November 10, 2013

Dear Family,
It has been a great week, I have been feeling pretty great today, its raining in Sydney, but that’s okay! we played a bit of rugby in the rain this morning, it was fun.
Anyway, I want to give a bit of an update from the past two weeks, because I never got around to writing a proper report last week! but there have been some great things happening! so some of this is actually from last week! there is a lot! so I might not have time to write in as much detail as I would like!
-So I have to first mention bishop and sister tufuga, I love this family a lot, they are always looking out for us missionaries, they are so mindful of us. So they are among the families that I know would do absolutely anything for us, they ask us if we need any food or anything all the time! Since they help us so much I usually do my best to tell them that we have everything that we need, but that does not even stop them! haha, last week sister tufuga tricked us into letting her buy us food, haha, long story, but she got someone else to ask us what groceries we needed and we said just milk and rice and some fruit and then later bishop came to our flat with enough milk and rice and fruit to last until the millennium plus heaps of other food and supplies, we had no idea the tufugas were behind this! haha, this really touched me a lot, I am so grateful for them and all they do for us, but more importantly I am grateful for their example, they really go the extra mile, they know that I would not tell them we needed anything because they already do so much, so they tricked us, haha. anyway I hope you know that this ward takes wonderful care of us, more than I could have ever dreamed for, they amaze me so much, not only the tufugas but many many families, its so humbling to be the recipient of such charity, and I hope to follow their footsteps and do the same.
-So, there has been a very very interesting miracle. One of my investigators that I taught when I was here a few months back named aaron was being taught by the other missionaries. One day last week the zone leaders called us and said that aaron spoke to mata to’o (his girlfriend who is the member that introduced him to the church) and asked if Elder LaCroix and I could be the ones to teach him, and that he wanted me to baptise him. wow, this really really surprised me, but speaking with mata, apparently aaron was saying how he felt a trust in me and he felt open with me when I taught him before. Just yesterday we finally got to sit down with him and he just talked for like an hour about how much he has enjoyed attending this church and learning about the gospel, about the change he has seen come into his life since coming to church, about how he has come to believe all that we have taught him, I was just in complete shock that entire lesson! He has come such a long way, it is amazing to see such a remarkable change come into the life of one I have come to see as a dear friend. IT was seriously an amazing shock! He has become one of the many amazing lives from my mission that testify to me of the reality and divinity of this gospel. Its amazing how personally and individually the gospel works, listening to him talk spoke to my soul of how personally the Lord knows us, and how powerful he is to touch each and every soul according to their need and understanding. Anyway, there is nothing stopping him from baptism, he is one of the most prepared investigators I have known, in fact, I am really puzzling about why he is not already baptised, he has attended church every week for 5 months, lives all the comandments, he is solid! many people are baptised way before they got to the point of conversion aaron seems to have arrived at! he says he just wants to do it at the right time! I really would hope that will be before I go home, but even if I am not able to be here, I know it will happen 🙂 and I am so greatful to have been part of the process of his conversion and to have witnessed such a marvellous change come about in his life! hopefully we can help him to not delay the blessings of baptism and receiving the gift of the holy ghost!
-I have already spoken a lot about the aiken family, but they remind me of the same thing I just described in aaron. Last Wednesday I was having a bit of a hard day, nothing seemed to be going right, but then we were able to go to an appointment with the aikens, I think this was the first time I had been in there home since being back in the area. Its hard to describe this, but there was a new spirit, and warmth and joy in their home, it was so noticeable! I don’t know, maybe no one else could notice it because they have been here over the past few months to see them grow in the gospel, but I had a 3 month gap in their teaching process so I got to see something very special and unique! we sat at a table that a few months ago we had a few kinda tense discussions trying to help resolve brother aikens concerns about the church, sara and the kids were ready for baptism, but he had several questions and concerns at that time… anyway, we were sitting at that very same table and having a very different discussion, all about how happy their family has been a bout their decision to be baptised, about how much it has unified and blessed their family, it seems that bruce has found answers to his questions and I could see that new light in his eyes most noticeably, Its really a miracle, so wonderful to be able to come back and see the growth and blessings that have come to this family. They are a special family for sure, I hope very much that we can help them to continue to grow, to feel welcome and heppy in the gospel. Anyway, I said before that it was a hard day that day, but that just completely went away after visiting this family, when you get to see these miracles of conversion in peoples lives, it makes every challenga nd struggle about the work more than worth it, I love missionary work.
-we got a brand new car! haha, ours was old so when the mission traded in a few of the mission cars ours was one of them!
-We had the chance to give a blessing to a few less active members these past few weeks, one in the hospital, one at their home. I had a feeling after giving each of them that though these experiences, their families faith in the priesthood will grow and these blessings will be another seed of faith in their hearts. as I sit here writing this I remember when a few disciples brought a blind man to the saviour and asked “who sinned? this man or his parents that he was born blind? and the saviour said, neither this man nor his parents, but that the works of god should be manifest in him, and he then healed him of his blindness, and it lead many to believe… anyway, I have not felt that impression many times, but I do pray that the lord will show to these families his love and power 🙂
-I got to sign up for my classes at byu! thanks so much mom for helping me get the sign in info!
-There was an investigator that I taught a few months ago named PJ, apparently soon after I left the missionaries lost contact with him :/ but you know what happened! twice in the past two weeks I have run into him while walking down the street! What amazing timing! I expect them to be more than coincidences, its amazing to me how the lord guides our paths to meet the people that we must meet, in this case, he literally guided our physical walking route! Twice, haha, pretty cool, it was good to find that he is still interested in learning about the gospel, hopefully we can meet with him again soon! but I am greatful that we were placed in a position to make contact with him again!
-We visited another investigator family that I taught before (you can tell that a lot of what we have been doing is going back to people I knew last time I was here, I have been so sure that it is for many of them that I have had this blessing to return to this area, so I have been searching for those people) anyway, they are a kiwi family and it was amazing! we just wanted to read a chapter of the book of Mormon with them, and… I don’t think I would recommend this as a great teaching method or anything, I have never done it before and may never do it again, haha, but I just asked shae what her favourite number is, and that is the chapter in alma that we read, haha. yeah, not the most reliable way to choose a chapter to read, but you know what? it was absolutely perfect! she said she liked the number 7 and alma seven was awesome! its just all about the atonement and baptism and the love of god! I could not have picked a better chapter! haha, and I was thinking that even if I had chosen this chapter myself it would not have been as good because then it may have appeared that we were trying to push baptism on them, but it was all very natural and uplifting, and jorden and shae and Andrew all said they would like to be baptised when we invited them! It was interesting when I asked Jorden if she would prepare for baptism, she said, “yeah, I think I can do it”… I don’t know why but I found that an interesting response, I asked her why she would like to be baptised, and she said that it was because she wants to be happy and believes this path is the way to happiness. wow, awesome, this helped us so much to know how to teach them, I feel like they love the church and gospel, they want to do it, but maybe just have some doubts in themselves, whether they are “good enough” or something. but there is a seed of hope there, I agree, I think they can do it 🙂 we just have to help them to come to church! Anyway, it was a great teaching moment, Its so wonderful to have these chances to see into peoples hearts and then make plans on how to help them come unto Christ.
-So, there is an awesome guy that I have been trying to see ever since returning to the area, he is an excommunicated member of the church, I know I wrote about him last time I was in bankstown, because teaching him was very special, he knows and desires the blessings of the gospel in ways that no investigators could, because he has had those blessings once before and now doesn’t. Anyway, I was really devastated to hear that the missionaries have not been able to visit him in months, so I have been trying the past few weeks, but had the same troubles they did! its really hard to catch him at home!!!! but guess what 🙂 we finally found him at home, and guess what else? he said that earlier that day he had wanted to call the missionaries and ask them to come, but then didn’t, and he was amazed that we were there at his door. perhaps the lords hand was in us not being able to catch him at any previous date, because he knew the impact it would make if we came on the very day that he needed us and wanted to call us but chose not to. that kinda made me feel bad about the frustration that I felt with not being able to see him sooner! Another reminder to trust in the Lord’s timing and wisdom. Anyway, it was awesome, another one of those times that I felt like we were ministering to one of gods children, not just teaching a lesson. He is a great soul, he has a long journey ahead of him to get to where he needs to be, but I know he can get there, there was a special and powerful spirit in that meeting, I know the Lord Loves this man.
-It was Tonga day on Saturday! they had a festival in one of the parks in our area so we went down for a bit for one of the missionaries in our ward named Elder Naulangi, who is from tonga. It was fun, I love tongans, they love the missionaries, everyone was saying hello to us and giving us free food as we walked around. Seriously we were only there for a few minutes but when we left we had more food than we could carry haha, and we did not even know any of these people! Polynesians are really amazing in that way, no matter what church they belong to, they always respect and support ministers of Christ, its woven deeply into their culture, so anyway, we got out of there pretty quick! but it was really a fun experience, and I think elder nau langi enjoyed it because he is just new and cant speak much English so it was good to be around so much tongan culture for a while!
-oh speaking of elder naulangi, he and elder Naidu (samoan) moved in with us! they have a lot of investigators close to where we live so its more convenient for them to live with us since they don’t have a car. They are tons of fun, always laughing and smiling, I am so happy to be finishing in a flat with 4 elders, its so much fun, these two especially, they crack me up.
Running out of time so Ill have to cut it there, but I love you all so much. only 3 weeks to go, I hope you are all well 🙂
Elder Faulkner!!!
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