Now Family-Friendly!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Tricks, Not Treats 11/02/09

Dear Family,

I now understand why it's a bad idea to do pranks on new missionaries.

I met Elder Smith on Tuesday at the mission office in San Jose on Tuesday. He's from Gilbert, Arizona, enjoys playing the guitar, and is distantly related to Joseph Smith.

We arrived in Salinas, and he was wide-eyed and commented often on how "ghetto" it was. He also asked several times "Is this legit?" Having been isolated from the teenage lingo for a year, I had no idea what he meant. I reassured him often that Salinas is perfectly safe, but just to never go on the east side of town after dark.

Around 8:30 pm, we were just finishing up for the day, and getting ready to head home when we got a phone call. I answered, and the voice on the other end told us to meet on Soledad street. Elder Smith asked what was going on. I told him that it was three guys I met the other day, and that they wanted to talk to us on Soledad street - deep in the heart of eastside Salinas.

We drove to Soledad street, got out of the car and started walking around the dark sidewalks. Some guys came up to us and we started talking to them. They seemed alright, but not all there mentally. I could tell that Elder Smith was a little nervous. I told the guys that we had just been put together as missionaries, and if they could take our picture. I got out my camera and handed it to them. I then told Elder Smith to give them his camera too, which he reluctantly did. We posed for about three pictures. Without warning, the guys bolted off, with both our cameras. I chased them for a little, and yelled, but to no avail.

Our cameras had been stolen.

I apologized to Elder Smith, and he suggested that we get home right away. I agreed. In the car ride home, I told him how some people just do bad things, and you never know who you can trust. He was pretty quiet.

We got to our apartment, carrying his luggage up the stairs. We opened the door to our apartment, and saw two figures sitting in the kitchen. I turned on the light, to discover that the two guys who stole our cameras were IN OUR APARTMENT!!


I walked into the kitchen towards them. One of them walked right at me. We paused a second in front of each other. I gave each of them a big hug, and we started laughing.

"Elder Smith, I'd like you to meet Elder Thompson and Elder Fox, the Salinas 3rd ward missionaries." Classic.

Elder Smith took the joke well, but I think the emotional damage is still there. For instance, he insisted on buying several locks for his bike, and is suspicious of everyone he meets that they are a "thug."

So this week has been fun. There's way too much to teach Elder Smith, but luckily he is a quick learner.

Me: "And now, Elder Smith, I'd like to show you how this magic box works. You put food in it, push some buttons, and it magically heats it up."

Elder Smith: "I'm not an idiot, you know."

Me: "That's the spirit!"

I'm glad everyone had a great Halloween. I hope to see a picture of Aunt Rachel dressing up as Mom. We didn't have much success proselyting on Halloween. For instance, at about 11am, we saw a guy walking down the street wearing a hockey mask.

"Hey, how's it going?"


I love Halloween.


Elder Karlsven

Do Not Joke With The Mission President 10/27/09

Dear Family,

News: Staying in Salinas for at least 6 more weeks. Elder Finlayson is on a plane right now heading home.

Earlier this week I went to a meeting in San Jose with about 15 other missionaries and President Jackson. Halfway to San Jose, I realized that I had forgotten my suit coat. Suit coats are required at all meetings. Well, I thought that surely it would be better to be on time to the meeting without a suitcoat than be late with it. Maybe he wouldn't even mention it.

President Jackson began the meeting.

"We'd like to welcome you all to this meeting. Where is your suitcoat?"

My face went bright red as he stared accusingly at me.

"Uh...I was never issued a suitcoat."


"Uh...I mean, I forgot it."

I gave my excuse that I wanted to be on time to the meeting. He then told a story of when he had once forgotten his suitcoat and decided to not go to the meeting without it.
About half an hour later my body stopped shaking, and I could relax, so it wasn't that bad.

This is a recurring problem with me - forgetting the suitcoat. I remember going to a meeting in Los Altos with the ward leaders of the stake. We were on bikes and in a hurry, so we decided not to pick up our suitcoats in order to be punctual. We still arrived 10 minutes late, just for our turns to introduce ourselves to everyone and say something unique about ourselves.

"I'm Elder Karlsven, and I suffer from a rare medical condition which prevents me from wearing a suitcoat." I'm working on coming up with less lame excuses.

22 year old Danny McCoy's baptism happened on Saturday at 11 am. It went great, and I'm not just saying that. After the baptism, you could see how happy Danny was. He's the kind of guy that can light up a room pretty quickly anyway, but you could tell how filled with the Spirit he was with his joy and love throughout the day. Elder Finlayson confirmed him on Sunday. The only bummer was that his mom, who was against his decision to be baptized, never showed up.

I'm short on time, so I'll tell you about my new companion next week. I'll meet him this afternoon. He's probably just getting off the plane at the San Jose airport. I'm really excited and looking forward to the enthusiasm a brand new missionary can bring to an area. Pray for us.

Have a great week. Enjoy the cold weather in Utah.

Elder Karlsven

Investigators 10/19/09

Dear Family,

Lately I've been getting the same complaint from some of my friends. Here is a direct quote from an email from Rob Magleby:

"I will raise this complaint again:

Why do your parents only post your weekly letters once a month in a group? Make them stop! Is it because they don’t like logging into blogspot? I thought your dad had an internet site, he should be a pro. Just write home and tell your parents that the avid readers of your letters are complaining in the thousands and if they don’t want a revolt, they should just post them as they get them. I could go Decembrist any moment!"

I don't really understand the complaint either, but I thought you should know about it.

Yesterday, I met an investigator, Judy, for the first time. We arrived at her house and she warmly welcomed us, providing us with drink and French pastries. We taught about prophets, telling about Aaron making the golden calf for the Israelites when the prophet Moses was away (showing how truths can be lost or changed without a prophet around), and she asked several questions. She agreed to read Alma 32 from the Book of Mormon and pray about it.

This was not at all what I was expecting when Elder Finlayson told me how they first met her:

They were in the drive-thru at Foster Freeze waiting for their food. It was taking longer than usual. Judy was driving a car directly behind them. She began to become impatient, honking her horn. Then she started yelling. Eventually her impatience grew to a fiery rage. She put her car in gear and rammed the back of the mission car the missionaries were driving.

When asked what the reason was for hitting them, she said "I just want my food!" Knowing that Foster Freeze is pretty good, but wouldn't merit that sort of behavior, Elder Finlayson knew something was wrong. As she ate her two large ice cream cones, the missionaries filled out accident reports and got insurance information. Judy's anger soon calmed, and she remarked how much she likes Mormons, and asked the missionaries to come teach her.

I'm guessing that she is what could be referred to as a "two-face." Golden investigator one day. Unexpectedly moody the next. We're having lunch with her today. If any read this before 1 pm Pacific Standard Time, please pray for us that it will be a peaceful meeting.

Danny McCoy is the kind of person that can light up a room in a matter of seconds. Our main worry for his baptism is that Jon, the one baptizing him, won't be able to lift him back out of the water. Danny isn't overweight, but he's solid. Muscle doesn't float too well, I hear.

Danny isn't afraid to ask questions, even at odd hours of the day. Several times he calls us late at night or early in the morning, asking us some gospel question he has been thinking about. Way cool.
We began teaching his friend, Jessica, this week.

Yesterday night, around 9:20 pm, we were leaving the Simkins' home to get home and get to bed. Danny calls. He tells us that he and Jessica are at the church and to meet them there right away. Though I was exhausted leaving the Simkins, I was wide awake as we sat on the couches in the foyer of the church and answered her questions about life after death and other topics.

It's been a great week with much teaching. Next week I will be getting a new companion, as Elder Finlayson returns home to Las Vegas. Now is the time when you wonder whether your new companion will be the type you should make breakfast for the first morning, or if you should surprise-tackle him at a certain time your first day together.


Elder Karlsven

P.S. Happy Birthday to Mike!

NOTE FROM PUBLISHER: Rob, just be happy you can read Matt's emails.