Haoli Afro

16 February 2016

Eight months down! How does it happen?

Yesterday we went on a hike up to the pill boxes in Kahalu’u. Very much like every hike I’ve ever done in that I fell six times and was wishing all along I was skilled enough to look up and around rather than down to my feet. Someday, I will get there. Things I’m grateful for? My Chaco’s (for making me feel outdoorsy), my backpack (good handles for people to catch me by), my ministerial certificate (although I’m completely aware it would’ve done nothing for me had I been caught trespassing past the no trespassing sign), my glasses (so I can remove them while looking at pictures of my haoli Afro), and last but not least, my haoli Afro. Good conversation topic, yes?

Really though, the view was worth it.


There have been times along my mission where for a moment I remember that I’m in Hawai’i. Meaning the place that people from all over the world (namely Asia) come to feel like they’re good photographers even when they have no experience. That’s how pretty it is. I know I take it for granted.  I’m embarrassed but willing to admit my eyes are usually halfway shut to the views around me. (For some reason it’s hard for me to remember to open them and enjoy it all because in my mind) I’m here on business. I drive around with a filter in place that I didn’t mean to put there. I talked to Sister Smith Jr. about it one time on the ride back from Honolulu. I always wonder if I would see Hawai’i differently if I’d come for different reasons or at a different time in my life. Undoubtedly I would. The question then is, would I prefer my exposure to the rocks had it been on different terms? I’ll never know, per se, but I’m pretty confident if I tried them both out and then had the opportunity to erase and pick one, this kind of exposure would be the one I would choose first. Just like you said, Mom, people are so much more important than place. I didn’t come for the place; I came for the people. It is only natural that they would be the forefront of my focus.

I think every now and again about what it will be like to come back and visit. Right now Waipahu is the one I role-play in my head. Last night Sister Biggs got me talking. She really didn’t have to try hard. I was telling her the remainder of my personal study from morning time. Alma 30ish plus or minus. “They” always say that success isn’t measured by number of people you bring into the church, so I was noting the irony in Ammon’s rejoicing. Alma’s rejoicing. Pretty much everyone’s rejoicing. It was a long day. All she said was that while we were on exchanges Sister Blackner had told her I had to leave Waipahu right before Lila’s Baptism. A real bummer. Long story short I talked about everything and everyone, and that’s when I discovered, though, the people are the place. I’m confident that the only reason I remember so clearly the landscapes and farringtonscapes and skyscapes and anianiscapes of Waipahu is because the love I had for those people branded it into my memory right behind and alongside their faces.

Basically I don’t mind too much if sometimes I miss out on the mountain views, the ocean views, the anykine views… Acknowledging it could very likely have been the exhaustion; it kind of made me motion sick anyway. I have a trust the place will become plenty beautiful in the coming years. A different kind of beautiful I wouldn’t ever want to paint over again.

The people here are undeniably different. If only you could understand. If only I could understand. We met about four more guys named “Mike.” Then we found out that the miracle “Mike” is actually named Ken. Finding that out was a miracle, too, though, so I don’t have too many complaints. Yesterday the libraries were closed so we planned to start proselyting early so we could justify coming today. On our way back from Kailua I had the thought to go check “Mike’s” place. Sister Biggs was zoning out a bit in the passenger seat, couldn’t blame her. And I really just wanted to go home and nap until it was time, but I kept getting some feeling and all I could hear in my mind was, “Shoots. What if?” So I told Sister Biggs in a casual tone we should drop by and see if we got lucky. No harm, yeah?

I’ll readily admit I have never known what a prompting feels like, really. A successful one anyway. Still I’m not nearly practiced enough. My experiences in the category are extremely finite. It’s something I’ve always wished and prayed for, but I accepted long ago I might never know when or if it happened.

You can imagine, I’m sure, the burning I experienced in my bosom when I saw that the never-open gate was open.

I don’t know that things will ever progress with that family. It’s okay, no matter; the miracles will stay just as real.

I’ll try to write more stories soon!

All my love, Sister Carlsen

P.S. Other things I wish I could expound on:

  1. The kid who invited us into his house after I opened up his Capri sun. Oh. JOSH. If only his mother was so golden!
  2. Cameron: Caught him on a sick day. Invited him to read the introduction and first chapter of the Book of Mormon while he rested and text us when he finished. Betchu can’t guess what happened only 30 minutes later? . . . For real. I certainly couldn’t!
  3. That time my companion forgot it was Sunday and recommended we go to Don Goyos Mexican Restaurant for dinner. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like my life right now is one giant day.
  4. Sometimes when I make food she calls me “wife material.” I blush every time! Sister Biggs is such a peach. 🙂
  5. Signs of my level of consecration: “Oh look, their license plate says “Fata.” I wonder if they’re Samoan!” –“I don’t think they are, Sister Carlsen…” You know, I never noticed how oblivious I was to pretty much my entire life until just recently. I’ll leave you to figure out which two numbers finished the phrase.
  6. Thanks for the sweaters. 🙂
  7. And for the lovely emails.



Humidity? . . . . . .

Editor’s note–got the license plate numbers! That’s our Aubrey.  Let me know if you get it as well.


One thought on “Haoli Afro

  1. I am so inspired by your spirituality and love hearing your experiences and insight. We love you so much and pray for you each day. Chick and Pop


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