Monday, March 30, 2015

Deja Vu

Here I am training again. Once again, it's my favorite calling. My new companion Sister Gresham is back out after a stint at home working out some health challenges, and she's super prepared. I love how well she knows the lessons, and how ready she is to teach and talk with everyone. She has no fear. Part of that might come from her bubbly and outgoing personality.

She is from California, where she was a theater student – similar to most of my group of friends back home. We get along pretty well.
She'd served in Richland before, so she's already familiar with the area.
One of our investigators got baptized this week after a long period of meeting with missionaries. She fought so hard for this, so we are really very happy for her. It was one of the sweetest moments watching her get what she had been working so hard for and thinking of how pleased our Father in Heaven is with her.

Sister Gresham and I got moved into an apartment that Elders lived in before but has been vacant for 3 months. The water is still a little brown sometimes, but we found crazy stuff in there like a sign that says "No girls allowed," and a beard hat. We took pictures with some of those things. The water is still brown sometimes, but it's getting better. We have been taking advantage of the food they left behind- Pop Tarts and frozen burritos. Yum.

Somehow I thought training this time would be very similar to the first time – but it's not. I have so many plans to do things differently this time, and of course my companion is very different. I love all of my companions so differently.
Training is still my favorite. I love helping new missionaries get the hang of things and helping them become comfortable in missionary work.
We are working hard to get everyone to conference so that they can have revelatory experiences listening to the living Apostles. The women's broadcast was amazing.
Check out this Easter Video: 

Happy Easter! Remember He lives!

Sister Caroline Faulkner

Monday, March 23, 2015

Musical Chairs

This has been the craziest transfer I've ever seen. It's interesting that the people we thought would get baptized this coming weekend are not getting baptized this weekend, and another investigator who wasn't ready 6 weeks ago is bound and determined to be baptized this weekend. You never know what our Father in Heaven is planning.
Speaking of not knowing our Father in Heaven's plans, who would have thought that I would lose Sister Allred to Kennewick mid-transfer? (Technically we are kind of still companions- we are just on a really long exchange). We didn't know what was going to happen at transfers. I certainly didn't expect the call that came.
Sister Allred is going to East Kennewick, Sister Standing is going to another area in Kennewick (her old area is getting doubled out) I am staying here in Richland but I'm being released as a Sister Training Leader to train a new missionary. One of the Sisters who I am currently serving as a Sister Training Leader is going to be my new Sister Training Leader – but all the way from Pendleton, Oregon. That will be a long drive for exchanges. This also probably means that I'll be in Richland for 7.5 months. That's 3 months longer than I've served in any other area, and the entire remainder of my mission. It also means that I was only ever a Sister Training Leader in one area.
Is that difficult to wrap your head around? It is for me too. I think I am going to draw it out in a chart today just to visualize it.
I am really pleased that I get to train again. Training Sister Owens was one of the greatest periods of growth I've ever experienced and one of the happiest times in my life. I have a big long list of things that I want to do better this time.
Transfer day is like a gigantic game of musical chairs. So complicated. So crazy. So inspired. I know that these assignments really do come from our Father in Heaven. He knows where we need to go and who we need to help, and who we need to meet.
I have to say that I am grateful to all the members who help out with the work. I know that even if we had been doubled out, the sweet sister we love so much would still be baptized on Saturday because the members love her as much as we do.

Have a great week!

Sister Caroline Faulkner

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Power of the Priesthood

We have an investigator named Joy. She's been trying to quit smoking for YEARS. She's been close before, but I think that she is really going to make it this time. She got a priesthood blessing yesterday. She hasn't had a craving since. She Really wants the blessings of living the Word of Wisdom (The Lord's law of health given to the Prophet Joseph Smith) She wants to be baptized. She wants the blessings of the temple. I know that she can make it because she's shown so much faith and desire. I am grateful to know that the power that Christ gave to His Apostles to perform miracles according to our faith is on the Earth again today. I've seen it at work so many times throughout my life and especially here in the mission field. I know that Heavenly Father has the power to heal Joy of this affliction.

I've always loved people the most when they've struggled. I'm not sure why that is, but my time here in the mission field has given me a different perspective on overcoming addiction and how much Christ loves repentance. I know that He enables us to escape. I don't think I realized before how difficult it is to overcome something like that, though. I've worked with a lot of people trying to overcome addictions to a plethora of substances and behaviors, and I've learned a lot about Christ's power to free me from my personal struggles and sins. It's tough! I haven't done anything as hard as overcoming an addiction to tobacco. (I can definitely see why the Lord advised Joseph Smith against it). I know that Christ has power in our lives according to our faith to overcome our weaknesses and give us His strength. He has descended below all things and He knows what it is to overcome such an addiction. I know that nothing pleases our Father in Heaven more than a repentant child. I think that it is very important to Christ that we respond with love and understanding when we see someone struggle, and that we try to be His hands in helping them to succeed as much as we can.

There is something joyous and exciting about claiming freedom from the past, from our mistakes and shortcomings. That's what repentance is beginning to mean to me.

Our mission president advised us to put away our worries and distraction and put them in a box. We need to let Christ take care of them for us. This is my box. I decorated it.

We are trying a new experiment. President wants to see if Sister Training Leaders can train a new missionary and fulfill their leadership assignment without a Sister Training Leader for a companion. In preparation for that, Sister Allred and I are splitting up for the next two weeks. We will still sort of be companions, and we will counsel together for the needs of the sisters, but we will work with other sisters in their proselyting areas. We'll see how this works. I am pretty excited about it.

I am grateful for a mission president called of God to direct the work of our mission. I know that our Father in Heaven directs this work, and He allows us to participate because He wants us to learn and grow. It's pretty awesome.

A sweet sister in our ward gave us flowers. I almost killed mine, but I brought them back to life. You can see that Sister Allred's flowers are doing better than mine.

Fear no man. Trust in The Lord.


Sister Caroline Faulkner

Monday, March 2, 2015

March Forth

The last two weeks have been marked by a number of experiences where the Lord led us exactly where we needed to go. I am gaining confidence that if I pray, the Lord will show us by the Spirit where we need to go. We were led to  people we were looking for even when we didn't know their addresses (sounds like Selah all over again), and we were led by the Spirit to be exactly where the Lord needed us at exactly the right time a few times this week. I love those miracles because it reminds us that we can trust the Spirit to take us where we need to go and we can have confidence that the Lord leads His work.
We had an exchange this week with some of the Sisters nearby and we decided to give it the theme "Confidence in Christ." I think it is important that we remember that we are representatives of Christ, not college students. We can be bold when we invite people to change because we love them and we were sent to them by God to help them come closer to Him. We can also have confidence as we trust the Spirit. It isn't about trusting in ourselves or having confidence in our own abilities. That's pride and it's a sin, but we can have confidence knowing that the Lord has power to make up for our weaknesses (Ether 12:27) and that His strength is sufficient to do His work (Alma 26:12). When we have humility we substitute God's power for our own (That is really hard to do). In order to do that we have to be doing things His way (Doctrine and Covenants 121:36-45) We have to be giving our will to our Father in Heaven, and we have to be giving our all (Helaman 10:4-5) As we proclaim His word with unwearyingness, we can be promised His help to do anything that is necessary. It isn't our power that gets it done. It's His power, which He allows to work through His children when they do their best. We are still sinners. We mess up all the time. We make mistakes. When we make mistakes we can repent and do better with His help. It's really about asking for help by giving Him our will. Then we can be permitted to do His work. I love that all that we have to do is really, really want to serve Him and do our best. Then His grace can reach us because our hearts are ready to accept His help and we have the faith to be made whole. The best part is that even when we have trouble giving our best, or desiring to serve God we can pray for help and He will change our hearts (Mosiah 5:2).

I had a lot of pictures that I wanted to show you today but I left my camera at home, so you will have to wait until next week.
I went to the dentist – I had a broken filling. That was fun. I did that on the 10th, and it was one of the more difficult dental experiences I have endured in this life. I'm grateful to Dr. Larson, though who really helped me out. He showed great mercy.

It needed a lot of help and we are watching it right now to make sure that it doesn't need a root canal. I liked Dr. Larson because he helped me for free (which I didn't deserve at all) and he showed me the x ray so I could know exactly what has been going on in my tooth before and after and what I need to do to take care of it. He showed me the x-ray and explained where the root was, where the filling was, and what was happening when it was causing me pain. I think that I will always ask my dentists from now on to explain what is going on in my mouth. Thank you to all dentists who look out for missionaries. You people are the best.
Thanks to all who support us. Thanks to you all who pray for the missionaries. Those prayers are much appreciated.

Sister Caroline Faulkner