October 31, 2011

This week we have been really busy with multiple different meetings and our work schedule still being different to accommodate Elder Esposito. Today because it is Halloween we worked three hours in the morning so we would stay in tonight between 6 and 9 to stay away from all of the crazy people with Fireworks. They don't really celebrate Halloween itself but just want an excuse to use fireworks. That is bad news for missionaries who are walking on the streets of Manchester at night. On Saturday they have something called Guy Fawkes night and they have massive bonfires to commemorate his death. So once again we will stay in that night and do weekly planning then.

Elder Esposito and I have been able to have a good week and it all started with last Mondays Zone Conference with President Kopischke. As a companionship after much prayer and contemplation we were able to make a goal of 3 Baptisms by the end of this year. We feel very grateful for the teachings and training that we were given and the invitation to make this goal. We know that as we strive to do all in our power to reach this goal that it will be fulfilled because we received a confirmation that this is the goal that we should have. Right now we have a couple of names to the numbers but we feel we still need to find more people in order to reach this goal.

We had a District leaders council this past week and I absolutely enjoyed the time that we had to come together Council together about the vision and potential of the mission in these upcoming months and even years. I know all of the District Leaders that I spoke to were very happy with the time that we had to get together and receive a greater understanding of what we need to do as leaders and as well what things we might want to change in the mission. I feel that everyone was very open and willing to express their feelings and because of that trust we were able to gain a greater feel of what everyone else was thinking. Some ideas were different and even conflicted with some of my own, but Elder Cannon told me the other day that in a relationship if the two sides agree all the time then you don't need one of them. :) So different thoughts and ideas are good. Change is the mother of all Growth.

Something that Sister Preston mentioned on Friday was about Singing in church and how important it was for our investigators to feel the spirit. I decided to sing even louder and with more joy this Sunday because sometimes the YSA ward lacks enthusiasm in their songs. We had an investigator their named linkon from Bangladesh who later told us that his favorite part was singing the Hymns and that he felt the spirit so strongly while we were singing. He said that he had never felt like that before in his life. He has been here in England for 2 months and said that that day at church was his best in England thus far!! Something else that was fantastic was his enthusiasm when we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Bengali. It am extremely grateful for the church and the ability we have with Gods help to translate the Book of Mormon into all languages of the world so everyone can receive it in their own tongue. How incredible!!

The work is still different right now, but Elder Esposito is still here so that is all that matters at the moment. Yesterday he told me he was going to go to Milan again but by the end of the day we had talked and he had changed his mind again, so the roller-coaster continues. From all of our lengthy conversations our relationship has grown a lot and his English is much better. Always look at the positives right? I am still worried about him leaving because he is always thinking about it. We have a new missionary Training Camp this week which I hope will help him to feel more comfortable with his role here right now.

October 26, 2011

The best way to get the kitchen clean is to keep it clean as you go. At least that is what i have found on my mission. If you wait for a long time for a big pile, the bigger the pile gets the less of a desire you have to clean it and the longer it will take. I just tell my companions to clean their dishes right after they eat and I do the same and we really don't have a problem with it. Everyone has to do their part though for it to work... Something I have seen and felt is the impact that a clean flat does for the spirit. I hate walking into my flat at night all tired and ready to go to bed and the flat is an absolute mess. The home is supposed to be a place of refuge and safety and comfort but that is not fully possible in a mess. So Children, do your part and keep the house clean!! It is small enough that it should be really easy!! I love small flats. :) There is my sanitary tip for the year...

Last night I was on an exchange with Elder Merl and Elder Holman and we had an amazing experience of teaching 8 men who were University Students. I love teaching the younger generation when they are willing to listen and are actually interested. Sometimes you get people who just want to argue and be antagonistic, and this especially happens in large groups. But all of them were very interested in what we were saying and had a million questions. After the lesson I marveled at how blessed we were to teach them, here were 8 University students who were completely caught up in the world and doing worldly things, but they all took an hour and were truly listening to us. What a wonderful feeling it was! Unfortunately I can't really express it in words let alone in an email. It was just amazing!! I appreciated the time I got to spend with Elder Merl and Elder Holman, two outstanding missionaries who are now great friends of mine.

Something that I have begun to notice recently is that I am constantly tired. Whether it is from these past 3 weeks specifically or from the whole mission as a whole or from both put together I don't know. Every night I am dead and so ready for bed. Usually that means I fall asleep fast and sleep through the whole night until the alarm, but sometimes I just can't stop thinking about certain situations. I was told that the tiredness would start to come in as the mission went along, and now I understand a bit. :) I think I am going bald as well.... :) It is a good thing I love being a missionary so much!

This past week has been yet another different and interesting week for me and I am sure for Elder Esposito as well. Honestly it has been really hard to keep doing the same thing day in and day out, talking about the same subject to see if he is ok because it makes me think a lot of what may happen. I know that it is necessary though to help him keep expressing his feelings and sharing with someone in the best way he can what he is thinking and feeling. I feel that the YSA activities have really been helping him to open up a little bit but more importantly to just be able to listen to many other people speak about anything and everything. He is still needing me to coerce him to speak to people though, to kind of give him a gentle pull to speak to people. Overall I feel that we are doing everything we can to make sure he stays where he needs to be and he is having the best experience he can get right now. I just hope that it is enough....

We had a Zone Conference with President Kopischke from the Europe Area Seventy. I absolutely enjoyed the time to learn from him. He taught us so simply and so completely to help us understand what we can do as missionaries to become better servants of the Lord. The greatest thing was that he took so much time to simply answer our questions and center all of his teaching to us and our needs and concerns. Just like what we should be doing with our investigators. Even better was that when he answered our questions he expounded more fully to cover larger ranges of problems or concerns that may come with the same question. He did so using scripture and helping us know that the Gospel is the complete answer to figuring out questions. One of the biggest principles that stuck out to me was that there is no such thing as a disobedient missionary, just a missionary that lacks Faith.

President Kopischke also centered much of his teachings on helping those that were really struggling at the time, particularly Elder Esposito. It showed me the love and concern he felt for him. While he was speaking specifically about languages and how hard it is to learn sometimes, I looked back at my personal experiences with learning languages and realized to a greater extent what he was talking about. He knew that he needed to learn English on a mission in Germany because it helped him to be qualified to be in the position where he is now. At the time it was super hard and something that he thought he could not do or did not want to do, but now it is the center of his life and role as a servant of the Lord.

I had very strong impressions that I was learning Chinese for a very specific reason, what it is I do not know, but I need to put more effort into mastering the language in all ways. I felt very strongly that Elder Esposito needed to hear and more importantly understand this principle. Elder Esposito NEEDS to learn English. Once again, why? I don't know, but he is being prepared for something. We just need to help him hold out a little bit longer. I love him so much and want the best for him, he has taught me a lot already and I look forward to the continued time with him. Hard work, but worth it!!

October 17, 2011

This past week has been a whirlwind with many different things happening that are completely different on my mission and the ups and downs I have been through with my companion on a physical, emotional, and spiritual roller-coaster. First of all, I just want to say that I really love my companion Elder Esposito and there is absolutely no problems in our relationship except for the occasional impatience on my part because we don't always understand each other. Honestly our relationship is one of the best I have had on my mission. That being said, this week has been really hard for me...

From October 5 to now I have been able to see the unhappiness in Elder Esposito caused by the frustration of language and maybe a little homesickness and some other things. We struggled to communicate at first and he was not opening up very much. After about a week things got pretty bad with him. He was still a very humble and loving missionary, but it seemed that he had lost the motivation to learn English or anything else. This past Tuesday we had Trainings and Interviews with President Preston as a Zone. While I was speaking to him he asked me what we needed to do to help my companion. We then had a good conversation of what we could do differently and how we could help him. He told me to put a plan together and so I did.

Later Elder Esposito interviewed with President and we felt that the encouragement he had been given by everyone really helped. Then the next day we went out to street contact (talk to all moving objects that speak a language and need to hear the gospel) in other words, everyone. The day was particularly wet and cold and no one wanted to speak to us. :) I tried to give Elder Esposito chances to speak to people, but no one would listen to him for very long. After an hour we went in for lunch and that is when he told me that he was going to go home. My heart dropped to my stomach and I didn't know what to say... For a couple seconds at least. Then I went on a much needed rant (a good rant that he needed to hear) and told him that he was not going to go home and how he needed to stay here in England. We talked for a long time so I could understand all the reasons and concerns behind this decision.

Fortunately through the scriptures and his own testimony of the Gospel I was able to change his mind for the time being. Since Wednesday we have been on a special program to help him learn English and feel more comfortable here. This program being no street contacting or tracting because of the tendency it has to create low moral. Teaching lessons and making sure he always has a specific part to play in the Lessons we teach. If we don't have any lessons planned or other helpful activities we stay in the Flat to have extra language study and to talk about his feelings. I have felt like a Psychologist for the past week trying to figure his mind out and the problems that create his low feelings of self confidence and desire to stay here. Maybe I should be a psychologist, I think I am pretty good. :)

We have also been going to all the YSA activities so that he can speak with other people his age who will help him practice English. So we went to Institute on Thursday and a fireside last night and we will go to FHE tonight. It has been very interesting to do these not very missionary oriented activities. It has helped him a little bit and has helped me gain a greater relationship with the YSA which will help the Missionary work later. So I have enjoyed these activities very much. It has been somewhat hard for me not to be a regular missionary at points. Staying in the flat and these activities are not usual, but I know that they will help Elder Esposito.

This morning President Preston came to  personally spend time to visit Elder Esposito and I. I know that I appreciated this time very much and so did he. Elder Esposito understands and feels that everyone that he knows in the mission loves him and wants the best for him and that we are doing all in our power to help him here on his mission. He does not want to go home at all, he wants to serve the Lord, he just does not feel that he can do that here without English capabilities, and he doesn't feel he can learn English. So there are some options of maybe going to the Provo MTC, and maybe to a mission in Italy. As of now, we will do our best to help him stay here, but at the end of the day it is up to him.

This past week has been quite different for myself and the situation we are in. One of the greatest things I have been able to learn and apply in my life this week is the concept of changing the way you do things now because you have the whole picture in mind. I spoke with Elder Boswell (one of my greatest friends and hero's in the mission) on Tuesday at trainings and he could tell that I was a little upset or frustrated with the way things were going. I said something to the effect that the numbers were low and that the Chinese are put on the back-burner for a bit and it was hard. Elder Boswell then told me very clearly and bluntly that it was not about me or the Chinese or the numbers right now, but that my number one responsibility as a trainer is to help and uplift Elder Esposito in any way that I could. Then I had the same conversations with President Preston and others.

After these conversations I have begun to realize to a greater extent that numbers don't really matter if we don't care about the people behind them. I have taken this to a more literal sense when looking at our investigators and especially Elder Esposito. Right now we are doing things very differently, but I know why and I feel that they are absolutely necessary right now. I have come to truly love Elder Esposito faster than I have any of my other companions and I know it is because I am focusing solely on his needs and how I can help and serve him. Because of that, my love for him and my desire for him to be happy has increased tremendously. Service truly is the best way to learn Charity. So if we are having a hard time getting along with someone, either in our family or out, find ways to serve them and the love between you will grow.

As I have told you before this week, I am very grateful for the time I have now to serve with Elder Esposito despite the challenges and the different focus. I truly know that for however long I serve with Elder Esposito, it will have been because I needed to learn something specific and that maybe I could help another Elder learn and grow and strive to live up to his potential. Nothing is more rewarding than knowing that you have been a part of changing someones life for the good and that you have as well gained a true friend in the process.

I feel that that is the longest most specific email I have written to you, as well I feel that it was very unorganized and maybe you won't understand it. But for me I just needed to get my feelings about this very important experience on paper. I hope you will be able to learn from it a little as well. Let me know if you have any specific questions about any of what I have shared.

We have been blessed with teaching of many people and finding some new people to teach who are really good, as in they want to learn more about the Gospel themselves. I have learned the principle even greater of leaving something behind for people to think about. On the street when you have a Gospel Conversation with someone, you should leave a pass along card or something so they will be reminded later, or maybe so that someone will see it and desire to learn more. I have seen the blessings come from doing so.

Last week we received a phone call from a Chinese Student named Mark. He said he got our number from his friend Tony and that Tony was not interested but he was. I had spoken to Tony 4 weeks earlier and he said he was not interested. I gave him a card with our number on it and told him to call us if he was in the future. We taught Mark this week once in a members home and he came to church with us yesterday. He does not really believe in God or Jesus Christ, but he had a desire to learn and become a better person, he wants to know how this can help him in this life. What a blessing!!!

Right now we have an investigator dated for Baptism for the 29 Oct. He is the husband of a Recent Convert named Yu Ping and is doing very well, he has to work on following the word of wisdom, but he has the desire to follow God. I love working with this family, they have a 4 year old son who is loud and noisy, and a brat sometimes, but I love him anyways. :) They are Chinese and don't speak any English so I have been able to work a lot on improving listening skills. We are also in the process of teaching them English which is a load of fun. I am not a good English teacher!!! Blessings, blessings, blessings!!

Well I feel very grateful now for being a missionary and for the love and support that I receive from you as my family. Keep up the good work and enjoy the time you have this week to make decisions, learn and grow, and grow together. Remember to Smile!!!


Elder Fawcett

October 10, 2011

Talk about a learning experience and a half!! These past few days have been fairly challenging over here in England. I don't know why in the world they put an Italian and an American together. Especially when the American is supposed to be learning Chinese... Then again I do know why but I don't at the same time if you know what I mean. I am supposed to be training Elder Esposito for a reason, but as of now I have not quite figured it out yet. In training in thus far I would say I have learned more from this experience than he has. I don't know if that is a good or bad thing...

We have been able to learn many new principles together. One of which is speaking slowly. Haha, at least I try. Elder Esposito despite the ability to speak English fluently is doing well and I can feel the spirit strongly with the testimony that he bears. He is so full of love for all those around him, even if he can't quite express those feelings in words you can just feel it from him. He is going through a hard time right now and feels depressed according to his own words. Fortunately I know what he is going through to a point which makes it easier for me to help him right now.

We have recently been teaching many Chinese Investigators which is a great thing for me but not so much for Elder Esposito, so we will be taking more time out of our schedule to specifically street contact and especially looking for English speaking investigators. It will be a different swing in the way we have been doing things here in Stretford, but I understand that Elder Esposito and his needs come first. The first few weeks are crucial in a missionaries mission because of the principles learned and the attitude set for the rest of his mission.

So what does that mean for us in these upcoming weeks you ask? More time spent speaking to English people and more time during language study spent specifically helping Elder Esposito learn English. So once again, the Chinese language and people have been put on a slight hold for now. Who would have thought that all these things would be happening on my mission as a called Mandarin speaker? :)

Because he has been having such a hard time I have noticed that I have to have an extremely good attitude all the time or else we would be doomed to fall into complete depression and ineffectiveness. It has made me think alot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how because he knew that we needed his help he led a perfect life and then atoned for our sins. Without Christ and his sacrifice we would be consigned to an awful fate of unhappiness. Amazing the things you can learn from such ordinary experiences. I know that I have to do all in my power to be exactly obedient while helping him enjoy the time he now has as a servant of the Lord. As our mission President said, "everything is going to be OK." He is right.

Something else President Preston told me in response to my question about teaching the Chinese and what I should do in regards to that. His response: "All I can tell you is that you two were put together for a reason, the Lord gave me your name to train him Elder Fawcett, so I know things will be ok. Go out and work your hardest and the teaching of English, Chinese, and even Italian will take care of itself. Do all of these things while being led by the spirit and everything will be OK." Haha, some advice I thought at first, it didn't really help me understand what I should do. Then I remembered the story of the Brother of Jared, the Lord does not always tell us what we should do because it is in the finding it out for ourselves that we learn the most.

The weather here in England has really not been that great these past few days... Meaning constant rain or whatever they call rain over here (a fine drenching mist) I don't think that helps Elder Espositos spirits. He says the weather in Italy is much better. :) A good side note to the week is that I really enjoyed going to the YSA ward. There are more people coming back and some new ones coming back from their missions. They are still fresh out of the field with the same desire and energy as missionaries to share the Gospel. There is nothing better than that as a missionary. A ward full of returned missionaries who have the same desire as we do now. The work and school for them does keep them fairly busy though....

I am looking forward to this new experience and I ask for your prayers to help me have the courage to fulfill this assignment in the way the Lord would have me do it. I need to be an outstanding example to Elder Esposito, but sometimes I don't feel I can give what he needs. I am grateful for all of your prayers and the support that you give me. While I miss you and the great things going on in your lives right now, I am extremely grateful for the time I have to serve the lord and learn so much for myself now!!

October 5, 2011

The crazy news I have means I don't have much time today to write... again... This past week truly has been great here in the Stretford area. A perfect way to send Elder Chan on his way to Widnes. Yes Elder Chan is leaving me again... I have been asked to train a new missionary which means the past two days have been very busy with many meetings to get ready for the new curriculum they have for new missionaries. I have now been with my new companion (Elder Esposito) for 2 hours and all is going well. besides the lack of time of course. He is from Italy and speaks no English, pretty much literally. All he knows he has learned in the last 3 weeks in the Preston MTC. Either God has a really funny sense of humor or I really need to learn something from Elder Esposito.

I am a little apprehensive for the transfer and training because we only have Chinese investigators and none of them speak Italian. And He does not speak any Chinese. :) Fun Fun is what I like to call it. What a learning experience for both of us. Lots of praying si what we will be doing. Every day with Elder Chan we only spoke to Chinese because there were so many of them. Now taht has to change to help Elder Esposito with his English and also to learn to ways of the missionary.

I am confident that we have been put together for a reason because there is always a reason for these type of things. Now I just need to find out what it is. Maybe by next Monday I will know. Maybe.

Well Ilove you all, have a great week and please pray for me, I'll be praying for all of you!!!

Elder Fawcett