Saturday, August 20, 2016

Grandpa Ralph Carlson

Graveside service at Bountiful Cemetery 
August 20, 2016

Viewing at Russon Brothers Mortuary






Navy Military Honors at Graveside Service






 Military Gun Salute

Gary gave a great talk about his dad.


 Musical Number "Nearer My God To Thee"

Randy, Gary, Donald, Steven, and Kenneth Carlson

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sister San Diego

I have knocked on deaths door. What others might say was a miracle is
my reality. I am a living witness that Jesus is the Christ. His
Priesthood Authority HAS been restored. It is the reason I live and
continues to be the reason why I will go to my grave declaring his
gospel. I needed to brief reminder of that knowledge this week...

On Thursday morning, as the Sister Training Leaders pulled up in their
car, early of course (needing to have risen at 5 a.m... Sorry) I
thought to myself that what was about to happen wasn't really for me.
I embraced my closest friend Sister Sarah Jane Whitcomb. Just that
week as mentioned in my previous email, the two of us had stayed up
for heaven knows how long on our exchange discussing the miracles of
our missions. I went on and on about Hillary, Westin, Jessica etc..
She spoke of Stacy. Stacy, much like myself, was blessed to live by
the Priesthood Authority then was baptized a member of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am amazed and honored to have had
the chance to sing to her. The day after our exchange, Sister Whitcomb
and Sister Purcell were informed that Stacy English had passed away. I
came to this knowledge a few days later. And as I stood there, holding
my dearest friend, I could, if only for a moment feel how exhausted
her soul was. At the time, I didn't know how much I myself would need
(as Sister Clayton would say) that "transfer of virtue" for the next
day's news.

The meeting in itself with Elder Arnold of the 70 and his wife was
incredible. Things like that are meant not only to change my mission
but to change my life. It worked. Highlight? Singing Consider the
Lilies of the field with Sister Whitcomb accompanying me. (As to why
we had all woken up so early, bless our companions)
When the song finished, Elder Arnold locked eyes with me then waved
for me to come. My heart skipped a few beats as I obeyed. He then
asked me to sing without the piano. What? I know. I once again obeyed.
He then asked Sister Whitcomb to play without me singing. As we
finished he stood, tears in his eyes. "Thank you, that is one of my
all time favorite songs."
Take away from this mission tour:
The music of having the Holy Ghost with you at all times is the most
beautiful thing you could ever imagine.

As heaven would have it... We taught by the spirit a member in our YSA
Ward Friday evening. I relayed to her my medical past (wasn't sure why
at the moment) and testified powerfully of the power of the priesthood
and what we learned from Elder Arnold.

After the dinner appointment, my companion and I drove to our church
building in PB. Something that we had not previously planned on doing.
As we pondered and prayed what God was wanting us to do, we synced our
iPads. 1 unread email. I opened it and read that my last Grandfather,
Ralph Carlson, had passed away.
I read with wide eyes. After a few minutes of silence, tears came. My
Grandfather was not a member of this church. My heart hurt.

As to fill my head with something else, anything else, I marched out
the front door, angry. I had silently decided sometime during my
mission that I was going to be the one to teach that stubborn old man
and invite him to follow the savior's example and be baptized by the
proper authority. Just as we were about to leave, who would drive up
other than Bishop Walton of the family Ward. My Dad's best friend's
look-a-like. In every way he reminds me of Randy Christiansen. All the
way down to him sadly loosing a daughter. He told us he wasn't sure
why he was there but after taking one look at me knew why.

Once again, hands were placed on my head and I was able to hear the
voice of my Father in Heaven offer words of comfort and council.
"Mourning is okay. You will have the weight lifted from your
shoulders. It is a blessing to more fully understand the atonement.
(Bishop's daughter Ella) You will be comforted especially in the quiet
moments that bring you to your knees. Your grandfather was a good man.
Reflect often on the lessons he taught you throughout your mission and
in years to come."
My Grandfather taught me Grit. True Grit.
In fact he named his son (My father) after John Wayne ha! He was a
World War 2 Veteran and fought on D-day. I know that by his example, I
am and will be a better person.

I know he is learning of the Gospel surrounded by loved ones. No better place.

I know this is Christ's church. The restoration is a fact. I couldn't
strongly testify of this during a talk I gave in the family Ward on
Sunday.

After my blessing and after having given our Bishop's banana bread,
Bishop Walton held my hand a moment longer and asked "Sister Davis..
can I hug your companion?"
With a serious face, Sister Davis replied:
"No Bishop, I'm here to protect my companion!!!"
We all laughed for days.

I love this work. So many other miracles were seen this week but
alas...The time is far spent.

Maybe in my next email I'll share with you how on fire the work is ;)

I love you all. I love the Lord.
Keep your head up and be grateful for all the God has blessed you
with. The air in you lunges, the feet on your legs. There is so much
to smile about!

-Sister Carlson






Getting ready for a wedding.


School starts tomorrow!



I think she is excited!!
Student Government here we come!

Hanna is moving to China!

Hiking Bridal Veil Falls August 2016


She will be teaching English for five months!
We will miss her!!





Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sister San Diego

So much has happened this week... Feels like it's been years. But as
our Brazilian investigator would say: TOO-DUH-BAY!
Translation: All is well... HA! ;)

Hmm... Let me ponder.

Over the last several days, we've been leaving several messages on the
AP's phone. The latest voicemail concluded with a classic Sister
Carlson moment:
"Thanks for all that you do Elders! We say these things in the name
of.. Wait..."
Instead of deleting and repeating the entire message, I left it as is.
It's been a good week :)

Speaking of random phone activity, President called us yesterday. We
had quite the conversation with the man. Do you know what it ended
with? HIM SINGING TO ME! I had simply asked him about something for
this upcoming Mission President's Devotional, and he closes with
"Sister Carlson, you run those things, you'd probably know more about
what's going on than I do."
....This Mission.... I thought it was bad with Sister Schmitt...
Nay... My Mission President has jumped on bored.
What to do? I know not. Let them keep riding this train until I leave
apparently. But as Sister Wilson so eloquently stated last week...
This might follow me even after the day I die. #SpiritWorld

At least my daughter doesn't make fun of me. Walking home a few days
ago she whispered: "I'm going to miss your random outbursts of song.
You're like my personal radio. I'll miss your voice..."

My child.

OKAY OKAY I'LL ACTUALLY TELL YOU ABOUT MY WEEK! OH MY GOODNESS Sooooo
many Milagros!

I'll just skip to my favorite part:
SISTER WHITCOMB!!!!!!!
YES! It actually happened :) After 15 months apart, we were FINALLY
companions once again for 24 hours. Did the world explode? I would
like to think so. Not going to lie, it was one of the best days of my
mission. There are no words to describe my love for her. I'll let you
in on just SOME of the miracles we saw:

Started the day with our studies and guess what we both focused on? Love.
One of the first people we met during power hour with one of our
recent converts Lei was a woman named Deborah. She gave us all a pins
that said: "It's all about love". Both our eyes shot up and met with
sparks of recognition and humor. God is good.

Sister Whitcomb could literally contact every Hispanic person in
sight. Makes me feel as though I haven't taken full advantage of my
time here in San Diego. My Spanish vocab is constrained to: "Mui
Bonita!"  Ah... Sister Saedan

We almost died in an elevator together. Never again.

Sister Whitcomb's reaction to a near death experience? Laughter. Mine?
In my brain: "well... If I'm going to die, I would want it to be with
Sister Sarah Jane Whitcomb".
We lived. HA! But really.. Never again.

Met a fantastic little girl named L. She went to girls camp and
has been coming to church for the last few weeks. As we stood there
talking with this bright beam of a child, I was overwhelmed with love
for both of these two wonderful women. L accepted the invitation to
be baptized and told us she had already been reading from the Book of
Mormon. It made me smile. The only thing that made my grin grow bigger
was having the opportunity to teach with my best friend.

I could never say it enough but I LOVE Sister Whitcomb. With all of my
heart. She has been an example to me my entire mission. It was an
honor to see how much she has grown in the past 15 months and I am
just so grateful. I could never repay her for all that she has done
for me. Our day together will be one I never forget.
I Love you Sarah Jane Whitcomb.
Other miracles of the week!

Our investigator Wadia, after having everything that could go wrong,
GO WRONG in her life, finally met with us. We happened to contact her
right as her car was breaking down. We got her a ride. She told us
that she was sorry for the lack of commitment but knew that God was
watching out for her. Accepted the invitation to be baptized this
month. No coincidences.

We met a Sea Captain named J. He was sitting on a park bench, and
as we approached him, he smiled knowingly up at us. "I've been
watching you two and wondered when you'd come find me." We smiled and
asked him if he knew of any service opportunities in the area. "Wow
what?" His ENTIRE demeanor changed. He had been so prepared to
rebuttal any discussion on religion that he was completely caught off
guard. It was great. "That was the last thing I thought would come out
of your mouth. What a coincidence, I have a friend that could use a
hand. I really respect that." No coincidences.

APRIL!!!!!!!
Oh my goodness I'm so excited to tell this story my fingers are
shaking! HAAHHAA!
EHEM. So.
A few days ago we had a lesson with April first thing in the morning.
The two original women that had asked to come with us were
unavailable. The bishop volunteered his wife. On the drive over to
April's house, Sister Walton was sharing with us her mother's
conversion story that she had just so happened to have read the day
before that her mother JUST SO HAPPENED to have sent her.
During April's lesson, she brought up a concern that she had about
being baptized.. Well.. It was more of a question. AND WHAT WAS THE
EXACT ANSWER?!? Sister Walton's mom's conversion story. Sister Walton,
then in tears, retold her mother's experience to April answering
alllll of her questions and hushing all of her fears. No coincidences.

The Lord doesn't do random.

I know that if you are truly on the Lord's errand, you WILL see more
of his hand in your life. I commit you all to pray for these
opportunities. Often times, he'll answer your prayers or the prayers
of others with people. Mine was answered with a girl named Sister
Whitcomb.

I love you all! Keep on Keepin' on :)









More organ photo's