Monday, September 25, 2017

The Perfect Home

This letter today is going to be a bit different, I have a lot on my mind, I need to fix a lot of problems and I have very little time. That is pretty much the story of our lives right? We just feel like we don't have the time or we have too many problems. Well, I think that sometimes it comes to the point where it looks like everyone that had "it all figured out" before are having a hard time and the people that were really struggling before are in a good position.
    
I want to focus on one sentence that I read the other day, in a specific place that I will not tell you guys. It said: "The celestial kingdom is the continuation of the ideal home."

Let’s think about that for just a second.

If we go to the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, the feelings there should not be much different because we have already been working so hard to make our home filled with the spirit and good times. But I have noticed that sometimes in this life we do not allow ourselves to have and feel this in our own lives – or we try to take it away from others.

I write about this because my sister is Getting Married. That is right, Caroline Faulkner is going to be married. This is a thing that will actually happen. I love her so much and I am so excited that she has this opportunity.
     
Now you may be saying at this moment "But Jordan (that's weird), what are you talking about? That isn't happy! You will never be able to make it to the wedding!" I KNOW, and the most wonderful part is – it doesn't matter at all to me. Don't get me wrong, I will be sad. But the joy that Caroline and Thomas Collett will be able to have in their new home with their new lives together is much more important than anything I could have at this time. And then in the following years, I will be able to see them grow and become while I was over here serving in the Philippines.
     
Sometimes we miss the mark with family; we think we need to keep things the way they are – or that family is focused around one or two people. There is one person that you are expected to love as much as you love God. That is your husband or your wife. LITERALLY NO ONE ELSE, which means you need to do everything in your power to empower that relationship.

Now I know what you are thinking "Well Jordan (still weird), You know nothing about any of this – you are just a kid." Nice try, but that argument will do nothing. I have spent a long long time studying the plan that God has created for all of us, and I don't really think there is any room for hurt feelings – or for anything else of the sort. As a missionary of Jesus Christ, I represent him, I can say whatever I feel inspired to say.
       
Anyways, what we have to understand here is that I love you all. I know that my sister is doing an amazing thing; and all of you that have experienced that know about the pains and hardships that come with it. But you hopefully understand the goal here. I am so proud of my sister and what she is doing with her life. She will go far. I hope that everyone will support her fully in her decisions. It is probably already hard on them, but they need the support now more than ever.
     
Welp Marriage I know nothing about that. Good luck Caroline and Thomas

Culture: When the bride and the groom dance at weddings, Filipinos pin money to their clothes. The whole dance, they just get more and more money. It is very interesting. It is a good luck wishing that their marriage will be successful and will be fruitful.

Tagalesson: Kasal: marriage
Asawa: Spouse
Kaligayahan: Joy
“Ikakasal sina Caroline Faulkner at Thomas Collett.” = "Thomas and Caroline are getting married"
Mahal:love

Welp people. Go to Caroline's wedding.
Read the book of Mormon.
Teach people not lessons.

Love you all,

Elder Faulkner

Pictures:
My reading library

Outside the house


Elder Torres.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mangoes


I really like eating mangoes here. There are three different types of mangoes here. The Orange ones: these are always sweet and normal sized. They are good but they lack the little bit of sour that we are used to in mangoes back home.
The Yellow ones: these are a lot closer to the yellow mangoes you find in America. They can be either sweet or sour, and grow a little larger than the orange ones. They are normally my favorite and they tend to get very big here.
And the Green ones. These are the unripe mangoes. A lot of people like to eat these with vinegar and salt. They are normally very sour, but sometimes have sweet parts (depending on how ripe they actually are). I normally don’t buy this kind of mango; they arent as good as they other kind – but they are a lot cheaper.
Mangoes are normally somewhere between 30-60 pesos for a kilo. If you are counting back home, this equates to about 30-60 cents a pound – which, from what I remember about the cost of mangoes, that is pretty dang good. They also happen to be better than most of the mangoes I have had back home.
The Filipinos also have different ways of cutting and eating the mango, depending on what tools they have to cut and how ripe the mango is. Just recently, I have been buying a lot of mangoes because the price went down very low. They normally measure by the half kilo. I got around 9 good sized mangoes for around 3 American dollars.
       
Welp, I should probably stop talking about fruit. In the missionary work, we have three baptisms this week. Charito, Mariel, and Nino. They are all pretty prepared and we have been teaching them for quite a while. We are working on making sure that they are prepared to continue to go to church and keep the covenants they will making. Even if someone is prepared for baptism, they don’t usually understand how important that action is in their lives. Other than those three, we may have a few more people ready to be baptized soon. We are working on helping members interact with those we teach so that they will continue to go to church.
       
With three of our people getting baptized, we are also finding a decent amount. We still have a number of people to teach every week, but we need to keep going so we can find those that are ready to hear our message. We have been doing splits with the ward a decent amount, so we may have a lot of progression soon. Splits are when the missionaries break apart to each work with a member of the ward. This is important, as it allows us to work at twice as many appointments and visit twice as many families in the ward.
       
I am learning a lot about Filipino Culture right now and how you need to talk to Filipinos.
        
Culture: Basketball: everyone plays here. They often take it very seriously as well.
Filipino rules:
If there only one ball, and you are not playing a game (everyone is just taking shots), when someone shoots they get two shots.
You always give it back to them after the first shot.
If you do not comply with this rule, they are not happy at all.
         
Tagalesson: I was going to do a lesson on words for playing basketball with Filipinos, but I don’t really like basketball. So I scrapped that idea. Basically we are gonna have 2 cultural lessons this week, and nothing about the language.

Harvesting fruit: Most of the fruit that grows out of reach can be gotten with very long sticks. You get a very long stick made out of bamboo and a net at the end, hold the stick up, and scoop the fruit into the net. I have done this a few times to get the mangoes out of the tree. You can do this almost anywhere. Some people harvest the mangoes and other fruit to sell at the market. Most of the time, people get really lazy and don’t even wait until the fruit is ripe. They eat the unripe fruit! I guess they are okay with it.

Welp, I didn’t take any pictures this week – but I have another of that kitten from last week.



Anyways the work is good here.

I hope that you are all having a good week and enriching experiences without me. Keep on keeping on.

Love,


Elder Faulkner

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tag-Ulan


Right now it is Tag-ulan or the “rainy season”. This means that it rains pretty solidly almost every day. It means that it is a little less hot some of the time, but when it isn’t raining – it gets very very humid – and it is still pretty hot. We spend a decent amount of time either shielding ourselves with an umbrella or getting absolutely soaked. I like the rainy season more than the Hot season because although they are almost the same temperature, one has rain. Things here have been going pretty smoothly. We have a lot of people to teach, and many are actually progressing towards baptism. We have done a lot in our area to encourage people to come to church and establish a relationship with God.
           
One thing I have learned as a missionary: I am not here to give people information, but to help them become more spiritually independent. This knowledge helps to keep a good attitude when people don’t seem to understand why our teachings are important. If they are creating that relationship, I have helped them to where they need to be.
        
Another thing with missionary work: you don’t always see progress with the people you teach because it comes slowly. The next missionaries have the chance to see that come to fruition. We talk to a lot of people and it is good to know that almost all of the people that we interact with will benefit in some way by that personal relationship with God – even if it does not come immediately.
     
This week, I introduced the area to my new companion Elder Tagal. He is coming from San Miguel, which is the largest area in the entire mission. He is very excited to work with the people here because they are not as spread out and we can work close to the church. We are working on preparing people for baptism. We have 3-6 baptisms planned for this transfer and we are excited to see these people make covenants to God.     

I don’t know if there is much more to say this week. I am learning a lot in this area. I am speaking Tagalog a lot more – I have to if I want to communicate with my companion. I am excited to see what God has in plan for me in the coming months.
     
We are getting a new mission president this coming week. There may be some big changes in the mission pretty soon. If you don’t know about the calling of mission presidents, they have very little training and they are expected to learn just about everything about leading the mission while they are here working. It will be a very interesting experience to go through, but I am sure the transition will go smoothly.
    
Culture: Rain. There are a few things that people do when it rains here. First: You always cover your head, even if it is just with your hands. You use whatever you have: an umbrella, a rag, a piece of cardboard…
Second: When the rain stops, if your clothes are even remotely wet – you are expected to change immediately (To keep you from getting sick).
Third: You are not supposed to do strenuous activities in the rain (Like exercise). They believe that this will also make you sick. They are very serious about this one.

Tagalesson: In Tagalog, there isn’t a way to say "I was going to do something." You must use future tense and the word "Sana" (which means hopefully). Then you say the reason that you didn’t do it. This is kind of a weird thing in the language.
Example: I was going to go to the store. But it is raining.
"Pupunta sana ako sa tindahan, pero umulan." Literally this translates to. "I will hopefully go to the store but it is raining."
Basically, you say you will do something, but there was a reason you didn’t do it. That one took me a while to learn.

Anyways I will update you all when things happen, we should have 3 people being baptized on July 7th. I will try to get some pictures to you guys when that all happens.

Love you all,

Elder Faulkner


Pictures:
A kitten at an investigators house
Me and my old Zone leader


Me and two missionaries from my batch.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Preparing for Baptism

      
Last email I mentioned the fact that as a District leader I would have to do Baptismal interviews for people. Checking to be sure the missionaries have taught an investigator and the investigator has met certain requirements. They have an interview to make sure they are spiritually ready to be baptized. This is important because through this interview they show what they have learned and express their desires to be baptized. I was a little bit nervous because I would be the one to do the interviews! I quickly got over this fear because I interviewed 4 people for baptism right away. This was a humbling experience. I started to realize that it isn’t between me and this person, it is between them and God. Baptism is a very important step in their lives and I was glad to be the person to witness their expression of understanding about God and commitment to the covenant. 
       
I have also found that I can go pretty much the whole day without speaking English and be just fine. Me new comanion, Elder Tagal, does not speak all that much English. I can’t always lead conversations about whatever I want in Tagalog, but I find that the conversations tend to go pretty smoothly and we understand each other just fine. It is really helpful to my language skills. Then again, Elder Tagal's first language is not Tagalog. He actually came into the mission not being fluent in Tagalog. So sometimes there are mistakes in his grammar. The weird thing about Tagalog – it is often more about the confidence with which you speak it, rather than they words. Even if the grammar is wrong, they will understand if you are close and explain your meaning through body language.
         
This week has been good in our area because we have helped a lot of people to start to progress. We are now looking at helping them move onto baptism and making that promise to God. It is very important for people to understand before they are baptized. I have been very worried about encouraging people to be baptized if they are not completely ready. Something I am learning: as you follow up with people, you can learn if they are ready. Just last night we talked to one of our investigators about all the things that she has learned during our time teaching her and going to church; we found that she was very ready and understands the covenant of baptism extremely well.
         
Honestly, one of our major goals as missionaries is to teach people to become independent and have an independent relationship with God. So many people are afraid here to approach God and talk with him. We try to teach them the steps to have that relationship and continue looking for answers.
     
Culture: Hiya: a word that kind of means shyness. It is equitable to the fear of being rejected or the fear of being embarrassed. Basically it is a social barrier where people fail to communicate because they do not think they can talk openly. This can be a huge impairment in relationships and can hurt a lot of people. This is important here because people have this "Hiya" to God as well. People in their prayers will very rarely be direct to God when they have questions. We teach people to pray directly to HIM with their questions, but it is very hard for them to do that because of this fear. They will often not keep the commitments we give them because they do not want to be rejected by God.
     
Tagalesson: "dapat" and "pwede". So we mentioned about focus before. Basically these two words change focus based on the word that follows them. "Dapat" means "should" and "Pwede" means "can". These two words are basically never found without another kind of verb after them, which can change the focus. For example, we will use the word for reading "basa". There are two conjugations: "Magbasa" and "Basahin". Now we can make two sentences that mean close to the same thing but focus on two different objects: "Dapat akong magbasa" "Dapat kong basahin" They both mean "I should read", but they work a little differently. The second one is focused more on the thing that you should read instead of on your yourself. The thing here is pwede works the same way pretty much.
       
This is important because dapat and pwede are not always consistent in their focuses this makes it very important to know what you want to say before you start saying it.

Life is going pretty good. The work continues on. I miss a lot of people back home. 

SHOUTOUT TO ALL THE FATHERS OUT THERE. ESPECIALLY MY DAD, IT IS FATHER'S DAY TODAY AND THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT 

Father's day was an interesting time to be away from home, this may have been my first fathers day away from my dad so it was a time for deep thinking. I love you dad thank you for all you've done in my life.

I love you all.

Elder Faulkner





Pictures: I took sneaky pictures of Elder Stephens and Elder Tagal.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Senior Companion District Leader


So Elder Rasputtensen, my companion, is our district leader. This means when we have problems in our district (5 companionships) people look to him to be an example and make decisions. I would always use this as an excuse that when I didn’t know what we should do in the work (For example I didn’t know who we should visit next and I didn’t want to decide) I would look at him and say, "Lead the way Senior companion, District leader." He wouldn’t always be too happy with that when I did that, but that was a joke that went between us a lot.
      
I think the karma fairy has paid a visit to Sapang Palay, because I just got called to be the district leader in Sapang Palay! I will be taking his spot tomorrow and continuing his legacy. Elder Rasmusen did not always want to be district leader, but he did his job. I have learned that it will probably be very stressful. The district leaders job is to empower the district to work to their full potential and give them someone that they can report problems too so the work continues on. I will also be interviewing baptismal candidates. That will be a very interesting thing that I will have to do.
      
With Elder Ranemosis leaving forever, I will have a new companion, his name is Elder Tagal. He was in my zone back in Malolos. I have worked with him a few times before and I think that we will get along quite well. He will be the hardest out of all my companions to communicate with – as he is not very fluent in English. This will help me progress in the Language and hopefully help him to learn a lot of English as well. I look forward to working with him in this area.
      
Elder Rashmussen will be transferring to Novaliches. He is pretty excited to get out of here. Missionaries tend to get really sick of an area after not too long – as we are so used to moving around. Elder Rsmsn has been here for around 6 months and that is a pretty long time in one area. He is ready to be somewhere else.
      
I am excited to see where the area goes in the future I am going to try to influence the people in my district to do good things and to always remember the purpose of helping their brothers and sisters in the Philippines. When we understand our divine potential and the relationship we have with others we become much better at teaching and have a greater desire to keep people going in the work; we also become more motivated ourselves.

Culture: Red: So the color Red here is seen as a happy color it is not a thing that you are really allowed to wear even a long while after someone has died in your family. People will point out that you are wearing red if something sad happened recently. Some people will purposefully wear the color red on major holidays to show happiness.

Tagalesson: Matagal: Matagal is an adjective that means "Taking a long time for late" it is a kind of weird word as there is not an exact translation in English for it, but because the root of the word is my new companion’s last name, I figure that it is pertinent. It is a very useful word.
If we couple the word gaanong and the prefix ka+ and attach it to the root of a word we have the equivalent of "How ____" in English.
For example
Gaanong katagal?: How long?/how late?
Now we can ask a question:
Gaano kayong katagal dito?: How long have you been here?
This trick can be used for almost any adjective, but is most often used by me to ask "How long" type questions.
If you can master how to make this prefix addition work for you then you will be well on your way to being good at Tagalog, trust me.

Pictures: We went on exchanges and these are some pictures with the zone leaders for our zone. Elder Sacay is the Filipino and Elder Nielsen is the American






The last one is an old picture of Elder Tagal, back when we were together in Malolos.

Welp, peace out. I love you all. Remember just email me if you ever want to talk. Keep on keeping on.

Love


Elder Faulkner

Monday, June 5, 2017

We're gonna change the way we find, We're gonna change the way we teach

So this last week we had some exchanges with the Zone Leaders. If you are not aware, we sometimes have exchanges which are one-day events where you split with your companion and work in a different area – usually with a zone leader or a district leader. We went to the Zone Leaders’ area and we worked with them all day. I worked with Elder Sacay. We did some pretty good work. He taught me the importance of 5-minute lessons and consistent finding. The goal was to set apart a little time for finding in our day. When we focused on finding families to share a 5-minute lesson with, we found 12 people to add to their teaching pool – in one day. The goal is to bring that tactic into our area and change the way we are doing missionary work. The goal with the 5-minute lesson is to share something with the person that they will be able to relate to; that they can feel the truthfulness of the message, and be ready for you to expound on it and fill in the gaps next time you see them. 
It can be hard to find and talk to new people. When you focus on why they need what you are sharing and how much it can affect them, it is a lot easier to talk to them and start sharing. It also helps when you share only short messages because you don’t end up taking a lot of the people's time. I think it will help us be more confident in finding and sharing. It also helps with the language to constantly share with people and talk to them about their lives.
           
Other than that, nothing much is going on here. Elder Rasmussen is back to normal and no sicknesses are inhibiting the work. He will probably be moving along here pretty soon. He has been here almost 6 months. I will probably stay one or two more transfers before I am sent to somewhere else. We will have to see who becomes district leader when he moves out of Sapang Palay. We have quite a few candidates.
           
Either way, life continues and not much has changed. We are seeing quite a few more people coming to church, and a couple people that are progressing towards baptism! Hopefully we will see these people make changes in their lives, becoming happier, when they choose to live by a higher law.
         
I am starting to realize that as we progress in learning and when we keep searching for wisdom in this life, we continue to follow God and do things that make us happy. Often, we need help from other people. That is how God works. Even if we progress slowly, it is kind of expected. To fix our mistakes and change, we push our lives in the direction to become what we need to be. The things we do in this church aren’t to keep us back, they are to help us learn how we should treat each other; and, through God's direction, learn to be comfortable in the presence of God himself.
           
Culture: Pasukan: All the kids will go back to school in the first two weeks of June. The schedule is a bit different than American schedules. It makes it interesting. I haven’t yet been here a full school year – but I have been told most of the kids don’t make it to school very often. It depends a lot on what life is like at home.
         
Tagalesson: Pasok: The work pasok means "Enter", but when used in a sentence that we would normally say work or school it can be used to mean "That thing that you do during the day"

May pasok ba kayo kanina?: "Did you have work/school earlier?"
May pasok ba kayo mamaya?: "Do you have work/school later?"
Pasok is an "um" verb these are usually internal types of verbs, things that you have to do to stay alive or things that you do without thinking. You conjugate them as follows.
Pasok: Root
Pumasok: Past tense/infinitive: to enter/Entered
Pumapasok: Present: Entering
Papasok: future: will enter.
So if the thing is in the past or the present, we input the letters um into the root.  If it is in present, we add an extra duplicate of the letter that starts the root.
These verbs are actor focused, which means the most important thing in the sentence is the thing doing the action

That is all for verbs they can be a major headache, it is best to not worry about them too much. 

Anyways I love you all keep on keeping on. Thanks for all the support.


Elder Faulkner

Monday, May 29, 2017

Part II: The infection strikes back

This week existed.


Not all that much was done, because Elder Rasmussen's infection came back; this time it wasn't on his forehead, it was on his lip. It swelled up a lot. Hopefully I will get some good pictures attached to this email. With that said, we were stuck in the house a lot this week. As a missionary, when you can’t go out and work, you feel kind of useless; there is not a whole lot that you can do.
       
With that said, I got to go on exchanges a couple times with Elder Stephens. It is weird teaching with my MTC comp again. He says a lot more in the lessons nowadays. With 4 foreigners in the house, we spend a decent amount of time talking about things that help us with the language – although Elder Kirifi is basically a Filipino at this point, he is pretty fluent.
       
We had Zone interviews at the beginning of last week. When we get mail and proselyting supplies, it comes from the mission office. This is a 2-hour trip each way to go down the mountain to the mission office. Then we have lug all of it back up to our house. It can be a bit of a struggle. The transportation around here helps. Coming back from Zone interviews we all decided to take a taxi. It was only 150 pesos (or $3) each for about an hour in a taxi, all in all it was around 12 dollars for all of us to ride.

We got back out to work this week for real on Saturday. That means from Monday to Friday there was almost no work done! It hurts to not speak the language often. We are reviewing our teaching and finding styles. Hopefully we will focus more on finding this week and have a bigger teaching pool because of it. Then we can fill in all the lessons spots on our calendar.
       
Finding can be a weird thing here, sometimes we are just there to teach a small lesson. Even if the person listens, we might only stop by their house a few times. We aren’t looking for people that are ready to listen; we are looking for people that are ready to change their lives, or be helped to change their lives.
       
We are going to get a new Mission President in a few weeks. This will be the last full transfer with our current mission president. The next will come in not knowing about the missionaries or the areas. He will only have the current missionaries and God to help him figure out his job. It will probably be hard on him. Right now we only speculate as to what he will be like. There are a lot of people that think things will get more strict, I figure they will mostly stay the same.
       
Culture: Naliligo sa kalsada: It rains a decent amount over here. Whenever it rains hard – all the children run out into the street and start showering. Most of them are fully clothed, or clothed enough. The streets aren’t full of naked kids. This happens every time. Sometimes the rain is pretty intense, but this usually just increases the number of kids outside.
     
Tagalesson: we will learn some of the different words for rain and some other things.
Ulan: Rain
Umuulan na: It is raining now
Ambon: drizzle
Umaambon na: It is drizzling now.
Ligo: shower
Naliligo sa kalsada: showering in the street.

We will learn about "um" and "na" verbs next week.

Welp, we will continue on with the work. It is good getting back to it all.

Keep on keeping on.

Love 


Elder Faulkner