July 9, 2012 New President, Baptisms, Tradeoffs

G’day everyone,
How is everything!? how was church at the new ward, how was the fourth of july, Happy birthday Haley!
I have some pretty happy news. In the past two weeks we have had 3 baptisms! in the next two weeks we have 3 more scheduled (I think at least one will be postponed)
I am continually humbled by the opportunity to baptize and confirm people members of the church of jesus Christ. It says in the Doctrine and covenants that in the ordinances of the priesthood are the powers of godliness manifest. This weekend I feel that I had an opportunity to partake in that power. There is one young woman in particular that we have been labouring to teach. She is 9 years old and miraculously was recently taken from an abusive home to live with her auntie, a place where she can feel love and direction. we have been teaching her for some time, but in her previous circumstances was not able to attend church or be baptized. I wish I could share with you all the details of her conversion story, but it is sufficient to say, that I have never met someone who has desired baptism as much as her. and believe it or not, I believe she understands the covenant of baptism more than anyone else I have taught. such an example of faith from someone so young and humble is truly a powerful one. As I stood in that water to baptize her, as one commissioned of jesus christ  I felt a joy I have very rarely felt. in the quiet private moments while changing into dry clothing following the performance of that ordinance is when I felt the powers of godliness manifest.. I was forced to my knees and wept. I wept for joy, I wept for the difficulties that lay ahead of her, but in that moment of fervent prayer, as I pleaded for that covenant to be sealed by the holy spirit of promise, the holy ghost descended on me, and my heart was opened to the understandings of that ordinance. I know that God was pleased, he accepted her offering of humility and obedience, he would be with her in her life as he has promised, and that I had no need to fear.
Baptism is a begning, not an end. Each week as we prepare ourselves through repentance, and partake of the sacrament we may be cleansed by the atoning sacrifice of jesus christ. As we take part in the ordinances of the higher priesthood in the temple, we come to know God, and prepare ourselves to enter into his rest, which rest is the glory of the lord. What joy it brings me to know of these eternal truths, and to witness them in my life and in the lives of those I serve.
we are down to only 2 weeks this transfer. i get pretty emotional at the thought of leaving, I really love this area. what makes it harder is that I am actually writing you from sydney. we had to come down for another zone conference, zone p-day and tradeoffs with our zone leaders. its pretty hard to be missing almost 4 days out of possibly my last 2 weeks in dubbo, but I am at peace. Yesterday I met my new mission president, it was a peculiar experience, It did not feel like I was meeting him for the first time. it is hard to explain, but it feels as if I have always known him. I never thought it would be this easy to begin with a new president, just because I loved president simmons so much. But I absolutely know that President Howes has been called of God, and I know just as surely that I have been called to serve with him according to Gods wisdom. I know I will learn so much from him, I know that he will lead our mission to new heights. He shared with us something that I have been pondering. Right before coming here, he was the Adelaide Temple president. He told us on two separate occasions, in the temple, elder nelson and elder  oaks told him of their perplexity in calling him as a mission president. They both told him they do not know how it happened, “they never call temple presidents to serve as mission presidents after serving in the temple.”
I feel great potential on the horizon for myself and for the australia sydney mission. Thank you all for your prayers and support. I feel your love everyday. I love this work.
Elder Faulkner
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