Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sister San Diego

It was pointed out to me recently by a good friend that I begin all of
my emails with:
"This has been the craziest week of my mission..."
LOOK AT ME! Well you can't actually see me right now, BUT IF YOU COULD!
I. Am. Totally. LIVING! ALIVE! ME!
Hmm well almost. I actually almost physically died this week. Quite
the story to tell. Everyday is a story worth telling ;)
Where to begin...
I was blessed to finish my exchange with SISTER CHANG! But this time
in Chula Vista! The entire day was spent laughing and the both of us
pointing out how much Chula reminded us of Poway. POWAY! While I'm on
Same time of year. Same living space. Same bed. EVEN the same desk.
Heavenly Father has a sense of humor. I followed my Mother to Mt.
Woodson now, Sister Davis is following hers ha! Anywho. sister Chang!
Ah :) such a good lady. I learned so much from her. She just showed so
much love and compassion and showed it by working her absolute
Thanksgiving! It was prime. Prime RIB! Juuuust kidding we totally had
Turkey. This fantastic family, namely the Macias' had us over along
with another family that really needed the love. What's amazing is
that the Willcox's invited a non-member friend to the dinner and we
were able to teach him!!! Thanksgiving Miracles.
I've never really read a missionaries email about departures. Mainly
due to the fact that when missionaries attend departures, they
normally depart. HAHA! All is well, go against the grain sometimes.
Life is short ;)
I can't even put into words...
That morning, we attended a temple session with our Mission President
and his wife. Getting to see President and Sister Schmitt dressed in
white.. Again I can't put it into words. I'm sorry that this email
will do no justice to the experience I had and the spirit that was
felt. I will forever remember walking into to Celestial room and
in-sequentially walking into Sister Schmitt's arms. I was somewhat
alarmed as she began to sob and whisper "thank-you"s into my ear. I
know my Heavenly Father loves me. WHY? Because he gave me President
and Sister Schmitt. Even more than that, every SINGLE person I've come
to know and love on my mission. I smile at the thought of Sisters
Cortello, Whitcomb and I beginning this journey together, then having
the opportunity to discuss our stories there at the end. I love them
both with all of my heart.
We might have basked a bit TOO long in the temple. On the way to the
Mission Home, we realized we had 5 missed calls from President and
Sister Schmitt. #woops. HA!
What a grand time we had at the Schmitt's :)
The highlight of the evening was definitely the testimony meeting.
Each and every missionary that stood touched my soul. Sister Whitcomb
and I honestly didn't have a dry eye that entire hour. It's again so
sacred that I don't have words to express...
I am just so thankful for everyone that was there and for all of the
hard work. One moment that I will never forget was dear sister Heap
from the 7th ward standing to tell me I did make a difference in one
Young Women's life. I truly felt leaving La Jolla that I had come and
gone without having made the difference I wanted to make in the family
Ward. But as Sister Heap shared her testimony, it all just kind of
sunk in that I had truly done my best and it was enough. More than
enough. As sister Whitcomb would say "I am a miracle." I am. I
shouldn't be here. But I am.
President and Sister Schmitt's words will forever fill my mind:
Sister Schmitt- "You love your mission because you love Jesus Christ.
He is the good in everything and everyone."
President Schmitt-
"Enduring to the end.
Pray that you are faithful until you're safely dead.
When I'm weary, I remember him. Always when I remember him, that gives
me strength.
Take time to go to gethsemane on a daily bases.
This is real life.
Don't take the temple for granted
Don't go back,
Go forward in faith.
You do NOT go back. You go forward. You remember the blessings and press on.
On the savior's behalf, we thank you.
We love you forever.
Doesn't matter where you're at, we want to keep the relationship with
you forever.
The restoration is happening and you've been a part of it,
He will come and reign forever and ever
So go home and be faithful forever and ever.
We love you."
Saying Goodbye to Sarah Jane Whitcomb was one of the hardest things
I've ever done. BUT! I know I will see her again :)
Family and family. For you are all family to me..
I love you.
I know this is the true Church of Jesus Christ.
I am so happy to still be serving a mission.
Christ's love is truly what is lighting this holiday season. It's
ultimately all about love. God's love. The Savior's love. Your love.
"But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever"
Go out and serve this Christmas season. If you haven't already, check
out Mormon.org and get involved. You can make an eternal positive
influence in someone's life today. There is a shortage of "I believe
in you"s in this world.
-Sister Carlson
P.S. I realize I didn't explain my previous health comments. I was
pretty sick Sunday.. Thought I was going to need to go to the Hospital
ALAS! Sister Schmitt is an ER doctor and the best Mission President's
Wife around ;)
ALL IS WELL! I am well. All will be well :D

Getting ready for departure.

Sister Whitcomb and I at the MTC
May 2015

Friday, November 25, 2016

Sister San Diego

November 22, 2016
This is NOT my last email as a missionary. Ha!
To my friends who leave me next week... May you rest in peace.
Honestly, my heart hurts a bit considering I can no longer sit next to
Sister Cortello on the plain ride back to SLC...
The sting of death...
I hope Thanksgiving is FANTASTIC for one and for all!
I am SO grateful to once again be serving as a missionary at this time
of year! There is always so much to be grateful for!
Let's count our many blessings:
1. Speaking of Sister Cortello!!! I was privileged to hear her vast
knowledge and intellect on ones brain! Sister Guest and I traveled
Wednesday morning back up to Clairemont where I learned A TON!!! I
totally took a psychology class before the mission. It benefited me
nothing... BUT THIS CLASS! I was so intrigued. In fact I felt slightly
gypped that I was unaware of some basic ideas about a persons mental
health before this moment in time. I thought after having attended
that even some of the leadership in the mission should learn about
these tools and ideas to better assist missionaries who might struggle
emotionally. IT WAS FANTASTIC! My favorite insight: Labels. Don't
identify with something that is NOT your identification. You can ONLY
be one thing: A child of God. I AM SO THANKFUL FOR THIS KNOWLEDGE!
Also, just really thankful for Sister Cortello and her testimony :)
Good lady, good lady...
2. THURSDAY M WAS BAPTIZED!!!! Yes. I know that you don't know who
he is. BUT!! I DO AND OH MY GOODNESS HE'S A CHAMP! Sister Guest 
can't say his name and I pronounce it as if it were Japanese. Therefor. We both struggle. 
He is SUCH a cool guy. The man literally was walking down the street 4 weeks
ago, saw our church building, thought to himself "hmm.. I feel like I
could learn something there", WALKED IN and stayed :) 4 Weeks later
he's a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Milagros for days. He's overcome MUCH and since having received the
gift of the Holy Ghost, SHINES LIKE A BEACON! He's already invited his
cousin to meet with us and be baptized. We'll be meeting Carlos this
3. SATURDAY N WAS BAPTIZED! Yes. I also know that you don't know
who he is. Nathan met with missionaries previously in his life, sort
of fell away from their message BUT! Saw some Elders on the street
here in San Diego and flagged them down. They referred him to the
sisters in Chula Vista and has pretty much become best friends with
our Bishop. Bishop Buswell gave him a call 4 days ago, asked Nathan if
he was ready to take this step of faith in his life and to be
baptized. N said YES! Bishop Buswell baptized him Saturday and it
was good to see Sisters Miole and Pitcher there! Sister Guest bore a
powerful testimony on the Book of Mormon and broke into tears. She
testified how much a person can change just through reading it's
pages. As James J Hamula has said: "You read that book and gain a
testimony of it. Heaven will guide you carefully and hell will have no
power to take you off that course. Believe me, hell is seeking to take
4. MTE'S!!!!
My face has never been more red. That man. I must say though... He did
a good job. I stood just to explain to everyone what they can expect
during the Christmas season as a missionary. CAROLING! It's quite
honestly the last thing you would expect to then sit down and be
serenaded by your Mission Dad.
I'll finish up with some other thoughts I had during our "Missionary
Training Exchange or Experience". (You would think I would know what
it stands for by now...)
The first day was fantastic! Sister Guest and I had the opportunity to
train the top 3 northern zones on revelation through prayer! It went
well for having only had a limited amount of time to prepare ha! Elder
Nelson let me pick on him and Sisters Sorenson & Cortello had my back.
Prime people. Great conversation was had on how we can truly help
those we teach connect with heaven. It was such a tender moment for
me, training with my companion, then baring my testimony presumably
for the last time to those men and women representing the Savior. I
love missionaries. I love being a missionary.
The second day. I can't even describe to you the spirit that was felt..
President shared 3 short clips of 3 different runners giving
everything they had to finish their designated race. After the first
clip of a woman literally crawling to the finish line, everything
coming out of my Mission President's mouth was something I needed to
"Run first with your heart, then with your head, and then with your legs.
Kick dig and scratch to the finish. Don't give up, don't give in!
EVERYONE can crawl. Your stronger than you know, so don't give up!
Don't you ever ever give up until you cross that finish line."
The second clip had these two brothers, one helping the other cross
the finish line. Sister Pitcher shot her hand up and shared an
experience she had the day prior. My beloved daughter described that
she had been in this dire physical situation and was needing the
assistance of those around her. I FELT LIKE A MOTHER THAT COULDN'T FOR
HER DAUGHTER. Tears. I broke down WEEPING. But the spirit let me know
that I was again where I needed to be. I knew at that moment that one
of the reasons I was ET'd to Chula Vista with Sister Guest was so that
we two could finish this race of a mission together.
Last but not least, President shared a clip of a runner who tore his
muscle at the olympics.. The love of a father. He tried his best in
his own. He was dedicated. Hopping to the finish. But when his dad
embraced his son to help him finish, the runner broke down.
"Son you don't have to do this."
"Yes I do."
"Then let's do it together."
His dad was there the entire time. Watching. Waiting to help.
Family and friends,
There are angels round about you to bare you up.
Your father and savior are perfectly diligent with you. So don't you give up.
Keep loving, keep laughing. You are doing more than you think you are.
I am forever Thankful for your examples to me.
Happy Thanksgiving!
-Sister Carlson

 Sister Guest

 Missionary life is the greatest!

November 8, 2016

HELLO! So sorry my dear ones..
We're about to go play and we have little time to email this week!
BUT! Let me express some of my heart with you :)
I. Have. Never. Laughed. So. MUCH!
Her favorite hymn is "Scatter sunshine" AND THAT SHE DOES! We are just
constantly smiling and having such a great time together. She is SUCH
an amazing human!
She loves her meat.
One of our conversations this week:
Sister Miole: "What's that green thing?...."
ME: "Lettuce?"
Sister Miole: "Ya that..."
HA! Good lady, good lady.
She wants to have a Balut party!
My vocab has expanded!!!:
Mah gun dung gahbi----Magandang Gabi
Thank you
Salem mat Po ----- Salamat Po
I love you
Mahal kita ------- this is correct
Cool - You're cool!
Astig - Astig ka!
I love you in Cebuano/Bisaya
Gihigugma Tika
You're pretty in Cebuano/Bisaya
Gwapa ka
You're so welcome :)
This week during K's lesson, he mentioned that he BY HIMSELF went
to the temple. HA! No warning. Just went. HE LOVED IT! The man helping
him in the temple knew so much about Korean history. K! :D
I had the chance to bare my testimony for the last time in both the
YSA Ward and Family Ward. I testified of running to the end and the
reality of NOW! Some thoughts from Elder Hallstrom:
This IS the last season. Harvest time!
Now is the time to exercise our faith. Now is the time to commit to
righteousness. Now is the time to do whatever is required to resolve
our undesired circumstances. Now is the time to reconcile with God
through the merciful process of change afforded us by the Redeemer of
      We appeal:
          To anyone who has received a witness of the truthfulness of
the gospel and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has
not been baptized and confirmed.
          To any holder of the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood who,
either by transgression or just doing nothing, is living in opposition
to a sacred oath and covenant (see D&C 84:33–39).
          To any endowed member of the Church who does not currently
qualify for a temple recommend.
          To any member who has been offended by the actions of
another and has in any manner disassociated him or herself from the
          To anyone who is living a duplicitous life and is burdened
by unresolved sin.
It is my witness that you and all of us can change, and it can be now.
It may not be easy, but our afflictions can be “swallowed up in the
joy of Christ” (Alma 31:38)."

 San Diego is getting colder!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sister San Diego

Dear Family,
I was about to go on an exchange with Sister Chang (Jung)!!!
That morning (Saturday, having woken up in La Jolla) Sisters Miole,
Pitcher, and I accidentally missed a call from President Schmitt. Not
thinking much of it (HA) we went on the exchange anyway! Sister Chang
and I finished studies then realized that we had also missed a call
from President Schmitt... Ha... Ha! The Santee sister called asking us
if President had gotten in touch with us... We asked what was up but
they didn't say anything... EVENTUALLY MY FRIENDS! President did call
back and told us that Sister Guest and Sister Davis in Chula Vista
needed an emergency exchange. I informed President that for whatever
reason I had packed clothes enough for 3 days that morning. He asked
us to call Sister Whitcomb and council with her for a moment to hear
her thoughts then call him back. As we informed Sister Whitcomb of the
situation and what we were thinking of doing (Myself going with Sister
Guest in Chula and Sister Davis going with the Santee Sisters) she
paused and said "I don't feel good about this but I think it's just me
feeling motherly and protective." My heart kind of smiled as she said
it, then from her lips came (again) prophesy. "Sister Carlson, I feel
prompted to say that these last 6 weeks have been hard and will
continue to be so. Sister Chang can testify that I have slowed down,
but you and I need to run to the end. Double the work. Double the
I smiled as I looked up at her calendar see our 18 month mark for that
very next day (the 13th) and the drawn in airplane on the 29th.
I love Sarah Jane Whitcomb.
Sister Chang was awesome!!! She listened to all my concerns with
leaving the mission soon and my past week's hardships. She's a
fantastic missionary and had me laughing all morning.
The rest of my Saturday in Chula Vista was incredible. Sister Guest
and I hit it off talking about our missions and seeing where our paths
had bumped into the others. Sister Guest then told me her story of
surviving cancer TWICE! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE LADY!!!!! I then told her
about some of my experiences living in a hospital and becoming very
aquatinted with God. We talked and talked and talked and talked and
talked and talked some more! We spoke of everything under the sun.
That night we KEPT TALKING! And it was so easy. There was so much to
say :)
Basically. I LOVE Sister Guest with all of my heart. She has felt
misunderstood at times but honestly I can't even describe this... That
same motherly protection Sister Whitcomb spoke of earlier? Sister
Guest is an INCREDIBLE missionary and just needed a GOOD friend. She
told me she's never really had one of those before.
Right before sacrament meeting in the Chula Vista YSA Ward... We
walked up and spoke with some random individual.. WHEN ALL OF THE
SUDDEN! That love I had for Sister Guest quite literally exploded and
I was VERY overwhelmed with God's love for my companion. I wanted to
tackle her to the ground like I would Sister E in an embrace, but I
knew she didn't like being touched so I just bowed my head a cried.
During the meeting itself, Abide with me tis eventide played and my
tears continued.
I heard in my head:
"Peace I leave with you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let
it be afraid"
The Bishop stood and offered up these words at the close of the
meeting: "God is into the details. He knows where you are at right
now. Stay and love those whom you have been called to serve."
That night Sister Guest and I cried and cried and cried and cried in
the car together as I told her what I wanted to do.
So I asked my Mission President the next day if he would let me stay
in Chula Vista... And not just for the rest of my mission, but for the
rest of hers.
Sister Guest ticketed to leave for home at the end of December.
When I asked President President Jon Schmitt to let me stay he paused
and looked at his calendar.
"Sister Carlson, as a Mission President I only have the power to
extend you to the 10th of December. The Mission Department? A few days
more than that... You will need the permission of the General
My resolve did not change.
"I will write them a letter immediately. But first, you need to call
your parents and ask them if that would be alright..
And sister Carlson. Be aware that the answer is mostly always a never."
President called me a few minutes ago to inform me that he
received an answer from Salt Lake City today about my extension.
He said a brother by the name of McConkie called him a
moment ago and said:
"Now President! We've already told you, this is
never allowed. But... when the Brethren looked at your request, they
agreed without any hesitation.
She can stay."
I want to leave you all with my testimony.
This work is mighty and it is HIS. I LOVE being a missionary. I've
said it time and time again... But it is the work of and almighty God
and it is to change the world. He is at the helm. I LOVE my companion
and I KNOW I am where I need to be.
Keep running!
-Sister Carlson

Memoir from Mar C

Marceille Stephenson and her family move tomorrow. We will miss them! Marceille is wearing the purple sweater.