8 December 2015

Hi mum and others,

This week was glorious. And I am in no way being sarcastic although it was pretty normal in many ways, too. Yeah, as far as numbers and stuff… normal. Which, for Sister Maher and me, is sky high. We humble. There were plenty of un-normal things, too. Like traveling to Honolulu three times. For…. reasons.

Actually it’s because I have TB(latent). The skin test practically gave me a tumor. If I had to describe it? Kind of looked like I was the incubator for a dragon’s egg. Honestly I’m pretty torn at the fact that you weren’t worried about it at all! My number one concern when I found out was that you would be worried, or that you would be worried that I was worried, so since I wasn’t worrying I prayed that you wouldn’t either. I guess I shouldn’t complain because it was an answer to prayer, but still. Torn. Those side effects though… so fun. Elder Neff had a good laugh about that. Drug buddies :). I’ve got a little card to keep in my wallet for the rest of my life saying that I carry the TB germ. Almost makes the 4 months of antibiotics worth it.

Some stages of my dying arm. If only the pictures could do it justice. DAAAANG that thing was itchy!




We went to do Service at Pearl Harbor on Wednesday. We and the Ewa sisters somehow accidentally exchanged, so the group that Sister Blackner and I were in ended up stripping wire. That was a fairly relaxing activity other than the several moments I feared a femoral artery was going to get chopped. We made me a ring out of the copper. Imma keep it forever. And Elder Lee Chip Sao told us about the “Flying Sausage” he saw one time back home in Tahiti. At lunch someone asked us if we were a band. How they guessed that we were the one and only “Lost Tribes” I have no clue, but props to them.

Thursday we learned that Lila was a born Word of Wisdom follower. That made me overflow with joy some. It was so funny. We started the lesson talking story and then with no intentional guidance on our part she started telling us about how every time she ever tried alcohol she had to spit it right out. Let me tell you again, God is so good. Right before we headed into her home we were admiring all those who are able to learn English because how “I am going to have to…” ever became “imanahafta...” I have no idea.

Friday we had zone meeting before heading to the TB clinic for my chest x-ray. Yay. It was nice and motivating and then it was fun. We played a round of catch phrase, district against district. Then we switched from catch phrase to charades which I was totally aware of, but that didn’t stop me from urgently telling everyone that the person on my paper had an army of 2000 young’uns. I’d feel bad, but I think it would’ve taken me more time to try and act out the part of Helaman than it did to disqualify myself. You’re welcome District TB Krew.

Saturday something weird happened, and I realized that the transfer is nearly over. More than that, that my mission is nearly over. Okay, not really, but I’m so confused now. The week before Thanksgiving, the week after Thanksgiving… they took about 40 years to pass by, I swear. Then on Saturday it somehow felt like everything that has happened only lasted maybe what, 2 blinks? TB didn’t phase me, but daaang that was anxiety provoking. I am not at all ready to… well, I’m just not at all ready in any way. There’s so much to learn, so much to do… I’m completely overwhelmed. I think in the good way though.

There have been several times out here, you know about them, when I’ve felt like I needed another challenge. I’m glad I’ve been able to handle everything as well as I have, but I have this issue where if I feel comfortable I feel lazy. Now, I’m just embarrassed that it took me so long to realize that God was giving me the opportunity I’d always unconsciously wanted: an opportunity to focus the parts of my mind that are usually trying to keep everything in working order on refining myself and becoming the person I need to be. Soooooo much to be done. I just feel like I need to be repenting right and left for I don’t even know what, nothing in particular.

Apologizing to you, though, I guess is one of them.

Because Saturday was also the beginning of God telling me that I need to write more spiritually. I don’t want that to mean I leave the other stuff out, just that I move the focus. Everything over the past few days keeps bringing me back to it:  I need to consecrate my writing, too.

Elder Hamula of the Seventy gave us all quite the wake up call yesterday at mission tour. And I’m grateful he did. He talked about a lot of things, mostly soberness, something I’ve been pondering for sometime now. I knew it was the next step in being the missionary I’m supposed to be but it’s so difficult. I was feeling really good about taking new strides until the end when he was testifying to close it all up and I was all “Oh, this is impossible.” No worries though, because we went to the temple this morning and my prayer to God was to show me what one thing I could do to jump start my newkine missionary life.

In the Celestial Room I prayed. Those are always the best prayers. I told God I was planning on faith flipping, asked him to bless you guys, (other stuff, too) and said amen. I opened to Helaman 5. We’d been sharing with people verse 9 all weekend so I was kind of thinking ehhh… But I read verses 17-19ish which is about Nephi and Lehi baptizing 8,000 people. That made me pretty excited. Maybe it’s a sign or something! Nah, jokes. I didn’t feel like it was what I was looking for, so I checked one of the footnotes.

Doctrine and Covenants 24:5-7, “And thou shalt continue in calling upon God in my name and writing the things which shall be given thee by the Comforter… And it shall be given thee in the very moment what thou shalt speak and write, and they shall hear it… For thou shalt devote all thy service in Zion; and in this thou shalt have strength.”


Writing stresses me out, but I love it. And I need to use it for the best things. My journal, these “gold plates” of mine… although undeniably hilarious, probably deserve stories slightly more significant than “Sister Maher’s burps remind me of the sounds the little thingymajigs made on that Cap’n Crunch computer game I used to play.” (Don’t worry, I asked her permission 😉 ).

Anyway, I didn’t want to write spiritual things because I thought they might somehow be boring. Sorry if they are. But it’s an experiment I have to try. I’m so blessed to be out here serving a mission. I don’t know why I never thought of it, but it’s been brought to my attention recently (Thank you Sister Hamula) that there are plenty of people who, because of physical or mental limitations, cannot do what I am doing, no matter how badly they want to or how wonderfully spiritually qualified they are. I need to seize every blink I get because this work, a work we all are a part of, is eternally significant.

I think probably theeee hardest thing about being a missionary, for me, is seeing people’s faces as they tell you “No thank you.” Assuming they’re the polite kind. It doesn’t matter if they are or not though because either way, nice, not so nice, known them for 5.5 months or 4 seconds, it hurts, every time. It’s probably one of the greatest testimony strengtheners, too, though. Because in those moments, short as they sometimes are, I can feel it so incredibly strongly: If they had what we had, no matter how perfect they think their lives are, no matter how happy they imagine themselves to be, they could have more.

Don’t take Christ for granted, lo’u aiga. And I’m not just saying that because it’s Christmastime. We are so lucky to have the knowledge that we do. The problem is that most often we don’t recognize it. I know I’m all too guilty, but hey, we try!

Alofa tele atu!

Sister Carlsen

P.S. #ShareTheGift. I know that’s last years video, but it’s so good. It never fails to give some differentkine chills. 🙂

PPS. That Christmas devotional though… I love Jesus! It was so good. And I KNOW it wasn’t just because we got to sit on our WML’s couch and eat crepes. Now all I need is an iPad so we can go convert everyone with it. We keep praying.

Editor’s note  –  We received the call from the mission nurse last Thursday. Aubrey  will be taking rifampin aka rifampicin for the next 120 days. Hoping she will be able to tolerate it and the colorful side effects. I told her I wasn’t worried probably because I did my worrying/researching months ago when this first came to light. (Well, other than the possible side effects of the meds–I try not to read them too thoroughly, they are ALWAYS frightening. . . . .)


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