Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 23, 2013

December 23, 2013 Family!! So this past week went by slow it seems like! Probably one of the slower weeks I've had and one of the tougher. I'll be honest, Christmas here is lame. It's HOT and humid and if people celebrate they either leave town or are way to drunk to talk to. Seriously when we are driving down the road I feel like we're playing a video game trying to dodge all the drunks that are in the road stubbling and yelling. but most of our investigators are out of town for holidays and wont return till like the 10th of jan. but last Tuesday we had a crazy thing happen. we were just drving down this dirt road when I hear this loud bang and the passenger window right next to me is shattered I thought we got shot at first so I was just checking myself for any bullet holes but I was clear. what we think happened is a little kid chuck a rock at it. but anyways nothing to big this week. Friday I got mail! Yay! got my Christmas package from mom and dad and I regifted most of it along with some other ties. I also got letters from Mom, Lauren, Bro lesuar, the ostlers and sister amann. Thank you so much for all that! Saturday we went to Durban for the Christmas Party with about 100 missionaries that are on the coast! we had probably the best meal i'll have for the next two years, roast, chicken, enchiladas, rice, just everything it was good. but me and my zone sang in front of the other 100 people. I have sung more this past month than I have in my entire life. but after I met up with 2 guys from my mtc group, one African and the other was Sieverts. I miss that kid. he's having a rough time and its sad seeing it I wish I could help him and the others in my group that are also struggling but I cant just gotta pray and email them and let them know things will get better, even though I don't know if they will or not since I haven't been out long either. but in Durban we stopped by Victoria Street Market. that place is wild. its like a Chinatown in New York or San Fran but with no Asians and a ton more people. I was able to buy a couple cool things to send back home that hopefully will be there when I get back haha. but anyways heard it was a long week at home too keep loving and trying to be happy and doing whats right. Jake's got 7 weeks left and I got about 97 so yay! but I love you all so much!!! LOVE, Elder Sorenson
Christmas gifts with Gogo Nkwanazi and Sakile
Shattered Window

Christmas package from Mom and Dad
Action Shot

December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013 Fam Bam, So wow this week was pretty crazy. When I got here there was only one person with a baptism date and after this week we were able to get 4 other commitments for baptism on Jan 12. I hope they all with follow through! its insane loving someone you barely know the spirit really helps in that I can tell. Ben work hard in sem and church, I know everyone says that but it helps the more you know when you come out the easier your mission will be. high school and being popular means nothing when you're surrounded by a drama geek and black people all day! Ask Jake he knows like I've had to learn. my one piece of advice to you is to love those people that aren't as cool as you at school. talk to them and be nice to them, most of the time they are better people than the popular kids and athetes. but ya anyway this week went by quick but the days are so slow. it was a rough week though. I was able to try sugar cane for the first time though haha its different but its pretty cool. it reminded me of eating sunflower seeds haha dad you should send me some seeds haha! Africa is tough though. but I know I got help that I cant explain. Saturday we went up to Kosi Bay and visited the saints up there. we spent the night in a lodge that was for like honeymoons it was pretty sweet. sunday we went to church there. the church is in a back room of a hardware store one of the members owns it was so hot there I was sweating the whole time and beside the 4 missionaries that were there only 9 other members showed up it was a lot different but it was nice. the best part of the trip though was the drive home, we got to go through this huge game park and it was legit. I saw a ton of animals and got pics too so i'll send those and you all can see what I saw haha. but todays p-day and is also some African holiday so the internet shop was closed but the owner is amazing she came in and opened it just for us missionaries. shes the best. Anyway I got some Big News just now that we will be able to Skype (if it works) on Christmas Eve about 5:30 my time which is about 8;30 in the morning back in AZ. so i'll call if it doesn't work. I cant wait to hear some familiar voices. I love you all so much and cant wait to see you all again! LOVE, Elder Sorenson

Chopping Sugar Cane

Elder Sorenson and the Nzama kids
Church at Kosi

December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013 FAAAMMMM BAAAMMM, so the 1st full week is down and i'll be honest it went by really fast. it was a complete week of service and a pretty crazy week. I have yet to see a full sunny day out in the field. it has rained for 2 straight weeks but that's fine with me I rather have it be cloudy and raining than super hot and humid. so the week started off with me going to the post office and waiting 2 hours to send a package home for bens bday but its a joke out here haha I seriously can barely understand the people and they can barley understand me and the 10 words in know in Zulu its pretty funny I think tho I rather laugh at it than get pissed. we had service every where this week tho Wed we went to the Nzama's house to paint the ceiling in the living room and put a playset together me and one of the sons did the playset all alone and the other 3 elders started sanding the ceiling only to find that the cement is so old it would just fall apart so they just messed around and flirted with the daughters for 2 hours while I fixed up the playset. its frustrating sometimes but I just keep my cool and do my own thing. The work ethic of these elders is pathetic you get them all together and I feel like im at a comic convention haha Saturday morning for example we went to a members house to build her a garden and 6 of the 10 missionaries were there the work should've gone quick but 3 americans talked about there magic cards and the 2 Africans sat and watched and I was on my hands and knee doing work haha it was fun so I was fine doing all the service alone cause that way its atleast done right. sunday was my first sacrament in actual Africa and it was pretty good its awkward in church tho when some makes a joke in Zulu and everyone laughs and im just sitting there not knowing whats going on. my Zulu is coming I can do all the letters and vowels but after 12 weeks I could get transfer to another city or country that speaks an entirely different language. but for those of you that don't know where my area is its the Richards Bay Area but im serving about 30 min from there in a place called Port Dunford and Esikhawini but google map it haha. Sunday we always taught a sister whose 21 her name is Maphule and shes pretty cool we practically got her to commit to baptism and she showed how bad she wanted that. she was still confused about some things tho so we just invited her to pray about it. We'll probably get the real commitment next time but the spirit was so strong as we taught her about baptism, it was really cool. Sphiwe the 12 year old that live on his own is doing pretty good to his dad was in town and we were able to ask him for the permission to baptize him and he said with out question its fine. but the funniest is how some of the people out here think I look like Brad Pitt cause I remember when Jake first was out people said that to him too. As for Africa this week most of you know that Nelson Mandela died. the whole country is sad and some people are saying thing could get crazy out here but we'll see what happens. I was able to buy a newspaper from the day he died tho i'll send it home cause its pretty cool I was in south Africa when one of the biggest Africans ever died. its a different experience out here tho I have listen to some talks by John Bytheway that my comp has, that guy is an amazing speaker I wanna ask you guys to listen to them. Ben forsure should they are good. or for ben have him listen to "life is like a football game" by troy dunn. but that's pretty much my week im sorry the emails are so long but if you read the whole thing it proves you love me haha just kidding. I hope all of you are doing good keep me updated and send me pics I love you all so much and miss you all a lot. LOVE, Elder Sorenson

Elder and Sister Cook

December 2, 2013 - First Area - Richards Bay

December 2, 2013 FAM BAM, so wow its been a while since I could email, like a week or a half or so and its been crazy. Africa is so different. I thought south Africa was gonna be nice but its not close haha. its pretty poor where I serve but where I live its not to bad. my zone is in Richards Bay but I Serve in two little towns about 30 min from there. its call esikhawini and port dunford. its pretty sketchy. but im getting use to it. I live in a town called empangeni its okay nice but nothing fancy. I've seen a few monkeys while we're driving but haven't had a chance to take a picture yet, Sorry Katie. haha but anyway ya my comp is Elder Josh Rogers he's from gilbert and went to gilbert high school he was in rotc and drama... so ya we match up pretty good.. hahaha but anyway one of the first things he and the other elders said to me was that im in one of the nerdiest zones in the mission its pretty weird and they are all a little different but im making the best of it. the all play this nerdy card game called Magic its so funny watching them. but one of them is a music major and is crazy on the piano and gives everyone a theme song. when we walk into the room and he's on the piano he plays its. mines pretty funny cause he switches it over to the organ and place Take Me Out To The Ballgame. but its fun im trying to make the best of it. Theres one elder out of the 10 in my zone that's cool his names Elder Morhouse he's from Idaho and played baseball too but he had to get tommy john on his arms so he didn't play last year. But any way I guess you all wanna hear about the mission! its funny im learning a lot the first night I got here I stayed in a 4 man boarding but the next day which was Wed. me and my comp switched and went into a nicer 2 man boarding. its weird just being with him tho we are suppose to being getting a new 4 man boarding tho cause the one the district has now is a piece of crap so once we get the new one I should be in it. but the first lesson I had was with Phey & Siya (their names are much longer but that's just a shorter version) they are brothers who are 14 & 15 they were just baptized right before I got here. they live in a tiny hut with a few little bros and sisters and they're parents are around too, the next lesson was the most shocking since I've been out the kids name is Sphiwe he's 12 and lives on his own in a house. his dad is in Mozambique working and just sends him money the kid is amazing. we have a baptism date set for him in Jan so it'll be cool. its hard to understand people here some speak English and I can kinda understand some have a heavy accent, and some are to stubborn to speak English, but i'll get it. the speak a lot of Zulu in my area which is the clicking one haha I've already got some words down its pretty cool! the hardest is probably the names tho the people speak so softly and its hard to hear them so I think they get frustrated when I ask "what?" like 3 times haha after a while I just ask my comp what they are saying and even then I cant pronounce it. but i'll get it and i'll pick up Zulu as I go. but I think Saturday was the best day of my mission so far. we had a zone conference with the Zackrison (mission Pres) and also Elder Carl B. Cook and his wife. at first I was intimidated by elder Cook because he is a member of the 70, has spoken in general conference and also is the President of the South East Africa Area which is pretty legit but him and his wife are absolutely amazing. during the conference I sat on the front row like mom always told me because the teacher knows the listeners and the people that really want to be there sit on the front. he taught us for about an hour and 30 min about how people need to either know, feel, or do to become converted. he told us we need to look for those that have done all three because they wont leave the church after just a little while. he had such a great spirit about me and the spirit in the room was so strong. after he was done he said always likes to meet with 2 missionaries and just interview and talk with them. he picked me first it was so cool. the man was so loving and caring he was so easy to talk to one on one. but anyway that was pretty much the week so far its been good so far not too hot yet its been cloudy and rainy which is nice because Richards Bay is the hottest area in the mission so yay for that... NOT. but anyways I love you all so much and miss you so much!! do whats right and because people only see what you do so if you do good things people will know you truly are a good person and they wont be able to question anything about you. LOVE YOU ALL TONS! Love, Elder Sorenson

Johannesburg MTC 11-21-13 to 11-24-13

November 21, 2013 Hey "Fam Bam" as jake would say, So this past week as been pretty dang crazy. I was pissed i had to wait till thursday to email since that is our mtc Pday but it'll normal be mondays but i wont talk to you all till a week from monday because we fly out to our mission on tuesday so it'll be a long week with out a pday or a email home but anyway the first two days i was so stressed!! things finally got better after our first sports time which is everyday from 3:30 to 4:30 and after sports on friday as i was coming in to shower and i found card from mom hid in my bags, and by the way in didnt unpack at the mtc im just living out of my bags so thats why i didnt find stuff till later in the week, but anyway i read the card from mom and it got better it made me a little home sick but i think the biggest thing that helped me was having hot dogs and fries for dinner friday. honestly that helped me get my appettie back and mad things a little more comfortable. I'll admit though this is so dang hard, way harder than i ever imagined... we get up at 6:15 i do push-ups sit-ups and pull-ups then go to breakfast at 7 after that we seriously study non-stop from 7:30 to 12:30 with like 2 five min breaks and by 12:30 or lunch i feel like its time for bed. i'm completely drained. but Mom thanks for packing the photo album of the family and lauren its nice to look at faces you miss and love so much while writing in my journal or before i go to bed each night. My MTC Companion is Elder Nkambule He's from Swaziland, He's okay but speaks very quietly, as most of the africans do, and he is hard to communicate with, but we were made District Leaders the first day which is cool. President and Sister Reber Are Great if you dont know by now sister reber has been sending pics which it nice since they wont let us upload pics at the mtc. Sunday Sister Reber gave a lesson on journals and what to say and how to record it it gave me a bunch of ideas. then in priesthood we were able to watch a talk by Elder Bednar that he gave to missionaries about Doctrine, Principles and Applications, it was a great talk and very helpful but it got confusing trying to keep up with Elder Bednar becasue all the incite he shares in such a small time or maybe it was because i was completely jet lagged still haha. Monday we had a great message on stress management it helped me a lot and reassured me that i can do it and that its normal to be overwhelmed and not pick everything up all at once. The teaching is getting easier as time goes on but i wasnt even close to being as ready as i couldve or shouldve been. Tuesday was a great day we were able to go to the temple and before we went in we had a fireside with us 16 missionaries and Elder Brickdale, the area authority and a member of the 70. it was amazing. he talked about when he was a mission president in Idaho and how he met a young man that loved the Lord and always wanted to serve a mission but wasnt able to because he had cancer but elder Brickdale went on and said that the doctors thought the cancer went away and so Brickdale had the boy serve in his mish in the office but long story short the cancer came back and the boy was so sad he didnt have the energy to serve the Lord and when the boy pasted away all the missionaries sang called to serve and the boy pasted away as an elder and was never released it was a touching story and i'll admit that it choked me up he did a great job speaking with a great spirit about him. After the fireside we went to the distrubution center and i bought a scrip case thats made out of wildebeast its pretty legit but i dont know who im gonna send it to yet! haha but anyway we walked up to the temple and took some pics outside which some of them you have seen and when i get a chance ill send you all the pic of me by the entrance and sign that says Joberg temple. its a beautiful temple and from the outside it looks alot similar to the Vegas one but on the inside its not even half the size the chapel for waiting held like 18 chairs and the session groups were like 20 max, and thats if they bring in a couple chairs. but either way its a temple and its beautiful on the inside. tuesdays are packed there though and this week all the area authorities and mission presidents were in Joberg for a convention so they were all in the session after us so we saw a few but didnt get to talk because we had to hurry and leave. our mission president was there and we didnt get to see him and his wife so he was bummed and decide last night that they would stop by and meet everyone going to their mission. they came with Elder Hamilton, a general authority, and his wife. they spoke to us for a little while and expressed their love for us. you could tell how much they love us and how much they cared and also how great of people they are and how the spirit works through them. but anyway again this is so stressful and without anyone to really communicate with its difficult i literally just pray for like 20 min every night because thats all i have to talk to at nights. dont worry you are all in my prayers. i miss you all so so so much and love you so much. Katie thank you for the sweet card I LOVED it and i will definatley put the ear plugs to good use hahaha i love you. Ben be good, and be smaarter than the kids you hangout with they arent going anywhere in life and you will if you choose whats right. a mission will be hard but you need it so prepare your self now and do what you need to to go on a mission and study and learn as much as you can. and dont forget i said this after an hour remember it!!!! if not a mission will kick your butt like its doing to me! but i love it! itll make me who i want to be and prepare myself to be married and have a hottie for a wife if any of you know a cute girl named lauren let me know hahaha jk we all know who that is. i dont know why im telling you all that but anyway best you find out now haha as long as shes there when im home!!! Mom Dad i love you so much and thank you for everything you have done and will do for me. i don tknow where to send the credit card and all that stuff yet but ill let you know as soon as possible! this is probably the longest letter of my life and probably will be the longest one of my mission but if anyone gets upset that i didnt send a personal email to them its because i dont have time and cause im not the fastest typer. But anyway im out here in the Danger Zone, no worries i havent been robbed yet but supposely that happens all the time in Joberg so im hoping its safer in Durban. too many Black Eyes on the couple white kids when we leave the mtc haha but i'll be good no worries haha i love you all so so much!! Dont forget that i'm always the Favorite son, missionary, and boy!!! I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU ALL A TON. LOVE, The Younger Cuter ELDER Sorenson
Sweeping the Walkways for the next group of Missionaries
Passed bedroom inspections and rewarded with an African candy bar

Dinner "pap" (a little like grits)

November 24, 2013 Hey an another short message I just remembered its Thanksgiving so I just wanted to say I miss you all a lot and wish I was home with you today!! I LOVE YOU ALL A TON!!!! Cant wait to read all your emails and stuff on Monday I LOVE YOU BYE LOVE, Elder Sorenson

Elders' Setshedi, Lombola, and Mulumba received their endowments

President and Sister Reber 

MTC Companions at the Johannesburg Temple

Monday, December 23, 2013

Johannesburg MTC 11-14-13

11-14-13 Hey mom dad and the family, I made it and im SAFE!! the mtc is weird here its not huge but its not small. theres only 6 americans that came with me.. elders Farmer, Peterson, Allen,Sieverts, and paige. Farmer is from idaho and is a cool kid and very friendly, Peterson is from richfield utah and is a nice friendly kid, Sieverts is from bountiful utah i think and hes a cool kid as well and Allen is the baby of the group he's 18 and is from texas he is the first elder i found in london hes cool and a little shy but not too shy. and Paige is 21 he dubbed himself "pops" sinces he's the oldest of the group he is kinda speical needs and knows alot of info theres no reason to argue with him even if you have the right answer he very talkative. but the flight from london to here was packed and i was cramped the whole time not fun at all. and didnt sleep much like i did from home to london cause from london to here i had a dream about home and everyone there and it made me pretty home sick. the weather here is okay in the building its pretty warm except a few rooms its not too much. the feed us lunch but i barely ate anything i have no appettie and i had an interview with the mtc Pres. President Reber, hes a great guy and it was good talking to him, him and his wife go home in January. its pretty nice though just everything is the opposite the drive on other sides of the road and other side of the car. but i miss you alot! its weird without you here but i love you a ton and cant wait for these two years to fly by. sorry its not too long of a letter but its all i got for now i'll get better for sure and im running out of time on the computer!!! I Love You LOTS, Elder Sorenson.

Elder Nkambule

Elder and Sister Hamilton
President and Sister Zackrison

Alex leaves for Durban South Africa Mission 11-12-13