November 28, 2011

This past week has been a great one that went far too fast. Elder Moss and I are still getting our feet settled a bit and finding out what the most effective way to work is, so all is well for us. We are still trying to figure out how much time we should spend between Chinese "Hunting" and going out to less touched places. The last week the Sisters and ourselves have been able to find a number of new investigators most of which being Chinese which we are happy about. At the same time we know that the number of Chinese Potential Investigators is only so big and we don't want to hit them too hard. It is always about the Balance in the work and we are looking for it.

We were able to have a great Ward Coordination meeting with our Ward Mission Leader. Something that we are trying to set up here in Preston is Chinese/YSA activities. The combined Preston and Chorley Stake YSA met in the Preston Chapel on Thursday and we were able to have 4 investigators there and 6 Chinese students in all in attendance. They all loved it and want to be able to do that again so we are searching for ideas of how we can get a fairly set once a month activity for the YSA but the Chinese in particular. They love their activities, especially when that includes speaking to native English speakers.

I have really enjoyed serving with Elder Moss these past two weeks. I would say the best thing about him is his ability to think outside the box, not worrying about numbers but worrying about being effective in the work. He, like many realize the importance of numbers to gauge success but at the same time realizes that many things that work are not accounted for in the Key Indicators and are not effected as such until weeks later. We have enjoyed the time to play some investigator Basketball, have a Chinese Tea (Dinner) provided by 5 Chinese Young Women and spending some time building a relationship with New Investigators while cooking food. All of these activities have been extremely beneficial in building our relationship with others which in turn will help them come unto Christ. Thinking outside the box is the best way to do the work!

In order to answer a question from Carisa, my responsibilities of a Zone Leader usually mean making sure that all the other Missionaries in the Zone are doing well. This means we sometimes run errands, take many more phone calls and make sure everyone is doing their best. At the end of the day we have the same missionary proselyting responsibilities as anyone else, just a little bit less time to reach the standards. The best part about the Calling of a Zone Leader is that you can have a greater impact on the missions success as you work with your companion in Unity and show that love and service to the other missionaries. Knowing you can always rely on your companion is an amazing thing to say the least, it takes a lot of the pressure and stress off of the work. Going from a new missionary who speaks no English to a talented veteran is quite the change. Having a car is nice as well. :) Also we can spend more time with the other missionaries in our Zone as we go on Exchanges.

I must say that Life is Good, because the Gospel is True. No matter how hard the day was in terms of weather, persecution or disappointments, we always know and can say that the Gospel is STILL true! Never forget that my family. No matter what happens in life, having a knowledge of God's plan and love for us not only makes us happy, but can help us to become better and have a better life. Keep up the great work and especially the love you have for each other. If we don't have people in our lives, what DO we have? Have a splendid week going into December!

November 21, 2012

Elder Moss and I are getting settled in here in Preston and things are going well. We essentially have a clean slate of people to work with now that Smit has been baptized, and we are excited to be able to find the people we have planned for December. We have been focused on finding and teaching the Chinese people and because both of us have been here before we remember a few of the houses where Chinese students used to live so we have knocked by them and have found success. For us it seems to be more of a Greywash than a Whitewash. We know the area too well to really be confused about anything. Haha

Something that I mentioned last week that I have seen even more so in the past three days is that there are not as many Chinese people here in Preston and I am worried about the amount of people there will be for us and the Sisters as well to teach. Elder Moss and I have been talking about it, and we figure that because I will be going on exchanges to all the other areas much of our time will not be spent in the University area which should alleviate some of the stress of two companionships contacting there all day every day. We have also been looking at areas farther out that would be good for us to go and tract because we feel that they have not been contacted in a while. Fortunately we have a car and it is easier to get out there this time around.

Something that was wonderful for Elder Moss and I to experience was seeing two of our Recent Converts from 6 months ago come to church. Wayne Sommerville and Sun Wei Di. I was ecstatic to see them come to church and see how they were doing. We look forward to working with them and the rest of the ward in the future. Elder Moss and I are really excited for this transfer and the work that we will be able to do together in the next 6 weeks. It is great to already know Elder Moss fairly well and for us to already get along at the beginning of the transfer, now we can focus on strengthening our relationship. He is a hard worker and at the same time has fun in every situation. He is a missionary that I love being around.

Other interesting facts about Elder Moss: He was born in somewhere, but is from Chicago. Right before he left on his mission his family moved to Kirtland Ohio. Similar to my situation. He lived there for about 3 months and left. So he tells everyone he is from Chicago. Personally I think he just tells everyone that because no one else besides members know where Kirtland is. He absolutely loves Basketball and is good at it. He always asks the Chinese if they want to play basketball with us. It is a good idea except it is too cold for the Chinese to come out and play. They are soft... He is 6' 4" He went to Utah State University and is constantly telling me it is better than BYU. I don't agree... It is something that we can debate about in a friendly manner. :) I obviously win...

Well I wasn't going to tell you because you will be hearing later by letter is what I am told but because you asked specifically, was called this transfer to be a Zone Leader so we are much busier than I used to be. We give trainings at Zone Conferences and Trainings and go on exchanges with all the District Leaders in our Zone and other things like that. A plus side to all of this responsibility is that we have a car which makes travel much easier. Also, it means that I have a companion who I know I can absolutely rely on to be the best he can be and I don't have to worry about him. Also we are able to get to know the other Elders in the Zone much better than before. Overall it is a very good experience for me to become more responsible and as well more personable with others. (something that I am not very good at I have noticed.) I am too blunt sometimes when bluntness and to the point is not needed. Like you said, a greater growing experience.

November 18, 2011

We have just been really really busy these past two days. You will never guess where I am right now. Why? Because I never would have guessed it. I should know by now from the past 4 transfers that anything is possible and I should not be surprised by anything. Alas, I was surprised to find out that I would be RETURNING to Preston! And now here I am, in Preston. In the same library, on the same computer as six months ago.

I had already been here for 3 transfers if you had forgotten, so I don't know why I am back here. Especially since I am back here with Elder Moss! If you remember I served with him for one transfer here in Preston. Between us both we have been in Preston 6 transfers, veterans is what you would call it. :) And we are Whitewashing!!! Meaning, two elders left and we came in, so we don't know anything about the people or the situations or anything. What an adventure!! Fortunately the circumstances will be different this time around and I will end up loving it here. We really need to figure out more of what we are doing here and who we will be teaching. Everything won't feel back to normal for a couple of weeks at least. We will See how it goes.

The past two weeks seem like a blur to me now and it has only been two days here in Preston. Sometimes I think my brain doesn't work quite right. I do know that the past two weeks were very successful and I was able to learn much from Elder Cai and the way he goes about the work. It was absolutely crazy to live in a 6 man flat for two weeks. It was really fun to be with so many missionaries all the time, but at the same time it made it hard to really be productive. There was always someone asking you a question at night or something else. I must say it was a very good experience to have though, I really enjoyed it.

This past week I was able to go on Exchange with Elder Merl which was a great blessing to me. He has been one of the greatest examples to me and one of my best friends here on my mission. We were able to spend some last time together teaching and finding and helping others to come unto Christ. I was sad to say goodbye to him for a while as he went home yesterday. He has always taught me that even though he was not the best at being patient it was a very important thing to master. We both were helping each other to work on it. It is getting to the point in my mission that at the end of every transfer I will be very sad to see one of my good friends leave. It is just a reminder to me of the shoes we have to fill to keep this mission at the same level and then some.

It was a great shock to me to be called back to Preston, I didn't think that I would be coming back here while I was on my mission. The whole situation seems very strange to us but something that Elder Moses said summed it all up. The changes seem so illogical that they must be revelation. :) I think that is one of the greatest things about missionary work. We know that President Preston is the person receiving revelation for the mission and so we know we are supposed to be somewhere for a reason, now all Elder Moss and I have to do is find out why. We are a little lost right now with the Whitewash, but are looking forward to working here and being with the ward again.

Yesterday Elder Moss and I were able to give a training on how to teach and train the Members to be members and not teach members to be missionaries. As they act like true members of the church, the missionary work follows along quickly. Something that I am worried about here in Preston is that there are not many Chinese people here compared to Manchester and Liverpool and there is a Sister missionary who just got to Preston as well who is from Mainland China. Between the two of us, the Chinese population will be hit pretty good real quick. It makes me wonder what role I have here in Preston at the moment. Like I said earlier, I need to find that out. Elder Moss and I will be very busy with other things as well so hopefully we can work around the obstacles that may come. I am extremely excited to be back here in Preston to see Sun Wei Di again!! Remember he was a recent convert 6 months ago when I was last here!! Woohoo. Tomorrow we have a baptism of an Indian student that we don't know at all, but it will be great anyways!! :)

November 7, 2011

This week has been one huge Roller-Coaster, when Elder Esposito told me again on Sunday night that he felt it better to go to Milan I thought that this was the final decision. Then on Monday he had somewhat changed his mind again. Somewhat. He still wanted to speak to President Preston in person. And guess what, three hours later, unexpectedly, he was sitting in our flat telling us what was about to happen that would completely change everything for us. We were told that for a number of reasons we would be having an "emergency transfer." The Assistants will be getting a proselyting area next transfer and it is going to be our area. So they are taking our flat which means we needed to go somewhere. Along with that, Elder Esposito was told that he would be leaving to Newtown to be with another Italian Missionary named Elder Gionotti. I was told that Elder Cai would be with me for the next two weeks and that after that I would be leaving. Where to he wouldn't tell me. :( I think Elder Esposito was so shocked to hear the news and that he was going to Newtown so soon with Elder Gionotti that he completely forgot about his desire to go to Milan. Needless to say, I am grateful that he is in good hands and is still in the mission with another missionary who can really help him with the trials he is going through now.

So in the past 4 days I have changed companions, changed flats, and in a week I will change areas. Woohoo... I am not the biggest fan of change, but like President Preston told me, "Elder Fawcett, the Lord is in it, this is happening for a reason. Now I am staying in a Flat with the Zone Leaders (Elder Merl and Elder Holman, both of which I love very much), and two other elders. So six elders in one flat has been crazy. Unfortunately we are forever away from the university area which is very inconvenient because all of our appointments are there. Elder Cai is amazing and he is growing on me. He is different and has a very interesting personality. He was born in China and lived there until he was 10 1/2 then moved to a "very Holy City" call Las Vegas. He actually kind of knows my best friend from Uni. Jeff Mecham. He can speak fluent English, Mandarin and almost fluent Cantonese. So he is a very useful and talented weapon of a missionary. We are both very opinionated people and so sometimes we just have to respect each others views and move on.

I was grateful to be able to attend New Missionaries Training camp this past Thursday because it taught me many good principles and reminded me a lot of the aspects of missionary work I need to improve on. As well it made me think back to the time that I was at Training camp almost a year ago and all of the principles I have learned and the way I have changed as a missionary. Growth feels good and I am looking forward to that continued growth here in the next year as well. I feel that this past transfer has helped me to grow much in two ways. I have gained greater patience when it comes to helping another person less fortunate than myself and as well how to truly serve those that are in need. Service is the key to becoming what our Heavenly Father wants us to become. Christ spent his whole life being an example of service, so to become like him we need to learn to do the same.

This past week I enjoyed the time I had with Elder Boswell on our Assistants Exchange. Elder Boswell to me is a close friend and a missionary that I truly look up to and I admire his many talents and abilities. Something that I love about Elder Boswell and my relationship is that we are both very similar. We both like to be straightforward and to the point and to get things done the right way the first time. At the same time we know that we can't be right to everyone all the time and so we are open for each others suggestions. Something that He helped me to learn by giving me a commitment was how to show sincerity for those we speak to by giving them a simple but true compliment. It has helped me to look for the good in people and find the positives. I have also appreciated the past four days with Elder Cai and look forward to the 10 days to learn from him. He is a very talented missionary who loves to work hard and help others. He is always looking for those that are prepared right now to hear the Gospel. Even though we disagree sometimes on some points we both respect each other and the opinions shared.