Monday, October 30, 2017

Pauwi na. maikli naman yun.

Welp this week was pretty interesting, we had to go down to Manilla back to the MTC because Elder Eccles had some kind of meeting. Then on Thursday we had to go to Camarin and we had a follow-up on how training was going. And Wednesday around this time Elder Eccles and I will go our separate ways. We got along while it lasted tho. We did pretty good work while it lasted.
    
Bocaue is going pretty well. We took our map to the ward and we had everyone show us where they live. We learned that most of the people had no idea where they live if you give them a map. It was a very interesting Sunday. We have been trying hard to work with the members. We have been encouraging them to trust the missionaries and to help us with the work.
    
I am not sure how much longer I will be in this area. Right now, I feel that it will either be a very long time or a very short time. We will see; I will keep you all updated. This email may be very short because I am lazy in writing right now. Sorry.
    
Culture: Distraction. People here get distracted very easily. We experience this a lot while teaching. People may not really be listening, then suddenly, they will say something like "Wow you are really good at Tagalog." This can be frustrating when you know how important the message is and they just get distracted.
     
Tagalesson: "Masarap": "Delicious"

Welp Sorry I was lazy this week. I will do better next week

Read the Book of Mormon.

Pray super good

Dont give up.
Love you all,

Elder Faulkner

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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dapat Ako malilipat Kaso...

We all thought I was headed out of this area, instead Elder Tagal ended up moving out of the area. This is a very interesting thing because he has only been here 6 weeks. Normally, when someone moves into an area – their companion almost always moves out before them. This happens because their companion (Who was already in the area) has been their much longer. For example. I have been here 4 months and Elder Tagal has only been here 6 weeks. You would think that I would move, because I have been here longer, but sometimes God works differently than we think.
      
So with that we come to the fact that I am still here. This is what is happening on transfer day: Elder Tagal will move to Novaliches, Elder Krifi will get on a plane and head back to New Zealand, and Elder Stephens and I will be waiting for our new companions. Slight problem, only one person is being sent to replace two people. To solve this, Elder Oronos will come to Sapang Palay, and I will be working in a trio of elders. Before this, there were two areas in Sapang Palay and I was only in one of them; now I will be responsible over an area that is about twice as large as my old one. This also means that I will be legitimate companions with my MTC companion in the field. This is not a thing that really ever happens.
       
I am running out of time here so I will probably keep this short, but I do want to talk about conversion. After being a missionary for 8 months, I have a much better understanding of how the process of conversion works: As we trust God, He gives us a better understanding and we begin to be changed. It is a process fueled by the mercy of Jesus Christ and repentance. As we rely on God to change us, we change. This has very little to do with our willpower to change, and everything to do with our divine potential and His divine power to change.
       
Culture: Giving feedback. Insults go a long way here. You have to be very VERY careful how you speak to people and how you give them advice and feedback. A lot of things are connected here: Work, Family, School. If you insult someone, they take it as an insult to their Family, intelligence, and their work. People here are very sensitive so it is important to say all words with love and make all criticizing remarks constructive and gentle. No sarcasm.
      
Tagalesson: Nga. This is a word that can be very hard to pronounce and use. The word "Nga" is used to either increase the politeness of a sentence or emphasize the truth in the sentence. It is very hard to explain. There is a very obscure grammar rule when it comes to where exactly you should place this word, and when it should come into play when speaking. Just know a couple things. You can emphasize that something is especially true by saying "O nga". It equates roughly to "Yeah, really". You can also use it after commands as the word "please". For example: "Basahin mo nga ang aklat" or "Please read the book".

That is pretty much all I got for you today. I will be in Sapang Palay for at least 6 more weeks (we will see how that goes). Hopefully we will see some of the people that we are teaching make steps towards baptism. I will update you more on that in the coming weeks.

Keep on keeping on.

P.S. Sorry there are no pictures. I am um... working on it kind of.

Love

Elder Faulkner

Monday, July 17, 2017

Our New President

I have been through a decent amount of new presidents in the last year. First my country elected Trump to lead; I left as soon as I could after that happened. When I arrived here, I discovered I had two presidents to deal with: President Duterte (the president of the Philippines) and the MTC president, President Trask. One of those is very strict and the other is not at all. When I entered the mission field, I met the person who would be my Mission President for the next 6 months. His name was President Bertin. Now that President Bertin’s time is up, I have a new president (as of 2 weeks ago) – President Hughes.
     
I am starting to think that none of these Presidents have first names.
          
Anyways, I have been through a lot of people that are expected to be my leader. They are here to teach us and lead us, that is what presidents do (hopefully). I had my first interview with President Hughes on Friday. He is a very insightful man who had a lot of things to say that were helpful in the work. I look forward to working with him. I don't, however, look forward to coming back to be led by the first president I mentioned at the top of this page.
     
Leadership is always an interesting thing. We often expect the leaders in our lives to do everything for us. We elect a president and hope that he deals with the debt problems, and the wars, and the welfare. Oftentimes our expectations are kind of ridiculous. I think what we miss in the expectations of our leaders is their need to be an example for us. If our leaders don’t even follow the rules, then we cant really expect them to be what they need to be as a leader to us.
      
Jesus was the best leader that ever lived because he discerned what people needed and helped them individually. The creator of the world obviously knows what needs to happen for the people that live in it. He knows people individually and I find that as leaders aim to teach and encourage people individually, their leadership skills change dramatically.
      
I don’t have a ton to say this week, my camera is still out of commission I am gonna maybe buy batteries for the other camera that I have over here and start using that. This last week we had a district activity: we went down to a mall and did bowling. We bowled at SM Fairview which is quite large. They have a dairy queen. I got to eat dairy queen. I have also not really gotten any better at bowling.
      
Culture: Voice: Don’t talk loud. All my life I have had a problem controlling the volume of my voice – even if I am talking to just one person. Don’t let your voice get too loud here. It makes it seem like you are very mad. The volume of your voice depicts how mad you are, it can sometimes depict other emotions like humor and what not. But in general, if you talk loud – you do not sound very nice here. It is something I have noticed. I am trying very hard right now to speak Tagalog quieter, especially with teaching. When teaching, you focus your words very carefully and deliver them quietly as you can so that they still hear you.
      
Tagalesson: Colors and numbers:
For colors, you can use almost anything to describe a color, as long as that thing is always the same color. Example: Kulay-Dagat "Color of the sea". They do this more than using the colors as they normally exist in Tagalog. Most of the time they will use the English color. The other times, they will use the word “kulay” (Color) then an object that is the color they want to describe.
     
Numbers I will not go through numbers in Tagalog because they are a pain and basically never get used. I will however explain shortly what language they use for which numbers.
1-19: Tagalog, English, Spanish
20,30,40,50: English and Spanish
20-50: English (sometimes Spanish but mostly English)
51+: English, with few exceptions

Welp now (assuming you know Spanish numbers) you can pretty much say any number that you want.

This week was pretty good.

Love,


Elder Faulkner

Monday, July 10, 2017

The fruit of the labor

So last week I talked a lot about fruit, specifically mangoes. This week I am going to write about the fruit that we have in missionary work. But before I do that, there is something that we should understand about work and faith:
      
The word faith includes a few parts that we don't always remember. Faith is a belief and a desire that urges us to work. When we have faith, we put in effort in order to achieve a certain result. For example, a farmer works every day and puts in countless hours to have a successful harvest. If the farmer did not believe the crops would grow or the harvest would be successful, he wouldn’t even plant the seeds. In missionary work we put in a lot of effort every day. We work very hard because we believe in the result of our work. Now that result is not baptism, only a step in the process. Our goal for the people we teach (and for ourselves as well), is eternal salvation.
       
If a missionary does not believe the people he or she helps will be able to obtain eternal salvation, he won’t even leave the house. Even that, in itself, is an act of faith: to get up in the morning and start to work. We show that we truly believe the people we are teaching will receive unending blessings in the life to come. We know they still have to follow the spirit and listen to what we have to say, but if they do... People like to measure success. We like to measure our success by what our investigators choose to do. For example, a lot of missionaries try to measure their success by the number of baptisms. But any converted missionary that has faith will know, the fruit of their labor was apparent based on their effort – no matter how many people listened.
      
With that being said, the amount that you work and the amount of faith that you have highly impact your ability to understand the fruit of your labor. Those that don’t understand will often feel like they failed, even if they put in a lot of work. Or feel like they succeeded with very little work at all. We might remember that Abinadi as a missionary had only one convert (One he didn’t know was even listening to his words) but brought to pass much repentance and salvation for his fellow men.
      
I have seen more baptisms than many people will on their entire missions, but that means absolutely nothing. What matters is the amount of work that I put in and the amount that I helped people become converted, including myself.
       
This is what we should be looking at in our lives as well. We find that some days, despite our best efforts, we seem to be lacking in happiness. We need to remember that we don’t always see what we will harvest until long after the hard work is put in. We lack the faith to understand that no effort of ours in the work of salvation (whether our own or for others) is wasted.
      
Now I will step down from my soapbox.

This week many things happened. Firstly, I finished reading the book of Mormon again. Remember how I challenged you all to read it by the end of the year (your time is running out). I started at the same time and now I am finished. Secondly, I started reading the Book of Mormon (that actually happened on the same day that I finished). I started again on the title page and have begun my journey through the book another time. Thirdly, we had three baptisms here in Sapang Palay: Mariel Sheiga, Charito Bonayon, and Nino Malla. They have all been great investigators, and now they are ready to start their time being great members of the only true church on the earth. (I say that because this is the only church that has claim to direct authority from God and is complete unadulterated truth. If you don’t believe it, you should probably start by reading the Book of Mormon.)

Culture: Humor. Humor here it is very different, jokes cannot be long – and they can’t be sarcastic. So that basically means ALL of my jokes are out. The humor here is very slapstick. It involves laughing very often – even if things are not really funny (at least not to foreigners). Humor is one of the things that Foreigners don’t seem to get very easily here. Honestly, with the culture here, it may be one of the things that I never end up conforming to. I don’t really desire to change my sense of humor. And this is pretty much how humor goes here.
     
Tagalessson: So I know that the whole focus thing still doesn’t make sense to any of you. I don’t expect it to yet but we will get there. But right now we are gonna learn a lesson that has to do with focuses at least a little bit. We have a word "May". It is pronounced like "My" in English. This word means "To have" or "There is". We can use this in conjunction with other verbs to describe what there is. Let us use an example with the word "Bili" Bili is the root word and means to buy.
Bibili: Will buy (this is in the sense like someone will buy) – Actor Focus
Bibilihin: Will buy (in the sense of a thing being bought) – Object focus
If you say "May bibili" it means that "There is a person that will buy"
and if you say "May bibilihin" it means "There is a thing that will be bought"
This is important because in different focuses it leads to completely different meanings, this is something that they use a lot and is very important to understand.

Pictures: I am trying a new way to send the pictures because these got sent to me
They involve the people being baptized and an old batchmate from the MTC, his name is Elder Solano.
Also Elder Stephens my MTC companion is in one or two of those.






I love you all and hope that you are doing well wherever you are. Life is good here, although sometimes it is stressful I am trying my hardest out here.
Love

Elder Faulkner

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.