Wednesday, October 26, 2011


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!

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!


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!

Elder Fairclough

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

#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

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
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


Elder Fairclough