I Love Waipahu

16 November 2015

Hi Mum,

We have a car! More on that later though.

This week was super awesome. Sister Maher and I somehow managed to get 44 lessons, which pretty much breaks bank. Yes, we are humble, thank you for asking. Nah, it’s all her. She’s exactly the companion every missionary dreams of. We have fun.

Monday evening we ate with the Fia’ava’e family. Love them. Then they took us to Walmart because we hadn’t been grocery shopping in…. yeah. Um. 6 weeks or so.

Tuesday Morning we met with Bishop Fuimaono to finish planning the big ward mission event for Wednesday. It took longer that we thought, so we didn’t get the chance to do our studies before going to district meeting. Whoops. District meeting was great though. Elder Young Yen, who goes home this week (a mid-transfer missionary), is trunky beyond trunky. He showed up in his ie (lavalava). That was pretty funny. Then Elder Baker, our district leader, had to wing the training because it turns out that the things that President prepared for the rest of the transfer don’t apply to us since we’re guinea pigging some new ways to focus on member missionary work. We did the cube test. Ever heard of it? If no, don’t look it up or you’ll corrupt your results, and that’s no fun. I was just messing around with mine. Laughing too much. But then the interpretation was, like . . . deep. Not joking. So that was fun. It’s a pretty awesome story. Maybe I’ll take a picture of it for you guys. Then district meeting was over and Elder Young Yen changed into normal clothes and the zone leaders gave the Marshallese elders instructions to drive us wherever we needed to go. We went to get lunch. Then we cruised to Waipahu District Park. It was a good time. Except for Sister Maher and I didn’t know where to go or what to do about studies, so we just had a mini comp session and went for it. Usually days without normal morning schedule are MESSED up, but it was practically the best day ever.

We ran into my favorite person, Sam, and taught him some stuff about how the gospel blesses families (*cough cough,* his family). Daaaaaang that guy is hard headed. Not a problem though, because his heart is definitely a soft one, I felt it more than ever this week, and I know he did, too. He’s going to “big island” this week to “bear his testimony.” Such a dork. Best start saving up the moneys so I can fly out for the day he decides to get baptized . . .

We also met this guy named Mark who told us his name was Richard. Other than his sly sense of humor, I think he’s got a good head on his shoulders. He gave us baby back ribs on Saturday. That was appreciated, too.

I did break my ‘no french fry streak’ when we were at dinner with the Fetuao Family. I knooooooow. I’d been probably a whole 2 months french-fry-free. I just loove them too much! Them meaning the Fetuaos. So I couldn’t say no. Plus they were hot. And right in front of me. I’ll repent now.

They drove us home afterwards…. Best ride ever. As always, we had much too much fun.

Then we went to bed at 11:10. Which we would’ve been able to cope with if we didn’t have to be AT the church by 5:30am. We were dead all day Wednesday at the activity. The zone leaders came to take us to get our car around 2:00 though, so we did get a little break. It felt so weird having keys in my hand again…. Crazy. What’s crazier though is Elder Pacanos’s fanny pack. Uhhuh. He’s been “trialing” using Elder Smith’s. They are the funniest pair! We took them to meet Athree, a golden referral, and Sister Maher and I laughed a little too much at what looked to be a saggy bumcheek. Just saying it how it is.

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Anyway… I definitely felt the lag from not having our normal studies on Wednesday. The gradual build up of slightly late nights and slightly early mornings was probably a factor, too. But by the time we made it back around to the meeting our ZLs called with our Ward Council, I was too ready to be done. You know how I am. The stress of all the things that both were and weren’t happening made me want to throw things, but since that’s not a good idea as a missionary I almost cried instead. So I read the Book of Mormon for the first 10 or so minutes of the meeting. In case you forgot, let me remind you:  God is ironic. Interpret it as you may . . . I faith-flipped open to Alma 24.

Then we left the meeting and we all went loopy. The elders had pizza in their car so we ate it in the church parking lot and then the wind blew the box off the hood of the car and I thought Elder Pacanos  (ahem, Picasso. Long story.) was going to cry. From laughing. Just… everything was funny. Mom, if only you’d been there. I kept imagining what you’d be doing, but it didn’t help at all because I’m positive you would’ve lost it too! I’m talking about the meeting now, by the way. It was an adventure. I’m still repenting. I kind of nearly laughed about 41 times. When we got home I was so tired that after we planned I fell asleep with my nametag still on.

Cool story though. You know how I’m always dreaming about home? For the first time that I can remember I didn’t dream about Idaho. I dreamed of Aniani Place. That’s home, too.

It was so weird. The Tuesday before Sister Smith left to Maui we were walking up Farrington Highway around sunset and I got an “oh shoots” kine feeling where I thought in my heart, Dang. This place is my place, too. I don’t know why it took me so long to accept that. Usually I adapt pretty easily. For some reason it just took that imagining having to leave it before I was able to realize how attached I am to it. I love Waipahu. Every time I talk to Sister Maher about the possible transfer I start to tear up. Why do I have so many issues?

Thursday I heard way too much T-Swift. I always love going places and hearing the music but this week it’s been especially distracting! Probably because Sister Maher and I have a lot of the same tastes so we silently geek out together and then it’s scary because neither of us can focus entirely on the conversation. Thank goodness most of the time we take turns. It really all testifies to me how wise, that as much as I would like to send it up in flames some days, the white handbook is. There. I said it.

We saw Storm this week for the first time in forever. I’m so devastated we left her for so long. I really hope we can get her picked back up again. On the way back from her place we pulled up along side these people with their windows down, so we said hi and then kept on waiting at the stop light. Awwwwkward. Then the light turned and we both went the same way. And then there was another red light. So in an effort to be less weird, I hit unpause on the music. Wooooow that Mormon Tabernacle Choir has some good timing. Hiccups happened.

Friday was a really good day, too. Our typically hard-hearted people were open-hearted and it surprised me more than I should admit. I love God.

Saturday things happened.

Sunday was the Primary program. White Sunday, as they say around here, so the number of miracles was high. So many of our people came to church! Not investigators. But less actives yes. I love them. And the primary kids. They’re the ones that give the bestkine hugs.

A gecko was in the shower with me the other day. That was nice. And I discovered after being here for 4.5 months that eating while standing in Samoan culture is considered extremely rude. I’ve never felt so self- conscious in my life . . .

My friend Barry, the golden guy we referred to the Marshallese Elders is getting baptized this week. I’m counting it as one of mine. 😉

I have a cold. Very unfortunate.

But we hit all of our zone goals this week, so we get to have pancakes with president! That’s exciting. Other than I don’t even like food anymore.

Let me tell you. . . True love:  When you show up to an active family’s home on Sunday evening and the parents leave to go buy you ice cream, cake, donuts, and icecream. The Cocoa Samoa was good, too. Mmmmmhm. Ima die here.

I love you a lot though. Just FYI.

Backtrack. We had some pretty backwards miracle last night that taught us a nice lesson. Maybe I’ll write a letter about it, or probably not. It’s in my journal already so no need. We’ll see. Keep on praying and reading your scriptures, family. It’s the best way to stay sane.

Alofa atu

Sister Carlsen

p.s.  About the car… It’d been so long that we didn’t even know what to do with it. Finally we just parked at Leonui St and walked to Pupuole. It just felt better somehow. I’m ruined!

Ward Sport’s Day

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Sam is on the left.

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