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!

Elder Fairclough

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!


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!

Elder Fairclough