Everything is going great!! I'm loving it here! Everything is awesome here. It’s been a lot to take in all at once. Like when I got here they just put me in lines to get my stuff, like name tag, binder, books, stuff like that. And it was just class after class after class. So much good stuff to take in.
Then we have gym and I've been learning a whole lot of stuff, so I've just been a little overwhelmed and tired, but a good tired. Sunday felt soo good. It is truly a day for rest. I've really been learning how to better apply the gospel to people's needs. Which means that we need to get to know who we teach.
I'm really grateful to be here! The spirit is constant and very strong. I feel like I'm constantly bearing testimony to contacts with other missionaries, in lessons, and everywhere.
In our district there are 10 missionaries. 6 are going to Portland, Oregon, and the other 4 are going to New Zealand. My companion is Elder Falepapalangi (fall-eh-papa-long-ee). He was born in Idaho and raised in South Jordan, and his parents are straight from Tonga. He played football and if I remember right he said he weighs about 280 lbs. He's a big guy. But he does have a strong testimony about the gospel and is out here for the right reason. I'm really learning a lot from him. He's a people person and can apply the gospel to people better than I can, but I'm more doctrinally smart.
In fact in class one day we were supposed to just get to know someone who was acting as a non-member, and teach them a little bit. But for some reason I just would ask a question, say cool, then ask another question and eventually it got awkward and I couldn't think of anything to say. When I told Elder Falepapalangi about this, he said we can fix this. We went outside and he had me sit down while he went and talked to an elder. The elder came and sat down and I was just supposed to talk. It went okay, and we talked for a few minutes, and I thought that would be it. But he brought over his companion...same thing. Okay, now I thought that I must be done. But as I was talking with this elder, I saw my companion go and talk to some sisters. I thought 'oh crap!' 'Get back here' but sure enough my companion wanted me to do the same thing. It turned out that they were very open and nice. I thought I must be done now, there's nobody else around. I asked my companion and he simply said 'nope'. and we spent the next 2 hours with me contacting and getting to know people. It has really helped a lot. I'm getting a lot better at learning about people and talking to them. Which I know will help me in the field.
I just can't believe that it's already been a week.
I've had some teaching experiences where I realized how important it is to get to know the investigators. Like this one sister was teaching us and she role-played one of the investigators on her mission. We were supposed to get to know her, then teach her. She had a boyfriend named Seth who talked a little about the church with her. The first question asked was "so what did Seth talk to you about?" The spirit was there while we taught her about the restoration and prayer, but no matter how strongly we testified she just sat there with a blank look on her face. Sister Hoops paused the lesson and gave us the key to get her to progress, which was to pray to Heavenly Father. It went well after that, but it was humbling and eye opening that it is important to get to know the people we teach.
Love you all, you're in my prayers, and there is no need to worry about me. The church is true, and I have a testimony of it.
Elder Kevin Sorensen