Monday, August 25, 2014

Safe & Sound!

After a long, long night of traveling, I MADE IT TO ECUADOR! The flights were amazing (had window seats both times), and our President and the Missionaries here are amazing. President Christiansen and his wife are honestly the best...I can not wait to serve for/with them!

Here in Quito at the mission home/chapel. We arrived in Quito at 12:30, drove an hour into town down, had lunch at one of the church buildings (amazing taco salad from the members), went to one of the apartment buildings for a 2 hour nap, and am now here at the chapel again for Dinner and a few meetings. I will be here in down town Quito until Thursday, when we get our new trainers/companions and find out our first area! All day tomorrow are orientations and all the important stuff we need to know about the people, our mission, and safety. I am here and I am stoked!

My P Days are now talk to you all in a week!

Love, ES

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

¡Listo o no, aquí vengo!

I will start with the most important and most exciting--yesterday I got my flight plans...and in 5 days I leave this beautiful ´´compound´´ for good and head to Ecuador!! I leave here late Monday night, fly from Mexico City to Bogota, Columbia (4.5 hours), 2 hour layover there, and then from Columbia to Quito, Ecuador (2 hours). I should arrive in Quito around 11 or 12 in the morning. Let´s gooo!

I need to give a couple shout outs before I start:
SHOUT OUT to KT ROSE SORINSIN for ¨Graduating¨ from BYU!!! She has 2 small classes to take this fall...but she walked this past week and she is da best. Although, now I guess I gotta actually graduate from college in order to keep that whole tradish going...
SHOUT OUT to Nick D for going HAM on a half marathon (dont even ask how I know Nick..., ;) Straight beast tho. Forrest Gump status. 
SHOUT OUT to Kent R, for rocking a beautiful beard these past few days. 
and SHOUT OUT to Duer for calling out me to the ´´Ice Challenge´´...´´you have two years´´. Classic. LOL.
Standard, post haircut pic of your boy. For mama/gma/mike ;)

Another solid week. I finally feel old here. The fact that no one here at the CCM has been here as long as us feels weird...every once and a while I have déjà vu to my first day or two. Time is weird out here on the mish...people weren´t lying when they told me that. 

This week me and Anderson taught our first 2 REAL INVESTIGATORS. That was way sweet. It got real...and to my surprise it went very well and I could understand sooo much more than the first few weeks talking with Elder Estreya and other natives. On Thursday we taught a friend of Hermano Palma (our night teach), who was pretty interested and was a way cool guy to talk with. Like always, spent the first 5 minutes talking about the World Cup--which made our lesson time a little tight, but his comfort level much higher. On Saturday, Hermano Ortiz brought 3 of his friends...who we later discovered were his Wife, Mom, and Grandma, Me and Andy taught his mom, who hasnt been active in the church for 12 or so the fact that he trusted us to teach her was awesome. She really enjoyed our lesson because we mainly focused on familie, which is the most important thing in her life. Overall, teaching these 2 real lessons made me WAY excited to get into the field and start teaching the people of Ecuador. First weeks/months are gonna be a huge challenge, but I think I´m ready for it.

Been playing Rugby almost every day. We have between 8-12 guys per team and typically play on the football field. Forgot how much I loved that sport... Elder Mann (homeboy from NZ who will hopefully come play at the Y after the mish) has motivated me to get back on the grind. The first 5 weeks here I had lifted 2 or 3 times...and other than playing soccer not done much--thus, yes..I have gotten pretty dang small. But, this week I have been getting up at 5:30 to hit the weight room with Elder Mann and a hommie from his district Elder Night, who is playing football for Southern Virginia after the mish and is one of the fastest kids I have met. Small dude...but Wes Welker fast. It feels GOOD to be back working out and doing something I love (even though the last 3 months of being lazy werent half bad), and playing some Rugby...even though Elder Mann and I can never play on the same team cause then it becomes a clinic hahaha. My toe is way better, running is a bit painful, and can never kick with my right foot, but it is much much better.
Anderson, I, and our Hermanas. P days...aka random pics just because. This ones outside of the Tienda. (Jarritos on the daily)
Today was another great Pday, Cam´s Pday was switched from Friday to today because on Friday we have all sorts of meetings for those of us leaving the CCM this week. So we got to hang out a lot and play a solid 1 or 2 hours of cage soccer. Had many handfuls of set ups for each other to rip shots into the goal (me with my left, of course). We went hard...had a little nostalgia to 3rd grade AA baseball. C2K for life... 

Quick Q&A from Carebear and Kent... :)
What are you most excited about as you head to Ecuador? (less repetitive schedule, meeting sooo many new people, and the scenery...cant wait to see the volcanoes and city and who knows what else)
What will you miss most about leaving the CCM? (the people. teachers...Kemish...all the other dope Elders who ive met out here who are out here for all the same reason.)
What's been the biggest challenge (besides learning Spanish!) so far? (Patience/trying to focus in a noisy room haha. A lot of Elders are right out of high school, and remind me a lot of myself right after I graduated highs school. But regardless, these are my DUDES.)
How are you sleeping? (Sleep like a baby. Hit a solid 10:45-6:30 every night, or 5:30 when i lift. Like a rock)
What do you weigh? (210. Was 202 before the past week of working out. Little boiii...)
Are you using your retainer? (yes, every other night. LOL kept this one in there for a chuckle...thanks mom<3)
Have you spent all your pesos? (Nope, but I will at the airport...gonna go ham on some American food and 711 slurpees one last time)
How's your toe? (much better! Wearing real shoes again for a week...running around, feeling aite. Just a little painful haha)
Our District taking our going away pic for the Devotional slide show this Sunday 
Because of the short week and travel plans, I will most likely be back on to email on Monday during the day before I head out. Love you all and hope all the homies who are heading off to college in the next couple weeks the best of luck!!!!

Para siempre,
Elder Sorensen

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

1 Month Mark


Today marks 1 month out. Absolutely crazy. To think that I'm 1/24 done is real strange. But it has been one heck of a month for sure.

This week was my first tough(ish) week. Saturday/Sunday I got pretty dang sick (along with like 80 other missionaries over a couple day spread). Saturday I manned-up every though I had the chills all day, until around 9 when I was sleeping on the floor of the computer lab when my teacher forced me to go the Doctor (because as he said "Esta murriendo"´re dying). Ended up having a 102 fever. Not gonna lie it was a pretty miserable 24 hours or so...just a fat fever and pretty rough stomach probs...but after sleeping in on Sunday (Doctors order I promise) I was able to go to evening devotionals and have felt great since Monday! (oh, and Cam got sick Sunday too. He told me on Monday that he had a feeling I was sick as he laid in his bed....hahaha classic. 2 more weeks with my dude...what am I gonna do :o )

In addition to catching the black plague... As I mentioned in my last email, last Wednesday I went a little too hard during cage soccer and kicked a hole through my shoe and my sock and my toe (the field is a bball court...). My right big toe got pretty jacked up, but on the positive side I got to rock sandles for 4 days! Haaha. So it has been a rough week watching the hommies play soccer and basketball... although the injury forced me to get in the weight room a couple times (which I really need haha).

The toe (pic doesnt do justice)

Aside from that, it was just another week here at the CCM. Continuing to learn tons of spanish, tons of doctrine, and make tons of friends. Kemesh, our friend who cleans our casas, is heading into town today to buy us Dr Pepper and RootBeer...we are probably a bit too stoked. I can not wait to get to much as i love it here the walls are starting to close in on me! We are still teaching lessons every day, and FINALLY, tonight we teach our first ¨real¨investigators...who arent just teachers from the CCM. Our evening teacher Hermano Palma is bringing 5 of his friends tonight for us to teach. They may be members (likely), but it will still be awesome to teach someone from the city. And, on Saturday our morning teacher, Hermano Ortiz, is bringing 5 of his friends from outside(lol) for us to teach. I cant wait to see how it goes. It feels great to be able to teach lessons with nothing but my soon as I put down my note cards and notes my teaching has definitely gotten much more powerful and personal and overall effective. But dang...i still have SOOOO much spanish to learn hahaha. Small steps. 

Today was another awesome P Day. Played a little bball with Kemesh (ran the point cause my toe haha), walked the perimeter with the district, took a nap, and GOT A PACKAGE FROM MY MOM. And Kent of course, but it said it from Carol. They rock.

 Anderson and I taking a soccer team photo

While the days are getting repetitive, I am still loving it and am gonna miss this place a ton when I leave. My district is the bomb and our teachers are TRULY HOMIES. We are always hanging out with them at the store when we arent in class--they keep us updated on the world and movies. 

Last thought-noticed a real large poly brethren...resembled many of my teammates so I had to go say whats up. Turns out hes in contact with Coach Wayne and is probably gonna come play Rugby for BYU after the mish. Is from New Zealand/San Diego (went to HS in SD  but went back home for 4 months ever year for his Club Rugby season) Utah Mann...big dude, humble as heck like all my poly dudes. Gonna play some touch with a soccer ball and show all these Utah highschool-ruggers how to play. EPIC.

Hope all is well with everyone and that you all are taking the loss of our beloved Robin Williams okay. (I know my bro Jeff is pretty torn up). We dont hear much news from the real world...but one of our teachers told us about RW asap. Will have to watch August Rush and Dead Poets as soon as I get home in a very belated remembrance.

2 more weeks here in Mexico and then I am IN ECUADOR!!!! We actually leave Tuesday at 6am (I believe), so really 1.5 weeks! LETS GOOOOOOOO

Con amor,
Elder Kev

 The district out on a walk

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pictures - CCM Week 3

 Me and Anderson at the Mexico City Temple.

We just saw the outside and Visitor Center, inside is under maintenance for a few months.

A random cop. Everyone we saw had a fully automatic thats cool I guess.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

19 days left

My kin!

Now that I have been here at the CCM for 3 weeks...its kind of difficult to share exciting and new stuff with yall... It was another way solid week. Still putting in tooo many hours a day learning Spanish and teaching lessons, but it is coming along well! I no longer need any notes at all to teach lessons (but my every day talk is still way weak...). Pretty generic week, other than a few epic devotionals by General Authorities (Mexico Area 70s), and FINALLY getting out into Mexico City today to visit the Mexico City Temple.

Oh, and I maybe broke/disclocated/somethinged my big toe playing court soccer today, got some ibuprofen and ice tho so ill be good in no time! Haha..

Oh, and Elder Estreya and Cornado and all the Latino homies left on Monday, they all only stay here for 2 weeks cause they dont need to learn spanish. It was kind of sad but way cool to send of all the guys who we became so close to in under 2 weeks. They are all heading to Mexico Monterray West Mission and are boutta killll it.


Visiting the temple was awesome. Finally getting out into the city was another eye opening experience. It kind of reminds me of the worst blocks of San Fran, except even more crowded and just a littttttle bigger city. The driving is crazy, there are people and flea markets every where, and the graffiti/sanitation is pretty dang bad. But, people were surviving and that´s what counts.
The temple was BEAUTIFUL. We only got to tour the ground and go into the visitor center, but it was awesome. And I got a sweet hand woven Scripture Case for ~3.75 from the ´´gift shop´´. On our way back the bus driver stops in the middle of the road, hollers at a vendor trying to sell his bananas, buys like 6 bundles, and passes em back to all of us. It was epic...he is a G. 

This man is in the CCM Presidency here (1st Counselor to the President), and we had the opportunity to hear him speak during last Sundays evening Devotional. Before being called to serve here at the CCM he was a General Authority Area 70, and he shared one of his Conference Talks from General Conference in 2007.
Anyways, this guy is one of the sweetest humblest most cheerful guys I know. And when i found out he spoke at GEN CONF I was sokted...but not surprised. He spoke to us about families and the Plan of Salvation, and showed his talk from Conference. Here it is! (up there i mean..)

Elder Netzahualcoyotl Salinas spoke at our devotional last night, he is another Area 70 from Mexico,and he gave an EPIC talk. He was way passionate and spoke pretty good English compared to most around here. He mainly spoke about Jesus Christ. And shared a way epic sonnet in Spanish, which he then translated into English (which wasnt quite as epic). Here they are...although it wont be the same reading it from the screen as when he epic-ly shared it.

No me mueve, mi Dios, para quererte
el cielo que me tienes prometido,
ni me mueve el infierno tan temido
para dejar por eso de ofenderte.

Tú me mueves, mi Dios; muéveme el verte
clavado en esa cruz y escarnecido;
muéveme ver tu cuerpo tan herido;
muévenme las angustias de tu muerte.

Muéveme, en fin, tu amor de tal manera que,
aunque no hubiera cielo, yo te amara,
y aunque no hubiera infierno, te temiera.

No me tienes que dar por qué te quiera;
porque, aunque cuanto espero no esperara
lo mismo que te quiero te quisiera.

I am not moved, my God, to love you
By the heaven which you've promised
Nor am I moved by the Hell I fear
And for that reason not to offend you.

I am not moved, my God, to love you
By the heaven which you've promised
Nor am I moved by the Hell I fear
And for that reason not to offend you.

You move me Lord!
It moves me to see you
Humiliated and nailed to a cross;
It moves me to see your body wounded so;
It moves me to behold your suffering and death.

Ultimately, I am moved by your love
And in such a manner that
Even if there were not heaven, I would love you,
And even if there were not hell, I would fear you.

You need give me nothing for me to love you,
For even if I had no hope for things hoped for
I would love you the same as I love you.

(sorry for the long email...most of it is just copied and pasted so dont blame me;)

Glad to hear from you all this week. P Day and emailing is definitely the re-charger I need every week. So thanks :)
Stay yall.

~Elder Sorensen.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pictures - CCM Week 2

Me with Elder Estreya from Ecuador (on the right) and Elder Cornado.

Me and Cam with Elder Jordan Pollock (going to Chile) from the hall at BYU.

Me, Cam, and one of our first BYU friends, Lindsey.

Me and Cam with Elder Fazio (heading to SLC West)

 Me, Elder Estreya, Elder Cornado, and Elder Anderson out at the soccer fields.

Me and Anderson walking home in the rain.

I caught Hermano Romero (one of my teachers) working out during a break...epic shirt!

With the flag of Ecuador

Friday, August 1, 2014

Estoy Viviendo

Well, I´ve officially been here for two weeks! (Although we have technically been ´3rd weekers´ since Monday...don't ask me.)

Honestly, I'm not sure if time is flying or moving slow. Mon, Thurs, Fri, Sat go by really slow, but then the weeks go by fast. This week was just as good as last week, and I finally feel situated...doing my thing. 

First, I forgot to talk about one of the coolest/worst/craziest things here at the CCM. THE WEATHER. Its crazy nice basically all day long every day... and then at around dinner time or maybe right before bed every night, it rains (and often rains like crazy). There have already been 3 storms that turned the roads into mini flash floods. You just have to hope you're inside when they hit, because the rain usually doesn't last long. But the day time...its always beautiful. 

Because I already filled you all in about the CCM last week (probably more than you wanted to hear), I am not sure what to share because other than the first few days our weeks are very similar. So I'll share a few stories/experiences...

First, futbol. Not gonna lie...I am getting pretty sick at soccer. We play on this week cage court most of the time (same size as a bball court), and sometimes play on a regulation field. I consider myself good because all the latinos make fun of the rest of the ´´gringos´´ soccer skills to me...I´M IN! haha. Yesterday me and my comp (Anderson) played cage soccer during gym time and didn't lose during our 1 hour...13-0. Sports here at the CCM are intense cause theres tons of ex-athletes who are locked in a classroom all day long. Fun stuff.

One of our morning teachers, Hermano Romero, told our district that he met an Elder who was here at the CCM from Ecuador, and that if we found him and got a picture with him he would bring us Taquitos from ´´outside the walls´´. We ended up finding him and have been hanging out with him a ton since then. He is the man. Good news-he says there are definitely clothes that fit me in Ecuador, AND I can get a Robben Van Perse jersey for 12 dollars. Lets goooo.
Something way cool happened with Elder Estreya (Ecuador homie). After hanging out in our class room for 30 or so minutes before we had to head back to our casas, he pulled out a chair and asked me if I would give him a blessing of Salud y Fortaleza (Health and Strength). It was epic because he wanted me to give it in English...and even though he couldn't understand a word, afterwards he was slightly teary eyes and way grateful. Shows that the Spirit and Love are a universal language. Its funny because he talks soo fast its so hard for us all to talk with him, but its helping us out!

This week I made it my goal to make as many Latino friends as possible. I sit with them at a lot of meals and always chat in between classes. Elder Estreya and all his friends love me because we always talk about soccer (aka SO GLAD the World Cup just happened so I am in the know). I've learned that if you want to make friends with someone from a completely different background with a huge language barrier, the trick is to just have fun with them. Talk about sports and things they enjoy...actually care about their interests and what they liked to do back home. Most gringo missionaries just bombard them with questions and how to say this and that and I can tell it must get old for them. I have a feeling sports are gonna be my key to success in Ecuador--just gotta find some common interests and all barriers are broken down :)
The guy who cleans our house and the 10 or so around our house, Cameesh, is probably my best friend here other than the guys in my district and from BYU. He's 25 and has a wife and 2 year old girl out in the city but lives here at the CCM to work everyday. He is literally one of the nicest guys I have met, we teach each other our respective languages whenever he's in our casa. Yesterday during our service project we got to help him clean a few was a blast. Today, he played basketball with us during his lunch break and was sooo excited we asked him, it was great. AND, he balled hard. Probably the best on the court (behind me... :/ ).
There is this trend I'm catching onto...everyone around here or from central/southern America is just so genuine. I can't get enough. (But maybe 2 years will do.)

Its awesome hearing from you all back home. Sounds like everyone is doing great...I love all the updates I can por favor, keep em coming haha! I am way grateful for all the love I have been getting out here. Since a week or so before leaving the States my heart has been full...and at this point is lightweight overflowing. Never thought I'd have so much fun working all day and getting ready to serve others. 

P-day today was great as ever. Took a nap (oops), played 2 hours of soccer, 1 hour of basketball, and lifted for an hour. Getting my fix!

Oh year, our old ´´investigator´´ Enrique is now our evening teacher, Hermano Palma. He is a beast. We have 2 new investigators this week, one who is one of our morning teachers and one we havent met. 2/2 on baptism invitations and acceptances! (haha...). Mi espanol is improving. Looking forward to these next 4 weeks to learn the much much much more that I need before hitting SouthAm!

Hope everyone is living life out there in the US of A. Miss rockin my America swag so you all better hold it down while I am gone. Love you all.

Elder Sorensen