January 20, 2012

It was a very peculiar week. I have definitely learned a lot. A lot of huge miracles, a few tragadies as well. Something I learned from running ultramarathons is that the longer you run, the more intense and more frequent the physical and mental viccisitudes become. What I mean is that when you start out a race, you may feel some mild pain, something an experienced runner can completely ignore because he knows that in a few miles you will start to feel really good (some people call this a runners high) As the miles go by, this pain will start to feel more severe, once again, experience has taught the runner that eventually this will be converted into an equally intense rush of endorphins (or high). these ebbs and flows of pain and pleasure may last for miles or for only a few minutes at a time, I have not had enough time as a long distance runner to understand this process completely, but I do have enough experience to know that pain is only temporary, your body can do so much more than what your mind whats to allow it to, so if you push through that pain, even if it feels like you cannot take another step, you will look back 10 or 20 miles later in amazement at what you have just done. I have learned to not trust those thoughts telling me that I NEED to stop, I have been there before, and I know its not true. I CAN keep going.
 
I have noticed a similar pattern happening in my spiritual life as a servant and disciple of Jesus Christ. Sometimes it feels like a rollercoaster of joy and sorrow. the more you lose yourself in the service, the greater he endows you with charity for the people you serve, you begin to understand on some level what His love is for these people. Now, the closer you come to the savior, the more you feel of his joy and pleasure when you witness people progress in the gospel, He allows you to receive somewhat of his glory and joy as we do his work. Now the same is true in the negative when you see people depart from the faith or chose to allow temptation and fear to overcome their progression and salvation, you feel what could only be described as Godly sorrow. Only the savior alone could take the full brunt of these pains, but I have seen how he has allowed me to suffer with him, to some small degree, that I may also be filled with compassion tword these people.
 As I sat pondering last night, I realized that not even I will be able to relate to my own expereinces after my mission, its only in those moments that we can really comprehend the weight of joy or pain. Its remimnds me a lot of running or mountaineering, why do I keep going back? simply because I forget what the pain feels like, I know that its painful, but whenever I am 25 miles into a run I think to myself.. I forgot just how bad this hurts, just how hard this is. haha. But I do not forget the joy at the end, and I long for that feeling again, once again, not really being able to feel of it fully until I am standing at the top of another mountain or at another finish line. 
In the last few weeks We have had 4 baptisms fall through, some are just delayed, one has decided he does not believe this anymore another was introduced to some anti mormon literature by an apostate ex-bishop of the church. I will be honest, these things have hurt. I have seen miracles happen in each of these people live to prepare them for baptism, but in the eleventh hour the adversary has been there to knock them down. on the flip side of the coin, there are 7 others preparing for baptism in february, and people have come to church and kept commitments for the first time, and we have seen a constant flow of miracles bringing us to the doorsteps of others who are prepared to receive the Gospel.
End of the day, I see how the Lord is making a disciple out of me. At times he has been testing me, I have not felt the support or guidance I thought I needed, at some moments I have felt pretty alone in my heart, but I am gratful that he has trusted me with these tasks, I feel more connected to Him than I ever have before. I shudder when I hear those going through difficulties begin to doubt God, its in those moments that I have found Him. and I add my witness to pauls in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” and also to the Romans 8:14-18 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
 
I do not have enough experience in the Gospel to understand this completely, But I do know, that when trials come, and even when we feel we are on our own and not even the spirit is there to comfort us, We can endure, just one foot in front of the other, the pains will fade away, we will not remember them until we are called to bear them again, but I long to feel those joys I have felt again as an investigators receives an answer to prayer, or comes to church, or is standing in a baptism font, they are never far off as we do this work, the feild is white already for its harvest, the church is true.
 
I know this is the Lords Work, I thank you for your prayers, there is very much good ahead for this area! I am so happy to be a part of it.
 
Love,
Elder Faulkner
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