Monday, February 19, 2018

Change of Plans

Hello Everyone,

The best way to describe this week is that it was the kind of week where the Lord looks at what we plan, and then takes it and gives us something completely different.  Going into the week, we had more or less set lesson every day of the week which is great for the area, but as time went on every single one of those lessons with the exception of one fell through.  But in most of those cases we were always led to someone who needed us more.  I will tell about about a couple of those stories.

One of those happened on Thursday.  We were going to have a lesson with a part member family we have been working to get a lesson with, but a half hour before the appointment they texted us to cancel due to the flu.  Unsure of what to do, we felt we needed to go back to a street that we had only half tracted earlier in the day due to time.  This time we started on the other half and went from house to house getting various kinds of rejections, until we reached the last house we didn't get to knock on earlier.  Right when that door opened the man warmed up to our message immediately.  While talking, it became evident to us that the Lord had been preparing him, and that the Lord maneuvered our plans so we would knocked at that house at the exact time we did, so we could catch him and introduce the Gospel to him.  We go back to his home tomorrow.

On Friday another story happened that was very similar.  We were to have a lesson with another new investigator who fell through on us.  We decided to look at our area book and contact a few former investigators nearby, which led to us finding a young mother.  Then on Saturday lessons fell through again, but this time we were prompted to visit the part member family from earlier and essentially get them all to start thinking about goals to reach baptism and ultimately being sealed in the temple.  They have a lot of work to do to get there and nothing is final, but it was great to be involved in these miracles.

Ultimately this is the Lord's work and not ours.  All God asks of us is to have a willing heart, step outside our door and do our best. When we do that, the Lord can take whatever plan we have made and change it to something that truly reflects His will.  Thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Monday, February 12, 2018

Baptismal Witness

Hello Everyone,

This week I got to witness the first baptism of someone I have taught!  In the past, I got to Skype the various people following the baptism, but this time I had the privilege of getting to see the actual event.  What I learned overall though is that I am just happy that she made the decision to be baptized ultimately, and whether I am there or not doesn't make too much of a difference.  The baptism and confirmation occurred on Saturday, where we were the witnesses, in charge of the part of the program while they got dried off, and were able to be in the confirmation circle.  It was a good, spiritual event, that was very well attended, by their family as well as ward members.  I am very excited for them!

The rest of the week was spent doing much of the same.  One fun story came when I had my district leader give me a haircut.  Over the course of it he ended up having some trouble and probably messed up, but didn't tell me, haha.  Due to it, he had to change my hairstyle, basically changing my life.  On the plus side a lot of various people have complimented my hair, I just hope it was real and not being nice!

We got to teach a bunch of various lessons this week, that went very well.  Teaching the part member family is going very well, though their progress is slow.  We have also had some small other updates on others we are hoping to more fully teach soon.  It is a slow grind, but when it gets going it will be great!

Now I am entering another transfer.  I am staying with my companion, finishing up his training.  We also have a temple trip this transfer sometime in March.  Training has been fun and the mission is awesome.  As I come another step closer to the end, I hope to endure to the end well and truly invite all to come closer to Christ.

Thanks for all of the support!
Elder Baxter

Baptism Day

Valentine package from home

Loving the castle entrance to this home

Monday, February 5, 2018

Everyday Adventures

Hello Everyone,

To start off the week we had Zone Conference, where they focused on the importance of the "Book of Mormon," as well as more training on how to do online proselyting.  It was a great meeting as usual, and at the end we got to have some time to talk to other missionaries and past companions which was great as well.  Unfortunately, the meeting went long which caused us to miss a lesson we worked hard to set up.  When we got back we raced on our bikes to at least apologize for not meeting with them and barely met them before they left for dinner.  All is well though and they completely understand.

Wednesday we had another exchange to help out our district leader, followed up with a lesson with Haley our on date.  We finished up teaching her the commandments in a lesson, as well as prepared her for her baptism interview.  Fast forward to Saturday, she successfully passed her interview and is ready to be baptized his coming Saturday! Haley and her family are awesome and it is easy to tell that their faith is stronger now than it was before the lessons.

We also had several other great lessons, including one with a family named the Whites.  We got to bring a member who worked at the MTC and they really hit it off, which was followed up with a great Restoration lesson, where they showed great sincerity and great questions.  The Spirit was so strong, making it a great lesson.  We also got to teach a different inactive member again and teach about the Sacrament.  Through the lesson it was easy seeing the Gospel click for him in many ways.

Overall, teaching is great and everyday is an adventure.  As I go around on my bike to appointments, I am very thank for the opportunity I have to be out here and all those who made it possible.  Thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Not something Carlton sees much of!

Look a street with my name!

Playing my favorite game, Memoir '44

Monday, January 29, 2018

Seeing the Miracles

Hello Everyone!

This week was a pretty normal week on my end, with a lot of finding to help fill out our area book as well as several lessons and an exchange.  On Tuesday we had another lesson with our on date investigator, unfortunately the lesson didn't go as smoothly as we hoped.  One of the members we brought ended up going way too deep and decided to talk about a bunch of semi doctrine things while we tried to discuss the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson.  Fortunately, it all went way over our investigator's head and after the member left the parents told us they understood what happened and will help her know what we were trying to say.  Still, fun times!

Throughout the rest of the week we battled to get our lessons to actually go through with varying amounts of success, but in the end we were able to get several new investigators including a super nice part member family as well as a husband to another investigator that we found a week or two ago.  We also got our bikes fully working!  Elder Daugherty was able to get a bike from the mission office which we were able to take over to a member to get all fixed up.  Ever since then we have been able to move around our area so much easier, not to mention use all the bike friendly lanes that Eugene is famous for.

We had an exchange on Friday with our district leader and nothing too out of the ordinary happened outside of one miracle.  We got to go to a lesson with one of their on date investigators who was struggling with coffee.  While there we were able to convince her to throw out all her coffee, which she then poured out onto her garden to "feed" the plants to justify throwing it out.  It was great to see much of the work those Elders have been trying to accomplish go through and see the miracle.

Finally yesterday we had regional conference where Elder Christoffersen spoke over the satellite about the need to fulfill our callings, and then had a great lesson with an inactive member about the Plan of Salvation and how to feel the Holy Ghost.

Thank you everybody for all the support and talk to you all more next week!

Elder Baxter

Finally able to use my bike!

P-day game time

Monday, January 22, 2018

Book of Mormon Give Away

Hello Everyone,

This week was another crazy week out here in Eugene.  To start, on Tuesday we got to watch the message from the new first presidency.  We were gathered together as a zone along with President Orton.  The internet wasn't working so we just listened to the messages that were spoken off President's phone.  Despite the technical difficulties though, it was a great experience to see President Nelson as well as have a chance to pray about it afterward and strengthen our testimonies.  Following the message and press conference we had our interviews with President Orton and had a normal day.

We had two lessons with the girl we are teaching, finishing up the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation.  They have gone well and it has been fun to come up with various object lessons to teach her about various principles.  We also learned that the Dad is a world war historian and showed us an original Nazi helmet and Hitler youth knife that his grandfather gave him that he got home from fighting in Europe.  Being a world war history nut myself, I thought it was awesome!

On Thursday our zone handed out Book of Mormon's to hundreds of people who went to see the Book of Mormon play.  It was a blast being able to go and grab ten or so Books at a time and then just start handing them out to unsuspecting audience members as they left.  Some other Elders got so into it that they even started to hand them out to people in their cars as they started to drive away.  As a mission we gave out 3000 Book of Mormons this week at the play, now here's hoping that someone in that group will want to learn more!

The next couple days were pretty normal until Sunday night.  Our District Leader, Elder Henley, went on a split with us around 8 pm and for the night.  A while earlier he injured his foot putting him on crutches, so that night when his companionship had their turn to go to the play he stayed with us while his companion went with another companionship.  While we were finishing up the night, we got many doors saying no and not letting us get anywhere, but the final door we knocked on was different.  A man opened the door and at first he looked extremely angry, but as we shared the message of the Restoration his heart softened.  In the end he accepted a Book of Mormon and said we could come back.  It was a great way to end the week.

Thank you for all of the support and make sure to go out and serve others!

Elder Baxter

Nazi memorabilia 

With Elder Daugherty

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.