Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Julz at her organ audition.








Mike teaching at a Super Saturday organ workshop at BYU.

Julz playing the piano at the Provo City Center Temple open house.

Sister San Diego



Hello!
Quite the week!
I'm just going to start with the highlight :)
J's BAPTISM!
J's. J'! Ah, she is fantastic. I can't even put words to how
I feel. So I won't. HA! The service itself was great. The black
mountain sisters did a fantastic job coordinating it all so that R
could be baptized that same day. Two birds, one fount. Sister Stewart
had a baptism in her new area that same day so we used my iPad (oh
technology) to Skype her in so she could watch!
Spiritual? Yes.
Hilarious? Also.
J lost one of her contacts so when she came back up out of the
water, the first words out of her mouth were "I lost my contact!
Nobody move!!" -Mark (the man performing the baptism) threw his hands
up in defense. I laughed. So hard. And so did the rest of the room ;)
President Schmitt and his wife were there.
All in all... It was one of the happiest moments. Ever. I cried and
cried and cried the car ride home. "Remember the worth of one soul is
great in the eyes of God"
Amen.
"And if it so be that ye should labor all your days and bring but one
soul unto me...how great shall be your joy."
These scriptures have come to life for me as I've served a mission and
seen people change as they've stepped into the waters of baptism.
Again. I can't even out words to it.
J did better at explaining this then I ever could. This is what
she texted us the night before her baptism:
"I haven't been this excited since.. Ever. Wow, that's so weird, I
don't remember the last time I was this excited honestly. Like it's
not just happiness, it's pure joy."
..... J THOUGH! 😂
This week was also accompanied by an amazing MTE (mission training
exchange... Experience... Something like that). Sister E went back to
La Jolla with none other than the incredible Sister Wilson. I took her
companion she's been training, back with me to Poway! SISTER ESSYMBA
IS HER NAME. Again... I can't seem to find the correct words for my
feelings right now. I LOVE Sister Essymba. She is from Africa. She
speaks French. And oh my goodness I love her a lot a lot a lot. Those
two... Sister Wilson and Sister Essymba.. My heart might just burst
with how much respect and adoration I have for them. Sister Essymba
came to America (not a member) for medical school. While learning
English in Texas, she received a phone call from her uncle informing
her that both of her parents had passed away. She stayed in America. A
friend of hers invited her to church. She new it was true. So of
course she hid from the missionaries. Long story short, she was
baptized, then came on an exchange with me! When asking her why she
decided to serve a mission, she said it was because she loved the
lord. What? I know. Respect. It's fun though because she is a convert,
she doesn't know a lot about missionary life. Like transfers for
example ;)
She loves be still my soul. We probably named out to 30 different
versions of the song during our 24 hours together.
Sunday's Mission President Devotional was fantastic. Here's why:
So it was in Chula Vista right? (40 minutes away) so we car pooled
with 2 other sets of sisters in our zone (Sisters Pilkington,
Cortello, Larson, and Marz) with Debbie in GV Ward driving. We were
graced to hear Debbie's story (involving sister Saedan and Cava, AH!)
then, of course, we were able to see the other sister missionaries
rehearsing for the devotional. My favorite part.
THANK YOU SO MUCH SISTER WHITCOMB.
Whitcomb pride. World wide.
She did a great job accompanying me. As always. And so did Elder
Cello. That's not his name... But I forgot it and he plays the cello.
There ye be.
I CANNOT (will not) get over Mission President Devotionals. Seeing the
other missionaries, (again....it makes my day getting to see others.
Sister Stew... Sister Purcell... The list goes on. I have so many
emotions that YET AGAIN I can't explain that I have for the people
I've met here) ok tangent. Ready? Real quick. I'm sorry.
So the ride home from the Fireside, *cough* devotional, excuse me, Sis
Pilk was beside me and we were fantasizing being on an actual road
trip. She, as was I, were both overcome with how much we were loving
that very moment in time. So many incredible sisters in the car. So
many emotions. No explanation in words ;)
Oh. And then Sister Pilkington and Cortello were literally on top of
me. I smiled. Didn't want to road trip to stop ha!
Ok. Tangent over, back to the Devotional. President Schmitt................
Why. Can. I. Not. USE THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE! That man. He's beyond
words. So. Just won't even try.
Also. There's not enough time in the day ha!
Hmmmmm... So much else happened. No time.
Our last few district meetings have been attended by future mission
president's. One going to Russia. The other going to the Philippines.
Intense.
We street contacted another guy and I jammed out on his guitar! But
this time, he was interested :)
He accepted the invitation to be baptized. AND IT WAS IN RAMONA. We'll
be going up there more often.
Sister E is still teaching me Tongan. It's fantastic. I'm still
teaching teaching ASL.
One of my trainer's best friend is in the mission from Thailand!
Sister Sanpothorn. SAWADI-KHA!
The Church is true.
-Sister Carlson



Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sister San Diego

9 months in.... 9 months to go...................nope.
Let's get going. The time is far spent.
Once upon a time, I was driving the car. Sister 'Eukaliti was next to
me. She saw a man in an empty parking lot, playing his guitar. She
asked me if I played. Of course. We drove into the empty parking lot.
He played and sang for us. Then, I played and sang for him. He became
extremely excited and wanted me to sing with him. Although he wasn't
very interested interested in the gospel, he wants to come to some YSA
activities to jam out. Brilliant!
How is everyone!? Good? Yay? Nay?
Miracles!
W, our investigator (who refers to himself as a member) set a
date! He's been apprehensive about baptism because his parents are
anti and will disown him. He told us he didn't want to prolong his
eternal happiness any longer. I cried. Just being in his company
strengthens my faith!
He wants to be baptized in a month! He also finds it very
uncomfortable to pray in front of people but has slowly been getting
over that. Also! He wants to bare his testimony next fast Sunday :)
ASL! Yup. I used it in real life. Sister E went up to this random lady
in a huge complex and asked her if she knew any college age kids. The
women looked at Sister E confused then pointed to her ears. Sister E's
face lit up, and she looked at me with a spark in her eye. "TAKE IT
AWAY SISTER CARSON!"
Turns out she was already a member but I loved having a conversation with her :)
Goat service. All the goats are extremely pregnant. Actually, some gave birth.
Right now, Sister Pilkington is playing the first game name. She is failing.
This morning we drove to the institute for auditions. Sister
Richardson asked me to sing Where Love Is for the next mission
president's devotional in Chula Vista (this Sunday). I am so grateful
for Sister Whitcomb... She's always got my back. I thank her mother
for making her practice the piano ;)
Ah! I love getting to see the sisters. I'm a huge fan of Sister
Wilson, Starr, Stewart, Purcel, Pilkington... Pretty much everyone.
Being around them just makes my week.
I've been having a party with Sister 'Eukaliti! She tells me all these
crazy stories about Tonga. I've been learning so much:
Ka Take Koa Toko.
O Fa Too.
Too low.
Mate ma'ah Tonya!
The list goes on.
I have so much respect for her and her culture. Just in the car today,
she was telling me the history of Tonga and we both kept tying it to
the stories in the Book of Mormon.
Have a good week!
I really do love you all.
-Sister Carlson




Friday, February 12, 2016

Sister San Diego


 Once... We went to 7 Eleven and Sister 'Eukaliti accidentally made the
slurpy machine explode. It went everywhere. All is well. The machine
is fine. But not my stomach. I laughed so hard, it made me sick.
The story of J continues!
J not only came to our Ward last week, but she attended church
while away on a trip and loved it. She has truly become converted and
it has strengthened my faith. Her family was questioning her decision
to get baptized, thinking she was doing it for the member that
introduced her to us.
To us she says:
"Of course not. He is the one who introduced me to the church, but not
to God. I want to be baptized by the restored church with the legit
authority form God, and I want my spiritual growth to be with the true
church which is the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Would
I have probably not known about this if it weren't for him? I'm not
sure. But God put in my heart that this is the next step to
strengthening my faith which is something I've been seeking for a long
time. I want to be an official member of the Church and want to defend
the church against those who criticize it who don't see how plain and
simple and most importantly true all of this is. God is so real and
from reading the Book of Mormon and going to the lessons and praying I
just want people to know about Heavenly Father and experience the love
that he gives me so generously. idk why I'm crying."
WHAAAAAAT?
She was literally introduced to the church 2 weeks ago.
Miracles!
A few minutes before Saturday ended, I felt the impression to go find
a potential investigator in Saber Springs. SO WE WENT! And didn't find
them. But we ended up getting locked inside a complex on accident.
With little time until curfew, we became somewhat concerned... BUT!
There was a girl (YSA!) getting home and rummaging through her car. So
we asked her how to get out then taught her the restoration and
invited her to be baptized. She said "OF COURSE!" What's great is this
experience didn't happen not once, but twice! The next night with a
great kid named Daren.
Companionship is great! We went to the temple today to seek revelation
on how we can meet the standard of excellence every week this month.
After companionship study and our temple visit, we came to 3
conclusions:
1. we need to valiantly follow every spiritual prompting we receive,
no matter how small
2. We to to keep our Ward mission leader and Bishop more in the loop.
3. Exact obedience. It's a thing.
Sister E's first MLC. It was great.
We taught at Zone Meeting. It was great.
The AP's called and they want me to sing come thou fount at MTE's.
It's going to be great.
MTE's... They're coming.
LOVE YOU!
-Sister Carlson



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sister San Diego

So many things...
First off! I have a new companion! Sister 'Eukaliti from Tonga!
She's incredible. Before the mission she was an Undercover Cop so that's cool.
Dated a Drug Lord to get information. Then baptized him. What? I know...
Add it to the List!
Thailand
Japan
Korea
China
Switzerland
Germany
France
NOW TONGA!
Are you excited? 'Cause I am.
BUT I am also.. Concerned? I'm going to miss sister Stewart. A lot. I
kind of don't really know how to be a Sister Training Leader let alone
take over the area. But sister E doesn't know how to be one either so
all is well. HA! We're going to have a blast. SISTER PILKINGTON IS
HERE THOUGH. Just her presence in this room is giving me peace of mind
:P
MIRACLES
For. Days.
Jenelle!
Monday... One of our members brought his friend (J) to FHE! She
didn't really participate in the activity, instead she had a
conversation G (recent convert) about religion. Over hearing, we
discovered that she already thought Joseph Smith was a true prophet.
SO we just taught her then and there. Great first lesson. She was
amazed we were so normal.
A few days later we texted her to follow up and see if she had read in
the Book of Mormon and if she had any questions.
"Sisters, I'll be honest. It took a lot of faith to pick it up, and I
haven't read it until today. But I can't put it down."
What?
Sister Stew and I danced around the apartment. We asked her if she had
any questions.
"How could people not know this is true?"
What?
We cried in the car.
Our next lesson with her, she apologized for not getting very far in
the book. SHE WAS IN JACOB.
What?
She told us that her sister was giving her flack about Mormons but
Jenelle asked her if she had ever met a Mormon. The answer was no.
She came to church and told us she was reading the Book of Mormon on
the beach and started crying.
What?
The tears continued next lesson when she was taught about the Gospel
of Jesus Christ.
She'll be baptized on the 20th.
Aside from J, Sister Stew and I were feeling pretty bummed a few
days ago. All of our investigators had dropped their dates. I told her
we just have to double our failure to triple our rate of success! Kind
of as a joke as we walked up to the next door, I told her we were
about to see a miracle.
Wait for it.
This man answered the door. He was scruffy, fit, and willing to talk
with us for a minute. After further conversation we see that he's a
pretty deep thinker and he likes religious texts. He even said he
believes everything he's heard so far of the Mormon religion. So we
read to him a verse in the Book of Mormon. Handed him a Restoration
pamphlet, he took one look at it, and a tear dropped. After a few
moments of silence, he full on started bawling.
(For reference, there is a picture of Christ on the cover of the pamphlet)
"You don't understand... I know him. I remember him... I miss him."
What?
Speaking of crying, YESTERDAY! We had dropped by one of our
investigators house to say goodbyes. We ended up reading with her in
the Book of Mormon and at the end of the lesson during the closing
prayer. ANDREA BROKE DOWN. Before this moment.. Sister Stewart and I
weren't sure if she liked us very much. She's so sweet and we really
hope she can follow her little sister and get baptized.
HILLARY bore her testimony at the Mission President's Devotional
Sunday! Her conversion story. I cried. Of course. President got up
afterward and said when I called him after discovering Hillary was
Baptized in France, he had to hold the phone quite the distance away
from his ear. Haha! Hillary laughed pretty hard at that. I got pretty
red... I'm so happy she's in La Jolla with Sister Wilson and Kaiser :)
So much happened this week. I could go on for days but... There is
never enough time.
Love from me!
-Sister Carlson







Sister San Diego


G'day.
Spent Australia Day with an Australian... AT THE SAN DIEGO ZOO SO WE
WERE SURROUNDED BY KOALAS AND SUCH!
So much to say. So little time ;)
Wednesday we had a world wide mission training "Teach Repentance and
Baptize Converts". It was basically the mission department of the
church (the head of which being Dallin H Oaks)  training all the
missionaries in the world how to be that much better. It was intense
and extremely YES. The church hasn't had anything like it for a
decade. I might just share what I wrote down at the end of this email.
Feel free to read about what I learned.
So you know Mitt Romney? His brother is in the stake presidency here
in Poway (cool guy, I shook his hand... HA!) He just got called to
serve as a mission president somewhere.. Why am I telling you this? I
don't know.
I'm going to go deep now. Hold your breath.
Sunday we had a meeting with one of our Investigators, W. W hasn't made
 it to church the past 3 weeks and has had struggles with
his family. I might have written about him in one of my past emails
(possibly calling him Spock), but he knows the church is true, just
can't get baptized without his family disowning him. He told us he had
something he wanted to discuss before the meeting, so we knew this
might be one of those times as missionaries, we would be ears to hear
and eyes to see. Now this is a kid who shows no emotion on his face,
but in our meeting, he just broke DOWN. Imagine Spock breaking down,
bawling. You can't. We testified of the savior and of his atonement
and in turn, he shared probably one of the most profound statements
I've ever felt. It went something along the lines of:
"If nothing else, at the end of your missions, remember me. know that
you have touched someone's life so deeply, and it has made all the
difference in the world."
He went on but I couldn't hear through my own tears.
I don't think I've ever felt the spirit so strongly in a lesson. Nor
have I ever wanted to hug someone else more than I did that moment.
But. Ya know. Missionary life.
Our weeks was full of spiritual miracles.
So many.
No time to write about them.
I'm looking at sister stew sitting next to me and she's already busted
out a million paragraphs. Sorry family and friends HA!
A is still on date for the 6th. Her sister is getting baptized
this Saturday. M is still on fire but couldn't make to to church
with work. Added a gal named J. She's pretty much another
Hillary :)
All is well.
I love being a missionary.
-Sister Carlson
Ha! I just remembered, we were asked to give a last minute lesson in
relief society this past Sunday. HAHA! I loved it
It was a great.
More pictures to come next week! Again. No time. Sorry!

Sister San Diego



I introduced Sister Stewart a few weeks ago to hot sauce... Now she
puts it on literally everything. Corn, broccoli, cucumbers, eggs, you
name it. What have I done.
HOW IS EVERYONE? Good? Good.
Miracles!
EHEM.
So once upon a time, Sister Starr and Sister Stewart street contacted
this guy named M. They went back to meet him later on but he
wasn't home... *cough* SO! We went over Wednesday, then continued to
meet with him Thursday... Then Friday... Then Saturday.... Then
SUNDAY! He's eating the gospel up and wants to be baptized February
13. He's 25, very humble, very willing to learn, very cool.
Ha! Our entire Thursday was lesson after lesson after lesson. I've
never had such a busy day teaching. And it just so happened to be on a
weekly planning day. Sha ding.
Speaking of Sha ding, I went on an exchange this week with Sister
Purcell! She grew up in Australia but was originally born in New
Zealand. She actually lives a few streets down from mission
headquarters for Anna Casperson's mission. Whaaaaat? I know. She's one
of the best missionaries I've ever met, and she taught me so much. Not
only of missionary work, but of life... And Australian things. Just
another one of those places I'll add to my list. Along with Japan,
Thailand, Korea, Switzerland etc etc etc. learned a new vocabulary:
Shrimp on the Barbie
Goo day mate
Shila (female)
Bloke (male)
Boot (trunk)
Car park (parking lot)
Musly bar (granola bar)
Fairdinkum (no worries)
Cheers
That's gold (in ASL: help)
The dingo stole my baby
We had a lesson with one of their recent converts, Lima. She called me
her L-ow-Mae sister because of my turtle necklace. (Turtle in Samoan)
we laughed a lot. I love Lima :)
Right now we're making a chicken quesadilla for Sister Tengberg's
(Bishop's wife) landscaper, Pedro. Ok. Back from delivery. We
literally just ran around this mansion looking for Pedro so we could
give him his quesadilla. What?
Hmm.. What else happened this week.
OH! We'll be going to the Zoo next week with sister Purcell, Cortello,
Atwood, and Bartell. It's going to be the beeeeest.
AH! Sunday we had a Mission President's Fireside. M and another
one of our investigator's, A, CAME! THE SPIRIT OF GOD! I was on
the verge of crying pretty much the entire time. I was honored by the
presence of Sister Pilkington. She sat next to me. On the floor. My
heart sang. OH AND SISTER WHITCOMB PLAYED THE PIANO THE ENTIRE
FIRESIDE. Oh but it's called a devotional now. Haha! I just remembered
that during our rehearsal, we sang happy birthday to sister Wilson! I
know I've spoken of her in previous emails (the sister that every
other missionary looks up to, the BYU track team captain, she came to
my area for MTE's and we added 5 investigators that day, my idol, etc
etc etc I could go on for days) it was fun. She got up in front of
everyone and President Schmitt led us like a choir. Sister Richardson
afterwards was all.. "Why don't you follow my lead like that!?" HA!
Oh. Speaking of singing. Soooo.. While I was giving my talk to the
YSA's this Sunday, I was looking at the clock, then looking at the
sleepy crowd, then decided to sing a hymn because... I only had been
speaking for 4 minutes and I had 11 minutes to go. Wake up my friends.
Awake and arise your faculties. The talk was on thanking heavenly
father via prayer. I talked about dislocating Julie's arm when she was
a baby. I prayed pretty hard that day. 5 year old flash backs.
Goat service. I'm pretty sure the stench is permanently In-graven into
my nose. Funniest thing ever.
So many depressing things happen in one week, but so many hilarious
things come about also. San Diego has become sacred ground for me. My
Gethsemane. The place where I learned to use the atonement. The place
where I've been the most happy, yet knelt the most in despair. San
Diego will forever hold a special place in my heart.
OH AND I LOVE SISTER STEWART A LOT!
I tell her all the time the things I love about her and she tells me
to stop but I won't.
Keep on Keepin' on folks.
Act on your faith. Go see miracles today.
-Sister Carlson