February 28, 2011

Everything is going well in good old England! This last week was very good, very good indeed. It is always an amazing experience to see a person go from having relatively no knowledge of the gospel to having that glow around them when they are answering the questions or expressing their feelings about the gospel. They both were also able to recieve the Priesthood on Sunday after their confirmations and I they appreciated that opportunity and blessing very much. I also had the honor of confirming them the Aaronic Priesthood. Their names are Wayne Somerville who is a university student here in Preston at UClan. He is 22 and from Northern Ireland. The other is a 40 year old or so man from Hungary. He is actually going back to Hungary for a while this week. So we are praying that he will be able to find the ward there and continue to strengthen his testimony. From what I know, I think he will do so. Such amazing spirits they both have. As of now I have only taken part in the baptisms of foreign to England people. I think you might call that ironic....

This week I have been studying PMG ch. 10 about the importance of scriptures in teaching and how to use them to their most value. I first learned about introducing the scripture to the investigator and how that can help them understand the principles or doctrine much better. Then when reading the scripture with them I learned the importance of having them read it, then going over it again to really take in the meaning. Lastly the most important part in using the scriptures is helping them to identify the key points that they can use in their lifes to help them the most. When we apply the scriptures to ourselves it becomes easier to see the importance they can and should be. The BoM is the key part of conversion in every recent convert.

Over the last couple of weeks we have been working with three or so chinese students and they are doing well. One has committed to stop smoking and to come to church every week (Max). He had not been to church in a long while and we told him that we could no longer visit him if he was not willing to come to church because both we and he knew that he could not progress any further if he did not come to church. We were very happy to see that he understood that as well and came to church with us this Sunday. The other two chinese investigators that we have are doing well (Liu/Sun), they are reading and praying regularly and are making the efforts to come to church. They both have a couple of problems with some of the commandments but we know they can overcome those problems with the continued reading, praying, and coming to church.

This week I have learned quite a bit about the gospel and the reason why it is so important to me and a part of my life. They are all based on some of the experiences that I have had this week, so I would say that yes, this week has been very blessed indeed. The first experience happened a week ago today. We were street contacting and ran into a young man who looked like a chav and I was not sure if we should talk to him but we decided to anyways. His name is Daniel and he is from Deutschland. I started to talk to him but right away he said, I am already a Mormon. It threw me for a second but then I figured he was just messing with me so I continued. He stopped us again and said, no I am already a Mormon. Turns out he is.

He is 19 and going to college here and is living by one of his sisters. He told us he is from a family of 11 children and that he and his sister are the only inactive ones at the moment and that he has a brother in the Berlin, Germany mission. All of his older brothers and sisters had served missions except one sister who was less active with him. We talked to him for a little bit and scheduled a time to see him the next day. We met with him and had a great lesson about Faith and Prayer. He told us that he believes it is all true.

It was from here that I learned something important to me. He told me he has been doing some things he shouldn't be doing in regards to the word of wisdom and that is why he is no longer in the church. He said he has the belief that the church is true, but he is not able to act on that belief, or in other words, he does not have that faith necessary. Daniel has had all the support and knowlege necessary from his family and friends, but he has decided to not act on that belief he has that the church is true. He wants to come back, but he doesn't know if he has the ability to do so. We will be going over the atonement the next time we meet him. We met with him again and also invited him to come to investigator Futbol on Saturday. He came and it was good for him to actually get out. Unfortunately he did not come to church..... It just teaches me that people can be really good people, know that something is true, but if they don't have that faith to act, that faith will do nothing for you.

Another point I learned this week was the importance of the Restoration as the first lesson when you teach people. We were going through the area book of dropped investigators and there were so many people that had only been taught once and they had not been taught the restoration. We learn in PMG and know that our unique message to the world is the Restoration and the BoM is a tesament and evidence of that. If we only meet with someone once and they don't know that God has reached down in his love and called a Prophet on the earth today and that there is revelation in our time, we have FAILED as missionaries. The Restoration is what everyone needs to hear all the time and should be referred to quickly and frequently EVERY time we talk to someone about the gospel.

The last thing I learned this week came from a lesson/experience with an investigator named Isaac. He is 21, 6,6 and 300 pounds and playes rugby. We were going to teach him the word of wisdom but decided to go over the simple lesson of obedience first. We went through and explained the importance of obedience and why God gives us commandments, afterwords we asked, "as you learn about the commandments, will you strive to be obedient and follow the will of God." Then everything went really south. His countenance literally darkened and he got all strange. He then said, no, no, I hate that word, referring to obedience, and then said again, no, I can't do that.

We asked him why and he started rambling about obedience and how itwas next to subservience and that being trapped by rules andregulations is not right. Me and my companion were really confused and we didn't know what to do. We then gave him an analogy of a Dog on a leash and a Dog not on a leash. The one on the leash is constantly pulling on his master and trying to get away while the other obediently follows his master when he is needed by his side. We asked him which one was more free and he told us that the one on the leash was. That the one without a leash was being held without his power by command of voice. He continued to say how that was a perverted way to keep control on others. (Needless to say he completely missed the whole point of the analogy) He then got really quiet and asked us to leave without letting us say a prayer.

That was the strangest teaching experience I have had yet but it taught me something very important about obedience. I mean, I already knew this, but it was just brought to my mind more clearly as to why it is important. When we follow the guidlines or commandments of God we are truly more free to do as we wish. Obedience is the first law of Heaven and that is what will make us truly happy. So siblings, remember that the rules given by the Lord, through the church and then through our parents are important, and that as you follow them you will be blessed in your life to have the freedom to do as you wish and receive more blessings from it. Daniel thought he was choosing the best way going to drugs, "doing as he wished". Now he is struggling to loose himself from the bands that choice has made around him.

Family, I love you and I hope that you are all doing well and are appreciating the gospel as much as I am right now. Keep doing the small and simple things and you will be surprised at how effective and happy they make you. Then again maybe you won't be too surprised that they work, because of course, they are from God. I want you all to know once more that this work is real. The church is true and we are very lucky to be a part of it. I love what it does for me and you as my family. Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know for next week!!


Elder Fawcett

February 21, 2011

I was on an exchange with Elder Merl from Austria and we talked about our friends and how they were doing wherever they were. He explained to me how back home he wasn't the best person and didn't always do the things he should have. Those things were done with a particualar group of friends. When he righted the ship and moved away from doing certain things his so called friends jumped ship and left him to his own way.

This is such a testimony to me of how your true friends are the ones that will accept, respect, and also appreciate you and your values. Those who don't are not worth keeping around. Remember my young brothers and Sisters, you have a sure foundation from the gospel, keep it that way and help your friends build theirs. They will thank you in the future I can testify of that.

This week we had some interesting experiences with different people with different views. We had some run-ins with anti's who told me I was an angel of the devil and then later that day I was called a false prophet and to go back to America. It was a lot of fun. :) Some people are so crazy and I seriously had to laugh at what he was saying because it was ridiculous. Then another interesting experience was when a man stopped his car in the middle of the road and threw a BOM at us saying it was not true and to once again go back to America. I don't know what it is about everyone who thinks I am American. :) Do I look American or something?!

Truthfully though, those experiences are the ones that make the work go easier. When people are just crazy like that you know that you are doing the right thing and that anything they say won't effect your work. I love being able to be a missionary, no I don't love all of the persecution that comes with it. But the persecution comes with the opposition that MUST come when the truth is there. So in a round about way I am saying that opposition means success WILL come.

This week we were able to see an investigator really grow in the light of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Her name is Sun. She has had a hard time wanting to come to church but we have been able to get her there these last two weeks and she has been blessed because of it. Her whole attitude towards what we teach her has changed and she appreicates our visits and what we teach her more and more. Sometimes we have to prod her along but she eventually moves by herself. It was funny because she asked me what I was going in to when I am done. I said maybe business and she replied that that would be good for me because of my powers of persuasion. Haha, yes persuading men to do good is a good feeling to be sure.

You asked about Max? Well fortunately he is doing much better with smoking. Only 1 or 2 a day. But he is losing the desire to stop smoking and to truly meet with us. Yes he enjoys our visits and likes it when we come over, but he doesn't like them for the right reason. Not for the spirit or the learning. But for the cool Americans who happen to speak Chinese. Unfortunatley we have told him that unless he shows his commitment and comes to church we can no longer teach him. Please keep him in your prayers that he will have that desire to come and learn for the right reasons. Thank you.

Well I must now come to a close. Know that I love all of you and that I am keeping you in my prayers. This work that we are a part of is very true and very real. God plays a role in our lives and we would do good to appreciate that role and thank him for it. Sometimes I don't do that as much as I should, but being a missionary sure makes it easier to remember him in our lives and realize that so much happens because of his love for us. The most important thing to remember is that the faith we have cannot lie dormant if we are to continue to progress. Faith is a principle of ACTION!!

I love you all very much, good luck with this upcoming week!!

Elder Fawcett

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!!

Well for me life as a missionary is going well enough. This week has been a interesting week full of fun or at least learning experiences. There were just a couple I wanted to hit on specifically. About a week ago me and Elder Peterson had the opportunity to teach a very interesting Lesson with 7 college students all of them being English. I learned many new things from this lesson that will help me throughout my mission. The first one being Fake it till you make it.

By that I mean that as a missionary or anyone for that matter you have experiences and times when you don't know what you are doing and are very much out of your comfort zone and you don't know how you should handle it. Well a wise person once told me that if you start acting confident for long enough you will end up actually being that confident. Well I was out of my comfort zone and I was the one that needed to take control of the lesson. The lesson turned out a lot better than I thought it would, but that is because I acted very confident and they figured I was. This teaches us that the attitude you have is the one that makes the difference.

The other lesson I learned was that teaching seven of any type of person is really hard and most often than not, not very effective. There is too much peer pressure in the world and people who are not willing to stand up for what they really believe because they end up not knowing what they believe. If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything. It is sad to see that the world is full of followers and people who will not act for themselves because they don't know how to. I am thankful that my family has been able to teach me to act for myself and that you do so as well. So make sure you do so!!! :)

This last week we were able to take some of our investigators to watch the new Prophet of the Restoration DVD at the church and I once again felt that strong witness that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is one as well. That as we follow them, and I mean truly follow them, we will be blessed beyond our capacity to know. There is a reason they are called of God and when they are it means that God is behind them. When they say something it really matters. I love the knowledge that we have that through those prophets we can know how to live our lives best to have the most happiness and success.

In closing I have learned a lot this last week in regards to faith. We have 2 progressing Chinese investigators who have been having a hard time having that faith that is needed to continue to grow. They only sometimes keep their commitments because they don't actually believe that they will be blessed for their efforts. We try to tell them that it is a principle of action and it doesn't come super easy but it does come. My question is what brings faith? Why have faith and what motivates us to have that faith, what motivates us to action. I would like you to ask yourselves if your action and faith is promoted by Fear, Duty, or Love. I have learned that they difference between those answers is huge.

Coming on my mission I was probably at the stage of Duty. I was here because I knew I needed to be here. Yes I wanted to be here and help people, but was Love really my main reason for serving? I have slowly but surely come to understand what true love is and how it compels us to action of faith or any other principle of the gospel. The reason why Charity is so important is that when we have it we are not forced or coerced to do anything, but we WANT to do it because we love God and those that want to help us. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn and grow and to be a missionary to help others find the light of Christ. I would challenge all of us to ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing, and how we can BECOME better.

I love you all and am thankful for your love and support. Keep up the good work and know that I love you and am praying for you. If you have any specific questions about anything let me know!!

Elder Fawcett

February 7, 2011

You were excited to hear about my transfer? I sure wasn't. It is hard to leave your area especially if it is your first area and especially if it is Liverpool. Liverpool was and is amazing and hope I get to go back there. Preston is a bit different than Liverpool that is for sure. It is much smaller and a University town. That means that most the people there are students and there are not too many of them. I have had a new experience of five or so people in a row just blowing right past me because they know exactly who I am because they have talked to us fifteen times. Fun stuff. Haha. No, we don't get to go to the temple any more than any other missionary does. The temple is actually in Chorley, not Preston, and yes it confuses me too why it is called the Preston Temple.

As of now it is kind of hard to tell you much of anything about the people we are teaching here in Preston because I am new and the record keeping has not been very good. One of the hardest things of a foursome is that people fall through the large cracks between the companions very easily. We are working on fixing the problem they have had in the past. Right now we have 3 progressing investigators. One whose name is Wayne who is from Northern Ireland is doing very well, I have not been able to teach him myself but he is great. Very excited with all the new things that he is being taught and is looking forward to his baptism on the 26th.

The next person is Sun. She is a Chinese student who I have still not met yet but supposedly she is really good. One of her main problems that I would ask you to pray for her about is her lack of enthusiasm in anything. She doesn't have much motivation to do anything and has a hard time being excited and all there during lessons. I hope she can continue to read and understand how the gospel can help her in her life.

The last is Liu. Once again a Chinese student studying International Business Communications. He was dated for baptism but we had to push it back another 3 weeks because we found out that he doesn't really have a belief in God and doesn't know how to find one. We shared with him the importance of Faith and Prayer and how he can find out for himself. He said he wanted to know for himself and that he would really try. He came to church yesterday but left after Sacrament Meeting because it is really boring for him. He doesn't understand a lot and he is a university student. I can't blame him too much. I
would ask you to pray for him to read and pray for himself so he can find out for himself.

The ward here in Preston is good. Not the strongest ward, but those that are there really seemed to enjoy it. I have been told that it is really hard to get the members to come out with us, but I hope we can change that here soon. We were able to do a role play on how to give out pass along cards. Hopefully that and the talk on missionary work from the Bishop will get them pumped to go DO something. The slight problem is that there are 6 missionaries in a ward of 60. That makes it hard to spread out the labor and have enough to go around. I am really looking forward to getting to know the ward members better and once again making good relationships for the rest of my life.

Preston is small as I said and we are only ever around the University area looking for Chinese students. We end up talking to alot of the same people again and they are starting to get annoyed with the continued efforts of us to talk to them. This is fun challenge that I look forward to tackling. Hopefully because we see people multiple times we can get good relationships with them. Hopefully. :) Also Preston is much much much rainier than Liverpool. It has rained constantly for the last two days and I have gotten soaked through 10 times now. I love it!! Kinda. It is a good thing I have a coat now,
thanks again!!

So as I told you, we are in a foursome with Elders Moss, Peterson, and Chan. We switch off companions every day depending on who needs to teach what. When we have a chinese investigator it usually ends up being me and Elder Chan or me and Elder Peterson. This has been a great challange for me to learn how to become more of a leader. How to take control of a lesson and guide it along best for the investigator. It has also been a test and builder of my chinese. I have already noticed a little change in my progress in Chinese because I don't have a fluent companion to rely on. Hard, but fun and rewarding at the same time.

I thank you for all of your love and support and letters. If there is anything I can help you with let me know. :)

Love you all,

Elder Fawcett

February 3, 2011

Short letter today because of time. Sorry for forgetting to tell you that transfers were coming up, but now you know they have happened. :) And yes I was transferred to Preston. Now I can say that I have gone through the worst part of my mission as of yet. Saying Goodbye.... I just hate goodbyes and this one was especially hard. I am going to miss the recent converts and members and my companions very much, but especially the recent converts. One of the recent converts Haoran cooked dinner for me and gave me a card. I in return gave him one of my BYU T-shirts. :)
Well I don't have too long, but a brief overview of what has happened. I am now in Preston in a foursome. Yes you read it right, a foursome. Who would have thought? I am now back with Elder Peterson, my companion from the MTC, Elder Moss and Elder Chan from Hong Kong. Unfortunately his Mandarin is supposedly worse than mine. Though he is working on it and should improve a lot faster than myself. I will definitely miss Liverpool, but new experiences await me here in Preston. I was able to help plant many many seeds in Liverpool and I know Elder Eliason and Elder Jin will do all they can to bring in the Harvest. Many souls will be saved because of their valiant efforts.
I hope that everyone is having a great week and that you will all be safe but have fun in all your doings. Keep your heads up and know that I love you, but more importantly the Lord loves you.
I love you all,
Elder Fawcett ( Elder Tap)