God at work

31 October 2016

Hi mom!

Although I have kind of been panicking all week, sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously, about the whole choose-what-to-study thing, I’m getting better now. I think. Geography is where I’ve ended up after much wrestling with God and myself in prayer. Also fasting. It’s funny you know. I testify multiple times a day to strangers and friends that anything and everything that we care about, God cares about also, because He loves us. It is one of those things that I know, but when it really comes time to apply, my brain doesn’t even think to consult me before assuming I am the exception. Now, of course, I know that there are limits to this. God isn’t always going to care which show we decide to watch on Netflix. But within reason, what is important to us is important to God also. So why is it that I will catch myself thinking that perhaps whichever discipline I choose to study is not worthwhile or gravitous (I think I made up this word editor thinks gravitas) enough to receive a decisive answer from Him?

In some ways it possibly is a minuscule thing. Probably Rob would roll his eyes at it all. I still love him. But it has really troubled me as I have sought for eternal direction. Something I have realized though is that I have changed. Some ways have been obvious. This way was a pleasant surprise. Where before I would have been happy and greatly comforted to accept the words of some random individual as the final say in some spiritual matter confirming an answer to prayer, the tables have turned and I’d much rather have the personal spiritual witness be the final assurance. Some kind of adventure since I’m still completely illiterate and overly analytical to the point of mental incapacitation most times when it comes to these things.

Point being. I’ve tried harder than ever this past week to know, and there have been themes. Recurring thoughts of my own and personal study topics that have helped me to be a smidgen more confident than I otherwise would be.

So geography it is. Also education, maybe even special education, but since that’s not a major or minor option I figure I can fit appropriate service experiences in extracurricular space. You’re right about my patriarchal blessing. I’ve thought a lot about it.

And other things. A slight tangent: God is so clever. In my blessing, He let me think that there was a possibility that I would serve a mission when I was either young or old. Of course I had my agency, but I read through it all again this week and recognized that later on it clearly refers to me being a “young lady” during the time of my missionary service.  God KNOWS.

I am so completely grateful for the stories I have to tell about this week. Anela, a less active who we’ve been visiting for months, even years, came to church on the 23rd with her children for the first time in a long time. We went by to visit on Friday and their home was a new place. It is such a blessing to be a missionary because more than anything else, we are privileged to witness God at work. The Spirit was back in her home like it hasn’t ever been before at our visits previous. Kulia, her four year old son, volunteered to say the prayer, as per usual. And also per usual, after every phrase I whispered into his ear to say, he would rascal like shout out amen, instead of repeating it for everyone else to hear. But I was determined and told him firmly, “Kulia, you say the prayer or someone else will, you can choose.” He changed, completely quieting down, and said a beautiful prayer, hugging us before we left.  On the way out Sister Karitea said, “Wow sister, you’re ready!” at which time I realized that the firm and loving words were not from me, because even though my patriarchal blessing might say it, I am NOT yet at the point where I have a sweetness in my voice or in my nature that will cause children to look to me and want to be taught by me. I am confident that the wisdom, necessary to that moment, was placed upon me by a Heavenly Father, that really loves Anela, understands that at the end of the day her patience is running plenty thin, and knows the little miracles needed to help the peace of her home to remain.

You can laugh; I’ll say it anyway. It’s been an icebox here in Upcountry!  One day we were visiting Uncle Llew, shivering outside since he’s the only one who lives there and we cannot go inside, when he says, “I think I have something for you, but I can’t remember what it is.” To which I responded cheekily, “I know! A prayer.” My rain check has yet to be cashed. After Bishop prayed, Llew remembered, “Oh! one of my friends bought a sweat shirt and pants that are a few sizes too small I wanted to give them to you.”

Inspired 😉

Life is good, and I am so grateful for my sweet companion and AMAZING ward mission leader.  Family dinners with them are without fail deja vu in the best of ways, every time.


Much loves,

–Sister Carlsen

Editor’s note-BYU’s program in Geography includes Geospatial Intelligence and Global Studies. Aubrey says everything but Tourism Studies.  I believe this with be with an Anthropology degree of some kind as well.

A Pumpkin from the Pages



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