Wednesday, November 30, 2011


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!


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!


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!

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!


Elder Fairclough