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

Monday, December 11, 2017

We made it out alive bois

We are working towards baptism with many people, but they are having trouble making it to church.

Elder Bromley is doing a lot better in the language, now we just need be a bit more serious ;). I know right that coming from me...

We make a lot of appointments, but we have a good portion fall through.

I am still district leader but that might change soonish. (step down bois.)

We are super sleep deprived, pretty much all of our time is spent working hard, we have little time to rest.

God's grace is sufficient to save you, don’t forget that.

Repent and be baptized.

The work is good and God loves us, but He still allows us agency.

I talked a little bit about agency last week. Agency is not just about making more right decisions than wrong decisions, it is about using your choices every single day to become something better than you were before. It is a process. The goal in our mission right now is to become agents of change, to allow people to utilize their agency correctly and get as many blessings as they can.

Culture: The word "po" is used for respect, but it can also be used as a distance thing. It can be used to distance yourself from others. For example, you would not use po with a close friend – no matter how much you respect them. Parents use the word po to their children so that the kids will learn to use it.

Tagalesson: Bawal. "Bawal" means “forbidden”, or not allowed, or against the rules. It is one of the most convenient words, it can be used for kids games or for God's commandments. You just tell someone that something is bawal and they know they aren’t allowed to do it.

Welp, we are all good. We took some pictures for the Christmas slideshow in the mission so I will send you some of those.
Love you all
Elder Faulkner

Monday, December 4, 2017

Batia in Bocaue

Morning po.

This week was real.

We have been hitting a little bit of a wall with our investigators not going to church. Even some of them that have been going have problems that keep them from going consistently. Somewhere along the road, there is not much that we can do because they have their agency. Being two Americans, a lot of people listen to us; but only a select few choose to do anything with our message. It is sad to see people miss out on opportunities.
One of our biggest focuses in our mission right now is something called ITA, or Invitations To Act. The idea is to always be challenging people around you to change and to become closer to Christ. We are expected to make 30 different invitations every single day; these can be very small things like the invitation to listen to a message about Jesus Christ, or something large, like being baptized. Anytime that we give someone a specific chance to use their agency to become closer to God, we have successfully given an ITA. This really helps us to see who is progressing, who is keeping commitments, and where people are at in their repentance process.
We are thinking of dropping one of our farthest areas, Batia. With our usage of ITAs, we have seen that most of our investigators are not willing to keep even the small commitments. It is hard to see that in an area that was progressing before. It is quite far from the church. We have seen a few good investigators there, but they haven’t really been able to make it to church and see large effects of the gospel in their lives.
One of our investigators died, that was very sad.

Culture: Cooking. We made sopas. Sopas is a soup here in the Philippines; one of the only soups that they have. It has macaroni and some evaporated milk. Elder Bromley and I made it and it was really fun.

Tagalesson: The word "sana". The word "sana" means "hopefully". It can also be used to describe things that you want and are really too shy to be direct about. You can use it as like a hint, so they know what you want but aren’t too pressured into offending you if they don’t get it. A lot of people use it in prayers to ask things of God. I do not.

Welp That is pretty much all I got for you all this week. I will check up with you next week. Love you all.

Elder Faulkner

Monday, November 27, 2017

Another P-day, Another Nap

Things went well last week. Except for Niko. Niko was solidly progressing to baptism and was supposed to be baptized on the 23rd, until he moved out of our area. We don’t know where his new house is. There isn’t a lot more we can do.
We have a few more investigators that are solidly progressing. Aiko Participated in the Young Women’s program at church on Sunday, so she is good. Roni needs his aunt to go to church with him so he can be baptized. Brother JR needs a specific date so he can have a goal. And we have a few who need a little help on their way.
Right now, we are just trying to teach all the people from the friends and families of the ward. We have gotten good support from all of them.
We don’t get nearly enough sleep.

I have some friends going on missions namely Kas and Emma, #shoutout.

Culture: If foreigners cook Filipino food here, they are immediately adopted into the culture. Make Filipino food and tell people all about it.

Tagalesson: As you use a word more, you start to hear it more. Elder Bromley learned the saying "O nga eh". He started using it a lot and now is hearing Filipinos saying it. "Onga eh" is like saying "I know, right?!" But can be in so used in many different ways.

Love you all! Sorry time is short this week. I spent too much time on other things than this email.
Elder Faulkner

Monday, November 20, 2017

Diego on the A Team

Welp everyone, welcome back to my life.
This week is much like last week, but different. We did fun things and we had good lessons. I am starting to really like this area and the people here. We have seen a lot of progress but we are really trying to help people make it to church still.
One thing I have learned: people have an amazingly hard time getting to church if they don’t have support of the members. It is difficult for someone to build up the faith to go to church if they don’t have the consistent support of another person right by their side.
We have a couple people in our teaching pool that haven’t made it to church because they don’t know any members. We are trying to find a way around this problem.
Other than that, we have been encouraged in our area: we have been gaining back the trust of the members in this ward and been working with them. We had a really cool experience where we helped reactivate someone who had not been to church for a solid year. When people saw her back, they came to us and were so excited. We have a plan to bring that less active with a couple active member families to do scripture study, along with her grandchildren that have not been baptized yet. Hopefully we will see that whole family make it back to church, but a lot of her children have been out of the church for around 20 years, so we may find it difficult to get everyone back to church.
Hopefully, as we get more experiences like that – we will be able to get a lot more people back to church. We are really trying to change the way we work through members. If we always get them to bring friends to church, we never have to worry about investigators that don’t have a support system.
Right now, we are preparing for Christmas. We are teaching a lot, but we are also not letting up on our finding. We want a lot of people that have potential to be baptized in our teaching pool. Even if I leave and don’t see all of those people get baptized, I want it to be easier on Elder Bromley to continue on.
Culture: All you eat is bread. Filipinos have this thing where they think all Americans just eat bread. When they ask what your favorite Filipino food is, and you don’t answer fast enough, they will say: "Oh yeah they just eat bread in America."
Tagalesson: Explaining an action that someone else was involved in. I realized that this is super hard to say in English, but it is really simple in Tagalog. When you want to explain an action you did with someone you just add "Ni" and their name.
"Nagplanning kami ni Elder Bromley" = "We planned (me and Elder Bromley)"
There is no good way to describe this, you just have to know this is how it works. Good luck po.

Alrighty nice work bois.

I will see you again next week.

Elder Faulkner

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bromley in Bocaue

It is looking like a white Christmas here in the Philippines. We are currently preparing many people for baptism we have been helping these people progress, and trying to get them to church. We are planning for 8 baptisms in the month of December. Obviously, we aren't completely sure how things are going to go in the future weeks. We have been really focusing on baptism and pushing our people forward. We have created a good teaching pool that shouldn't have any major problems, or we have mostly moved past their problems. It is amazing how the work changes when you get two people who just want to put everything into to the work.
That is one thing about Elder Bromley, no matter how much he might struggle – he is amazing in encouragement. I can always rely on him to make the right decision when we need to know what to do next. He always has a good attitude about the work. Even tho we get down sometimes, he is super reliable. I have probably seen more miracles with him in this last 2 weeks than I have in whole transfers. Every single day is filled with great lessons that are impactful and led by the spirit.
Life here is pretty good. I like it.

I hope you are all doing good work back at home. I will be home in like a year – so start getting ready now. But I won’t think about that for a long while.
We have actually had a lot of people come across us and say: "Hey I know about the missionaries; can I be baptized?" Hopefully we will see that desire develop into faith and into change. And then we will see the fruit of that change. One of the coolest of all of these experiences is a girl named Aceline. She is a member. She has been talking with her fiancĂ© about religion – explaining the importance of knowing truth for yourself. Having her in lessons has helped him really understand what will take place in his life through baptism and marriage in the temple.
That is only one of the experiences from the last 2 weeks that have been really good for us and for the ward. We have seen great change in the area. I love it.
Culture: Tagalog humor. Tagalog humor works in the way they describe things. They find it funny to point out differences in people. We get a lot of people that say thing like "ang puti mo" = "you are super white" and the like. People here think that is hilarious. It is very different from the American humor that I am used too.
Tagalesson: Ways to ask for a minute or for someone to wait.
“Teka lang” – “wait-lang” – “sandali lang” – “dali lang” – “Saglit lang” – “hintay lang”. All these can be used to tell someone that you need an extra minute, they use them almost interchangeably.

Welp there you go everyone, keep up the good stuff. Email me if you get the chance.

Get ready for Christmas and Thanksgiving. There really isn’t Thanksgiving here, so we wont have it – but you all will.
Elder Faulkner

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

This makes number 3.

Normally in one missionary area you only have 2 companions, one when you come in and then another before you leave. This is generally the way that things work out. I got a new companion this week his name is Elder Bromley, the thing about Elder Bromley is that he never stops smiling. It is really fun to work with him because he is almost always laughing, regardless of the situation. Elder Bromley replaced Elder Eccles on this last Thursday and we have working very hard in this area to see the improvement in the ward and our investigators. We have started keeping audio recordings of our days. When we get back home, we take an audio recording of all the things we remember from the day and what we really liked.
Today we had temple P-day. This is the first time I have been to the temple for almost a year. We had to get up very early and have been very tired today. All in all, it has been a super heavy week. I need a solid nap, but I might not get it. In this last week, we extended 4 dates for baptism in the month of December. That means that if everything goes as it should, we should have at least that many baptisms. But, there are others that we are really trying to help prepare themselves for baptism. I thought a decent amount about covenants today. God makes a promise to us and we choose to rise to the occasion, or to not follow his standards. For some people, baptism is too difficult; it requires a change that they are not yet ready for. Our covenants with Jesus Christ are about showing how ready we are to change and to become just like him. Covenants are an important way to improve in many ways in our lives.
The Moseros family dropped us.
Brother Mendoza really wants to be baptized but isn’t really ready, daw.
We extended a baptisimal date in the first lesson that was accepted, but it was to a 14-year-old without her parents there, Elder Bromley kinda jumped the gun on that one.
We are working with the ward and fixing what the past missionaries have done wrong.
The area is fun, it hasn’t had a baptism in 8 months and we plan for 8 baptisms in December.
Elder Bromley struggles with the language quite a lot but nothing we can’t fix
Life is pretty solid.

Culture: People hate saying things straight up. Here there is a lot of "beating around the bush". Sometimes they will never tell you what the actual problem is. Asking specific questions can get you a good idea about what the real problem is, but it takes a lot of practice. Sometimes you really have to work a problem out of them and sometimes you just have to let it sit. For the example with the Moseros family: the mom wouldn’t tell us why they didn’t want us to come inside. She said that she was busy; we asked a lot of questions and got the idea of what might actually be going on with the family. You get a lot in the way people act around you once you work with people so much. As a missionary, part of the job is to understand people.
Tagalesson: The word "Naman". The word Naman has no English translation and cannot really be said to be any specific word. It can be used in a variety of ways that change based on the situation. I like this word because it is used as assurance. If you say "Hindi naman" it is like "not really" instead of just "no" You can use it in many ways and it is a very interesting word that can carry a lot of meaning or hardly any at all. I really like this word, but good luck figuring it out.
I don’t really know what the next few weeks are looking like but I am excited.
Keep up the good work and thanks for all the emails this week. Although sometimes the replies are kinda short I love seeing what you all took the time to write to me.
Elder Faulkner

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, October 23, 2017

Finding who is most important in your life

Sometimes we are put in situations where we reevaluate our priorities. You start asking yourself what is most important in your life or who most important in your life. Missionary work does that to you. As you lose yourself in the work, most of your problems start going away and you start worrying about those around you (see Mosiah 28:3). Life starts to change and you find yourself trying to help those around you tirelessly (see Alma 48:10-17). Now I am not saying that I am there yet, but I have really started to see a different reason for my work here.
I really like the work right now. The language is much more comfortable. I have embraced the Filipino understanding, as opposed to the way Americans understand things. Which is a very important thing that needs to happen to understand the culture.
Elder Eccles, my new companion, and I have been working together to get good things done. He is struggling with the language, as is understandable only being in the field for 7 weeks. I get to be a translator most of the time. It is very fun to see where I was in the beginning (where he is now), compared to where I am now. We have been focusing on learning missionary skills and what is most important. We get along really solidly pretty much all of the time. We have been working closely with the ward and seeing what we can do to serve them. We are extremely busy in our area right now. I like the feeling that there is always something to do – but, honestly, we can get a little stressed with all the things that we need to do.
This week we found a new family to teach. There are 8 of them all together, and they are really fun. I will probably update you on their situation in the next few weeks as we try to help their family. I have found that when you focus on family first and resolving concerns, people start to trust and love you. They want to be closer together and they want to see what else you can do for them.
We have had serious progress with the Mendoza family. Their father said he wants to have a good time at church and be baptized. Their family is one of my favorites here.
Culture: "Nagkakamay". A lot of Filipinos eat with their hands. This is especially true when they eat fish. It really is easier to eat that way! If a foreigner eats with their hands, people think that person is really trying hard to embrace Filipino culture.
Tagalesson: "Sa". Sa means in, of, from, around, on, at, into, onto. Basically anything that we use to describe location. It is an interesting word because it can mean so much. Also the word "the" doesn’t really exist in this language – which means "sa" can translate to not only "in" but also "in the" it confuses a lot of people when they don’t really understand that "sa" can translate to so many different words and sometimes it can translate to something that is multiple words in English. Anyways there is a lot of power in the word "Sa".

I will try to get a picture of me and Elder Eccles before next week.
Keep on keeping on people, do your best and worry more about others than yourself.


Elder Faulkner