August 31, 2011

Manchester is just a Mixing Pot with so many different cultures and people here. The other day we were able to teach a man from Africa who only spoke French and had little English. He understood ok and fortunately had his french Bible with him. We used his own bible to teach him about prophets, Jesus Christ, Priesthood Authority and other principles of the Gospel. I felt really good teaching out of a bible to help him understand our message. I feel that because of that he was very willing to set up a return appointment. Now all we need to get is a French Book of Mormon.
I am happy as well for the time I will have to speak Chinese. Now once again I need all the discipline necessary to speak only Chinese. Honestly I don't feel that I will have too many other chances to be with a Chinese speaking companion again after this transfer, let alone a Native speaker so I need to utilize the time I have now. Don't ask me why I feel that way because I am not sure, I just do. We have been working with a Chinese student named CiCi who will be going home to China on the 11 of Sep. We had a lesson with her when she told us that she did not feel that she was ready to be baptized here in England, but that she goes to Hong Kong fairly often and could get baptized there.

I had mixed feelings about this because I know how little to no support there is in China for the church especailly if you are not a member of the church already. A question I wanted to pose to all of you again to ponder is: Is it better to baptize someone who is not quite ready for baptism but will not have much if any opportunity later in their lives, or wait for the future or even after this life for them to hear the gospel "In its fullness?" We feel that she is as ready as she needs to be in order to make that covenant, but she does not. More likely than not, she will not be getting baptized but I do feel that she does have a good understanding as well as a desire to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized when she is more fully prepared to her standards. I hope and pray.

This past week I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have had to spend with Elder Chan here in Manchester. What a change of pace and focus it has been and I love it. Elder Chan was my companion over four transfers ago and it has been amazing to see the progress he has made since then. I think that is one of the most rewarding points of a mission. The progression in all its forms whether it be with your investigator, your companions, or yourself. As we received the new Christlike Attributes Pamphlet with the focus on Becoming a Sacred missionary I couldn't help but think of the progression of Elder Chan once more. He is doing wonderful and is still looking to improve because he understands that that is what this life is all about. Improving ourselves and BECOMING what our Heavenly Father wants us to become.

I appreciated the time that we had for this Zone Conference to go on the Church History Tour and seeing a little bit more about our predecessors and the work they did. It was also interesting to go back to my two previous areas of Liverpool and Preston (we also went to Downham) and once again I reflected back on the changes that have happened in myself and others since then. I absolutely loved the time that we were able to spend together as missionaries to feel of each others strength and testimonies. I feel that it is a very rare thing in the world today where you can find a greater or larger group of people all united in such a noble and worthy cause. It amazes me every time we get together and learn from each other. Singing hymns on the way back to Stretford was a fabulous way to end the journey, singing until our throats could sing no more.

For myself I feel that I am coming to a point where I now need to start reaching and striving for an even higher level of work and dedication. All things are done by small and simple steps as we learn in Alma and as we do so we are climbing that ladder to were we need to be as disciples of Christ. As we know, when you stop trying to progress forward you end up going backward and that is definitely something I do not want to do, especially as a missionary and servant of the Lord. I am extremely grateful for this time to bless the lives of other and to continue to learn while following the example that Jesus Christ has set for us. "In order to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we need to discipline."

Good luck with this continued week and have fun!!!

Love you,

Elder Fawcett

August 25, 2011

I don't have very much time this week at all due to the craziness of this transfer, so bear with me... The exciting news first is that I have been transferred as was expected. I am now serving in Stretford in the Heart of Manchester with Elder Chan again. It is strange to think that just 3 months ago I was sitting on the Isle of Man for the first time telling you of the crazy new adventure I was about to have. Now I am back on the mainland in a foreign feeling environment. I have felt quite out of place these past two days. Going from the peaceful, Serene, small of the Island to the Loud, noisy, big of Manchester. I can't say I am happy about the two differences. But of course there are many pros being here. One is that I am surrounded by thousands of Chinese and as well I am serving with a Chinese companion again.

A surprising event occurred with transfers when both Elder Tellem and I were transferred and sisters are now on the Isle of Man. I don't know why but it feels weird to think that the people we were teaching are now being taught by sisters. It is just different. Elder Tellem was not too happy about being transferred after only one transfer on the Isle. I feel for him. The ward and the place is just absolutely fabulous and I look forward to going back there again to see everyone. It was really hard leaving Kris. I knew him for the full time there on the Isle. We will be keeping in contact via snail mail though. Tanya Dobbie was going to send all my pictures to you. So if you did not get them you can look her up and ask her about it. She would be more than happy to talk to you. She is an absolutely incredible person who is very missionary minded. Such a great person.

I am happy to hear that the family is doing well in all aspects of life and you are enjoying yourselves. I don't know if you have any idea how much you as my family just being my family has helped me on my mission. Sometimes I have rough days where nothing is going right and I get a little down. Then I think about you as my family and think of how much you do care about me and love me and if you were here you would be encouraging me all the way (or maybe just telling me to buck up and get on with it. :)) It honestly gives me more courage to carry happily along doing the work. So thank you for that support once again.

These next couple of transfers will be interesting ones full of new experiences once more. We as a companionship have been and will be Chinese Hunters. Meaning there are so many Chinese that we walk down the streets and only stop the Chinese people to talk to them unless none of them are in sight. Such a difference than the Isle. One day you will have to come back with me and see the difference in person. Email is great to live these experiences through, but it is just not the same if you know what i mean. :) I look forward to the continued progression of Chinese for myself here in these 6 weeks.

I will be serving specifically in the YSA ward here in Manchester which will be completely different. I have been told there are about 60 YSA on a good day and that it is hard to get them out fellowshipping because they all live so far away. The ward covers two stakes of YSA so they come from all over and most of them are attending university so they are quite busy with classes and everything. The challenge we will face is that the church is so far away for all the Chinese students to get there on their own so none of them want to come. We will have to find some way for them to be excited enough to go. Haha

Short I know, but I have to close. Thank you for the email this week, it was fully of juicy information and I enjoyed reading it. Keep having fun and loving life. Live, Learn, and Love.

Onward & Upward,

Elder Fawcett

August, 15, 2011

Once again I am happy to hear that you were able to use some of my last email for your family home evening. Just for clarification. As Preach My Gospel says, tell your companion strengths and then ask for ways you can improve. In these inventories you should be asking for ways you can improve and not focusing on all the minor things your companion is not doing right according to your own idea. We know life is all about progression and becoming better. In asking for ways to improve you can receive help and guidance from an outside source and then apply it into your work, missionary or otherwise. Your right, focusing on faults is not good, but knowing you can improve is key in becoming better.

I had some really interesting experiences this week that I have never had before and most of them happened on Wednesday. As you may know there has been some unease in England over the past week starting in London and then spreading to other major cities, Manchester and Liverpool included. We were in Liverpool at the time and we were able to see the simple craziness of the situation. Police cars all over the place, shattered bus stop stands, glass bottles all over the place, shop windows smashed, cars burned and the list went on. It was astounding to see the violence and complete idiocy (as Kjanela would say) that was going on over what? I am not sure what it was, but people were not acting very civilized or nice. We had to steer clear of these areas and take care not to disturb anyone. These experiences just made me wonder if all of these people had the gospel in their lives if they would be maybe a bit calmer and peaceful. :)

The same day while we were in the University area we were talking to a lot of Chinese Students, elder Dantas and I. We were blessed to teach two Chinese students on the spot at separate times during the day. Go China!!! During the second lesson is when the second interesting experience started. I just finished talking and explaining something and turned to pass it off to Elder Dantas, but he just looked blankly at me and said nothing. So I continued to teach where I had left off. This happened multiple times and so I just finished the lesson and we got otu of there. He then asked me how I felt the lesson went which i replied to saying I felt it was really good and Owen the Chinese Student had a desire to learn more. Elder Dantas then said "good, because I need to go to the doctors NOW!"

We then called the other elders and they picked us up in the car and took us back to the flat. We called the Area Medical Advisor who told us to go to the hospital. So for the first time I took a missionary to the hospital and waited to see what the verdict was. He ended up having appendicitis and needed surgery. From what I have heard he is doing well and recovering. Then the day get even more crazy. The Ferry back to the Isle of Man was late an hour and took extra long to get to the Island. We ended up getting into our flat at 12:45 am. Just a little past curfew time of 9:30 :) Those were all firsts of my mission all coming in the same day! Now things have quieted down a bit.

This last week has been a crazy one for half of it and then very calm for the other half. It is funny how things can turn around like that so fast on a mission. One minute your in three different zones teaching here and there, working with one missionary and then another, the next your back in your area and you can finally feel at peace and normal again. Haha I love missionary work. I really enjoyed the time that we had to work with Elders Craig and Dantas with the time we had together. One of the evenings that we were together Elder Dantas and I were able to contact and teach a Recent Convert Chinese student who had not been at church the last 3 weeks. He was one of the recent converts I helped find, teach, and then baptize while in Liverpool 7 months ago. It was a great feeling to sit down and teach him once more and commit him to church. I also was able to realize the love that I had gained for him during the teaching process and was happy to see that it had grown even more along with the expectations I had for him. The Zone leaders told me last night that he was at church and it made my day!!

Along those lines Elder Tellem and I have had a similar experience ongoing over the past 2 plus weeks with one of the Recent converts here on the Isle of Man. We saw Kris two weeks ago from Thursday and then we lost contact as he went to Liverpool. The whole next week we called him every day more than once to see how he was doing but his phone was always off. He had missed church the Sunday before we left and I was getting really worried about him. All the next week the same process occurred, and it made it worse to know that we were on a different land mass than he was and we could do nothing to try and see him there. Then last Sunday we asked a member to let us know if he showed up at church and we received a text telling us that he had. I was ecstatic!!! It continues to amaze me the love that we are able to gain for people we have known for so little a time. I believe most of it has to do with the change that we are able to see them go through and we are part of that process. Even better, yesterday, Kris brought a friend to church who we will be teaching tonight!!

Something that a wise old missionary told me a while ago regarding companionship relationships and helping them to grow and increase in unity has been on my mind this week. He said that when you get annoyed with what your companion may be doing or may have done you cant go quiet, or it will continue to fester in your mind, say anything, big or small, simple or complex, it doesn't matter, just talk to him. When you do you will begin to forget what you were seconds ago so frustrated with, but begin to listen to your companion and the words that he is saying and before you know it the friction point has passed. I was able to use this technique this past week and it worked really really well. Seeing the effectiveness of it I have begun to use it any time I may even start to get annoyed and then it passes. I am grateful for the advice and knowledge passed on from others in life and how we can always learn from other people no matter who they are. The mission is one of the best places you can learn and grow from others every day.

I am very happy to be back on the Isle of Man for most likely a short while. Transfers are next Wednesday and more likely than not I will be leaving. It will be quite bitter-sweet. I love the Isle of Man and especially the members here, but as well I am looking forward to going back to speaking a lot more Chinese. Also I most likely won't have a car anymore. :( haha, it has made me appreciate cars even more as a missionary. The work is going well here right now. Most of the success is coming from member referrals and people who know members. Like Gordon B. Hinckley said, the best missionary work is through the members.

Remember who you are and what you stand for!!

Onward & Upward,

Elder Fawcett

August 8, 2011

It has been a crazy, running me ragged, tiring week, and one that a very much enjoyed as a missionary. We left the Isle of Man last Monday in the afternoon, made a journey through thick fog, and arrived in Liverpool and stayed with the Zone Leaders there. Then we took a train to Chorley and enjoyed Interviews and trainings there. It was a good time for President Preston to get to know each of us a little more personally and the trainings were great helping us to understand the importance of teaching to the YOU. These people are not lifeless objects with zero concerns who need no emotion from us when teaching. They need a lot more than that, and we were taught more of what that is and how to use it to teach.

As we were given a commitment to make a habit we wanted to change in our missionary lives regarding the assistants trainings I decided the one thing that I wanted to work on was how to really get to know people and then use the knowledge obtained from them to teach them to their specific needs. As I have noticed before on my mission, sometimes it is easy to just speak at people and tell them the message we have instead of speaking with people and sharing the message we have. We all know the quote of, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. As I make this getting to know people a habit I know that I will have a greater desire to share our message because it can help them in specific parts of their lives that I am aware about.

Then we arrived here in Stoke-on-Trent where we have slept nights on the floor in a quite warm and humid environment as well. It was a bit of a shock from the Isle of Man as well. We are going through some similar experiences here!! :) We have been shuttled back and forth from Stoke and Newcastle depending on schedules, needs and CHINESE investigators. We have had long hours finding and teaching people on the spot and enjoying the time to work with other missionaries.

We being away from the Isle of Man have had many wonderful opportunities to serve with other missionaries here in the mission. Specifically Elder Erickson, Van Tonder, Merl, and Jones. I have cherished the time here in the Newcastle Zone learning from all of them, from Zone Leaders to brand new missionaries. I have worked quite a bit with Elder Merl (from Austria) which has given me a chance to practice my German with him and as well strengthen our friendship. I was able to work with and around him in Preston and we have become very good friends and missionaries. It amazes me how great the Gospel is at making such young men into mature, responsible, and accountable people. I love the time that we have to learn from each other from all different parts of the world. As well I have been able to see the importance of a good trainer (Elder Ericksen) when a new missionary comes in. I have forgotten how much I didn't know when I first came into the mission.

The most enjoyable part of this last week being here in Stoke-on-Trent has been the time spent with the Chinese people. As you are aware, there are not too many Chinese people on the Isle of Man and in the past two transfers I have taught probably 4 Chinese lessons. Here in Stoke I have been blessed with 8, and 10 by the time we leave. I have come to realize the love that I truly have for the Chinese people and culture and how they are thirsting for a knowledge of God in their lives. Being away from them for so long has set my heart yearning to continue to find them and teach them the Gospel. I know exactly what it means in PMG when it talks about the love of the people you are serving growing. I love the Chinese people and the time I have to serve them here in England.

We have been teaching a Chinese woman named Hai Chan almost every night this week and it has been great to speak with her and help her understand the teachings better. Her English is not the best and it has amazed me the amount of trust she now has in me so quickly. I almost feel guilty of how much she relies on me compared to the other missionaries here that are teaching her. It has given me the testimony even more of how people need to hear the Gospel in their own tongue. I can't explain the feeling I had when I first spoke Chinese to her and her face lit up with excitement. This was an opportunity for her to understand more fully and she loved it. She also has a crazy 3 year old son (Jimmy) who makes it hard to teach when he is yelling at the top of his lunges and hitting us. :) I think Children under the age of 3 are only enjoyable when they are asleep...

It has been somewhat of a challenge to speak in Chinese at first but it started to come back quick which relieves me. There are still a number of words that I have completely forgotten and will need to learn and many many more words that I need to learn in the first place. I am excited to be able to work with a Chinese companion again this next transfer. Then again that is just an assumption and maybe I shouldn't be making it just yet. :) Either way I am looking forward to more Chinese time in the future. By the way, SYL is completely real and does work. Just in case any of you were wondering.

I am glad to hear that you traveled safely and that everything is going well for the family. You carried 3 waterfalls in the back of a U-haul to Arkansas? Interesting choice of items to take. :) You have now resigned from BYU eh? I am sorry to hear that, now we have no full connection to BYU at the moment. I feel empty in away.... Not really though. How IS everything going for job searching this fall? I am very grateful Dad for the sacrifices that you continue to make for mom and the family. It shows the true love you have for us. Thank you for setting a good example and the bar high.

I am happy you copied me this week and were able to see the benefits of sharing specific items of appreciation every night. It DOES help us recognize the blessings in life and as well what we should be more grateful for. It is the small things in life that truly make the difference. Something else I was going to mention is how effective and efficient companionship inventories are, and how i have seen them change companionships and correct any problems or conflicts. This exercise should be between 30-40 minutes.

Sometimes when you spend so much time with one person you start to recognize all the small imperfections they have and not the strengths. I would invite you all this week to go to pg. 149 of PMG and have a companionship inventory with your companion. Write down specifically the strengths and as well 3 improvements your companion has. I know as you do so that you will come to see more of the goodness in your companion and also make it possible to truly rise to a greater height in your relationships. Remember, PMG is not just for missionaries and is from God, written beyond the veil and compiled here. If possible I would like you to report back to me briefly on your thoughts and results of this invitation.

I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying myself here on a mission and the ways I have been able to improve my life. Thank you for all of your love and support and keep up the great work.

Love you,

Elder Fawcett

August 1, 2011

Hello Family!!!

First of all, thank you very much for the long and intricate answers to the question I had for you as a family. I am as well happy to hear that it gave you something to discuss and learn about as a family. As I read the comments and advice that you wrote down two things came to my mind. The first was how blessed I am to have such a supportive and spiritual family. Very rarely do your letters make me think of anything besides the work and they always uplift me. I am extremely grateful for the action that has been taken in living the gospel in our family. Mostly coming from the teaching or our parents.

The second thought I had was that of course you are right. I sent a similar question to President Preston last Monday and for two or three days I had done what I shouldn't have been doing. Questioning the verdict I had made. On Thursday President Preston gave me a ring and we talked about the situation for 10 or so minutes. I was grateful for the time he took to personally talk to me about that specific question and as well the words that he said to me. That were of course pretty much exactly what you have just shared with me, because obviously you are both right! He said something very similar to the quote, "If you ever make any mistake in Judgement, make it on the side of mercy." Oh how blessed we are to have such great leaders in our lives and running the church under the hand of God.

The commitment I made to the Zone Leaders was given not half-heartedly, but with the same thoughts of, I can't necessarily control all situations and events. Looking at it now and the way I felt at the time, IF I was in the same situation again I would make the same choice. The important thing is like you said, to make sure I do all I can never to be in that situation again. I will be doing my best to communicate better with the members and as well the investigator to let them know what the rules are and how they can help me live by them. By the way Kjanela, I do know that murder is illegal. :) Thank you for your comments!

This week has been a great character building week for us here on the Isle of Man. We were able to go out and hunt for new people to teach since our teaching pool has dropped dramatically now. Fortunately the weather was good and we were running in the sun getting a nice tan, or at least for myself a nice burn. This week I have been noticing the specific differences in talking with people and how they react, especially here on the Isle of Man. Because most everyone knows who we are we have to be more careful with what we say and do when we are finding because it is easier to get on peoples nerves here. Something this has helped me learn is to sit their and listen to people even more and find out more about their lives. The wrote QGC does not usually cut it when speaking to them. From these experiences I have come to have a greater love for the people we speak to because I know them much better and have a greater connection with them, with this comes the increased desire to share the message we have.

On Saturday we had the opportunity to visit a family in the ward and follow up with them on the Family Mission Plan that they had been taught a few months previous. In doing so both Elder Tellem and I were fortunate to learn of many different experiences the Father of the home had on his mission. It was splendid to sit there and hear about the different challenges and trials that he had on his mission and also the many blessings. He went on to explain to us that although he had not been the most perfect missionary, his mission had completely changed him and his life and he was who he was because of it.

He then went on to advise us to make the most of our time here and as well to understand the importance of our calling as the lords servants. He also said something interesting to us about members not always understanding missionaries and vice verse. He said that both parties needed to more fully recognize the difficulties in both aspects of the work, as missionaries and as members. He explained that when that is done, the love and understanding between members and missionaries will grow and the increase of sons and daughters into the kingdom will as well grow. It is a lot of fun to go over to different members houses and learn more about them and gain new friendships.

Something that I feel is a great strength in our missionary work here is our relationship with the Youth of the ward. I remember the way I thought and felt about missionaries and the awe and respect I felt towards them for who they were and what they were doing. Seeing that and realizing that the youth here probably feel the same we have decided to make a proactive effort in not only knowing who the youth are, but getting to know them. It has been really easy and as well fun to interact with not only the adults but the youth and primary. Yesterday we were asked to teach the primary about preparing for the temple. It was a blast and I think the children had fun as well. They all committed to doing their best to prepare for the temple! It is great to know that the members trust us with the work, as well as their children. Too much fun!!!

Elder Tellem is doing great and we are having fun serving together here in paradise. One of the greatest challenges we have as a companionship (Elder Tellem and I) is communication in all of its forms. This has been a blessing for us to work more fully on our communication skills and has as well aided us in strengthening our relationship. We are both fairly quiet people with calm personalities so we often find ourselves not speaking to each other as we drive somewhere or are out on the street finding, or even when we are eating Lunch or Tea. This in turn led to us not knowing exactly what the other was thinking in regards to plans, speaking with members and investigators, or anything else for that matter.

We came to realize that we really didn't know each other very well because we had not bothered to ask. As well we were often frustrated or concerned because we didn't know what we were doing because the other had not said anything. Like I said though, we have been able to work on our communication skills with each other, which has led us to know each other much better and care more about what the other is thinking. I am very appreciative of the opportunities we have as missionaries to serve with a plethora of other missionaries who often times are quite different and sometimes even hard for our personalities to get along with because of the chance it gives us to broaden our skills and learn from others.

On Tuesday it was my birthday, but it felt nothing like my birthday to tell you the truth. Multiple times I completely forgot it was my birthday and that I was now 20. :) I am glad that you had a lot of fun together celebrating it though. haha It feels great to be able to say I am 20 now though. On the street when people ask how old you are and hear you are only 19 they get turned off and say, hah, only a teenager, what do they know. 20 sounds so much better. Now I will be taken more seriously right? haha, I hope.

Well this next week it will be really busy. We leave the Island later today, sleep in Liverpool for the night, then travel by train to Chorley for Interviews and trainings tomorrow. After that we will travel to Stoke-on-Trent and stay their for a week because they have a progressing Chinese Investigator dated for baptism and they requested a Chinese speaker to come down to help teach. Then we will go to Manchester next Tuesday for Zone Conference and back to the Isle of Man next Wednesday. It certainly is a long time to be away from your area and it will feel really strange to be gone once again. All the members continue to tease us saying we are going on vacation again. Saying, "when I was a missionary, they never let us go on a day vacation let alone 10." I love our ward here in Douglas.

Remember I love you and am very grateful for the love and support you are to me. keep up the good work.

Onward & Upward,

Elder Fawcett