21 March 2016

Hi mom,

If it makes you feel any better, I did write things down this week, and I still don’t know what to say.

Also, I refuse to believe that my dogs are getting old.

I’m glad Robert is doing better.

Glad Emma passed her background check and TB test. We’ve been worried. 😉

Procrastination isn’t a bug, it’s a way of life, and if you don’t procrastinate, it’s possible that you’re a really weird person.

I miss She’s the Man.

Congrats to Sammi!

I’m sorry the ward doesn’t participate. Choirs out here are usually pretty well attended. Other activities though are often struggles just as they are in the mainland. For some reason it is consistent across cultures for Mormons to get complacent and not feel the need to support their fellow Mormons. It’s really sad.

Please extend my condolences to the Laga family. They are still my people, and I am so broken to hear that Papa Laga has passed away. He was doing so well when I left! I am happy to have seen him in his good days.

As for my week. It was extra full, as they always are! Sister Biggs and I have been doing some video journals so that’s pretty fun! I’ve officially filled up my 32 gig memory card, so I guess I’ll be sending that home soon enough. Probably make my evenings more efficient, not having the option to reminisce, so that’ll be good!

A few big things I’ll say now to make sure I don’t forget:

We were offered the chance to take over the YSA branch out in Kailua and after a few days of thinking, we took it (though I didn’t realize until yesterday that God was answering our unuttered prayer for help to relearn normal socializing). Looking forward to the busyness and adventures!

Turns out that the papaya thief was Aunty Lola. She brought it back up Wednesday morning all cut and ready to eat. Yes, I repented already!

And I think those are probably the most important items for now.

Now that I’m done procrastinating.

I feel like my week is very well summed up with one event: The Stride’s baptism. Prepping them for interviews, scheduling interviews, President coming to give them their interviews. The elders doing plenty silent favors to get us the small baptismal suit we needed, plus a larger spare, (a miracle I was so grateful for, as Mark forgot to tell us that he needed one, too, until he arrived at 2:30 pm on Saturday). Prepping for the musical number we were asked to provide and for the talk on Baptism and inviting people to the Farm for after the baptism.

Much of what we have to show for our week seems small; there were a lot of hours that went in to what ended up being a little more than one. That one hour though? Huge.

I haven’t been to too many convert baptisms, but I don’t think I’ll experience many more powerful than this. I had no idea it was possible, but everything went perfectly. After finishing my talk we split to the dressing room. I was kind of bummed that we didn’t get to watch but oh-so-happy that we could help in back so that everyone else could. In hindsight, however, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Makamae first, Kupa’a next, Mykayla to finish. Watching them watch each other was so happy. Three in a row and the joy in the room never once let up. With Mykayla especially. She has come so far. Further than I ever knew and probably will ever know, and even without watching, though maybe it was more because I wasn’t watching, I felt it. So strong. Chills from the back to the front. And when she returned Sister Biggs and I didn’t even mind the wet hugs. It was a wonderful testimony to me, not that I didn’t know it before, of the reality and significance of baptism. I’ve never experienced anyone so full of relief and pure thankfulness as her in that moment. Just another reason I wish my super power was brain-picture-taking. I’ll have to better explain that another day.


The happy recent converts!


The Celebration was obviously perfect. Pounding freshly picked and cleaned and boiled kalo grown not 100 yards away, on poi boards carved from trees chopped from the very land where we sat, with hands that’d minutes prior been petting dogs, all to beautiful, authentic kanikapila. It doesn’t get more Hawaiian than that. How am I so lucky?!


Poi pounding

Other things:

  • Bishop is the best.
  • President Ahuna (YSA) is about as opposite from Bishop Carlile as you can get, yet he, too, is the best. Shoots, imma need roller skates to keep up with his head!
  • Other than he made us sing in our first sacrament meeting at the branch.
  • Henry Pahia’s thigh-size papayas. No joke, I will get you a picture.
  • Fresh coconut. How do people in the mainland even survive?

Sorry, as always, I’m so scattered.

All my love, and Happy Easter!

Package on the way 🙂

-Sister Carlsen



One thought on “Baptisms

  1. Happy Easter Greetings to you Sister Carlsen. We hope you have a great Easter Sabbath and enjoy the opportunity of being in the YSA Branch. Thank you for serving a mission and being the great missionary that you are.

    With Love,

    Dick and Cenia Parsons

    Liked by 1 person

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