Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sept. 29, 2014

The Fam,
   What a roller coaster of a week. things have been a little bit of a struggle lately but i try not to focus on that. the week was slow but very eventful. Wed. we had Heritage Day and Greene and i Skined the head of the cow that was going to be cooked. but this week was all about Sifiso, that guy is amazing. in 2 months the guy has completely changed from a hardcore smoker to a very devoted true church lover. Thursday as we continued to help him prepare for his baptism he said something that i will never forget he said.. " for once in my life im happy im alive". When Sunday finally came, with rain pooring down, Sifiso walked the 2 miles to church through the strom and arrived with a smile on his face. After church he was then baptized along with our Branch president's Nephews that we also taught. they each prayed to know who should baptize them and each asked me to which i was honored and humbled to do so. After all three were baptized, and after many questions and calls we made to the mission presidents counselors through out the week we had Sifiso Confirmed as well ONLY because our branch is making the 4 hour journey to Jo-berg on saturday to attend the temple and we want him to go! He didnt have money to pay the transportation costs which is only about 30 dollars but here its alot to these people so i told him not to worry that i would take care of the cost for him! What an incredible experience for him to be baptized, confirmed, and go to do bap for the dead in the temple all within a week, out here that rarely happens. But i am very proud of my recent converts here. 5 of them are going to attend the temple this weekend. Anyways Sunday afternoon i also had an experience i thought i'd share. After the baptisms we went and saw Sphephelo Mnguni a less active guy thats about 23 or 24 who is very confused because he reads/watches to many things of the world that are shaking his faith. But he didnt want me to answer any of his questions instead he wanted Odama to answer and Odama is too ignorant on most topics to answer so he didnt know what to say. Sphephelo went on to say he thought God was energy and that its in all of us, the energy to get out of bed in the morning, to eat, to excercise which was crap and i shot that down quick telling him God was a man and now is a perfect immortal being. then he went off on how Africa has always been struggling and he complained saying why didnt Christ appear and preform miracles and stop the suffering. I asked him what was Jesus Christ purpose for coming to earth? Was it to come and show everyone he's a god? or to perform many miracles? NO!! He came to preform the atonement. we then ended with a prayer and left him in a stupor of thought. In the car after, with rain pooring down, something now made so much sense to me. Jesus Christ came, performed the Atonement, resurrected, and appeared to Mary then to the apostles, but then he went to the Americas where the people in the Book of Mormon were, Why? Because he knew they had prophets and scripture that could be taken as an additional record and bear truth of his Messianic mission to prove that he is the Only Savior, and Christ knew that Joseph Smith would be able to have the freedom, many years later, to translate the record. Christ's purpose was not to show everyone his divine power, even though at time glimpses were shown, but he came to preform the will of Heavenly Father to make it possible for us to return to him which is possible in and only through Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus is alot like your brain, you cant see it but you have faith that its in there (even if people dont use it sometimes), but some people like Brain Surgeons have seen them and tell us that we each have one. Its the same with a prophet he is like the Brain Surgeon and testifies to us that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father Live and that this Gospel is true but no matter what if i tell you that you have no brain and you believe me then there is no faith. With faith everything else follows, that is why its the first principle of the Gospel. Its crazy that even though with so many problems and issues going on around me and in my life, getting dropped, struggling with finding people, an incredible rain and thunder storm, The Lord gave me that peace and knowledge in one of the most difficult times of my mission. its sad that i took all this for granted at home and how many people in high school and college arent focused at all on the big picture or the Long term deal. but whatever i doubt most of you have read this far so i love you all. make good choices and be kind to one another, i hear all the struggles going on at home and they need to get fixed, so fix them. You all have everything and still think you are struggling. i've lost alot in the past year but i dont care. Just focus on the big picture and do not let selfishness or pride block the eternal prospective. I love you!

Elder Sorenson 

Greene and i skinning the dinner for heritage day, we have a good time.

My Fav Girl on heritage day.

National Braii day  (bqq day) also heritage day with the Langa family and the recent convert boys.

Baptism Sep 28, 2014.

Sifiso and I. Minehle, Lungani, and me.

Sept. 22, 2014

Fam Bam,
   Wow crazy how nothing here gets me down. this week i tried my best to make it great, and it was! we had a very productive week and for me as i think i have mentioned in previous emails driving a car or truck for me isnt the best way to be productive so we tried to park most of the days and be as effective as possible and talking to everyone as we walk from appointment to appointment. i stay busy and at puts it gets exhausting but thats life i rather live exhausted than lazy. Alot went on and happened this week but one night when i was just down i was writing in my journal when i found the scripture Joshua 1:9 that helped quite a bit and also in my studies this week i read Alma 60 and my favorite verse in the chapter was 36 which says, Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country..."  As i read this verse i just put my name in there and it really stuck out to my and helped me see the importance of humility and focus. Alot has change in a year and its hard to believe my focus hasnt been shacken but i know why it hasnt. anyways this week we also had a nice time with our recent convert family for a FHE. I cooked some nice enchiladas and we all enjoyed and had a great time. my priorities have really been sharpened this past week and its nice to have no worries or doubts about why im here or what im teaching! i love you all some much!
Elder Sorenson

" How much of life do we miss by waiting to see
the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"
- President Uchtdorf

Cooking Enchiladas with My Recent Converts, The Maseko's

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sept., 15, 2014

Things are going nice out here in the work! The work in this area is very easy but i still try to improve each day. you can tell its easy when the hardest thing and most drama you gotta put up with in the week comes on Monday when i gotta email. but nothing really matters to me besides this work and changing the lives of the people here, whether things change at home or people change im gonna do what i gotta do. Anyways We had a very successful week and while most missionaries seem to take the day off when it comes to there bday and the end of a transfer i worked and we had only a few appointments the day of my birthday so we just tracted in the 95 degree weather and just did work. we got another 4 men on bday this week so hopefully they will all go through and Sacrament was a record high with 136 which is almost 70 more people than what we had when i arrived. My Bday was great and thanks to all those that sent me some bday wishes, the people here did so much for me and showed alot of love on my bday but now im 20 and all my bday was was just another day on mission. we did have a little fun thursday night for 9-11 we went and got some fireworks and lite them off where the whole city could see then i went back and baked my own cake and decorated my house with all the stuff Lauren sent to me for my bday all that stuff made the bday much more special. so nothing to big i gonna share with the family today but transfers happened and nothing changed in my boarding. its still me and Odama now going on to 4 and a half months.. yay.. but at least elder Greene is still around  and we'll be able to have a good time together! But for all those still questioning, theres Still only one girl not anyone else, so dont get to crazy with ignorant comments. " Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which will shortly come to pass, things which are at home, things which are abroad;... That ye may be prepared in all things when i shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto i have called you, and the mission which i have commisioned you." The Lord will instruct and teach me anything that i need to learn or know whether it pertains to my mission here in africa or else where but either way we should see the Lords plan for us is the same no matter what happens. I love you all!
Elder Sorenson

9-11 fireworks showing love.

Transfers saying bye to Elders Payne, Marumo, and Childs

 Another bday party the day after my bday and the gave me a zulu hat and zulu shirt

Got my packages from home with my bday Bat

Elder Brown came and played me Happy Birthday.

Baking my own cake and having my own party with all the bday supplies Lauren sent me in my bday package.

Sept., 8, 2014

Another Fast week. i can not believe im over 300 days now thats pretty crazy 65 more days and its all down hill. This week was just a roller coster and had many ups and downs. but the best is having people notice your hard work and share their love for you. For example i told one family that transfers are next week and the mom was like No i dont know what would happen if you left Elder Sorenson because ever since you've been here the whole branch has grown and everything is just working so smooth. it was nice to have a little pick me up because i was getting down this week think that no one is really caring or seeing the change taking place but anyways it was nice. But the biggest highlight of the week came with a brother named Sifiso. This guy is powerful and has a big desire to know the gospel but he was a smoker so about 2 or 3 weeks back we started a Stop Smoking Program with him and his Bro Cebo that is on B-date as well but this week Sifiso completed the Program and hasnt smoked in about 3 weeks. Its amazing to see this work change lives and have a big part in it as well. Whether things are going good or bad for me here in africa or at home theres always a bright side it every situatuion. Take those to brothers for an example, both were hard core smokers and it didnt seem like there was any light of hope for them but there was only little sparkle of faith in Jesus Christ that began to illuminate as we began to share them this message. but i heard this week that there was some crazy guy back in AZ that burned and peed on a bible outside a church, whats up with that? that had to have been a big story if africans in these little shanty towns know about it. But things are going pretty well here and im hoping things will continue. we find out transfer news on friday and i hope that i stay since i've worked so hard here i feel i deserve fruits of my labor which will most likely be 7 baptisms(4 men above 25), dividing this branch into two, and helping people prepare for the up coming temple trip on October 4th, which i might be spending a little to help my recent converts pay for the trip so that they are able to go soon after baptism. i love you all and continue to update me on life back home. Almost over that One Year hump, the harder i work the faster it'll go! cant wait to see you all in another year! time will fly! but for now i gotta be willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else i try everyday to make every hour effective i get up early and work out with greene then im at my desk 30 min before im suppose to be then making the work effective in the area and coming home at the end of the day worn out to finish with some P90X,You don't always get what you wish for, you get what you work for. Greene and i Know how to work hard but also to play hard like going golfing this morning for a few hours. You gotta have fun on pday or you'll go crazy. love you
Elephant Story:
As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life

An outside religious service.

Sept., 1, 2014

Fam Bam,
Well probably one of the fastest weeks of my mission. it all started monday with the game drive where we had a nice chill time at this very fancy lodge in a place called Nambiti. whats great is everything for americans is so cheap here so we can do alot of fun stuff. but we had a great time and you will all will see from the pictures but we got within in 20 yards of all the animals i have photos of it was pretty legit. but the fun had to end and tuesday we were back to work. that night at a family home evening i came up with a great analogy, or what i think is a great one. i cant really remember what the discussion was about but i told them that life is like a puzzle and we are just a piece to complete the puzzle we need all the pieces but we gotta make sure that we are the piece that we need to be or the puzzle needs us to be, we cant be a square when we need to be a was nice but through out the week there were ups and downs as always but i was able to go on exchanges with Elder Greene which was nice as we walked and tracted as many people as we saw we had fun doing it chucking rocks at cows and just enjoying the time doing the work. also in the week as Odama and i walked around we saw a kid crying while his mom was doing everything to help him walk down the street, we saw them coming and just kind of ignored it but as soon as we past them i felt to go help as i walked across the dirt township road i said hello and had a brief conversation with the mother in Zulu then bent down and gave the child a smiley face sticker and he stopped crying right away idk if it touched the family at all but it did get me to thinking why Jesus Christ wanted to suffer the little children to come unto him because with those children the spirit is easily present, and you feel great help those in need. but Saturday was a busy day we attended a funeral and they asked me to speak on the Plan of Salvation and also Resurrection i was a bit nervous to speak to 200 non-members and people i dont know but it went well. On the way back from the funeral we saw a bad taxi accident where 2 went head on on the highway we saw a few lost souls and others badly injured, the things you see out here are pretty crazy. Saturday night we were at our Branch Presidents house who is the chillest guy ever and one of my favorite if not the favorite african leader i have been around. he said he was in a bit of a jam with the funerals and with prep for church tomorrow so he asked me if i could teach the combined priesthood and relief society back home i would've ditched church the next day but i excepted and taught a powerful lesson on converted unto the Lord a talk bye Elder Bednar and stressed about testimonies and conversion. but all in all i was a pretty good week yesterday after church was a struggle we just contacted people all day and got yelled at but its pretty funny and now that my knowledge of the gospel is pretty deep and i know how to discern people pretty good things are easy and i just laugh at those annoying people. But i hope all is well i love you all a ton.
Elder Sorenson
Springbok Lodge the lodge that we went to for the game drive in Nambiti, we payed 25 dollars worth and right went we arrived the brought us nice lemonade and warm towelets ha, we saw lots there from the average Zebra, Kudo, and giraffe to the hippo, water buffalo, and the only cheetah in the whole 22,000 acre game reserve, we didnt get to see any elephants lions or rhinos but while editing the pics i saw an elephant off in the distance of one of the pics

 i killed a chicken for a member family for their dinner