26 July 2016
Aloha! First a list:
- Leaving Kaneohe I only cried twice–AFTER I left the Stride’s farm (Then we passed the Tani kids on a walk. Their hugs made it better and worse all at the same time!) and then Wednesday morning after walking down the stairs of Auntie Lola’s. I will never stop loving and missing that place! I’m so surprised I held it all together as well as I did.
- God is truly merciful to me. I came to Maui with so many friends! Elder Yates and Elder Putnam were white washed to the Tongan ward here. I served with both of them in Waipahu and Kaneohe! For real, Elder Yates and I are 3 for 3 so far. I might just serve my entire mission with him. I appreciate so much how God has catered so lovingly to my need for familiarity. Those elders are my buds. We look out for each other.
- I HAVE TO LEARN MORE EARTH SCIENCE AND ASTRONOMY. Old Uncle Chester reminded me.
- This area Makawao, is so beautiful, and so beautifully refreshing. I don’t think anyone so far has said the words, “I already have a church, “ or “I have my own church.” Every door so far has felt like a little miracle, and some too, were big.
- Better believe it. My hair is more frizzy than ever here in Maui.
Rain, Humidity and Hair
- Tracting is practically like hiking. I am so happy!
- Two times being on O’ahu again was nice. Plus I got to see Elder Livaie and Sister Maher!
- I think I’m OCD. I just saw it now, this being my third area. I haven’t functioned or had focused personal study in any of my areas until AFTER I’ve organized (or reorganized) the bookshelf.
BIGGER THINGS NOW:
Makawao is so awesome! I still miss Kaneohe with all of my heart, for sure, but this place will grow me another heart in no time. The people are so kind. They don’t just talk Aloha, but they live it, which is something I find very refreshing.
My first Sunday in Makawao ward was lovely. It made me think of the one time we knocked a door in Kaneohe. The man wasn’t interested. He “had his own church.” But he was a very analytical person, well read, and quite literary. I tried one last attempt at convincing him to try the experiment on THIS gospel. Something like,
“We don’t doubt you are happy, but we’re here because we can offer you MORE.”
Then he proceeded to teach me. “Never use the word but!”
“What word should you use instead? Um . . . however?”
“No sister, same thing.”
“AND. Because and is inclusive and does not as easily provoke or put people on guard.”
I liked that man. So with that knowledge I say I totally love the people I have met thus far in my new ward. They are humble, well-traveled, willing to learn more, and knowledgeable in the gospel. They are organized, and, so cool, giving us referrals. AND, I still miss Kaneohe. I’m grateful that I don’t have to subtract love I feel for anyone, anyplace, or anything in order to give and grow more love for someone, someplace, or something new. THIS WILL BE SO GOOD!
Sister Modolon is so sweet! 100%. Chill and obedient. I couldn’t ask for anyone better. She is from Brazil, so I’ve been learning plenty of Portuguese these past few days . . . who knew it would be so handy so soon! We are having a happy happy time. She is such a hard worker and I have already learned many invaluable lessons from her. We had a mini missionary with us from Thursday until Sunday, so that was interesting, since we were still so inexperienced in our own companionship, but the weekend went by really hiccup free, and I know God was working with us.
After Mission Leadership Council yesterday, I was brainstorming stories and missionary experiences that we could share with our members to build their trust and excitement to do the work but nothing obvious came to mind. We had a while to sit and wait for our flight so I began asking Sister Modolon to teach me some basic Portuguese. Later, on the way home I sat by a family on the plane who was not from here. I didn’t know the language well enough to identify and I didn’t know how well they spoke English so I was nervous already, wanting to make the effort to have a gospel conversation with them but worried it would just end up unsuccessful for any number of reasons. I prayed for help, and soon as the opportunity arose to make small talk, I tried. It was then that I discovered they were from Portugal.
God is so good! Of course I couldn’t have an entire conversation or anything near it, but I could tell them “Hi, my name is Sister Carlsen,” in their own language. It was such a miracle. Even greater, Sister Modolon had just grabbed an extra set of Portuguese materials so before hugging goodbye at baggage claim we were able to give the family a Book of Mormon and a Restoration Pamphlet.
I know there are no coincidences and I am so thankful for all the little ways that we can see God orchestrating the world around us to give everyone the best chances for success. Praying the seeds continue to grow.
I hate realizing that I have been or been feeling complacent. Yesterday this is what happened. Rough realization, but mostly a great one. I left MLC yesterday feeling a lot of different things. Overwhelmed was, for some moments, one of them. But I know well enough that it is an unproductive feeling, so I put it aside and boiled down all of the many spiritual reminders I’d received to one thing, Be Better. Those two words are what David Hitchcock told me in a story once. So many people make promises to God and to themselves that they cannot keep. There’s too much to commit to all at once. I cannot focus all at once without disappointing myself, so for now and for always I will strive by the minute to Be Better. I’ve pondered since yesterday why it has been difficult for me to become more than simply proficient when I realized it was because my blessing in life has too easily turned into a curse. Many skills (though not all) have come to me without too much difficulty. Needing to really work hard to get to a point of proficiency is not something I’ve often had to do, and because of that, I’m not well-practiced at working to exceed limits beyond either. I’m grateful to be aware of my weakness and now that I consciously understand it, I will strive to Be Better. The Atonement is for all of us. Thank goodness.
Love you mom, Thank you for being perfect to me and for me.
My new favorite scripture Mosiah 4:20 to be expounded upon in a letter.
THE CHURCH IS TRUE,
Good bye to Stride Farm–Heaven on earth