The Sisters

The Sisters

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sarah Cate: Buuuennnnooos DIAS!!

Dearest family and friends of mine!
I love y'all so much. It was absolutely fantastic to hear y'all's voices and know that I have the best family in the world. I did, however, forget to ask a very important question....How is my dog? I miss her so much. Were y'all ever able to open up the video e-mail that we sent yesterday?
After we got of the phone with y'all we went to the Bishop's house for a bit and ate dinner with his family and one of the coolest people ever--"Aunt Polly". I've met her several times and every time, its like she is meeting someone new. I love it so much. She is such a beautiful person. Ohhh I just love it. We then went to the Kent's house for a bit and visited with them for a bit. P.S. Meg--you said I wouldn't get very many presents this year? YEEEAAAAHHH RIGHT!! I got whole bunches of presents. They are all very generous and kind. I am sooo blessed.
I did get an e-mail from Yi Ching today wishing me a very merry Christmas and letting me know that her phone has been kind of broken and so she can't retrieve any of her messages and that she didn't know if I had called or not. I am sooo happy though because she said that they want to see me!!! yahooo!!! Yet another beautiful blessing.
My trainee is so good at being a missionary. She shows me up all the time. I feel bad/ down on myself sometimes because of it but I am happy that I get to have this opportunity to love myself and grow from it. yyyaaaayyyy Heavenly Father sees fit for me to grow!!
I just love y'all so much. I have the best family in the world. I have the coolest siblings in the world. Man, I just want to be like every one of them!! Thanks y'all for your examples!
I love all y'all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Wow, I am gonna need to send home tons of stuff from here because Texas winter does not last long and I need to lighten up my suit cases. I love y'all. I will pray about going back to school immediately. I truly don't want to but I can't decide if its fear talking or the spirit. I just need to pray more about it.
HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK DADDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

I LOVE Y'ALL SOOOOOO MUCH. I hope it's just a beautiful day. When I send y'all the package, I will have gifts for y'all. You may not get it till mid January..... yikes. I'm sorry. I'll be better. Well y'all just have a beautiful day. Don't forget that I love y'all so much

Hna. Sorensen

Libbi: Noticias da Brasileira

 Oh, I can´t even express how wonderful it was to talk to you guys yesterday and how excited I am now to work work work and dedicate myself more fully to this wonderfully important obra(work). I have known for a while but I always forget when I´m on the Internet to say CONGRATS DANIEL AND AMANDA!!! on getting married for time and all eternity! I´m so proud of you and your example is amazing as you commence your journey together! I love you both and I really loved receiving your wedding announcement this week....just a day after you were married...I love snail mail. Sorry, but better late then never and I wish everyone a happy new year!!!

The work, I have to admit, was very slow this week. It was difficult to find people at home because lots of people go on trips this time of year or don´t want to hear about Jesus Christ when they are on `feriado` but its all good. We now start a new transfer and I have been blessed to stay here in the same area and with the same companion Sister Morais. We are learning a lot together and I know this transfer we are going to have success and work that much harder in this wonderful area of Industriario. Norma continues to progress but we found out that she is not married and unlike Campo Grande that has a program to get married for free...Cuiabá doesn´t have one and so its a bit more complicated to get married. We also found out about some problems in her union with her "practically" husband. But, she is reading the book of Mormon and continues to progress. We are working with another family that has a son on a mission but he is the only member. They are reading the book of Mormon but went on a trip for Christmas so we will try this week to confirm a date of baptism and get them coming to church again! We also met another reference of a member (neighbor) that is really excited and ready to hear more about the Gospel. I´m excited about your possibilities with Maiara.

The work progresses and Libbi is becoming more and more lost as I find more and more the identity of Sister Sorensen (or surriso como muintas pessoas fala que nâo sabe falar meu nome) good stuff....this week I found out that the brand of lemonade that I experimented with is called Frisco....not to be confused with Fresco which is another word for gay...I discovered yet another oops :) Life keeps on going and I keep on learning. I hope all of you are doing the same. Read the scriptures, pray always, and keep choosing what is right. You will be happy...its a promise of our Heavenly Father! I wish you all the very best and a happy new year. Let´s work hard and do our part more fully in this year of 2012!!!!!

com amor,
Sister Sorensen

(Photo of Sister Sorensen through the computer screen during her Christmas Day Skype Conversation)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sarah Cate: Good Day and happy Christmas week!

Oh how I love my family.
This past week was one of tremendous missionary work. A week ago was very emotional and I didn't get any sleep...literally about 2 hours. It was really hard to know that all the spiritual Giants on the mission that I really loved and respected were leaving.
As I said before though, I was paired up with a beautiful sister name Hermana Hopkins. (Sharise Hopkins). She is beautiful inside and out. She is a brand new missionary so this was the end of her first transfer or first six week period. It was up to me to take over for a
week until we both got new companions or until President decided to double me out and send me to Riverside (her area) to finish training her. This past week covered both areas and found out had the huge blessing of speaking my mission language a lot. It was so beautiful
and the gift of tongues is real.  I have prayed for it every day on my mission. (both for the gift in English and Spanish). I got to go to the Riverside Christmas Party and got asked to play an impromptu duet of Silent Night on my violin. (I made it a duet because I knew one of the Elders could play the violin and he has managed to be in this area of 6 months and not tell anyone so I personally took it upon myself to not allow him to hide his talents under a bushel.) I think he really
doesn't like me now but we played beautifully......I later volunteered us to play for Christmas Conference which is this Thursday...heee hee heee!!!!! I'm soooooo clever! I just want to help him achieve his potential. Anyways, it was beautiful. I loved it. I play very poorly now at this point in my life but God allows me opportunities to not lose this gift completely.
I got a beautiful package full of Justin Bieber things from my dearest Sister DELeON! Oh how I love thee. Te amo hermana. Me extrango mucho. No se como poner los (enyays--yeah sound it out) en espanol. Lo siento. Es un juego. :) Voy a escribirle muy pronto.  Espero que tu tengas trabajo. Estoy oracionando para ti. Oh te amo hermana!!!!
Tambien fue muy bien oir de mi hermana Lauren (KiKi) Keller!!!! te amo mucho!!!!!!!! oh man. I just feel like I am an alien. I just have no idea what is going on with anything but I hope and pray for you always. You are beautiful. Thanks for keeping me up with  everything.
I love hearing all about it. I go to my parents for everything so please feel free to do the same :)

soooooo ready to hear my fate as of last night?!!!!!!!!!!!! I was sooooo excited because we heard from President which meant only one thing: I WAS BEING DOUBLED OUT AND GOING TO RIVERSIDE WHERE I COULD SPEAK SPANISH ALL DAY LONG AND LOVE TO EAT TOMALES AND BEANS AND RICE AND TODAS LAS COSAS....................pero.......................
I AM TRAINING AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




OK for realsies I'm better. Yes I am training again. I get her on Wednesday this week. I am not as scared as I am for the previous one but what is President thinking?!!! I am not a good trainer! In fact I am quite terrible. I enjoy working with people that know what they are
doing. I guess I need to humble myself and love her with all the heart that I have left in me.
Oh mis feelings are just...."oh booooyyy here we go again!" But I just love the adventure that is every day in the mission. I love Sister Hopkins so I really don't want to change but change must happen in order to progress. I read that in a conference
talk the other day....ouch. I am slowly trying to embrace that.
So I have to admit something......I got y'all's packages today. THANKS Y'ALL SOOOO MUCH. i peaked a little. :) don't be mad OK?  I just was soexcited to hear from my family and was hoping maybe there was a letteror something but there happened to be something better than
BANGARANG MOMMY!!!  Thanks y'all so much for taking those. I was hoping for some more....but.....I'm just kidding. I'm a brat. I am very blessed and i started to tear up when i saw all the smiling faces of my family looking at me. OH how i miss y'all so much. I didn't open up
anything else or the packages or nothin but i  did get the pictures. HOLY MARGARET!@ YOU ARE SOOOO BIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP GROWING UP THIS INSTANT YOU HEAR!!!!!!!!!!! MOM AND DAD YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!! Y'ALL HAVE LOST WEIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WELL DONE. now I'm terrified to send y'all pictures of me....hahahaha oh well. I've grown too. :) hee hee. I am just so overwhelmed with seeing y'all I am just on cloud nine.
thanks y'all for sending those.
Life is good. Nothing too crazy is happening but we will be talkin to y'all this week. How weird is that? I hope y'all just know how much I miss and love y'all so much. I'm heart broken to hear about Kelly. I am truly so sad. God may need her music and her amazing spirit to bless
the masses in Heaven. She is just that good. One day I want to be that good....I will. I just am heartbroken but God knows best. I love y'all. Live every day like its your last. Love every moment and everyone in those moments. That is how y'all will find the greatest happiness. Choose to love. Choose to look up. :) Life is beautiful...even the rainy days.
Love y'all con todo mi corazon.
Hermana Sarah Cate Sorensen

p.s. I heard y'all have temps in the teens.....yikes. Glad I'm not
there!! 50's -70's this week. boooyaaa!! haha Texas loves y'all.

Libbi: Rain, Conference, oh and Christmas too. :)

Hello All,
 Christmas is coming and the Cuiabá Sun is getting hot. I am extremely excited for the opportunity to talk with you.  I am learning a lot here in this area. I am constantly being stretched and tested and through this process I am learning a lot. I am so very blessed to have this experience and growth in my life. It is truly wonderful to watch the change that occurs in the countenance of a person that is changing their lives because of the standards and truths of the Gospel. I love it! 
 This week we had a breakthrough with Norma and Jose. Now, I don´t remember if I even explained to you the story of them. Their 2 kids together are members and her other child that lives in the house in front of theirs is also a recent convert. She has never been very receptive with the missionaries but now she has totally opened up and is reading, praying and came to church this week! Jose is extremely Catholic but the only reason he didn´t come to church this week was because they needed someone to say in the house because they can´t all leave at once. We had lunch in their house today and have already confirmed that they will come to church this Christmas Sunday! Right now, this is the breakthrough in our area...I love this family and I´m loving the changes I´m seeing.
 I am so happy to celebrate the birth of our Savior. What a happy day...the day of the start of our salvation. I want to share my testimony with you that Jesus is the Christ, that he lived on this earth and he lives still in a glorified and perfect body. That he suffered and died for us and overcame death so we can be saved and return to our loving Heavenly Father. He wants ALL his children to return to him and thanks to our Savior we have a path home to our Father and God. I love this time of year but what I love more is that we can live and feel this spirit everyday. Share this glad message with on of your friend...have the courage to give them the knowledge of salvation! It is real! It is happy! It will change you and your friends life! Seek truth in all thing and I know the Holy Ghost will testify the truth of all things unto you.
 I love you all more than I can express in any language or action. I think of each of you daily and want so much for you success in all things. CTR....and spread the good news of our Saviors birth, life, and gospel! Have a wonderful Christmas and know that I love you.
com amor,
Sua Sister em Brasil 

Sarah Cate: Figuring it out

Dearest family

Well this week....I guess I gained a testimony this week of why President only tells us a day or two before we are transferred (and I know in many other missions its just like a 24 hour notice type of thing but the TSAM is my mission so that's what we're going off of). Knowing for almost two weeks now that Sister Jones is leaving has been one of the most interesting instances on my mission. I realized that this last week I have had such a hard time with her going home because it has made me think about MY home and me going home so much that it punched me out of missionary mode and back into "selfish Sarah" mode. It was a dark and ugly place and I don't want to go back! --I guess all that went down about two weeks ago and at the start of last week was the healing process into becoming a missionary again. I know it sounds silly and ridiculous but it has been rough. My companion lost much of her desire to be a missionary so it became harder and harder to do missionary work. As a result I found myself swinging the opposite way and wanting to become more and more a missionary and never leave. While I understand both sides, I know that both sides are flawed. God wants balance in all things. While its good to want to be a missionary, I cannot resent my companion for her lack of desire. That is not what Christ wants us to do. If I am truly a missionary, I will be the best disciple of Christ that I know how to be. Love everyone regardless of anything. Our Heavenly Father loves us all. He doesn't love anyone more than someone else. God is not going to reward me for being a "good missionary" when I am holding ugly feelings against my companion. I have become purified in Christ. I do not have "floaties" in my figuratively clean body. If I do, I am not allowing Christ to help me. I am denying his power and his sacrifice. Who do I think I am?!
I am a missionary now. I am back to being a missionary again. Loving everyone and anything that steps in my path. I met the ugliest dog this week and I loved that dog like I haven't loved a lot of things in my life. I feel like that dog is me! Heavenly Father looks at what is on the inside and when I look, on the inside, as ugly as that dog, Heavenly Father still loves me.
 We still have very few people that we are working with. I know that this will change. I just put my shoulder to the wheel and dig deep into my pioneer stock and have faith in every footstep! I listened to some primary songs this past week and thought about the simplicity and how I have truly been taught all I need to know from such a young age.'s taken me a long while to figure that out. 
Ok sorry for my rant. That is quite enough. I am going to be covering two areas until I receive my new companera. I will be covering Barton Creek (my area) and Riverside (SPANISH AREA)!!! YAHOOOO!  I get to have about 4 days worth of Spanish. Its a blessing. I will be working with the Missionary I went on exchanges with: Sister Hopkins. I am super excited about that. She is a great missionary. She is still being trained so I'll train her  for about a week and then we'll see what adventures transfers hold. We have Transfers the 21st of December and then Christmas Conference on December 22.
We are going to have only sacrament meeting on Christmas Day and ours is at 9 in the a.m. here. (I am playing my violin during the service and as prelude music) --don't worry the ward circulated an e-mail about my "talent" and how I am supposedly a concert violinist. Oh yikes. a year of not practicing really hurts my heart and hurts my technique even more. 
 I love y'all so much. I am so sad to hear about Grandma Hymus. --sorry I can't spell the name but I love her very very much. I cried when I heard about Grandpa. I think about all y'all a lot. Oh please give them loves and hugs when y'all see or talk to them. I just love them so much. God knows what is best and its the hardest when it seems like life is crashing in on you but if you allow God to lead you by the hand, he truly directs you for Good. There is so much comfort in the scriptures and learning about the people in them. God will not give you something you can't handle. He makes our burdens light. Not always in the way that we want, but in the ways that we need. God is aware. Keep in touch with him and he will bless you. Build that relationship.
 I love y'all so much. I miss ya even more. This was a very "missionary" e-mail. yahoo. Heavenly Father and Jesus love you. If you don't know that, just ask them.
 Dad- are we related to a  Rasmus Krogh Sorensen...born in 1880? If so, I found some cousins....surprise surprise!

les amo mucho y les extranio tambien. Tengan salude y esfuerza y perseverar hasta el fin!!! 

Libbi: "O Meo Brasil"

Oh´s everyone doing? Life is good here in Cuíaba and I continue to learn a lot...about peole, life, and this perfectly wonderful Gospel. This week was work...lots of work. We met a lot of new people but the difficulty now is finding them at home when we pass by and teaching. This week I learned a lot about myself and how I can personally be a better tool in the Lord´s hands. I asked a young boy if his brother was in prison instead of asking him if he got a job...good stuff I am still learning this language also. Yesterday I officially celebrated 7 months on the mission. Wow, time just keeps passing faster and faster. Sarah...are you freaking out that you almost have a year?! Whoa your old. haha How is the holiday season..I seriously haven´t thought about it is like everyone else is celebrating but the work and routinue of the missionaries continues uninterrupted. But, the part that I love is that I have already been feeling this same Chirstmas Spirit for 7 months now because everday I´m teaching and watching the change that only the power of the atonement can make in people´s lives. I LOVE MY MISSION! I LOVE THIS EXPERIENCE!
We are continually working with reactivation of people here in Industriario and we have successfully reactivated the mother of Suellen our recent convert and another family. We are working hard with a family that has a son on the mission but none of them are members. We thought what a great chirstmas present to see a picture of his family´s baptism. But, we will see...they are reading the book of Mormon and we are now trying to stress the importance of church.
I love what I´m doing and I love all of you...I wish you the best and stay true to the truths you know. Remember what is more important during this Chirstmas Season...and every season for that matter.
com amor,
Sister Sorensen

Sarah Cate: Digging Deeper...till you hit water

This past week has been particularly hard for me. My dear companion and the real reason why I was transferred from Encino Park has been struggling a lot and decided this past week that she will be leaving for home next week. I have felt like I have failed and have doubted my own abilities very much. I don't know what will become of me. There are two areas that they need Spanish speakers to train and not enough people are Spanish speaking right now. Thanks y'all for cheering me on. I think we all need cheerleaders in our lives. I have had a real opportunity to understand the Savior's atonement so much more. Its difficult to explain. The vast expanse of the Atonement is jaw-dropping. I have learned so much going through the good and the hard times that God knows us as individuals. He sends us Angels. He knows when we are at our wits end and can not go on. He allows us to feel this way because he trusts us to grow. He knows its time. Sometimes it takes us longer to understand and come around back to his loving arms. They are always outstretched to us and want us to find safety in him and if we will but trust him and his plan for us, things will always work out. Sooo much of this is so easy to say but in practice, there in is the challenge. I guess I always knew I was in Heavenly Father's arms but I never knew how big are far reaching his arms were. I also easily forget how tight Heavenly Father holds us. He doesn't loosely hold us but he holds us enough to carry us. We are the ones that push that security away.
 I will be better this week. We have yet to find an investigator here. We didn't teach ANYONE this last week. That is really hard as a missionary. It really breaks my heart and doesn't help my feelings of being inadequate. I was completely side swiped when I received a package in the mail....................MY CHRISTMAS TREE!!!!!!!! Man I am so blessed to have a family that follows the spirit and sends me something just when I thought I couldn't take any more. Y'all were my angels. I sat on the couch and cried as I pulled out all of my unique and individual ornaments. Oh they warmed my heart and soul. They made me smile and I now have them hanging up in our apartment. I took some pictures that I will try to attach. Thank you thank you thank you!! ESPECIALLY BILL AND LESLIE and their family!! Y'all are beautiful.  
 So my beautiful story happened at the beginning of the week. oooohhhhh just so y'all know, I dyed my hair and cut it. :) SURPRISE! Yeah I needed to change it and it had been bugging me for a loooooong time. Don't worry, nothing too crazy but it is now brownish red. I love it. (if I were home, I would probably go more radical red and put some blond in it) But its enough of a change. The lady that cut my hair was an adorable Vietnamese lady. She was great and I love her very much but my hair cut....well let just say I left feeling like I looked like a "very mature in years" Asian lady.  I tell you these things because when we went to paint nails at the rest home I was wheeling someone to their room after painting her nails and all of a sudden, a man started to follow me in his wheelchair--you know, scooting and shuffling his feet while in the sitting position. Well I thought it was just a coincidence until he followed me into a room and the lady said "who is that and why is he in here?!" and I said "I don't know. Hey buddy, I'm sister Sorensen. What is your name?"  and all I got was two big blue eyes staring into my soul.......uuuhhhh ok. What do I do?  so I just told the lady that we would figure it out. ---eeewwww grosss old lady fingernails.....yikes i just remembered how bad they were last week.......ok its over. Sorry. Anyways, so he followed me out of the room and then back down to the room where we paint nails. I didn't notice him there until one of the nurses asked him what he was doing there. he said "I'm waiting for her" and I said "me?!" So I ended up taking him to a room for a "men's meeting" and when I went to go, he said "I don't want you to go. You aren't leaving are you?!" oooohhh my heart broke and I wanted to say "no no no I'm staying here forever. Don't worry. " but --reality check!--- I had to paint nails and fulfill my missionary purpose. I then told him that I was coming back next Tuesday and I would see him then. Well, all this did nothing. He still would followed me and would not leave my side. Here is the punch line though everybody: This dear sweet man had a wife who volunteered painting nails. Don't worry she is about 60 years old guessed it.....ASIAN!!! yes. this dear old man confused me with his wife. wooooooooow. I love being confused with 60 year old Asian ladies. It was a tender mercy this week. hahaha I hope y'all are laughing because I am. 
 I also got to go on exchanges this week. This was another great blessing in my life. I got to serve in Riverside. This is the highest concentration of Spanish in the entire mission. I got to teach more lessons in Spanish than I ever did in Del Rio. We spoke the beautiful language of Spanish the entire day.  I loved it. I am not so good at it but I loved it. The Lord is blessing me with opportunities to speak the language I was called to serve in. I am lucky. 
 Please don't ever forget how much I love y'all. I miss y'all like crazy. Thanks for being the best family in the world. Thanks for the updates on everything and everyone. If you find yourself talking about me to someone, give them a hug from me. I love y'all beyond words. 
 Su Hermonita Sorensen

Libbi: On the First day of Christmas I GOT A KILLER AWESOME PACKAGE OF JOY!!!!!!!!

Hi fam!
 I got my Christmas package and mommy I can´t believe you sent more. I got clothes, ctr rings have been a riot and MUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSSIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC!!!! I love love love love love the surprise in the cake mixes (great idea by the mommy´s so smart) the very first thing I heard was meg singing I know that my redeemer lives! I cried! oh meg you are so talented and never forget the words you sing with such emotion. I too know that our Savior Jesus Christ Lives and that thanks to him I have a way to return to my Father in Heaven along with every one of his children. What a blessing! What an arrangement of music...very powerful. Meg you are sincerely so talented and amazing! Keep it up girl and remember what is important when you get famous. Don´t forget to pray and read your scriptures! I have been studying all week about the importance of the scriptures in conversion and I too want to bear my testimony that scripture study is vital and our shield daily from the bullets, arrows, temptations, slyness, and gray that Satan brings. He is very real and pushing so hard to make us fall. STAND STRONG! Work hard and try to be better everyday! We will beat Satan as we do what we know is right!
WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEK. Mariele who we marked a date with last week who had already gone to Church a few times with her brother who was investigated the Church was prepared and ready, baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this week! It was wonderful. What a miracle...we confirmed with her the day of that she would....and she said that she would if she didn´t go out of town. (she had already expressed a desire to be baptized) so we prayed that she wouldn´t go out of town and she didn't! she was baptized with another young woman in the ward this week and the work continues here in Inudstriario.
We had some pretty crazy wind also here....but with the wind came rain. I have never felt so helpless walking on the street. I used all my strength with an umbrella in front of me to walk as the streets turned to rivers. The crazy part is that the next day the sun returned and it was over 90 degrees again. 
I am blessed here with extremely great leaders. My district leader is an extremely good example to me of an ideal missionary. He served over a year of his mission in Curitiba, but because of health problems was re-assigned to Cuiaba. I admire him and I´m learning a lot here!
Family...know that I love you. Know that this Church is is...for doubt in my mind. I know that we can have families forever and I´m so blessed to have you in my life. Please know that I think of you often and pray for you daily. Keep being amazing and choosing what´s right!!!
com amor,
Sister Libbi Sorensen

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sarah Cate: From Austin City Limits

I am going to be brief because its been an interesting week. I am trying very hard to connect with the people here. Everyone we meet seems like a friend from another life. People are very comfortable here. We didn't teach much this week at all. It's hard for me. My companion is just stellar. She went home on medical leave a while ago because she had a brain tumor. She is back out but her headaches are coming back. We have been praying and fasting a lot this week to figure out what the next step should be. She is quite the trooper but it is also getting pretty bad and conflicting with the work. My heart is breaking because it would seem that she might be headed home at the end of this transfer. The Lord sees fit to really have me grow and stretch this next transfer. Oh man. Keep praying for people for us to teach here and for people to progress.
Mom, I just love y'all so much.  Please keep praying for Larry L. He is stellar. Help his wife to come back to church and to soften her heart to us. I will have to explain more next week. Thanksgiving was awesome. We didn't have as many appts. as we hoped to have but we are still working hard. We ate with a newly married couple who are in their 50's. It was kind of gross because they were all over each other and it was just weird and gross and awkward... but I love them. We visited some other families that night so it was fun.
 I love hearing about how well all y'all are doing. Keep up the amazing work Meg. It's the ward and stake Christmas party this week so maybe we'll get to see some investigators there!! yahoo. Thanks y'all for y'alls prayers. Keep sendin them my way.
 I love ya.
 hna. Sorensen

Libbi: The difference between testimony and conversion

It was a serious struggle to find internet here in Industriario, Cuiabá. It was great to hear from you mommy and I´m glad to hear that everyone had a great just came and went her like any other day. I received one of my Christmas packages and I haven´t decided if I´m going to open it or not now. I am glad to hear the chickens survived the treacherous Sydney and Turkish terrorist attacks and that Ben and Rae had a good time visiting fam and friends. I´m glad to hear all went well with Brother Anderson´s funeral. It is  strange...It feels even less real (thanksgiving and holiday season) because as the temp. gets colder and colder for you it gets, believe it or not, more and more hot here in Cuiabá Brasil.
Well....this week...I learned a few more truths in my life. In Brasil there are only two volumes of music....loud and break your ear drums. I hear both everyday and normally someone in their house screaming the music equally as loud...good stuff! I learned that in our house some days we have water and other days we don´t. I learned the difference between the word picado (bite- normally insect) and pecado (sin or transgression) imagine the difference this makes in my ability to teach repentance. I learned that Elders really don´t know how to clean or maintain a house...or at least the ones that used to live in ours didn´t. Anyone preparing to serve a mission...remember when you are on a mission that other missionaries will live in your house after you keep it clean please :) We also had the confirmation of Suellen this week. We are working away in this ward...
...this week we worked a lot with less active/ inactive members in our area. We visited many and confirmed that many would come to church but unfortunately not one showed up. This was another lesson that Elder Bednar taught: The difference between testimony and conversion. Everyone that accepts the restored Gospel in their lives has a testimony however, the process of conversion takes a bit more perseverance. I am learning how to help people become converted and not simply have a testimony of the truth. I visited a returned missionary that married a non-member and he said to us that `he has a testimony but doesn´t have a desire to come to church` interesting that he used this word...testimony...I would challenge everyone within the sound of my voice to question whether you have a testimony or are truly converted...only true conversion can stand the test of time and fulfill the ever crucial part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ- to Endure To The End! How do you know if you are converted....simple things we do you pray? do you read the scriptures? do you serve others? do you go to church? how important is your family in your life? how are you bettering yourself everyday? Do you know that Jesus Christ is your Savior?
I know that Jesus is the Christ. That he suffered for all the sins of the world in a great action of love. I know that the same church that our Savior and Redeemer organized when he lived on the earth was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. I know we have a prophet and apostles living today that lead and guide the true and restored Church of Jesus Christ. I know that God ordained families and that we can have eternal families. I know that we have commandments to liberate us from sin and addiction. I know our Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of his children...because of this he gave us a plan to follow, a path to return to him. It is real. It is important...and you need to know it for yourself! Pray with a sincere heart and you too can know these things. Read the Book of Mormon...the proof of the restored gospel! Love more, Smile more, and know that a sunburned blond in Brasil is preaching this happy message with all the vigor of her heart and soul!  I love you all, be true be good be safe and stand for what´s right!
com amor,
Sister Libbi Sorensen

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sarah Cate: Happy Thanksgiving!

Alright beautiful people in my life here goes the tales of the week:
 Do I have cause to smile this week? WELL DUH! I'M SERVING A MISSION SILLY PEOPLE! But not only that, I met a character from a very beloved movie that Libbi and I used to watch all the time. The title of the movie is Drag Me to Hell. Yes. I know it may be strange to equate a person on my mission to such a movie but let me explain. (The title of the movie is very dramatic so forgive me to quoting it) In this movie, there is a gypsy woman who curses a lady for not giving her a loan on her house. (This movie is very silly and I think that's why I love it so) Well I just want y'all to know that I met a real live version of that gypsy lady. The rest of this paragraph is all fact and nothing is made up: Her name is Jafar. Yes. Like the character in Aladdin. She speaks only in Farsi. For service here in Texas, we volunteer at a center for the, as Sarah Sykes Sorensen would put it, "mature" adults. :) We paint nails for the old ladies!! hahah yeah my life is soooo coool!!!! I am so blessed. But this last week was my first time painting nails for the mature ladies.  I got the lucky opportunity to work with Jafar. She yelled at me so loud that many of the workers had to come over. (No one speaks Farsi so they just talk to her in English and expect her to understand--all about great communication here in Texas). One of the workers had to hold her hand and tell her "purrty hands"  to allow me to paint her nails. The whole time I was intently listening for the words "lamia" because in the movie, the "lamia" was a curse placed upon the girl. I felt like it was a scene from that movie. I loved every minute of it. I guess except for the helpless feeling that came when I could not communicate with her. I guess I need to learn some words in Farsi. Simple ones like Please and Thank you and "Please don't hate me Jafar because I am only trying to bring people light and joy and happiness. Not sadness and anger. I just want to paint your nails." --ya know, simple things like that. :) It all turned out well. A darling lady came back and asked me to escort her to the lunch room where she gave me three quarters to buy myself a "Coke". Oh it was so tender. I love so many of the people here.
 I am so blessed. I have felt y'alls prayers. My heart is so open to these people. They are beautiful people. They have accomplished amazing things. I am working and praying that the ward can be more united so that when we bring people in, they will be fellow-shipped and loved. I don't know that my heart can take it so much. Sometimes I freak myself out because I look at the people that God has blessed me with in my life, and I want to cry because my heart is so full of love and special feelings for these people. How did that happen so fast? I know. Heavenly Father loves me and all my family is just rockin so all of our prayers are being answered. Gosh it's so weird to try to describe how I feel. I guess I'll try to this way: I feel like a giant blob of feelings and I am absorbing so many other feelings that I feel like I can not hold any more. I just love these people. OOohhh dear, I am so weird. Oh well. I love it so I guess I'm just weird. :)
 I met a cute family who lived in Boston and went to the temple a lot when Gus and Susu were temple presidents. It was a beautiful connection and fun to talk about Boston. They are a Less Active family now but I think they are going to be coming back. They are just awesome.
 I also met a Less Active man that is...well how do you say in English...........ummmm intense. Yeah that may be an understatement. He expressed to me that "its time for me to be taken to the next level of understanding. A higher way of thinking" . He said I was ready!! Yahhoooo!! hahaha I have no idea what that means but I will keep praying for him. He is a good guy but just has gotten really into his own knowledge and hasn't really relied on God a lot.
 I have been having the most bizarre dreams this week because I have had so many interesting experiences. We met a man who breeds snakes. His name is Larry and I think we are going to be best friends for life. He is sooo funny and crazy. They have about 18 pythons in their trailer park home! It is truly amazing. They have one that is 8 feet long. I have some pictures! Oh I also got the distinct privilege of watching him feed them!!! yes. Rats. Oh sad day for my childhood. I will be OK though. Traumatized quite a bit. There are so many BIG HUGE time hunters here as well. You name it, they have shot it and have it hanging in their house. WOOOOOW.
 Austin is so unique. I love it. It is beautiful and crazy just like me. I miss a lot of San Anotonio but I am excited for this next great adventure. I am so sorry to hear about Bob Anderson. Please let his wife know how much I love her and give her a hug from me. I miss y'all loads!! I hope y'all can forgive me for my imperfections! I am working on it. I miss y'all like crazy. I love ya sooo much.
 love you little, love you big, love you like a little pig!
 hna. Sorensen

Libbi: Cuiabá- translated means....whole new level of hot!

So, life is good and hot here in Cuiabá. The name of my area is Industriario (suburbs of Cuiabá) my comp. is Sister Morais she is from the northeast of Brasil she is wonderful.  We are opening this area for sisters and it is quite an experience. But for level of hot here! It is normally around 90 at night and I have never slept soaking wet in my own sweat before with two fans blasting and no blankets....haha OK too much info. Life is good and more important than the weather: WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEK AND A VISIT WITH ELDER DAVID A. BEDNAR!!!!!!! It truly was a week of wonders. I learned and grew so much in this week that my body is very spiritually tired...not just regular physically tired. But it was wonderful, we had a special meeting with Elder Bednar on Fri. and then he spoke in our stake conference.He spoke about the importance of teaching people like agents not objects. He is a master teacher and we were able to discuss and ask question while being completely spiritually enriched. It was perfectly wonderful and I can honestly say that it has changed me as a person and changed my view of my mission and my eternal role and purpose. OK...gettin a bit deep but it was thrilling.
The second thrilling thing was our baptism of Suellen! She is wonderful. She is the daughter of an inactive member that married a non-member and she has a brother that is also inactive. She is 38 and has a 4 year old little girl and she is just wonderful. When we arrived in the area she had already been taught everything and all we discussed with her was the next step which as we all know is baptism. She was extremely excited to hear the conference with Elder Bednar and she said that she hoped to receive her answer to this decision during the conference. We waited and waited for her and others that we confirmed were coming yesterday and finally entered to the conference with no one...we lost the seats we were saving and sat way in the back...feeling low. And who entered just as the first speaker began. Suellen, her mother and brother and daughter! HOW WONDERFUL! The talks were perfect and Elder Bednar told a story that I have thought about a lot this week...It was about when the children of Israel were crossing the river Jordan but they didn´t wait till the waters parted they began to cross....they got their feet wet first....WOW! what a story of faith...just like it says in Ether we don´t receive the answer till the test of our faith. God´s plan is so perfect! Anyway, we discussed the conference with her after and she was feeling the spirit so strongly that she felt sick to her stomach...she didn´t know how to describe what she was feeling. I too was feeling the same thing. We then invited her to be baptized later that same day and she accepted! Of course everything was crazy, chaotic in the preparations...but the baptism was beautiful and this week was truly one to remember.
I´ll end with something a little more light. The mistakes in Portuguese continue...this week was a good one. Instead of was all mixed up I said it was all the menstruation of a woman....oh wonderful day when the whole world is laughing at you! hahaha but I´m learning and growing so much! I just love my mission and this place and these people! Life is such a wonderful gift and the plan of the Lord is perfect. Another wonderful thing that Elder Bednar taught is who we really are. WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD! HE LOVES US! HE HAS A PLAN OF HAPPINESS FOR US AND WANTS US TO RETURN TO HIM! Oh the mercy of my God! I love you all. Remember who you are this week. A child of God! he loves you and there is a crazy blond American in Brasil, Cuiabá baking alive who loves you too!
com amor,
Sister Libbi Sorensen

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sarah Cate: "If This is Austin...It Must be Sarah Cate"

Dearest Family and friends,  
Y'all are dear to my heart. I am doing well. It was, as all y'all know, a difficult transfer. I am now in Austin TX. I never thought i would serve my mission in Austin but here i am. I am so excited. Austin is a completely different world than San Antonio. Its kind of crazy. It's motto is : Keep Austin Weird. -is that not perfect for me?!! I think so. The area I am in currently is called Barton Creek. Don't let the humble name fool y'all. This is a pretty fancy shmancy area. We have Jeff Kent in our ward. I guess he is a famous baseball player who played for the Dodgers. Yeah, and we have Ty Detmer...don't know how to spell his last name but I guess he won the Heisman trophy back in the day....yeah, sound out the words you don't know... I am plugging along. I am close to the Riverside area of Austin though which is the coveted area for Spanish speaking missionaries because its mostly Spanish. I am going to do exchanges with the sisters there this transfer so that is a blessing. There is not a whole lot of Spanish where I live. Mostly outnumbered by fancy sports cars and big houses and gate codes. haha Oh what an interesting time. My companion is Sister Jones. She is just about one of the sweetest people I've ever met in my life. I was blessed to go on exchanges with her down in San Antonio, when we were both down there so I've already served with her a little bit. She is from Enterprise Utah. (Oh by the way, many people look down on me for being from Salt Lake.) yeah ruuude! but I love them anyways. It's one of the beauties of not being part of the world, you just don't care what they think at all!! hahaha
 The area is very big. I am going to need lots of prayers to get the work going and the ward on board with what is about to happen here! I am so determined to make this place harvest, I just need the Lord's help. I am hoping for many miracles here. We are missionaries for heaven's sake! We are doing the Lord's work. Why not see miracles?!
 Before I left San Antionio I received some beautiful letters from Emily and Kimmy and Aunt Marilee. I just love them so much. I am blessed to have such awesome support. I love y'all so very much. Thanks Pete Pete for your e-mail. You too Meg. I am so lucky to have such an awesome family who is doing incredible things. What a great thing. How is y'all's diet going? I am gonna need to go on one too when I get back :) wups. hheee hee. I just love y'all so much. Y'all are beautiful. Don't ever forget how much I love y'all.
 Hna. Sorensen
8818 Travis Hills Dr. Apt. 722
Austin, TX. 78735
write me!!!!!!!!!!!! I love y'all so much.

Sister Deleon.....I LOVE YOU. HOW IN THE WORLD ARE YOU. I cried on Wed. for you. You are so cool. Tell me all about everything that you are doing and what it feels like to wear pants!!!

Libbi: WOW! I´ve for sure walked a wagon train or two :)

Oh family, has it really only been one week. I feel like everyday that I have lived here in Dourados I've had enough experiences and moments to fill volumes. I always feel rushed to fill you in on the highlights because there is just so much happening. I love it here but as always we move we change and we grow...I am going to be transferred to Cuiabá. I will open another area for sisters and I am really excited. My companion will be Sister Morais and I have only heard good things about her. I´m excited but not excited for the 16 hour bus ride...4 hours to Campo Grande and 12 to Cuiabá.

Highlights of this´m sorry to say that we returned to teach him this week and thought that it was a problem with sisters but we tried to teach him with our District leaders and he began to yell and shout and....well, we aren´t going to teach him anymore. We had a bunch of people that we confirmed would come to church and we didn´t have anyone. No, we had Carlos who is 9 and has family in the church but we marked a date for baptism yesterday and he will be baptized with his cousin on the 27th of Nov. I am really excited to leave this baptism for the other sister that will stay here in Dourados (my two x-comp's Sister Nascimento and Sister Heydorn)

This the middle of the closing prayer of one of our lessons in front of the house of an investigator I felt something hit my head...I thought that one of the little kids threw something but don´t worry, it was a giant bird turd on my head! Good times...washing my hair in the sink of a stranger....and really allowed us to leave that house with a laugh...good stuff. I´m walking so much that my Chacos (sandles) are is just my right Chaco for now but I take it that I have done a bit of walking in these last 6 months. Everyday this week was a joy with my comp. Sister A. Silva...she is really funny and sometimes speaks in Spanish. I love it and her! I´m so glad we had a chance to be comps because almost all her comps on her mission in Sao Paulo were really complicated.

Who knows what the future holds here in Brasil for Sister Sorensen, but I´m excited and ready for the challenge. My Portuguese is getting better and better but I spent 10 min. trying to say the word Trabalho - not trabalio for those of you who studied Spanish or Portuguese...and the difference between olho (eye) and olio (oil) someday my tongue will work and in the mean time....pray for added patience to my comp. I love you all and wish you all well in what your doing...I sent a truck load of letters last week so I hope that those who wrote me get my letters someday. Eu te amo! Boa Semana!

com amor,
Sister Libbi Sorensen

Sarah Cate: Oh, Happy Day!

Dearest family and friends,
My heart is so full. I don't even know where to begin in writing this. This last week was so beautiful. I received a package from Maren which was sent by some of her friends. I was unable to be home to receive it in person because this week we were visited by our Area Seventy representative. Elder Zivic came and talked to us about being better missionaries. To add to the excitement, I received a call that Elder Zivic wanted to interview 5 missionaries to represent our mission and President asked ME TO BE INTERVIEWED!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!! It all turned out to be fine. He was very nice and spoke Spanish. He spoke some to me but I was too nervous to speak back to him in clear sentences but It was very beautiful. He said he just moved to downtown Salt Lake. I couldn't remember what Peter and Sarah's address is.  Maybe they live nearby? It was a real emotional experience and the spirit was very strong. Also, I had to say goodbye for the last time to Sister DeLeon, my trainer, because she is going home this Wednesday. Oh, I feel so bad for her. I also had to say goodbye to sister Larsen because she is going home at the end of this next transfer. It was very sad to see really the only missionaries that I've known closely on my mission go home. Oh well.
The emotions did not end there. Yesterday we had two of our investigators attend Sacrament meeting!! Stacey, our beautiful friend with a baptismal date, got up and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting and it was her very first time attending!! Yes, I just about died I was so happy. There were several non-members there. It was just such a beautiful day. The people in this ward are unbeatable. They are so cool and I love them very much.
It was difficult to receive transfer calls last night and find out that I am going to be transferred. This is a huge surprise for me because I was almost guaranteed to stay here two transfers while I was training. I was very worried after I got the call that I had done something so wrong that my trainee needed to be with someone else. I called my Mission President and he said that I was needed to "work my magic" in another area and I needed to help a different companion. He said that I didn't do anything wrong and that it was quite the opposite. It helped put my heart at ease a little bit but it does not make it any easier to leave.   
I am going to need lots of prayers. Please don't ever forget how much I love y'all. I am blessed to have y'all in my life. I miss y'all like crazy. Keep praying for Stacey. She is going to be baptized next week. :)
Hna. Sorensen

Libbi: A mission, Brasil and a show!

Dear Everyone,
 How are you all doing? This week was funny...I laughed a lot. It seem like everyday something ridiculous happened and all you can do is laugh. You know Murphy´s Law, well I think it is 1000x stronger on the mission. You truly experience everything.  That is why you grow so much. I am for sure learning a ton. I continue to make mistakes in Portuguese everyday. I asked a little girl if she was on fire instead of asking her how was her day off from school (fogo is fire foga is day off)...I am learning and loved getting all the letters from Conference from the Christensens! I love you all so much! You are the greatest family ever seriously!

So the shows this week...basically everyday we walked on the street we had a new and funny experience. I had a man do magic.  He just started walking next to us doing this magic show and spoke a few phrases in Spanish and then he was gone hahaha.  We had a man surfing on his motorcycle for us and then popping wheelies and then he was gone without a, "Oi" ... nada...  Then we had a man singing Katie Perry- "Firework" full-voice in his house as we passed by...oh I love Brasil! So, we had so many possibilities this week but as we marked times to pass by conveniently everyone `wasn´t home`oh and one person was walking around in their house blasting the TV and suddenly when we clapped in front of their house...abandoned...hahaha.  Oh these wonderfully kind people that don´t have the courage to say they don´t want to change or don´t have time for the life-changing message. I love the work. I love my companion... We will have success this week. We are working with a man named Patrici but we have a hard time teaching a lesson because he has a lot to teach us also. But, I continue to learn and grow here. I love you all and have a wonderful week of joy for all you are blessed with!

com amor,
Sister Libbi Sorensen

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sarah Cate: Y'all know Texas is Tricky

Hello Y'all,
I don't have a ton to write but life goes on as it always does. We taught Stacey last week and guess what.....SHE ACCEPTED A BAPTISMAL DATE FOR NOVEMBER!!! Yahhooooo! Its not going to be easy so it may change but we will just keep working. We worked really hard  to get a lot of people to come to church this past Sunday and guess what........NO ONE CAME! Yeah break my heart. It was very frustrating but we gave Stacey a church tour and she really loved it. It made us happy. Stacey couldn't come to church because her work wouldn't let her off yet. She is working on it though. HAPPY HALLOWEEN Y'ALL!
Hope the day is treating y'all well. Susu and Gus, thanks y'all for y'alls letters. They are a bright ray of sunshine in my week. I love y'all very much. I truly appreciate the jokes. I use them all the time!!! I looooove them! Thank you.
We went on exchanges this week. I stayed here in Encino Park and Sister Deleon...yes....MY TRAINER! came to Encino Park too! IT was so much fun to serve together again. It was a huge tender mercy and it was fun to see how much we both had changed since we last served together in Del Rio. It was very beautiful. Today we are planning on going to the mercado...I guess that is San Antonio's little Mexican market. I'm suuuper excited.
Also, I got to teach in Spanish this week. It was a huge surprise but we received a referral for a lady that only speaks Spanish. I had a baby heart attack at first but once she started speaking I could understand her and in my broken Spanish with her broken English we communicated. :)  It was just another sign that the Lord loves me and wants me to keep studying Spanish :)  It's a never ending process in this mission because you don't get to hear it all the time and you have to speak it all the time to keep it up so it makes it hard to learn the language. Libbi is very blessed in that way...blah blah blah blah. I'm a little jealous but I try not to compare.
I miss y'all tons. Hope y'all have a good day! Tegan un buen dia!!

Su Hermana Sorensen

Libbi: Happy Halloween! (Dias das Bruxas)

Fam and friends,
How ya´ll doin´....whoa for a second I was Sarah...haha Libbi here. OK this week was work but really great...I am learning how to meet new people and talk to everyone. I know it only took almost 6 months...I´m a slow learner. I am loving it here in Dourados but it is completely different than Campo Grande. It is rural and everything closes at 6:00 p.m. except the bars which like everywhere in Brazil are in ample supply. Happy Halloween! I want to know what you were for can e-mail me here at I would love to hear something.
OK, that was desperate
I´m sorry..I think I´m a bit trunky in this area because of my comp. She is always talking about her mission in past tense and she will return back to her house in 2 weeks and I don´t know for some reason I think about home a bit more with her than I should. But I´m happy and excited to be here...weird that it is almost November. Where has this year gone? I keep forgetting it is entering winter there in the USA because he we are in the throws of Summer....and it is hot. I am burning in the sun...well not a ton and don´t worry Mom I´m using sunscreen on my face and all is well with my health. It was extremely hot this week and my skin is a dark hair is lighter than it has been for a while because of the sun and as you commented is growing.
Carlos this boy that we were planning to baptize this week told us that he wants to be baptized with his cousin who will be baptized in the ward baptism in November sometime...but who know..we are going to focus on our other possibilities this week. We met a family and taught the mom who didn´t want anything to do with us but taught her 2 daughters and they were really interested...except we can only teach them on the weekends because they don´t have much time during the week...we have a lot of new investigators here but we have already cut a few of them because they don´t want to change or won´t go to church. OH Brazil...everyone here has a religion...its wonderful when you agree with people but sad when they won´t change even when they know what you are saying is true...the Catholic religion is very strong here in Durados...but we are learning how to be more direct and teach by the spirit.
That's pretty much it for this week. Today is Sister Nascimento´s birthday (My trainer from Campo Grande who is now in another companionship with me here in Dourados) and we are going to go eat lunch in the house of my comp....weird...hahaha but yeah. Oh and I have 5 letters waiting for me in the house of my district leader so if you wrote me...thanks! I love you all and hope you eat a ton of wonderfully artificial and unhealthy American candy this week! I love you more than I love to eat- which has grown on the mission...ahhh! tudo bem até mais!
com amor,
Sister Libbi Sorensen

Sarah Cate: The Tender Mercies Continue

Dearest All:
This week....well....not at all as eventful as my sister in Brazil. *spoiler alert sorry. Well this week was good and tough. Satan was really working hard on us. My companion was very sick. We had to stay in for a few days. We eventually got to the doctor and he said it was allergies that had turned into a sinus infection!! Yeah sad. I felt bad but we got some antibiotics and so I believe we are on the mend. She still has a cough sometimes. We had some good talks...and not of the bad kind but we just opened up to each other. I just love her more and more. How can I ever be a normal person again?! I just love these people so much.
Near the end of the week the Lord blessed us with some tender mercies. We received a referral from a member who said he wanted to come back to church. We were soooo excited and quickly set up an appointment to see him. We saw him.............................well lets see if I can explain this. He sat us down and told us, " I'm going to tell you things you have never heard before" uuuuhhhhhhhhhhh ok..... So we listened. (While we listened his family came into the room and all sat down around the table together). This man explained that he believed he was a direct descendant of Nephi. --not so bad. I was thinking it might be something pretty crazy....well...well....well so then he went on and then said that polygamy has ruined the church and driven away so many souls that we don't even know how many souls we are losing. He said that he believes our church is run by man, Not prophets and then he explained he has been receiving revelations lately and was told to grow out his beard to increase his spirituality and he has been called to share the Book of Mormon with people. He was also told that he is the new prophet of the church  ....wwwwwooooooooooooooowwwwwww! OK. I said, and then he looked at me and said "do you believe in all that polygamy stuff? You do. Don't you! How can you believe...." and then he went off for another twenty minutes and eventually he ended up telling us that he wasn't ready to come back to church. Sister Jesperson and I were praying with all our hearts trying to know what to say to this man and I have to admit I felt very hopeless and lost and sad that he was not coming back. Well, here is when the Lord answers our prayers.  He gets up and starts dabbling with things in the Kitchen and his daughter turns to us and says "well, he may not be interested but I am!"  WOOOOOOOOOWWWWW!! What just happened?!! Yeah that was about how I felt inside. Sister Jesperson bore a very beautiful testimony and we set up a return appointment to come back. It was sooo cool. After the man left, his wife and daughter explained that they think we have a good influence and that we need to come around more so that he cannot be as crazy anymore. The Lord works in mysterious ways. We are being blessed.
We will keep y'all posted on Stacey...that is her name. We are teaching her tonight. she is 23. I am excited. Yesterday was beautiful as well. It was a huge tender mercy. It was Stake Conference so I got to see all the people from the Bulverede area that I have just been moved out of. I reunited with the Lee family. Katherine ran and hugged me and almost knocked me over and started crying. Oh man it was so beautiful. So many beautiful people that I hold so dear to my heart are in that area and in my current area I truly am at a loss as to how I can possibly ever leave them. I love them so much.
I got my package Mom. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I AM SO BLESSED TO HAVE SUCH AN AWESOME FAMILY. I heard from Mary too! That was a sweet treat! I just have such an awesome support system. Thanks y'all so much. Thanks y'all for bein the best. I miss y'all so much. Love y'all  forever!

Hna. Sorensen

Libbi: Oh the times they are a freaking changing!

OK remember way long last week (almost exactly) when I wrote that everything was pretty chill and I didn´t really have a whole lot to write about....well approximately 3 sec. after I sent that e-mail and logged-off the computer I got a call from my President saying that I will be transfered...that a Sister that was in my district in the MTC, Sister Chatwin, got her visa and will be arriving in Brazil on Friday. Because of this, I will go to another area 4 hours away by bus and open a new area, be a senior (to a temp. sister that ALREADY SERVED A MISSION AND GOT BACK 15 DAYS AGO from São Paulo) and I will leave Friday. Whoa whoa whoa! I thought that I had nothing to say and then the Lord sent me a whole book I could write! haha
I am now in Dourados which is in the interior of Brasil. I love it. It is very different than Campo Grande but I am adjusting with my 3 days that I have had here so far. Sandra who I was working with this last 3 weeks to get married was married last week and baptized this past Saturday. It was a really happy moment for Sister Ferndades and Sister Randal who started teaching this family 2 transfers ago. I am really happy that we completed this family (now we just have to baptize her husband). Anyway, it was also happy for Sister Chatwin to arrive and have a baptism. I think it is possible that we could have a baptism here this week in Dourados. We will be working with this week a boy named Carlos and he has a less active father and family in the church and his aunt is an active member of our ward. I am really excited about our possibilities and I will for sure overcome my fear of contacts here because we are establishing this area. It is big and we walk a lot.
Oh, I met a real scorpion here (not the animal but the title given to a man that wants to date you and not hear about the gospel). I passed him in front of a bar and we were returning to our house so I simply said good night...well I forgot and we continued to walk towards our house and then a car pulled up and started to ask about the church. I was way excited thinking wow a person that is really ready to hear our message...but turns out he wanted `my telephone number` and I explained that I don´t have a personal telephone here and then he gave his info and said Ì really want to get to know you better` and he pointed to me....oh scary...I don´t think we will be visiting least not this week if I can help it.  I am learning and growing and loving!
Keep it real fam!
Com amor,
Sister Libbi Sorensen

Sarah Cate: Entonces...

Well what to say...This week was just another week. Same work. Same message. same same. everything is the same. Sorry, no miraculous baptisms this week. Just more of the same. My companion is sick. I feel bad. I need to be a better trainer but i find that i truly just do not want to communicate. I just want my companions to read my mind! Why do I only want to communicate with strangers? I don't understand it. I'm trying out some new Christ-like attributes so I hope that it will help me be a better communicator.
I played my violin yesterday in church. It was a duet with one of the young women in our ward here. She is pretty good. It was fun but it made me think about Libbi all day. Church is so stressful on the mission. I wish it could be the day of rest that it is everywhere else. OH well. We did have one of our investigators at church...unfortunately, I believe it was only to hear me play my violin. I am praying the spirit touched her heart. It was a long meeting but the messages were nice.
We had a neat miracle this week. We have been having a hard time finding a productive activity and place to spend our time during the evening hours because many people go to sleep early in this area. We decided to knock in an area but the reception was bad and so we left and were driving to another part of our area when we saw a kid in the gutter with his head in between his legs and looked very distraught. I immediately felt the need to talk to this boy. I pulled over the car around the block and we walked up to this kid and started talking to him. He was young and in college. The more he started talking, the more you could feel him open up. He said he was atheist and that God did not play a major role in his life. I started asking more questions and he is a music composition major at  U of TX. We were able to talk about music and God and how they are manifestations of each other. We ended up leaving him with a Book of Mormon and he was really excited to read it. We have no idea where he lives or what his name is but we left feeling like we had done exactly what the Good Lord wanted us to do at that moment. He didn't tell us but we got the feeling that he had a pretty hard day. When we asked why he was out there he said "I don't know. I just felt like I needed to take a walk and stop right where I did" -- The Lord put him in our lives as a huge tender mercy that day. He was a miracle. We pray for him every day and hope that maybe we can find him again. Just when we feel like giving up. God extends his hand and shows us that he is involved in our lives. Don't y'all forget it.
I love y'all very much. Don't y'all forget that neither! :)

Hna. Sorensen

Libbi: The streets turn to rivers and the sidewalks become `splash zones`

Oh FAMILY and FRIENDS of MINE!!!!! I love you and I have had yet another week here in Campo Grande in Julio de Castilho b. I am working hard and adjusting to the changes that have occurred because of the transfer. I am learning and growing and understanding more and more of this culture and language! WAHOO! Highlights of this week: I contacted a woman on the street and she just ignored me...then after we continued walking she turned and yelled down the street with the look of death on her face, `you are talking to me` we turned and smiled and said good afternoon and she just kept walking...I love crazy people. Oh another highlight, I taught my companion from Bahia the word `creeper` and I just love when she uses it...definitely a good choice on my part. It rained a whole ton this week...this made contacts and pretty much all of our walking a bit more difficult but I really do love the rain!
OK, MARIA WAS BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!! this is the Maria that we worked with since my first transfer here and we baptized her granddaughter last transfer. I am so happy for Maria and Rebeca and their progress. I am truly blessed that I stayed in the same ward (not the same area) to see her baptism! It was a happy day and after the discouragement we had with Selma this week, it was a happy ending. Selma was going to be our baptism this week and she was really excited when we marked her date last Sunday but we had a variety of holidays during this week and we never encountered her at home and so we kept on trying to find new people to teach and in the process of trying to find a reference from a member we found Zeilia who is really awesome. She has tons of questions and loves to talk but is progressing fast and will be baptized hopefully not this Sunday but the next. She has a tough work schedule so we are trying to work it out for her to come to church but she has tons of faith and I´m hopeful she will accept the gospel in her life.
This was my week...not a whole ton happened wasn´t way crazy but it was good and I´m learning a lot. Because I´m not always talking (lack of language and ability) I do a whole lot more of thinking and observing...this is really good for me. I love you all and pray and wish you the best in everything! Stay true to who you are know that some crazy blond American in the middle of nowhere Brazil is thinking about your often!
 com amor,
Sister Libbi Sorensen

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sarah Cate: Bueno Bueno Texas Bueno

Hermanas Sorensen & Jesperson - Oct. 2011 - San Antonio, TX

Hello All,
I just read Libbi's e-mail and am once again rebuked by the spirit. I want to say sorry for being bad at communicating. Libbi has always been gifted with words. She can express so much with fewer words. I'm sorry. I will be better. Man, I want to wear Chacos (sandals). I am soooo jealous of that. I partly wished the picture she sent had been cut off right at the bottom so that I could remain in ignorance of how beautiful those shoes are and how much I miss them.
Well this week went by very fast. We are trying to contact all less-active members of our ward...all 45 of them. It's exciting because we've already contacted some that people haven't been able to get ahold of. Training a missionary is fun but really hard. I find myself becoming impatient but it's really good because I am able to notice and to grow in patience. I am learning a lot more than she is I fear. Lots of people asked me about my family this week. Waaay random. So how are ya family? I hope that wasn't negative energy that was being sent down to Texas and somehow everyone picked up on it but me.
WE are trying to find new people to teach. WE are knocking a lot. I don't really like knocking at all. It is such a gamble here. There has been  A LOT  of negative press about Mormons lately down here. --THANK YOU GOVERNOR PERRY! I guess at a rally down here, his pastor told a bunch of people that Gov. Perry was a 'TRUE' christian and that Mormonism was a cult. Unfortunately, many people believe him and believe a lot of the ridiculousness that is put out by so many people today. We are getting really really good at explaining a lot about --speaking of which, have y'all filled out a profile yet? DO IT NOW! I know I saw good old Larry Gelwix on there...hahahahahahahahaah! Everyone loves him down here. I also have a few friends who are on missions in Cali and talk about their awesome mission president and how they made a movie after him. It's really awesome and a great way to get trunky around here. :) I love it though. I love so much about my mission.
I have realized that I probably will never have an "oh this is why I'm in Texas" moment. But, that does not mean I don't have a testimony that I need to be here. I believe I've had so many moments that remind me that I am here for a reason. I have come up with a real break through about the whole "Why Texas?" question: WHY NOT TEXAS?!! Every single one of God's children need the Gospel. Why not the ones in Texas?!!  Why not learn and grow where you are planted. Why not help and love the people of Texas like you would have with the people of Africa or Brazil? Why not?! I find comfort in that. Life does not always go the way you expect or want it to but why not love where you are? Why not love everything about bitter and sweet as it may be. Why not? If God is unchanging and we are supposed to become Gods one day, why not be unchanging about our love for his children. It is not circumstantial. It is a choice. (I know mom is screaming to herself I TOLD YOU SOOOO but I've always needed to come to things in my own way and time) --thanks for being patient with me.
This does not exempt me from feeling jealous about Chacos and Brazil. In fact, I feel that is quite natural. But it does not take away from my love for my Texans. Maybe one day I'll get to talk to some people in Texas wearing Chacos. Who knows. I guess my ramblings means be happy. Choose your happiness. Choose to find the flowers amongst the thorns. -- or here in Texas, see the bluebells along the highway. :)
I love y'all so much. I promise I'm trying to grow up. I miss y'all like crazy. Don't you dare forget how much I love y'all.

hna. Sorensen

Libbi: MY MOM IS THE BEST EVER!!!!SHE LOVES ME SO MUCH!!!.....but the secret is that I love her more :)

Well, wow...what a week. I GOT YOUR PACKAGE MOMMY! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU! SERIOUSLY, ALL THE THINGS I WOULD EVER WANT OR DESIRE! YOU KNOW ME VERY WELL!!! I am learning and growing here in Campo Grande. I was happy to hear about the homecoming of Elder Jackson and I think he will never be `David` in my mind. But glad that you heard just a little bit about how freaking AWESOME my mission is! I love it here! I love the people, culture, missionaries, stories, experiences, and most importantly what I am doing, the work of the Lord! Life is good...but always changing. I am in a new area and with Sister Fernades. I love her! We are having a great times and though she only has 3 months on the mission, she teaches with power and we have 2 dates for baptism this upcoming week. We were in the same group in the CTM and we have lived together these past two transfer so, it is pretty clear that we are already besties! I have so much I can learn from her! OH, I have been a major slacker with birthdays and Menner I hope your birthday was awesome on the 20th. and Uncle Scott on the 28th. Lisa hope your b-day was killer on the 2nd of the month and Papa on the 7th! OH and uncle Evan on the 6th!

So, this week we have been working with our recent converts a lot. We had 2 young ladies receive the Holy Ghost this Sunday and Alichandre will receive it next Sunday...We have Sandra that was supposed to be married today and it is the 3rd time we have tried to get them married...but I think we have already planned to try again on Thurs. so I hope it will work out. We also met up with Selma who recently moved to our area but was taught by the other sisters. She accepted a date for baptism this upcoming Sunday. We are really excited and blessed in this area. I am trying to work on my contacts on the street because we want to meet new people and have more success. Thanks Susu and Gus and Aunt Marilee for your letters. I love them! I got your picture Susu and Gus and thanks so much! I love pictures!

I don´t know what else to write at this moment...weird I am without words or news. But I love you all and hope you like the pictures. We had a talent show in the ward and one of the young men dressed up as a popular Brazilian boy band member and did a lip sink...oh it was hilarious! I am for sure a #1 fan. OH and we found this butterfly in our house (the other picture) sister Nascimento was terrified...hahaha oh good times. I will try to send more. I am just now getting the hang of the computers here but all is well. I love you all more than I love the almost flash floods we have been having this is spring and with it come the showers but it is not the same as Utah...oh and we had a bit of hail but not a joke we had to seek shelter with a complete stranger because they were the size of bouncy balls. OH and a man yelled ``master Joseph` probably 30 times as I passed the bar this week...i love the little phrases they know in English...oh Brasil. I just love it! I will celebrate 5 months on the mission this week...I would love to hear how everyone else is doing!

Love love love,
Sister Libbi Sorensen

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sarah Cate: Yeeeeehhhaawww!!

I am good:
I am scared:
I am tried:
I am weathered:
I am happy:
I am a missionary
and I LOVE IT!!!
Need I say more really? No. But i know if i left my letter at that, we all would be in a very sad boat together.
Hello Family! HOw are you?
I hope y'all know that I celebrate my family and their successes every day even if i don't tell y'all publicly. So I feel quite sad. I was re-reading some of my last e-mails I had sent out and i sound completely illiterate! WHAT HAS HAPPENED.  The "y'all" has come in and embedded itself within my heart and now I sound less educated. Oh sad day.
I really don't care though because I am going to use it anyways!
so this I now have a new companion as y'all know. Her name is Sister Sheri Jesperson. She is originally from California but has been living in Hawaii for the last 3 years going to school there. (better start saving up because I think I want to live in an Island paradise when I get back) She is amazing. Truly. She is sensitive, smart, very loving and very laid back. She is very patient with me because I don't know what I am doing. :) She has an older sister and two younger brothers. She is just cool.
How is it training? Terrifying every single day. --I would tell you to send sweets but Sister Jesperson does not like desserts. And I just happen to LOVE desserts with all my heart. p.s. I DID receive y'all's package. I LOVED THOSE COOKIES MOM!! THEY WERE SOOOOO GOOD.
Well it was really hard to see Sister Larsen go She is an amazing missionary. I don't like being the one in charge. I am learning a lot from it though. I can't complain. I think it will only get better as time goes on. We are looking really hard for some people who would like to progress. We'll keep you posted on how it goes. 
Conference is so beautiful. Birthdays on the mission and Conference are my two favorite things. They are both really wonderful. (there are lots of other good things but these two things really stick out to me) 
I would love a copy of the talk by Elder Tad Callister.  It was just so perfect. I hope I can give it to a billion people in Texas because that is pretty much EVERYTHING that everyone worries about.
I love y'all so much. I would always love more pictures of y'all. Thanks family, for teaching me all about work! I just love it.

Libbi: A Week of Dead Cats

Well, this week was good bad and ugly...but mostly good. I will start with the title of this e-mail and also the reason why this week was ugly... I saw 5 dead cats this week just chillin on the street..but what was worse is that all were in various states of decay and was in the middle of the street...therefore flat and already well on its way to dust, one was laying in the grass next to the sidewalk and we observed the entire week (because it was close to where we live) the process of its decay, one was stiff as a board and standing as if alive and joke it was like Mrs. Norris in Harry Potter when she is petrified. The others were close to the street....death by car. Anyway, food for thought!
This week was a bit was our last week of the transfer and Sister Nascimento and I have been together for 2 transfers in this area that isn´t very large...we were excited about Oscar but he was very difficult to meet up with this week...Maria (grandma of Rebeca our recent convert of 9 years old) accepted a date for baptism this upcoming Sunday! I am hoping and praying that she will stick with her decision. Sister Nascimento was sick this week and as a result we had 2 trips to the hospital and more time in the house than I would have liked. But we managed to meet up with Amanda and Mateus and they came to one of the Saturday sessions of Conference. They were very receptive and we will see what will become of them. Conference was AWESOME! I will admit it is a bit hard not to hear the talks in my native language but I still got plenty out of the sessions and the ability to learn through the Spirit is real!
So..transfers....I am with sister Fernandes in Julio de Castilho B (I was in Julio de Castilho A for 2 transfers with Sister Nascimento). Sister Nascimento will open a new area close to  Ponta Porão called Durados (4 hours away by bus) and will be with Sister Heydorn my comp. from the CTM. It is new for sisters and will be a challenge but I´m really excited for them both and Sister Nascimento really wanted to open a new area so I´m super excited for her. Also, I am really excited to be with Sister Fernades who I was already living with (she was the comp. of Sister Randal and Sister Cardoso for a short time). Sister Cardoso returned to her house today to prepare to leave on her mission in Nov. She was just a temp. missionary here. I think she will be serving in Minas Gerais but don´t know for sure. I´m happy for the time we had with her. Sister Ferndades is really funny and awesome we have a lot of fun together and she has a powerful testimony and ability to teach! We will have a great time this transfer for sure! I am really excited and will walk much much more than I already do because our area is not where we is a long ways away, but we already have a baptism lined up this week of a Mom `Sandra` who has 7 children and all that are of age have been baptized! I will be helping the other Sister that will arrive and live with us this week working in Julio de Castilho A. This is a great responsibility to be the ambassador for our recent converts and investigators in my old area but I´m excited to learn and grow through this change. Sister Smith will be serving with us in my old area (she was serving in Cuiaba) and Sister Lima dos Santos (who was serving in another area in Campo Grande and was the comp of Sister Fernades in the CTM) is good and I´m excited!
I am learning so much progress continues with the language, it is for sure a full immersion program here :) but I´m loving the challenge...I am working to be a better tool in the hands of the Lord everyday here and I´m trying to be worthy of the wonderful calling and opportunity in my is wonderful! There is nothing like it...when you are teaching and you are so full of the spirit that you just might explode with joy and love for these complete strangers...nothing like it "gente." I can´t express in words how much I love this experience and opportunity...I´m so blessed....sometimes I question why me,  but God is so very good, he is our loving Father...I feel him with me every moment...he cares about the stupid little things that I stress about each day. Wow, he is amazing...I love him and I love you all! Thanks for being the rock in my life..stable and true to what you believe..always there to push me forward and cheer me on! I love you more than I loved hearing Leona Lewis in McDonald's! Oh the tender mercies! I love love love you all and cheer for your success and joy! Your joy is mine and your heart is mine!
Com grande amor,
Sister Sorensen