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, November 23, 2015

Mission Reflections

November 23, 2015

My Dearest Family and Friends,

Mission is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I feel that I am suppressing the thoughts and feelings about coming home. I finally started packing this morning trying to figure out how much room I have in my suitcase and my heart just ached, the emotions associated with going home are unexplainable. Don't get me wrong I love you all, but leaving this experience is probably the weirdest sensation I have ever been through. I am not going home yet, but I know its finally coming. I know I have to close the book to this experience and open a new one; it’s just so hard.

We had pizza with President Erickson and the Lusaka Zone. It was fun. I love that man more than anything and I have enjoyed learning all that I have from him. He is one of a kind and he was just rambling and rambling all day about mission while we were there. And joking about the ones who are leaving December 8th! I will give a short update on my mission,

We have a prime investigator, Duncan. He is so sweet. He talks a lot. Very quick and grasps on to the truth so quickly and so enthusiastically. I can just see him as a missionary. The main concern was that he just BARELY got baptized in SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) but this week he told us that he was ready for December 6th. It was a miracle in and of itself, and I pray to stay worthy of him progressing and I pray to see him get baptized. And I also pray to see him stay worthy of his progression as well. He reads, he comes to church, he does everything right, I just pray that he will continue to pursue the restored gospel.

Grace--she is wonderful, has a great heart and a beautiful personality. She has many concerns and she seems to need a little more time. If a miracle occurs she could be baptized December 6th. She’s been to church enough; she reads enough… But she just isn’t quite there and she missed last Sunday. So we will see :)

Mwamba Ngila, He is a member’s brother. He is SO PRIME. I feel substantially blessed to be teaching him. I know he is not baptized yet, but I have a really hard time imagining him not progressing to his date December 6th.

We are taking over the Elders Area, so we will have the whole ward to ourselves… but only for two weeks. But they should have a baptism this Sunday, and I think they were planning to have two on the December 6th as well. But we will see.

What a blessing and a privilege to be serving a mission. I have inadequate words to describe my gratitude. Mission has taught me sacrifice and the truth of the quote from Brigham Young, “Shame on that man who would so call anything a sacrifice. For it is the very means of adding him Knowledge, understanding, power and glory.” I would never call a mission a sacrifice but rather a time of learning and growing.

I feel the Lord above all else has had to teach me the attribute of patience over and over again. The feelings of inadequacy as a missionary pile up more than ever before especially as you face trials or difficulties that prove just how unconsecrated that you are. But through them all, the Lord doesn’t just test your faith, he builds your faith, he builds your hope and he helps you to truly understand his ways are definitely higher than ours. I have also found much comfort as I face difficulties to realize that even the best men sometimes fail, I have found comfort in studying the life of Peter, and Lehi and many others. Peter will forever have a special place in my heart. I feel I can’t compare myself to him, but I feel I relate to him more than anyone I have yet to discover as serving a mission.  

I have also felt my love for mankind has increased substantially and my desire to give my whole heart to every person I come in contact with has increased. And I am forever grateful for this experience and the time that I have had to be able to increase my love for my fellow beings.

Above all I have found one whom I admire above all, whom I adore and hope to one day emulate more fully and that is the Savior Jesus Christ.

As I have reflected on the Savior and his sinless life and the sacrifice he so freely gave. He not only gave his life but for a time he gave up every feeling of joy, every feeling of pleasure and replaced it with every feeling of guilt and shame and pain that each of us individually experience. I stand in awe. No greater love hath any man give than to lay down his life for his friends. I am absolutely confident that the only motive that could carry the Savior through that bitter day was his absolute perfect love for us. Love was and has been and will forever be the motive behind our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Christ’s love has made it possible for each of us to be able to find comfort through him. I truly believe that the Savior knew that he had to perform that painful atonement to make the resurrection possible, but also to be able to comfort and love us through and through. I believe that Christ begs us to come to him, he begs us to trust him, and he begs us to repent because he died to give us eternal life to become like him.

There’s meekness and humility in the fact that we need to rely on God. I have reflected on my life and I feel I have much pride to repent of. I have an attitude of I can do it, I don’t really need help. I feel the pride I have had can easily be seen as I reflect on past experiences. I am pretty stubborn when it comes to allowing someone to help me. I push people away as I face difficulties or not even push people away but act like everything is okay. Patricia Holland explains the importance of opening up to people in way that I never could, “It is not God’s will for us to socially “Go down with the ship” when rescuers are all around us I believe that ability to say, “I am hurting and I need help” is a humble and courageous act of meekness. Even Christ, when in agony, pleaded with his disciples to stay with him and pray with him as he himself prayed more earnestly to his Father. If Christ himself asked for help from friends, family and priesthood leaders, undoubtedly we will not make it through life without doing the same.” All I know is I am slowly learning to open up and I need to continue to strive to repent of the stubbornness that I do have.

The love of mankind is what carried Christ through Gethsemane and the love of God is what will carry us through our own tribulations and trials. I have pondered over much of the life of Christ. Christ’s suffering as he was tempted by the devil and was fasting gave Christ the power of the spirit (Luke 4 vs 14) The resistance or self mastery Christ obtained through these forty days is substantial. He didn’t perform any miracles until AFTER the spiritual strength he was endowed with AFTER he resisted, after he grew in knowledge and power and glory because of the trial he faced. So often we think of trials as just a proof to our Father in Heaven that we can do it, but it’s more than that. It’s a time where we are able to grow more fully and be endowed with more spiritual capacity than previously.

The miracles Christ performed were astounding. The miracles he performed allowed him to relieve some suffering from the saints. He healed the sick; he allowed the blind to see, cleansed the leper, allowed the cripple to walk. The list goes on and as wonderful as each of these events were it was a type or a foreshadow of the relief that the Savior was about to perform in the atonement. It did the world the most good, as hard as this was, to make it possible for all of us to return to him. And I feel as hard as it was it did the most good. And I feel you can compare it to each of our lives. Our hardest times and most trying times will and can bring forth the most good, I truly believe that if we humble ourselves the tree rings of growth will be well nourished with water during the season of trials and tribulation, but we MUST allow the trial to do us the most good, because trials can either make or break us.
Carrying our cross may be difficult, but will never reach our full potential if we do not carry our cross. The most good will come as we face trials. The atonement has given me the ability to realize the things we call sacrifices and the things we suffer are the greatest blessings the Lord could ever bestow upon me.

Also as I have pondered over the “Character of Christ” by Bednar. I have had a stronger desire to reach out to those who I come in contact with. I pray that I may be able to overcome the natural tendency to be self-centered as I face difficulties and to reach out as the Savior did. As I have reflected over the sending of angels to John after the temptations and also as I have reflected on the healing of the ear after Gethsemane, I admire the Savior’s ability to reach out when he suffers, but I also wonder if he is teaching us a lesson of how to deal with difficulties. Reach out as we suffer and our burden will become lighter.
I have pages and pages written as I have reflected over the life of Jesus Christ from my journal, but these are just a few.

On a final note, I would just like to testify of the craftiness and the evilness of sin. Sin itself distorts reality, destroys wisdom and limits our potential. Christ knows that when we sin we fall short of our potential. We sell our souls for something less because we don’t understand our worth. I truly believe the best way to help someone to turn away from their rebellion is to help them to know just how meaningful they are, and their potential to be relevant to God’s plan. Satan teaches us we have no worth, and he does it tactfully so that we may fall into sin and even have a more distorted view of our worth. Many who rebel, you will find them saying, “Its okay, it doesn’t matter” but I feel that under that statement there’s a greater belief of “I don’t matter”. Satan’s effective tool is to convince us we have no worth. We commonly see it even in ourselves--feelings of worthlessness and even inadequacy, but these are taking the Lords sacrifice in vain. Do we really imagine that the Lord would suffer so much for our worthless soul? Joseph Smith said it best, “The worth of every soul, (you and I) is great in the sight of God. The Lord calls you imperfect because he sees something greater inside of you.

I would like to testify that I know that He lives, and I have come to know Him more fully on mission. And I testify that I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will carry you and will change you into the person the Lord expects you to be. I can in nowise deny the power of God because I have been changed by grace. Every time I think to doubt the reality of God, I remember the days when I have felt the grace of God and when I remember those times I have the inability to deny the power of God (Moroni 10 vs 10)

I love being a missionary. And I don’t know how I will ever take off my nametag, and get on that plane to the United States. My heart will forever be in Malawi and Zambia. But I will come home a new person with a stronger testimony of the divinity of God and continue to grow and develop into the person the Lord expects me to be.

Sister Falco

Beautiful People! Sister Grace, Sister Natsala and Sister Claire. LOVE THEM ALL!!

This family is the best family I have ever come in contact with! Love them!


Christmas party way back when...

 Just a picture from a long time the pictures from the mission office today
President and Sister Erickson at MLC a while ago. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!! They are the best people!!
 Running away because her hair wasn't combed yet! hahaha

Thursday, November 19, 2015

So Grateful to Be a Missionary

NOVEMBER 16, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

I am so privileged and grateful to be serving as a missionary. It’s hard to express my feelings; to explain just how grateful I am to have served a mission and for the growth that has taken place and the knowledge that I have been blessed to receive from my Heavenly Father. It is easily hands down the best thing I have ever done for my life!!

I feel the perspective of the Gospel helps us to love more fully. I love what Parley P. Pratt said about love when he was referring to his wife, “I have loved before but I knew not why. But now I loved with a pureness and intensity of elevated, exalted feeling which would lift my soul from the transitory things of the groveling sphere and expanse of as the ocean.” I really loved the quote from him and I feel it helps us to love more deeply.

I also have been studying the topic of character. And I really hope to always have a good and strong character. I love that the ‘greatest battle of life is fought within the silent chambers of the soul. A victory on the inside of a man’s heart is worth a hundred conquests on the battlefield of life. To be a master of yourself is the best guarantee that you will be a master of the situation. Know thyself. The CROWN of Character is self-control.’

Our area is doing great. Good people progressing. Hopefully we will baptize at least one before I go because I love them all so much but if not, it’s okay. I just love them all. I would love to see them enter into the covenant soon! I feel all of them are progressing really well and I don’t see anything that would stop them from being baptized.

Love you all!

Sister Falco

This is me with Sister Grace!! LOVE THIS WOMAN!! She is an investigator but she is more like a friend!! I love her so much!! We always laugh and crack jokes, and she is the best!! I hope to see her baptized before I go home but if not it’s okay. All is well!! I really hope to stay in touch with her also I come home!! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!! And meeting extraordinary people that influence my life so much :)

This is me with Sister Claire. SHE IS THE BEST!! So devoted to the Church! I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!! She just makes me so happy when she comes to the church! She is a recent convert and she is so cute.

My companion, Sister Claire, me, and Sister Natsala Tapewa (a member)and they are the best!!!

The next two are of me and Sister Nyacho-- Also a very good missionary!!! She is the best! Always makes me happy and I love being with her!! She is great!!!!!!!She lives in the same house with us!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Grace & Grace

November 9, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

I AM SO GRATEFUL TO BE A MISSIONARY. I love it so much. It’s the best. I won’t even try to explain the JOY that I feel as a missionary. It is easily the best decision I have ever made. To be honest, I know everyone keeps telling me that I am coming home soon but it doesn’t feel like it at all but its okay. I feel maybe it will hit me later. Or maybe I will follow the example of Jeff and I will say it didn’t really hit me until I got on the plane ride home. I don’t know but anyways I really am grateful to be a missionary.

Duncan is doing really well. He came to church. It was great. He seems to be really enjoying the gospel discussion classes and loves contributing a ton. He seems to really enjoy church and seems to be someone who is very social so its sweet--he fellowships himself. It’s difficult to meet with him now since he started working all day long and doesn’t get home until 20 hours. (Mom note: I think that means 8 pm.)

Grace came to church. She is doing really well. We had a sweet lesson this week on the atonement and it was really, really good. We will see. She is one of those investigators that is really hard not to love I am really grateful for her and I am grateful for all that she does.

I studied about grace this week…actually that’s a lie--I studied it for one day. Something I liked is that grace is not about filling in the gaps, it’s about filling us. Sometimes when we don’t use the enabling power of the atonement, we don’t feel good about ourselves. The Gospel is a choice for us to live on a higher plane and we don’t actually understand the joy that comes from living on a higher plan if we choose not to live the Gospel. When the Gospel seems tedious, maybe we should be praying for new eyes and a changed heart. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us. When we feel burdened by our callings, temple work or service, we may need to reevaluate ourselves and learn to enjoy them more fully.
The repentant sinner must suffer for his sins but this suffering is different than punishment. Its purpose is to change us. We look at justice and it is complete punishment, but the atonement makes it possible for this pain to mean more than punishment but actually progression.

Also I feel there is a stark comparison between the way Satan refines us to be evil and the way our Father in Heaven refines us to be good. If we look at the scriptures, Satan desires to sift us as wheat and gradually sifts away our good, but you could say that Heavenly Father does the same thing. He slowly takes away our bad, but it’s our choice on who we will yield too. And that is why it is so important that we consistently receive revelation for the unseen forces are more knowledgeable than us and they will bring us down to destruction. As we receive revelation, we will be able to yield to the spirit and become a better person.

I love being a missionary.
Sister Falco

Monday, November 2, 2015

So Grateful to be a Missionary

November 2, 2015

Dear Family And Friends,

I am so grateful to be a missionary!

I really don’t know what to say this week except it’s been fantastic. I actually was pretty sick all week but I am feeling a ton better! I am really grateful for every moment that I have as a missionary. Something that I have been studying this week is humility. I feel humility is just repentance.

We had an amazing day on Sunday! We had a baptism, which was really good!! And we had a pretty good amount of investigators at church! It was great!! Duncan, one of our investigators, even bore his testimony during Fast and Testimony meeting. That was pretty cool!! One of his comments: “THIS IS THE REMNANT CHURCH”. It was pretty awesome! I felt really nervous but really excited when he went up to bear his testimony! It was really, really good and really, really sweet!

Brian came again to church. He is such a funny guy! He is great and he brought two friends with him so that was pretty sweet! Patrick, one of his friends, seems to be progressing well. Brian is, too, but he is moving back to South Africa.  That’s the only concern with him…but the church is in South Africa!! J

John is still “missing in action”! Hopefully we will see him soon. hahah That’s about it! Grace is still progressing but slowly. She is a member referral so its nice because she has an awesome support system but she seems to not be sure if the church is true or not. So we are still working on her to achieve that testimony. Hopefully we will see her progress and gain a testimony while I am still here!

“No Tracting November” is a little different but its going sweet! I am
grateful to be a missionary.

I was rereading my journal this morning and ah I love mission so much. I am so grateful for every moment. Hard and good. I am grateful for everything. I have grown so much and I have learned so much and I am grateful for everything. Mission has built me into the person that I am today.

I love being a missionary!
Sister Falco