Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sister San Diego


THE TIME HAS COME!
We may or may not have time to email next week. We shall see.. By
chance that we do not, I would love to leave you with some of my dying
thoughts.
...Ouch. OUCH! My heart aches just typing out those words...
All is well, all is well, all is well, all is well, FEAR NOT Sister
Carlson. You got this.
It is hard to summarize a Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints in a few paragraphs. I would even say impossible.
Quite honestly I don't know where to start. So let me begin by telling
you a bit of what happened this week.
At first? It was rough. Some of the hardest days of my entire mission.
Why? Ha! I'll be honest, I'm not too sure. I think that in effect is
what added to my frustration--that I didn't know why I was hurting so
much inside. I wanted to be sprinting full speed at this point on my
mission. But day by day I would cry out to the Lord "save me" and yet
continue to feel this negative pressure looming in my soul. I did all
I could think to counteract these depressive emotions. Prayer,
priesthood, prying through my scriptures, yearning for freedom.
Through the pain and sorrow we still saw miracles. A sweet gal by the
name of A was contacted by Elders out in our churches parking
lot. They gave her a church tour, invited her to learn more, and she
accepted! That's when Sister Guest and I walked in. We were able to
introduce ourselves and set up a return appointment for the following
day. We met A with another amazing Young Women in the Chula Vista
3rd Ward, Anna Dunford. My heart momentarily shook off the chains of
hell as I testified of our savior and his restored church. A had
come so prepared having already read the entire Restoration Pamphlet,
and readily agreed to baptism on the 28th of December. My mind was
drawn back to the memory of inviting W to be baptized in La Jolla.
I couldn't even finish the sentence before W/A accepted. She
full heartedly was SO excited to participate in Young Women's, even
early morning seminary for the juniors!
That evening though, as Sister Guest and I concluded our nightly
planning, we received a text from Althea stating that her parents had
forbidden any further contact with anyone in the church. She
apologized profusely, then never replied to us again.
Is this the first time something similar has happened to me on my
mission? No. In fact, it stung just as bad when I experienced extreme
disappointment at the beginning of my mission. "Remember the worth of
one soul is great in the sight of God." IT'S SUPPOSE TO HURT! Ha. I
remember bearing my testimony about having my heart break over and
over and over again in my farewell talk before I even came out on the
mission. I expected it to break. Easier said than done.. That in
effect is the first spiritual truth I learned on my mission: How worth
it the heartbreak truly is. One soul ABSOLUTELY is worth a moment of
sorrow.
 I do know that A will always remember the spirit that was felt
and hopefully find her way to missionaries in the future. She'll be
ready.
AND SO! You could probably guess that this experience didn't do Sister
Carlson much good. Nay... But allow me to share with you what came
after the darkness. You might already know.
Was Althea all that happened this week? HA! No, we saw MANY ups and
downs. I'll be honest, by the time Sister Guest and I made it to Zone
Conference yesterday, I was exhausted. The word doesn't even do it
justice.
Now. As some of you may know, President Schmitt normally has soon
departing missionaries stand and bare their testimonies or give a
short STEPP talk at large mission gatherings. I had fully expected to
stand in front of those missionaries. I needed to. A thought had
crossed my mind the day previous that perhaps, if I shared my
testimony, it would strengthen it right? I needed all the strength I
could get. As the zone leader stood to announce the opening, hymn,
prayer, STEPP talk and testimony, my heart sunk as my name was not
called.
President's training commenced with a focus on the savior. How can we
come to know the savior? How can we go to gethsemane? My heart slowly
picked itself off the ground as I listened to my Mission President's
words: "If you will come to know the savior, you will come to love
him, when you come to love him, you will come to serve him. Elders and
sisters, if you feel like you're sinking, look to the savior. Fear
not."
Just then, President Schmitt's eyes locked with mine and he asked me to stand.
"Some of the greatest questions of all time were asked by the savior.
Sister Carlson, if Jesus Christ were to stand before you now, how
would you respond to this question: whom say ye that I am?"
As I looked into President Schmitt's eyes, my own were filled with tears.
My dear, dear family.
I love the Lord.
I have loved my mission. All of it, every second of it. The good and
the bad for it has all been good.
I could hardly speak as President turned to around to face that room
full of intensely focused servants of God.
I will bare you my witness, as I did then.
"Whom say ye that I am?"
My older brother. My savior. My best friend.
I cannot put into words the relationship I have with Jesus Christ. He
has changed my life, my attitude, my very desires.
I am SO full of hope! As what tends to happen as we exercise our
faith. It comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness. It's that
willingness to pay the price, even when the price goes up. "Weeping
may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning."
And what is that price? Your entire heart.
The Lord has made so much more out of me than I could have ever made
out of myself. I will forever be his missionary. I will not, I cannot
go back to the person I was before my gethsemane. "Children, did not
my love touch you more than this?"
And to what's more, I have not been through this journey alone.
I have met my eternal friends here in San Diego, many of which
followed Christ's own example and were baptized. "And if it so be that
you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people,
and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy
with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be
great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of
my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls
unto me!"
I pray that I will never forget. Not ever. My heart is full.
Sister Carlson, if you're reading this in 30, 40, 50 years. Do. Not. Forget.
This is eternal life. Your forever family has grown so much here in
San Diego. Life will and can get hard BUT HEY!
All is well
-Sister Carlson