Monday, January 15, 2018

A Good Week for Missionary Work

Hello Everyone,

This week was a good week for the missionary work here in Santa Clara 6th.  To start, we got to help with several service opportunities with our district leader, Elder Henley, stocking food at a food bank, as well as, folding and storing donated clothes for the homeless on Wednesday. Service is always a fun time to do a different kind of missionary work, where it truly is all about being charitable.

Going on to the teaching side, we had several miracles happen this week.  Last Sunday a woman in the ward came up to us and said that we need to come to her home and baptize her daughter, so this past week we got to come and get the process started!  It started with a dinner where we got to talk to the father about his time as a missionary, and then we got to teach the girl named Haley, about baptism.  At the end of it she accepted a date to be baptized on February 10th which is right at the end of the transfer.

The other small miracles happened on a split with our ward mission leader, as well as an exchange with our zone leaders.  With our ward mission leader we were able to go out and have several lessons, one with an old investigator we  had set up, as well as, one with a part member family the ward mission leader had set up.  They both went very well, and we have high hopes to go back and teach the part member family.  On exchanges, we were also able to find several people to teach, including a sweet old man who left the church at a very young age but still reads from the Book of Mormon all these years later.  We got to teach a powerful Restoration lesson with him and it was fun to see.  Finally, on Saturday Elder Daugherty and I found his first solid new investigator, from talking to her outside of her apartment.  It was a great confidence builder for him and I hope that it goes somewhere!

The work is moving forward, and at this time as we pass from one prophet to another, I would invite everyone to really study the decision made and to gain a witness from the Holy Ghost for their self.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Exchange with the zone leaders

District meeting

Monday, January 8, 2018

Crazy Week

Hello Everyone,

This was my first week in the Santa Clara 6th ward, and it has been a crazy week.  To start, following last p-day, we came into Corvallis the night before to be part of a Zone prayer and transfer journal signing.  On Wednesday the craziness began.  When I arrived to the transfer spot I got to tag along with Elder Hoskins as well as another Elder for a few hours while I waited for the Springfield zone leaders, who I would spend the day with.  We went all over the city, running a few errands for the mission office.  The day ended pretty normally though.  Then on Wednesday we did service in the morning, had a large trainer meeting with various members of the mission presidency, got to meet the new missionaries, and then I went to the hospital with the zone leaders to help out a missionary who had to go to the emergency room.  Overall, it was a crazy day and writing shortly like this doesn't do it justice.

Thursday I got my greenie, Elder Daugherty.  He is from West Point Utah and it was fun to get to start showing him the ropes of missionary work, as well as see his new missionary energy.  I think that miracles will occur this transfer.  We also got to start meeting the ward leadership, and all signs have shown me that they all want to engage in the missionary work, which will be great for us.  In fact, one mom already came up to us and told us that we need to baptize her daughter.  I think that we can help with that!

The area I am in is a richer part of the neighborhood.  While out trying to contact those that the Sister missionaries had met with before, we came across several mansions and nice neighborhoods.  It will be interesting seeing how the work will progress in this area.

While we are starting with a humble beginning in the area, I believe that we will be blessed and good things will begin to start for this ward.  The people here are good. I'll write to you all next week and thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

With Elder Daugherty

A text picture from a dinner appointment 
that they sent home.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Goodbye to Newport

Hello Everyone,

This week was my final week in Newport.  On Friday I got transfer news that I will be opening an area in the Santa Clara stake in Eugene in the 6th ward.  I will also be training next transfer, so I will not be figuring out who my trainee will be until Thursday morning.  Honestly, this next transfer has me a little nervous, a lot of responsibility is being put on me to get this area going, but if President and the Lord feel I can do it I will go and do my best!

As far as how the week went, we finished Christmas playing trivia games and doing dinner with the same family we did Thanksgiving with.  The following few days were pretty standard days in the mission field.  Elder Law and I have really done our best to go out and try to visit and update our records of all the less active members in the area.  So far we have found at least fifty people who have moved out as well as a host of reasons on why people don't want to come back.  Overall, the experience has made me want to really make sure I keep on reading the Book of Mormon every day through my life and not fall into the trap many of these people have fallen in.  In it all though, we did find a young couple that wants to learn more about the church that Elder Law will teach in the future as well as help cut down a tree for another less active member.

Teaching wise, we finished the commandments with Shannon and got to start teaching the Laws and Ordinances.  The lessons have been very solid, and we were able to start figuring out many of the details relating to her baptism in a couple weeks.  It has been nice seeing her progress as well as seeing the ward really rally around Shannon.  Then this Sunday was mostly spent with me saying good bye to many of the people I got to work with, members and nonmembers.  It will be bittersweet leaving the coast, but I know that there is someone waiting for the message of the Gospel in Eugene that I am suppose to touch. 

Thanks for all of the support!
Elder Baxter

When they leave the area 
they get to write their name on the wall

Saying goodbye


'til we meet again

Goodbye coastline 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas and the Atonement

Merry Christmas everyone!

I don't have a whole lot of time to write this week, but I will share what I can.  This past week was the slow build up for Christmas.  We got to share the Christmas story to several part member families, and combine it with the importance of the Atonement.  It was awesome to see these people make connections and grow a greater appreciation and faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement.  We also were able to teach Shannon.  She has now finished the first four lessons and is extremely willing to live all of the commandments.  She shared to us her strengthening conversion and showed how she feels the Spirit.  Each time I go over to teach her I feel like that my own faith grows from just seeing her faithfulness.  It is such a blessing from my Heavenly Father to have the chance to teach her.

Outside of the teaching front, we also had exchanges with the zone leaders here in Newport.  One of them has a super nice camera and took amazing pictures that will be used on Facebook and this blog, and outside of that it was a good time.  At the end of that day I had the chance to conduct a baptismal interview for a couple that the Sisters are teaching in Waldport.  It was an amazing experience and those people are more than ready and excited for their baptism.  It is such a privilege to be able to be included in that part of the teaching process.

On Christmas Eve we delivered chocolate Rolo cookies, that Elder Law and I made the night before, and delivered them to various investigators and members.  They continue to be a hit!  We had Christmas Eve dinner with the family of the little girl we are teaching, and then had a Zone testimony meeting.  Finally today I had the chance to Skype my family (got to love technology), and watch the Lego Batman movie with some members for Christmas from a list of approved movies from our mission president.

Thank you for everything that has been done to support me on the mission.  It has made a world of difference and I can't thank you all enough.  This Christmas season, lets go and serve others just as Christ would have us do, and thank you for all of the support!

Merry Christmas!
Elder Baxter

On exchanges

Christmas Eve

Skyping with family

Mom's best Christmas gift

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

True Christmas Message

Hello Everyone,

This past week was a good week for service and teaching.  Service wise, we have had several members move in the ward, and each time us missionaries have been called in to help out the poor High Priests out.  Fortunately, we have had great weather for the past two weeks which has allowed life to feel nicer and allow these moves to go smoothly.  We also had Zone Conference this week with the Corvallis, Eugene, Santa Clara, and Springfield zones.  I was able to see many of my previous companions and other missionaries I knew which was nice.

Outside of that, teaching has been great.  Shannon has advanced in the Gospel very well.  We discussed the Word of Wisdom and found out that she was already living the complete commandment, along with many other things she is doing that shows she is ready for the Gospel.  It has been awesome.  We also got to teach a young girl referred to us from Sister missionaries in Las Vegas.  She is from a family returning to church, and we were able to put her on date as well as see the family attend church which has been awesome.

The work is good, and getting to spread the true Christmas message has been a great blessing.  Talk to you all soon and have a merry Christmas!

Elder Baxter

Zone Conference

Monday, December 11, 2017

Using Up Miles

Hello everyone,

This week has involved a lot of traveling around the area.  To start, on Wednesday we had the adventure of getting called down to Waldport, by the assistants to the president, to help set up an apartment for a senior missionary couple moving in.  It was a fun, random move, but it forced us to move our schedule around and use a lot of miles on our car.  I get the feeling that will bite us later, but hey, that new apartment sure is nice!

Thursday we had district meeting, then that night we got to drive into Corvallis for interviews the following day.  When we got there, we found out that the Zone Leaders had some other Elders over that day for an exchange as well, making for an interesting night in the Zone Leaders place.  We then had interviews which were as good as usual, and then worked in Toledo for a while.  We finished out the day by helping our ward mission leader set up for the ward Christmas party.

Saturday was a normal day of missionary work.  It ended with the ward party.  In it Santa came and we got a photo next him!  He wouldn't take our Book of Mormon unfortunately, haha.  And then following the dinner our ward mission leader engaged in a large musical number, complete with a great funny dance for the twelve days of Christmas. It was pretty great, and Guillian and his mom managed to make it to the party.

Sunday was also good, with the highlight being meeting with many of our investigators that day, who also came to church.  The best lesson was with our on date, who is now locked in with the Relief Society president and is so awesome.  It is a miracle that is fun to be apart of.  Then today we had Elder Kellerstrass and his companions come on over to Newport for p day and spend some time on the beach.

The work is progressing and is continuing to build up.  Thank you for all the support and merry Christmas!

Elder Baxter

A picture from last week

This year's tree

Ward Christmas dinner set up

Monday, December 4, 2017

Go Out and Light the World

Hello Everyone,

This past week has been a blur.  To start, Elder Law and I went out to try to really make contact with everyone we hadn't really met with, and we did it.  We knocked on a lot of doors and figured out their stories, who has moved, who remains, and their interest level.  It has been a crazy but good time really, going and working hard out here in the Newport area.  Through it all we have had several miracles.

Some of those came in the form of learning about future people we will teach, from part member households, including a girl being taught by the Elders in Las Vegas and a man who is awesome at many different kinds of musical instruments.  Others came from referrals we received from other missionaries, but the biggest one came from a referral from Utah.

A couple of weeks ago we set up a lesson with her and it finally happened this week.  As we went over we found that she was more than prepared to learn, with a huge notebook ready.  She loved what she has heard and says it all sounds true.  In the past week we have taught her the Restoration and Plan of Salvation, seen that she has read through 1st Nephi, is praying, and attended all three hours of church!  On Sunday during our second lesson we put her on date for January 13th.  I may be transferred out by that date, but early signs show that she will make it.  It is a true blessing to meet those the Lord has prepared.

The work is progressing, and to all those at home, go out and light the world!  The best way to come to know Christ is by following His example and serving others.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Tag picture of the week

Package from home

Making Tamales for P-day
The sister on the left is also from A.F.