ALMOST OVER

10 October 2016

Staying in Upcountry Maui with my new companion, Sister Karitea from Christmas Island. I’m totally excited! Sister Modolon is going to west side Oahu and her companion will be, yes, Sister Blackner. They both are so lucky!

Glad Emma had a good time at Homecoming! You know, that actually seems like one of the least awkward dance experiences I’ve ever heard.

On selling my Audi. Earlier in the mission I might have been more fazed, but I feel the whole phone number thing and the time I’ve already spent away from my Audi were adequate to prepare me. Then again, I might feel differently upon returning home. Anyway, I’d love an old Mercedes turbo diesel. But really, anything goes: white jeep with tan top, a Ruckus with a bigger engine so I can ride it on the freeway, a truck, a normal bike (I want to be a person who rides a bicycle everywhere, you know, within reason), a Volvo wagon, another navy blue Audi (as long as it has a sun roof–I miss having a sunroof). ūüėČ

I am so grateful to hear about the spiritual growth that has occurred in the family over the past year. I mean, I think that we often have nice bouts of spiritual growth, not only in this past year, but from my perspective it seems that the family is more willing to open up about it than we have been in years and even generations past. It really is nice to see the Carlsen’s evolving.

Anyway,

MY MISSION IS ALMOST OVER.

It’s weird.

I think the feelings I’m beginning to feel now about leaving the mission to go home are very similar to the feelings I had about leaving home for the mission. The parallels are limitless. I’ve been pondering it the past few days, especially since the father of our 3 sweet investigators, asked yesterday morning, “What have you gained from your mission?”‘

Undeniably I have gained a lot already; naming things is not adequate. But I can feel it. However I honestly I think only time will tell what I have really gained from the mission. Even though I haven’t lived it yet, I know my future has been dramatically rerouted because of this, and I am sooooooooooo grateful for that. I know that missions are God’s way to build up his kingdom. But I also know that He never intended for the most productive years of contributing to the cause to be this small portion of our lives, no matter how consecrated we are. Missions are not one-fold, and they’re not two-fold either. They are much more than that.

Alfred was baptized¬†on Friday¬†and it was such a joyful experience. The ward was so wonderful to support him with their attendance and I’m positive that many will never forget the sweet spirit and pureness that was present. Alfred is so cool.¬†Saturday¬†he was having a birthday party with his friends and I’m partly ashamed to admit I was a little worried he might forget all the details of the Word of Wisdom or something, but when we arrived, he was totally smiley and totally sober. His friends? A little more tipsy, but they were still supportive of him and I felt so blessed to be able to see that Alfred was even more converted than we knew and he really did absorb the things we have been sharing. He is such an amazing person, and even more full of light than that day he asked, “Do you want to set an appointment with me?”

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This guy makes us so happy!

Cherry on top of his baptism day? (There were cherries on top multiple times throughout the day; it went by so fast!) We got to roast marshmallows outside for dessert with the Ribucans and Jacksons and we talked spider stories. Not to mention the spicy chocolate gelato and banana bread we had after our perfect lesson with Kirsten at Sister Eyre’s! (Seriously possible that I have diabetes now because I’m still losing weight since coming to Maui.)

Aimee came to church. She is such a dream!

Things she says:

“I grew up Catholic, but I never felt connected to it in any way….”

“…. My ex husband was extremely Christian and I went, but it just seemed off to me.”

“Ever since you guys came it’s like I have this fire to learn!”

And then yesterday in Gospel Principles:

“I’m trying to study for an hour a day, I know it’s not enough.”

And yes, she’s a totally normal, beautiful, functional mother of four.

Praying the work continues to progress and that you all do, too.

I really love you Mom [and others],

Sister Carlsen

p.s. Still partly nervous I won’t get accepted to BYU Provo by the way. Where is my faith?!

I really just want to live a life full of things in this video.

https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/refuge-from-the-storm?cid=HP_SU_2-10-2016_dWEL_fGC_xLIDyL1-B_

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