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Sunday, March 22, 2009

All-American Handsome Missionary 03/16/09


Hmm, highlights of the week:

-Tracting: Door answered by a nice man with a sweet prosthetic leg. He shut the door before I could ask if I could touch it.
-51 year old female investigator told me I am "All-American handsome."
-Visited our Chinese investigator Florence, and brought along the Mandarin-speaking Elders, one of which is Landon Young who I know from Provo High.
-Tracting: Door answered by angry naked man.
-Planned Ben Prudence's baptism!

And now some more questions from my young Texas cousins:

Jonathan: Did you buy 8 new white shirts before you left on your mission?
-My mom (your Aunt Laurel Dean) bought me 8 white shirts. I didn't really know why I would need more than one, so I threw away 7 of them. Now I just have 1 greyish brownish yellow shirt.

David: What do you do on your P-day?
-Buy industrial strength laundry detergent with extra bleach.
-I also enjoy answering questions from my cousins. Keep them coming!

It hasn't really been a special week. We just keep waking up and doing our thing each day. I feel really spoiled here. Lots of people in the area. Lots going on. Great members who feed us well, and some of which are even willing to keep their covenants and help with the missionary work. The only thing I worry about is which part of my bike is going to fall off first. I'm thinking it's the pedals, but the front wheel is making some weird noises too lately.

Don't worry, dad taught me enough about bikes to be able to keep mine together for at least a little while longer. Which reminds me, please send duct tape.

Thanks for the emails, and I hope those who are sick get feeling better.


Elder Karlsven

P.S. I was joking about sending me duct tape. A package with duct tape in it is not necessary, mom.

Investigating Google 03/09/09


We've got a baptism on the 21st! His name is Ben Prudence. His dad is a less-active member and has been since before Ben was born. His mom is not a member, but Ben was blessed as a baby by Bro. Hansen (in our ward) and the spirit told him to say that Ben would one day become a member of the church. 24 Years later, that is being fulfilled. Really cool. It made us happy. Our ward mission leader is going to baptize him.

Have I talked about our ward mission leader? The first time I saw him, it was from a distance at stake conference, and the only words I could come up with were "He's gigantic." I stick with that description. His name is Bret Jepson, and he played basketball for BYU a few years ago. I bet he's over 7 feet tall, easy.

About an hour ago we got finished with a tour of Google headquarters. I've decided I need to change my major to whatever will get me a job there. Very relaxed atmosphere, tons of cool computer stuff, free food galore (and it's GOOD). They have dozens of "google bicycles" just sitting around for people to hop onto if they need to go to another building. On-call masseuses, etc. Yeah, paradise. We were led around by 2 church members that reminded me a lot of Mike - computer nerdy, but still cool and funny. We helped ourselves to lunch - I had some pizza, chinese food, and a club sandwich - all of which google somehow engineered to be healthy for you.

My one criticism of the place was when we first got there. The member taking us around forgot to have his ID out, so this 5'5", thick-glasses wearing, somewhat out-of-shape security guard comes out of nowhere and asks us bluntly and with a distinct nasal tone "What are you guys doing here?" There was nothing wrong with what he did or said - the member pulled out his ID and everything was fine from there - but I was just disappointed that this was the type of man google chose for their security force. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the security guard as a person, but seriously, he wasn't intimidating at all. He was probably a smart guy, but brains over brawn isn't really the idea in the security guard world. Just my opinion.

The weather has been perfect this week. I am so spoiled here. Oh, but I love it so much.

And here's a shout-out to my good ol' pops: Happy Birthday!


Elder Karlsven

The Bike Crash! 03/02/09


What a week. So the other day, my comp and I were riding bikes back to our apartment at about 4 pm. I'm on an old, at least 2 year old bike, that I got from a missionary who went home 2 weeks ago. The back brakes don't work, the gears slip, and the whole bike creaks and groans when I peddle. It's a piece of junk, but it was free, so I kept it.

My comp bought his bike brand new here about a month ago. He likes to play a game where he swerves really close to me, while I can't do anything back without my bike falling apart. On one occasion, he got within about an inch of me, so I got the bright idea to grab his handle bars and shake them. It worked, but all too well. He lost control, and I did too. We both ended up on the asphault. I went between the bikes and cut up my thumb either on the road or when it got caught in his spokes - I'm not sure which. I was pretty excited to have my first wreck on my mission, but what made it all the better was that there was this guy with a leaf blower across the street that saw the whole thing. He was laughing his head off! I would be too, I guess.

Some questions to be anwered from my little future missionary cousins, David and Jonathan Jensen:

David: How old are you?
-20 years old

Jonathan: Are you having a good time on your mission?

Jonathan: What do you like to eat?
-Whatever is put in front of me. Right now I'm in the mood for waffles.

I'm happy, being well-fed, and dreading the day my metabolism slows down. Later!


Elder Karlsven

P.S. Missionary piece of knowledge: Shout stain remover gets blood out of a white shirt really well.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Q and A's of Los Altos 02/23/2009


Okay, looks like this is going to be another one of those Q&A emails. Thanks for the Q's, and enjoy the A's:

Q: Los Altos is probably very different from San Juan Bautista.
Any chickens walking around? Any Antique Shops on your street? Any friendly bakers? Any naked sun bathers? Any Catholic Missions or Monasteries?
A: None that I've noticed...yet.

Q: What's your companion like? Where is he from?
A: My companion, Elder DeAngelo, runs about 5'9, 160 lbs. In profile, he resembles some sort of bird, I can't decide whether it be an eagle or a vulture. His first name is Matt, and he has one sister and three brothers...strange. He is from Virginia, but his dad works for the government, so for 6 months before he left on his mission he was living in Jordan (the one in the Middle East). He has some good stories.

Q: Was he in Los Altos before you got there? How long has he been on his mission?
A: He has been in Los Altos about 7 weeks. He has been on his mission about 7 weeks.

Q: Which one of you two greenies is the Senior Companion?
A: We agreed that we would be co-junior companions, and that the Lord would be our senior companion. That way, neither of us will feel bad when we don't know what the heck we're doing.

Q: What's the city like? Big? Rich? Beautiful?
A: Yes, yes, yes. All admirable characteristics of both a mission area, AND a future wife.

Q: Are you using bikes? Cars? Walking?
A: Yep.

Q: Are there several investigators in progress?
A: Several investigators - yes. In progress? Um, define the word "in."

Q: Do you still have dinner appointments with the members?
A: One of the great parts of having more than 6 members in your area - dinner appointments just about every night!

So there you have it, all your questions answered. I'm doing great here. We played basketball and racquetball this morning at a sports club. I feel like such a spoiled missionary, and I love it! Thanks for the letters and emails everyone. Hope to hear from you all soon!


Elder M. John Karlsven

Transferred! 02/17/2009


Okay, I wasn't able to get a library card today, so I'm using a free-access computer and my time limit is 15 minutes. I have 6 minutes left.

I said goodbye to San Juan Bautista, and hello to Los Altos! We're right next to Palo Alto and the northern border of our mission. My companion is Elder DeAngelo, and this is his second transfer. He's a good guy, and has the greenie fire blazing as mine is dying down a bit.

I miss San Juan, or rather, I miss certain people in San Juan. I got to know very well the 7 or so members in San Juan we would see often, so I miss them, and also the Bracho family a lot - our last appointment we prayed one by one and asked if the Book of Mormon was true. Everyone felt the peace and joy of the spirit. So yeah, they know it's true. I'm bummed I won't be there for more progression with them, but I'm excited to be here in Los Altos, with several investigators and a bigger population.

I have 37 seconds left!

Bye everyone. I love you all!

Elder Karlsven

Happy Valentine's Day! 02/10/2009


Today is a great day. The sun is out, the chickens are roaming free, and I got mom's Valentines Day package. Thanks a bunch. And on top of that, I got a valentine from my good friend Amy Arnold. Attached to it was a playing card - the five of hearts. It said "Betting you'll be my Valentine" on it or something like that. Clever, yet still from the heart. As much as I was happy to receive it, I have to say that I was disappointed that I got the five of hearts, meaning that she sent out similar valentines to at least 4 other people before me that got the ace, two, three, and four of hearts. Nevertheless, any valentine is a good valentine.

Also, Elder Bourne and I got a valentine from Maggie, an investigator that is progressing nicely. After a car accident, she has been in a wheelchair and suffered a head injury, so we help her out with chores and stuff around the house. One of the things we helped her with was decorating the valentines she sends out. So yeah, I recognized the valentine she sent to us to be one of those that I had decorated with glitter glue. It made me smile.

I've been asked how I've liked going on exchanges with other missionaries this transfer. Well, first of all, I should mention that Elder Bourne and I have gone on more exchanges this transfer than any other companionship. 8 exchanges. 8! But I've loved seeing how other missionaries work with people in lessons, on the street, or wherever. It seems to be customary to complain about one's companion on exchanges. I'm just glad Elder Bourne doesn't snore, because that has caused fierce tension in many a companionship.

Okay, I'm about out of time here. I wish everyone a happy Valentines Day, and thanks so much for all the support. I'm loving the work 80-90% of the time, which is above average I think. And the rest of the time I am enduring it with hope. Either that or releasing my anger in a wrestling match with Elder Bourne.

Happy heart day!


Elder Karlsven