My Year Mark

20 June 2016

Hi Mom,

You know something waaaaay different about the mainland is they put together funerals so quick. One of our new investigators, Noah, his father passed away at the beginning of the month and the funeral still isn’t for a few more weeks. Unfortunately this is only one of several instances I have seen proof of the month+ long wait that is so common in the islands.

I am very sorry that I wasn’t able to be there with everyone for all of the recent happenings. Grateful also though, to have the experience from a distance. It has been quite a time of growth in trust for God and everything that has gone on, I know that it has been to the benefit of my own testimony and the strengthening of those we are teaching: Noah, for example. (Or Keao, but that’s a few day long story meant for another month. Maybe January). Having not been through something of that magnitude myself it is impeccably difficult for me to even try to genuinely empathize because even though I have firm beliefs that there will be more time for us, (in my opinion) it simply cannot be as convincing to people without personal experience to back it up. This past bit is the closest thing that I really have to that kind of experience. And for that I am thankful on multiple accounts. In the most respectful of ways, this has done wonders for my heartfelt testimony bearing, and it is comforting to see that my roots may perhaps be deeper than I give myself credit for.

Which reminds me, my sincerest apologies for ever possibly making it sound like I thought that you or dad or anyone else for that matter, have not had to go through difficult things. I know that is not true. Of course it is all relative and what I meant was more that we (as a family) have had different mountains to climb than other families. Thanks largely to a functional marriage whether you two really feel like it or not, 😉 and realistic views of the world and what it requires to survive it. I love you guys.

I’m glad Papa is recovering. And I will pray for everyone involved that the wedding this weekend is enjoyably worthwhile.

My week was extremely faith trying, not just because I was worried about you all, but also because this week was ward camp out at Bellows Air Force base. The Bellows campsite is a grassy area RIGHT up against some of the best beach on this side. I love driving right along it and listening to the waves so much! (I’m kind of going though this “don’t want to listen to music” phase but Sister Taufu’i is making it slightly difficult to satisfy my craving. She loves her EFY!) Funny how the smell of the ocean smells so perfect when you’re at the ocean when everywhere else it only smells sketchy. My hair was completely untamable, especially since it was extra windy. But I really don’t even mind anymore. I sure was grateful for the sweater you sent me! I know it’s lame, but it was cold up there in the evenings.

To be clear, we didn’t actually camp with the ward. Ward camp was just our dinner appointment Tuesday through Friday so we went up there at the end of each evening to catch up with our people. Twas fun.

The love of my life: fresh mangos 🙂


We had many miracles this week and we have several really solid new people to work with! We met lots of Baptists, (that was fun). Chauncey is still going strong. Nine years later and he’s closer than he has ever been. We had a really powerful lesson with him yesterday and I hope and pray that he doesn’t choose to brush it off but instead continues pondering.

Agency is the death of me some days.

Saturday was just about the longest day ever, but on our way up to try to re-contact the German lady, Bridgette (She is beautiful and I legitimately think she was a ballerina in the years previous but I am honestly slightly worried (insert sarcasm emoji) she is keeping someone hostage in her garage–another story I won’t tell today), I saw none other than my dear friend Darrell. Darrell is that golden guy we met long time ago when I was first with Sister Biggs–a black guy who doesn’t mind about that part of church history. We’ve been in contact through text but things just have not lined up, so I seized that opportunity by slamming the brakes pretty quickly. Tiwi didn’t yell, though, so I guess it wasn’t that hard.

We approached and as soon as he saw he gave an automatic, “Hey girl!” in the way only he can get away with. Hoi, he is such a character if only you knew. I love him a lot. He’s one of those people who helps me to love myself, too. We need more people like him in this world. In the months that we have missed each other he has read halfway through the Book of Mormon. Studies just about every doctrine on and talked incessantly about us to his wife. Yes, I didn’t know he had a wife. I learned a few other things too, his age, for instance 61. Shoots, I sure wish I was hapa (half) or something.IMG_0852-2 This haole skin will be the death of me! It ages far too quickly. He looks maybe in his forties. His daughter is turning 3 at the end of this month and she is lovely, as is his wife.

All this time and he is still golden, now all we have to do is get him to church! In his own words though, “You have to make me think that it is my own idea, you know how I mean.”

Yes, Darrell. I think we, the Carlsens, know all too well what he means.

Friday I hit my year mark, congrats to me. Life is weird.

Other than that life is good. Still plenty to learn out here, I’m always happy to find that I haven’t run out of firsts yet.

Ofa atu (the Tongan way), Sister Carlsen

P.S. Definitely had to remove the jalosies and climb into the house through the window one day because I locked the keys inside. That was a good first . . . . . and hopefully a last, too.


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