March 26, 2012

I am very glad to stay in Liverpool as well!! Unfortunately for the
next three weeks all of the University students have something called
Easter Break. Don't ask me what that is, but seriously, three weeks? I
think it is a bit much. I think I don't like it very much because it
means all of the Chinese students who we are teaching are going on
Vacation trips to other parts of Europe the whole time so our teaching
pool decreases quite a bit for a few weeks. I guess it will give us
some good time to find new investigators who are staying. Because
those who are staying really have nothing to do but meet with us
right? I think so....

Not much new to report since last Wednesday except for the fact that
things are still going well here in the Liverpool Zone. There are some
great new developments in the works with the Stake and Chinese work.
We met with the Stake President yesterday to speak about what we can
do extra and unique to help missionary work in the Liverpool ward move
forward to a greater level, and specifically with the Chinese
population. We ended up deciding that we want to hold a culture class
every Thursday night right before institute. This will be headed by
the ward and taught by members of the ward which is great for us
because it means we as missionaries don't have to do much extra in
regards to planning and we can focus on getting them to the class. We
feel that this will really entice the Chinese to come to the church
and then stay for Institute which has been a struggle getting them to
in the past. We are excited to put this plan in motion starting April

It was also great to see the Stake Presidency sit down with all the
the Recent Converts of the last year who were at church yesterday. All
of them were Chinese in the meeting. President Marshall and President
McCallister really took an interest in who the Recent Converts were,
what they were doing and how the feel about being a member of the
church. The opened it up to questions and some of the questions asked
by the Chinese were very good and well thought out. I feel that the
Recent Converts felt more of a part of the ward and closer to the
leaders who they had not known previously. We are very grateful for
the time the Stake Presidency is putting into the Chinese work. AND
after the meeting President Marshall took four of the Chinese Members
home! How great is that! I really appreciated all of the work I saw
done yesterday and previously between the Leaders of the Liverpool
Stake and Ward.

I had an interesting experience the other day as we were taking the
Tuebrook Elders back to their flat one night before going home. If you
remember, I started my mission in Liverpool in the Tuebrook flat and
boy looking back it was a great learning experience those first three
months. As we dropped the Elders off you could almost say at that
instant I had a flashback of all of the things I have learned on my
mission and the growth that has happened in a years plus time. All of
the hard times, happy times, frustrating times, rainy times and sunny
times came back to me and I couldn't believe I was a year down the
line, sitting in the same place I had been a year previously. You
could say it was a surreal experience. I really appreciated the time I
had to think about the many things I have learned and the changes that
have happened in the mission and in my life as a missionary. I look
forward to the continued learning experiences that will come whether
they be hard, or easy to bear because I know from experience that new
opportunities help us learn and grow! I truly love my mission.

Some funny stories: At the Chinese activity during the part when
people were holding onto the "Iron Rod," I was trying to guide a
Chinese girl I didn't know in Chinese. I was talking for a little bit
and she would NOT do what I advised her to do, so I intensified my
comments in Chinese. Finally she yelled out, "would you please just
speak English!!!" You can imagine how I felt, I mean, really was my
chinese that bad that she couldn't understand me. I was pondering on
how rude she was when later i went up to her and told her that I was
the one speaking Chinese to her with her blindfold on and she told me
to speak English. I asked her if my chinese was really that bad. She
burst out laughing apologizing that she only speaks cantonese and she
didn't even know I was a native english speaker. All she could hear
was a language she didn't understand so she told me to speak English!
Good times....

After the activity we had some snacks, among those snacks were fortune
cookies. Before we bought them we were trying to figure out if they
wre really Chinese or if we as foreigners just think it is chinese.
Well we found out. One of the Chinese Recent Converts opened one and
proceded to plop the whole cookie in his mouth. My companion hurridly
tried to explain to him that it had a piece of paper in it and he was
eating it right now. The recent convert didn't understand so Elder
Okeson opened another one, cracked it open and showed him the piece of
paper at which time the Chinese person pulled a surprised and
incredulous look on his face. I guess we found out that Chinese people
don't really use fortune cookies. :)

March 21, 2012

Simply said, this transfer is unique because this is the first time on my mission that everything stays the same. Every transfer I have either lost or gained a companion and of course sometimes moved areas. There is a first for everything and now it has come. I will be staying with Elder Okeson here in Liverpool.

To be honest I thought I would be leaving Liverpool and was going to be quite sad to go. But seeing as I am staying I don't have to worry about saying goodbye to all of the amazing Chinese Recent Converts and Investigators. I am very much looking forward to the next six weeks here in Liverpool. We have a lot going on and there is much progress to be made with the Chinese students that we are teaching right now. The next six weeks also gives Elder Okeson and I more time to gain an even stronger relationship.

Both Elder Okeson and I feel that the Chinese Activity that took place here in Liverpool was a very good activity. We did an opening song and prayer, followed by two recent converts conversion stories. Then we did a tree of life activity, we set up a obstacle course with a rope leading to the desired destination but they had to do it blind-folded and listen to different voices trying to tell them the right or wrong way to go. To be honest it was quite hard and they were exhausted when it was done but they loved it! We hope they understood the principle at the end as we explained it from the Book of Mormon. Then we ended with more recent convert testimonies afterwhich we had some great snack food and had time to talk then we all went home. It was really good. I was very excited to see Sun Wei Di again, a Recent Convert from Preston. He is doing really well, he just baptized another Recent Convert and he is seriously thinking about going on a mission after he graduates. Oh what joy missionary work brings, impossible to explain via words.

Despite the few numbers at the activity we feel that it was very successful. Once again, half of those that attended the activity were investigators and some of them even brought friends along. We were a bit disappointed that we had so few people from Liverpool. Because they are students and spring vacation is coming up they have been very busy recently and are hard to pin down for specific times to meet and other activities. We felt that the activity itself the Tree of Life analogy helped them understand more about the importance of God and a plan in this life, so once again, the activity fulfilled its purpose.

Last week I was able to go on exchange with Elder Marjanen and Elder Sapaden. Both of which have amazing talents and great personalities. Elder Sapaden being from London has an understanding of the culture of England and is really able to relate to people. It was funny though because multiple times he would be speaking and then say he is from London and the person we were talking to would get a funny look on their face and say, "your not from London" or "oh, I thought you were American." He didn't quite like it but I thought it was funny. Elder Sapaden always has a big smile on his face and has so much energy to run to catch people or put much animation in his lessons.

Elder Marjanen is also very positive in his outlook but is very different when it comes to how he expresses it. Elder Marjanen has a great strength of thinking before speaking and is always very thoughtful. The questions he asks as well are very Heaven sent questions that help the investigator think. Along with being humble, both of them have a constant desire to improve who they are and the work that they do. I always appreciate the time I have as a leader to go on so many exchanges and be able to learn from missionaries and hopefully in the process help them learn something. I have to say that is the best part about being a Zone Leader, the time I have to work with and get to know the missionaries in the mission.

March 12, 2012

I wish I could speak to more German people.... My German speaking
skills are roughly non-existant at this point. A previous Elder in the
Mission and good friend, Elder Oliver Kersey demanded that I could not
lose my ability to speak German. He said one of his biggest pet peeves
is when people learn a language and then forget it. I have my work cut
out for me in the future, that is for sure. So go for it Dallin, speak
to some Germans and improve yours so you don't lose it. The key to the
two mile race when you are in a slow heat is to run so fast that you
catch up by overlapping the slowest ones, then you still always have
someone to catch. :) Try it out. Well on to the week... Here are some
things that have been in my head:

One of the biggest changes from the beginning of my mission is my
understanding of how to work with investigators relationship wise. At
the beginning of my mission in Liverpool I thought that I needed to be
extremely professional and not get attached to those we were working
with. (Stupid idea I know, and I am still professional, just in a
better way.) Because of that when we taught we taught well and the
spirit was there, but something was missing. Now being in Liverpool
the second time around I can see the massive effect that building
strong lasting relationships has on the teaching process. When your
investigators are actually your friends they WANT to make time to meet
with you. Instead of feeling it is a burden to learn about God they
look forward to our visits because they have fun doing so. Building
these relationships one by one is key in the success of us as
missionaries. We cannot afford to lose our personalities and act like
robots around those we are serving. We have to show them our love, and
the way we do that is by being a true friend.

Looking back at my mission and even before my mission I can see the
lack of planning and scheduling in my life. Fair enough that I did not
have too much to plan for before my mission, but over the past year I
can barely believe how much planning we as missionaries do. Literally
almost every night now we are taking calls from other missionaries and
then after that calling all of our investigators to set up
appointments for the next day. After which we call members to come
teaching with us. Many times we are calling all the way up to 10:30
pm. (It is really nice to work with Uni. students because they are
always still up at that time). Then during the days we have to
rearrage schedules with many more calls when appointments fall through
or need to be changed. I don't understand how the missionaries in the
past worked effectively without phones. A skill that I have gained
from my mission that I appreciate dearly is the ability to plan
effectively and effeciently.

I went on two exchanges this week! One with Elder Youles (from
London), and the other with Elder Perego (from Italy). Both are very
different missionaries with different skills and talents and both of
them are fabulous. Elder Youles is constantly smiling and letting
everyone know why (especially during lessons) and Elder Perego is
constantly asking soul searching questions and clarifying any concerns
or problems people may have. I love how Elder Youles is always looking
for ways to serve those around him. He is a big heart and a great love
for his family which stands for a strong motivator in this work. Elder
Perego is very very passionate, and along with that passion he has the
quality of patience which is very strange if you ask me. Usually
passionate people have patience problems. Not him though. I enjoyed
being on exchange with them and talking about how their companionships
are doing and being able to give advice and counsel on how to overcome
tension or small tiffs. It helps give me ideas of how to work well
with my companion too!

I need that help with my companion at the moment. We could be getting
along a lot better than we are now but there are a few struggles with
communication and other obstacles, so we are working on it. I thought
my tests of patience were over..... Haha, just kidding, with me they
will never be over.... We are still busy teaching many people and they
are all progressing. Some a little bit and some great bounds of
progession. It feels great to see these steps forward. Last night we
went to a members house for Tea and were fed so much I felt sick. She
says that she has a son on a mission and would want him to be fed well
so she makes sure we get the same treatment. Talk about do unto others
as you would want them to do to you, or your son..... It was really
fantastic food. The best part about English food is that they put
gravy on everything they cook! Gravy makes everything better!!

We are looking forward to the Chinese Fireside this saturday. There
will not be as many people expected, but it will be good. We are still
planning what exactly we are going to do, so I can't really give you
any details on what is going to happen, but next week I can. So wait
with anticipation.... I love you my great family! Keep looking for
reasons to be happy and smile!!

March 5, 2012

Wow, this week has been fantastic! Absolutely and completely
fantastic. Actually the past two weeks have been the best two weeks of
my mission when it comes to teaching. This is the busiest I have been
and I love it. Idle hands are boring hands, and you know me, I don't
like boring!! We are teaching many many Chinese students and as I look
on the street I see that there are so many more that need to hear the
Gospel. Life as a missionary is simple, see people, speak to people,
invite them to follow Jesus Christ. Where else can you have this job?!

Dad to be fair I have asked myself that question many times, "How much
is this time going to effect and influence my future?" I honestly
believe that it has and will effect me in every way. I agree, I need
to continue to progress and move forward in order to make that
influence and effect even stronger and longer lasting. So thank you
for the reminder, because I know it is true. Thank you for sharing
your own personal knowledge and wisdom acquired from your own
experiences. I will continuously ponder that question over the next
few months. What do I want to BECOME?

We have seen abundant blessings here in the Liverpool Stake as the
missionaries serving in their varies wards and areas have diligently
run the streets speaking to those they meet about the Gospel. From
their efforts we were able to see an increase of those at church and
those with a baptismal Date. There were 22 investigators at the
various wards and there are now 5 Dated in the Zone. Here is an update
on those progressing well in the area.

Chris Mangan, Date: March 17- Elder Diaz & Perego- Liverpool Ward:
Chris is the husband of a Less Active Member and since The Less active
member has started coming to church and he decided that he wanted to
increase his faith in Jesus Christ as well. The teaching process is
going well despite trials in his extended family. Yesterday he
attended the mission home fireside which he enjoyed.

Irene May, Date: April 7- Elder Misbach & Sumner- Warrington Ward:
Irene being a self referal via is very keen on learning
more about the church and becoming a member. She shows great
commitment and a desire to know and follow truth. As of now there
appear to be no major concerns that would keep her from her baptism
date which she prayed about and recieved a confirmation.

Max Guo, Date: March 24- Elder Fawcett & Okeson- Liverpool Ward: Max
has struggled as of late after he was taught the Word of Wisdom. He
feels that it is such a big part of his culture to drink Tea and he
does not feel it is wrong so he does not want to live it. He debated
on coming to church and finally decided to come. The Chinese class
along with the great support of members (Chinese & English) really
helped him to feel welcome and at peace. Teaching him later that night
with a member helped strengthen his faith to set a new date. He is
willing to live the Word of Wisdom to see the promised blessings that
come from it.

Recently Elder Okeson and I were thinking about the ward calling
Chinese Ward Missionaries. We feel it would give them a greater
responsibility and calling and would lighten our own personal load of
Recent Converts to teach so that we can focus on the others who have
not heard the Gospel yet. I can't believe how blessed we have been
with the Chinese work, it is a completely different story from the
first time. Progression feels oh so good.

The past few months I have been pondering the concept of "Learning"
Leadership. I have noticed that many missionaries come into the
mission and they have been prepared or born as leaders and because of
that they start very quickly and are ready to go about the Lords work
while serving others very easily. On the other hand some missionaries
come into the mission and don't know how to lead themselves let alone
others and it takes them a while to get into the role of a leader. I
have been grateful for the example given to us of King Benjamin in the
Book of Mormon. Words of Mormon and Mosiah 1-4 are overflowing with
perfect examples of a leader and how to help those we serve. I have
been able to read, study, and learn from those verses of scripture and
I love applying and implementing those taught principles in my work. I
have seen how other missionaries can grow into a role or even a
calling placed on them. This comes from the help of the Lord, but a
lot of it comes from the general willingness of that missionary to
whom the calling was given. As we ourselves are humble and remain
teachable, the Lord can teach us himself how to lead others the way he
would lead them.

This week at Zone Leader Council I gave a training on "Exact
Obedience." As always I was able to learn much more from studying and
preparing for the training more than any of those the training was
given to. As we are told, Exact Obedience is the pathway to the
promise, we first need to have an understanding of why God wants us to
be Exact in our Obedience. For a long time I thought, he wants us to
do it, so just do it. Now I realize the real reason behind it a little
more. He loves us, he knows how we can be happy, so he gives us the
tools and guidelines to do so. That is why I feel that in order for us
to want to be exactly obedient we need to have a firm sure testimony
of God being our Heavenly Father and of his son Jesus Christ. As we
develop our relationship with them we realize the love they have for
us and we KNOW that they want what is best for us, that is when we
will have complete trust and faith in them to follow the principles
and commandments given. Along with that, I wanted to let you know that
Mom and Dad, the prophet quotes have really been a blessing on my
mission, being able to share those with others on the spot means a lot
and brings a lot of power. So thank you for teaching us the importance
of knowing the words of the prophets both ancient and modern.

On Tuesday I was on exchange with a fellow German (Elder Helzer). Ok
maybe I am not German myself, but I feel like I could fit the role
fairly well. I love going on exchange with District Leaders because it
gives us a prime opportunity to speak about how things in the Zone or
District are going and how we can improve as a whole. As well it
builds the trust and unity between leaders which is essential for a
Zone to function correctly and smoothly. Elder Helzer is very aware of
the relationship we need to have with the investigators we are
teaching and from that he always teaches them according to their own
needs and concerns. He never pushes them farther than they should be
and never teaches a principle beyond the last principle they
understood. He is also very exact, straightforward and on time which I
appreciate greatly.

Well that is my week in a nutshell, if there are any specific
questions I would love to answer them. Keep looking up my family!!
Always look onward & upward.