At age 19 I chose to leave my family in Providence Utah for 2 years, to spread the Gospel to the people of New Zealand, so they can be with their families for Eternity...

Save the date: 9-9-9:00

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010

Kia Ora!

     Things here in Hamilton NZ are great.  Its been rainy off and on this week, but Friday through today we've had some really good sunshine.  It feels really nice, except on Sunday when we had to wear suit jackets.  Its really hot with jackets on.  We've had some really good meals with some members.  President Porter only wants us to be fed 4 times a week by members, or else I think we'd be fed every night.  They call this the 20 k mission.  I heard that's like 40 pounds.  Is that right?  I sure hope I can handle not gaining that much.  I think I'm back to around 165.  I'll weigh myself whenever I get the chance.  Anyways, dinner on Saturday with the Satini's was amazing.  They're tongan and fed us a lot!  We had steak (they were a little thin and tasted like the marinated steaks back home), rotisserie chicken, and sausages, with potatoes as a side dish.  It tasted so good.  And then they almost always serve ice cream for dessert.  The ice cream here is really good.  Much creamyer than home.  I think thats what'll give me the most pounds. 
     A couple funny stories.  So earlier this week the district was talking about hair cuts and my companion said he needed one.  He said that he could get some clippers and that I could cut his hair.  I thought he was joking, but thursday night about 10:15 pm he asked me to cut his hair.  He just told me to do a #4 all over and then a #3 on the sides.  It looks a little round, and a tiny bit uneven, but it was dark outside and it was a little chilly standing don't blame me.  I might have him cut mine tonight or something. 
     Sister Porter gave us in our welcome packet a excersize routine that is about 8 minutes, and you can repeat it as many times as desired.  It looked pretty good, so I thought I'd give it a try.  There's 8 excersizes 1 minute each.  I realized that my watch only goes by 5's without a second hand, and there were no other clocks in the flat.  Then I remembered my alarm clock from home, and my companion gave me an adapter.  So I plugged it in and it was acting a little funny, but it eventually went back to normal.  about 2 minutes into the excersize I hear this little buzz and then a pop.  Then I realized that I didn't check the voltage on the clock.  The adapter didn't have a transformer in it like my camera charger has.  I accidentaly gave my alarm clock about twice the votage it could take.  So today I'm going to take it apart and see if I can find out what happened on the inside. 
     This last week we had a way awesome unexpected traning.  It wasn't technically a zone conference, but we had "specialized traning."  President and Sister Porter came, and a few other zones met at our chapel.  It was a really good and uplifting traning.  President Porter started off by saying to focus on the things you're doing good and how to do them better.  And only take a few things to improve on.  "Most people are hard enough on themselves.  So I want you to focus on what you're doing good, and how you can do it better."  I'm out of time now, but theres a quote he said that I really liked, and I added a bit of my own in with it.  "Miracles cost.  They cost work.  They cost faith. they cost obedience.  You only get what you pay for."

Hamilton Flat

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18th, 2010

Kia Ora,

Its been a quiet week in Lake Wobegone (applause). Actually its been pretty eventful. Last Monday biking home from some other Elder's flat we got hailed on from on big black cloud. Everywhere else in the sky was blue so it totally took me off guard. That night it was freezing cold, the houses/flats here aren't insulated, and we left a few windows open. It was a cold night. Tuesday morning I really didn't want to get out of bed because it was so cold. When I went to take a shower the hot water made it steam up like a sauna! When I opened the door and stepped out of the bathroom it felt like when you see in movies a god or something with a light behind them and the clouds and wind rushing past them. I felt pretty cool hahaha. It was also really windy and exhausting to bike straight into the head wind. Thursday was rainy all day! Especially before dinner I was just soaked through, except for my torso and feet. And it rained pretty much the rest of the day.

So on Saturday (well I left Friday night) I had a trade off with Elder Rezel my zone leader. It was such an amazing day! I really saw how I wanted to be when I really get the hang of being a missionary. We avoided arguing and actually had a good talk with some people who don't believe in organized religion. They basically believed everything we do, except for modern-day prophets and apostles, and organized religion. We let them know our purpose, to pray and ask if these things were true, and that we leave it up to them, and left it at that. We had a couple really good lessons that were really spirit filled, and that day was just really amazing. It really gave me a vision and a goal of where I want to be as a missionary. We also got a few kids set with a baptismal date, whom Elders have been trying to get permission for a very long time. So that was a pretty big miracle. And while I was in the ZL's area, Elder Eckery and Elder Burr were able to set Mike back in my area.

So one of our new investigators is named Rohammad. He is an Indo-Fijian, and I would say he's about 6' 7" or something like that. He says he's Muslim, but he likes listening to other peoples religions and talking about God. So while we were in there (all this time I had my backpack between my legs on the floor) I pulled out my scriptures, and held them between my legs as I was introducing the scripture I was going to read. He stopped me and just started telling me off about not having my 'holy book' between my legs, and that if I want to talk to him about religion I have to 'respect the book, and then you'll respect the religion' and 'once you learn respect then you can preach to me.' Oh yeah he said "if that were my book, oh I don't know what I'd do to you." I was speechless. I just said sorry, and I'll respect it from now on, and went on teaching him for a little bit before he went off to work. When Elder Eckery and I went off we couldn't help but laugh about being told off by this huge Fijian guy.

Later that day we saw an older lady spraying something with a hose on her lawn, and we thought "hey, she looks nice. Let's go talk to her." When we got over there we said hi and she said "Don't even think about it!!" We asked if she had heard what we share, and she yelled "Just GO AWAY!!" We said okay, and have a nice day, and she said in an angry voice "you too". After we were out of sight and sound of her Elder Eckery said that he usually wouldn't leave it at that, but she had a hose. We just cracked up laughing!

So on Saturday during dinner (trade of with my ZL) we got a call that a couple of missionaries in our zone were being held hostage. When I first heard this I was like WHAT? As the details slowly came in this guy was very violant and was just throwing fits, so the missionaries would calm him down. Then he would get upset again. And this went on for 4 hours. They said they're a bit shaken up but they made it out fine that night.

So I forgot my camera this week, so no pictures, but I'll send my memory card home soon.
A little bit more about NZ. One of the ward members whose lived in the states for a while said about the food, that Mexican food is to the US as Indian food is to NZ. So I've had a couple of curry's. I haven't had anything real different yet. I got to eat an oyster in lemon juice. DISGUSTING! I bit down once, just about threw up, but ended up swallowing it whole. Like you said, its a lot like home except for the trees and the countryside outside of the city. My area, Dinsdale ward, is one of the smallest in the mission. So Elder Eckery who has been here for 3 months, has pretty much knocked every house. So we try to visit members investigators and contact on the street as much as possible.
A random thing you could put in the next package; a little thermometer. I would like to know what the temperature is so I can tell you how humid it is relative to the temperature, and so I can know what other people are talking about when they say temperatures.

Ka Kite!
Elder Sorensen

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11th 2010 (for you its 10/10/10!)

Kia Ora!

Today has been pretty dark and rainy. The sun is poking through a little bit. I'm still loving the rain. Everybody says its been abnormally wet, and that they don't like it. I don't know what their problem is, but I love it.

Things here are going much better. I'm really starting to get into the work! I had a couple of trade offs with a couple elders this week. Thursday with Elder Mayer, and Friday with Elder Burr (ZL). With Elder Mayer I was in charge of everything, had to plan who to see and what to do. The whole time I was thinking 'I've only been here for two weeks, give me a break' but we pulled through and had some good street contacts and potential investigators. Elder Burr is amazing! He knows what I'm going through being shy and being homesick. He gave me some good advice that seems to be working (along with prayer. Prayer works). We taught one of his investigators who was quite a miracle. Her name is Katherine, she comes from a Anglican church background and suffers from severe depression (to the point she couldn't bring herself to shower, or even get out of bed until late afternoon). She said a prayer to find the truth and it had to be by a person with her same background. The next day Elder Rezel, the only one in the mission who comes from an Anglican background talked to her on the street. She said within 3 days she was feeling so much better, and to me, I would have no idea she suffers from depression. It was such a spiritual lesson. Testimonies were shared, questions were asked and answered, and if sh didn't already have a baptismal date, we would have set her right there.

We have one person set (for baptism), Tera, and the disappointing thing about him is his partner is less active and doesn't want to go back yet. She said that she'll come back, but not yet. And they keep dodging us...frustrating, but we'll keep on trying. We're looking to set Mike on our next visit, and his two 'step-daughters?' (he's not married to their mother) this week as well. Our goal for October is 4 baptisms. It can happen.

I live in a house or 'flat' as they call it here. I'll email some pictures. Its not too bad for a missionary flat. There's a little bit of mold on the bathroom ceiling. We have a washer with the warm water broken, and a drying rack rather than a dryer. It takes all day for things to dry.
My companion was born in Utah and moved here when he was 5. So he's not officially a Kiwi. But he does have a Kiwi accent, which is pretty different than an Australian. And people are already saying that my heavy Utah accent is going away. They have a whole bunch of different expressions, but the most common is "sweet as".

The area I'm in isn't very concentrated with Maori's. Much less than 50/50. There's no more 100% Maori's left. Yeah, they're mixed pretty good. Some are white and say they're Maori. They have same living conditions as the Kiwi's. The ones who still hold on to their Maori beliefs, at least the ones I've see, are usually alchoholics or into drugs and stuff. But there are a lot of good Mauri's as well.

The kind of people I teach...hmmm. Well most people here drink, and a lot smoke. But the people that invite us back are usually the nicer side of society, so they're willing to listen. But its only the ones who have an open mind to other things that usually will let us talk. I'd say most people say, nope, I'm happy where I am. Being content is the hardest problem we're running into. People aren't willing to change.

Nope, no mutton yet.

And the accent is actually pretty different from Australian once you've been around it for a while. There are a few things that make it hard to understand what they're saying, like they're "r's". They say them like the English. I'm trying to learn to speak Kiwi as best I can. Its pretty fun.

Ka Kite, Love you all!
Elder Sorensen

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4th Kia Ora!

Kia Ora!
That's how you say hello in Maori, pronounced key-or-a (technically key-a or-a). Things are good here. The weather has started to stabilize. Monday and tuesday were good, wednesday was cloudy, thursday we got rained on all day (the small rain coat works great, thanks!) and I was wet from my waist down, friday was cloudy all day, saturday and sunday were good. Its really cold in the mornings. The flats here aren't insulated. So we sit by the space heater to warm up and then exercise. Oh yeah, since friday we don't have to wear our suit coats until after 5pm! Its starting to get pretty warm in the afternoon. I haven't really felt the humidity yet, and the mornings are pretty cool and crisp, so the first couple hours of proselyting the sun feels really good, and the shade gives you goosebumps. Sounds like its been pretty hot up there. And dry. Its already feeling weird that down here we're heading for summer.

So yesterday I endo'd on my Bike. We were riding down the road, and there was a car parked, so we looked back to see if there was a car coming so we could check if we could go into the lane a bit. I saw a car, and when I looked forward again Elder Eckery had stopped. I hit my brakes (even the bike brakes are backwards) and pulled the right brake (front) too hard and my momentum took me over the handlebars. I got a little scrape on my knee, but no tears in clothes or bending of bike parts. Lucky me!

We've met some pretty interesting people down here. We had quite the discussion with a very strong athiest/evolutionist who attacked ever point of doctrine. Saying stuff like- if graviy was a god, and she experienced that "feeling" then she was a god. She was just crazy. Then there was a guy who said his testimony hinged on that he wanted to know where adam was made. God put him in the garden, but where was he created? and he said that Adam was 60 feet tall.