Monday, May 7, 2018

You're only one call away...

Elders tend to get 4 calls home in their missions: 2 Christmases and 2 Mother's Days. My first call home happened in the MTC (Christmas); it feels like it happened so long ago, but also it feels like the time has passed in an instant. This next week will be my last call for Mother's Day. It will be the last time I get to talk to my parents before I see them in person. It is very weird to think that this whole thing will be coming to an end. I try not to think of that; I just keep myself busy enough that I do not have to worry about it. I love the Philippines and I love the people. I have seen a lot of miracles. I have met so many people. We are keeping strong over here and not giving up anytime soon.
Calls like this normally divide your mission into 4 parts, this being my last part. I have heard it said that the last part is the best because you can just apply all the things that you learned and work a lot more effectively than you had before. I look forward to that. In some ways I have already started that portion of my mission. Of course, there will still be a lot to learn; but I will not have much that held me back before.
On a completely different note, there is a person welding literally 10 feet away from me right now. It is kind of distracting. Welding is a specialized skill that can get you more money than most normal jobs here.
This week we have been struggling to push our area to progress – mostly because we have been mapping and working in the other Elder's area. We still need to teach the progressing investigators that we do have, and add to the teaching pool. Because of the mapping, I now know every single active and less active member in my area on the membership records. If they have moved in and not transferred their membership records, we do not know about them yet.
Dehydration is a real thing! Don’t let it get you. I just found out this last week that during fasting (members of our church go without food or water for 24 hours on the first Sunday of the month, just like Jesus did in the Bible) we are allowed to drink water in this mission. I didn’t know my whole mission! I will still try to go without. Water is so important in this country because it is just constant sweating and humidity. But we are getting into the rainy season so it will probably be a little bit easier to make it through those challenges of dehydration.
Elder Kauffman and I are doing alright. He has been struggling and we have been able to talk about the reasons a mission is difficult; hopefully we will continue to see good progress together. He has a lot of potential, but everyone gets tested on the mission. We are still seeing how he is going to deal with this trial. I think that every single missionary goes through specific individual trials that really push them.

Welp thanks for listening have a wonderful week and keep on keeping on.
Elder faulkner

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Wow, magic.

I am here and still alive, and it looks like we will be making it into the rainy season very soon. Hopefully that means we won’t have to endure the heat for too much longer. Don’t get me wrong, it is still going to be really hot, but it will cool off while the rain is going on.

This week we focused almost exclusively on mapping, so we didn’t get many lessons. We went to and mapped around 120 different households. It was fun to be able to know every single member in our area. This coming week, we will be doing the same thing in the other half of our branch to have the entire map updated. 
We have taught very few people this week and I look forward to getting back to regular missionary work after all this stuff is taken care of. But for now, you have to just go on with what you are called to do.
There is a lot going on right now, but I have learned well to only focus on one main task at a time; it makes my time a lot more productive. I have learned a lot of organizational skills while on my mission – which is probably the biggest miracle of all (as I am usually not a very effective person).
I will story to you now about a family that we are teaching. The Papa family. We found these two girls through their father, who is a decently active member. The two girls, Aileen and Erika, were taught before – but then they got very busy with their schedules at school. We have been teaching Aileen for about 3 weeks now and Erika for just about a week. This last Sunday, they both came to church together. It is nice to see their testimonies grow steadily as we teach them and read the Book of Mormon with them. This is one of those families that we just kind of stumbled along at the right time and we were able to teach them again and again. They have accepted baptismal dates in the month of May and we will hopefully be working very closely with their father to help them go to church every week and to read the Book of Mormon.
We focus a lot on individual prayer. People who are struggling with other things in their lives have forgotten to pray, losing that small consistent, connection with God. Through prayer and their scripture study, we were able to help 2 families back to church.

Here comes the invitation to all of you: Make your prayers more sincere or make your prayers happen more often. 

Just these simple things allow our lives to change. One person that we are teaching said that she saw a huge change in how people at her house treated each other – just because she went from praying 1 time in two weeks to every day. When we give consistent love and respect to God, He fixes our problems (or at least gives us the direction we need).

Well, I love you all.

Thank you muchly for your reading of my letters. Keep on keeping on

Elder Faulkner

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mapping Never Stops

These are pictures of me and Elder Kauffman.

We got a new assignment in our district and in the whole zone. We have to make sure that every member of the church in the ENTIRE Novaliches stake is mapped on the online database. This means that I need to find out where everyone lives. We actually have a lot of information. We will be taking that information and updating everyone's address in our online map.

This means that a lot of things will be happening:

  Ø We will all be getting GPS systems to map people while we are out working.
  Ø We will be working less as companionships and more as districts and zones to map big areas in small times.
  Ø We will have training on how to map and use GPS effectively.
  Ø We will have to work some things out on the ward and stake level to have members work with us.
  Ø We will be teaching ward clerks how to keep records updated

Tracting is bawal.

There will be a lot of changes that we go through in the next few weeks, we should be able to adjust just fine. We are having a lot more success in the area and got 3 investigators to church this last week. Which is 3 more than last week.

We are still working to help Elder Kauffman learn the language but KTTL is on hold for a little bit while we get everything mapped and organized.

Area is looking up and we are hoping that soon our branch will be able to be a ward.

Sorry for not writing a lot, I had a lot of more individual emails to respond to this week and my brain is still kinda jumbled from all these changes.

I love you all and I hope that you are holding on. Sometimes when all you can do is hold on just keep on going. But if you are doing better than that – push yourself to thrive and improve. This life is a time to improve so do all you can to chase that improvement.

I believe in you all go out there and do your best.
Love you
Elder Faulkner

Monday, April 16, 2018

KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead)

We started a new program today it is called KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead), it is the thing that I thought of this week to build Elder Kauffman's confidence and ability to speak the language.
When we start KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead) this is normally how it goes:
We plan to do around 1-2 hours a day of KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead)
When KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead) starts I stop talking to people or doing hardly anything except encouraging him.
Elder Kauffman must "Take the lead" and talk to people around him.
We continue doing KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead) until our next set appointment.

This program of KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead) is very stressful for him, and I am somewhat wondering about the effectivity of KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead), but I believe that KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead) is an inspired program that will push Elder Kauffman's confidence to never-before seen heights. Soon we will see how effective KTTL (Kauffman Takes the Lead) really is.

Well enough of all that.

So far in Bagong Silang we have had some very interesting things happen. We have had a decent amount of people just come up to us, telling us that they want to be taught; we will update you on that in the coming weeks.

I really like living this close to the mission office, it is great to be able to talk to the zone leaders whenever I need help with anything. One of my zone leaders is Elder Stephens – my MTC companion. I really enjoying working with him, we have been through a lot together. He hasn’t always liked me – but we are all good now. It is kind of looking like we might be companions before our missions are over.

We have a lot to do right now in our area and we are really pushing hard. Especially with our branch – we are trying to help the members become stronger so we can make it into a ward.
If you are not familiar with church organization:
When there are enough active members in an area, there is a ward created. A ward is the basic congregational unit of the church. When an area does not yet have enough active members to operate a ward – it is a branch.

Anyways I will go leave you all now so I can go eat. I love you all thanks for listening.

Elder Faulkner

We baptized Fergus, this is him and his family.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The biggest Barangay

So I got here in Bagong Silang and met my new companion, Elder Kauffman. He is a great guy. He runs track and was on schedule for a very large track scholarship back home. He has given up a lot to serve a mission and I am here to make sure that his time is used effectively. Right now, we are learning a lot about Tagalog and stretching him to speak more and more. One thing that stops people from truly learning the language is a fear of speaking. When people do not allow themselves to speak as much as they need, it stops them from learning the language. People often limit their potential when they don’t push themselves as much as they could. I have been called on many times to help other missionaries push themselves. When they lack the confidence to speak, I push them a lot.

Speaking is just a way to be able to express yourself; language is just a means to the end of expression. When people understand this idea, they are empowered to speak a different language. That is one thing that helped Elder Bromley. We have been doing a lot of language study.

I finally got a copy of my book in a binder, there are still a few more things to fix and then we can start making it into a more solid product. I have even used it a little bit to help Elder Kauffman. He has been making good progress and we will see where he is in 5 weeks. I have high hopes for him. 

This area is very small compared to every other area in my mission, we can walk across the whole area in around 30 minutes. We hardly ever take any form of transportation. It is a whole lot different from the other places I have been, but I also really enjoy it. We are working hard to create a solid teaching pool.  We are also visiting and getting to know all of the members in the branch. We have high hopes for the branch and the area; we might even see it become a ward soon.

General conference was an amazing time to seek personal direction from God and I feel like I received a lot. I will just reiterate what the prophet said about preparing ourselves to receive personal revelation, he said that it is impossible to live without it in the coming days and to get it we need to train our minds to work with the spirit in some very specific ways. Go back and read what he said and then follow his advice you will be blessed as you do these things.

I love you all and I appreciate your time in reading this.

Elder Faulkner

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Cant stay in one place

Welp, looks like I am moving again, I only lasted these 6 weeks in Malanday but it was very fun time. We have seen some great miracles and spiritual experiences. Tomorrow I will be moving to the largest barangay in the Philippines.

Barangay is like neighborhood. It is a section of houses in which people live. Normally they are not very organized, but they can be very large.
Bagong Silang, has a lot of people in it, and it is a large relocation center from metro Manila. There are about a million people there, and I don’t know if that is far from the truth, this will be my first real time in the city.
My companion in Bagong Silang will be Elder Kauffman. I have met him once before and he seems like a pretty solid missionary. He is struggling in the language and I will be sent to help him with that. I look forward to my time in Bagong Silang. Hopefully we can do some great things over there.
I am on the last book in the Book of Mormon. I will finish the book of Moroni later on tonight and I will have finished the Book of Mormon in Tagalog. Then I will finish writing the book that I have already started.
I will be leaving Elder Ewing. This is the longest that I have ever had a single companion. We had a good time together and I learned a lot about helping people being strengthened in the gospel. We have really helped the ward with helping the families in their daily family prayer and family scripture study. It may seem like a small victory but we know how large it is by the effect it has on the individual families.

This last Sunday, we had a man named Jun Jun come back to church. We had never met him before. While talking to him, we found out that he has had an interesting and a little bit overwhelming past. Yesterday, we got to teach him in his house. He has been through a lot and we have only seen the beginning. He said that our lesson really impacted him. He reminds me that no matter where anyone is, they still have the capacity to change and to reconcile with God. He is a very special person and I have seen very few people that are that close to the spirit. Sadly, I will be moving on but I have great faith that he will live through the next phase of his life giving everything to God.

Thank you all for listening. I will put some picture on that we took with Jun.

I love you all have a wonderful week.
Elder Faulkner

Monday, March 26, 2018

As the weeks pass by like days

Hello everyone,

How was your week? Mine was pretty good. We had a good zone conference, and we focused a lot on time and why it is important. It is interesting to think that time is our most important resource and it is the thing that everyone wants more of, but people also tend to waste a lot of it. I have also wasted a lot of time, and I will probably end up wasting a lot more, but it helped me focus on thinking about what my priorities are and how I can best use my time to achieve my goals and get done what I want to get done.

We also thought a lot about the pattern that God has created for us; the pattern that we receive light and blessings into our lives, depending on our own obedience and willingness to change. Elder Ewing and I gave a workshop about that – about how when we follow the plan that God has, He trusts us more and allows us to better show his light to others. This process allows us to have the spirit and help others change their lives.

We are still working hard with the Malanday Ward in order to help reactivate those who have been gone for a long time. We want to help complete families. We talked a lot about that as a mission, we need to focus on making families complete in the church again. It is a big work to do, especially when it seems like some families do not want to be together. We are there to show the blessings and help them make it down the path again.

Right now, as a missionary, I really like the work we are doing. It seems that every single day you do such small work and you can’t really see the difference in people's lives. Eventually you see a big difference that has taken place over that time. We have some days now that I can really see the help we give to people. We give them ways to change and discover the truth, we allow them to better make decisions for their lives. We are in the business of informing people what they could have, and helping them achieve that.

I am learning a lot, focusing on humility and self improvement – which tend to go together. I hope that you are all doing well.

BTW we baptized a kid named Pacman.

Well I should probably have some more to say than this, but my mind is running out of things. I wish you all a great week.

Elder Faulkner