Happy Belated Easter!

28 March 2016

Hi Mom, how’s it going?

Life in Hawaii is the same but also not. I remember always saying to people, pre-deciding-to-serve-a-mission, that I don’t think I could do it because of all the repetitiousness. It was a lousy excuse, but speaking honestly, there are moments I still feel that way. Only small moments, though, because while we do have our life pattern pre-established, the details of it all are more varied. So yes, my week was filled with the same sort, sleeping, praying, studying, praying, trying to visit people, to teach people, to find people. But the dreams I have are different. The things I study are different (The list of things to get to grows much faster than I can maintain in my allotted study time. The struggle is real). The things I pray for are similar, but also different. And of course the people are different. If not, then the things that we talk and that they talk about are different. At least, for the most part.

Grandma Higa is a special case.

I’ve definitely realized this week, or rather, more firmly established for myself, that when I get home, I want to live a more purposeful life. Sure, I can still watch Doctor Who (except for I hear it’s been removed from Netflix), but I need to make it useful. You know, liken-it-unto-myself style. Because it is, after all, so relevant.  Pinterest… Eh. I’ll be real, I probably will not completely abstain, but I do intend to use it more as a means to beginning to live the kind of life that Pinterest addicts dream of living instead of being one of the Pinterest addicts. There are so many wonderful things to learn, books to read, skills to gain. And even with what will be limited Netflix and Pinterest, no time.

I had some kind of epiphany the other day. Shoots, the Book of Mormon is becoming cooler and more relevant by the minute. I’m reading in Helaman, war chapters in their own right, about the Gadianton robbers, And Nephi’s teaching and prophesying among them. Sparing details. I cannot believe I never recognized how strongly our times mimic those times. I don’t know all that is going on, I’m thankful for the missionary bubble, but every now and again, conversations pierce through and from what I gather (only allowing the most trusted sources to really stick with me), I feel like I am reading the past years’ and especially months’ events folklore style. Here’s the thing, though, all this just over 20 years before the coming of Christ. Wickedness is accelerating, the church has already begun to separate from the world further and further day by day. None will know when it is He will come. But parallels are present and I believe in God’s patterns.

Other topics: Sister Biggs and I have been talking a lot lately about retention. Many if not all of our converts from previous areas are less active already (Jokes, I talked to Lila today, she’s okay! 🙂 ) Still, it was a pretty disappointing realization, However, I know that God has been listening to our thoughts and prayers and conversations because James, who we’ve been rather worried for, came to church yesterday. Turns out he’s been genuinely BOOKED with his new promotion. Supposed to be off Saturdays and Sundays but since he’s the manager, he’s been required to fill in whenever they’re short handed, which happens to be always. Poor guy has been working sometimes 7 days a week for regular 12-hour+ shifts. Anyway, he’s still strong, which was the greatest tender mercy we possibly could have experienced. He even asked if he could go to the temple again, more often. Yups! We were so happy!

Another thing, only a meeting or two earlier I’d been saying to our ward mission leader that I felt one of the most solid markings of a steady recent convert is their active involvement in fellowshipping others either in the ward or inTO the ward. Then this happened:

James has been bringing his sister and she sat in on our after baptism lesson. Anela’s been reading the book of Mormon and comprehending more than I’ve ever seen or heard any first time reader before. You could see on James’s face, minutes into the visit, that he already new what was coming at the end. She accepted the baptismal invitation in a heart beat and told us that James has been teasing her for weeks saying, “You’re next!” I have never seen either of those two, Anela or Kelly, James’ girlfriend, so happy as they were then. And, the moment we realized James could be the one to baptize her? My eyes actually got a little teary. It was so awesome and such an undeniable answer to our unspoken prayers.

The Stride Family is still doing well, too! Kaneohe 1st just defies the odds in every circumstance. Mykayla is struggling some, but I know that Uncle Mark will be a strength. He is such an amazing man.

We got TIWI systems at zone conference on Friday. TIWI is the much anticipated “blackbox” for missionary cars. It’s supposed to talk to us whenever we’re driving in any reckless sort of way. You know, beginning at 3 miles over the speed limit. That was the rumor, any way, but Hawaii is special. The posted speed limits often reflect the same islander mentality that the people do, and it’s not uncommon for traffic to flow around 15 miles over. We’ve been keeping with that traffic and it hasn’t spoken a word. Part of me feels it’s a decoy, or placebo thing, but I don’t feel like the church would do that, so now we are just extra confused. Also, grateful.

The reason I love the Friel’s:  they do their family mission plan!

If you can, find and send me some Japanese Uni-ball pens? Black, .38mm. So pristine. 🙂

And if you haven’t watched the MoTab’s virtual Hallelujah Chorus, please do. It gives me chicken skin every time!


We had 9 nonmembers at our Sacrament meetings yesterday, though the family that showed up wasn’t the one we’d been begging for. Not even a family that we’d met before, actually. No matter, we were happy. It was testament to me that if and when we sacrifice and if and when we ask, God will pull through. Sometimes it’s just that He pulls through something we weren’t expecting.

My new favorite people of the minute are the Leoki-Hailis. They are a young family who recently bought 2 acres of land in Kahalu’u. For O’ahu, that’s huge. So now they’re in the process of saving up. They live in a shack that they built themselves and pay their uncle for any power they use off of the massive extension cord they run from his house to theirs. Blake grew up perfectly “surferish.” Surfing is breathing kind. No jokes, that’s how they explain it. So you can imagine how sweet it could be to hear him talk about the ways having a kid changed his life. Kahana is two and adorable. The best part is that Blake isn’t the first dad I’ve heard say it: the morning waves somehow aren’t so tempting when instead you can wake up to see your own family.

Anyway, I’m really grateful for you, Mom. And all of our family. I miss you by the second, but it’s not a problem for me. Usually. 😉

All my love,

Sister Carlsen

p.s. Thanks for the clothes and money. They’re lovely! Also, family scripture study and prayer. Please do it.

Our perfect view!  Incredible isn’t it?!



One thought on “Happy Belated Easter!

  1. Hi Aubrey, I love your narratives. Keep up the good work. In our neck of the woods we are getting ready for the Cinco de Mayo celebration. We will be holding it on the first of May.

    Once this is over I want to take some time off and just work on my projects at home. I have a tendency to get over involved with community activities.

    Love you lots always. G-mom, Catalina


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