April 26, 2011

Missions are such great learning experiences. I have probably said that before, but it is true. It is the hardest thing you will ever love. Some days are quite hard and you get back to the flat dead tired and the next thing you know it is morning again and you get to do it all over again. Other days fly by and you don't know what happened, then before you know it the transfer is over and you are becoming older and older. This transfer is going to bring many new experiences with many many trials. Trials when overcome are the best starting blocks to growth. So I am excited.
Now I can tell you a bit more about my companion Elder Cofone. Like I said he is from Trinidad and Tabago and a great Chef. He used to be a head Chef at a restaurant back home. Too bad we don't have much time to actually cook as missionaries. It has been somewhat of a strange experience to have Elder Cofone as a companion because of the age difference. Me being only 19 and he 24 with me being the Senior companion makes the whole situation feel a bit awkward to me. He is always looking to me for what to do and permission and I am thinking in my head. I should be turning to him. He knows a lot more about life than I do. Haha. Yet another experience that will help me grow.
Something I made clear from the very start of our companionship was that I was the senior but we were completely equal. Every idea, no matter who it comes from is equal and will be kept that way. I have seen too many people get too power hungry over leadership and they then prevent themselves from growing any more. I am very excited to be able to learn from Elder Cofone and find our more about him and his life experiences. With Elder Peterson, Elder Chan and Elder Boswell leaving our 4 man flat has gone down to a regular 2. The first time of my mission..... It is too quite only having 2 missionaries in a flat!!! At some times it drives me crazy. The hardest part is the lack of a Chinese speaking companion. With all of the Chinese leaving and no one to speak to at home I don't have very many opportunities at all to use the Chinese I have and also to improve. It just means more studying during the day. :)

Last Wednesday on transfers we had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Temple and then also Yesterday for P-day because it was Bank Holiday we were also allowed to go. The experience of the Temple twice in one week was splendid!! I am excited for the opportunity I will have to go to the temple more often when I get home. I know life gets busy and everyone makes goals to get to the temple often, but I hope that I will be able to find the time/make time to get there. How often are you and dad able to go to the temple?
Also I have been able to have some fun experiences going to the Driving Range with some of the other missionaries here in Preston. Driving Range as in Golf. The first time we went I was not too great, all the golf balls went way to the left. This last time I did a bit better. :) We will have to play sometime Dad, then you can teach me all of your golf skills from your long years of playing the sport. The best part of the mission is the people you are able to meet. This includes the people on the street, the investigators, members, and also the other missionaries. Relationships are one of the few things we can take out of this life and I have come to learn to treasure them much more as a missionary.
I have been very grateful for the opportunity our mission has had to do a 40 day fast in order to help our mission rise to a new level. I have seen many miracles in the mission but also specifically in our area of Preston. I have gained an even stronger testimony of how fasting and prayer need to go together in order for the other to actually work. With this fast I have seen my prayers take a greater effect in my missionary work understanding why prayers are so key. My testimony of sacrifice has grown stronger as well as I have seen many of our investigators progress because of the sacrifice they have put forth in their lives in order to gain faith in God.
Since the beginning of my mission I have been surrounded by many great missionaries who have taught me many specific skills in missionary work. I have been pondering on what it was that made them such strong missionaries. I have concluded that it essentially comes down to the basics. They are all missionaries who want to be sacred and realize what their role is and what they need to do in order to fill it. Then they work. Diligence is the most important aspect of missionary work in my eyes. If we are willing to give all we have to the Lord he can't do anything but bless us. As it says in preach my gospel. Work, work, work, there is no other substitute.
We have been meeting often with one of our investigators (Sun Wei Di) and it has been remarkable to see how he has progressed from the first time that we met him until now. He is still struggling with the concept of God and how he could possibly be there. Last night we taught him and essentially had a finding and solving concerns lesson. We asked question after question and it kept coming down to one thing. He was looking for specifics in everything. He wanted to know everything about everything. He is a very smart young man and wants to know if it is true, but when he can't find the answer to a question he fills that blank spot with doubt and feels that it just can't be true. We told him that it comes down to the basics. If the basics are true then the following concepts and principles will also be true. Teaching Sun Wei Di has taught me a wonderful lesson as well. When doubts come in it is because we are looking for all the answers, and we will not receive all the answers all the time.
Well my family I hope that everything is going well for you in your lives. I can't help but express how blessed I am to be a part of this family while knowing what we know. Eternity is a long time and I couldn't have picked a better group of people to spend it with. I am excited for all of the experiences we will be able to have together down the road of life while applying what I have learned and will continue to learn on my mission. As was always told to me. Do good, be good, and be good for something!!!
Have a great week,
Elder Fawcett

April 20, 2011

I am sorry to say that I have little to no time to write my wonderful family this week because of transfers, but I will copy and paste what I wrote to President Bullock. I am staying here in Preston but surprisingly will lose Elder Chan as my companion. My new companion is Elder Cofone from Trinidad and tobago. Spelled that wrong. I am looking forward to this upcoming transfer. It will pose many challenges, but along with those challenges will come the blessings.
This last transfer has been a splendid one indeed. We were able to see many miracles that came from hard work and diligence but also from the 40 day fast the mission has been doing. I have truly felt the spirit of the mission grow stronger as we have all been sacrificing some of ourselves for the betterment of the mission. The transfer brought many trials and struggles but I have been thinking about Paul V. Johnsons talk from conference that all of these trials and pains are for our sole benefit and welfare. God understands what we can stand and need to stand in order to become what our full potential is.
Elder Chan has been an amazing companion to say the least. The greatest thing about Elder Chan was his constant positive attitude that was completely contagious. Whenever something would go wrong he would always say something to lighten the mood or just make me realize that it does not really matter. This positive attitude is something that I will be working on more in the future and it will help to be able to look back at Elder Chan and mine experiences and laugh. I am looking forward to this next transfer with Elder Cofone and learning new ideas and tips from him.
Along with this next transfer I have a number of questions. As you probably know the Chinese work here in Preston is slowing down quite a bit and seeing as Elder Cofone is not a Chinese Elder was it your intention to have us broaden out farther than just the University area? Also with the lessons that we do teach to the Chinese how much should I be trying to involve Elder Cofone into the lessons? Would you prefer that I only speak Chinese where I can, or to make it a half and half effort? Thank you for your love and support as our mission President. I am thankful to know that we are led by someone receiving revelation from the Lord.
I love you all and hope that in your busy lives you are still remembering the most important aspects. The Gospel and our family. I know you taught that well when I was growing up, please continue that progress.
Keep up the good work, Onward & Upward!

April 11, 2011

I have come to realize how important it is to realize God in our lives. When we do so we can then be grateful for it and when we are more grateful for it we are then blessed for that gratefulness as well. I hope that we can all see the effect God has had in our lives. Thank you for sharing those experiences with me about God and how he has blessed you so much. Too many people in the world believe that everything is just chance and coincidence. It is quite sad really..... But that is why I am here isn't it. And I am very grateful for this chance.

This week has been a week full of many miracles along with many blessings and it was capped off by the wonderful opportunity to see our investigator Geng Lei recieve baptism and enter into a covenant with our father in Heaven. Every time I witness a baptism of anyone that I know I feel so blessed to be able to know that they have become clean and pure before the eyes of the Lord. The spirit felt at his baptism and as well as the baptism of Walter Lombe (another investigator that I had the chance to work with) the next night was just amazing. The feeling that was there was nothing that I have felt before on my mission and I know that it was a very sacred experience to witness and be a part of. I will treasure that feeling and memory for the rest of my life and into eternity.

The last couple of weeks Elder Chan and mine relationship has become better and closer, more unified. It has come through better communication and more patience with each other and our weaknesses. Elder Chan has been doing extremely well in improving as a missionary and this week especially has been seeking ways to improve and help. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to be serving with him and seeing him grow, but more importantly to be able to learn from him and the vast knowledge that he has. His experiences and background are much different than mine which makes it easier for some investigators to connect to us as missionaries. He has an unwavering loyalty to the investigators that we has and is always looking out for them and the ways we can help them. The Charity that he has is an amazing example to me.

You had asked about the chinese population here in Preston and when the majority of the students are going back home and then also returning to England next Fall. From what I have been able to gather many of the Chinese are leaving next week and most in the middle of May. The recent converts that I know will be here until May as well. The chinese investigators that we have at the moment will be leaving in May and the beginning of June. It was great to have two of our chinese investigators come to the Baptism on Saturday. They felt the spirit very strongly and one of them said that he wanted to feel that way more. I can't express how blessed I feel to be working with the Chinese here in England.

Well it was great once again to be able to communicate with you from such a far away place. Oh the blessings of technology. I was given the opportunity to talk about the Atonement in church this Sunday and I learned quite a from studying it for myself. The word advocate really popped out to me and I feel that we need to remember that Christ is OUR greatest advocate and he will plead with the father for us as long as we accept him. I love this work and the opportunity I have to represent Jesus Christ. I hope that you all continue to enjoy the experiences that come with life and remember that they are all for a reason. "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" Joseph Smith

With Love,

Elder Fawcett

April 4, 2011

I thank you father for your comment on finding Joy in the Journey. I have been striving to do so recently but have been finding a hard time of it. Preston is bringing many trials and I feel that I am not finding the Joy as much as I should. When that happens I dread doing some of the work and it makes life that much harder. On the opposite side of the spectrum, when I do find the joy in the small or big things. I truly want to be doing the work laid out before me. I thank you for the reminder and will certainly remember your words throughout the week when those trials do come. As Gordon B. Hinckley said, "life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."
And Mother, oh how much I appreciate the constant work that you so earnestly did for us as children. Of course unfortunately we don't realize how much you do until later in life, and truthfully we probably never will completely understand until we have children of our own. I admire your efforts and sincere desire to be the best mom anyone can ever have. What you are doing now is hard in multiple ways, but you are doing it because the Lord has asked you to.  Keep up the good work and remember. All the running around you do is for a larger picture end result.
Wow, I must say that General Conference was fantastic. I learned so much from what was said and also the spirit. This week was a good week of learning to just keep pushing through for Elder Chan and I. We had a number of experiences and challenges with investigators that helped us learn and grow and become better for the future. We were both excited for the end of the week because of General Conference and it was one of the things that helped me push through the trials. I thoroughly enjoyed General Conference this time around. As a missionary I was able to see more of how the messages were specifically for me to hear as well as the investigators that we are teaching. It just opened my mind into how inspired these men called of God are. Their talks are so simple yet so very powerful as to the convincing of men of the truthfulness of their words. I am so grateful for the church and the leaders that help us so much to realize our divine potential and plan.
The whole Conference I was on the edge of my seat anxiously waiting for yet another one of my problems and concerns to be either solved or answered. I couldn't believe how much I was learning from each speaker. In the past I have made the huge mistake of only paying super close attention to the Quorum of the Twelve and the Presidency while putting the 70 or others on the back burner. I learned that all men or women are asked to give a talk for a very specific reason.
The three talks that I enjoyed and learned from the most were President Uchtdorfs talks together about not living under our priveledges and also not waiting too long on our own personal road to damascus. Both of those talks were heart prickers for me and the spirit let me know that I have much progress to make in order to be the tool Heavenly Father wants me to be. Also Paul V. Johnsons talk on pain. I titled it the Refiners Fire. The pain that we go through in this life is a test yes, but more importantly it is taking out the impurities that we have and forming us into something that will be very valuable and useful in the future. Lastly the talk that I enjoyed the most was Elder Bednars about Personal Revelation. For some reason his talks are always on the top of my list.... Maybe because he is from Arkansas. :)
One of the major questions I had going into conference was about my personal testimony and how I thought it was not where it should be as a servant of the Lord. Honestly sometimes I lose a little faith and have doubts, something I am not proud of at all. To this he answered me specifically. Doubts and fear are natural and normal, but if you continue living the way you have been taught to live and follow the plan set before us, you will find that your faith has been strengthened and your doubts have been cast aside. I have been one of those people who have cloudy day revelation. I have it but don't actually notice it at the time, but looking back realize that my testimony has grown and the revelation from the spirit has come. I hope you enjoyed Conference as much as I did this Spring.
This week I was studying more of the Christlike attributes but most specifically Patience and Love. As a senior companion I have learned how important having love is. Charity as was mentioned many times in General Conference is so important and one of the main motivating factors in the acts that we do. I have learned that without true love in a companionship, the companionship truly can not be unified and united. Charity is loving someone no matter who they are or what they have done because they too are a son or daughter of God and he loves them. "Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity and ought to be manifest by those who aspire to be the sons of God." Oh how true this quote by Joseph Smith is. When we learn love, all other things fall into place. Love is always the first step.
This week some of our challenges have come from one of our investigators Sun Wei Di. He truly is amazing and wants to learn more, or at least he has that important desire. The only problem is that because of the end of the school year business it has been hard for him to consistently meet with us. He sets up appointments and then cancels an hour or so before. This has taught me yet another principle of patience. I understand more than ever the agency factor in the work. Oh how easy it would be to force people into the gospel. I mean, it would be a good thing to force them into, but as we know they would learn nothing for themselves. Thus patience comes in. It is helpful to see that our father in heaven has so much patience with us and all the mistakes that we make in our lives. No matter what we do, his hand is always there to help us up. This gives me another example that I can follow in order to become better in this work. Patience and Love.
I would like to close just by sharing my testimony of how true this Gospel is and how great this work is. I feel so honored to be among the Lords servants proclaiming the gospel to all people at all times. This experience is sculpting me into something I didn't konw I could become and I am so greatful for that. I love you all and wish you the best in your own personal trials and afflictions. Keep up the work and the Faith. Onward & Upward.
Elder Fawcett