Monday, December 30, 2013

Keep Walking

I would rather walk in the snow than in the desert any day. We do a lot of this:

Bignormous scarf, hat, boots, freezing cold hands because I won't wear my mittens, heavy bag filled with Books of Mormon and pass along cards, name tag, big smile. Just your friendly neighborhood missionary walking around in the snow after dark.
Honestly I love being in a walking area. We get to talk to everybody we meet. It's a blast. That's the little town of Moses Lake, Washington in the background. Really there isn't very much snow at all, and the cold gets us sympathy from the people we talk to.
Christmas was great. People have been really nice to us. The kindness of the ward members here is overwhelming. The Bishop let us spend a lot of time at his house on Christmas and Christmas Eve. We even got presents.

On top you can see our tiny fake Christmas tree overwhelmed by our presents. I'd like to add that Santa Claus (Sister McMurtrey) visited and left us Santa hats filled with candy and fun stuff. I'd like to thank the people that didn't know us in the Columbia River Ward who sent us a big box of presents. Maybe they knew that the brand-new missionaries wouldn't be able to receive mail from their families in time for Christmas.
I am also grateful to the people who pray for us and for those we teach. I am grateful for people who pray for and look for missionary opportunities in their own lives.

I love the people we are teaching, and the people we've met. This week I've noticed how much it changes people's attitude and perspective to develop a testimony of Jesus Christ, His love for us, and the fact that He has called a prophet to guide us today because He loves us. I've seen the Book of Mormon give comfort to people in despair and I've watched as it brings the spirit into their home. It truly testifies of Jesus Christ.
Now for a couple of the pictures that I have been accidentally withholding from you.

This is Sister Karony and I at the MTC right before we left for the airport. They have a bigger map- but this one suited our purposes well enough.
I had a picture of Miranda and I outside the Temple on our way into the MTC- and there might be one on facebook, but due to unexplainable technical difficulties, I am not able to share.
Until next week, keep the faith. "[Stand] fast in that Liberty in the which God hath made us free." - Alma 61:9
Sister Caroline Faulkner

Monday, December 23, 2013

Moses Supposes his Toeses are Roses (Lake)

First- You will have to wait one more week for pictures. I now have the technology, but I didn't bring it with me. It'll happen. Be patient.

It feels like a million years since my last email. P-Day is now on Monday instead of Friday and I am actually out doing missionary work with real live people!

One night in the mission home, a training meeting and a six hour transfer and I found myself in the little town of Moses Lake, Washington. Disclaimer- Moses Lake is only about 1 1/2 hours from the mission home- but we went through Yakima so that we could pick up/ drop off missionaries along the way.
My companion, Sister McMurtrey, and I are in a tiny little walking area maybe 1.5 miles square. Moses Lake is a town settled by Mormons in the 1950's (So I am told). There's a huge LDS population here- and it seems like everyone is related. I already love the people here. We have some fantastic investigators.
Sister McMurtrey is a pretty great trainer. The other day we did a role play in which I was a missionary and she was Luna Lovegood. We have a blast. She's a good teacher and I can tell that she really loves the people here.
It's pretty cold here- though not as cold as Provo. We got some snow this week and some rain yesterday that froze last night. The ground outside is coated in a nice, thin, invisible layer of ice. I took a fall on the way to the church building this morning- it was pretty sweet.

Ice fishing is also popular here. Ice Fishing is as boring as regular fishing, but much more dangerous.

Lee F. Brown/Escanaba Daily Press, via Associated Press

 I do not recommend Ice Fishing personally. We keep seeing them out there though, so there must be something to it.

(Picture Taken from the Lake Michigan Angler)

We got a nice talking-to from one of the members of our ward who works search and rescue about how bad an idea it is to go out there on the lake if you don't know what you are doing. Not that we did that. Don't worry. I didn't do that.
I am currently focusing my study on Faith and Miracles. The Bible Dictionary says "Christianity is founded on the greatest of all miracles, the resurrection of our Lord. If that be admitted, other miracles cease to be improbable" and "Miracles area part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If miracles cease it is because faith has ceased"
Miracles do follow the ministry. There have been quiet miracles even since I have been here. I know that Christ is leading this work and that He has the power to change people. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that we have a prophet on the Earth today. And I know it a little bit more every day.
I'll be here for at least the next 12 weeks, so I'd better get comfortable with the cold. For now, peace out and joy to the world. I'll write again next Monday. Until then Merry Christmas.
Sister Faulkner
"After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel"- Joesph Smith

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Center of Training

The MTC is... challenging. 

(Picture of the MTC taken from

I love it. I've learned so much. I really can see myself changing. I can also see a little bit more clearly just how far I have to come. I couldn't do this without the help of Jesus Christ. It's weird to think that on Wednesday I will be in the field with my new companion teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I'm discovering just how difficult it can be to spend all of your time with another person. You have to be super honest with them, and consider how your words affect them, and be patient when they accidentally step on your metaphorical toes. I have three roommates that I spend almost every moment of every day with. They are fantastic missionaries and I feel honored to know them. I can feel their love for Jesus Christ- still we are all human and we end up having to talk a lot of things out patiently.

Sister Karony and I had the opportunity to sing in the MTC choir this week. It seems like so long ago (every day here feels like a week). We sang a beautiful arrangement of "The First Noel." I want to say that the MTC Choir is the most powerful choir I've ever performed with.


We really bore our testimony through song. I am sad that we can only perform at one devotional while we are here- since we are only here for one Tuesday.

The Devotional address was given by an Apostle - Elder Cook. It was a really good talk. It was cool to listen to a man who regularly assigns mission calls by the power and authority of God testify that our assignments aremade under God's direction. I testify that He is an Apostle of the Lord. Also, singing for an Apostle is cool.

I'd like to give a shout out to those who sent me mail either through Dear Elder or through the postal service.

I love mail. I really feel supported. I know that there are people praying for the missionaries and praying for me personally and it brings great joy to my soul. I'd like to make a suggestion- pray for those that the missionaries are teaching, and for those whom we have not yet found. They need your prayers too. You can even pray for missionary experiences in your own life.

It is harder to share the truth with people that you've known all your life than it is to share with people you just met on the street. I know this. I've tried. Still, I ask that you don't give up. Get to know your friends and neighbors, don't give up on that one inactive family you home teach. The Lord aches for them to return to Him. They are his beloved children. 

Because of technical difficulties I am still working on getting pictures up.

Do you know what that means? That means that in some post in the near future, you will have bunches of pictures all at once. It will be like Christmas for you.

I am going to have to work on chilling out. I am a super high-strung, letter-of-the-law kind of person. It bugs people. I am not mean about it, but I think my energy gives my companion anxiety attacks. I am continually inspired by her faith and commitment.

Thanks again to Lisa for posting this.


Sister Faulkner

Friday, December 6, 2013

From the MTC

A Whole New World!

Today is my third day at the MTC- and my first preparation day. I have discovered that p day is necessary to maintain sanity.

My trip to the MTC was a bit hazardous. My flight came in alongside the first major snowstorm  to hit Northern Utah this season.

 We got between 10 and 12 inches, I think. Because of the snow my cousin Angie, who picked me up from the airport, and I were unable to drive all the way to Provo from Salt Lake. We saw several accidents. I was terrified. So in Draper my Uncle Ken and cousin Angie helped me to get on a train bound for Provo. From there I took a bus to BYU campus. As I dragged my bags through the slush my skirt actually froze- which has never happened to me before. I met my brother Jordan and one of my best friends at the Wilkinson Student Center and they helped me out. I was so afraid that I would miss my bus and end up stranded at the train/bus station. Lisa was a lot of help to me in figuring out how to get to Jordan.

Christ in Gethsemane -by Harry Anderson

Here at the MTC we spend almost all of our time studying the scriptures and the Missionary manual. We do some teaching and we eat and sleep, but almost all of our waking hours are spent studying. We spend most of that time focusing on the application the Atonement of Jesus Christ and loving others. We are representatives of Jesus Christ. His name is on our name tag in big, capital letters and we have a responsibility to act as He would act and teach what He would teach. What did He do? He served, healed, and taught correct principles but at every opportunity- as He did all of these things He invited us to come and follow Him. To serve Him, to be baptized, to have faith, to be healed emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. He invited us to repent because He loves us and He was about to sacrifice everything so that we could be forgiven if we would repent. My purpose is to help others do just that.

I have learned so much about the doctrines of faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. 2 Nephi 31: 4-9 Repeating that cycle over and over again is the way that we come unto Christ. It is the way that we progress and it is the way that we apply Christ's atonement in our lives. Even when we use Christ's atonement to be healed spiritually or to receive strength in trials or to forgive others we are falling back on the application of these principles. As we repent and partake of the sacrament (renewing our baptismal covenants) each week we can be made clean and innocent. We can be made whole. Isaiah 1:18.
John Baptizing Jesus -by Harry Anderson
My companion's name is sister Karony. She is the best. She is a vocal performance major at BYU with an emphasis in Opera.

 I love her attitude and enthusiasm, I am continually impressed by her love for others and her compassion for those we teach. She has great insight and we work well together. I'd be happy to serve with her in the field any day.
I know that this is God's work. That we are doing what Christ wants us to do. I have never made a better decision. I feel the spirit so strongly here. (And everyone has been very kind and helpful.)
I promise to include pictures next week. I need to take a few more and I need to take my camera with me when I go to the computer/laundry room. I apologize for the lack of pictures.
God be with you,
Sister Caroline Elizabeth Faulkner

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Final Countdown!!!

Sorry, guys. Not that kind of countdown.

On Monday evening (December 2) I will be set apart as a missionary. Tuesday morning I am getting on a plane bound for Salt Lake City. After spending some time with my brother at BYU, I will enter the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday. That means that my mission starts in 3 days.

Those of you who know me and have been in my bedroom since 2010 know that I painted it myself- and that I painted a tree in one corner. I have "tied" a yellow ribbon around that tree- as we do for military men and women and missionaries alike.

My room is waiting for me to come home. It's a little bit tongue in cheek and a little bit just cute.

I have completed most of the necessary preparations with the appropriate level of vigor and vim. I was even quite stoic and brave for my shots. I didn't complain or bite anyone. 

Since my last post I...

Put up the Christmas tree

 Because no one else in my house was going to do it.

Set up my Christmas town

...In my younger brother's room. Hope he doesn't mind when he comes home for Christmas.

Packed my bags

And frosted about 40 trillion cookies.

This photograph does not represent all of the aforementioned cookies.

I also said goodbye to many of my friends and family members. Temporarily leaving behind personal concerns, friends, and family is one of the sacrifices that we make as missionaries. Some of them took it harder than others. Most understood that I have no desire to shun my family. This is indeed a sacrifice for me. But it is one that I know will help me to lose myself in the work for a season.

The plan of Salvation focuses on families. We believe that in order to become like our Heavenly Father we must be sealed in eternal families. We believe that the associations that we create in this life will carry on in the life to come. These relationships that we form on Earth are valuable. 

Temporarily leaving behind my family is my way of asking the Lord to make of me whatever instrument He needs me to be to serve His purposes. It is my way of giving up all that I am to Him.

As I mentioned in my first post, my beautiful sister Lisa agreed to post my letters while I am gone. Be patient with her if she doesn't post very quickly. She has a life.

I will try to keep these posts as fresh and entertaining as I can from afar. I'll send pictures and try to suggest easy links. for her to put up in order to add variety. Hopefully, it will be mostly a matter of copying and pasting from my emails to the blog.

I don't know if you all saw the new pink button with the dandelions- that is a link to my profile. You can learn a little more about me and what I believe. I even answered some fun questions that people sometimes ask about our church. You should check it out.

There are so many ways that Christ uses to reach out to us- I am glad to take part in a few of them. 

In the meetinghouse where my ward (congregation) gathers, there will be a plaque with my picture on it that says where I am going and includes a scripture of my choosing. The one I chose to include on my plaque is Alma 37:6-7. As we've discussed, it reflects my ideas about my own contribution to and purpose in this work. 

You'll, of course, be hearing from me. For me, however, this is goodbye and so I'll leave you with this.

As my great friends Bill and Ted once said in the midst of their own comparably excellent adventure: "Be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes!"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Being a Small and Simple Means

I want to talk about the title of my blog. I touched on this last week. I mentioned that I am a small and simple means by which the Lord can bring about great things.

Satan will try to tell me that I am foolish for trying. He tries to tell us that our efforts will not make a difference and that sin is easier and more powerful than righteousness. The Adversary would have us give up before we even begin to try.

It is true that there is much for us to overcome- our own sins at the top of the list.  But we have eternity to progress if we are moving in the right direction-and we have already know which side will win.

So yes- we are weak and we are simple, but we have the Lord's promise because of the Atonement.

"My grace is sufficient for all men who humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27).

And of course we know that Christ brings about great things by small and simple means.

I think of Abinadi. He was sent by the Lord to preach repentance to a city ruled by the wicked King Noah and his wicked priests. King Noah had an army, weapons, and wealth. His power was obvious and ostentatious. Abinadi was rejected and delivered to the king. He was bound and tried on empty accusations. It seemed that Noah had all the power and Abinadi was doomed. But Abinadi was a prophet of God. He had authority from God to deliver His message and they had no power over him until that message was given. They did kill him, but he was prepared to face death.

Abinadi probably died without learning that his words were not lost on all of them. Alma repented and went on to become a prophet, and many of his descendants were prophets. Many people were taught and baptized by Alma and his descendants and the people that they taught. Abinadi's example is influential even today through the scriptures- while King Noah's power was quashed soon after Abinadi's death.

Abinadi was simply obedient. He was bold and brave and willing to sacrifice everything for the Lord. He was not great by any worldly estimation. He was only human- and therefore weak. But because he was faithful in the most trying of circumstances many people were converted to the service of the Lord.

Few of us have the courage and faith of Abinadi- but all of us can learn by his example that the Lord can make of us far more than we can make of ourselves and far more than anyone can see in us. Christ can bring about great good from our weak attempts to serve Him.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I want to preface this post with the acknowledgement that, as a woman, I do not have a priesthood duty to serve a mission. That is okay. Women have many contributions to make to society and to the building up of the Kingdom of God. I expect my greatest missionary work to be done in my own home with my own family. I recognize that being a worthy wife and mother is far more important and outweighs any teaching I do during my 18 month mission. My "Why?" question for all of the why-askers out there is a simple one:

I find that many of my friends and family members do not understand my desire to serve a full time mission.

People wonder because of the things that I've chosen to give up. 

Time at school

Money (Though my family is helping a lot)

18 months of extremely limited contact with my friends and family

Opportunities for work and relationships

Comfort and convenience while adjusting to the mission lifestyle (up at 6:30 AM every day- in bed by 10:30, going everywhere with a companion, restrictions on music, etc).

Then There is always the question "Why are you bugging uninterested people about religion- what right you to impose your religious beliefs on them unsolicited?"

What you have to see if you want to understand my motives is that I don't see it that way at all. 

I don't care much about the sacrifices. I am not positive what I am going to do without my music for 18 months, but I'm sure I'll survive.

But I love the questions. When people ask them sincerely and respectfully they give me an opportunity to say exactly why I am giving this time to the Lord.

There are multiple answers that I've been known to give in response to this question.

1. Because the Caroline in this picture already knew that she wanted to serve a mission. And not much has changed.

I'm also still this adorable.

2. Because I love teaching and I want to help people come unto Christ. (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-16). I honestly believe that the people I am teaching will be more happy if they choose to apply the principles that the Spirit teaches through my words.

But the most important reason is this: 

3. Because Christ gave His life for me, and for all of us, and it is the least I can do to help His sacrifice reach as many people as I can find.

Doctrine and Covenants 19:15-19 has to do with this. Christ suffered for all of our sins, whether we repent or not. Why? Because He wanted to give us the opportunity to be saved. He loves us that much. When we love Him, and we are grateful for His sacrifice we want to help Him accomplish the mission that prompted Him to make that sacrifice. He seeks His children through us. And He never imposes on our free will. He can only save us if we choose to let Him. We show Him that we want His help by repenting of our sins and making sacred covenants with Him. 

That is my purpose as a missionary. It is "to 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 f the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." (Preach My Gospel Handbook. Emphasis added)

 Everyday Mormon Women made a recent Blog Post that concerns Christ as the author of our faith. I wanted to share it here, because it is important to remember as missionaries that Christ is the founder of our faith. I can bring the message, but without His spirit, the message is worthless, and without His atonement the application of the message is impossible. Christ is the beginning and the end. He is the motive. All I can do is try to serve Him. 

I can do but little in the great work that must roll forth. I am but a small part in this. But remember that by small and simple means great things are brought to pass (Alma 37:6).

So in answer to the questions- Christ. He is always the answer.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Called To Serve

"Dear Sister Faulkner

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Washington Kennewick Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English Language...

You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church... As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Your purpose will be to 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..."

This is part of my mission call. Most of it, actually. It came on Saturday, October 5, 2013. It was signed by the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. It was assigned to me by one of the Apostles. A huge responsibility in a big, white envelope.

Am I nervous? Not intensely. As Shakespeare might say "No more than reason" (Much Ado About Nothing.) I know that it will be difficult, but I also know that the Lord does not give commandments to His children without preparing a way for them to accomplish them (1 Nephi 3:7).

I am nervous about leaving my family and friends behind. Not that my presence here in Arizona or in Provo where I live most of the time really ensured anyone's safety or good behavior before; it never did. I just feel a little bit helpless so detached from struggling friends and family members.

I've been planning on serving a mission since I learned what missions were. It was always part of my plan. Luckily, I've got a really supportive family that told me I could do anything and taught me to go to the scriptures for answers (My mother played a large role in that). I've also never been shy, as my family can attest. Talking to strangers has always been one of my favorite pastimes (I get that from my Dad), to the chagrin of my mother who tried hard to teach me that it wasn't always safe to do so.

So here I am, finally old enough to serve-

"But wait, Caroline, The mission age changed a year ago. Sisters are going at 19 now. You're 21!"

Very astute observation, my friend. I was at school when the age change happened. I had to wait to get out of a contract with the apartment complex in which I was living. Moving on.

So here I am, finally old enough to serve with only one month to go before I can leave. My sister says "Caroline, I'll run a blog for you and post your letters while you're gone." I'm thinking...

Most brilliant idea I've ever heard. Remember what I said about having a supportive family? Also- this is my first meme.

Preparing to serve a mission is exhilarating. I'm learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ, studying more than I did before, and making new covenants in the temple, which I've been eager to do for a while. All of the learning is an incredible opportunity. I've been teaching my mom for practice, and she might be my most difficult investigator. She gives me a run for my money.

This is my temple, the Mesa temple. The Gilbert, Arizona Temple will open while I am gone.

And then every once in a while, I remember that I am supposed to be working on the 18 minute talk that I am giving in church on Sunday the 24th, or the ten minute talk I am giving to another ward on the 17th.  The Stake President, President Thomas really wants me to learn to talk to people before I leave- which is no big deal. It's writing the talks and working 40 hours a week on top of the extra studying that worries me.

Doctrine and Covenants section 4 offers some great advice:

"1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;

4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;"

I'll let you know how that goes.