Monday, December 26, 2011

Pictures from 12/19/2011

Elder Fairclough on his birthday

An investigator had two huge pit-bulls that they took pictures with

Elder Fairclough walking the dog

December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!

How are you all doing this week?! I can't believe another week has gone by. Better yet, I can't believe it is already Christmas time again! I hope you all are enjoying the spirit of the holidays. It is strange being away from home at this time of year, but I have a feeling that this is going to be a really memorable and great Christmas, not just for me, but for us all. I'll start off by telling you a little bit about things from this last week. The work is going really great. We are putting a really big focus on
working with members and getting them more involved. It is really cool working with the members here. Everyone is a fairly new member since the church has really only been here for 10 or so years, so they all have a special place in their hearts for elders. We were in Priesthood last Sunday and their was a non-member there and he was asking questions about missionaries and we kind of just sat back and let them answer the guy's questions. They were all explaining what we are doing here and how we've left things back home to come here and they were all saying things like these are my grandsons or our brothers and stuff. It was really cool to see. As a zone, each companionship was given the responsibility to come up with a member plan to work on and Elder Seegmiller and I decided to chose 5 members/families from our branch and really just focus on them for the next month. That has been going really well. We've seen a lot of improvement from the ones that we have seen. We've also been making a greater effort to involve members in all of our lessons with investigators. That has really been making a big difference on some of our investigators. Aram and Avetis both came to church yesterday and I'm sure it is nice for the both of them to be able to come to church and see a familiar face besides mine and Elder Seegmillers. We also took Gretta to institute again and the members that were there all took over again and really helped her to feel like she is wanted. All in all, things are going really well. We didn't find any new investigators this week, but we are putting a much greater focus on finding those prepared people this next week. I feel really good about this next week and am really looking forward to getting to work!
Is everyone ready for Christmas?! I know that Elder Seegmiller and I certainly are haha. We put up a bunch of Christmas lights in our apartment and around the little tree that you sent me haha. I'll have to take a picture of it this week and send it to you next week. I'm so excited to skype you all! I really can't wait. I can't wait to see you all! Especially Claire and Bexley for the first time! I was just thinking the other day and I realized that it has almost been a year since I've seen any of you. I couldn't believe it. It really doesn't seem like it has been that long. Nonetheless, I can't wait to see you all. So I went ahead and set up a time to skype you all. This is what worked best for us, so I hope it works well for all of you. 7:30 Monday morning (for us), so it should be 8:30 pm Christmas night for all of you. Does that work? I really hope that it does. And I'm really sorry if that makes things hard for anyone! We found that Christmas night for you would work better for us cause things are going to be a little crazy Sunday. I'm so excited to see you all though! Make sure you write down some questions so that you don't forget to ask anything while we are skyping too. It is going to be so great! Well, I hope that you are all doing well and getting ready for Christmas and remembering the true meaning of it. I want you all to know that I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I'm so thankful for Him and for all that He has done for me and for us. Although we should always try to be more like Christ, Christmas is especially a good time to focus on that. There are so many opportunities to lift and serve others at this time of the year. The world gets caught up on the material things of the world, but I am so thankful for you all and the examples that you have always shown me in not forgetting the true meaning of Christmas. This truly is a time to count our many blessings. I have been blessed so much and I want you each to know
that I count you all as my most prized blessings. I love you all with all of my heart and hope that you are enjoying the holidays! Have a great week and I can't wait to see you this next week!

Love,
Elder Fairclough


P.S.
2 Timothy 1:7-9
3 Ne. 12:16
Just two verses that I really liked from this last week. I hope you enjoy them too! Keep being a light for the world and don't be afraid to share your testimonies and lift those whose hands hang low. Have a
great week!

December 12, 2011

Hey everyone!

It was great hearing from you all this week, as always. To answer all
of your questions, my birthday was great! Can you believe that I'm
already 20 years old?! Feels good to be out of the teens, that's for
sure. As for the actual day itself, it was just another day of work.
It was really great though. One of my favorites so far. And of course
Elder Seegmiller and I bought some cake and ice cream. Haha I already
told you all that it isn't a birthday without some cake.
Unfortunately, I didn't get the birthday package before my birthday
but I went ahead and opened up 2 of the ties and the cd from that
Christmas package that you sent. Figured it was a fair compensation
haha. Thanks so much! The cd is great and I love the ties! So,
overall, it was another great birthday!
The work is going really well here in Erebuni. Avetis came to church
yesterday, which we were way happy about. We also had a great
experience with another one of our investigators, Gretta. We invited
her to an institute class with some of our really strong members (we
picked Gretta up from the sister missionaries that left the area right
next to ours). We stayed after the class to get to know her a little
bit, and we had some of the members stay too. Long story short, out of
a 45 minute meeting, Elder Seegmiller and I said about 2 sentences.
The members just bore their testimonies about how they got their
answers that the Church is true and what the Church has done for them
in their lives. It was really sweet. We're really excited to see where
things go from there! The rest of the work has been going great. It
has really been picking up the past few weeks which has been really
great. I'll be sure to let you know how they're all progressing this
next week!
The language is going well too. Slowly but surely I am starting to
understand and am able to say more and more. Which, as you can
imagine, I am very happy about haha. Still have a long ways to go, but
things are going great!
I wanted to tell you a funny story about this guy we met on the
street. It was a teenager about our age and he was super nice. He
ended up inviting us into his house and we talked for a little bit but
he was too interested. He really liked us though and afterwards he
walked us out and told us to come back over the next day... to skype
our families. Haha. I kindly told him that we couldn't and thank you
but the kid wouldn't take no for an answer. He was just like, "I know
you miss your families. Just come here tomorrow and any night you want
and skype them and nobody will know." I just laughed and said we were
good but he wouldn't accept it, so we just said thanks and walked away
at that. As were walking away I was just thinking in my head, "man,
this guy found my weak spot" haha. But Elder Seegmiller and I got a
pretty good laugh out of it. But then the next night he called us
asking when we were going to come over to skype you guys. I was like
man this guy is worse than satan right now. haha. Thankfully hes
backed off and we haven't heard from him since. But speaking of, I'm
supposed to get our Christmas skype figured out. We have a few
different options and it is completely up to you guys and what works
best for you. We can either skype Christmas eve night, Christmas
morning, or Christmas night (your time). Elder Seegmiller and I would
like to skype Christmas morning (for you guys) which would be
Christmas night for us. But really whatever works best for all of you.
Hopefully things won't be too crazy. But yeah, just let me know your
plans and what would be best for all of you. I'm so excited to see and
talk to you all! I can't believe it is already Christmas time. I feel
like I was just talking to you all in the airport, but that was 7
months ago! But just let me know what is best for you all this next
week if you can. Thanks!
Just a little weather update, it is really cold here haha. It snowed
and iced up the other day. I was wearing my shoes with the worn down
soles and I totally ate it a couple of times. I didn't stand a chance.
I'm not sure what hurt worse, the falls or my pride. It was pretty
funny actually. The best part was getting up and walking it off like
nothing happened. Haha gotta love it. I learned my lesson and pulled
out the yaktrax. We'll see how things going from there haha.
And I also wanted to apologize to you all. I have Christmas presents
for everyone, but completely dropped the ball and haven't sent them.
Things have been a little crazy. But I'm going to try to send it in
the next week or two. Just know that I love you all and that your
presents will be on the way soon. Sorry!
I was preparing for district meeting this next week and I came across
a talk by President Uchtdorf from a couple of conferences ago. I'm
sure you remember it. It's titled,"Of Things That Matter Most." It was
a great reminder to me to not complicate things, but to focus on the
things that really do matter the most. He talks about the relationship
we need to have with God, our families, others, and ourselves. Being
in the city, it is easy to see how most people are caught up in the
things of the world, much like back home in America. It is tough to
see people try to find happiness and peace in the artificial things of
the world. I am eternally grateful that I have the things that do
matter the most in my life. I have a relationship with my Heavenly
Father, I have an amazing and loving family, and I have this gospel in
my life. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to share that
gospel with others. If any of you feel like life is going a million
miles per hour or is getting too stressful, read this talk. I know
that true happiness and peace comes from the principles that are
spoken of in this talk. I love you all and hope that you all have
great weeks! You're the best and I'm thankful for all of you!

Love,

Elder Fairclough

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 5, 2011

Hey everyone! I hope that you all are doing great this week. It was great to get your emails and see that you are all happy and doing well. Things are going great here in Armenia! Another great and busy week here. I'll start off by telling you a little bit about the work...

So, this week we were able to find two new investigators. As you can imagine, we were way happy about that. Things haven't worked out with Gago and his family unfortunately. Not yet at least. Every time we tried to set up to meet with them this week he was busy with work, but it'll work out one way or the other. I'll for sure let you all know if anything new happens with them. The two new investigators we were able to find this week are Aram and Avetik. Aram is a man from Shengavit, the city right next two Erebuni. We had sister missionaries in Shengavit up until this last week, so now we have that city to work in as well. Both cities are really big, so it should be interesting being responsible of two cities now. We're excited about it though. Aram is a great guy and is actually someone that the sisters met off the street. Elder Cook and I were able to meet with him for the first time earlier this week (we went on exchanges this week and Elder Cook came here to Erebuni with me). He is really excepting of the gospel and actually came to sacrament meeting yesterday. It was really cool to serve with Elder Cook again for a couple days too. Then there's Avetik. His is actually a pretty cool story. Elder Seegmiller and I met him on the street last Sunday and he seemed like a way nice guy. He told us how the church he goes to is too far away and that he wanted to start worshipping God somewhere closer to home. So of course we invited him to come worship with us haha. He ended up giving us his
number and we both went on our way. And in the middle of this last week we called him and set an appointment up with him to meet with us at our church. He ended up coming and we had one of the most spiritual meetings of my mission. He really is an amazing man. He told us that he was so happy that he came to meet with us and that he was feeling light and peaceful as we spoke. And then he told us that after we spoke with him on the street last Sunday, he walked over to his wife who was working in a shop close by, and apparently she said that she was so happy that he was talking to us and that she knows we were sent from God because we are so young and helping people. It was really cool. He kept saying how much he wants his family to meet with us and learn the things that we are teaching too. And he came to church yesterday as well! So all in all, it was a really exciting week for us over here. It's hard work, but great and I wouldn't expect it to be any other way. The Lord is really blessing us and I'm so thankful for that!
Thank you all for the happy birthday wishes too! I'll have to let you all know how Friday turns out. It will probably be just another day of work but thankfully Elder Seegmiller loves ice cream and cake just about as much as I do haha. No worries there. I've got to tell you a funny story from this week. So earlier in the week I get a call from Elder Steglich and he starts out by saying I have some bad news. I was like oh great this cannot be good. He then told me that I got a package...but that it was empty. And then he asked me if I wanted him to email you, mom and dad, and let you know what happened. He really sounded so convincing. But I was like no don't say anything to my parents, my mom would be devastated if I didn't get my birthday package. Then phone then went silent and after a few seconds I hear, "Wow, I feel really bad now" haha. We both got a pretty good laugh out of it but I thought he was being serious. I still haven't gotten the birthday package but I got the two Christmas ones. I'm hoping the birthday one gets here Tuesday or Wednesday. Elder Seegmiller and I have been decorating our place with Christmas decorations though haha. The little tree is up and the light up Christmas sign gets plugged in regularly. Plus we listen to Amy Grant's Christmas cd just about every morning, so we are definitely ready for Christmas over here. No worries there haha. Thank you so much for sending all of that stuff! Everythings else is going great here. I was able to go to a leadership training meeting this week and learn a lot of great things about following the spirit more in lessons. I think a lot of times Elder Seegmiller and I get caught up in the things that we need to say and with saying it right, that sometimes we fail to follow the spirit in lesson situations. That is something I'm really focusing on right now and how I can get better with that. With the help and advice of another misisonary, we both came to the conclusion that we need to put a great trust and faith in the Lord and in the preparations that we make for lessons. The other missionary told us that the Spirit covers up any mistakes that will be made with the language and will allow you to say the things that the Lord wants us to say. I really believe this to be true and am working hard on building my faith and trust in the Lord with that. I'm looking forward to really focusing on that this week. We also learned a lot about being ourselves with Armenians and not robots. This all was things that I needed to hear and start working on and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to hear that this last week. I especially look forward to trying to apply those things this week and studying more on how I can put a greater trust in the Lord.
I love you all and am so thankful for your examples and support! You all mean so much to me and I appreciate all that you do. Know that I love you all and that you're in my prayers. Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Fairclough

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pictures







At Thanksgiving dinner

Cheap nike jacket found in Armenia

November 28, 2011

Hey everyone! It was great reading all of your emails. Seems like you all had a great Thanksgiving and that you all enjoyed the holiday!

Well, things have been going great here. To answer all of your Thanksgiving questions, it was amazing! haha. We got together at the mission office as a zone, so there was only about 20 of us. Plus, 2 senior couples and President and Sister Carter decided to come to ours as well. I ate WAY too much, as usual on Thanksgiving, so no worries there. I had to stuff it all in why I had the chance haha. It was
strange being on the other side of the world and still have a somewhat normal Thanksgiving. We went around and said what we are thankful for, by the way I said all of you :), and we just had a good time eating and socializing. The cookies Elder Seegmiller and I made were amazing too, if i do say so myself. We only burnt the first batch. It was just a test run anyways. But we made m&m cookies and chocolate chip cookies. I'm surprised we got any cookies into the oven cause we ate so much cookie dough haha. It was good though. You would all be so proud. After eating we watched a movie called 17 Miracles. I'm not sure if any of you have seen that, but I highly suggest it. It was so good. It is about the Willie Handcart Company and some of the hardships and miracles that they saw. I'm not sure anyone made it out of the room without crying haha. It was really touchig and made me appreciate our pioneer ancestory that much more. I'm so grateful for how courageous and faithful they were. I thought a lot about why it was so hard for them. I look at our lives today, and yes we have our trials and hardships, but I think about what they endured and went through and it just always humbles me. I think that is why it was so hard. So that in this day, we can look back and see what sacrifices they made for their faith and the truth, and gain the faith and courage to face the things of our today, as well as to humble us in our trials. I hope you all have the chance to watch it someday soon! Elder Seegmiller and I had an great week here in Erebuni. It amazes me how, in life, we learn things and then the Lord turns around and gives us opportunities to apply those things. I have seen that a lot thus far on my mission. Especially this last week. So, last week I talked about having a stronger faith and trust in the Lord that things will happen and work out. Well, it was Tuesday and we had a couple meetings set up at our church building, which is in a neighboring city so it is about 30 minute travel from our place. The meetings were with a member and two potential investigators. So we were waiting there at the
church, and the member was our first meeting, and he walks in and says I'm sorry Elders but today isn't going to work. We were just like no worries, we've still got another meeting. We sat in the church for a
couple minutes and we get a call from the potential investigators, telling us that they can't come. It's funny how fast plans can fall through like that haha. After the phone call I was started to get
frustrated that things had just fallen through, probably as quickly as dad fell through my ceiling...(sorry dad :) ). But then I thought back to that first in Alma, about trusting in the Lord. I turned to Elder
Seegmiller, and he was pretty frustrated, and I told him that something really great was going to happen tonight. I love Elder Seegmiller. His countenance just changed and he was like, yeah
something great is going to happen. So, we get on the bus and start heading back and instead of going back to our place and dropping our stuff off, we decided to just get off the bus and start street contacting. We started walking along and trying to talk to people. And then this guy called us over. The first thing he asked was, "Do you believe that God's name is Jehovah?" I was like oh man, not another
Jdub haha. But he turned out to be a really nice guy. He just told us that he is searching for truth and that he doesn't know which church is true, all he knows is God's name is Jehovah haha. He ended up
inviting us into his house and next thing we know, there is a family of 8 sitting around us! haha. It was so cool. Long story short, they are now our investigators. We weren't able to meet with them again
last week, but we are hoping that things will work out for tomorrow. I'll be sure to let you all know how it turns out. I was so thankful for the opportunity that the Lord gave us to really apply what we had learned last week. I know that as we trust in the Lord and put our faith in Him, that things will work out, in His time and in His way. I was pointed to Alma 37:40-41 last night by another missionary and I really liked it. It is talking about the Liahona, but the same principles apply for the Holy Ghost. It says, "And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day. Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey." I'm so thankful for a kind and loving Heavenly Father. Who hears prayers, who gives us chances to learn and grow, who waits for us to put our faith and trust in Him. I'm so very thankful for these experiences that Heavenly Father is allowing me to have, so that I can learn and grow. I know that things are done unto us according to our faith. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to strengthen my faith and trust in the Lord. I still have a lot of work to do but there is no greater feeling that knowing that you are capable of being an instrument in the Lord's hand. We all are capable of that great blessing and I hope that we can all do those things that are necessary for us to be so. I think that about does it for this week. Know that I love you all very much and am so grateful for our family and the blessings of the temple. That we can be a family forever, if we do our part. I hope you all have a great week and know that you are in my prayers. Thanks for all of you love and care and support!

Love,

Elder Fairclough

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

Hey everyone! I want to start off by telling everyone Happy
Thanksgiving!!!! I hope all is well and that life is treating everyone
right. As for things here in Armenia, everything is just rolling
along. To be totally honest, this week really just flew by and I feel
like I was just in this internet cafe yesterday. But there is a lot to
fill you all in on so hopefully I get to it all!

So, this last week was really good. I guess I'll start off by telling
you all about zone conference. It went really really well. It was such
a good spiritual learning experience. President Schwitzer was there
and he was able to teach us a lot of really great things. It was
interesting because a lot of the things that were talked about at the
zone conference where things that I really needed to hear. I decided
to go to the conference with questions, just like I would for General
Conference, and it was really amazing what I got out of it. Like I
said, I got out of the conference exactly what I needed to hear and
learn. President Carter talked about our morning studies and he shared
a really cool experience with it. He told a story about President
Packer and how he has a reflecting pond in his backyard, as well as a
little stream with a bridge over it that he and his grandsons and sons
had built. So, this bridge obviously meant a great deal to him.
Apparently there had been a storm and the debris that was left in the
stream from the storm was threatening to destroy the bridge and
overflow into his yard and destroy this reflecting pond. So President
Packer called this contractor and asked him if he had a machine that
could remove this debris from the stream. And then he walked him over
to this pond and told him how special this little pond was to him. And
he told this contractor that he had had many revelatory experiences
pondering next to this pond (I can only imagine what kind of
revelations he has received by that pond, not only for himself and his
family, but I'm sure as well for the church). And apparently he turned
to this contractor and said to him, "Where is your pond?" President
Carter then asked us all that question and it was a really good check
for me cause I had found that my studies where beginning to not be as
spiritual as they had once been. They were starting to turn into more
of a routine thing, much like what happens so easily with other things
in everyday life. So, I really focused the rest of the week on make my
study desk my reflecting pond, it I had some amazing experiences with
it! And that is really what I got the most out of zone conference, the
importance of the Holy Ghost and working closly with that great gift.
President Schwitzer talked a lot about this and the things we can do
to help investigators and members feel the Spirit. It was really
interesting cause he shared and an example from his life from when he
got married. He told us that he doesn't remember a word that was said
in the temple that day, but that he remembers how he felt when he saw
his wife. And that got me thinking back to experiences that I've had
thus far on my mission, and almost everyone of them that has been
baptized has shared an experience about how they felt around us as we
were in their home or as we taught. This just really made me realize
the importance of helping investigators feel the Spirit, cause that is
when the change and the conversion takes place. Zone conference was
really uplifting and I learned a lot of things that I can do better to
improve as a missionary as well as to better help others. So, overall,
it was great! haha

The work here in Erebuni is going well. Unfortunately we didn't find
anyone this past week, but I feel really good about this week coming
up. I think Elder Seegmiller and I are going to see some really great
things happen. This week I was reading in Alma about the stripling
warriors and I was able to learn some really great things. I just
marvel at the obedience and faith which they showed, as well as the
trust that they always put in God. Here are these 2,000 young men,
going up against a feracious Lamanite army in Antiparah, and it
actually says earlier in the chapter that that was the strongest army
of the Lamanites and the most numerous. And you all know that they
stop chasing them and they are all in this confusion, not knowing why
the Lamanites stopped chasing them, and Helaman asks, "Therefore what
say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?" and their
response was so amazing, "Father, behold our God is with us, and he
will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth..." Helaman
said that he had never seen so great courage among all the Nephites!
It was really great reading this chapter this week. I just sat there
thinking about what things I need to do to have the qualities of these
2,000. I've got a lot of work to do! haha. But probably my favorite
verse that I read that we are going to try to apply the most this next
week was verse 21 of chapter 57, "Yea, and they did obey and observe
to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even
according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the
words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them."
That if they would not doubt, God would deliver them. I thought about
this verse a lot and I thought it was so amazing that just the act of
being obedient didn't provide the miracle of protection and
deliverance. Rather, that great miracle was placed upon them after the
faith that they exercised. I thought back to the past week or two, and
the obedience and hard work was there, but I'm not sure the faith that
God would lead us to people was where it needed to be. So, long story
short, I'm going to really work on my faith this week and my trust in
the Lord that we will be led to people that are ready for the gospel.
I'm ready to get to work! Sorry for the big spiel but I thought I'd
share it anyways cause it had a big impact on me. I look forward to
letting you all know how this next week goes!

Well, I want you all to know how thankful I am for each one of you. It
is interesting being away from home during these holidays. I remember
just last year we were in Park City and I went through the temple.
It's so crazy to see where I'm at now! I'm so glad I get to be here in
Armenia for this Thanksgiving, it's just too bad I can't just bring
you all out here with me. Haha. Yeah, the food won't be as great as
usual and there will be no football game going on the tv, but as you
said dad, that isn't what Thanksgiving is about. I get to share the
gospel and my testimony with the people of Armenia and tell them how
much I have been blessed in my life, and I can't think of a better way
to celebrate. I have been blessed so much because of this church and
our family. There is honestly nothing I love doing more while I'm
talking to people on the street than to pull out a picture of our
family and tell them how I have been blessed in my life. How I know
that I can live with my family after this life and for eternity. And
to tell them that they can receive these blessings and happiness in
their lives too. I'm grateful to be a missionary. To be able to serve
the Lord and these people. And I am especially thankful for each of
you! For your examples, support, prayers, and love. You are all
amazing and I love you with all my heart! I hope you all have a great
Thanksgiving and enjoy the holiday!


Love,

Elder Fairclough

November 15, 2011

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well and are enjoying life. It was great to read all of your emails and to see that you all are doing so well!

So, it has been a great week here on this side of the world. The work is going well and I'm really enjoying Erebuni. The work is kind of slow but Elder Seegmiller and I both feel like it is going to pick up in the next couple of weeks as we are doing our part and being diligent. But I'll start out by answering the questions you all asked. Hopefully I get them all haha. The branch is really good here. Two Americans actually walked into our Sunday School class in the middle of church. I was like, what in the world are you doing in Armenia? haha. I was pretty surprised. But they were here on business for some computer software company. They actually took us out to dinner last night, which was pretty cool. Free meals are always nice haha  There were a good amount of people that came, I'd say 35-45 people were there. Charentsavan generally has a lot more members there on Sunday, but there are a lot more Priesthood holders in this branch here in the city. And a lot more people stayed for all three hours which was way good too. Most the time in Char, like 70% of the people would bounce right after Sacrament. It was starting to get better there though. But majority of the people stayed and it was really good to finally meet a lot of the members. I think I'm really going to enjoy getting to know
some of the members in this branch. We met with this amazing lady in our branch this last week named Hasvira, who helped translate the Book of Mormon into Armenian. It was so cool to see how much translating the Book of Mormon had strengthened her and her testimony and faith. It was just a huge testimony builder of the power of the Book of Mormon and how important it is. But yeah, I'm really excited to work with and get to know the members here. I enjoy the area though. We did a lot of street contacting this last week, which is something I did not do much of in Charentsavan, and it went well. We found a few potential investigators but most of them ended up falling through. But I feel like I learned a lot this last week. I had found that I had gotten into the habit of not pushing to talk to people who kind of brush us off when we say hi. But Elder Seegmiller is so great. He talks to EVERYONE and it really opened my eyes to the importance of giving everyone a chance to either say yes or no to this message. I'm not called to share the gospel with the people that are convenient to
talk to, but rather I am called to share it with everyone. We had some really funny rejection stories, as well as some really cool spiritual experiences. First with a funny story. So, we were walking along down this sidewalk and there was a grandma and I'm assuming her daughter walking along. And I just walked around them and kept going but then all of a sudden I realized Elder Seegmiller wasn't beside me anymore, so I turned around and he had stopped to talk to the grandma and daughter. But I just stayed a few steps ahead and let Elder Seegmiller handle the testifying and inviting. So, I'm walking along just listening and Elder Seegmiller starts out by saying, "Hey, how are you?" and the grandma responds, "We're good...without you." Haha I just bursted out laughing. But I think it kind of caught Elder Seegmiller off gaurd cause he was still walking with them, I'm sure trying to process what just went down cause the lady looked super nice. Then, I heard him open his mouth to say something else and the grandma cut him off and said, "Go, walk ahead." Elder Seegmiller then caught up to me and was just shaking his head. I told him, "Good job, but you just got owned by that grandma..." haha we both got a good laugh out of it. Maybe you just had to be there. But it was way funny to say the least. I love Elder Seegmiller. He's inspired me to be better in a lot of different ways. Especially, with talking to everyone and giving everyone a chance. That is where the spiritual experience comes in. We were street contacting one night and not really having any success. It was pretty cold and not a lot of people
were out so we were trying to walk down a lighted street. But as we were walking I had a feeling to go down this side street that wasn't well lit and a few people down it. We then decided to stop and say a
prayer and we just asked that we would be led to someone. After the prayer, we didn't make it 10 seconds down the street before Elder Seegmiller stopped and talked to this guy who was coming out of a store. I hadn't noticed that he had stopped until I had walked past the man. So, I turned around and we started talking to this man. About half way through the conversation and invited us over the next day! We were way pumped. So, we kept walking and we didn't even make it another 10 seconds up the street before we got called over by these two guys sitting down under a little pavilion thing. The first thing they asked was if they could read the book we were holding, The Book of Mormon. Elder Seegmiller and I just walked away shaking our heads at how quickly that little prayer had been answered. It was such a testimony builder to the power of prayer and striving to be led by the Spirit. Unfortunately, our meetings with them haven't worked out yet, but it still was an amazing learning experience for me. It wasn't until we had stopped and humbled ourselves and asked for help, that we
received the guidance. President Shwitzer, the area President/General Authority is here in Armenia. He actually said the closing prayer of conference a month ago. But we were able to take one of our investigators and it was really cool. We have zone conference tomorrow and he is going to teach a majority of it. I'm really excited for it. I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes this next week.
I'm attaching a lot of pictures from Khor Virap to a seperate email. I hope you get them all! It was so much fun. It really reminded me of something our family would go to, cause we always go to old churches. It was so cool though. We got to go down into the pit that Grigor Lusavorich was down in for 13 years and we got a lot of cool pictures. It was snowing and super foggy so unfortunately we were unable to get a good picture of Mount Ararat. I was really bummed, but maybe another
time. We went as a district though and it was a lot of fun. I hope you like the pictures! Thank you all so much for all your help and support. I hope you all know how thankful I am to be here in Armenia and serving the Lord and these people. It truly is a privelege and I am so grateful for the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father. I've been trying to stop and take more time to look for them in my life and it really is a humbling experience. We are so blessed and loved. I'm thankful for this truth that we have and for the examples that you all are to me. This church is true! I hope you each have a great week and know that I love you all!

Love,
Elder Fairclough

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 7, 2011

Hey everyone!

How are you all doing this fine week? I'd like to say congratulations to London and Mike! I was anticipating the big news all week! haha.I'm so happy that we have another little addition to our family. And I love the name and especially the pictures! She does look like a little
London. What an exciting week for our family! Well, everything is going really well here in Erebuni. It was a little sad leaving Charentsavan but I felt like it was time. I miss the members and the people there though. All the branches near and in the city gathered together yesterday for a broadcast where President Uchtdorf, Elder Oaks, Elder Clayton, and Sister Thompson addressed Eastern Europe. So I got to see everyone from the Charentsavan Branch, which was really nice. The broadcast was really good too. We watched it in Armenian, so I didn't catch all of it but I was surprised with all that I did understand. I really like Erebuni as an area. It's in the city but at the same time kind of village-y. We live in a small house apartment thing which is pretty nice. Probably half of Erebuni consists of small house apartments and the other half is actual city building apartments. For the most part, the people are really nice too and it is definitely a lot easier talking to people on the streets here in Erebuni than in Charentsavan. Probably cause I'm not walking by the same exact people every day haha. But things are going really great with Elder Seegmiller. He is such a great missionary and I'm really grateful that I get to serve with him. He is just finishing up his training, so it is kind of strange to find myself in a position of giving language advice. But this past week I realized how much I really do now and how far I actually have come these past few months. It was kind of stressful at first, cause if I don't understand than we are kind of in a tough spot and I still don't understand 100%. But I was really able to see the Lord's hand this week, with that particularly. I found myself understanding things that I honestly don't think I would have a week earlier. It has been a really good experience for me thus far though. Elder Seegmiller is such a hard worker too so he is getting better everyday, so I'm not too worried about it anymore. He is from Roy, Utah and actually reminds me a lot of Elder Steglich. So, I think things are going to go really well here in Erebuni these next few months! We weren't able to get a whole lot of meetings this week cause it was kind of a crazy week but we were able to meet with a few of their investigators. One is this guy named Aram, who doesn't speak Armenian and speaks broken English. He says English is his native language...right. haha. He is a good guy and we'll see where things go. It is really really weird teaching things in English though haha. I wasn't expecting it to be that strange but it was. Then we were able to meet with this small family yesterday which went really well. We still have a lot to teach them but they are doing so well and we are hoping for them to be baptized sometime in December. Their names are John and Suzi and they have two little kids. So, I'll be sure to fill you in on how that goes. The rest of the investigators that they have are super flaky and we weren't able to get with so we might be starting from scratch pretty soon haha. Elder Seegmiller and I are hoping to find some investigators this week and meet with a lot of members. I'll be sure to let you know how it all goes this next week! There is some other really exciting news from this week... Kristine got baptized! I got permission to still go cause I was supposed to baptize her and it all went really great. Elder Steglich was there too so it was really cool to have Elder Steglich, Elder Cook, and I there since all three of us taught her. It was also really great to see Silva again and to see Branch President. We took lots of pictures at the baptism and I'm going to send it along with this email. I hope you like them!
Also, I had an interesting experience this week with being a District Leader. I had to conduct a baptismal interview for another area in our District this week, which I was a little worried about haha. It was a really cool spiritual experience though. After a few minutes I stopped worrying about the language and started trying to actually ask inspired questions and make sure she had gone through the necessary conversion. The woman had a really cool spirit about her and I was really grateful that I had the opportunity to interview her. Well, that is about it for this week. It has definitely been a crazy and busy week but it all worked out really well. I'm just hoping that this next week will be a little more calm and busy haha. Thank you all for your emails and your love and care and support. I truly do
appreciate it and am eternally grateful for our family. That we can live together for eternity if we will do our part. I'm thankful that we are all doing our part at this time and that we have had the opportunity to be sealed together in the Temple. I can't think of a greater blessing that our Heavenly Father has given us than that! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Fairclough

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pictures!!

Max found a Batman figurine in Armenia

Elder Cook, Elder Frye, Elder Smith, and Elder Fairclough at Louiza's baptism

Elder Fairclough and Elder Cook

Elder Steglich and Elder Fairclough

Elder Fairclough, Elder Cook, and Louiza before baptism

Elder Fairclough, Louiza, and Elder Cook in front of baptismal font

Those attending baptism for Louiza and Louiza's grandson
Fort visited in Charentsavan

Elder Cook, Elder Frye, and Elder Fairclough on their hike up to the fort

Old Lady met along the way to the fort

Tunnel they went down in at the fort

The Fort at the top

Elder Cook, Elder Fairclough and Elder Smith

October 24, 2011

Hey everyone! Sounds like everyone had good week and that all is well. Things are going really great here in Char. That's pretty crazy about that earthquake in Turkey. I didn't feel anything but a lot of the
missionaries in the city felt it. I just found out today that it was really bad over there in Turkey. Hope everyone is doing alright over there. I'm just super glad that it didn't happen in Armenia cause lets just say the buildings here could not have handled another earthquake like that haha.

Well, there is a lot to fill you all in on for this week so hopefully this letter isn't too scattered. To start it off, Louiza received the Holy Ghost yesterday! She was sick last week and wasn't able to come so we were really happy that she was well enough to come this week. She asked me to confirm here and I was pretty nervous. I was really just worried that I would detract from the Spirit of the blessing because of my lack of knowledge with the language. But I said a quick prayer in my heart before they called us up and just asked that I would speak clearly and correctly so that Louiza could feel the Spirit. It ended up going really well. I'm sure I made a good bit of mistakes but after saying that prayer I was much calmer and I spoke clearly and really tried to follow the Spirit and say what was brought to me. Afterwards, when Louiza stood up to shake our hands, she got to my hand and I looked her in the eyes and they were full with tears. It made me really emotional cause I knew that she had felt something and that God had answered my prayer. It's amazing what little experiences like that do for your testimony and faith. I'm so thankful that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, especially when we don't feel like we are capable or able of doing something. If there is anything that I have learned on my mission thus far, is that in every instance, look to the Lord and to our Father in Heaven.
Also, the work here in Charentsavan went really well this week. Kristine, Silva's daughter-in-law, will either be baptized this weekend or next. We aren't quite sure yet cause we still have to figure out the interview and other details but I'll be sure to let you know next week! But I have to tell you about Silva. Man, she is doing so good! She gave us 11 referrals this week! We were able to pick up 3 of them. Silva's daughter-in-law and her two grandaughter. And then 7 of those referrals are a big family. We met them the other night when we met with Kristine and we walked away from the meeting and were just like, we have got to pick that family up. And then we went back the next time and they told us how when we left the family asked some questions and how Kristine and Silva were answering them! And apparently they said they are willing to listen to our message. haha. So that was really cool. Silva is an amazing missionary already! We were also blessed with picking up a few other investigators this week. So, hopefully we will have a busy week this next week! I'll be sure to
fill you in. So, I had a really really cool experience this last week. Elder Cook and I were street contacting one night this last week and nobody was really willing to talk to us. Elder Cook was on the phone with someone and I was just looking for anyone to talk to. As we were walking along, I said hi to a guy who had just walked out of this little store. After saying hi I just kept walking but immediately felt like I needed to talk to him. But I discredited it and just kept walking. But the feeling that I needed to talk to him wouldn't leave my mind. So I just kept walking and thinking it through my head whether it was a prompting from the Holy Ghost or just me overthinking. And as I was doing so, the thought when through my head that if that was a prompting from the Holy Ghost and I don't follow it, how can Heavenly Father trust me with the next person he puts in our path. So after that thought I nudged Elder Cook and told him we needed to go back this way. He was a little confused cause he was still on the phone haha. But I was just hoping the guy was still there and thankfully he was. But it was gonna be super awkward to go up to him and start talking. So I tried to pull it smooth and we went in and bought a candy bar haha. And then I approached him after we walked out of the store. I introduced myself and started telling him why I'm here and what not and before I could even finish, he interrupted me and was like, "when are we going to meet?" Haha it was pretty cool. We ended up meeting with him the next day and it turns out that he actually met with missionaries a few years back but just fell out of contact with them. But long story short, he accepted a baptismal date and is doing really great. I'm so thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and the divine guidance that we can receive. There really is no better feeling than following a prompting from the Spirit, because in that moment that you do, you know that you are doing exactly what God would have you do. It was such a good experience for me to have. I know that Heavenly Father is just waiting to guide us if he will just listen closely and then follow it. I'm so thankful for that. I'm also thankful that He is patient with us and lets the Holy Ghost prompt us more than once, for hard heads like me haha. Well, everything here is going really well! I love being a missionary and I am having some of the most amazing experiences of my life right now. I'm so thankful for this opportunity that I have to be here and to be serving. What a blessing! I love you all and hope that all is going well in your lives! You all mean the world to me and I pray for you daily. Have a great week and I can't wait to hear from you next week!

Love,
Elder Fairclough

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011

Hey everyone!

It was great getting all of your emails this week. I'm sorry again that last week was so crazy. But I've got lots to fill you all in on, as well as a lot of pictures to send out. I hope that it all goes through! It has been another amazing week here in Armenia. To start off, Louiza was baptized Saturday with her grandson Levon! It was such a good baptismal service. Louiza really is an amazing woman. Elder Cook baptized Louiza and Elder Smith baptized Levon and Elder Frye and I stood as witnesses for both baptisms. I had a really cool experience with this. Levon was baptized first so that Louiza could
watch and as he went back into the water I looked over to see Louiza's reaction, thinking she would have a big smile on her face. Instead I just saw tears fill her eyes and then she just put her head in her
hands. She never said she was scared of water but she just had a look of horror on her face. It was really sad. I didn't want other people to notice and make it a big deal, so I just inched closer to her and
started talking to her. I told her that she has great faith and that she has shown that faith so far, but that she needs to exercise that faith right now because we have to be baptized to live with our Heavenly Father again. I tell you this not because of anything special I did, but I truly felt like the Spirit was guiding my every word and that I said exactly what she needed to hear. It was such an amazing
experience. As I spoke to her she just picked up her head and told me that she was ready. That really strengthened my testimony of the Spirit and the importance of following the promptings when they come. Other wise I honestly would have had no idea what to say. We all know how I re-act to crying, just a smile and a pat on the back... not sure that would have worked out there haha. But it all turned out really well. Elder Cook was really quick with getting her down and up out of the water. And then she bore such a great testimony afterwards. I'm so happy for her! She had a big turn around from when we first met with her. In our first meeting it took forever to get her to accept a baptismal date, IF she found out it was true. But as we continued to meet with her and as she came to church each week, those concerns just melted away. It really was amazing to see the change that took place in her. The Church came out with these things called the fundamentals, which help us as missionaries focus on how to help our investigators receive revelation. The three things we focus on are revelation through prayer, reading the Book of Mormon, and church attendance. It was really cool because Louiza came to church every week since we started teaching her and just loved it every time. And she prayed
about Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon and told us that she received an answer about them both and that she knows they are true (that was a really powerful meeting). But her eyes are really bad and
she was unable to read for the most part. She needed to buy a heavier prescription glasses but had no money to buy them. She had read maybe 5 or so pages in however many weeks we had been meeting. And she had been expressing her desires to read with us and we knew she was sincere because of the tears that she had in her eyes as she told us how much she wanted to read but we didn't feel comfortable with her getting baptized only reading that much. But she just kept telling us she wanted to get baptized with her grandson. So as we were meeting with her, I felt prompted to promise her that if she prayed to the Lord and asked for help and showed her desires for reading but reading 5 minutes here and there that she could get baptized that next week with Levon. We wanted her to finish first Nephi by that time. We knew it would be really hard for her but that she would be blessed for her
efforts and gain an even stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon. And so she went ahead and got her interview and she passed but the missionary who conducted it said she needed to finsih first Nephi as well. But we felt really good about it all and we kept praying for her. And then when we saw her a couple days before her baptism, we asked her how her reading was going. And she told us that she had just found some glasses that were a heavy enough prescription for her eyes and she was a few chapters from finishing second Nephi! She then went on to explain with detail the things she had read. It was so cool. I know that that was a direct blessing because of her desires and faith. She kept telling us that she loves the Book of Mormon and how easy it is to ready and to learn from. Isn't she amazing?! I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to help such a prepared woman get on the path back to our Father in Heaven. I have been so blessed thus far in my mission. I'm not sure why but I'm so grateful for the things that I have learned from each of these people I have had the opportunity to work with. Sometimes I think I'm learning more from them than they are from me haha. I'm so happy for both Louiza and Levon and their desires to be baptized and follow Christ. Unfortunately, Louiza got sick and was unable to come yesterday. So she'll have to receive the Holy Ghost next Sunday. But I'll let you know how that goes! As for the rest of the work, things are going great! Christine is progressing really well and we are hoping for her to be baptized this month as well. I'll let you know how she is doing next week. We aren't sure if her interview will be this week or next but we'll know for sure by next week. Also, Elder Cook and I had a pretty cool experience this past week. So last week we were street contacting and we came across some teenagers that always mess with us. And I was just like oh
great, lets just say hi and keep walking. But Elder Cook stopped and started talking to them and some of them were listening but others were just saying stupid stuff. But we just testified, mainly Elder
Cook to be honest haha, and we got some of their contact information. I didn't think anything of it but we contacted them the other day and ended up meeting with them. We are focusing on their "ring leader" actually. He always gave us such a hard time and would just mess with us whenever we saw him, but when we met with him we just slowly saw their countenances change. It was amazing. We are going to try really hard to get them to be baptized. The "ring leader" actually accepted the baptismal invitation haha. I'm not sure if it will go anywhere but at any rate they like us now and don't give us a hard time haha. It is so cool how the Spirit changes hearts! And guess what?! This week I went on exchanges with Elder Steglich. I ended up going to their area in the city. Man, it is a different world
in the city haha. The work is going a little slower there so we spent most of our time on the street. Which is really good because being in Char most of our time is spent in meetings so I needed help in that area. It was really cool though because I got told a couple of times that I speak well. I was way pumped about that haha. I still struggle but it really meant a lot hearing that from an Armenian. But I had such a good experience with Elder Steglich. It was so great to be working by his side again. It was really interesting to see how much we have both made in this however long it has been. Time is just going by so fast! I can't keep track of it all. But it was really cool cause Elder Steglich was already a spiritual giant and amazing missionary but he has grown a ton since he became an assistant. And he kept telling me how much I've grown with the language and with leadership skills and what not. It was really great to learn from him again. We ate like kings there too! haha. They have Trix cereal in the city! I pounded a few bowls of that haha. The grocery store in the city is close to like a mini version of publix. Like a said, a different world from Charentsavan. haha. Anyways, it was really interesting the
differences between working in the city and Char too. It is a lot tougher in the city, but at the same time easier. It is easier in the sense that you don't feel like you are seeing and talking to the same people from the day before, as it is in Charentsavan haha. But harder in the sense that  people are a lot more liberal, for the lack of a better word. Like we talked to so many atheists on the street there, it was ridiculous! haha. It was really sad at the same time, cause you can just see that they are missing so much. I was glad we at least had the opportunity to testify to them that there is a God who loves them.
Another way it is more difficult is that the people are in more of a hurry and just don't want to talk at all some times. For example, Elder Steglich and I were walking to a meeting and I saw this guy and
his wife pushing their little kid in a stroller. And we didn't have time to stop them and talk but I was just like, I'm going to say hi to these people. So I looked at them and I smiled and I started to open
my mouth and the mom yelled at me in Armenian, "Don't smile, it's in vain!" hahahaha. I was a little shocked at first, but then I was just like alrighty then, I'm just going to keep walking haha. The charm
didn't work at all. Elder Steglich got a good laugh out of that one. I was just so surprised haha. Gotta love it. I hope I get to serve in the city at some point. I really enjoyed it. So overall, it was a really great experience to learn from and work with him again! And that is about it I think. I hope everyone is doing really well back home. I hope you all know that I love you and that you are in my prayers. You're all the best! I love you and can't wait to hear from you all again next week!

Love,

Elder Fairclough

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10, 2011

playing with armenian children

7 month mark
Dear Family,

How is everyone doing this week? Seems like you are all doing great from your emails. I've got a lot to tell you all this week and not a lot of time, so, I hope I can fit it all in! Well, the reason I don't have a whole lot of time this week is because we did a little bit of site seeing at the beginning of P-Day today. We went to this old fortress probably 20 or so minutes from here. All four of us elders here in Char went. So it was Elder Smith, Elder Frye, Elder Cook, and me. It was so cool. I took a ton of pictures and I attached some of them with descriptions at the end of this email. I hope you get them all. But as far as the fortress, it is just past a little village outside of Charentsavan and it is just a super old
fortress built into the side small hill/mountain type thing. It was about a 20 minute hike to the top and it was such a cool view at the top. When we got to the top we started exploring around it and we
found this tunnel that was carved into the hill/mountain. We got some really cool pics down there too. The tunnel led us down to the last level of the fortress. The best part about the whole little trip was when we got to the end of the tunnel, we were about 20 feet from an Armenian family's garden and house. They were out in the yard gathering all the walnuts from their yard. They were pretty surprised
when we popped out of this tunnel, but then they invited us over. They were just a super nice family. Man, I love Armenians! haha. I took some pictures with some of the kids by their home made basketball hoop haha. They invited us into their house and tried to feed us but we told them we were in a hurry to get back. It was such a sweet experience though. I haven't really been site seeing yet because I honestly didn't think we were close to anything in Charentsavan but I'm really glad we went. But for that reason, I don't have time to write you all personal emails this week. I'm really sorry. I didn't
think it would take as long as it did. I will have much more time next week though!
Also, Conference was amazing! I loved it so much. We watched it Saturday and Sunday at our Branch building while our Branch watched it in Armenian. It was really great cause since it was just us four, we could pause and rewind as much as we wanted. haha. I had some really great experiences with Conference though. I fasted and prayed a lot this past week to know what questions I needed to go to Conference with and by the end of Conference, just about every one of them was answered! It really was amazing. The questions I had were everything from personal to about the missionary work to being a zone leader. I love what Elder Anderson said a couple of Conferences ago when he talked about how none of the talks are planned and it always works out like a wonderfully played out orchestra...or something like that haha. I'm not sure if I can put my finger on a single talk as my favorite. There were so many that I loved. The entire Priesthood session was amazing. I liked all the talks from Conference but I felt like I could directly relate to each of the talks from Priesthood session. But I thought I'd share a few thoughts and parts that I really enjoyed from Conference. Elder Holland's talk from Priesthood session was by far one of my favorites. It was funny cause Saturday night I talked to Elder Steglich on the phone a little bit after reporting and we were talking about Conference and what not. And I asked him what his favorite talk was and his response, "Come on Elder Fairclough, you already know my favorite talk was the exact same one that was your favorite, Elder Holland's." I guess he knows me a little too well haha. But I loved the fire that he spoke with as he talked about
missionary work. I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary. It made me so happy when I read from your email last week, dad, that you and mom are planning on serving a mission. Words can't describe how happy that made me. Because I wouldn't trade a second of this away for anything in the world. This has changed my life in every possible way for the better and I know you two are going to be amazing missionaries when the time comes! For that reason, I especially loved when Elder Holland was talking about the need for more senior missionaries and when he said that grandparents need to stop hovering over their grandchildren and know that they aren't going to miss out on everything in just a few short months. Because being able to tell your grandchildren, "In this family, we serve missions.", will make a far bigger impact. There is nothing I want more than for
you to be able to tell my kids and London's and Rachel's, that in this family, we serve missions. And I really liked President Uchtdorf's talk from Saturday as well. I loved when he said, "Compared to God we are nothing, yet to Him we are everything." I know that that statement is true. I am thankful for that knowledge and the love that I have felt from God in my life. Because to Him, we really are everything.
I'm really looking forward to applying the things that I learned during this Conference. They also gave us a copy of all the sessions so I'm going to continue to watch them during my lunches so that I don't forget it all. I am so thankful for such righteous and worthy leaders that lead and guide us in this world today. I know that President Monson and the Apostles are called of God and are His mouthpiece on the earth today. I certainly felt the reassuring confirmation of that this weekend as I listened to them speak.
Everything is going really well with our investigators. Some really good news... Louiza will be baptized Thursday this week! I am super excited for her. It is going to be a really cool service too because Elder Smith and Elder Frye have been teaching her grandson and they are going to be baptized together. I will be sure to let you know how it goes and I will send some pictures next week as well. Our other investigators are doing well also. We are hoping to have Allah and Kristine ready for baptism this month as well. We've got some excited and busy weeks ahead! haha. I will be sure to keep you a little better updated as the weeks go on!
I'm sorry again that this is such a short email week. I always get a little stressed when I'm crunched for time to email you all and I've done by best to fill you all in on my week. I love you all so much and I am so thankful for all of your support and care! I hope you all have a great week and know of my love for each of you! Can't wait to hear from you all next week!

Love,
Elder Fairclough

P.S.
Elder Smith wanted me to tell you all hey... haha

Pictures
#1- The little Armenian Kids are super funny haha. I was spinning these kids in an office chair.
#2- Elder Smith and I on our 7 month day mark

P.S.S.
I'm going to have to send the rest of the pictures from today next week cause I've run out of time! haha. I'm sorry! But I'll be sure to send them with next weeks email. I love you all!

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011

Hey everyone!

How is everyone doing this fine week? It was great to get all of your
emails and hear that you all enjoyed General Conference this past
weekend. I can't wait to watch it! Well, we didn't end up going to
Sevan today, so I actually have more time today haha. We are thinking
about maybe going next week but I'm not sure yet. We'll have to wait
and see. Everything has been going great here in Armenia though! It's
hard to believe that I have been on my missions 7 months already! We
eat dinner with the other Elders on Sunday nights and Elder Smith and
I realized that yesterday was our 7 month mark. We took a picture and
everything haha. I'm sending it and some other pictures with this
email. Let me know if you get them!
Well, Charentsavan is going great. It got super cold out of no where
this week haha. It went from short sleeve shirt weather, to long
sleeve and a jacket in the matter of a day. I'm going to buy a winter
coat maybe this week or next. I'll let you know for sure when the
purchase goes down. As far as investigators go, things are going
really great! We've made so much progress with Louiza this past week.
She is hopefully going to get baptized next Saturday! She would get
baptized this weekend but because of Conference we are going to push
it back. She is doing so well though. She is so ready. We had some of
the most spiritual meetings of my mission with her. The other Elders
in Char are teaching her grandson and he is ready for baptism as well,
so they are going to get baptized on the same day. Pretty cool huh?!
I'm pretty excited haha. Louiza told us yesterday that she can tell
there is a difference with us and that we have a glow about us. She is
so pumped to be baptized with her grandson and to some day go to the
temple! Our other investigators are doing really well also. We are
hoping for Allah and Kristine to be baptized in the next couple of
weeks also. They are progressing well spiritually and we are starting
to notice changes in them. It is so cool to see that take place! I
wasn't able to see either of them very much this week because we went
on two exchanges this past week.
First, I went with Elder Frye, Elder Smith's companion, and then I
went with Elder Seegmiller. It was really great being with Elder
Seegmiller again. He's about 6 weeks out now and it was really cool to
see the progress that he has made, as well as myself. I had a really
great experience with him during our exchange. We were doing some
street contacting and we stopped and starting talking to this guy in
his 20s. He seemed like a nice guy and we did some testifying and then
he told he wanted to talk more and that we should go into the store he
works at and talk more. So we followed him in and we started talking.
It started out really nice and calm but the tides quickly changed
haha. He was asking about the Book of Mormon and we gave a brief
explanation and then I read the first paragraph of the introduction to
him. All of a sudden he started going off on us about how the Bible
says not to add anything on to it and a bunch of other stuff that I
did not understand. haha. I was probably understanding like 50% of
what he was saying, which makes it really hard to try to explain and
teach things that he doesn't understand. I got out a few words before
he walked us to the door, but basically I just got owned...haha. I
laugh about it now but I was really discouraged about it as we walkd
away because Elder Seegmiller was looking to me for help cause he
didn't really know what was going on. I just kind of realized that if
I don't understand than we aren't going to get anywhere. But I started
praying as we walked away. I was just just pleading with the Lord to
help me understand and speak. It wasn't five minute laters that a
group of three guys called us over, all about the same age. I was just
like oh great, not again. But as we walked over and started talking to
them, I was amazed at how much I was actually understanding. I do
pretty well with gospel topics but the everyday things are a little
more difficult. They were asking stuff like if I could send home for
an iPhone and give it to them for $300 cause it is more expensive
here. And they were asking stuff like if we have free days to be with
girls here, I'm really glad I understood that one haha. I didn't
understand or speak perfectly but I could tell there was a difference.
I know that that simple prayer was answered, not even 5 minutes later.
That just strengthened my testimony of our Heavenly Father. How he
really does hear our prayers and our pleads for help. I know that is
true for all of us. I am so thankful for that experience and the
strength that it has brought to my testimony. Since then, I feel like
the language has really been starting to improve. I'm finding it
easier to speak and to understand. I know that God knows each and
every one of us perfectly. He knows the things that we need and He
knows how to help us. I'm so thankful for the power of prayer. For the
opportunity and privelege we have to talk directly to our Father in
Heaven. I'm grateful that I can pray and express the desires of my
heart to Him. Much of the world here refers to prayer as burning a
candle in a dark and damp church building. But I am so thankful for
the relationship we are able to form and have with God. What a
blessing!
Thank you all for your emails this week. I'm so happy that you were
able to watch and listen from our Prophets this weekend. I can't wait
to share my thoughts with all of you this next week! I love you all so
much! Thank you for all of your support and love and care! You're the
best!

Love,

Elder Fairclough

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 27, 2011

Hey everyone!

How are things going this week? Sorry this is a day late this week. We went to do our emails yesterday but the internet was down in all of Charentsavan so we got permission to do our emails today. Luckily we still got our full p-day yesterday. I took a nice and long nap. It was amazing haha. Anyways, it has been another busy week here in Armenia. The work is going really great! I'll start out by filling you in on how some of our investigators are doing...
First off, Allah is doing so well! We've continued to teach her with Branch President and we've seen so much change in her. Before, she would refuse to the prayer in our meetings. Her response was always, "I can't, I can't. I'm not ready." But now she quickly accepts when we ask. We don't understand what she is saying cause it is in Russian but Elder Cook and I were just saying the other day how we can always feel the Spirit when she prays. During one of our meeting we were asking her about her reading and how she felt about it all and Branch President was translating. And I guess some stuff got lost in translation cause I started explaining the importance of having a testimony about Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon and Branch President interrupted me and was like, "Oh, she already said that she knows the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet." Haha I was like wow, that might have been an important thing to throw in there! It was a very pleasant surprise to say the least. haha. We are hoping for her, Luiza, and Kristine to all get baptized in the next couple of weeks! They are all doing so well. I'm just so impressed with Luiza. She makes such a sacrifice to come to church every Sunday. She hasn't missed a Sunday since we started teaching her. I have so much respect and admiration for people who make sacrifices like that on a weekly basis like she does. I know that she will be blessed for it. She is such a good example for all the other members here in Charentsavan who live 5 minutes from the building and don't come. Anyone who lives in Charentsavan can get to the building in 15 minutes. That's how small Charentsavan is! haha. I love it though. It is hard to believe that I've almost been here for 5 months already. I hope I get to stay here long enough to finish the teaching process with some of these people!

We picked up a guy this past week named Gayvork. He's a good guy. It was interesting caue we talked to him on the street a couple weeks ago and he wasn't really feelin it haha. But we were walking down the street the other day he yelled down at us from his little balcony to come talk to him. When we went up he told us that he isn't sure if he has much longer to live, apparently cause of some heart complications. But we were able to talk with him about our message and then invited him to be baptized, and he accepted! We'll see how things come along these next few weeks. It is amazing how God prepares people. I've really learned that nothing I do in missionary work is of myself. It is all about being someone The Lord can trust and being worthy to be someone He can work through. That is something I am working on and focusing on. I love being a missionary!
So, is everyone excited for General Conference this week?! Haha I've been counting down for a couple weeks now. Unfortunately, I've got to wait an extra week. It takes a translating team a week to translate all of Conference into Armenian. Luckily we get to watch it in English, otherwise I would get absolutely nothing from it haha. But they like for us to watch it at the same time as our branch so we will watch it the same time they watch it, just in another room. I'm so excited though! Our mission has a cd with a bunch of old Conference talks and devotionals on it. I listen to them in my free time. I'm so mad at myself for all the sessions that I have missed in the past couple of years. School dances could have waited and spring break could have waited. My priorities were a little out of whack. Luckily, that is not the case anymore! haha. I love hearing from our Prophets and Apostles. There is nothing more important than listening and following our leaders. President Monson truly is God's mouth piece on the earth today. I hope you all can watch all the sessions of Conference this weekend. I read an article in this last month's ensign that talked about a guy who shared his testimony about how we have a living Prophet and how we can listen to them every 6 months. And the nonmember asked the guy what they said most recently and the guy said that he couldn't remember a single thing. I thought about that personally and I probably would have had a similar response the last few years. It made me really sad. Well, needless to say, I'm going to write out some questions that I have right now in my life and I hope you all will do the same! I loved Elder Holland's talk at the end of last Conference, when he said that if you listen closely to every talk, the Spirit will speak to you and show you how the talk applies to you. Something along those lines haha. But that is so true! Plus, our Apostles and Prophets spend months preparing for us, so why shouldn't we prepare a little for them? haha. I'm so thankful for this Church and I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to hear from living Apostles and Prophets! This Church truly is lead by God through revelation. I know that to be true. I can't wait to hear those things that God wants us to know at this point in time. Let me know some of your favorite talks and I'll share some of mine the following week after I watch!
I love you all so much! Thanks for all that you do for me. Especially your support. I couldn't have asked for a better family! I hope you all have great weeks and know just how much I love you all! Can't wait to hear from you all next week!


Love,


Elder Fairclough


P.S.
Next week I'm not going to have very long for email. We are going to go to a super old church in Sevan (Sevan is the huge lake in Armenia). Apparently it is way cool and pretty. I'm going to take a ton of pictures and I'll send them the following week! Just heads up, cause I might only have time for a one big email. Sorry! I would still appreciate an email from you all if you have time though. I guess I'm kinda greedy huh? haha. I love you all!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 19, 2011

Hey everyone! How is everyone doing this week? It was great to hear from you all! You're all so great. Thanks for your support and words of encouragement and love. I love you all!

So, another great week has come and gone by here in Charentsavan. Everything is going really well though. Not a whole bunch of new stuff going on. Things are going really well with Elder Cook. We are getting more comfortable with each other and teaching well with one another. I'll start by telling you all a little bit about some cool experiences we had this week with some of our investigators. First off, Allah. She is doing really well. It has made a big difference meeting with her and our Branch President together. She doesn't look at us with a confused look as much anymore. We came to find out that she didn't know what the word for to repent in Armenian is and some other really important words like that...haha yeah that would not have been good if we had just kept going. But she is really doing well. I can really notice a change in her. She is offering to say the prayers now and stuff like. I love seeing that change in people! Never gets old. We had a really cool experience with her this past week. She had us come to her friends house to meet with her and we weren't expecting to really focus too much on her friend but as we started talking to them all we came to find out that her friend's husband and mother just died. It was really sad as she was talking about it. Her husband was just 28 years old and they have a son who is 4 or 5. After all the talking and learning about her, we didn't have a whole lot of time to teach but we were able to teach her some of the Plan of Salvation. She just sat there and cried. It really strengthened my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. She had so much despair and darkness in her life, and talking about the Plan of Salvation helped me see how much our Heavenly Father truly loves us. Our much hope and happiness and comfort there is in His plan for us. I'm really looking forward to meeting with her this next week. Next, Luiza. I'm not sure if I've told you much about her but she was a referral from a member in our Branch. She lives in a village about 20 km out of Charentsavan and she comes to church every week! haha. We can only meet with her Sundays after church because she is so far out. She is doing so great though. But when we met with her yesterday we had Alec come in the room with us because we can't be only with women. Alec usually goes off on little tangents in our meetings but usually it is for only a few minutes and then he just goes back to normal haha. Well, we were trying to teach Luiza a little about the Plan of Salvation and apparently Alec doesn't agree with the fact that our bodies and spirits will be resurrected together. Haha yeah, I have no idea. He's getting old. Anyways, he just went off for like 20 minutes. Like he just went nutso. I don't even know what to say. He seriously had like a crazy/restless look in his eyes haha. I was just like oh crap, I have no idea what Luiza is thinking. We tried calming him down and to get him to listen to us but he was just talking non-stop. But Luiza totally just calmed him down. She started talking about how we all just need to be more faithful and endure faithfully and stuff like that. I had no idea how strong she was cause she usually is just really quiet. It was so great! Alec just sat there quietly for the rest of the meeting. And then when the meeting was over, Luiza went up to him and asked him if he'd come to our meeting next week. It was so cool to see! Other than that everyone is doing really well. We are teaching Silva's daughter-in-law, Kristine, and she is doing so good! She has already read almost all of The Book of Mormon! I'll let you know how she progresses this next week. Everyone else is doing really great though! This week was just a busy week but way good. I'll let you know how everyone is doing this next week!
I don't really have a whole lot of other side stuff to share this week unfortunately. The mission as a whole has been in a little bit of a slump so President Carter raised the standards for meetings, new investigators, and people we talk to on the street in hopes of everyone proving to themselves that we can do better. It went really really well and everyone had a much much better week. But this last week was also probably the busiest of my mission as well. It was so crazy! I loved it though. My competitive side came out a little bit haha. We hit all the goals he set for us, except the number of people we talk to on the streets. We missed it by 4! haha. Its funny to see the little things that bring out my competitive side. haha. But I'm really looking forward to this next week and the work we have ahead of us. We are going to hit all of our goals this next week! Haha I'll let you know how it goes.
The language is coming along well. I am starting to notice a lot of things that I need to work on and at the same time, notice those things that I am doing well with. I still wish I could understand more and say more than I can but as they say here "kamatz kamatz" (slowly but surely). I had to give a talk yesterday in church. It went pretty well I think. I was pretty nervous haha. I spoke about missionary work and the importance of us opening our mouths as members of the church. I'm not sure if they understood or got the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I did my best! haha. I think things are going to start going really well with the language though. Even though it is super frustrating, I find a lot of joy in learning more. I just can't wait until the point when I can really express myself and say all the things that I want to say. I know that the hard work that I put in now will make it happen. There are a lot of missionaries that learn just enough of the language to get by and then they stop working hard. In my opinion, they miss out on so much. Learning this language has taught me the principles of diligence and putting my trust in the Lord. I have learned that as we are diligent and doing all we can, and then turn the rest over to the Lord and put our trust in Him, that is the moment when the blessings come. I know this to be true and I'm thankful for that simple fact. As I think of that, I look forward to working a little bit harder than I did the day before. I've been truly blessed because of this.
Well, I think that is about it for this week! I hope you all have amazing weeks! You are all so great. Thank you for all that you do for me and help me with! I couldn't do this without ya! I love you so much! Talk to you next week!


Love,
Elder Fairclough