Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I Have Arrived!

Hey Mom and Dad, 

I just got to the MTC (they call it the CTM down here) about half an hour ago, it still doesn´t seem real that I´m out here. It´s actually pretty chilly in Sao Paulo, probably one of the few times I´ll be saying "I´m cold" for the next two years. 

Sao Paulo Brazil Missionary Training Center

I just got assigned my companion, his name is Elder Davenport and he´s from Arizona. We haven´t really had a chance to talk much yet but he seems like a cool guy. 

The trip here went well, after I went through security Brother Cannon was waiting by my gate because I guess he was leaving on another flight about an hour later and knew I would be leaving the 21st. It was good to see him and talk to him after a hard goodbye from the family. (A little tender mercy for Carson, but it did my heart good too.   It is what I need to see-- Tye wrap his arm around Carson when he got through security and walk him down the concourse to his gate.  It made it easier for me to walk away knowing it would be two years before I could put my arms around him again.)

Brother Tye Cannon
Elder Sork's Young Mens Leader

Getting to Atlanta was fine, the lady checking my passport took like 5 minutes just looking through it and asked if I had actually received a Visa from Brazil, which scared me but she eventually said I was good to go. I was alone in Atlanta for about an hour which was pretty lonely but pretty soon some other white shirts started showing up. By the end we had about 15 missionaries flying out to Brazil, I felt the spirit with all those other Elders knowing we are all making this sacrifice together to go teach the Gospel. 

I have noticed today, and yesterday as well, some blessings. First, even with how nervous I usually get I have been very comfortable, just a little nerves but from what I´m used to it is a huge blessing. I believe that to be a confirmation that what I am doing is right. Also, as of this morning my foot hasn´t been bothering me at all so hopefully that keeps up! My stomach is already having issues though so not looking forward to that. Hope the family is doing well, I won´t be able to write again until next Friday when my first P-Day will be. Miss you all!


Elder Sork

He is Off!

Yesterday morning we dropped Elder Sork off at the Portland airport.  How can you be so happy and so sad at the same time.

He was set apart to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Joao Pessoa Brazil mission by President Vern May.  The blessings he was given of success and health were comforting and will be nice to refer back to when things get tough, as they will.  Elder Sork did a very nice job speaking to the congregation of our ward, family and friends on Sunday - he was so polished and professional looking even after we all lost it trying to sing a musical number before he spoke.  He got up and called us all a bunch of babies!  I find it ironic that his first talk in church he couldn't get up and speak and was crying and now the roles are reversed.

He is more than ready to go out and conquer the world.  When I told him that as he was leaving he replied, "Not the world mom, just one country."  I reminded him:  "Remember who you are, what you stand for and who will be waiting for you to return home."

Good bye, my son - a piece of my heart is with you wherever you go!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Getting Ready to Go!

It takes a lot to get a missionary ready to go out and serve for two years!  Just getting the appropriate travel documents in line can be quite overwhelming.  Brazil will allow missionaries into the country if they have a current passport and a religious proselyting visa.  The passport was easy, the visa required a little more.  One of the requirements we had to meet to obtain the visa was to show proof that Carson had graduated with 4 years of religious education.  The church has an amazing seminary program.  For the last four years Carson has attended an early morning seminary class before starting his classes at the high school.  His transcript and graduation certificate from this program allowed him to obtain his visa.  After a drive up to Olympia to submit paperwork to the Secretary of State office and then a flight to San Francisco to the Brazilian consulate to present himself and his paperwork in person to the country of Brazil, Carson had all of his travel papers in order.

Visa Photo

Then the real work began:

Medical Forms had to be completed with his appropriate travel vaccinations complete and the pesky warts on the bottom of his feet taken care of.  The shots proved easier than the warts and we sent him off with the bottom of his foot looking horrible.  I am finding solace in the fact that he will be at the training center for 6 weeks with a medical facility before he has to start walking 10-12 miles a day on that foot.  I am sure it will heal by then.  (We have been treating these warts since FEBRUARY!!)

Dr. Sherilyn Foltz-Cook's torture chamber at Cascade Family Medicine 

Carson's left foot after his final treatment.
Stubborn Warts!!!

Now, think of getting ready for a trip to a foreign country without knowing exactly what your accommodations are going to be like for two years.  We planned for every scenario we could think of with a little help from other Brazil missionary Moms on Facebook and LOTS of packages from Amazon.  I feel confident he has everything he needs to be successful while he is away (that includes 2 years worth of deodorant &skin care products [which we hear are not very good in Brazil and super expensive], sunscreen since he will be so near the equator and Ultrathon bug repellant [again things that are best bought in the states], bed and bathroom linens, mosquito netting, three pairs of dress shoes and a pair of athletic shoes, 6 pairs of dress pants, 12 white shirts (and underclothing :) a few pairs of casual/athletic clothes, all of his books for study, a full fledged first aid kit, camera with batteries and SD cards, power converters, alarm clock, hangers...you get the idea)  I was told after about the 7th or 8th box from Amazon came that there was no way I was going to fit all that into his luggage.

Ron at Remington's CTR Clothing
When The Shoe Fits 
I know that if your feet aren't happy you aren't happy!
It is worth the expense.

Will it all fit?  Absolutely.
I am not sending him without any one of these items!

Challenge accepted!  I was even able to get in a family size jar of peanut butter in, which I hear is like gold over there.  There was room for a box of protein bars, but Carson didn't want them (I am sure he will be wishing he had them after a few days in).  I am proud to say his two checked bags were under 50 lbs (barely) and his carry-on bag and personal item were very manageable.

Now, I have nothing left to worry about, right?!!!???

Sunday, April 2, 2017

"Called To Serve & Assigned To Labor"

After weeks of anxious waiting, Carson's call from the Lord to serve a full-time mission came in the mailbox yesterday afternoon (it looked a little worse for wear):

He is very excited for this new chapter in his life.  As his family we support him in his decision to serve 100% and know that the people of João Pessoa, Brasil will be blessed to have Elder Sork among them.  We know this experience will bless Carson in just as many ways, if not more.

Following the Priesthood session of conference last night we went as a family into Portland to a Brazilian Food Truck to give Carson a taste of his upcoming mission.  We had some really good authentic Brazilian food and met several Brazilians.  Carson was able to hear conversations in Portuguese and ask them how to pronounce the mission name—he has been practicing it ever since.  What a great way to celebrate his call.

Pictures of the Region:

Mission Area Map:

Here are some fun facts about the João Pessoa, Brasil mission (as of Sept 2016):
  • Address:  Rua João Amorim, 429, Centro, João Pessoa, Paraiba 
  • Statistical Region :  Paraiba, Brazil 
  • Unit Creation Date:  July 1, 1998 
  • Number of  LDS Congregations:  1 District, 1 Mission Branch 
  • Congregations:  Mamanguape Brazil District  & Brazil João Pessoa Mission Branch 
Here are some fun facts about the area in general found on Wikipedia:  

João Pessoa (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒʊˈɐ̃w peˈsoɐ]) is the capital of the state of Paraíba in Brazil. It was founded in 1585 and it is also known as the city where the sun rises first, because it is the easternmost city in the Americas at 34° 47′ 38″ W, 7° 9′ 28″ S. Its easternmost point is known as Ponta do Seixas. 

The city is considered "the second greenest in the world", with more than 7 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi) of forested land, second only to Paris, France.

It is the state's largest city, with a estimated population of 801,718 of inhabitants. Its metropolitan area comprises eight other satellite cities (Bayeux, Cabedelo, Conde, Lucena, Santa Rita, and others), totalling 1,223,000 of inhabitants.

Joao Pessoa has a tropical rainforest climate with very warm temperatures all year long and strong rainfall in most of the months. October to December have a rather low rainfall, which means the city has characteristics of a tropical savannah climate.  The average high is 84.7*F and the average low is 72.5*F.  The average rainfall in a year is 84.5" on average over 149 days.  The average humidity level is 77.7.

According to Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics as of 2009, there were 702,000 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 45.72% White, 38.72% Pardo (two or more races), 2.77% Black, and 0.25% Asian or Amerindian.

Religion  Percentage  Number
Catholic     74.06%     442,841
Protestant   15.92%       95,191
No religion   7.41%       44,332
Spiritist        1.10%         6,571

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Anxiously Awaiting His Mission Call

Carson has been preparing to serve a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ever since he began to walk.  The time has finally come.

This last week Carson had his final interview with the Stake President, our local church leader, and sent the paperwork to President Monson, the prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at church headquarters in Salt Lake City.

In about a week Carson will be getting a letter from President Monson, telling him when and where he will be serving the Lord.  Until we get those papers we are taking a poll:  Where do you think Carson will spend his next two years serving the Lord?  Give us your best guess on the sidebar poll to the right.

We know that no matter where Carson is called to serve he will be an influence for good, change lives and be loved dearly by the people.  We wish him the very best in these exciting times that are coming his way.


You might wonder what, exactly, a Mormon missionary does, other than ride a bike and knock on doors, or how a young man or woman just out of high school might end up on a mission. Here are the basics:

Most of the Church's missionaries are around twenty years old, though many members also volunteer to serve after they've retired. All prospective missionaries turn in applications to Church headquarters and they receive a call to a specific mission around the world. They spend a few weeks in a training center where some of them learn a new language and all of them rigorously study and practice teaching the gospel. Then they set off to their assigned locations and begin their service. Missionaries' lives are completely dedicated to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. They pay their own way and put off school, dating and work for two years in order to focus entirely on doing the Lord's work.
A common morning for a missionary might consist of waking up at 6:30 a.m., studying the scriptures, and meeting new people to share the gospel with. The afternoon might include discussing gospel lessons with people they meet and volunteering for service in the community. A good night has them teaching the gospel to interested individuals and helping them learn and keep God's commandments or attending a baptismal service for someone who's decided to join the Church. They return home around 9:30 p.m. and fall into bed, usually exhausted and happy.


We believe we are all part of one heavenly family, so missionary work isn't work so much as it is trying to help out our brothers and sisters. Right now, tens of thousands of missionaries are walking, driving or riding their bikes around the world, handing out copies of the Book of Mormon and sharing the gospel with the people they meet. Why do these people, most of them under the age of 25, volunteer to leave their homes at their own expense and dedicate a period of their lives to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ?

The Lord's Church has always been a missionary church. Jesus Christ's life was the perfect example of missionary work. During His ministry on earth, he taught the gospel at all times, in all places, and to all kinds of people. Jesus taught the educated men in the temple, the sinners, the faithful and the unbelieving. He also called apostles and other disciples to preach the gospel so more people could hear about the blessings of His gospel. Most of their preaching during Christ's life was to their own people, the Jews. After Jesus was resurrected, He visited His apostles and sent them to preach to the gentiles. He commanded them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).  We take that commandment to heart and look for opportunities to share the blessings we've received from living the gospel with everyone we can.