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, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010

Kia Ora!

This week has been pretty good. Its getting hotter every day, and humid. Sitting down in lessons, and even right now, I'm sweating. Sounds like the complete opposite to home haha. I think it sprinkled a tiny bit once this week. Today me and Elder Jenkins did a deep clean of the flat, and we have maggots and cockroaches. We kept the biggest one in a jar for a pet. Well, the closest thing we can have to a pet. Elder Jenkins is an pretty good companion, even though he's tone deaf when we sing in lessons. He's very knowledgeable, but also good at relating to people. I'm learning more and more about being able to talk to people and being myself.

Somebody told me something that really put it into perspective. I'm sacrificing two years from my family so that others can spend eternity with theirs. Thanks so much for the pictures! Sadly there's nowhere in our area where we can get pictures developed. I'm so glad that we know families can, and through the priesthood ours will, be together forever.

Rosie and her family continue to go through a lot of trials, but their facing it much better. Well, at least Rosie and Matekino. There's tention between the kids, but despite it all, Rosie is set for this Saturday November 4th. That is if she quits smoking and drinking coffee. Our DL said that if yesterday was the last one, then she can be baptized on Saturday. A miracle!

Yesterday we ran into an evangelist for the 7th Day Adventice church. Not from what was said, but by thinking about the expirience as a whole, I learned a big lesson. As many points as he tried to bring up, and no matter how flattering his words were, the spirit didn't accompany his words. He was passionate, but no spirit. I'm glad we teach people about that and invite them to pray and find out for themselves, rather than us convincing by words alone. Very interesting lesson.

Sorry, we have a lot to do today, so email time is short. Hopefully I'll be able to copy the pictures to my memory stick and be able to send the card home.

Ka Kite Ano!
Elder Sorensen

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

Kia Ora! Malo lele! Malo se fua!

This week was about an average week. Nothing too exciting besides climbing Mangere Mountain last p-day. It was pretty fun. Not very big, but on top you could see for miles (kilometers here). I'll send you some pics after I write this letter. It was an easy hike, but steep, hot, and humid. So I was pretty sweaty. Especially after playing touch at the bottom of the mountain. Touch is so much fun. The weather has been up and down. It got really hot Thursday and Friday was really humid too. Then Saturday night it poured all night. So that was good to cool everything off. I've noticed that its always windy here. You know how it feels when a front starts to come through? thats about how it feels pretty much most of the time. Luckily we've only had to be in the rain for a few minutes this week.

Earlier in the week we got like 25 referrals because some of the MTC missionaries trackted out our area. So we've been really busy trying to contact them all. And all that on top of our usual lessons. So we've been pretty busy.

This week ended pretty stressful. Lessons started falling through and there was stress with some of our investigators. Sunday we were planning on having about 10 investigators to church, and we only had 2 show up. Liandra (9 yrs.) who is set for this Saturday didn't make it. We're not really sure what to do about her. She has a hard time learning the things we're teaching her even by rote. We go over the steps to repentance very simply and a few times and she still can't repeat them back to us. So we're praying hard to know whether she should still be baptized on Sat.

Then Rosie has been having a very hard time with things this week. With the whole bail of Perry, and him arguing with his mother and her and things are just hectic for her. She has even said to us that now that she's trying to do the right things and change, all these things are coming up out of nowhere. When she thought nothing else could happen, more things happen. She said she's tired of things going wrong and doesn't want to change anymore. We're trying to comfort her and getting her to turn to the Lord, but she said she can't handle everything that's being thrown at her. We're praying very hard for her and helping her all we can. She is set for the 11th, and we're working as hard as we can to help her through these things and get her prepared for that day. I hope everything works out for her.

On Saturday Elder Jenkins made me Sr. companion for a day. I didn't realize how hard it is to do everything. Its really hard to think of people to see all day when lessons fall through, and there's not too many people on the streets. It was a bit stressful, but I learned a whole lot.

Everybody enjoy the snow. Be grateful for it. I can't wait to see it again when I get home. Most people here haven't ever seen snow in person, and if so just once. Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers. I really appreciate it. I love you all and pray for you all.

Mangere Mountain

The "Kevin Pose" on top of the mountain

My district (left to right: Elders Handy, Sorensen, Smith, Chandler, Matu'u, Jenkins)

Beautiful New Zealand

Me enjoying New Zealand

Ka Kite!
Elder Sorensen

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 16th, 2010

Kia Ora!

It has been an amazing week here in New Zealand. A lot has happened. We had the baptism of Matekino Toetoe, a trip down to the temple visitor's center with some investigators, and a full mission conference where Elder Hinkley (President Hinkley's son) came and talked with us. This week has just been amazing.

Matekino's baptism was so very stressful. I'm not sure if I've told you about her, but her family was pretty turned off by us coming by, but because of a very intense situation with her jumping off a bridge, but no harm done, her family has come completely around. Her mum has an unshakeable faith in God, and her sister is starting to come to church with Matekino and her mum. So the night before Matekino's baptism, her boyfriend Perry and her little brother (12 yrs old) broke into the neighbors house and stole some things. Rosalund (Matekino's mum) called the police on them, and when they were arrested they found drugs on both boys. Most of it was on the boyfriend, but a little was on the 12yr old. They were all at the police station until 3 o'clock on the morning of the baptism. The family now has a 500 meter restraning order on the house. When we called that morning they said "can you come over, something has happened." We were thinking, uh oh, she probably smoked again, or something like that. After we were told of the situation we asked Matekino if she still wanted to be baptized. She said yes. I was completely blown away! Even through all of this stress and as upset as she was, she still hadn't smoked, and she still wanted to be baptised!! So on Sunday we were waiting for her to show up to be confirmed. 8:30, nope. 8:45, nope. 8:55, nope. But luckily she showed up just after church started. I confirmed her and everything went according to plan. Just after the confirmation we looked over to the foyer who did we see? Perry. When Matekino saw him she just started to cry, and her mum was about ready to throw a fit. But luckily she stayed cool. It was all a mess trying sort out how to keep Perry away from Rosalund. It was a stressful week, but an amazing miracle nonetheless.

The mission conference was amazing!! President and Sister Porter, and 3 of the 1st quorum of the 70 spoke to us. Elder Hinkley, Elder Nielsen, and President James J. Hamula. President and Sister Porter are amazing people. I'm so gutted (kiwi slang) that he's leaving in July or something. He is really big on the basics. The mission statement is being an instrument to the Lord in 3 ways. 1-Faith in Jesus Christ 2-Recognizing and Relying on the Spirit and 3-Being exactly obedient. Sister Porter said "When you are obedient you can expect blessings. When you are exactly obedient you can expect miracles." This mission is truly a mission of miracles! They happen every day here in NZAM. They gave some stats of the mission.

Maori Family we're Teaching

Temple Trip to Hamilton

October 2010 - 186 Souls saved
Year to Date total - 1,369
2009 58%(companionships baptizing) and 25%(baptizing multiples souls)
2010 70% 31%

Accomplished: 38
Set for baptism: 130
Projected: 168
December set: 39

Elder Hinkley gave some Be's of missionary work. It was an amazing talk. Very uplifting.
Be Enthusiastic
Be Believing
Be Obedient and be careful
Be Cheerful
Be Helpful
Be Prayerful
Be Hardworking
Be Respectful
Be Persistent
Be Spiritually Independent
Be Anxiously Patient (Patiently Impatient)
Be Bold but not overbearing
Be Humble
Be Clean
Be Filled with Faith

Ka Kite!
Elder Sorensen

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nov 8th

Kia Ora!,

Its been a very eventful week here in Kiwi-land New Zealand! First of all, the results of transfers. My guess was that I was going to stay in Hamilton/Dinsdale area, and have to lead and basically be senior companion for a week, and that Elder Eckery was going to be transfered out. So we were expecting a call about it on tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Tuesday night, no call. Wednesday morning personal study, no call. Wednesday companionship study, no call. So we went out about our day as planned. When we got back for lunch, no call. I was so curious what was going on. We thought we should stop by our flat at about 4pm and lo and behold, there was a message! But it was not what we were expecting. Elder Eckery and I were being "double shifted" out, and they were closing the Dinsdale area for a transfer. I have no idea why, but that was way unusual. So I got transfered up to the Manukau (manu-cow) zone, but we're in Mangare city South Auckland in the Mountain view area. It took about an hour and a half to drive all the way up here, but it was a beautiful drive. We can see Auckland/One Tree Hill off in the distance. The "mountain" is really small, more like one of the foothills behind our house, but its more of a mountain here. Our address here is 96a Hall st. Mangare, Auckland, so you can look it up on google earth.

The flat is pretty messy, so I havn't taken any pictures of it, but the picture I sent, ours is the whiter one on the left. We havn't had any free time to clean or even unpack all the way. So today is going to be a busy p-day. The flat has a bedroom, a big room that we use for studying, two other rooms, a kitchen, and a small wash room. I'll see if I can send some pictures next week. Oh yeah, my new companion is Elder Jenkins. He was born in Colorado, but his dad just retired from the Air Force, so he grew up all over. He got his call from Virginia, so thats where he says he's from. He seems like a pretty nice guy, and I'm pretty sure we'll get along just fine.

Things here are going so much better than down in Hamilton. The people here are so nice, and heaps more are inviting us back to talk with them. This week we even got a referal that was looking to investigate the church. Things here are happening! I am just so happy and excited about this area. We have one investigator set for baptism for this friday! Her name is Matekino. She's about 19, Mouri, and has even given up smoking. And we've got a few others who are coming along. The prophet has given us a call for "Each companionship saves multiple souls monthly." Thats how well the work is going here in NZAM. We're well within reach of DOUBLING our baptisms from last year. I guess President Hinkley asked everyone (missions) to double their efforts and double their baptisms. Because we're doing so well and are so close to accomplishing that, Elder Hinkley (President Hinkley's son) is coming down to thank us in person!! We're having a special Mission Conference for the occasion. Its next week monday, so P-day and emailing will be on Tuesday. Its going to be so awesome! I am really excited.

Nothing really funny has happened to me this week. Except during transfers I misplaced my scriptures, but luckily they have been found, and are on their way to be returned to me.

 Goodbye Hamilton flat
 Beautiful New Zealand Hills
Manukau Flat

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010

Kia Ora,

     Its been another week in "kiwi-land".  Its getting hotter every day.  We finally don't have to wear suit coats except for meetings!!  Last month we had to wear them after 5 pm.  Its so weird that I'm going to have a hot Christmas.  I'm going to be tan!  I guess everyone here goes to the beach and has BBQ's and things like that for Christmas.  So weird to think about.  The next big holiday is Christmas, and they're not too big on Halloween.  They don't have Thanksgiving either.I'm going to miss the snow.  Its fun hearing that you got a couple of inches.  Its been cloudy for a couple of mornings and one day, but other than that its been really sunny.  I guess there's a hole in the o-zone layer here as well as Australia.  One day it wasn't that hot, and I wasn't out for too long, but I got a little burned.  I'm definitely putting on sunscreen from now on. 
     We had Manu's baptism yesterday!  My first!  Everything went smoothly and it was pretty much perfect.  A talk before on faith, and one talk after on the Holy Ghost.  And yesterday she asked me to confirm her.  I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous giving a blessing in front on the whole ward, especially because I've only given one blessing previous.  But I said the set words right, and everything else went smoothly.  It feels good to take part in the end result of the hard work of missionary work.  President Porter has a goal for every companionship to baptize multiple souls monthly.  He always says "New Zealand is on fire." 
     I think finding is the hardest part of the work.  Its hard talking to everyone, and talking to strangers on the street.  It gets frustrating as well getting shut-down time and time again.  But those who are prepared are out there.  And I need to just focus on finding them, and dismissing others.  Some people are pretty funny how they reject us.  Like this one lady was on a walk with her husband (or partner, you never know) and child.  When we started talking she said "just don't even.  This is my special time."  We try asking if she knows anyone we could talk to, and she just says loudly "just go away."  Then another guy says that he hates what we're doing and that I should "just go get a bloody job."  I guess that 80% of our converts in the mission come from member referrals.  And so its frustrating when lesson appointments fall through and we have to go out and talk to people until our next appointment.  Its especially hard to find here in this small area, because we've talked to just about everyone.  And we're left to talking to people again.  We try to teach 20 lessons a week, but it it a pretty stretching goal.  The thing we're having the hardest time with is getting people to sacrament meeting.  So that's something we're going to focus on this week. 
     Oh yeah, Thursday is transfers! I'll be starting #2 of 17!  Today I've officially been on my mission for 2 months!  Hurray, I'm as green as the country (which is pretty green).  So I've compiled a list of the most common kiwi slang and their meanings.  So when I call home and I use them, you can have this list as a sort of dictionary.  I'll include them at the end of this letter.  So this transfer I'm probably going to stay and my companion is probably going to leave.  He's been here for about 4 and a half months, so he'll be excited to leave.  Last Monday we went to Hamilton Gardens for p-day, as well as playing touch rugby.  I'll send some pictures.  We're having a good time here in Kiwi-land, and I'm learning heaps (there's a bit of slang).  I've still got a lot to learn, but I'm doing my best.  This has already been an amazing experience and I'm only 1/17th of the way done!  I feel like I'm really grasping the reality of the length of time that 2 yrs is.  But I just need to focus on the work, and not the length of the mission.

Morning rainbow
 Hamilton Gardens
 Manu's baptism

Flat fun with the companion