Monday, January 27, 2014

Daring Adventures

Hello! It's a beautiful morning here in the WKM (Washington, Kennewick Mission)! Transfer calls came this weekend and I am happy to be staying here in Moses Lake with Sister McMurtrey for at least another 6 weeks! We are having so much fun.
A new transfer means a new planner! I decided to decorate this one (It keeps them from falling apart and looking ratty. I am really proud of it. Here is a picture.

All of these pictures came from two Ensign magazines.

Sister McMurtrey laughed at me when she saw me taking pictures of my planner- she says I'll decorate a bunch of them. But I wanted to share my joy. 

We've been naming several of the cats in our area. Here are some pictures 

These are Puck, Sugar and Salt. Their Parents are Oberon and Titania. They have another brother named Bottom. I needed the stick to get them this close to me. 

This is Spice. Her owners think her name is Alice. She lives next door to us and we love her, but she always tries to get into our apartment and we have to catch her and throw her out into the snow. Or the rain.
There are lots of nice humans in our area as well. This week we tracted into a pastor from another church who was really kind to us, and a lady who had no intention of talking to us about her faith in Jesus Christ but insisted on giving me a pair of gloves. Those of you who know me from Provo may already know that I try not to wear gloves or mittens as a general rule. I admit that my hands were exceedingly chilly that night. I now have three pairs of gloves and/or mittens. I promise that I actually do use them sometimes.
On our quest to talk to 70 new people a week, we've been doing pretty well. We've been having a blast. We may run out of doors to knock in approximately 3 weeks, but we know that things will work out. We'll just have to find people in other ways. Maybe we'll draw the Plan of Salvation on the sidewalk like those missionaries in New York City did.

Maybe we will try looking for all the people who weren't home when we tried them before. Or we'll have a cool church activity and have the ward invite their friends.
Each door is like a daring adventure. Each new person we talk to might be ready to accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I still get lost in our area. I'm going to have to learn it by drawing my own map or something.


Sister Caroline Elizabeth Faulkner

Monday, January 20, 2014

Close Your Mouth

Once you have opened your mouth and introduced someone to the gospel - you come to the really difficult part: Closing your mouth.

A difficult lesson to learn in missionary work is that there has to be silence for the spirit to work in people. You have to let them think about it. Some people have a really hard time with silence in conversation, but the Holy Spirit speaks in a still, small voice. It is necessary to listen carefully.
I have learned this week that lessons go much better if you are willing to wait in silence and not speak unless the spirit prompts you to say something.

Asking inspired questions is a great way to allow people to really consider the meaning of your words and the way that it applies to them.
My trainer told me last month that "A Mission is like one big awkward moment". What I think she meant was - if you are doing it right there will be long periods of silence. It's okay and you get used to it. She was right.
You have to prepare and make sure to "treasure up in your minds continually the words of life" so that "it shall be given you in the very hour" what to say. We do a lot of studying - but I have found that my study in the morning often prepares me to answer someone's question or know what someone needs to hear later in the day. But only by the spirit can I know what they need to hear, and I need the spirit to bring that back to me at that moment.
I also know that by silencing my own first impressions and my previous understanding I learn about Christ's love. If you refuse to let your own thoughts get in the way and just listen to people - you get to know them, you see what they can become. You feel Christ's love for them in some tiny measure. Then you can better help them, because you see a bit of Christ's vision for them.
I'm still learning about this. It will take me a while to get better acquainted with silence and with the spirit- but I know that Jesus Christ is behind this work.
In other news - The Seahawks are going to be in the Superbowl. I know this because of all of the illegal fireworks that went off at once last Sunday, and the people that told us not to bug them because they were watching the game.
We went to the Columbia River Temple today - which is why this blog is late. I love the temple and I am so grateful to have one so close to the area I am serving in. It brought me a lot of peace to visit the Lord's house today.
Speaking of Temples - The Gilbert Temple Open House is going on this coming week. Everyone is welcome inside. There will be tours. Bring your family and friends. I wish I could be there for the open house and the dedication, but I am glad to be here. I am excited to visit it when I get back to Phoenix.

Click here to get more information about the temple open house.
Thanks to all of you for your love and support and for all that you do to forward the Lord's work.
"Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the Earth" 1 Nephi 4:1

Sister Caroline Faulkner

Monday, January 13, 2014

Open Your Mouth

Last week we were cleaning windows for a service project and the windows in the shade were cold enough that when we sprayed the outside with glass cleaner the liquid froze onto the glass. I could only think of what my little brother Jordan would say.

For those of you who know Jordan- you'll have seen him do this before.

Also "Happy Birthday" to my older brother John this week, and My step dad Craig right around the corner!

We have a term in the Washington Kennewick Mission- and I do not know how many missions use it- we call a finding situation an OYM for "Open your mouth". When we go about finding people who are ready and willing to hear learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ we knock doors, we talk to people in the street and we share with them a little bit of what we teach- just a few sentences, whatever fits their needs and the situation. We try to refer to the fact that Christ's Church has been brought back to the Earth today because that is the unique message that we have to share. We try to set goals for how many people we can talk to every day, so we know how we can stretch ourselves and reach as many people as possible.
People are not numbers. Obviously. People are individuals, cherished of Christ. See Doctrine andCovenants 18:10-16. Because we love Christ and our Heavenly Father, we want to help them with their goals. See Moses 1:39. We have the privilege of working as instruments in the hands of the Savior as we reach out and bring them to Him. We spiritually carry them on our shoulders. As a representatives of Jesus Christ, our voices are His voice, and we extend to others the call that has been extended to us. Christ has called us to follow Him and because of the joy that we feel in His service, we pass that call along. It comes as we open our mouths.
This week I spent some time studying Charity. My favorite chapters of scripture on the topic include Moroni 7 and 1 John 3. I encourage you to read them. Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the motivation behind Missionary work. I feel that as we experience Christ's love for us we naturally desire to extend it to others. As missionaries we work hard, but that does not mean that we are doing our best. I felt as I studied that as I learn about Christ's love and the power of His Grace to change and lift us, my focus moves outward from "How hard can I work?" to "How many people are being affected by my work?" That is what Christ cares about. He cares about His children. In the Gospel of John chapter 3, we read that God sent His son to save the world. Not just a few. The world. "All those that believe on His name" is a changeable number. Christ wants to save every person, not just a few. He wants us to reach as many people as we possible can because each is equally and infinitely valuable to Him. Of course, this requires me to give all that I can. To "...serve Him with allof my heart, might, mind, and strength" is my purpose and my goal - not blindly, but with a purpose. To open my mouth to every person that I can, with my limited mortal abilities, so that Christ has has the opportunity to express His love for His children through me.
Could Christ do this without us? Yes. He is the master teacher. He is perfect and powerful. He is the best of all missionaries! And He in His wisdom and mercy sends out His army of willing (and oh so imperfect) volunteers. He allows us to labor in His vineyard - to take part in His work and to have this opportunity to taste of His love for His children. Alone, I know that we would fail. It is only because He sends His Spirit with us to do the real teaching. All we do is treasure up His word and open our mouths. The Spirit is the link that connects those we teach with God. It is what they really hear.
We set goals to open our mouths and speak to as many people as possible so that we can keep our eyes on our purpose. We try to focus our efforts on helping Christ's love and mercy reach as many people as possible in our weakness and His strength.
 I am grateful for this opportunity to be a part of His work. (No matter how many people slam the door in my face). We are never alone. Christ is with us. He carries us.
Keep the faith.

Sister Caroline Faulkner

Monday, January 6, 2014

Homeward Bound

This life is a journey. It is for a purpose. God put us here so that we could gain bodies and so that we could learn and grow. He is our Father and He wants us to become like Him. He wants us to have the joy that He has. This life is no accident. It is a journey back home. As we repent and learn and become like Him, we prepare for Heaven, as Brad Wilcox says we "learn" Heaven. We prepare ourselves to feel comfortable in God's presence so that when we meet Him again we will feel comfortable enough to stay there. We are all homeward bound. That is what we set out to do when we chose to come here.
There is a movie called Homeward Bound that I loved as a child. It is about two dogs and a cat who travel across the Sierra's to make it home, and I've been thinking about it a lot this week. My favorite scene happens towards the end when the oldest dog, Shadow falls into a pit and he can't get out. The younger dog, Chance, jumps in and tells him "You pushed me this far, now I'm pushing you the rest of the way. Now try again!" I won't spoil the movie for you, but often  I want to be like Chance and tell people. "I know it's hard, but it's worth it. You do not have my permission to give up now. 'Not now, not when we're this close'" But I can't. People make their own choices. I know what the Atonement of Jesus Christ can do for people. I've seen it work in my own life- but they get to choose.

One of the people we are teaching almost dropped us this week. We were devastated. We knew that she knew the truth. She's been going through a lot, but that's why we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what the Atonement is for. I know that the blessings for obedience, though the sacrifice may be steep, are always greater than anything we give up to follow. We had a couple hard days, but she came to us again and told us that she knows the truth, that she will do what she knows to be right, and that she still wants to move forward and be baptized, though she knows it will not take her problems away, she knows that the covenants that she will be making will give her the strength to endure.

I'm learning a lot out here about the Spirit and about acting in Faith. Today I read a quote from L. Tom Perry. He said "The discipline contained in daily obedience and clean living and wholesome lives builds an armor around you of protection and safety from the temptations that beset you as you proceed through mortality"

I thought as I read that about the Army of Helaman and how they developed habits of obedience in their childhood that enabled them to have courage even when the Lamanites were winning and they could have been killed. They knew that obedience brings blessings and they were willing to make any sacrifice to do what the Lord wanted them to do. (And they all received many wounds. There was sacrifice involved even though the Lord preserved their lives.)

 As we teach, we invite people to start testing the waters of obedience. We invite them to learn about the blessings that come with obedience so that they are prepared to make covenants with God. As they do, they develop that personal armor of moral courage and internal security even when persecutions rage and mobs combine. I thought about how that experience that they gain enables them to recognize the Holy Spirit and the mercy of the Lord so that when they ask in faith if what they have read is true they have some help in understanding the answer that they get and so they have the courage to ask in sincerity.

We invited a family to be baptized this last week. They agreed and we are so excited for them. We have already seen the things that they have been learning bring peace to their lives despite the difficult circumstances that they are in now. I think that Lord leads us to people in tough times because they can see the changes more easily when they apply the principles we teach. I know that He is aware of our needs and that He loves us.
I know He is aware of my needs. I have received so much support this week from people at home that was supposed to come at Christmas, that I needed more this week than I did at Christmas.

I keep your cards. I also got some packages from my Mom that did not make it into this picture, but I got enough food that I don't think I'll buy much for groceries this week.
I keep your letters, I love you all. The Lord loves you as well. Keep the Faith

Sister Faulkner