1 day, 1 family, 5 mission calls: The Faylor quintuplets prepare for missionary service

Nichole and Nathan Faylor had been waiting to become parents for several years, enduring disappointments and miscarriages. Their prayers were finally answered when Nichole Faylor gave birth to quintuplets on Sept. 1, 2002.

Since that day, they have been preparing for the moment their five children would leave home — a moment that is fast approaching for the family.

The Faylors, members of the San Antonio Texas Stake, have watched their children — Joshua, Jonathan, Joseph, Nataleigh and Cathryn — experience all of life’s milestones, side by side and at the same time. Now they’ll experience their next milestone concurrently but separately as they each serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The day they were born, we knew this day would come. It’s been a long time coming. We knew … there would be the point in time where in all likelihood they would leave as quickly as they came. But it’s real now, and it’s very real,” said Nathan Faylor. “We’re trying to figure out what life looks like now, but we’re just waiting. We couldn’t be more proud, and we’re happy for them and the things that they’re about to do.”

The Faylor family has the first set of quintuplets who have served missions at the same time. Three sets of quadruplets have served missions concurrently, while 57 sets of triplets have served simultaneously, according to the Church’s Missionary Department.

Joshua has been called to the California Riverside Mission, and will begin his online training Sept. 13. Jonathan will serve as a service missionary in the Faylors’ local community of San Antonio beginning in August. Joseph has been assigned to the Arizona Tempe Mission and begins his mission Sept. 13.

Joshua, Cathryn, Nichole, Joseph, Nathan, Nataleigh and Jonathan Taylor are photographed at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021.
Joshua, Cathryn, Nichole, Joseph, Nathan, Nataleigh and Jonathan Taylor are photographed at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

The two sisters are assigned to visitors’ centers — Nataleigh will begin online training Oct. 4 for her service in the Laie Hawaii Temple Visitors’ Center, and Cathryn will serve in the St. George Temple Visitors’ Center, beginning her online MTC training Sept. 13.

Said Nichole Faylor: “With their calls also came about 20 other pages as far as information about their mission presidents, a map of the mission area, and all the stuff they’ve got to do and know. Everyone has a file with all their papers in it so we can keep everything straight and get everybody ready to go.”

The quintuplets graduated from high school this year and will turn 19 at the beginning of September. Because the three brothers decided to spend the summer working and preparing for their missionary service, the five of them were able to set the same availability date on their applications. They received their calls the same day.

When the calls came, the five chose to open them on their own, said Nathan Faylor. “They all had a chance to open their calls and to think about it, ponder and process it on their own. We were not able to gather as a family until about midnight when we were able to get around the table and share together what those calls were.

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“They decided not to share with anyone until they could share all together, and so they had a good number of hours each to think through that call without the need to compare, without the need to think about anyone else’s call other than their own.” 

Added Nataleigh: “That was really special because there are five of us and we have done everything together. … The peace and the realization that you are going where you’re supposed to go was really important because we had talked about it: There will be five calls, and what happens if you go to the less cool place?

“But just having that little moment to yourself and feeling that peace that came knowing that that was where you’re supposed to go, and then reading it as a family and everyone’s reactions and support and love toward one another about where they were going and the excitement, it was a really precious moment and was very uplifting.”

Joshua, Jonathan, Joseph, Nataleigh and Cathryn Faylor hold flags pertaining to their mission assignments at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021.
Joshua, Jonathan, Joseph, Nataleigh and Cathryn Faylor hold flags pertaining to their mission assignments at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Though it is a struggle at times to find individuality as a quintuplet, their parents have always been aware of their unique traits and needs.

“We’ve always told our kids that they were individuals from the day they were born,” Nichole Faylor said. “They didn’t like to be held in the same way, get a bottle the same way, they were just very, very different in their own individual ways. But for whatever reason, Heavenly Father thought they were all supposed to come in at the same time. We don’t know why, we just feel blessed.”

Cathryn described being a quintuplet as having a “built-in group of best friends.”

“We’ve been really blessed to have such a great relationship with each other. I feel like life would be really hard if I had to put up with them all day, and we weren’t as tight as we are,” she explained. “It is kind of difficult sometimes … to have those personal experiences, because you have this posse of people always with you, so it can be difficult to have that sense of individuality. There have been times when it just feels like I’m just a quintuplet or not just me. But it’s been such a blessing.”

This will be the first time in the quintuplets’ lives that they will be separated for an extended period of time.

“I think it’s going to be a rough couple of days,” Joseph said. “But now we’re going to get each other’s email, so we’re going to still be able to communicate, more or less, and still be strengthened by one another.”

Jonathan, Nataleigh, Joseph, Cathryn and Joshua Faylor are photographed at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021.
Jonathan, Nataleigh, Joseph, Cathryn and Joshua Faylor are photographed at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

“We’ll be in different areas, but we’ll still be struggling with that feeling of homesickness, or that feeling of being unsure as we’re just starting out,” Joshua said. “So while they may not be right next to me … we can all bolster each other from wherever we are in the world.”

Jonathan, whose assignment is to serve as a service missionary while living at home, anticipates a loneliness that he previously hasn’t felt.

“There may be times where I’m here by myself, and I may feel completely lonely, because that usually never happens,” he said. “They’ll be away from home (while) I’m still here. But you still have faith that we’re where the Lord needs you to be, and this is the best way you can use your talents and your skills and your abilities.”

Cathryn, left, Joshua, Jonathan, and Nataleigh laugh as their mother Nichole hugs Joseph as the Faylor family chats at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021.
Cathryn, left, Joshua, Jonathan, and Nataleigh laugh as their mother Nichole hugs Joseph as the Faylor family chats at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Their mother says that they have been able to recognize the Lord’s hand in their lives for years, and they know that He will strengthen each of them as they go through this transition. 

“This is also an opportunity for us to grow closer to Him as we experience this transition and be able to rely on Him more,” Nichole Faylor said. 

The Faylors have individually and collectively observed a multitude of blessings as the quintuplets prepare for missionary service.

“One of the tender mercies of the Lord has given me is knowing I’m going to the right place. I’m sure this happens in general, but having five (calls) at once tells me that I know that there was at least one opening (for a missionary to serve) in California, or the service mission for me to go instead, and yet despite that, I am still going to Arizona,” Joseph said. “And so that has been a testament to me that the Lord knows who I am and that He knows exactly where I need to be.”

Joshua, Jonathan, Joseph, Nataleigh and Cathryn Faylor hold flags pertaining to their mission assignments at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021.
Joshua, Jonathan, Joseph, Nataleigh and Cathryn Faylor hold flags pertaining to their mission assignments at their San Antonio home on Sunday, June 20, 2021. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News