Sister Taufu’i

6 June 2016

Oh my goodness! This is the best email ever, for so many reasons. Also, I’m working on a thank you note currently for the sweet sweet $22 letter you sent me. The earrings really are perfect! Dad’s birthday food sounds and looks perfect, and he looks pretty good, too. 🙂

I am committing now to do choke burpees every day through this transfer and onward in honor of the Spartan sprint team’s name being named after me. If that makes sense. I’ve been eating far too many Hershey’s golden nuggets.

So so happy that Robert and Esther are coming home to Idaho! Although I will be honest, I had one weird moment again where I was driving on autopilot through Kaneohe at dusk and without permission my mind thought that I might just have to come and live here at some point. I love O’ahu. And the Winward side is great living. The Ko’olau ridgeline is the most natural of crowns; it simply cannot be beat. (Plus I can cut through the mountains into Waipahu at any given time). And Kaneohe 1st ward, I will just speak the truth, is incredible. I feel like they are my home ward, and not only because I have been here longer than most could justify expecting. I love being a missionary because you get to know EVERYONE. Yes, Idaho wards are much bigger, but still, I don’t know half as many of the people back home even half as fully as I know those whom I have served. Of course, beginning the 2nd week after my return.

Aubrey’s long lost great great grandmother or past doppelgänger from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s found with other historical photos in Shoshone Falls sent to us by Abby and Heidi Wood.

The Woods are so right! Sister Blackner (wow, when is she going to actually be my companion already?!) and I were laughing pretty hard when we saw the picture! At least, as hard as we can laugh in a library.

I’m working on putting together June birthday packages. Please forgive me for being untimely! I have a few things for Gretyl, but not the main event yet.

Aunt(y) Ora sounds like someone I would have loved. Maybe my future career could be to gather and tell stories of the deceased. A genealogical (historical) journalist…. I can see it.

I have the best family ever.

This week I met my sassy new companion. Those Pacific Islanders, though! I will readily admit, the first few minutes of knowing her I was totally overwhelmed and even afraid, but no worries, she mellowed out beautifully. 🙂 She’s fun, but knows well when to sober up. All day long language study is always a good laugh and she’s really helping me to better get a grasp on my native language as well! I am learning so much already and I know this transfer has great things in store. At least, as soon as everyone gets over the shock of me still hanging around.

The only real problem so far is that she doesn’t like acai bowls or vegetables. That, and she’s just as diligent about learning the ukulele as I was. I guess it’s about time I get a taste of my own medicine! I now have a deeper understanding for how Sister Biggs was feeling when she said to me that one night, “This is the song that never ends…” I am in the process now of sending thank you’s to all of my lovely companions. They were truly saintly!

This week we went tracting. We found a few good potentials to work with, all different kinds of people, but I know that Sister Taufu’i is a little frustrated with the difference in how people treat us here versus in Tonga. Still she is diligent. I love her a lot already! She has such a sincere testimony and you can feel it when she speaks. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn to better share my own right along with her. It’s something I’ve really been working on lately.

I’m grateful also, for how willing she is to accept the differences in missionary behavior over here. From what she has shared, the white handbook is more a formality of companionship study than something they actually refer to. Already we have made several clarifications and hopefully I can help her to see that obedience is important to doing our work well, without seeming overbearing or overly strict. Ho, the struggle!

I’ve learned a lot about her family over the course of these few days, and all I can say is that Sister Taufu’i is an especially strong one. Her dad (severely inactive) and step mom live in California. Her mom lives in New Zealand (not a member). And she grew up in Tonga with her Mom’s Aunty until she passed at which time she moved in with her paternal grandparents (active members). That is when she converted to the church. And all this, about 3 years ago. It’s hard for her to talk about her family, but it is so hard to avoid when that is on the list of every single member’s first questions to ask.

On the other hand, she loves to hear about you and see pictures of you. Hearing her stories has caused me to reflect a lot on how extremely blessed I have been. Of course I’ve always known it, but also I don’t think I REALLY knew it. Even more, I willingly acknowledge that I probably do not fully comprehend how inexplicably blessed I have been, even now. I will continue to realize it throughout my life and beyond. You are all so perfect to me and for me.

Love and miss you much!

–Sister Carlsen


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