December 20, 2010

So yes I am doing very well, good things are happening, and it is a great and marvelous time to be a missionary. No England doesn't contain the nicest people, but they are all children of God and they make the days really interesting. I miss you my family as well and sometimes it is hard, but then I realize again why I am here and it makes it easier. I will miss the Christmas time spent together as a family, but I have learned something very valuable here at Christmas time while on a mission. I always knew presents and things like that were not important, but I didn't always have the right idea of Christmas. Being here and doing the work of Christ makes me realize and appreciate more of what this time of year means. So I am happy to have this opportunity to finally learn the true meaning of Christmas. I hope that all of you may do the same this wonderful time of year.
This week has been a great week. On Tuesday we had Training Camp. This camp was for all the new missionaries that came in the new transfer. So there were about 9 of us. It was great because we got to see the difference between what we knew at the beginning of our missions (basically nothing) and what we know now, (still not too much, but oh so much better than the start). We had the opportunity to look back and see all the progress we have made in knowing how best to talk with people and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The camp was focused on Street Contacting. Inviting the Spirit into our lessons, and the baptismal invitation. The camp helped us to point out what we can do better and then told us how we can do so. In other words, the camp was great overall!
The other big event that happened this week was of course the Baptism's on Saturday. Can I just say "amazing" because it truly was. I have been truly blessed to receive such experiences and opportunities so early in my mission. I was honored to baptize Xu Peng (Eric) and Elder Jin baptized Bai Sumeng (Soom). They were so well prepared to receive baptism, and I know most of that had nothing to do with us. We were just the messengers, but fortunately we were able to be there the whole process and see them gain such great testimonies.
It snowed really bad the day before and we were worried that we would not be able to hold it, but fortunately it cleared up and the Ward Mission Leader said "the show must go on". So we went and shoveled half of the Church parking lot so that people would be able to get in safely. The baptism's themselves went fast and smoothly. The only bad thing was the water was much colder than I thought it would be. :) Haha. I can't wait to see the impact these two fine young Chinese men will have on their family and friends back home in China. I feel so blessed and honored to be a part of this great work. Not only have I helped some wonderful people find the light of Christ, I have gained friendships that will last forever. Both of them wanted to know my full name so they could add me on Facebook. Haha. Isn't technology so great? :)
I am very much looking forward to Christmas and being able to spend it at some members homes and with people that really care about us. Like I said, I will miss you very much, but I am appreciative of the fact that wonderful people are all around the world that you can be with. Also a great gift is that President Bullock is giving us permission to sleep in until 8:00!!! Something that he said really hit home to me.
He said, that for those of us who have been obedient, this will be a wonderful reward and gift that we will really appreciate. Whereas, those who have not, will not find it that great at all and won't appreciate it so much either. This just reminded me how thankful I was for you my family and especially my parents for encouraging me in one way or another to be obedient and to do it because I want to, not because I have to. You have taught me many things that have helped me so much out here. And I really thank you for that. So keep up the good work!! And siblings, once again, remember they love you, and the reason for their correction is because of that love and broader big picture seeing ability. :)
One last thing. I had and interesting experience while bus contacting someone the other day. I sat down and turned to talk to him, started sharing the message and he got mad and said that he had already had a bad enough day and didn't need me bugging him. He used other words of course. :) So I kindly let him be. About 8 minutes later he tapped me on the arm and apologetically said not to take it personally, just that he had had a bad day. We talked for a little bit, and he said he was still not interested and then we parted ways. I really did appreciate him for his willingness to say sorry and it was good to know that people do have bad days, but can still talk like civilized human beings. :) In the end he didnt' accept the message we share, but we both gained more respect for the other from our experience. This is just one of the many interesting things that happen on a mission and I love it!! Sorry if you thought it was boring. It doesn't sound as good in writing. :)
Well once again I must be off, but remember I love you and I really look forward to our talk on Christmas. Until then have fun and be safe!!!
Elder Fawcett

December 13, 2010

I hope all is going well!!
Unfortunately I don't have as much time as usually because the Internet is going on and off in the Library today. As for me here in the Mission field.... There were some really interesting things that happened this week. For one I went on Two exchanges, one with my District Leader, and one with the Assistants to the President. I learned so much from both of them in how to work more lovingly with those we meet on the streets, but also to be very persistent in the right way.
Truly we need to relate to those we speak with and show we care and then show we care even more by sharing the gospel. Just having some random teenagers dressed all nice telling you some random stuff you have never thought about before would not be on the top of my to do list either. Basically I learned to become real quick friends with those I contact. At least i try. Some don't want new friends if you know what i mean. :)
Some of the funniest experiences I have are the ones where I start talking to someone and they say something super absurd back. For example, I saw this little old lady walking with a rolled up umbrella on the street. So I went to go talk to her and in the nicest and least threatening way possible I asked her how she was doing and that we were sharing a message. She turned to me, and while shaking her umbrella at me she yelled, "You shouldn't go around accosting people on the streets young man!!" haha, picture that one if you will. :) Those kind of experiences happen somewhat often and it is hilarious and sad at the same time.
One more experience I wanted to share with you that was somewhat interesting. While on exchange with the AP's we were street contacting. I went up to a man and started talking to him and right away he went off about how his girlfriend of 5 years had just passed away. He went on to tell me his whole soul and feelings and then I asked if we could come teach him right now. He accepted. Later I found out a little of why he accepted so readily. He was slightly drunk.
When we got to his house his friend was there smoking and drinking, and it smelt really bad. Unfortunately I had the opportunity to sit next to him and throughout the course of the lesson I almost threw up multiple times. Later we found out that they were both drunk, so it was very hard to teach. But we did set up a return appointment and told them to throw away their alcohol and cigarettes. They both said they knew they should, but that it was just so hard. Too hard in fact. We still have not had the opportunity to meet with them again, but one said he is coming to church. We will see if he does.
The last really great thing I wanted to tell you was that we have 2 baptisms this Saturday and one of our investigators asked me if I would baptize him. Lets just say that I am super excited and somewhat nervous for this opportunity and responsibility. I didn't think I would have this opportunity so soon on my mission and I am very grateful for it. He is a Chinese student age 19 who speaks mediocre English. I love him so much, he has such an amazing attitude and desire to know for himself. He accepted all his commitments to keep the commandments and really read and asked questions about the BOM.
Over the month I have been here in England I have come to know more of why I am here specifically Chinese speaking. It is hard and I need to improve on a lot. But I do know I am here for a reason. I can't wait until I am done being trained and can be put solely to work focusing on the Chinese Population. I love them and feel the obligation to help them learn and grow as much as possible in both the Gospel and their personal lives here in England.
I want you to know how much I love you all, thank you for all your love and support.
I love you, have a great week, and remember why we celebrate this time of year!!
Elder Fawcett

December 6, 2010

Yes I had a wonderful week. Sick yes, but it was still wonderful. :) It is hard getting sick on a mission I have found, because you never get as much sleep as you need to recover, plus you are outside all day in the rain and cold. But oh it is so fun at the same time. :) So don't you worry about me, I am still alive.
I guess to answer your question about my purpose as a Mandarin Speaking Missionary: First, thanks for asking a specific question. I never really know what to write to you besides random events during the week, and it is nice to have some outside guidance in what I should write. :) Second, my purpose as a Mandarin Speaking Missionary is to focus on the Chinese people here in England. You might say, well duh, but it is kind of hard sometimes because all the Chinese people are usually in one area, and we are not always in that one area.
It is somewhat hard right now because of the way our companionship is set up. Having and English Trainer who is trying to teach me everything, but can't really teach me anything about Chinese and the Chinese people. Fortunately he is a great trainer and really tries to keep most of the time focused on the Chinese population. Sorry, that probably didn't make a lot of sense. Basically, after I get settled in and don't have to be trained anymore, get paired with another Mandarin speaking missionary, and get set loose, our efforts will be on the Chinese people and finding them. Right now we go everywhere and talk to everyone which is great. But later, we will probably only teach Chinese investigators. When we meet English investigators, we will teach them the first lesson, and then pass them on to the English missionaries. And Vice-versa.
In the end, we are a forever finding mission, but as a mandarin speaking missionary, we would rather be speaking to mandarin speakers. :) Now I just need to better my Chinese, which is really hard because of the previously mentioned problems. But I am trying my best and just need to pray harder. It will come i am sure.
The Chinese people who are baptized do not have a Chinese branch to go to, not anywhere close to enough members as of yet. So they go to the English ward, and can't quite understand everything, which is somewhat of a problem, but they still like to go to at least better their English. :) 
Most of the Chinese are Students. Pretty much what we are doing is converting the Chinese youth who will then return to China and spread the gospel themselves. Truthfully, they are going to be the reason the church gets into China. I can't wait to see the fruit of our labors. It is going to be amazing when China eventually opens and those Chinese youth will have already set somewhat of a foundation to build upon.
I will end with just a couple of funny things that happened this week. The other day we were waiting at a bus stop and started talking to a man. After a minute or so he specifically asked, "what part of Ireland are you from?" Haha, he didn't ask, where are you from, but what part of Ireland? A couple of days later I was asked the same type of question on a bus. So Kjanela, to answer your question, I am assuming the accent that I am slightly developing sounds Irish. :)
Also on Saturday the Zone leaders needed me to go help teach a Chinese investigator. So we went and started teaching. I started teaching or speaking in Chinese, and the two Chinese girls just busted out laughing (first time this has happened). Finally they stopped laughing and said that it wasn't because my Chinese was horrible, but because it was "cute". What does that even mean? Cute Chinese? That doesn't make any sense. I am going to have to work on not sounding cute.
I love you, and you are in my prayers as well,
Elder Fawcett