July 25, 2011

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. It has been good to hear from all of you reminding me that you celebrated my birthday without me and ate a carrot cake too! I can't believe it.... :) I hope that it was really good at least. It has certainly been a good week over here on the Isle of Man. The weather has been fairly good and the work is the same. Nothing to extreme has happened, but we have seen many blessings and have had some interesting experiences, and my driving is continuously getting better!!

Just yesterday we once again were blessed with the opportunity of helping someone make another step in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and following him. Kris has now received the gift of the Holy Ghost and was excited to be a full member of the Church of Jesus Christ. After church he turned to me and said, "You have just done a really good thing." (I was fortunate enough to be able to confirm him) It was a great feeling to know that we as friends had participated in something really special and even better to know that Kris as a Recent Convert understood how special it actually was. He is really looking forward to fellowshipping with us. When we told him that we would no longer be teaching him every day he was devastated and said that he still had so much to learn. It will be good to see him share his testimony with others.

This week for one of our companionship goals Elder Tellem and I decided that every night we wanted to share with each other something that we were really grateful for and appreciated. We had this goal to specifically help us to continue to look for the good around us and let each other know how blessed we were as missionaries. Not only has it done this, but it has strengthened our love and gratitude for the ward and the people we are working with. It reminds me of the quote by a latter-day prophet, "Ingratitude is I think the most prevalent of all sins and one of the greatest." We as a companionship have been more grateful for different opportunities and experiences, and because of that we have a greater desire to do the lords work.

This week we had an experience that really made me think a lot about the principle of exact obedience contrasted with being pure in heart. Elder Tellem and I were teaching a lesson late one evening and we knew that it was about time to leave if we were to get in on time by 9:30. Then everything started to unravel, the member referral investigator we were teaching in the members home had some concerns that we felt were not extremely important to resolve at that time but went over it briefly anyway. At this time we were almost certain to be home late and we were feeling bad about it. You could say our hearts were being pricked. Then the investigator asked us for a blessing. I was at a loss of what we should do. If we gave him a blessing we would definitely be late with the effect of being disobedient. As the senior companion I knew that I needed to make the call. I decided for a couple of reasons we needed to give him a blessing. After the blessing he sincerely thanked us and we pretty much ran out the door.

On the way home I had quite a few mixed feelings running around my head of the situation and what we had done. We ended up getting to the flat about 10 minutes late. I felt horrible about it that whole night and the next day as well. The Zone Leaders doing their job rebuked us and committed us never to be late again. Dad and anyone else, I know you don't know the whole situation, but I was wondering if you could give me your advice as to what you would have done in that situation. Following the spirit is obviously the key, but otherwise what would you have done. I have been told that when you are being disobedient, there is nothing you can teach an investigator that will help them at that time, it will be more so a negative situation. I feel that we did something good and have seen the blessings from giving that service through the priesthood, but I also understand that we were not obedient to the Missionary Handbook. At the end of the day I am torn between the line of exact obedience and Pure in Heart. Once again, I know you don't know the whole situation, but if possible I would like to have your thoughts and advice.

This week we were lucky enough to go over to the Sayle's home for Tea and a Lesson. While there we celebrated my birthday coming up because they were not going to be there for it. Hannah took a video and said she was going to post it on Facebook, but I don't know if she ever got around to it. I am very grateful for the Sayles and their amazing personalities and the friendship that we are able to have with them. I would say they are the closest thing to a family away from home. It is extraordinary what the gospel can do for people in their lives.

Elder Fawcett

July 18, 2011

This week besides yesterday has been quite uneventful but very much ENJOYABLE, YES I DO enjoy my time as a missionary Dad, and I am also grateful for the questions that you posed for me to answer and as well imagine all the other specific principles you taught me when growing up. Like mom said though, sometimes you have to almost relearn what you have already learned and in doing so strengthen what you already have. I just have to realize again that I am supposed to be having fun here. I DO appreciate all of the many unique opportunities I had growing up to learn how to work and think outside the box. In my last email as you can imagine I was only saying that I had gotten into a rut of thinking what I knew missionary work to be which it really isn't. Either way, Thank you for the gentle reminder of what I have had a chance to do and what I can do in the future do to the many lessons I have learned.

Summer Vacation could be the perfect way to describe the time here on the Isle of Man. :) By the way, I get the pun of Faucets ALL the time!! Or Force it because people think we are trying to force them to be happy. :) You HAVE gone to work in the back yard making it look all pretty and everything. Now that it is done what are you going to do next? :) My only questions are, where are you going to throw the football now and when are you going to cut that tree down? I loved the analogy and lesson learned from the Salt Lake Temple statue thought up by both Mom and Dad. I shall be using that in the future to help people understand what marriage is supposed to be like and how it can always be made perfect again through Christ and his gift. Haha, what did the family say when their child broke the statue. I am sure they were mortified. Everyone who sees a picture of the Salt Lake Temple exclaims how beautiful it is!!

And now you are getting ready to head over to the West. How long are you going to be there for? Where exactly are you going to sleep? On Air mattresses or something? I am sure Carisa & Scott will enjoy the company and as well the help with keeping the yard looking nice. I cringe to think what is happening to it with no supervision this summer. Sometimes the weeds can get out of hand when you leave them alone for too long. I hope you all have fun pulling weeds, trimming trees, etc. Because I would be if I was in your place. I absolutely love doing service of labor (or Labour here) as a missionary. :) This upcoming week we should be mowing someones lawn, pulling their weeds, and other things. As well for someone else we will continue to stain their deck. Have I ever told you how much i love painting?!

Now onto the week that was had. My driving has improved drastically and I have appreciated the fact that as missionaries we are on the Lord errand and we are entitled to the Lords help even in driving. I am sure that if we were not we would have been in a couple of accidents by now. (I don't fully understand the laws of the road here in the UK. :)) We have had a couple of close calls, but everything is ok. I also appreciate the fact that I now fully know how to drive a manual. Something I did not think I would learn as a missionary!! Elder Tellem has been a great back seat driver telling me what to do and everything to the point of annoyance. Unfortunately, it is because most of the time I needed it. Now though we don't have too many problems. So that means I can now drive the mini right Dad? :)

Over the course of my mission so far I have been able to work on one very important weakness of mine, Patience. Everyone who knew or knows me (especially my family) knows that I am not the most patient person ever and that I really need to work on it. I have heard many times that the mission is something that brings many different blessings in your life and I have found that to be very true, including helping me develop the attribute of patience. (Still working on it by the way, but it is getting much better) Just recently I was reading in the Book of Mormon about Ammon and his brothers who went through many sore afflictions and trials on their missions and because they were humble and bore them with patience they were able to see the blessings that came from enduring. Also recently we went and taught a recent convert out of PMG about charity and patience. It turned out the the recent convert taught us more than we taught her. We had not seen her in a week and when we arrived at her house she went on to explain all of the trials and challenges that she had been going through and how hard it had been for her. Then the very day she felt as if it was too much she received a letter from our mission president.

She explained how in that personalized letter it answered all of the questions she had been wondering at the time, specifically about members of the ward and their imperfections. She said something on the lines of "all members will have different personalities, skills, etc. but they are all imperfect. If at any time someone offends us we can turn to Jesus Christ as the Center anchor of the church who can make up for those imperfections." She said that line of the letter really stood out to her and helped her realize how to react to other people and their imperfections. The Gospel is perfect, the members trying to live it aren't. I was very grateful for the letter out Mission President sent this Recent Convert in her time of need even if he didn't know it. This is just another example of the power of revelation and the keys that our mission president holds, and I want you to know how much I truly respect that. It is a comforting feeling to know that our leaders are truly guided by the Lord in the work that we are doing. As you say, there is no such thing as coincidence when God is involved, and God is always involved. So for my siblings, your parents are your leaders and they receive guidance for you. You would do well to listen to them. That also includes me, so now I am going to review my past 10 years and see what my parents taught me about living out of the box and then applying it to my work here. :)

Yesterday we had the blessed privilege to be a part of Kris's Baptism. A member earlier in the day said to me that no matter how many times you witness a baptism or even if you are a part of it, it feels completely new and is always a powerful experience. As a missionary with a purpose of Baptizing and bringing others into the fold of Christ that statement is so true. Each baptism means something real special for that person and it does for you as well. Kris was the most prepared person I have taught on my mission thus far and it was amazing to see the change in him from day one to baptism. Many members commented on how much he had changed in both appearance, personality, confidence, and demeanor. He has been taught something new and true and has latched onto it like a bloodhound on a fox. It amazes me every time he bears his testimony and shares how much he loves the savior. Even more touching and humbling is when he explains how grateful he is for us as missionaries to teach him this gospel. I can't explain in words as you probably know, how it feels to be a part of something so good and so right. I look forward to the experiences ahead that will continue to strengthen my testimony of this great work.

Another part of Kris's teaching process that I wanted to mention was how fantastic the ward was in fellowshiping and making him feel truly welcome. Not only at his baptism last night but through the whole process of Lessons, Church, and activities. Kris was proactive in meeting members and getting to know them, and in return the ward adopted him and showed the love they had for him even if he was a little different at first. The Douglas Ward is very good when it comes to working with Investigators and Recent Converts and I am grateful for that. I know that they will do all in their power to keep Kris strong in the gospel. I enjoy working as a missionary more when I know that the ward is so excited about missionary work and bringing friends to church, letting us know, and then expecting us to teach them. Or whenever they see us they will ask us how the work is going and then they truly expect an honest answer and then ask us how they can help or express their gratitude for the work that they do. I have found that the Work is far better when the ward has the same vision as you do.

As I have said before, Kris has been a bit different than the other investigators I have taught and I am extremely happy for the relationship that we have now and that we will continue in the future. Now we need to get him confirmed on Sunday and then in a year we need to get him on a mission. Haha, that would be amazing. He says that he is thinking about it. I am excited for the time we will have to take him out as a fellowshipper to teach others. He has such a solid testimony of the Church and how it can help all people. Elder Sturt was able to make it just in time to baptize him which was a spiritual experience in itself. So now he is no longer a missionary and I have met his parents (quite strange...). Later today they are taking us out to lunch, it will be great!!

Well, that is all for me this week!!

Love and Thank you!!!

Elder Fawcett

July 11, 2011

The Zone Conference went really well but was much different than I thought it would be. The Prestons are of course very spiritual and great people. I look forward to learning more from them as our time together continues. Needless to say, they are extremely different than the Bullocks and it will take some getting used to before I grasp it all. When we have our interviews with him it will help a lot to actually have a personal relationship with him. The most important part was coming to understand more fully why the Prestons were called here and how we as missionaries can support them in their calling.

One of the many items I noticed from the meeting was how much our work with members can and will change now that we have a mission President from the mission boundaries. It amazed me every time he said, "oh yes, I know the bishop of the ward so and so is serving in, he is a very wise bishop." President and Sister Preston know everyone!! Despite the many talents President and Sister Bullock had and the time that they spent getting to know the members of the neighboring wards and stakes, their relationships could not really compare to what the Prestons have done over their whole lifetime living and serving in our mission boundaries. This is an aspect of the mission that I am looking forward to seeing progress.

Something President Bullock said before he left has been ingrained in my mind because of recent experiences and the time period we are in as missionaries. He talked a lot about keys and why they are so important and what they actually mean. He said that he has had the keys and stewardship over the mission for the past 3 years and from that has been given specific revelation for the mission many different times. The very moment President Preston touches back down on English soil, the keys will have been passed and the revelation for the mission will go to him. PMG emphasizes as well how we are to follow those who are our leaders and support them in every way. Even though President Preston doesn't really know any of us or much about the mission by experience, he knows exactly what he is doing because he is being led by God. Come transfer time many missionaries may be thinking, he doesn't know where I should go, he barely even knows me or where I have served. How can he know? I have a strong testimony and knowledge that President Preston knows exactly what he needs to do and who needs to go where and do what. I am excited to have more than a year to get to know the Prestons and follow their examples.

During my weekly studies I was reading in Alma about the sons of Mosiah, specifically Ammon and his brother Aaron. One of the principles I learned you could title, "the difference between a hard working missionary and a smart working missionary." The reason I say that is that when I took Ammons story and pointed out the different aspects of his work that made him successful, (Service, Love, The spirit in teaching, etc.) and then looked at Aarons, (Hard work and Preaching) there was quite a difference. The results were quite different as well. Now maybe there is more to the story than it says, and maybe because the people Aaron tried to teach were more wicked, but the principle I learned was that sometimes we need to look at missionary work in a different light then just preaching and calling to repentance.  We can serve and love them to change.

Too often I think to myself, "why am I having fun? I am a missionary, I am not supposed to have fun or think outside the box and be creative in our finding. We are supposed to knock doors, and street contact all day and that is it." This last transfer I have learned that not only does the work progress better but it is more enjoyable when you are creative in your finding activities and utilize the ward and what they know of the area. We were told by the bishop yesterday that the work on the Isle of Man is a bit different than other places, i am beginning to see that he is right. People in different places act differently and we should adjust accordingly. That doesn't mean the gospel changes or the truth changes. But how we teach, testify, and invite might need to change if we are to be successful as missionaries.

My new companion Elder Tellem is a very good and very humble missionary and I love him even though I barely know him as yet. He is from Wales in the South and is fluent in both English and Welsh. Together we can talk to all people.... almost. :) For me in my mission I have been extremely blessed with many great companions who have taught me a lot about the gospel and being Christ-like. I can tell already that Elder Tellem is going to continue teaching me during our transfer together. Some great strengths I have seen in Elder Tellem are his desire to serve everyone around him and his diligence in getting to know the members from the start. The first night we were on the Isle I was talking to a member on the phone and Elder Tellem asked if he could talk to the member as well to get to know them before he even met them. This is going to be an incredible transfer.

An interesting side note and funny idea is that at Zone Conference when we switched companions I was told that I would be the designated driver until Elder Tellem received his license (Elder Sturt drove last transfer). You could almost say that terror ran through me when I found out. I thought, "I have not driven in the past 10 months, I don't know how to drive manual, and I have to learn on the wrong (left) side of the road?!!" Ridiculous. So for the past 4 days I have been having a crash course in driving once again. Luckily that phrase has not been literal as of yet. No crashes have happened on the winding, curvy roads of the Isle of Man. You know how I didn't really like driving back home? Well I like it even less now. :) Like you would say mom, just another one of those learning experiences right?

Well, there is not much more to share, Kris will be baptized this next Sunday and Elder Sturt will be back with his family to attend. It will be another amazing missionary moment, one I won't forget. I am praying for all of you and hope you are enjoying your summer. Keep up the good work, have fun, and keep safe. I love you all.

Onward & Upward

Elder Fawcett

July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July Family!!!!!

Don't we live in such a wonderful country?!? Isle of Mann Included.... sort of. By the way Kjanela, unfortunately we will not be able to attend any part of the Tynwald celebration, (even though it is the longest staying government in the world) because we will be on a Ferry to England. We go to Zone Conference with our new Mission President and as well so I can drop Elder Sturt off and bring a new missionary to the Island. We still don't know who that new missionary will be, but he sure is lucky. :) The Isle of Mann weather has been brilliant these last few weeks. I don't know why seeing as it is only 20 or so miles away from Scotland and England, and they have been pretty wet recently.

Not too much has happened since Wednesday, but that just makes it possible for me to go into more detail of what did happen. :) Something interesting: this last Friday we had a wonderful opportunity to teach 10 people at one time consisting of 3 families, 5 of them below the age of 11. Talk about crazy. This was the first time I had had to teach a family and it turned out being 3!!! We of course had to teach a bit differently than you normally would to a University student. This is what you would call adapting and teaching to needs. It went well and we have a return appointment for this next Friday same time. Some of the adults were prepared well to hear the message of the Gospel. It was amazing to be able to teach families in a real home. There is just something special about family homes. The spirit is much different and it feels much more comfortable. I thought that was a very interesting and important point. Families just FEEL right!

As I have mentioned before, we are teaching a young 23 year old man named Kris. We tracted into him on the first full day I was on the Isle of Mann, and since then we have been able to teach him often and see him completely change in front of our eyes. Just yesterday he came to Church dressed in a white shirt and tie with black slacks. This after seeing him for the last month in nothing but track covers and a nike beenie. He truly looked like a different person. Like I said, of all the people I have taught, Kris has been by far teh most prepared person. He is quite intelligent as well. He was reading in the Book of Mormon and picked up on things that I didn't even get until I was 18 or so. He is someone you would call a thirster of righteousness.

Something that has been different in this teaching process as well has been the relationship we have been able to gain with him. He has continued to open up more and more the more we teach him. He trusts us and we trust him. We are actually good friends. Don't get me wrong, I ahve been friends with all of the other people we have taught, but this is on a deeper level. Maybe because we can both speak fluent English. :) Whatever it is, I have welcomed and enjoyed it. We went and had dinner with him a couple of nights ago and later today we are going to go to the driving range with him and hit some golf balls. Then later we will take him to The Sayles house and teach a lesson and have a Manx 4th of July meal!!! Woohoo!!! The Island is too much fun! Sometimes I think that I am having too much fun for being a missionary. Fortunately I have come to realize more and more that not only is it more enjoyable to have fun doing the work, but it is more effective and you are more successful.

Last night Elder Sturt and I hosted a Fireside for the ward based on the Image on the Isle of Mann Flag. As you know it is three connected legs. Our topic was unity and we explained to them what the three legs of unity are and how it can help them in every aspect of their lives. Whether it be with family or work, young or old or any other situation. We promised them that if they applied these three points into their lives they would not only be more unified, but of course happier with themselves as well as those around them. The first leg and point we gave them was Service. (We had spray painted with a stencil the Isle of Mann symbol on a two fist sized stone. On each leg the marked the point we gave them) We talked about Ammon and how service helped him become unified with a whole city. Then we talked about Forgiveness and how it pulled people closer together. Lastly we talked about Gratitude. Just as we promised them, I can promise all of you, that if you apply these three points into YOUR lives, your lives will be more enriched and much happier.

I love you all and hope you have a great 4th of July!! Onward & Upward!!

Elder Fawcett