May 12, 2013

Everyone!
So this has been a really incredible week, filled with blessings and miracles. So I better start by introducing my new companion, His name is David Young, from new mexico, this is his last transfer on his mission. He is about at opposite from elder pito as you could get. We are also very different from one another, But I really like him a lot. I am looking forward to the next five weeks a great deal. My mission President was pretty concerned about him, he has had some interesting challenges on his mission. Its not really common for president to do this but he called me before transfers to tell me about elder young and to give some specific counsel. I was a bit nervous for another one of these “special assignments” But It is going to be wonderful. He actually served in this ward about a year ago, so he already knows the area and most of the members which will allow us to get right to work. I feel a special excitements for this transfer. I told you before when I got to dapto that I felt a special connection to this area, I know I am meant to be here, and now I feel that I am in a companionship where we can really find the meaning of that purpose.

So like I said this week has been full of miracles. Elder Young said that he has not seen any week like this in his whole mission. Its so clear to see that the Lord is opening to our new companionship the windows of heaven. One of my main goals here is to help Elder young habe an amazing last transfer, hopefully the best and most sucessful of his mission. I really feel that is part of my duty at the moment to help him finish with success and satisfaction. Its a great motivation for me!

the first miracle of the week was margret zimmerman. She is norma tyson’s friend. She was taught in the past but because of some tragadies and anxiety she put the missionaries and church on hold for a bit. Tuesday morning sister tyson called and said “ I know it is your P-day, but margret is on her way for a visit, could you come by?” we actually already had 2 appointments scheduled during our prep time already, but elder young and I looked at eachother, shrugged and said why not? We dont really need a P-day every week!. It turned out to be an incredible lesson. Turns out a year ago margret’s son commited suicide which has caused her some major grief and left her with many questions. We listened, answered questions, offered testimony and comfort, she said about 10 times during the visit that she really ought to talk with us more often! She felt the presence of the spirit that day from the feelings she described to us. I am sure you will be hearing more of her in future letters! She is a miracle referal and new investigator! We ended up not having a p-day at all! Haha, it feels good at times to make this sacrifice as a missionary, sometimes I do end up thinking that certain times are “my time” but I am reminded that I never have a break from this calling, and its good to demonstrate that on days like this, willingly and freely giving that time away. One of our appointments that day was with the matthews, Fun news from them was that on sunday sydelle’s mom called to wish tylah a happy birthday. She asked what they had done that day and tylah said they went to church! She was so surprised! Apparently sister matthews has intentionally not mentioned to her mom their progress because she knew that she’d make a big deal about it! Haha, but it was so sweet to hear how happy it made her to hear her family was coming back to church, and sydelle relayed a message of thanks to us as the missionaries helping them. She will actually visit from NZ soon! I look forward to meeting her, from what I hear she is an amazing woman in the gospel. But this made me really think and hope that there were people beyond my nkowledge that are working for my families gospel progression. I may not know them, but I have a great love and gratitude for anyone who may be blessing my own family, It is such apriviledge to fill that role for sister matthews family.

So a major element of our week was giving priesthood blessings. Brother bramblett had a knee replacement this past week, but while he was in hospital he had a heart attack which led the doctors to discover three valve blockages, so he will be moving to sydney for major heart surgery soon. I love that cowboy, I pray for his recovery. We were also priviledged to give several other blessings including one to margret our new investigator. I really cant quite explain it, but I am sure you know what I mean when I testify of the spirit and power present during priesthood administrations. The chance to participate in several in a row this week has really brought a special spirit into my life this week. There is something so holy aout it. I suppose I still have a lot to learn about my role as a priesthood holder, but every time I perticipate in a priesthood blessing, I feel closer to the saviour. I understand a bit more when they say that in the ordinances of the priesthood, the power of goliness is manifest. Like I said, I cannot quite put thee feelings into words, but I do know that When I one day am a husband and father, I plan to make the giving of blessings a common thing in my home. I dont know much about anything really, but I feel that this is a key to unlocking the powers of heaven in those roles.

So this is amazing to me, but we had another midia referal this week! Meaning someone went on mormon.org and requested a missionary visit. Her name is jessica mara. We have not had a chance to meet her yet but speaking to her on the phone she seems really interested! Wow, this has only happened twice on my mission, both in dapto! Huge blessing! I hope it leads toh er conversion and many more blessings for her in her life.

So after margret and jessica, 2 amazing new investigators that just fell into our lap with no work on our part, we were pretty stoked, but it does not end there. The other da our district leader called us an told us about a less-active family who just moved into our area from nowra and reccently lost one of their daughters. He did not know many details, but had set up a dinner appointment for us that evening. The couples names are paul and nicole souris, they have three daughters, the youngest Lani, was “still born” one week ago. This was there first night in their new home, they hardly had any food, but went out of their way to make us dinner and asked us to share some scriptures and words of encouragement. Suring our conversation paul was sharing how he first came in contact with the missionaries and voulenteered during the conversation that he was open to being baptized. I was shocked because all this time we thought they were members, I suppose our district leader was mistaken, this was neither a less active nor part member family. They were found tracting 6 years ago and have been taught off and on since that time, but when this tragedy occurred they immediately contacted the nowra elders to ask them to be present at Lani’s funeral. They had invited us there to restart a relationship with the church and to sak us to bless and dedicate their new home, as this was their first day there and they did not want to sleep in the house until it had been dedicated by the elders. This was a deeply touching evening for us all. We read and discussed Moroni 8, which teaches how little children are alive in christ and need no repentance. We testified how through the atonement of christ and his infinite grace, children taken in infancy are received by Him and are swept into the kingdom of heaven. We taught the doctrine of eternal famlies and how throug the gospel they can be saved along with their daughter. I was fortunate to be voice in the dedicatory prayer we left on that home. The spirit and priesthood that guides the words of such blessings must be synonymous with Love. I hardly knew these people, but as we kneeled in prayer the words were given from heaven, if nothing else, I knew with unwavering clarity the love god has for that family, and through the vehicle of that love, I was givent he ability to know the blessings He would have me leave upon that home and family. I know they felt the Lords love too, it was evident in the tears which adorned their faces, and the Love they shared with one another. I cannot imagine the feeling of losing a child, but paul said this experience has taught them how to love more deeply than before and how it has turned them to heavenly father. What a miracle it is to meet this family and to be their friend and teacher, at such a time as this I am sure you will hear more of them in the future.

This was actually quite related to a separate experience we had this week with another family. There is a less active lady in our ward who reccently lost a two week old baby and I was asked to participate in his funeral service. His name was nathan fisher. I was so impressd by the hope and joy in that service, they did something I have never seen before at a funeral, as the casket was being lowered into the ground, the family each took a helium baloon and one by one released them into the heavens. This was very symbolic and uplifting for me. I looked around at those in attendance, and instead of watching that tiny casket go into the earth, all eyea were set on those baloons, slowly rising until out of sight. At least for me, this also set my heart on the hop of the paradise that awaits us beyond the grave.

There is so much more I could write this week, buts its suficient to say that I love my mission, it continues to be so much more than I could have ever imagined. I how you are as happy as I am.

 

Love Elder Ryan Faulkner

 

 

 

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