[This blog is dated March 23rd because of when it took place, but Sister Faulconer wasn’t able to write down all the details until she returned home].
The Monday I wrote the last blog post we left to buy two more weeks of food storage. It was seriously difficult! The hard part is taking bags of heavy things home — you underestimate transportation to the grocery store until you don’t have any! The bags ripped several times, we stopped to take a rest a couple times, and I bruised my shins with bagged cans. But it worked out! I am very grateful to be able to do food storage and not have to worry about going hungry. I’m sure many here don’t have that luxury — there are a lot of street vendors (popsicles, corn, tapioca) and farmer’s market sellers here. I can’t imagine Covid-19 is helping them out. We went on splits with the sisters from Olinda. Olinda is more than two hours from Goiana. We asked the bus driver three times to tell us where to get off. He said he would but didn’t! I stayed with Sister Ascanta in Goiana. She was trained by Sister Barros! I really want to see Sister Barros — it’s been a while already!
We switched back Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon we got new rules — no more splits, no talking to senior citizens or pregnant people. Sad that we couldn’t follow up with our investigators that are senior citizens at all, but we would also hate to get them sick. When the phone rang we were afraid we would have to stay in quarantine. But since there were new rules we figured it would take at least several more days to get to full-on quarantine. Nope. Thursday the district leader [missionary leader of a group of 6 missionaries] called us with rule clarifications. He started out by joking that we would be in quarantine. We believed him but it was a lie. Literally five minutes after that the zone leader [missionary leader of the larger group–about 30 missionaries] called us to say that we really were in quarantine. We didn’t believe it!
Quarantine is crazy. We did studies like normal in the morning but just studied for as long as we wanted (and could stand it). We learned a lot together — I love doing companionship study with Sister Ribeiro II. We spent more time studying, cooking, more studying, talking . . . repeat times infinity. That is all there is to do! I decided to read the Book of Mormon in quarantine. If you read 100 pages per day you can finish in just over five days! Also we called Giovanna,* who was marked for baptism that Saturday. She is awesome and really wanted to get baptized. But a few minutes before the zone leader called us about quarantine, she called to say she couldn’t leave the house. That was too bad — baptisms were still allowed that Saturday, albeit with a ton of health precautions (us, her, the person who would baptize her, the branch president — six feet apart, face masks, hand sanitizer). But unfortunately her dad didn’t feel good about that. But she is amazing and I am sure she will get baptized when Coronavirus blows over (hopefully it will blow over enough for her to get baptized soonish!).
It was strange to go into quarantine already knowing I would leave the mission. I had thought I would do contacts and lessons Sunday night knowing they would be my last — and then leave Monday. But all of a sudden I had taught my last lesson and done street contacts for the last time without knowing it! We had been teaching Pedro.* We had stopped teaching him, but during the division (splits) he stopped on the street to talk to us so we went back. I hope he reads the Book of Mormon — he has promised to many times but never gotten around to it. You can’t say God won’t show you the truth if you never experiment just reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it! It’s not that hard, but you do have to do it.
On Sunday at 10:30 pm we got a text that said all the foreign missionaries were going to leave the country. It was sad. I am so grateful to have been able to serve a little over a year and a half as a full-time missionary. But sad to miss even a little bit of it! And my heart hurt to think of all the other missionaries going home. It was hard to sleep! I know it must be hard for people who are going home early, and it’s hard to see so many missionaries going home and not feel that God’s work is stopping. But I remembered this scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants, and then President Houseman sent a text with the same verse!
49 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.D&C 124:49
God just asks that we do what he says. Sometimes he will call us to a mission for 1.5 or 2 years and then ask us to do change our plans or do something else. We just have to work diligently, be obedient, and he will accept our best efforts.
The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.D&C 3:1
Covid-19 isn’t more powerful than our omnipotent Heavenly Father. His work doesn’t stop, even when thousands of missionaries go home.
*Investigators’ names are changed to protect their privacy.