Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Jess comes home in five weeks!

Sister San Diego

Story time.
We haven't had story time in a while.
EHEM! Once upon a time,
we lost our phone.. then we lost our car... THEN WE LOST OUR MINDS!
BUT! All is well, the Sister Training Leaders swooped in and saved the day ;)
Sisters Whitcomb and Chang!!!! They've been driving us around all day.
Don't worry... We didn't really loose the car. The temple just stole
How has everyone been doing?!?!? :D
This week we had a bit of a laugh as we walked upstairs from the
institute. We knocked on the door to find Elder Bird taking a video of
the street. "Sisters, the President just drove by."
"WHAT? We missed President Schmitt?!?"
"Not the President of the Mission. The President of the United States
of America."
Turns out Obama was our neighbor for a few hours. Who would have thunk.
The entourage of policemen on motorcycles was endless.
We then taught Grace about ETERNAL FAMILIES! Wow. I've never had such
a hard time trying to tell another human being about my family getting
sealed in the temple. My words just couldn't make it out because the
tears kept getting in the way. THE SPIRIT! My chest was on FIRE.
My love for Grace has expanded so much this week! Wednesday we took a
trip to the Mormon Battalion! As the Joseph Smith movie ended, I once
again felt impressed to just flat out ask Grace if she knew if Joseph
Smith was a true prophet of God. She AGAIN answered with a solid YES.
We're so excited for Grace :)
It was such an amazing experience! I'm so humbled and grateful to have
had the chance to teach the both of them. Watching these two commit
their lives to God and step into the waters of baptism... There really
is no greater joy. Tears (surprise surprise) spilt down my face as A
came back up out of the water with a HUGE smile on her face. I've
never seen someone give up so much of their past life to follow the
example of the Savior. She has overcome immense trails.. I just...
Couldn't stop SOBBING. The tears continued as the Zone Leaders gave a
presentation of the Restoration of the Gospel. Elder Taunauta (from
Tonga) bore a POWERFUL testimony of the Book of Mormon and the room
seemed to warp time as his words suddenly sent me back a few months to
being with my companion Sister 'Eukaliti. Honestly my heart broke and
I missed that TONGAN so much. I will forever be influenced and changed
by her faith and friendship. Ofa atu punk..
Aly thought that she would be cold after having been in the water so
she bought a onesie specifically for her baptism. She also got a tie
for K as a baptism gift. Heeeee :D
Their confirmations were fantastic. A's mentioned not letting the
past define her but refine her. Kwon's talked about dating.. We all
smiled :)
As A sat back down next to me, I turned my head with a big smile and
whispered "YOU'RE A MORMON NOW A"
It took everything Kristine and A had not to cry. Laughing.
I also went on member splits to the Linda Vista 1st family Ward with
WADIA! We accompanied P as she's transitioning from YSA in
preparation for her daughter, Mira's arrival. We discussed faith in
Sunday School and I had the chance to bare my testimony on the faith
of a missionary. Everything we do is led by faith. I talked about how
we fasted and prayed to find more people to teach. What happened?
P, A, K, and Grace happened. All within that same week.
The teacher looked at P and I and smiled saying "I'm glad you found her!"
P embraced me and responded "we found each other."
I love this work. More than anything.
Keep the faith my friends. Always fast and pray for missionary
opportunities. God will answer you prayers. Why? Because he wants you
and others to be happy. Nothing will bring you greater joy in this
life than missionary work :)
-Sister Carlson

18 Attachments

Sister San Diego October 18th

I'm a mixed bag of emotion!
One of these being sadness. So many fantastic missionaries left The
Great California San Diego Mission today. I am humbled and honored to
have known them. BUT It's not like they're actually dying. All is well
;) A especial thank you to Sisters Stirland and Purcell! You two changed
my life for the better! Thank you. Just.. Ya, thank you so much.
All the other emotions I can't really describe. Excitement?
Anticipation? ALL OF THE ABOVE?!? Yes. Mhm. I WILL sprint to the end
these last 6 weeks of my mission and work my absolute hardest. This
transfer WILL work wonders for both me and those whom I teach. I LOVE
being a missionary more than anything in this world. I thank my God
everyday for allowing me to be here and to participate in his great
work :)
Speaking of the work, let's just jump right in!
So I haven't raved and ranted too much about our investigator G,
but G!!!! We were introduced to G through the Assistants to
the President. We've now been teaching her for about 3 weeks and MY
GOODNESS! She brightens our day :D
She will CONSTANTLY have these incredible questions to ask that are so
"How does the Plan of Salvation effect your personal lives?"
"Why did you decide to serve a mission?"
"What story in the Book of Mormon helped change your life?"
We can't get enough of them! It's so much fun to teach her. Yesterday
at our lesson with G, I felt the need to straight out ask her if
at that time she knew the Book of Mormon was true. She answered with a
solid YES and reconfirmed that she was ready for baptism. We'll be
going with her this week to the Mormon Battalion! G for G. She
truly has drawn closer to the savior and it's exciting to watch!
We had to push K's baptism back a week. BUT! The priesthood is real
and after having received a Priesthood blessing from Elder Bird, K
re-committed these past few days to never touch the stuff again!! We
had to explain the situation a couple of times to a few different
individuals. I could hear sister Pitcher in the back seat texting our
leaders saying: "Coffee... AKA the devil..." đŸ˜‚Sisters Pitcher and
Davis fill my days with laughter. Really. If you could sit and watch
our trio interact for only a few minutes, there would be a huge smile
on your face. I love these sisters. They took the set-back like
A few more things to laugh about:
As we drove up to visit one of our less active members named Kim, we
were surprised to see her wearing a tutu.. "HELLO GIRLS! I'm going to
be a fairy this Halloween!" Tis the season ;)
During one of our Power Hours at Mesa College, Sister Pitcher was
accidentally throwing pass-a-long cards at people.. "WAH! I'm so
sorry!". Within that same hour, we were able to accomplish our goal of
handing out AT LEAST 3 Book of Mormon's and inviting someone to be
baptized! To close it off, we were able to converse with two Deaf
student's heading to class! They weren't quite ready for the gospel,
but both Sister Pitcher and I LOVED the opportunity.
The best memory of this week will have to be the image of Sisters
Davis, Pitcher and I traveling through UCSD campus trying to find
Aly's apartment while holding a huge Pizza. We brought along one of
Aly's main fellowshippers Kristine (Miss Pilkington's look-a-like) and
she pranced along side us while wearing no shoes #YSA. We were
startled to find in our ventures a tall tower on campus with the 7
deadly sins flashing across the top of it's peaks in neon bright
lights. We gazed up with puzzled looks. Just then Aly came flying
around the corner and directed us the rest of the way to her home. She
actually lives in the great and spacious building.. HA!
Once there, we sat and planned together Aly's baptism and set up a
time for her to be interviewed. SHE PASSED YESTERDAY!
She also dyed her hair blue and wants to wear a One-zee (no idea how
that's spelt) to her baptism. Aly. Coolest med student you'll ever
A came. G came. Kwon came. AND P CAME!
It was one night I will NEVER forget. My heart nearly burst just being
in the same space with the other missionaries in general, but then
having everyone we invited show up?? Tears. My heart sung as the
recent converts stood to bare powerful testimonies that Jesus IS the
Christ and that this IS his Church. How grateful I am that those
emotions in my chest could then make their way out through my voice.
Singing with Sister Cortello was amazing, I LOVE baring my testimony
in music. There is no easier way for me. I'm so happy that she and I
with Sister Whitcomb could share our souls this way at our last
Mission President's Devotional. Those things change people's lives!
Mine will never be the same and I'm glad.
After the devotional concluded, A hugged me and asked me to adopt
her, G cried and thanked me, and K gave me a firm handshake. As
I walked up to P, she stated "There really IS a General inside of
you. You commanded the room with your voice. I could see your lips
move but the song of an angels is what was heard."
While speaking she handed me a note that read:
"Moroni 6:2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came
forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto
the church that they truly repented of all their sins."
With an arrow pointing for me to flip the paper to it's opposite side,
I continued reading:
"I'm ready to be baptized."
She hugged me as I sobbed.
I love the Lord. I love this work.
Fire came as President spoke directly to me that night "He will carry
you home." That he has and that he always will. In God I trust.
Let the Lord carry you home friends! We are strangers here :)
-Sister Carlson
P.S. Getting to see all of our investigators meet President Schmitt
was hilarious. P started talking about transfers in front of him
and didn't realize he was the one in charge. He soon told her that he
was and she flipped. "YOU CANNOT MOVE THESE GIRLS! Sister Carlson HAS
to sing at my baptism!"
"I know, I know! She has to sing at my funeral!"
He walked away telling her he still needed to pray about transfers..
Alas. We all stayed ;)
 Putting up Christmas lights.

Sister San Diego October 11

My apologies! Today we spent half of the day at the SDSU Institute in
preparation for the Mission President's devotional this Sunday! Sister
Cortello and I will be singing "Nearer My God to Thee" with Sister
Whitcomb once again on the piano. I love these two sisters more than
words can describe and am so thankful they were willing to sacrifice
the time to have one last go at these Devotionals. Ah.. My heart.
Bitter sweet.
This week was a madhouse of events. I probably won't have the time to
explain.. Nor do I want to re-live any of it. BUT! God is so good. He
is always good. This earth is stuffed with heaven. Even amidst all the
trails, there was still so much to laugh about. As always. When can
you not find me laughing or singing? HA.
Some smile worth moments:
More often than not, Sister Pitcher and I will both know the sign of
something, but will forget the English word attached to the sign. We
are each others interpreters in these hiccups of life :)
We have been teaching Sister Davis a lot more sign language. In the
middle of zone meeting, there was this awkward pause and we look over
to see Sister Davis signing "awkward" vigorously. Sister Pitcher and I
COULD NOT stop laughing :) These sisters..
My favorite moment? While walking down the sidewalk for power hour,
Sister pitcher exclaimed "Sister Carlson! You just need to go home and
eat Sister Stewart!... Wait.."
What? I know. I was crying, I love my daughters.
Amazing as always. I love President and Sister Schmitt so much.. They
truly have become one of the biggest strengths in my life.
The Work!
While sitting with K a few days before his baptismal interview, he
approached us with his head hung down.
"K! How is your scripture reading going?"
"Your morning prayers?"
"Just fine."
"Word of Wisdom?"
"........ I made two violations..."
Ah K. He was so sad about it but recommitted to live the Word of
Wisdom for the rest of his life and especially the week before his
baptism haha! Ah. K :)
A  had us over for dinner the day before another surgery
of hers.. She BEEMED at us as she explained that she was so proud of
the 3 of us and knew that she didn't need to know EVERYTHING in order
to join the church. Her home is always a safe heaven. She does so much
for other people when she herself is going through so much trauma. I
LOVE A so much...
I have found it strange how much my heart has expanded for others over
the course of my mission. Yes it's hard because in so doing, it breaks
over and over again. BUT IT'S SO WORTH IT!
My entire soul caught on fire this week as A told us that she wanted
to get married in the San Diego Temple one day.
I cried for about 5 minutes straight. I love A.
P had a huge crisis a few days before her baptism. Per usual for
Sister Carlson's mission, all is well. We invited her to a Fireside
put on by the Linda Vista 1st Ward. After the service, we were able to
sit down and talk with her. She again bore the sweetest testimony and
apologized profusely for not getting baptized on Saturday. Because of
the situation, we passed her off to the family Ward sisters. I love
and trust all of them so much and am not worried in the slightest. I
know everything will work out for the best!
I've been pondering so much about my Heavenly Father this week. He
loves us A LOT when he asks us to do hard things. It's makes me so
grateful for the savior.
The most perfect person was asked to do the hardest thing in the
world. The Atonement.
I was confused as I thought "Wait.. So the more righteous we are, the
harder are life will be because God trusts us?"
You know what, maybe it is harder. But it's easier to bare.
Come what may and love it!!!
Sorry for my scattered thoughts.. We're about to head to a BBQ for the
last P-day of the transfer :)
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Thomas S. Monson"
"Life by the yard is hard. But life by the inch is a sinch."
I love you my friends! Live simply~
-Sister Carlson

Sister San Diego October 4

WOW this week...
WOW WOW WOW WOW. Also known as the Word of Wisdom. But this week
meaning WOOOOOOOOOOW We had so much going on I don't even know.. what
to say anymore... I wish I could just somehow put you all in my head
and you could see what the mission life is like for Sister Carlson. It
would be a grand adventure.
How about we do a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc..?
Yes? yes.
Club rush at UCSD. Oh. My. CRAZY! HAH! It was like living within the
movie Monster's University.
Courtesy of Sisters Purcell and Whitcomb. They were the two sisters
that put this idea in my head ;)
Basically, we were able to go onto campus and proselyte if we had a
member of the LDSSA handy. Shout out to Ana Katz for setting the
entire thing up. Woof she's an amazing RM. We went Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, and let me tell you some thingsss:
Okay, first of all. The YSA's in our ward are incredible for being
willing to come out and help.
SECOND. We had a blast. The first day we took a friend named Dillin
and he basically stood on the corner handing out flyers while shouting
INCREDIBLE!". We then took Wadia with us and instead of just handing
out the flyers to random students passing by, she went straight up to
the different clubs and sororities ad invited them all to institute.
One booth asked her if she was a chemical engineer and to their
surprise she smiled and said "YES!" They exchanged flyers. One of my
favorite memories will be Kristine Osborne coming out with us. She's
basically Sister Pilkington reincarnated... She would sing and dance
while handing out the flyers. No shame. She actually ran some people
Ah. La Jolla YSA. My smile is infinite.
Sister Davis named the dog underneath our apartment Lucy. It's a
nick-name... Love-hate relationship.
Ah K. He's is the Korean we are teaching. Yesterday he walked up to
our lesson looking a little sick. We asked "K. Are you sick?"
"I am sick... I've been throwing up all day."
"...K! What are you doing? Go back home, go go go go.."
"No.. I need to prepare for my baptism."
K though. After teaching him the Word of Wisdom, we moved his date
up to the 15th of October. He's ready :)
A! Ah this girl... Makes my heart throb I love her so much!!! We
took Aly to the Mormon Battalion Sunday after Conference with
Kristine! After we took a tour, we reserved a movie room to watch the
film about Joseph Smith. As we all bore testimony after the movie
commenced, to our surprise Aly wanted to bare her testimony as well!
"I'm obviously new to this entire religion thing.. but HERE WE GO!"
She shared with us her heart. "I never thought God existed because of
the life he gave me... But I've been loving the things I'm learning."
The atonement is so real. After teaching her about repentance last
week she texted us that night with a "I love you all. And I WILL
Aly :)
Okay so pause for a second. Take a deep breath. Now continue reading...
We saw SO many General Conference miracles! All of our investigators
with a date came to hear the Prophet's voice! AND THEY DIDN'T COME
ALONE! P brought a good friend of hers from Turkey. We had to go
one member splits to teach everybody! While we were reading with Pelin
the baptismal interview questions, Sister Pitcher was in the other
room teaching the Restoration! Ah... I am SO proud of Sister Pitcher.
I'm such a fan!!!!!
As we finished going over the questions, P bore the most powerful
testimony on following the commandments of God. Might just have been
one of the sweetest experiences of my mission... brought me to tears.
"If God tells you to do something, DO IT. It's not about you, but it's
all about you." I cried and cried and cried.. The tears continued as
P asked Mason to baptize her. He was SO honored. We taught him how
to baptize after K's lesson at the temple...
She then insisted on buying a white dress for her baptism. We told her
that she could honestly wear anything she would like but "NO! White"
haha! Ah... P. After her baptismal interview, She came out beaming
and explained that she had used some of my "teaching skills" to
explain to Elder Webb the commandments.
I love this work.
My favorite talk from General Conference?
Ronald A Rasband.
"Do not forget. Please. Do. Not. Forget..."
It was a huge answer to prayer. My Father in Heaven knows me and KNOWS
that I needed to hear it.
"The Lord loves those whom he chastens" and oh boy is that true.
I will NEVER forget my mission and these people I love so much. I love
the Lord. And I love all of you.
Please. Don't forget about your Savior..
-Sister Carlson

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sister San Diego

Again my friends, welcome.
I understand this might be quite the contrast from my last week's
email, but ALL WILL BE WELL!
Mental Illness.
It's just been the theme for these past few days of my mission.
But before I dive into that topic...
The work here is still progressing. Onward we go! P(investigator
from Turkey) in our last appointment closed with a prayer and as she
concluded, looked up with a smile to say "I want my little girl to be
just you 3 when she grows up!!!" My heart exploded. To top it off, she
mentioned how in one of her classes, she had invited her fellow
students to be baptized.
"Are you baptized?"
"Why not?"
"not too sure.."
"You should get baptized"
"... Hm well okay!"
We love P.
I also decided to pull a Sisters Wilson and E moment a few days ago. I
came to the realization Sunday evening that we had nearly reached the
Standard of Excellence. The only thing that was missing? Setting just
one more person on date for baptism. AND SO! We texted our Korean
investigator, K, to ask if he would prepare himself to be baptized
on October 22nd.
"Of course! Tell me how I can prepare for baptism in our meeting tomorrow."
We love K.
One more miracle that leads nicely into our topic of the week.
Now. Think of this. Poway. One of my favorite places. Sister Whitcomb.
One of my favorite people. What do you get when you put the two
together? A VERY excited Sister Carlson. I could hardly SLEEP the
night before. As we walked up to the old granny flat behind the
Romero's home, my heart soared. Comin' home. The flying in my chest
continued as my dearest friend, Sister Whitcomb and I locked eyes to
share with the other our testimonies of the Restored Church. Many a
tear was shed. The day was spent crying, laughing, and listening. All
3 commenced at our last appointment of the day. We were surprised to
find ourselves desperately calling upon the powers of heaven for a
return missionary that had nearly lost her life the year prior. As we
searched her eyes, no hope was found. I will never forget the image of
Sister Whitcomb pouring out her entire soul to this crushed
individual. I saw The Savior then. Reaching, praying, pleading. Like a
broken vessel.. We all may be.
I love the Lord and the strength and encouragement he gave me this
week. Especially the strength I found while he worked his great
majesty though Sarah Jane Whitcomb. She doesn't know this, but I
needed that exchange more than anything, especially to get me through
the next few days.
Our investigator struggling with depression and anxiety. Studying to
be a doctor at UCSD. As we met with her yesterday, I again found
myself searching, finding, praying, and pleading. It was as if life
repeated itself but this time, the rolls were switched. I was in
Sister Whitcomb's seat and heaven was now working through me. A
couldn't see how anyone could love her let alone God.
I now want you all to know that YOU. ARE. LOVED. Your value is
determined by God and it's infinite. It doesn't go up. It doesn't go
down. It is ETERNAL.
A trail isn't really a trial unless it's unfair.
I know that if you were the only person to have ever lived on this
earth, the savior would still have come to perform the atonement, just
for you. We are ALL broken to one degree or another. BUT HEAVEN IS
CHEERING YOU ON! God wants you to be happy, to find joy. That's why he
exists! Please, don't forget about him, his son, and don't you forget
who you really are.
If anything know that I love you.
-Sister Carlson

Sister San Diego

Things to help you smile today:
~~~I'm sure I've mentioned this in a previous email.. but Sister Davis
makes loud noises in her sleep. ALAS! Things have changed. Sister
Pitcher and I discussed something Sister Mae at the MTC had taught us"
Consecrating and dedicating" ones dreams. Sister Davis has been trying
it out and now she's PREACHING the gospel every night. "AND THAT IS
It's fantastic.
~Right in the middle of a lesson with one of our recent converts
(C) a young lad came storming into the room yelling "WHERE IS THE
A moment of silence. The small child then left the room. C: "It
does kind of smell like beacon..."
~~~You may have noticed, but we're using Facebook now. After about a 3
day period, Sister Pitcher received 984 friend requests. "What order
of Nun are you Sister Pitcher?" They ask. Sister Pitcher hid her face
in her arms and stated "I just want to be a normal nun..."
~~~We had a dinner appointment with the one and only Lei Ma. She told
us she would be picking up a pizza from Costco. The thought flashed
through my mind "Wait... She rides a scooter."
Yes. Lei folded the Pizza AND BOX to shove inside her small scooter's
carriage compartment.
~~~Another dinner appointment! The two things in this world that
Sister Pitcher is allergic to: blue cheese. Chocolate.
While finishing up a piece of corn bread, Sister Pitcher tour apart
the remains and asked "This is fantastic! Is there something else in
Sister Fisher's reply? "WHY YES! Blue cheese"
~~~While eating breakfast in the morning, Sister Davis made herself a
breakfast burrito. Previously, Sister Pitcher and I had chopped up a
bunch of potatoes but left half of them uncooked to save for later.
Sister Davis devoured an entire breakfast burrito with raw potatoes
inside. We didn't notice and she didn't say anything until the last
few bites. Sister Davis: "This tastes strange".
Sister Pitcher and I glanced over then found ourselves on the floor of
the apartment not being able to breath.
That is missionary work.
But now I'll actually talk about the work.
THE WORK! Ah :) The work.
YESTERDAY! We saw so many miracles. Let's get a little pretext here:
Sunday NONE of our investigators came to church. Keep in mind some
formers and other non-members came, but hey, hard day.
P! A gal from Turkey randomly came to the YSA Ward sacrament
service. She came and left early but as we followed up with her the
next day, she described how everything the speakers had said were
"written for me. It's like they knew exactly who I was and what I
needed to hear. I want to know what makes this church different."
As we taught her the truths of the restoration, all of her questions
were answered. She readily accepted baptism and we set a date with her
for the 8th of October. As our meeting concluded, she stood and said
"All of you are so beautiful! It shines through you to me. Thank you"
A! A also randomly (Heh... I saw randomly... But you know what I
mean "The Lord doesn't do random") went to the family Ward in
University City. She had looked it up on google and just went by
herself. The sisters in that Ward called us up, we called up A,
then we were meeting with her at the institute! A explained how she
had never been religious but knew that her LDS friend back home had
something she wanted. As we got to know A more, my heart hurt with
the story of her past. As I described Heavenly Father A commented
"hmm that's nice, never had one of those."
The room fell to a silence as A read the promise in the Book of
Mormon. She understood then continued reading the blessings in the
last paragraph of the introduction. Finishing it's last words, she
looked up with wide eyes. "So Jesus.. He's coming back?"
Sister Pitcher looked her square in the eye with the reply "Yes. Yes he is."
She ALSO readily accepted the invitation to follow the savior's
example and be baptized on October 8th.
We love both A and P so much.
I'll close with M. She's been less active her entire life but as
we met her in a crowded place, noise and ruckus all around, the spirit
told her heart our words were true. She told us she wanted her family
to be sealed in the temple, tears falling from us all.
It's not necessarily about holy places. It's about holy people.

The field is white. I love this work more than anything.

-Sister Carlson

Sister Whitcomb

Zone Conberence