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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

EXTENSION!

Elder Karlsven has extended his mission for 2 more weeks. He received special permission from the mission president to be able to do this. His new homecoming date is set for Monday October 11th. We think he will talk the next Sunday on October 17th. We will keep you updated!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Matt is Coming Home Soon!!!!!

In case anyone has forgotten, Elder Matt comes home on September 28th! The plan right now is that he will speak on October 10th in the Grandview South 17th Ward at 11am. We will let you know through the blog or email if this is not the case.

You Mean I Can't Break Your Back? 09/14/2010

Dear Family,
Giving baptismal interviews is one of my favorite things to do. When I met Maria for her interview, along with her husband George, I knew this one would be no exception. George and Maria met and lived for a number of years in Santa Cruz. I sensed that could be the case, even before they told me. They had a bit of a "Santa Cruz feel" to them.
Maria was nervous about the interview. After showing them the baptismal font, she asked that George accompany her to the interview. They each told me a bit about their life story as we sat in a classroom in the church building. As the interview went on, it was obvious that she was well prepared, and ready to be a member of the church.
George and Maria are both in their 50's and like to make jokes about each other. At the times he made a joke that would make Maria scowl, he would kiss her 3 or 4 times on the hand, cheek, or shoulder. This happened frequently throughout the interview. With all their jokes, story-telling, and me having to gather myself after bursting into laughter several times, the interview ended up taking about an hour. She passed with flying colors.
One of the rules in the Missionary Handbook says to avoid holding children, or having them sit on your lap. This isn't usually an issue, but occasionally their are kids that influence you to go by the spirit, and not so much the letter of the law. Connor Eves is one of those kids.
We arrived for dinner at the Eves house. We took a seat on their couch. Connor ran into the room, and shook each of our hands. He grabbed onto my hand and started walking up my leg. After I got him down, he would them run full speed toward me as I sat on the couch, and then jump onto me. Each time I would get ahold of him and lift him off. His mom began shouting to him from the kitchen to leave the missionaries alone.
The pattern would continue. He'd jump on me. I'd lift him off. His mom would tell him to stop. But at some point, even the most patient of missionaries say "No more." The next time Connor jumped on me, I grabbed him, and hoisted him onto my shoulder. I flipped him around so that his back was on my shoulder. I began bouncing up and down.
Turning to my companion I said, "I call this one 'the backbreaker'."
Connor began yelling louder.
We heard his mom's voice from the kitchen, "Connor! I thought I told you to leave the missionaries alone!"
She walked into the room and saw me doing "the backbreaker" on Connor.
Awkward.
But hilarious too.
The work goes on as usual. The Malala family is doing great, and love coming to church. Mele is still shooting to be baptized at the end of the month. Awesome.
Thanks for all the emails. Happy birthday to Becky and Weston!
Love,
Elder Karlsven

Very Busy 09/07/2010

Dear Family,
At the stake pancake breakfast yesterday morning, a guy in BYU cap comes up to me and says, "Hi, Elder Karlsven." I did a double take, and recognized that it was Evan Smith. After 23 months of searching, we finally found each other. I thought Mike and Joe would like to hear about that.
On Saturday night we went to visit Claude, a man from Congo that has come to church before. We came to his apartment and saw that the door was open. 3 men were sitting inside. None of them were Claude. As soon as they saw us they said, "Come in, come in." We sat down with them, and found out that all three of them were refugees from Ethiopia. They had been living in Kenya, but came to California a couple weeks ago. The only one whose name I remember is T.D. T.D. wanted to come to church. We called a member up, and the next thing we know, TD is sitting in Gospel Essentials class with us. I wonder how many people are out there right now that would come to church if only someone visited them and invited them.
But it was a pretty crazy day at church. We had 8 investigators there. 2 of them were there for the first time. Plus we got a phone call asking us to go give a blessing in the middle of church. So we were running around a lot. I'm going to miss wearing a missionary badge at church, which seems to permit you to push people out of the way, grab someone to help with an investigator, etc. as long as you say "Official missionary business" as you do it.
Oh, looks like I'm out of time. Have a great week.
Love,
Elder Karlsven

Answers to Prayers 08/30/2010

Dear Family,
I think Becky asked about my companion, Elder Bell. As far as personality, just think of Joe, and you have it. He acts SO much like Joe, in his jokes especially.
I had a companion that reminded me a lot of Dave too. It was Elder Valencia.
But the best one was Elder Tobler, who reminded me a lot of Dad. He was very humble, made breakfast, was quick to apologize when needed. I remember just getting the feeling that he was like Dad, and then one day when I folded his laundry or something, he said, "Oh, you're a sweetheart." HAHA! What are the odds? Just like Dad.
After a meeting 3 weeks ago with the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries, we decided we will all begin praying that the Lord would put people in our path that needed the Gospel. Then we would report what happened at the 5th Sunday meeting at church (which happened yesterday). Two answers to prayer this week:
1. We got a phone call from the Elders Quorum President telling us that a new couple moved into the ward. They are Polynesian, and the wife is not a Latter-day Saint. The husband has not been to church for about 4 years. They were in the hospital because he had a foot infection. We visited them there. Taught about the Plan of Salvation. Found out they both are at a point where they really want God and a church in their lives. She accepted our invitation to be baptized in September.
2. We got a call from Brother Cate in the ward. He told us that a man named Rob called the church and wanted to learn more. He gave us Rob's phone number. I called it and found out he has looked into a lot of churches, but admired the Mormons he knew for them "practicing what they preach." I also found out his name is Ross, not Rob. So yesterday night we met with Ross at the church building, showed him around, and then sat on the couches in the lobby to answer his questions and teach. Great guy.
The other good story of the week was when I knocked on the door of an Indian woman. At one point I asked her if she believes in God. Out of nowhere she asked me, "Is it because you see my brown skin that you don't think I believe in God?"
Huh? I can't believe she just played the race card on me.
Anyway, prayers are answered. I'm doing great. You guys are in my prayers.
Love,
Elder Karlsven

Miracles Happen 08/23/2010

Dear Family,
Miracle of the week:
We had dinner with the Svantessons in the ward. I thought I remembered which apartment they live in, but after I knocked we were greeted by a small Chinese lady at the door. She didn't speak much English, but we offered to bring her a Book of Mormon in Mandarin. She accepted and we set an appointmet and got her phone number. Her name is Cecily Chen.
The next day we were calling around to find a Mandarin speaker in the ward. We found two. One had to work at the time we would visit Cecily. The other, Tyler Hooper, wasn't answering his phone. The day of the appointment with Cecily came, and not only did we have no Mandarin speaker to come with us, but we wouldn't even be able to come into her apartment without another guy there (missionary rule).
We went to her apartment, thinking we would just give her the Book of Mormon, and try to set up another time to visit her. We knocked on the door and she wasn't home, even though we had called her that same morning and she said she would be there. Frustrated and angry, we began knocking on some doors in that apartment complex.
After about 5 minutes of that, we got a call from Cecily. She apologized for not being home, but said that she was there now and asked if we could come. As we were walking toward her apartment, a man came out of a garage in the complex. Who was this man? None other than Tyler Hooper, just getting off of work!
"Hi guys," he said.
"What are you doing here?" We asked.
"I live here," he said, "I got your message, but I had to work late today. Sorry. Were you able to see that lady?"
"We're going there now. You want to come?"
"Yeah."
So we met Cecily and her husband Ben. I'm not sure what happened, seeing that most of it was in Mandarin, but everyone was smiling, and Cecily asked for more information on church activities and ways to learn more about the Book of Mormon. They will be a pretty good referal for the Chinese-speaking missionaries.
Miracles happen. The Lord can put people in our path to help us in bringing the blessings of learning the Gospel to others.
Love,
Elder Karlsven

Just Because I Wear a Name Tag Doesn't Mean I Work Here...08/16/2010

Dear Family,
I remember my trainer was at this point in his mission when he first met me. His assignment was not only to train me, but to open a new area that would be the smallest one by far in the whole mission that was VERY Catholic, and only had a handful of active members of our church.
Man, I'm glad I don't have to do that.
I just got a new companion - Elder Bell. He's from Oregon, is the youngest of 8 kids in his family, and has no problem eating leftovers without asking how long they've been in the refrigerator. I like him. He's been a missionary for 20 months. He seems pretty solid.
2 weeks ago Elder Tobler told me that he had a prompting that we would find someone on our lists of "potential investigators" (mostly people the missionaries talked to that said they could come back, or seemed nice, etc). So this past week each day we looked for a few of the ones that seemed promising. On Wednesday, we had about 15 minutes open up in the afternoon, so we visited one of them - Loraine. She said for us to come back the next day. Thursday - we teach her about Jesus Christ, the Great Apostacy, and the Restoration. She accepts to read the Book of Mormon, ask in prayer if it's true, come to stake conference on Sunday, and be baptized September 18.
Don't get too excited. A lot of crazy people agree to those things too and then you never see them again.
Now get excited. She came to Stake Conference, even though this one was all the way up in Fremont (30 minute drive)! Awesome. We had the 2nd counselor in the bishopric and his family pick her up to go.
So all in all, being a missionary is great. At the Stake Conference I felt like a superstar because I knew so many people there (having served in both the Los Altos and Santa Clara wards). I think I've been blessed out here with a better ability to remember names. I probably saw over 100 people I know at the Stake Conference, and somehow I knew all their names.
One good experience this week was when we went to CVS pharmacy to get some cough drops. 10 seconds after we walk in the store, an Indian man starts shouting at us from across the store to come help him move some things.
"We don't work here," we say.
Immediately, IMMEDIATELY after that this old lady asks us where she could find some soap.
The Indian man told her we don't work here. She then looked at our missionary nametags and said "Oh, I know you guys! You visited me a few weeks ago." She got all excited and gave us each a hug.
I have no idea who that old lady was. But she seemed cool.
5 minutes later, while we are looking at our choices of cough drops, a guy that works there asks if we could show him how the cold medicine was supposed to be organized.
I think the next time I go into a CVS Pharmacy I'm going to put a bright pink Post-It note under my nametag that says "I DON'T WORK HERE." Either that or I'll continue to tell people where things are at in a store I'm visiting for the first time.
The Church is true, everyone. Better yet, being a part of it brings a greater connection with the Lord, and being happy. I love that.
Love,
Elder Karlsven