Sunday, September 13, 2015

Back to School

I really don't plan to post much more, but I wanted to post today.

I've been home from my mission for almost three months now. School started the last day of August and I love it. I needed something to do. I need to be learning. I love the classroom environment. I like studying and I enjoy being around so many young people who have plans to make this world a better place. That's one thing I love about BYU. I feel that we have vision for the future. On the signs at the edge of campus you can read the words "Enter to learn, go forth to serve." The point of learning is to build character and to serve others. I love the environment we have on campus.

I've discovered hat I've forgotten how to have a normal conversation with people. I always said that that wouldn't happen to me. It has. I hope that I'll get that skill back in the future. School is a good place to learn.

 Today my stake had a returned missionary fireside. I thought it was going to be uplifting and encouraging. I think it was meant to be. It ripped my heart out just a little bit. I thought about the people that touched my life and that I had the opportunity to touch. I ached for those experiences. I felt my spirit groan for those people whom I saw feel the spirit. I saw them feel the truth. I saw them come to know for themselves, but they aren't currently choosing to live according to that light that they received. That breaks my heart. I know there is much ahead of me, and I can't afford to look back.

I keep in contact with several of the people I met in Washington. I even got to visit a few of them on the way to visit my sister a couple of weeks ago. It was good to see how well some of them are doing. I pray for them. I've said this before, but if you've been taught by missionaries, somewhere they are praying for you. They love you, even if you haven't heard from them in years.

 This is the beginning of Sister Owens' last transfer, and Sister Allred goes home one transfer after that. It blows my mind that they are going home so soon. I remember serving with them when they were so new out.Sister Allred will be the last of my companions to leave the mission field.

 I've come back to a BYU with a different culture. So many women have served missions. I don't have numbers for this year, but in 2014, 19% of the female students here had served missions, and 56% of the student body. That's almost 1 in 5 of the women here. I see people who served in my mission just about every day.

Now, if you haven't served a mission-or if you aren't of my faith, don't think that that means that BYU is not the right school for you. I find us to be a fairly inclusive community. That's part of why I love it here.

Yours always,
Caroline Faulkner

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Home Again

P-Day, mission home, airplane, airport. "welcome home" posters and cheering family and friends, the hot desert sun. A whirlwind of places and uncontrollable events found me back into the swing of things. I found my family, my house, my car, my friends... not quite the same as I left them.

It is strange being filled in on events that you missed. There is a little difference in the culture, or the status quo. It's hard to describe, but it's like my little society evolved and changed without me. People got married and people got divorced. Some are more active in their faith, some less.All of the babies I left behind are not toddlers, and many new babies have been born. Momentous life events happened and I wasn't there to change with everyone else. I can't just go in and interact quite the way that I always did. I have to adapt to a social climate slightly dissimilar from the one I had left. All of this change is not bad, nor was it entirely unanticipated. It is not surprising to find that life in the desert has continued on without me. It is only slightly difficult to get my bearings.

My little brother, Jordan is attempting to introduce me to the music that I have not yet been exposed to. It's a difficult process. Jordan likes Metalica and some new jazz-punk rock fusion called Ska. I'm sticking to my folk and soft rock for now.

I will be reporting on my mission in Sacrament meeting today. I've had my talk written for a while, and I'm not really nervous about public speaking at all anymore. I think it's going to go okay. Let's just hope that I get up there and deliver the same talk that I wrote.

I have to thank everyone who came to greet me at the church yesterday. I felt very loved. We have a great ward.

I've discovered that movies are a struggle. I have a hard time sitting that long. I still like them, and I am catching up on a few that I missed. It's just strange to go from such a busy schedule to almost no schedule at all.

It is good to see my family again. I can;t thank them enough for all the support they've given me.  I could never have had this experience without their support. It has meant the world to me.

You may not hear from me much this summer. We are going to be off and away to many places. So, if I don't get another post, thanks to everyone who's been reading and following me on this adventure. I love you and I am grateful for your prayers.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Wrapping Up

This week was full of miracles. A dear sister that I have been teaching since December is closer than ever to baptism. She has a date and I think that she is going to make it. We were sick this week, and we rested a lot, but the time that we went out was highly productive. We still got a lot of work done and we got to visit many wonderful people and invite them to come closer to Christ. Even the time that we spent down helped us. Because of Sister Gresham's physical health challenges, she really needed a break to heal. I think Heavenly Father made us sick so she would be more inclined to rest.

A young woman who has been coming to church for several weeks has decided to take the missionary lessons.

We are pretty excited about that. Transfer calls came this week. Sister Moetala is going to Moses Lake. She is doubling-in to my first area. I got to give her a list of people that I'd like her to check on. I hope that it helps them. Sister Gresham is staying here and receiving the sister that Sister Owens just finished training. Sister Owens is going to be a Sister Training Leader with Sister Allred as her companion. I am filled with Joy.
It was hard to say goodbye to all of the people that I have loved and worked so closely with for almost 8 months. I kept it together though. I was pretty sad yesterday. Today I am doing okay. I've pretty much accepted that it's my time and I'm not upset about it anymore. I'm all packed. We cleaned our apartment really well this morning. My bags weigh far less than the 50 lb limit. Tonight I will go to the mission home with all of the other departing missionaries. The Sisters will sleep there tonight and we will fly out the next afternoon. Normally the missionaries get to go to the temple on Tuesday Morning, but some of the missionaries are flying out really early, so we don't get to go. Luckily our zone went last week.
I trust Sister Gresham with this area without hesitation. She is a hard working missionary and she loves the people we are serving, I have no doubt that many good things will continue to happen here.
I am sad to leave the mission, but I know that the Lord has a plan. Today I was reading Alma 29, where the prophet Alma writes that he wishes he were an angel and could just cry repentance all the time. He reminds himself, however, that the Lord made him the way he was and gave him the calling that he had for a reason. He makes the point that it is important to work hard in the responsibility that God gives to us and be happy in that. I was impressed by verses 9-10:
"9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me."

I suppose that I can be happy with the time that the Lord has given me. I will do my best to share the gospel throughout my life in many different church callings and life experiences. It is all going to be okay.
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen."- 1 Corinthians 16:23-24
"We also bear record; and ye know that our record is true. I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name." 3 John 1:12-14


Sister Caroline Faulkner

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Coming Home

Sometimes when people tell me stories I worry when I hear them tell me that they were alone. Then I remember that most people can be alone for a little bit and it's not a problem. I also worry when I think about staying in one place for hours at a time. I have a little alarm in my head that goes off when I've been talking to someone for almost an hour and I need to leave. I don't know how I developed this sense, but it will be useful in school, I guess.
We went to the temple today. That is always a good experience. I need the peace that we get there. Especially because preparing to go home is a pretty stressful experience. I got to see some members of the ward I served in in Walla Walla. That was exciting as well.
I had my final interview with President Ware today. I really admire our mission president. He's been a really good influence in my life and his example. I can tell that he and Sister Ware really love the missionaries in our mission. He shared a scripture in 2 Corinthians 5:

"6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
He talked about how we don't get to know what's going to happen or how it's going to go (even when we have plans) but we can be confident and trust God, who lets us learn by experience. Our Father in Heaven gives us the Spirit to be with us even though we don't get to be with Him in this life.

I have really come to terms with going home. I was kind of worried about one of our recent converts, but he's doing better and I think with that I can work as hard as I can this week and then leave in peace. I have no regrets. The stress is taking a physical toll on me though. I think I'll get through.
President Ware told me that when you are missionary you have one purpose. We "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." When we are returned missionaries we have many more purposes, though that purpose is still included. We also have family, school, work, preparing for future covenants, family history and other church callings. We have more to juggle and we have to remember that not every priority is most valuable all the time. I respect that.
The work is going well. I will miss this area. I've been here so long. But I would trust either of my companions or both with it. I have confidence that the people we baptized here will endure to the end.

I suppose I'll see most of you soon. I get home Tuesday the 16th. My homecoming talk is on the 21st at 11:30 (I think). Everyone is invited.

Thanks for your love and support.

Sister Caroline Faulkner

Monday, June 1, 2015

Baptism Blue

 I always wear blue to baptisms. This week we also wore confirmation coral (why not?) to celebrate Laura's baptism! She's been  ready for a long time, so we were really excited for her. I am grateful for every person that I've been blessed to be able to teach in the past 18 months. I love each of them. Some of them didn't really need us, they were well fellowshipped by the members, they learned from attending church and personal scripture study long before we ever met them. Laura is one of those. I am grateful to have been able to be a tiny part of this process for her.

I've finally come to terms with the fact that I have to come home soon. I go to the mission home 2 weeks from today. That is pretty staggering. Sometimes I still have little mini silent freak-out moments. My companions usually notice and ask me if I'm okay. No. I'm not okay. I'm going home! But I prayed about it, and I know that if the Lord wanted me to wear this little black nametag for the rest of my life He wouldn't set it up this way. Also, how would I finance that? I couldn't.
I don't think I have any regrets. Not because I'm a perfect missionary, but because of the atonement. I try to repent really, really frequently.

We'll hope for a miracle and we'll plan on wearing blue one more time together this transfer. One of the people I taught that we gave to the family ward Elders in Prosser is supposed to be baptized on the 13th, so we will hope to be able to go up for that. We'll bring one of our investigators. It will be a good experience.
I gave you some pictures of my companions and I. The Young Women back home sent me Twinkies dressed as missionaries. They were both cute and delicious. 

​Thanks to everyone for your love and support. Have a wonderful day. Share the Gospel.
Sister Caroline Faulkner

Monday, May 18, 2015

Changes in the Mission

Our mission is splitting next transfer. I won't be a part of that, but our mission is making a lot of changes right now partially in preparation for that split. One of our zones had to split in half because the mission is going to split right down the middle. Our mission has about 220 missionaries in it, I think. When it splits we will be really small for a few weeks until the transfer comes and new missionaries will come in. Lots of missionaries will have to train.
Tomorrow is my last Zone Conference. In our mission we have zone conference every other transfer (or once every 3 months) and all the missionaries who will finish their missions before the next zone conference are asked to give a departing testimony. I had forgotten that this included me until a couple of days ago. This will be no problem. Anyone who knows me knows that I am never short of words to say (sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes it's not.) Still, I'm nervous about the idea of it because I don't want to face the fact that I'll be leaving soon. I'm getting pretty good at not thinking about it.
At Zone Conference, all of the mission cars will be outfitted with little monitors called TIWI. These monitors will make sure that we aren't abusing the mission cars or endangering ourselves or others with unsafe driving. We are a little behind. Many missions in America got this technology a long time ago.
Speaking of technology, I am reminded that our mission still doesn't have iPads. I am okay with that personally, though the thought of what they can do for our studies is intriguing. I also like the idea of showing any Mormon message to any person at any time. That's okay. I get along just fine with my hard copy scriptures.
Sister Moetala, Sister Gresham and I are a very musical companionship. We have taken to singing primary songs and hymns to people as we teach. I like it. There is a powerful spirit associated with the hymns. If you need a change in your attitude or your emotional well-being try changing up the music that you listen to. It works wonders for me. We have the Spirit more in our companionship when we are playing reverent, uplifting music that points our hearts to Christ.
Keep the faith, my friends. I love you all! Stand fast in the liberty wherin God hath made you free!
Sister Caroline Faulkner