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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Last Zone Interviews


So every transfer, which means some time in every 6 week period, we have individual interviews with our mission president. The thing is, we are getting a new mission president next transfer. This means that the next time that I have zone interviews, it will be with the new mission President – President Hughes. I don’t currently know how he is, also I have heard that the mission presidents don’t talk to each other. They do this so mission culture and biases do not carry over between mission presidents. A lot may change or a lot may just stay the same. It is very hard to tell right now.
     
With that we will have a small part about my current mission president, President Bertin. President Bertin is a doctor, or he was a doctor before he was a mission president. He is one of the best problem solvers I know. He loves all his missionaries and he is exceptionally intelligent. He tends to know what his missionaries are thinking when he is talking to them.
       
President Bertin has been a big factor in how the mission is right now. A lot of missionaries have a problem with him because he can be very strict – but he is very loving. I think I was called here because he is the mission president here. I do, however, look forward to seeing what will happen with someone new.
       
I got a new roommate, his name is Elder Stephens. If that doesn’t sound familiar, I will remind you, this is the same Elder Stephens that was my companion in the MTC. We are now in the same house and Elder Kirifi is his companion. We already did exchanges for a half day (it was really just one appointment) but I got to teach again with my MTC comp. It is really fun living with someone from my batch. Batch can mean a lot in the mission – these are the people that you started your mission with. It is easy to start comparing yourself to your batch mates because you have been in the mission the same amount of time as them. Elder Stephens has started speaking up a lot more, but he is still struggling with the language. I look forward to helping him figure it out by sharing things that helped me learn.
       
Culture: Batch: So here in the Philippines, they use the English word “batch” to describe people that went through major life events with them. Your batch includes all the people that you started school with, or graduated with. It is not very clearly defined, but when you find that you have been with this person for many a laugh and many a hard time, they are your batch.
         
Tagalesson: “Ka”. This is a prefix that can be put on many words to say that someone is your companion in something; kind of like the prefix “co” in English.
Examples:
Ka – Bahay-house: Kabahay roommate
Ka – Batch: Kabatch- Batch mate
Ka – Sama-together: Kasama-companion
Ka – laro-play: Kalaro-Guy you are playing with
Ka – Laban- Fight:  Kalaban- Enemy

This is a pretty useful thing to know.

Welp I am on my way, sorry no pictures this week, the internet is being kinda whack here at the computer shop.

I love you all keep up the good work.


Elder Faulkner

Sunday, May 14, 2017

#Mother'sDayCalls

So this is a thing that happens twice a year. Yesterday I got to call my family. They are pretty cool people. If you don't know them, then you probably should. The two days missionaries can call home are Mother's day and Christmas. This means that we have quite a bit of time before the next call happens. It is a very interesting experience only being able to really talk to your family 4 times in the 2 years here. It was a good experience, and it always brings those feelings of how much you miss home and how much you want to be there. It leaves you feeling very strange afterward. 
       
I got to see and talk to several different people yesterday. My mom and my Dad; My stepdad Craig; Lisa, my oldest sister, and her husband David; and Caroline, who needs no kind of introduction (amiritetho?). We had a bit of a hard time because of internet connection, but in the end I am very happy I had the chance to talk to them and to see them as well. 
       
Mother's day is an interesting holiday here in the Philippines. It is not celebrated like in the US; it depends on the people and the family. Some families go all out and others have little to no celebration. All I know is that our neighbors celebrated and gave us cake. Our neighbors are chill. The Nanay (The older lady that lives there, and also our landlord) has been a member for a long time. Currently she has teenage girls that live with her. They are investigators of the other Elders (our roommates). It is really cool to see things like that happen. This also means that when they make a lot of food, or have extra cake, we reap the benefits.
       
The work is good. We are doing the work.
     
I felt like that last paragraph was needed. I don’t know why, but yeah. Elder Rasmussen is getting a lot better. The infection is pretty much gone. We had a really rough time last week. There was a decent amount of time where he couldn’t do work because it hurt too much.
     
Culture: Computer Shops. About every 30 feet, there is a computer shop. At these places you normally have around 10 – 30 computers all lined up. This is big in the culture because most people don’t have personal computers, but still have access to the internet. A lot of kids come into computer shops to play computer games and go on Facebook. Computer shops charge around 10 pesos an hour, unless it is a really nice one. That is around 20 cents for an hour of internet. We use the computer shops for emailing and the video calls to home.
       
Tagalesson: My family complained that I never include pronunciation in these things. Therefore, I will start trying to tell you how to pronounce all the words, even tho Google should do that for you. The best advice I have is to keep your mouth open and loose as much as you can when saying Tagalog words, it helps a lot. Most of the "A's" are pronounced with a longer sound. For example, in the word "Car" it is a longer A sound it is not cut off like in the word "Care". For example, you would say the word "tindahan" (the small stores around here) not with short "A" sounds it is like "Tin-Dah-Hahn" just like that – just like almost every a in the language. As long as you don’t let your mouth close too much, you wont mess it up.

Elder Santillian took selfies with my camera.



Pictures: We killed a rat.




Brother Elmer, The legend. He is kinda of special needs but has been working with the missionaries for around 19 years now almost every day



Peace out, I love you all.


Elder Faulkner

Monday, May 8, 2017

When the infection is too strong

This week my companion, Elder Rasmussen, got an infection in his face, it is pretty nasty. It is very VERY painful for him to speak. So not a whole lot of work got done this last week. That is okay though, sometimes things like that happen. I feel bad for him because he has been in a lot of pain and there hasn’t been much I can do. He got antibiotics for it the other day so it is hopefully going to be a lot better soon. Right now it is hurting him a lot.

This week we have been getting ready for Mother's day calls. If you did not know, there are two times a year that missionaries are allowed to contact their families with video chat: Mother's day and Christmas. This involves finding a place that has webcams and trying to figure them out. We get around 40 minutes of time to talk to our families. This might seem like a very short amount of time, that is because it is. Anyways, we have been trying to find a place that will allow us to video call and it has been a bit of a struggle. Hopefully the internet will be decent.
     
Anyways, like I said there wasn’t a ton of work this week ‘cause we have been confined to the house a decent amount of the time. We did try to visit some names that were given to us by ward members. Normally when a ward member gives you a person to teach – it is a great opportunity because the friend that that person already has in the church can help them out in their journey for understanding. This is a better way to find people than walking down a really hot street talking to random people. (No matter how much I enjoy that.)
         
As missionaries in this church, our job is to explain to people our beliefs and help them to come closer to Jesus Christ. We do this by inviting them to find out the truth for themselves. In the end, everyone that we talk to and teach every day has their agency to do whatever they want; when we invite them to pray, read the scriptures, go to church, and other commitments such as those – they have the agency to accept and find truth or not to. More often than not, they do not take us up on our invitation. The joy of teaching is in the inviting people to change their lives; it is in telling them where they can find the truth, and showing them the way to follow. That being said, we are also here to identify concerns that people have and help them understand the importance of coming to Christ. In this church we believe that based on what we do here on earth we receive blessings, and we are here to show and explain those blessings so that people can receive them if they so desire.
     
It is hard to see what people could be, after having what they could feel, and what blessings they could have – then see them not accept it. The promise of truth and understanding is a sure promise. God does not give to some people that ask and not others. He loves us all equally, and based on our desire to know and ask, He gives us what we need to understand His plan for us.
       
Culture: Load. Oftentimes you don’t have a phone plan like most people in America do. You buy what is called load and you buy promos. You have someone at a tindahan (one of those small stores) put load on your phone. For this you give them money and they put most of that money (there is a small charge) on your phone as “load”. Then you usually use that load to buy a promo – which might be unlimited call and text for 7 days. It varies a lot based on what promo you have and how much load you have. Most people run out of load a few days before the month ends. If you want to get a hold of someone at the end of the month, they probably can’t text or call you back.
     
Tagalesson: Last week I mentioned "ang" and "ng" – the are two words you need to understand to get this language. You can say anything in Tagalog by conjugating a word a different way. It is all about "Focus". This is basically how it works: the word that has "Ang" before it is the focus of the sentence (if it is a proper name you use "si" instead of Ang) so you can say the same sentence but it can be focused on a different thing 
Example:
THE CHILD read the book
Nagbasa ANG BATA ng aklat
The child read THE BOOK
Binasa ng bata ANG AKLAT

Note the root of the word is “basa” in both situations, and how the translation stays the same. In the second sentence, you are focusing on the book that was read more so than the child. This works in many different ways, but based on what you want to emphasize you need to put the "ang" in the correct place and you also need to conjugate the verb correctly.
There will probably be about a million lessons on focus, be warned
I love you all; keep on keeping on.
There will probs be pictures on Elder Rasmussen's Infection so be warned as well.
That puppy is sad.


Our roommates had a baptism




Monday, May 1, 2017

Fiesta on our street




This week we had a Fiesta. Now this isn’t a super rare occurrence in the Philippines – but it took place right on our street. There were about a million activities, that we did not participate in, but it was all very loud. People really like to give you food when there is a Fiesta. We got fed a decent amount.
       
Life is going pretty decent here. Transfer announcements just happened and not a single person got transferred out of my zone. That means Elder Rasmussen is going to be my companion for at least 6 more weeks. I think that is for the best. It is hard to progress in the language when the person you are speaking to also doesn’t know it fluently.     

I want to talk a little bit about one of our investigators. I haven’t really done that up until this point. We found this family (The Bello Family) while they were playing the song “7 years”. I started talking to them about music – I relate to people well through music. After talking to them for a good 20 minutes, we began to teach them. They seemed pretty solid. Later on we found out that they were very doubtful, but they let us come back because we told them it is their choice to continue learning and growing spiritually.
     
Oftentimes people don’t understand that we are here to help them based on the help that they want to receive; it really is dependent on the person’s ability to search for knowledge from God. We all need to be constantly searching and asking questions to enlarge our understanding. This is how God teaches us. Now, a couple weeks later, Sister Bello is excitedly reading all of the reading assignments that we leave with them, and they are eager to learn more. We challenged them to baptism and they said that as their knowledge grows they will happily keep that commitment. I am excited to see how they go and how they grow as a family. They have had many struggles and they have opened up to us a lot.     

Culture: Fiesta. When you have a fiesta, everyone knows that it exists but not everyone really knows the reason for it. In essence, it is just partying for the sake of partying. I love it! Fiestas happen every once in a while and often have to do with historical events – unless people decide they want to have one.
     
Tagalesson: Accent. Some parts of the language are hard, not because it is a difficult language, but it can be hard to constantly understand the Filipino accent. This can be a big problem when you think are saying something correctly, but people misunderstand based on your accent. With this we will cover the Ng sound. There are many words that have this "ng" in them. The most prominent in two words that don’t really have exact translations (They are linkers between words.). Those words are "Ng" and "Ang". Ng can mean "of", "a", "the", or several other words. “Ang” is the same deal but it cannot mean "of". Just sit on this knowledge for a week and I will get you more about these words next week.
         
I love you all keep up the good work, thank you all for the support that you have given me.


Elder Faulkner

Monday, April 24, 2017

High on the Mountaintop

So, like I said before I live on top of a mountain.
       
Welp that is the end of that.

This week was good. We had exchanges with the other missionaries that live in our house. I had forgotten what it was like to do missionary work with someone that is fluent in the language. It was nice to have that opportunity to learn. Being with someone who is not yet fluent, I have to stretch myself to be effective at the language. When I went and worked with Elder Kirifi (He is from New Zealand, but has been in the mission around 21 months), I learned a lot from the way he used the language. 
       
Next week we have transfer announcements. This is when we’ll know if Elder Rasmussen moves on without me. If he does, I will have a new comp and the work will probably change slightly. I like working with Elder Rasmussen. We tend to get along pretty well.
       
This last week I gave a talk in church. It was very much like my farewell talk on the Doctrine of Christ, except in Tagalog. I think it went fairly well.  I was able to speak without too many mistakes, although it was still difficult to speak in front of so many people in a language I am not totally comfortable in. Either way, it was much better than my last talk I gave here.
         
I don’t have too much extra time for this email so I am sorry if it is a little short and has no pictures I will work on getting the picture sent next week.
       
Culture: If people are eating and you pass them walking – there is about a 90% chance that they offer you food. This is interesting because I am never sure if they really mean it or if they are just offering because it is part of the culture. Either way if you see someone walking and you are eating, just yell "Kain na tayo" at them and they will feel more invited
       
Tagalesson: This tagalesson is brought to you by eating and inviting people to eat. There are a few things you might say to invite people to eat, all of these are polite and deeply part of the culture.
“Kain na tayo”: Lets all eat now
“Kumain ka na ba?”: Did you already eat
“Kain pa”: Eat some more.
       
We hear these a ton. Especially if we are at an appointment and they bring out food. It is very rude to reject that you know ;)
 
Life is good here. We are keeping on. I hope you all have a great week. 

Love you all,
Elder Faulkner

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter

It was Easter this week. 

Sometimes I think that we under appreciate Easter. We tend to recognize Christmas as the holiday that we celebrate Jesus, and then Easter as the holiday with eggs. Easter celebrations in the Philippines are quite different than the ones that you might find in the United states, or anywhere else for that matter. 85% of the people in this country are Catholic, this leads to a pretty strong culture in the importance of Jesus and his atonement. I believe even then they miss the mark. Here over the entire Holy Week (Sunday to Sunday) there are many celebrations. Most of those involve things like singing psalms in the streets, and gatherings of family and close friends; sometimes they are a little more public, like parades; and, depending on your location, you might see a public crucifixion. This does not mean that they kill the person, as that usually takes hours for someone to die on a cross, but it is not exceptionally uncommon at these events for them to really nail someone to a cross (note this is voluntary)
       
This was a very different atmosphere! Generally, I am in a very safe part of the Philippines – so I didn't see anything too crazy. It made me think a lot about how much everyone tends to miss the mark with Easter.
     
I think the inherent problem is that the event that makes Easter a holiday that we celebrate, is an event that we do not understand.
     
Jesus, The Son of God in the Flesh, suffered for our sins. If we act to change and rely on Him in our lives – we may be forgiven of wrongdoings and brought into the presence of our Father again. He was sacrificed on a cross and gave his life for us. There needed to be a perfect God, given to overcome the effects of our shortcomings. And three days after that event, He took up His body again. He overcome death. This gives us the gift of Resurrection – we will all live again, we will all have life after this. if we plead with Him we can have forgiveness.
       
We all fall short of understanding the importance of this. It was a sacrifice that was never ending. it was a sacrifice that was salvific. it was a sacrifice to "End all sacrifices."
         
This really happened. Jesus, the Son of God, did really come down to live a mortal life. He suffered for you individually. This is not a fairy tale. The best part is, while we are acting on faith here, the spirit is our guide for us to know. There can be knowledge about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Prayer is the way to know.
           
What does this mean for us? We need to show our reliance on that sacrifice. When our life is affected by the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, He makes intercession for us with the Father. But our life also starts to look like Jesus Christ's. I can’t adequately express how this happens or how important it is, but I think every single person on the earth falls short of understanding it. 
       
Work here has been good, not much has changed over the last few weeks. The work continues, and I love the area I am in.
       
Culture: See above about Easter
       
Tagalesson: This might not be much of a lesson in the language as it might not include any actual words for you to learn. I might put some translations in the end for you guys anyways. The Filipinos have 3 words for stupid, and each of them have specific meanings, going along with that each of them are basically swear words. These are some of the most used swear words here, and calling someone stupid here is a very big insult. Sometimes we throw around that word in America, but it can be very offensive here. The three words are like three stages of swearing – with the most offensive being a word that is very rarely used. It is an interesting thing to know about the culture that calling someone stupid is such an intense thing. It has made me take a second look at how we communicate back home.

Here are some random translations:
Kumusta ang _____ mo?: "How is your ______?"
Saan si ______? "Where is ______(person's name only)?"
Bakit Ganito? "Why like this?"
Hindi Ganito "Not like this"

Welp that is all I got. I hope that all is going well over there. The work moves forward over here. Love you all keep it up.

Love


Elder Faulkner