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

Monday, January 22, 2018

That moment when you have no moments

So many things happened. I will aim to give a brief overview of the week. Sorry I couldn’t write more.

~      We started really trying to get referrals out of the ward members.
~      One of the sisters in our zone got ringworm.
~      Another says there is a ghost in the apartment.
~      We have a baptism this coming Saturday.
~      We found out some stuff about missionaries who used to be assigned here.
~      We got a 2-minute visit by President Hughes on Sunday.
~      We are changing the way that ward missionaries work.
~      God lives.
~      We revamped the Key indicators a little bit.
~      We try not to knock doors anymore.
~      I got new Glasses. (They are pretty cheap here)
~      I got an eye exam. (It was free here.)
~      We found an ok family. (Tucong Family)
~      We got a solid member referral.
~      I am gonna get a ton of my clothes retailored for like 2 dollars.
~      Spirits the best teacher.
~      Started Tagalog language learning book part 2.
I love you all.
Elder Faulkner

Monday, January 15, 2018

Can't Stop; Won't Stop

There are some things that we learned about Goals this week. In proverbs 23:7 we see:

Our mission president reiterated the importance of always thinking about goals until we achieve them. This means that you need a constant mental effort to accomplish that goal. It will not necessarily be easy, but it will be possible. We have set a goal for 28 baptisms in the month of March. We are doing everything in our power to constantly work and do things that should lead us to reaching this goal. It seems a little ridiculous, but if we are teaching enough lessons to progressing investigators and teaching the right people, it is not impossible. God does impossible things all the time. Our mission president said that most goals should catch your eye and scare you. If they don’t, you are not pushing yourself. We are striving to work differently; to work smart and to see the difference in the results. 

There is a lot that comes with goal like this. We make a constant effort to evaluate what we are doing in order to find those little things we can do to make a huge difference. Most of reaching a large goal involves starting off with a very sure start and not moving from that. It is very possible that we will not reach this goal – but we will fail forward at the very least. 

Teaching with Elder Ewing is a different experience. He is a better teacher than pretty much any other companion that I have ever had. But we realize that no matter how good the teaching is, you still don’t get anywhere without the spirit. We strive to only teach by the spirit, and hope and pray that our investigators feel it. 

We are really starting to push the members to be active in the work. We decided that it would be impossible to find 28 people by ourselves without members that are ready for baptism by march. The members will find more quality investigators. We are going to ideally make some family mission plans with some of the families in the ward. Which we will explain in the next few weeks as we understand what we are doing. 
We are trying to make the work more precise and more organized. I have always had a problem with organization in my life, but I am still pushing myself to make that into a strength. 

Yesterday we had a good experience. We were getting ready to head to a broadcast of the funeral service for prophet Thomas S. Monson. We had about 30 minutes. We prayed in the street to ask God to send us to someone we could teach in that short amount of time, who would accept the gospel. We walked down the street and didn’t really feel anything. We were just standing there for a few seconds and we start talking to the little kids coming by. One of the kids points us up the hill and tells us that his mom wants to talk to us. We looked up to see a lady that we had not noticed before, standing outside the large gate of a church. We go up to talk to her. Her name is Pearly, and she is a devout Baptist. Her cousin is the pastor of the church she was standing in the threshold of. We start a conversation about how she moved from Catholicism because of the activities and programs in her new church. We then start talking about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. She seemed to kind of understand the importance of such a book. We testified of it and she said she would read it every day. I don’t know how much will come out of that meeting, but we will follow up to see what she has learned. It was a good experience.
After that, we saw the broadcast of the funeral services of Thomas S. Monson. He will be remembered for his personal ministry and his love of individuals. I know that God calls living prophets and speaks through them today.

Culture: If you don’t speak the language correctly here, almost no one will correct you. As it generally works – the more correctly you speak, the more people correct you. I think it is because it is much easier to correct just the one mistake than many. Before Elder Bromley and I split up, I told him about this – the more correctly he spoke, the more people would help him learn the language. I saw him the other day, and he said that people were starting to correct him – so he must be making great progress in learning the language. I am proud of him.

Tagalesson: Some nouns made from verbs:
Prayer: Pagdarasal
Church attendance: Pagsisimba
Repentance: Pagsisisi
The act of Reading: Pagbabasa
Speech: Pagsasalita.

Alrighty everyone, keep up the amazing. I love you all and look forward to seeing what you all have to say next week ;)
Elder Faulkner

Monday, January 8, 2018

Welp Transfers

Well that transfer came and went very quickly.

We are having a lot of people moving out of the zone. And as the zone leaders, we have to make sure that everyone has adequate travel arrangements. This will be nothing tho to some of the other stuff we have to do.

I don’t really miss being a district leader. Being a zone leader carries a similar stress level, but it makes me feel like I have a lot more influence in the work of others.

This coming 6 weeks, we are going to focus on getting out and working with the different companionships throughout the zone. We are going to do a lot of exchanges – where we exchange companions with another companionship for a short period of time.
Elder Ewing and I are doing pretty well in the work. We are working with people to overcome stumbling blocks. That is pretty much the life of a missionary, you find a problem, you find a way to fix it, and then God fixes it.

We really have to trust God a lot more than we normally do. We have to put all the faith in Him that we can. Almost every problem in the world can be broken down into a problem with our faith. If we think about God as one who loves us, he doesn’t want us to struggle and he doesn’t want life to be overwhelming, He wants us to improve. If we are always relying on Him, and doing everything that we possibly can, we will always have enough faith to make our lives great.
The now deceased President Monson (The prophet of the whole world died, and nothing bad happened to the world. God has a pretty good program going here) said something about our futures. He said: "The future is as bright as your faith". That can be applied in a lot of ways. A lot of people go through life with very little hope; we need to trust in our Father and do all we can along the way.
I fall very short every day, but I trust God. The most important part of consistent faith is that it allows God to trust us. If you can have God's trust, I am pretty sure that you can do anything.

We are on the downward slope but this really just means I have to try twice as hard right?

My mother said something very interesting that I think can be applied, (it was originally about hiking mountains.) She said: "You have to be twice as careful on the way down, it is harder on your knees and you might slip." In the position that I am in now, I have great opportunities to immerse myself in the work and take a slow ride down the mountain. I am trying to be solidly footed on this path. The mission kind of sets the track for the rest of your life. Also, even in just the last one year I have learned more than the last ten years.
Well I have like one million things to do and I am hoping I can even fit in a nap today, so I better go and do before I go and sleep.

Culture: Pabahay. There are these huge structures that are kind of like apartments in America, they are relocation centers. One of these is in our area and we sometimes work there. It is called Disciplina Village. These relocation centers are called Pabahays and that just means someone gives you a house. It is not exactly free but it is like 2 very small rooms you pay off over 10 years. Most of the payments in a month are around 100-300 pesos, which is about 2-6 dollars. A lot of the people that come into these places are moved from very hard situations and placed here for a better life. Because they are so cheap, a lot of the kids that live here don’t have a lot to do during the day. Some of them don’t even go to school because they figure their living space for their whole life is already worked out...

Words you will probably never need:
Rainbow: Bahaghari
Sunset: Takipsilim
Sky: Himpapawid
Cloud: Ulap

Yay we made it through another week.

I love you all.

If you want a story when I get home (That I might never have time to type out in email) ask me about the hardest fast I have ever done.

Elder Faulkner

Monday, January 1, 2018

Pictures this time

This week was not nearly as busy as last week. We had a lot to do, but most of that doing was in the field missionary work – which is normally much better than meetings. We have a lot going on in our area. We have dropped most of the people that the previous missionaries were teaching. We are finding a lot and we have found a few really awesome people.

One of the people that we are teaching right now is Ramon. He is a chain smoker, but he has been slowly decreasing the amount that he smokes every day. We made a plan for him so that he would be able to be baptized and work more towards his goal of quitting smoking. One thing that is important with people is that you have to put the standard somewhere that is achievable. With Ramon, we are working little-by-little and he is quite receptive to it.

Other than that, we have a huge compound that we teach in. It is a relocation center called “Disciplina”. We have a lot of people there that we have taught. We also have a lot of less actives that get relocated there. It is a very interesting place to work, as it is very, very loud. Working there can be a test on patience. There are always screaming kids and loud music. But we have some progressing investigators there, so we have to do what we have to do.
Elder Ewing and I are working pretty well together. We get along just fine. We are working together to see what we can do to be effective and useful.
Elder Ewing and I have been giving really small commitments to try and build people's faith very slowly. We have seen a little bit of progress with that.
We had a great time on New years eve. It was very, very loud – much louder than any celebration I have heard in America. We tried to go to sleep early, but we both woke up a lot throughout the night.
Culture: People have two celebrations here close together. Christmas and New years, as is customary in a lot of cultures. They mostly do the same thing on both nights (drink, sit around, and play music.). Everything is louder on New Years, and there are a lot more fireworks. Fireworks right now are against the law without a permit. I don’t think that stopped a whole lot of people.
Mga Hayop:
Aso- Dog
Pusa- Cat
Kambing- Goat
Lamok- Mosquito
isda- Fish

Well there you go now you know some animals. Keep on keeping on everyone. I will see you all in a while
Elder Faulkner

Monday, December 25, 2017

Bromley in Bocaue (But I am not)

I have completely moved over to Meycauayan and Elder Bromley is no longer in the companionship. He got a new companion and now I am just with Elder Ewing. Elder Ewing is fun to be around and has had a pretty successful mission, I will learn stuff from him.
I really have very little time today so I am racing against the clock. I will let you know now there are no pictures (forgot the cord) 
This coming week two of the investigators from Bocaue will be baptized (Rony and Aiko) I moved just in time to miss them.
We have a lot of meetings as zone leaders and it feels like there is always something to do. It can get to you sometimes.
This week we had something called a blitz, where all the missionaries in the whole zone work with the members in one ward. It is a great idea for the members but when it is not properly organized, the purpose of the blitz does not get fulfilled – and it feels like we are just wasting time. This last blitz was in our ward and it was kind of a flop. It was not nearly as effective as it should have been and I am kind of disappointed in the lack of planning.
We have been really really busy and I am sorry that this is super short, but I had to spend a little longer on my email to president. I will get you all more updated on the next p-day.

I love you all and I hope you are reading the book of mormon. It will help you out promise.


Elder Faulkner

Monday, December 18, 2017

Buti na lang na nanaginip ako

So, about a million things happened. I don’t have nearly the time that I need in order to explain it all.

1. One of our zone leaders got surprise transferred away.
2. Bromley and I are replacing him.
3. We are now in a trio
4. We now work in 2 full areas.
5. I am the replacement Zone leader with Elder Ewing
6. We have no idea what the schedule is for work.
7. We have a lot of meetings
8. Christmas is fast approaching and I will get to call my family, the plan is to do that on the 26th here in the morning (THAT IS THE NIGHT OF CHRISTMAS FOR YOU ALL)
9. Should have 2 baptisms in 2 weeks
10. I will move to Meycauayan for sure and not move back to Bocaue – starting on January 10.
11. As of right now, our work covers Bocaue and Meycauayan.

I want to share an experience that I had. Many years ago, I had a dream where I was walking down a street. The appearance of the street has stayed with me all this time, although I have since long forgotten what exactly happened in the dream. When I arrived in Bocaue, I found that street. We passed it 2 times a week (it is very far from the church) and I didn’t say anything to Elder Torres or Elder Eccles, but when Elder Bromley arrived I told him about this dream. This last week, we went down that street and found a barangay that we didn’t know existed. Not very far into this barangay, someone called us over. She had just moved in, about a month ago, and she had been wanting the missionaries to come by. She told us about how her husband really wanted to be baptized and he would be able to be taught in the coming weeks. She was extremely grateful and we set a return appointment. She says her husband is extremely ready and has a great desire to be baptized. Her name is Sarah, and she was about to go to the Christmas party, and agreed to go to church in Bocaue in the coming weeks with her husband. This is one of the most interesting experiences in my mission thus far. All because I had a dream.

Culture: Aswang and Mumo. There are two kinds of Ghosts in the Philippines. The nice friendly kind (kind of like Casper) is called a “Mumo”. This is like the kid word for ghost.
The real scary kind is called an "Aswang" – not to be confused with "Asawa".
This kind of ghost is like the vampire or demon type ghost. People are sometimes afraid of the word "aswang"
Tagalesson: An update on the book I am writing. My mission president wants it to be published and distributed to the missionaries in our mission. It might be within the next few months. We have a lot to do for this book. Chances are you can all learn from this book, sana.

This is my first Emergency transfer, and it will be a very weird next few weeks. But we got this. 

I love you all sorry if I didn’t get back to all of you in personal emails. Next week naman.

Elder Faulkner