Sister Falco is a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Zambia Lusaka Mission. She will train at the South Africa MTC and arrive in Zambia on June 10th.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Lord, Is it I?

August 10, 2015

Lord is it I? It was the topic of District meeting this week and I would love to share some of my insights as I have been studying it this week.

The Pharisees and the Scribes were always the ones pointing fingers, finding fault, it was the twelve who asked, “Lord is it I?” It was the twelve who forsook their nets, and became great fishers of men. I imagine they had much desire to be corrected, I imagine they understood the significance of trials; I imagine they understood the significance of change and I imagine they even understood the significance of agency. I imagine they had adopted the counsel once given to Daniel: Fear not, Daniel for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand and to chasten thyself before God, thy words were heard and I am come from thy words, God expects us to become like him. Let us pray we may fully understand the significance of becoming like our Father in Heaven. Our blindness to our potential makes us blind to our weaknesses or errors.

Something I feel that affects our attitude of “Lord is it I” is pride. Pride threatens our self reliance, when self reliance is threatened our freedoms are threatened. If freedom is threatened our ability to make changes is difficult. If we increase our independence on anything or anyone except the Lord we will find an immediate decrease in our freedom to act. Pride is when we increase our dependence on ourselves or on the opinion of others. When one is too trusting in the opinion of others one is content when he is praised by others and he has no desire or motivation to change or improve beyond the praise of others. One decreases his freedom to act when he is too trusting in himself because when the lord chastens us we see no need to improve because we believe we are already there thus decreasing our freedom to change and grow. One decreases his freedom to act when he is in competition with the Lord as he goes through trials his heart may be broken but he has no interest in changing his opinions to Gods and thus decreasing his ability to be “blessed” in times of tribulation or trial. One decreases his freedom to act as he becomes offended by correction, trusting in himself and his view instead of trying to change and grow thus decreasing his freedom to act.

Something also that affects our attitude of “Lord is it I?” is impatience. (Guilty times 10000) Understanding our potential can cause much frustration because we feel inadequate, I think to be able to truly have this meek introspection it requires much patience. The Lord counsels that in patience ye may possess your souls and shall have eternal life. If we don’t have this Christlike attribute of patience we will surely become angry or frustrated and anxious. We are bound to receive chastening through trials, tribulations and scriptures and if we become frustrated or angry we may hinder our personal growth. We may even receive chastening through others. Others may communicate harshly or constructively either way if we aren’t patient we will become angry or frustrated and take offense. And we begin to blame; we begin to say its their fault and we justify ourselves out of this repentant attitude.
All of us are somewhat ignorant of our mistakes. We trust in ourselves and our ideas and our thoughts maybe a little more than God. A man is saved no faster than he obtains knowledge (Joseph Smith). We must seek the Lord diligently and trust in him more. As we seek knowledge diligently, with a pure heart, we will receive much on where we can improve. Seeking knowledge also will give us the motivation to do more and be more.

To be able to take correction from others and the Lord. I feel charity with ourselves is vital. We must build on our strengths and see ourselves as who we may become. I don’t know the story exactly so if I quote it wrong forgive me, Eliza Doolittle “You see really and truly apart from the things anyone can pick up, the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves but how she is treated. I shall always be a flower girl to professor Higgins because he always treats me only as a flower girl, and always will but I know I can be a lady to you because you treat me as a lady and always will.” When we treat ourselves as only flower girls we will always be flower girls but if we see ourselves as ladies we will become ladies. If we treat ourselves as slothful, weak and useless servants we shall always be, but if we see ourselves as we may become then we will live up to that potential. Ironically our blindness to our weakness blinds us to our potential and the opposite is true our blindness to our potential blinds us to our weakness. Charity is a little deeper than merely accepting and loving everyone; it’s helping build yourself and others up.

I really feel as always, the biggest thing that we can do to adopt the practice of “Lord is it I?” is always going back to consecration. We must let our wills be swallowed up in the will of the fathers. The difference between honorable individuals and valiant ones is not what they have done but what they have left undone.

I feel blessed to have pondered this talk. I feel to adopt the practice of “Lord is it I?” We must see ourselves clearly. We must know the why of the Gospel. And the reason why is because we have the potential to become just like Him, and the joy attached to having our will swallowed up in the will of the Father’s is a unique experience I pray everyone has the chance to experience. I feel I have brushed up against the veil and have foretasted heaven as I repent. The joy I have felt is unique and something that is indescribable, the joy I have felt when my heart or soul has felt like Peter and I have denied Christ but have repented has been a unique experience that will never be taken away from me.

I love Neal A Maxwell; he is officially my new Brigham Young! I am obsessed with the way he writes, everything that I feel I have trouble explaining but I understand, he just puts it into words so that the Gospel is understandable. He is a talented writer. I really want to read everything he has ever written.

I also love this quote from C.S. Lewis: “Your real new self will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original where as if you simply tell the truth (without caring two pence how often it has been told before) You will 9 times out of 10 become original without ever noticing it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, give up yourself and you will find yourself. Lose your life and you will save it. Look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair rage ruin and decay. But look for Christ and you will find him.”

There’s a song commonly played haha -- Give me mountains to climb, give me rivers to climb give me something that is going to make me better. This life is the BEST. It’s so perfect. I love this life. I want to do life, I am ready for the trials and hardships, I love this life. I want to give and become who my Father in Heaven wants me to be. I want to suck the marrow out of life. I imagine in the pre-earth life, we all said prove me. I feel we had the enthusiasm of prove me I can do it. I don’t know. I love life I love everything and everyone. I just want to become who my Father in Heaven wants me to be. Everything comes at a cost. Every attribute I need to acquire comes at an expense and it might be painful, but I am ready and I am willing and I am ready to take up my cross not just frequently or once but everyday. I am willing to endure the subsequent erosion of an unbecoming ego. I am willing to have my heart broken so it can be rebuilt. Make me a new heart and a new spirit. I love this life. I will go and do and I will commence cheerfully. I love being a missionary. And I love the work of salvation for myself and for others. This life is so cool. I am just in awe at the beauty and the Master’s hand as he has refined me. I am so grateful for everything, I am so grateful for my testimony. I don’t know where I would be without it. I pity those who have never partaken of the joy of the Gospel and the joy of serving, I pity the selfish man. I love being a missionary. The best year and a half I have ever had.

Love you all!

No power, no electricity, no problem! We have a charcoal stove.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mission is Not a Lukewarm Endeavor

August 3, 2015

Family and Friends,

If I could give anyone advice about mission, it would be Mission is not a Lukewarm Endeavor. You can’t give part of your soul to God and expect to have a happy mission. You must give all of yourself to the Lord and then you will find this indescribable joy of a mission. Mission has the potential to be the happiest days of your lives or the hardest days of your life. I would be a liar if I said that I haven’t had hard days as a missionary but I feel the happiness I feel as a missionary outweighs the sadness by a long shot. I love being a missionary. I am so very grateful. Sometimes I just sit in bed, and I don’t want to go to sleep because I want to take in every moment. Being a missionary is a blessing, the joy is so indescribable. I love the story of Ananias and Sapphira and how they kept back part of the price; I really hope that when I start to want to hold onto who I was that I remember to give and give of myself. I really hope that my will becomes more swallowed up in the will of the Father. My heart has been broken a couple of times on mission, usually because the flesh is weak but the spirit is willing. The spirit cries I will, and the flesh isn’t quite on the same level. I have had many experiences as Peter did when he denies Christ and wept bitterly, I love Peter. I love his enthusiasm and his zeal and his perfectly imperfection that gives me the courage to continue onward. But through this all, my selfishness has been buried and hopefully it won’t just be buried but it will be annihilated.

Something I really want to invest in when I go home is reading and writing, I feel I have had so many experiences and I feel I have a hard time expressing the gospel and the experiences I have because of my knowledge in these two things is my weak point, I feel I am better at math and stuff.

I have foretasted heaven many times on my mission. I feel mission is the greatest blessing I have had. The times I feel this indescribable joy is when I have felt like Peter and I feel so inadequate and my heart pleads for mercy and I am able to find the mercy and peace of forgiveness. I have experienced a small taste of heaven. I also feel this joy when you really understand the significance of helping others. I also feel I have felt this joy when you begin to have your mind enlarged or enlightened to the Gospel. When you love everyone as yourself, that’s the joy of the gospel, when you love everyone to pieces that’s the joy of heaven, when you look back on trials and see the beauty in them, or when you even see the beauty as you are struggling, that’s a taste of heaven, When you understand the worth of yourself and the worth of others, that’s a taste of heaven.

I love being a missionary. The lord has blessed me immensely with great joy. My knowledge has increased, my love has increased, I am on the Lord’s errand in Africa. How can I not be happy? Brigham Young once said, “The man who enjoys the spirit of religion has no trials but the man who tries to live the gospel but clings to the world has trials acute.” I can’t say that I am someone who is ALWAYS living in the spirit of religion, but I strive to and I have found that what Brigham Young is saying is very very true.

We have three possibly progressing investigators--the girl I wrote about who got raped decided to stay in Lusaka and she came to church!! FINALLY!!!! But we will see…the sisters before us were teaching her since January and this his her first time to church so hopefully we will see her continue to progress.

Brother Djo is doing great, he is a good guy. I hope he can overcome his addiction and finally make the covenant of baptism.
And we have a young girl, who is an angel. She is nine and she has been coming to church. Her parents are less active, but she always comes with the son who is super duper active. And she really really wants to be baptized. She is an angel. I love kids.

Can there any good come out of Nazareth?
From Nazareth came example,
From Nazareth came sight,
From Nazareth came strength,
From Nazareth came life,
From Nazareth came faith
From Nazareth came peace,
From Nazareth came courage,
From Nazareth came Christ.
Thomas S. Monson.

Oh how I love him.

I love this question given by Nathaniel and I love the response, come and see.
I feel each of us have our Nazareths, as Thomas S Monsoon writes, “Nazareth was the most disregarded valley in a despised province of a conquered land.” Each of us have our trials or our disregarded or despised valleys; we have those trials that we may despise, we may not see why we are going through them, but if we come and see with an eternal perspective we can see that many good things come from Nazareth.

From Nazareth came example,
From Nazareth came sight,
From Nazareth came strength,
From Nazareth came life,
From Nazareth came faith
From Nazareth came peace,
From Nazareth came courage,
From Nazareth came Christ.

Our minds are carnal, far from spiritual matters and it’s hard to truly understand the gospel and why we all are required to go through Nazareths if our minds are carnal. We must work and achieve a spiritual mind.
I love being a missionary. It’s the greatest thing I have ever done. But even more than that I am so grateful for my testimony and I pray that I never lose it, that I never get slothful as I come home and return from being a full time missionary. I hope that I continue growing and becoming enlightened. I am truly happy and grateful to be a missionary.

I love you ALL!
Sister Falco

My area is pretty cool.

Yep, pretty cool.

Kids are the biggest tender mercy that I have experienced on mission.
I love them. The innocence and purity. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Wonderful Lady & Honesty

July 27, 2015

Dear family and Friends,

Where to begin, I am so grateful to be a missionary. It is easily the best experience I have had in all of my life. I never want to take any day for granted.

I would love to tell you about one wonderful person in my ward I have come in contact with. Sister Teke! We call her grandma, and she calls all the missionaries my son, my daughter. She is the best. I want to be just like her. Sometimes I worry about her; I don't know why. She just seems a little like she is struggling and she just puts a smile on her face. Well my companion and I try to serve her once a week in the distribution center. (I might be broke when I go home. I am pretty sure--I keep buying things from there but everything is so cheap like Teachings of the Prophets costs 1.7 kwacha which is like 25 cents or less) Sister Teke just loves people so much. I wish I could just give and give like her. She is the best. She recently got kicked out of her home because she was spreading the gospel. And the landowner said that she couldn't live there if she continued to spread the gospel. And she said, “Okay, well then kick me out.” So she basically has been houseless and is looking for a home right now. She almost signed papers on a home and then she warned the lady that she would be spreading the gospel to all her neighbors and the lady decided not to was selling the house didn't sell it to her. Sometimes I feel I have just a small taste of what the pioneers went through when they were establishing the Church back in the olden days. The opposition against the church is so real in Africa. It’s so real. I don't know if everyone feels the same if they are serving in different countries, but really I had no idea I would be called a satanic almost every other day.

I'll update you on D____... I don't know how I feel about him. He seems so hard to read. I can't tell. I feel he is struggling a lot with an addiction but he is too shy to admit it. It’s so sad. I feel like I would be the same. It’s so embarrassing to admit that you have a problem, even to the Lord, let alone two missionaries. I wish we could help him more. But I don't really know how if he won't open up. We tell him he has to come to church 4 times in a row before his baptism and he always misses one Sunday so that he has a reason why he can’t be baptized... haha and he says its because of church, I don't believe it I feel he knows he isn't worthy to be baptized so he uses it as an excuse. I am sad; my heart hurts for him.

Well I have been pondering about two things--revelation and honesty. First, I will talk about honesty. I remember the first Family Home Evening when Jeff returned from his mission was on justification, self-reliance (or entitlement issues) and discipline, and I see why Jeff talked about justification. I have been thinking about how often we justify our actions. And I feel justification is a dark hole that many of us get into. I feel that it is something that takes away so much freedom. IT IS SO EASY to see strengths in yourself, but to admit weaknesses it can be so hard. Or sometimes we admit them and we just feel so bad for ourselves that we lie to ourselves and see no point in changing.  We need to be honest with ourselves. We tend to blame our actions on other people saying he made me do it, or it was his fault, he is the one who started this all. Whenever we get into a situation which threatens our self reliance, we find our freedoms threatened. If we increase our dependence on anything or anyone except the Lord, we will find an immediate decrease in our freedom to act. If we blame anyone for the mistakes we make we decrease our ability to make effective changes. Like really. Honesty Honesty Honesty. I don’t really care about what made you sin, but care more about that sin. If we blame, we automatically hinder our growth. Humiliation MUST come before exaltation. If we don’t want our sins to be humiliating, we won’t make effective changes. And humiliation comes from complete honesty with ourselves. Advancement to perfection can nevertheless be rapid if one resolutely strides toward the goal. We must remember the why of change, the why of humiliation and the why of the gospel. And when I say humiliation, I don’t mean to become depressed over sins, but as Heber J grant says, ‘To make war on our weaknesses.” Whether our weaknesses are our individual sins or maybe a weakness in an area. We make war on our weak points as missionaries, as people, and as businesses (I really want to go into business) to become more effective people, more effective missionaries, have more effective areas and have a successful business. A true measure of our personal integrity is how much we let those sins that no one sees humiliate us. And when they humiliate us, a true measure of our faith or hope is how willing we are to make war on our weaknesses. Honesty cultivates humility and humility cultivates change and change cultivates progress. I feel every missionary who has a hard area, a hard companion or a hard situation, needs to be honest. Have I done everything in my personal power to improve my area or to improve my companionship or to improve the business, and I don’t believe anyone can say that they have tried everything. I feel companionships and areas will always progress if we are completely honest with the work in which we put forth. And we never blame anyone for our small success or no success. I feel personally I will always progress if I solidify honesty in my life. I will be successful, and never prideful. I feel if we are truly honest with ourselves it will be nearly impossible to become prideful.

Well I am so grateful to be a missionary. It’s the best thing I have ever done. Sometimes I feel mission goes by too fast. Don’t blink, cause just like that you close your eyes and open and it just becomes a memory. I truly am trying my best to bask in my mission and to enjoy every moment. It’s the best thing I have ever done.

I love you all so very much!!!!
Sister Falco

Being a missionary is the best!

Emanuel & his best friend.

The Best Recent Convert!!

Lollipops @ Church

Only serving with the best!! Elder Nakele's going home.

Power is out ALWAYS! haha