype my family which GREAT. But--given all the fun we had in this past week just made it harder to leave....yes, I received my first real transfer. Saying goodbyes on Sunday night was tough but it was surprisingly easy and even though I was saying goodbye I felt super happy to have had the chance to know all of them and serve them. Can honestly say I left my first area of the mission proud of what I had done and the friends I made, and a few dang awesome new converts.

With J and the fam last night.

None the less....I was super excited when I received the changes. I am excited to know a new part of Ecuador, get to know a new ward and companion, and start fresh and fix/do better so many things that I feel I could have done better. It all works out perfectly because 3 days into this change falls New Years Day....so I am way ready to set some awesome goals and more importantly DO THEM!

I am just moving about 1 hour from my old area, deeper & more south here in Quito. I am in the zone Turubamba Sur, in the ward Solando. If you search in Google maps ´´La Iglesia de Jesucristo SUD, Capilla Solanda´´ (first you have to search Quito and then kinda zoom in on the bottom half of it) you will find the church, and we live about 1  min walk from there, just around the corner! I love it here! It is way more city like than my last area, which means SOO many more people. Its the city but there are parks everywhere...and FAMILIES everywhere. I am dang excited. Every missionary I have talked to who has been here or near here says I am in the ´´best ward in Quito´´, and based of the few people I have met and the vibe I get from my comp I really do believe it! My companion is Elder F from Honduras. He has 17 months in the mission and is a SWEET dude! I am looking forward to working with him a ton...and we have a sweet program already here with people to teach and a family to help marry and baptize within the month. He is a great missionary. Quick short story--when he had 1 year in the mission his father passed away...so the fact that he is still out here serving the Lord and going hard...RESPECT.

My new sector! A cool park/fountain around the corner from the house.

We had a wonderful Christmas week. Monday we had a dinner with the Stake Presidency and their families...with all the missionaries from the two zones that are in the Stake...24 missionaries. It was super fun and bomb food!! The rest of the week we had a Christmas dinner almost every day with one family or another...and on Thursday I talked with the fam!!! It was awesome. It felt a little surreal talking to all the fam back at home...because for many years and many skype calls I had been sitting on the couch talking with the sibs out in the mission field...but it felt great to finally be on this end of things....although the post skype-with-the-sibs 5 hour long nap doesnt really fly out here on the mission...so that was missed!! Haha.

THE FAM!!!

Quick story-- yesterday in my final Sunday of church I had a really awesome experience. When we arrived a little early like always there was a women (30s) and her 2 boys (15 and 11) sitting in the chapel. We didnt know them so I greeted them and started chatting. They are from Colombia and are members, just visiting for the week. We only chatted for about 10 minutes before church started, but after the 3rd hour of church the mom hurried over to me and asked me if I could give her and her boys a blessing--as they dont have a husband/father. After Elder P and I each gave one of them a blessing, we got ready to give the mom a blessing and she asked if I would do it, although we were planning that Elder Perez would do it. After the blessing she was teary eyed and just kept saying ¨que hermosa, wow, poderoso.´´ (how beautiful, wow, powerful), and she was just SO SO grateful. For the first time in the mission I truly felt NEEDED, like someone out here, who doesnt even live in the ward I was serving in, really needed me. And all of that day I couldnt stop thinking about them and got really strong feelings that everything they were going through was all going to be alright. After 4.5 months in a ward with some AMAZING members...I think the most impactful experience I had there came on my last day with someone who lives a few countries away. The church & blessings are universal...I can honestly say I know that with all my heart.

Well Jeff...this one was for you (hahaha still not as long as yours!!) Love you all, have a great new year and set some killer goals! I know I have many many things to improve!

Elder Sorensen 

Christmas pic from the Zone a few weeks ago.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Star Over Bethlehem

Okay this time I mean it.... MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! 


I don’t have too much time today because I have been writing like crazy trying to send some ´´Christmas Cards´´ out to many of you....but just want to wish you all A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a happy holiday! I hope everyone has a great winter break and enjoys some quality time with the fam. 

We had a great week. Saturday had a super beautiful baptism for one of our investigators whose whole family are members and after many months and years of investigating the church decided he wanted to be baptized. His whole family was so happy and the service was beautiful...all of his grandkids sung I am a Child of God and it was so cute. 

 
J and J2 came out with us twice again this week...we have to tell them no sometimes now because they always want to come out with us and never want to do their homework...haha! It is gonna be dang hard to leave those guys.

We are in week 6 of the change...which means this Sunday we will receive changes....and because I have 3 changes now here in this sector it is very very likely that I will be leaving to a new area on Monday. It is going to be super hard to leave but I am gonna end (probably) with a BANG--we have a ton of Christmas plans for this week... 

Only 3 more days until I get to Skype the fam!!! I can not wait! Don’t know where time has gone....but its going so ya’ll better hold on tight!!

Love you all, have a wonderful Christmas and spend a minute or two to think about all the gifts God gives us every day....including the most important one-Jesus Christ.

Elder Sorensen

Monday, December 15, 2014

Merry Almost Christmas!!

Dear all, hate to be short again, but this time I have a real excuse....

Today we LEFT THE MISSION BOUNDARIES (with permission from President obvi) because Elder B, my companion, had to go to some big building to obtain some paper similar to Social Security Cards in the states. We felt pretty cool being outside the mission boundries...hahaha...But it was a long day and lots of buses, so we only ended up with about 1 hour to email.

It was a great week that flew by crazy fast. On Wednesday we had our Christmas Dinner with President. It was super delish, fun, and overall great. Out districts christmas message/muscial number went super well!! I am gonna try to send a video of it over to Katie Sorinsin, and next week hopefully we will figure out a way for you all to watch if you want! Disclaimer...its in spanish. 

Me with the Christmas tree with all the missionaries on it, in President's house.

Friday we worked with N, a member in our ward who got back from his mission about a month ago. It was awesome to work with him, he is an awesome dude and speaks DANG GOOD English. He is heading to the States in March to start studying (hopefully at BYU). 

On Saturday J, our homie who we baptized last week, and his best buddy J2, who was less active until we started teaching J, both worked with us all day and did visits with us. They loved it, and we had a ton of fun-they both want to come out with us every Saturday and are both talking all about the mission!!! They are both awesome dudes and it is awesome to see them both truly changed and more happy thanks to the many blessing of the restored gospel.

All is well down here....just remember, El es la Dadiva!! christmas.mormon.org

Love,
Elder Sorensen

My little Christmas setup on my desk, thanks momma y pops!

Monday, December 8, 2014

White Christmas

Dear all,

This week was excellllenteeeee! On Saturday we had an awesome baptismal service for J, the 16 year old homie we have been teaching. He was so happy to be baptized and has so many friends in the church I already know he is gonna do amazing. I can truly see him being a great missionary in 2 years...pray for that! At the baptism a Hermana in our district and I sung ´´Lord I will Follow Thee´´ right before the actually baptism, and I was a little sick and got a little nervous right before, but it ended up sounding amazing and I’m pretty sure it wasnt me singing...haha! But really, it was an awesome service and 35 people attended! Which is a ton for a baptism down here. 


This Wednesday we have Christmas Dinner with President, and our district is in charge of the message so we have been working hard on that...The Hermana who I sung with and I are singing like 6 Christmas songs (just 1 or 2 verses each), and I am playing guitar for 4 of them, and in between each one a different missionary from our district is sharing a scripture and short message about Christmas and Jesus Christ. It should be epic! We are really excited!!

Today we went into downtown Quito and stopped by the offices to see some other missionaries from other Zones, and had lunch with one of the members from our ward who is a lawyer in Quito, it was delish and we had some bomb Tres Leche Cake!! 

Oh yeah!!! And my Christmas package came from mom and dad. I dont know how Kent fit all that stuff in one small box, but it was epic!!! So much awesome stuff...and delish food from the states! Stoked!!

Well...really dont have much more, so here are some questions from gramsy and papa Kent!!

What is the name of the fruit that looks like a caterpillar and what does it taste like? (I’ve never seen anything like that before!) 
Its called GUAVA.....but is very different from the guava we have in the states!! It tastes like an orange and a mango combined! Really good!

What has the weather (and temperature) been like the last couple of weeks?  Is it still raining every afternoon? (We’re finally getting some rain here.) 
Rains maybe once a week, and only for a few hours! I think the rainy season comes just before winter here...because now it is colder and super foggy...but not really too much rain!

How is Elder Baque's cooking (and are you doing some cooking for him)?
Great. I am now learning how to cook Ecuadorian stuff....Chile, check, Ecuador, check....only a few more countries to learn haha!

Is all your companion study in Spanish? 
Yes....everything all day is in spanish now unless we're with other missionaries from the zone who speak english. My comp only knows a few words in english...so I really am talking 24/7 in spanish. Tough but way helpful!

What was your most impactful lesson this week (topic/with whom) and why?
We have been sharing the He is the Gift video with a ton of members...and every time it is super powerful. It helps us all remember to focus on CHRIST this CHRISTmas. Look it up!!!! navidad.mormon.org or christmas.mormon.org



What are some Ecuadorian Christmas traditions you're learning about?
Not sure...a lot of it is super simal...but I’ll let you know as it happens!

LOVE YOU ALL! MERRY ALMOST CHRISTMAS! Enjoy this quote, thanks momma!!

Elder Sorensen

"The real Christmas comes to him who has taken Christ into his life as a moving, dynamic, vitalizing force. The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master. If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments" (Howard W. Hunter, "The Real Christmas," Ensign, Dec 2005, 22–25)

My last companion, Elder G, sent me this pic of our investigator F's baptism a few weeks ago

Monday, December 1, 2014

¡feliz casidad!

Happy Christmas month!!!!!

Another week flew by, and dang, ya estamos en diciembre?!? How crazy is that. Elder B and I already have a little Christmas tree up in our study room (a member offered it to us in perfect timing, yesterday!) Im ready for a sweet first holiday season on the mish!


This week was amazing. We have witnessed an awesome miracle this week. On Sunday a 16 year old member who hadnt been coming to church for a long time came to church, and brought one of his friends, J. His friend used to come to church with him a lot, but hasnt come since his buddy stopped coming to church. After a sweet lesson last week, the less active boy came back to church with his family, and brought this friend of his, who lives 2 minutes from our house. All week we have been visiting the friend, J, and his family. All week J has gone to seminary, and been reading and praying like crazy, and after coming to all the sessions of stake conference this weekend, had his interview and told us he is ready and wants to be baptized THIS SATURDAY, so that in a few weeks he will be able to baptize his parents. This kid is only 16, a stud soccer player, a sweet DJ/music mixer, yet already has such a strong testimony of the church and we have seen his faith in Jesus Christ grow like crazy in just 1 week. Honestly look up to this kid, although he is 2 feet shorter that me ;)

We helped a member pack 2500 rolls of cheese on Saturday, which was fun and exhausting, but we each scored 2 bricks of super expensive cheese so it was all worth it ;)

Standard Ecuadorian fruit that reminds me of a caterpillar


Am kind of blanking on anything else that happened this week, but I can remember it was a very solid week! 

Oh yeah, at our Stake Conference this weekend, President Christensen and his wife spoke (my mission pres.), and the 1st counselor of the Guayaquil Temple, so that was way awesome. President gave an amazing talk, felt proud to be a part of his crew.  :)

Last week I wrote a few buddies from BYU, and heard back from most of them today. One of my good buddies is in Russia right now, and a part of his email really made me rethink how grateful I should be to be serving in a country where the people are so open to listen to our message...gonna keep my dude in my mind next time I am feeling frustrated with the work down here. He also made me think of Big Jeff and KT Rose...got MAD respect for all my buddies serving in some of the toughest parts of the world. 


´´The mission has been just amazing so far. Haven't seen a baptism or a progressing investigator yet in the city I'm in but things are still great! Russian is coming along but its dang hard. We have a branch of 30 members here where I've served my whole mission so far. I love the members so much. They're awesome. ´´ -From my buddy in Russia 


LOVE you all and hope this Christmas season is the best yet!!!
Elder Sorensen

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanks♥

All,

First, I am VERY thankful for all of you. The letters, prayers, support, friendship, and love I feel every week and every day. Couldnt be out here in the middle of nowhere all alone with out the support of you all. Am crazy grateful for every one of you. Especially the fam. #KentRSorensenGang4Life

All is well. I hope you all have an AMAZING THANKSGIVING and eat an extra amount of food for me. We had another good week. Elder B and I are getting along great--and the spanish is coming in HOT! 

Spent all my email time catching up/replying, so excuse me for being short. But I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Sorensen

foto- Elder B and I on a balcony of a member’s home

Monday, November 17, 2014

CAMBIOS!

Yesterday we got changes, and unfortunately Elder G and I are finally departing from each other. After an EPIC 12 weeks, my dude is heading to a differnet part of Quito, much more south. And I am staying here in my sector, which will probably be my last 6 weeks here. My new companion is........

 
ELDER B! He is from Manabi, Ecuador (the best beaches in Ecuador...google image it!). He has 1 year on the mission, and joined the church 2 years ago. None of his family are members...so fetch, he already has so much of my respect. He is a beast. Only picked him up from the massive bus station in the middle of Quito a few hours ago, but I already like this guy a ton. He is way mellow and just a sweet dude. Can understand a lilll english, but not much. AKA, my Spanish is finally gonna get the fine tuning it needs! I am way excited. Gonna be a good change. Also...everyone tells me this dude can COOK like crazy....I'll be the judge of that tonight ;)
 
While waiting for my new companion (for about 3 hours, after sending off Elder G), I got to hang out and talk with Elder U, one of my best buddies from the MTC. He has been in Santo Domingo, the Coast, so I gave him the rundown on Quito! We talked for like 2 hours and it was awesome. He is ballin, and loving the mish. Way good to talk with him and a  few other friends throughout the mission. 
 
It was a way solid week. Elder G and I visited all our friends in the ward a few times because we had a pretty solid feeling he was outta here--and topped it off with a BAPTISM on Saturday! F, the 38 year old big man from the coast, was finally baptized. After a long process which included a dream that he should go back to the catholic church, going back to his old church for 1 week, and there finally recieving his answer that the church was true, and being baptised was something he needed to do. After that, him and his sister and her 2 sons, who have been less active, have been coming to church with him, and all were at his baptism this Saturday. He is so happy now, and every since recieving his answer he has just had a totally different aura about him...so happy for him. He has gone through some rough times but he made it and now is already recieving the crazy amount of blessing that the gospel of Jesus Christ has to offer. A good amount of members attended...and dang, it was just a beautiful service! AWESOME end to the change.
 
Well...other than that, the work is still rollin and I'm still doing all very good. Don't worry about me, just keep praying for my Cougars.
 
Oh yea. Elder Gon also left, so now I live with 3 latinos. Chile, Columbia, and Ecuador. DOPE!
 
Love you all!
 
Elder Sorensen

´´La obra de salvacion´´ (work of salvation - don't worry, we were just posing for a picture for the 1st counselor in the bishopric!)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mis Amados...


Another sweet week, but nothing too gnar. Excuse me for being short...
Went on sweet splits with Elder Gon on Friday, we had 8 lessons (mish high baby!) and found 2 families of less actives who both came to church this Sunday. It was awesome working with him and learning a few things and having fun with the change of scenery.
We had an awesome lesson on Friday night with M, the nephew of F, who is one of our investigators who we have been working with for a while. He hasnt attended our ward for months because he attends with his girlfriend, but after our awesome lesson (IN ENGLISH!) with him, him and his mom and brother (who are less active) all came to church with us and F and it was just awesome. We had like 10 less actives we have been working with in church, and F with his family. He seemed happy as ever, and the spirit was stronger than I can remember since being here in Ecuador. Oh yeah, I get to give ANOTHER TALK this Sunday...2 talks in 6 weeks (1 change) haha... I'll let yall know how it goes!
Today wasnt as epic as last week..just napped and played cards all day. It was much needed.  Made some bomb breaky sammys with some Chileano Empanadas. BOMB!
A few quick ?s...

So have you had any cooking adventures? What do you eat for breakfast these days? Are you putting on any weight? You look good in your pics. 

Thanks momma. Im glad someone thinks I look good <3 But really... We really only cook for breaky and snacks before we go to bed. A ton of eggs, PBJs, Hot Dogs, BFast Sammys, Chileano empanadas, Popcorn/Kettle Korn, and a ton of juices. I'm not sure if I'm putting on weight...haven't seen a scale in Ecuador lol. Feeling healthy though, not large like during rugby season...but not skinny like basketball season. Feeling aiiite!

 French Toast Wednesdays
Was that Gondola ride safe?
Yeah! It was a 4 person closed 15min ride. There are tons of tourists/americans up there--so it had to be safe! Haha, we talked to a few North Americans...they were impressed that we could talk to the workers!

U gaining weight? Losing muscle? How's the fitness
 
See above...idk, but feeling good. Working out at a park a block away. Dips on the monkey bars, pull ups on them too, and push ups on the teetor totter. #3rdWorldCrossfit

Love you all and hope whatever challenges you may have this week you SMACK DOWN WITH A VICIOUS BLOW (Tenac).
Elder Sorensen

Rocking the Skinny Tie from BSO!

Monday, November 3, 2014

4 Months

{Click on the panoramic pics to make them bigger!}


DANG....tomorrow I have ´4 months´ (even though I left like 3.5 ago, the 5 weeks and the MTC and the coming to Ecuador a few days into the change kinda make 2 weeks outta nothing...but mish-wise I have 16 weeks tomorrow!!)

Anyways. It was another solid week. I am loving it as much as ever. We had a tough week as far as teaching goes...but we had a family of 4 who we have been teaching for about a month in church! They are from the coast and are way cool! After an awesome lesson with them about families and the blessings we can receive from the church with them and our high priest leader, they finally were able to make it to church and it was great!! It was cool for them to hear so many peoples testimonies (cause it was fast Sunday).

Even though we had a rough week teaching, we were fed more than ever!! Topped off a week of bomb food with dinner last night with a member (remember, dinner isn't a thing here so that was a big deal!), empanadas and hot coco from our neighbors (who passed it to us from their roof at like 9:30pm haha!), and then a ton of smores with our neighbors (well, the sons of the owners of the house who live in the same yard as us). Topped all that off with waking up at 1am to throw up (just once..dont worry...lol), and crawl back into bed. Hahaha classic...

Today was the best Pday yet! We took a bus into Quito, right to the edge of our mission (north boundries), and then took a EPIC gondola ride from 9500ft Quito up to about 14000 feet. It was epic. We could see miles and miles and miles of Quito and a ton of Volcanoes and Mountain ranges....you have to check out the pics!



We dropped off our third companion at the offices on Thursday, so we are back to a companionship of 2 again! It was sad to drop him off but its nice being back in a normal comp.

Halloween questions: nothing really went down here on the equator for halloween. But we had an awesome halloween breakfast as a zone on halloween morning (Friday). The hermanas made bomb french toast with all the toppings you can name, including bacon. Bombbb!

Halloween eve/random pics before we dropped off Elder S

Love you all! Happy Halloween and Thanksgiving Month!!!
-Elder Sorensen

14000ft baby!

Monday, October 27, 2014

!


This week was pretty crazy! First, because of some emergency changes, we got a new companion from Columbia, Elder S. We picked him up last Tuesday, and were only supposed to be with him for 3 days, then a week, but the APs still dont know what the plan is so we have a few more days with him! Not sure what went down in Santo Domingo, but he is a WAY COOL DUDE! It is fun working with him. He only has 3 weeks in the mission. But he makes us speak more Spanish--which is good for Elder G and I, cause we rarely do outside of teaching and meetings haha. ALSO, on Friday, another emergency change went down, and out DL Elder A went to the Offices as a Finance Secretary, and his comp left too...and we now have 2 Hermana Misionaries in our ward! Which is kinda a bummer cause the other missionaries were awesome, but the ward is super happy to have sisters again (its been over a year!), so everything is all good :) Elder Gon is now our DL, which means we have a cell phone in our house--which is saving us some money. Score! Elder Gon and I did divisions Saturday, it was fun working with him--and we ate some BOMB food like always. He was a Zone Leader for like 6 months before training, so he knows a ton and has taught me a ton already.

Today for Pday we had a Zone Activity. We met at the church in Conocoto, had a Zone Study, then went into the heart of Quito--this MASSIVE park (like Central Park in NY), and played some soccer/hung out, and then went to get some Subway in downtown Quito. Twas another good Pday. Last Pday, right after emailing...we had a Family Home Evening and did a chocolate fountain....literally ate until I couldnt--which if you know me, that takes a lot haha.


All is well out here--still having a blast, especially living with 4 Elders. Elder G and Gon are always pranking each other. Mattress in the kitchen/bathroom, tooth brush soaked in Aji (super super spicy pepper down here), alarms set for 4 in the morning....It is hilarious. All fun and games. We also play Uno and the loser always has to eat something crazy. It makes the long days a little easier knowing we have an hour or so to have a good time at night. But dont worry--we are still staying plenty focused!!! Just having a good time while doing the Lord´s work :)

The work is going well. Nothing too big or new. Just still teaching a few families and other investigators. F. hopefully will be baptized this Saturday. He keeps putting it off and doubting himself--even though he knows its what he should do and believes 100% in the Book of Mormon and all our lessons. Some just need a little more time--I still got faith in him. Pray for him! Also, we rescued a less active this week. To rescue a less active, you have to teach them all the lessons, they have to come to church 3 times, and meet with the bishop. After her 4th attendance yesterday, she had her interview and is so happy to be back at church! She is always happier and has found more work lately! The blessing are coming in hot :)
Well, thats all I did (or had time to write...).
​Questions below!​
Love you all! 
Elder Sorensen 

What fun service have you done lately? We used machetes and hoes to dig up a field for O, one of our less actives. Got gnarly blisters and a nice tan! It was way fun.

Are there many young kids (in the neighborhoods, at investigators or members, or at church) who think you big, tall, strong, American missionaries are awesome? Haha..yeah. Most of the kids in our ward, of our investigators, or just on the streets love us. We tell them all we are from crazy places (Narnia, China) and can talk to animals. Classic.

Where you at in your scripture reading - do  you mainly read in English or Spanish? Finished the BOM a month or so ago, am now about 100pgs into the New Testament. All English during my hour of personal study--outside of that all spanish!

Do you have normal toilets? Shower? Yes for both, haha. Luckily!

Do you ever get sworn at, spit at, yelled at, or generally picked on? I'm sure you've had to bite your tongue a few times. Just a little from drunks who try talking english to us. Really, I am surprised how well I have been treated! All good over here :)
Make-shift poncho! Had a fun 20 minute walk home in the POURING RAIN with a garbage bag...haha asi es la mision!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Stay Golden

Hey all! I spent all my time today catching up on emails and downloading some EPIC mormon messages/inspirational vids/conference talks to share with our members and investigators! So forgive me for the super brief update.
It was another great week! We taught a ton again and found a new family, well kinda like 3 families who all live together in these supppper ghetto houses! They are really great, and have a ton of interest and excitement. Buut, we found out the mom and dad arent married, so it may be a long ride. Ill let you know more next week, we have only visited them 2.5 times! But they are great, and are humble as can be. 
We had a Zone Conference on Thursday with President and the Assistants and the Nurses. About half of it was all from the nurses about health and emergency plan and stuff like that. Also, Hermana C talked about keeping out houses clean AND gave us all sweet hand towels! The littlest things excite you on the mission hahaha. 

But something not so little... I GOT MY FIRST PACKAGE!!! Thanks to Gma and Gpa H, I have enough Twizzlers, Starburst, and Skittles to last me till the New Year :) And, a FAT JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER!!! Which doesnt exist here...so my apple and PBJ consumption is about to go off the charts. And some other treats, including tissues ;) Oh gramsy :) (THANKS AGAIN!!)
Oh yeah, forgot to tell yall, but last week in Church I gave my first talk here in Ecuador!!! It went super well. A few of the members told me my spanish sounded great, and that if they hadnt known me they wouldnt have believed I only had 3.5 months on the mission. Things are looking up...! Ill take some pics of it and send it to yall next week to read! (those who can speak spanish..that is. haha)

Well, I love you all and know I am doing great! 
Elder Sorensen
A lady we were teaching hooked us up with a huge bag of Cedron, which makes BOMB tea. We transferred the leafs from her grocery bag to one of my companions ziplocks he had from a package from his girlfriend....the caption just went  too well hahaha. #Cali

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hola.

Dear all,

It was another good week out here in the Sur. The week started out a little slow, but we ended out on a band, having 14 lessons between Fri, Sat, Sun (after having 8 over the 4 days before). F., our main progressing investigator, had his baptismal interview on Saturday and his 3rd attendance yesterday, so he is READY for baptism! And he is way excited! This, or maybe next Saturday, we will have his baptismal service. Cant wait!

Two new elders moved in with us, who are working in the sector at the bottom of our little hill/mountain. Elder Gon, from Chili, and Elder B, from Columbia. Elder Gon has 16 months, and had been a Zone Leader for the past 6 months..so he has tons of experience and has been teaching me a ton! Also......he speaks english! Which is so clutch. He is way awesome, I already know its gonna be a super fun change! His comp is fresh out of the MTC and has a lot to learn, but has a huge heart with awesome intentions and is a good guy. Gon will help him TONS! He´ll be killin it in no time! 

On Thursday we took Gon into Quito to drop him off at the training/pick up his new companion. After dropping him off we hit up McDonalds for breakfast and DANG, egg sausage bacon mcmuffin with fresh Ecuadorian bread...tops the states! Didnt think that was possible.

Like I said, Fri through Sun we killed it. Taught tons of lessons and got fed from members or investigators like 3 times each day. And on Sunday...we had 2 of our less actives who we are helping come back to the church, and F., and the Familia D (the family we baptized last change), all in church! It was dope.

Today was a super mellow Pday. Did laundry and ate lots of food at the Familia V's house (with a washing machine!), and just napped/chilled in the casa. Hma V cleaned my white shirts and got the collars´stains COMPLETELY CLEAN...which is amazing because the main 4 shirts I wear Brian used on his mission so I thought those stains were there for eternity... ENRO baby! 

Thats all for me, but I promised Id share a few of my favorite thoughts/points from General Conference last weekend. So this morning I looked over my notes and wrote down a few things I really liked. I noticed a ton about service, fasting, and sustaining Thomas S Monson as the Prophet of God. ¡Disfrute!

Lynn G Robbins - ¨Dont forget which way you face¨ ¨Jesus always faced his Father´´

D Todd Christofferson - ´´God will not live our lives for us´´ ´´A God who makes no demands is the equivalent to a God that does not exist.´´

Dallin H Oaks - ´´Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our example.´´ 

Jorg Klebingat - ´´Accept trials, setbacks, and surprises as part of this mortal experience. Say, ´I know what this is Lord, a chance to prove myself.´´

Jeffery R Holland - Talking about serving the poor and needy, and sharing a crazy interesting scripture about Jesus Christ, the creator of the world...being homeless at some points--´´The son of man hath not a place to lay his head´´
´´Though I may not be my brothers keeper, I am my brothers brother!´´ (J, B, sup)

Dieter F Uchtdorf - ´´Lord, is it I?´´ Look inward and focus on what you can do better before trying to change something about someone else.

Richard G Scott - ´¨the more we follow Christ the more Satan tries to attack us, but with less power to affect us.´´
David A. Bednar..... ´´Come and See´´

Love you all!!
Elder Sorensen

´´Across the plains of time bleach the bones of countless thousands, who, while upon the threshold of victory, sat down to rest. And resting, they died.´´ -Paul H Dunn

Keep GRINDin my people! (Get Ready Its A New Day)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Transfer #3 and CONFERENCE

Ecuador, que bonitaaaaa!
 
Dang, 2 changes (transfers) already done! How crazy..time is really flying. Neither G or I are leaving, which means 6 more weeks in Montserrat together! We are both stoked, love our sector! But, both the Elders living with us got transfered, so on Thursday a newbie and his trainer are moving in! Which means I wont have the least time in our district, word ;) 2/17 down, and a ton of Spanish to learn and people to help in these next 15 changes! Hopefully they slow down a bit as they go...
 
Quito from the top of our sector
 
It was honestly a pretty packed week. Tuesday, we headed back into Quito, again, for a mid-training verification meeting with all the new missionaries and trainers. It was SO awesome to see Anderson (comp from MTC), and all my other homies from the CCM. They are all doing great and loving it. Not too many have gotten parasites, too ;)
 
The meeting was only half a day, and not too much happened. But we were fed a bomb breakfast from the Senior Missionaries (there are 2 companions of senior couples), and Subway for lunch! (which is expensive here haha). After an hour or 2 of meetings, all of the new missionaries and President Christensen and the APs headed up to the Panecillo. The Panecillo is this massive angel statue in the middle of Quito on this big random hill. From the top, you can see miles and miles of Quito both North and South. At the top of Panecillo is where Spencer W Kimball gave the dedicatory prayer when Ecuador was opened up for missionary work. We read the prayer together up there and talked about the words and our grand work in front of us for these next 21 months. It was a beautiful view and an even better experience.
 

Views from Panecillo
 
And of course--CONFERENCE. General Conference on the mission is basically like Christmas. It was a dang nice weekend. We watched it down in San Rafael, about 1 hour bus from our house--so we just stayed down there in between all the sessions on Sat and Sun. There was a gringo room for us missionaries from North America, and a few members who spoke English! Getting to hear the talks in English was the best. So many epic talks, and I definitely got so much more out of it than I ever have. Maybe cause Im out here on a mission...maybe because before I was in my pjs on the couch eating popeye pancakes. But, it really was great. I havent had the chance to look at any of my notes, because right after Conf on Sunday we have lessons--which means you will have to wait until next week to hear my favorite talks and thoughts from Conference. But obviously, Bednar's was amazing. (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch/2014/10?lang=eng&vid=3822608486001&cid=10)
 
Today was another sweet P Day. We went to this massive mall in San Luis (hour or so away from our house). It was bigger and nicer than most I have been to in the States. Rich people do exist in Ecuador, who woulda thought! It was fun hanging out there, getting some pictures developed, and listening to American Music throughout the mall. Im not sure why I capitilized american music...probably because I am a patriot.
 
This week was a little slow on the work because we didnt work Saturday and Sunday or most of Tuesday, but we still managed to find 8 new people to teach including one AWESOME family from the Coast. So far all 6 of our most solid investiagators are from the coast, they are just so open and cool! The dad loves soccer and even likes rugby, score! We also had F., a MASSIVE 6ft 350lb black man from the coast come to conference with us to the Sunday PM session. He absolutely loved it!! He now has 2 attendances, so next Saturday he can get baptized! He is the man. And a large one.
 
I love you all and hope you got as much out of conference as I did. The church is true and God is grrrrrrrreat.
 
Elder Sorensen
 
OH, also, Friday Elder G and I adventured the borders of our sector. Found about 300 more houses over a mountain...and found an abandoned house with the DOPEST view from the top...where you can see Quito to the left and the Valley of Conocoto to the right. Lo maximo vista! 
 

 The epic view from the abandoned house!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Throwback: Final Week in the CCM

All of the pictures Elder Sorensen took the last few days in the CCM were with Elder Anderson's camera. Elder A emailed these and Elder KSo asked me to post them!

Some homies from the MTC.

Elder M and I. Elder M is from NZ, headed to Nicaragua, and is likely gonna come play Rugby at the Y! We schooled everyone during some pick up games at the CCM. Dudes a beast.




Monday, September 29, 2014

Amigos!!

Another week come and gone here in Ecuador. Sorry...I didnt get sick, didnt go to any epic waterfalls, just a pretty standard week. BUT, nonetheless another great one.

About 1.5 weeks ago it started raining, and rains for 2 out of every 3 days...but only from about 3-8pm...but dang does it rain! The other day we were in the middle of teaching George and his daughters when a MASSIVE rain storm came in, hail and all....and because they have a ghetto tin roof it was so loud we couldnt even teach any more. So we proceeded to help him shove socks in holes in the roof and put down tons of buckets and pots and pans where the roof was leaking. Oh Ecuador...haha classic.

Yesterday G and I made cupcakes that his girlfriend sent him...they were BOMB! Before that....our mamita served us Cow Udder. It was a bit slimy...but I actually really liked it. My companion HATES it though...so listening to him tell them he liked it was a chuckle. We dont have a stove...so last week we made the plan to make the cupcakes after church/lunch...which ended up turning into another (late) birthday party for Elder G. Epic!

The work is going well....it has been a little tough working through all the rain, it makes any contacting we do very rough, and running from visit to visit quite miserable. But I have gotten way good at drying my shoes with newspaper and our griddle.

Tomorrow we go into Quito for our mid-way through training meeting! I am so excited to see all my homies from the MTC! And President, for like the 5th time since I've been out here haha. Hes the homie...truly the man!

Really dont have too much to say, so I will answer a few questions I got this week!

So what's your typical schedule like? How much time do you spend finding, teaching members, teaching investigators, etc. on an average day?
We wake up at 6:30, workout and make breakfast and get ready for the day....at 8am have companion study, 9am personal study, 10am comp study#2, 11am language study, and then we head out for the day. We typically try to have at least 1 lesson with a member each day, try to teach our investigators every other day at least, and then teach 1 lesson or so each day to a less active or recent convert...and probably spend 1-2 hours a day contacting. We have extra study time in the morning for my first 2 changes...which is cool, but honestly we have never had all 4 hours of study because we often have a cita in the morning with someone who cant meet at night. Busy, but great!

And does it feel like the Spanish is coming along well?
Spanish is coming a lot great. G and I have been speaking more when we are alone. From Lunch to 7 every day we go solomente espanol...which has helped a lot. All the member and latinos say I speak great for my first change, but I still feel a bit lost when it comes to talking outside the gospel. My goal is close to fluent by 6 months! Aka, 3 more months to learn A TON haha. Goals are good though. :)

Do they grow pineapple, mangos, or other tropical fruit there (in addition to their world-famous bananas)?
Claro pues!! (well of course!) Apparently October is the start of Mango season...so I am very excited!! Literally every fruit and veggie they have out here...including like 25% more that dont exist in the states... Ill try to remember to take some pics of them soon!

Being at, or near, the equator, do you have seasons or does you weather stay pretty similar all year?
We still have seasons. Temp doesnt change too much. But because we are in the mountains the nights do get chilly. Theres a few months of rain, the rest is sunny. Though, like I said, temp is pretty constant.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Sorensen

PS- ENJOY GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! CANT WAIT!!!!!

Oh yeah, and we lost power from Sat at noon to Sunday morning...planning in the dark! epic!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Molinuco Cascada & a lil Sickness


Way short on time this week cause we had an EPIC zone activity--went to Molinuco Waterfall. It was awesome. Sweet to be out of church clothes and even cooler to be hiking through the rainforest.

Los Chillos Norte Zone! Love these people


Elder Going and I on our way to Molinuco

One of the many mini waterfalls we passed. Such an awesome hike into the BIG waterfall.


Anyways, turns out G just had a little virus, and yeah, turns out I got it as well. Monday night I had a pretty bad fever, fat headache, and stomach ache. It continued through Tuesday, Wednesday morning a bit, but by Wednesday night I was eating Pizza again and have felt since great since! Worked through it, which sucked...but I am all good- dont worry Mom!

Wednesday we had interviews with President Christensen down in Conocotto. It was great talking with him and chatting about my first few weeks out here. He always makes me feel wanted and proud to be a missionary out here in Ecuador. Definitely a man I have no problem working for/with for these next 2 years! Also, Hermana C made up all GIANT (like 8 inch) cocochip cookies. So amazing and american<3

Pinchos - one of our fav plates off the street! Basically a skewer of delish


Standard chicken lung and heart in our soup last week


Salchipapas (Fries, Hot Dog, Ketchup, Mayo, Aji, the BOMB). $1 for this fat plate!

Molinuco-- We took about a 1:15 ride and then another 1.5 hour hike in to see my first real Ecuadorian experience. The hike in was awesome. Straight up rainforest with tons of mini waterfalls and some sketch rope bridges. It was so fun hanging out with the Zone, and doing something EPIC. This country is beautiful. And so it goes.

Sketchy bridge over a sketchy amazonian river


Reppin my new country-- Estoy Viviendo primos!!

Investigator G and 2 of his 4 girls came to church yesterday. He is a single dad of 4 girls (9, 14, 17, 22) and his wife just died in December. He really likes the church and his girls really like everything about it as well. As of now we are preparing them for baptism in 3 weeks. I really hope they continue to progress and enjoy the church--because I know that this gospel is exactly what can help this awesome-genuine-humble single father out with raising his kids. He works through the night almost every night at a Panaderia (he makes bread). On Sunday during out lesson with them he made AMAZING banana orange cake, basically tasted like banana bread and FETCH WAS IT GOOD. Another highlight of out week--we visited 4 people/went to 4 houses on Sunday....got fed 4 times. The church is true.

G and 1 of his daughters. The 17 year old is already asking me all about BYU...epic!

Love you all! 
Elder Sorensen

Figured I should take a quick pic in my suit...we only wear them Sundays (thank goodness!)