Monday, August 14, 2017

Port Orford

Hello Everyone,

This past week was unique in the aspect that we finally found a way to make it to the second half of our area in Port Orford.  Port Orford is a small town of one and a half thousand who live about thirty miles south of Bandon, and it is surrounded by beautiful beaches, as well as Cape Blanco, which is the furthest traversable point on the American west coast.  We saw that we were going to land far under miles this month for our Chevy Cruz, so we went on down Friday and Saturday starting with the Branch President.  He was very nice and he gave us a few names to other members,who gave us further referrals until we ended up more or less visiting the entire active branch.  It was neat to see how that tiny branch operates as well as see an intense missionary spirit that was had among the members.

Teaching wise, we had several great experiences.  To start, while down in Port Orford we got to visit a man who has fallen into inactivity.  At first he was angry, but as we talked to him the anger quickly left, which led to a discussion where he admitted that he still believes in the Gospel.  It was great to see the Spirit work on him in a way that made him go from anger to wanting us to come back and teach his whole family, some of whom are not members.  The branch mission leader down there also helped out.  While trying to correlate with him, he decided the best thing he could do was take us straight to those he was going to refer.  This led to him introducing us to several people who are interested as well as giving me a great example of the kind of member missionary I hope to be.

We also met with Nancy again this week.  She had her grandchildren over as well as her daughter.  It was a chaotic lesson, but great to see how her entire family is supporting her in this change.  Every time we talk she points out the increased miracles she sees in her life and it has been awesome.  Then on Sunday we got to meet another investigator named David in a cranberry bog farm.  We got talking and he was super sincere and had true intent in the questions he was asking us.  In the end  he told us that he had learned a lot and it was a great lesson about enduring to the end.

Overall it has been a great week and will be awesome to see what follows.  Thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Lighthouse 

Name Tags


Monday, August 7, 2017

Be Well Prepared

Hello Everyone,

This past week we have had a couple miracles.  To start, this past Thursday we had two great lessons.  One was with a Jehovah Witness who ended up asking us a lot of questions.  The great part is that she really is interested in learning about our church.  While talking we had the chance to really show the extreme importance of the Book of Mormon and explain the importance of temples.  She seems to understand, and while we have a lot to work through going into the future, it will be a worthwhile ride.  One thing is for sure, she definitely has the ability to make sure that I know my scriptures well and that we need to be well prepared.

We also got to teach Nancy again.  All day she kept texting us asking interesting questions and telling us that she had a story she wanted to tell us.  As we went over she explained that the previous Sunday during the sacrament she prayed and asked if the Book of Mormon was true.  As she did that, she went to open the book and it fell straight to a verse in 2 Nephi 30: 6 that the Spirit was able to testify strongly of to her.  She is now learning so much so fast.  We put her on date, but if I had to guess she will be baptized long before that date with how well she is doing.  It is these kind of moments that really define a mission.

We also had exchanges with the zone leaders.  It was a good time and we had a knack to keep running into people who were willing to talk too us.  One thing I have learned is that if we get into a home of an older person is to be prepared to hear a life story, but it has been fun getting to learn from and see the Spirit work on these people before we even first meet them.  At the end of the exchange we had interviews with President Orton that went well.

It has been a great, Spirit led time out here.  Miracles are happening and I look forward to continuing to see how the work of the Lord moves forward.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

On splits with Elder Terry

Monday, July 31, 2017

Doing The Small Things

Hello everyone,

This week was another good week of missionary work out here in Bandon.  Overall, a lot has been the same kind of thing, as we go out and try to contact various people, as well as tract.  To start, on Wednesday evening, we were going out trying to have lessons and visit a few people, but over the course of the evening every door closed literally and figuratively until all we had left was a small street we thought we would try to tract.  As we drove down the street I felt prompted to start on a specific side, and it turned out that the very first door opened and was willing to talk.  We met a man who was sincerely looking for a religion that would fulfill his spiritual needs better than the one he was attending, and as we talked we gave him an interest and hope in ours, saying that he didn't believe it was a coincidence that we came when we did.  He still needs to get a go ahead with his wife before he lets us come over, but if all works this man will be taught very soon.  It was an amazing experience.

We also met with various less active members this week that Elder Pierce was able to connect with very well due to his military background.  We have met several Vietnam veterans, including a guy from the 101st Airborne Division for those history buffs out there.  Not all of them accepted, but there are now several families that want us to come by, have dinner, and teach them when they can make their schedules align.  It should be a good when the time comes.  We are trying hard to do this in order to help our branch president in his goal to get ten Melchizedek Priesthood holders reactivated in order to get closer to having this branch become a ward.  Our approach has been mainly focused on showing how doing the small things allows us to truly live the two great commandments, thus making God a larger role in their life.

It has been a good week and the coming week is looking promising as well.  Interviews with President Orton are coming, as well as an exchange with the Zone Leaders on Friday.  Miracles are happening and the work is moving forward.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

At the Beach

With the Bandon Lighthouse

Monday, July 24, 2017

Miracle

Hello everyone,

I would describe this past week with the word "miracle".  With all that has been happening at home which I am sure many of you have heard about, it has been amazing to see the Lord's tender mercies come in many various forms.  I am also now with Elder Pierce who is a great missionary and we have been having a great time so far.  Rather than go through the whole week I will describe just a couple of experiences.

On Thursday following dinner I felt impressed to go down a specific road to visit a potential investigator family.  On the way a man in a truck stopped and asked if we wanted a ride.  We didn't but we did get to talk.  The Spirit worked on him to tell us that he was actually an inactive member and explained his whole story about how he felt forced into the church.  This led to us being able to share a powerful testimony about how now he has the chance to choose for himself to join the church, and he can do that by reading the Book of Mormon.  In the end he said that he didn't know why he felt prompted to stop, but that we gave him the best reason he has yet been offered to read the Book of Mormon.  He then accepted a copy, had us sign and put our emails into it, and then promised in a sincere way that he will read it.  He is a tourist and we won't see him again in all probability, but it was an amazing experience.

Another experience like this happened again on Sunday.  It was very windy and our moral was fairly low, but we went out anyway not knowing quite sure of what we were going to do.  We ran into a couple near the church whose car had died on them. At first they acted weird towards us, but over time they softened up, talked about how they always loved the people they see in our church, found ways we connected to them personally, and said that they want a church that expects people to actually change and repent.  I think that we can answer that request. In the end they made us promise to drop by their home this upcoming week and we are super excited to go on over.

These kind of experiences are just a taste of what true missionary work is like.  Often times the Lord will put people in our way who are ready, we just need the faith to go out and work.  As long as we rely on the Lord and not our own wisdom, new paths open up and the work of the Lord progresses, not just for others but for ourselves as well. This is why it is important to always fulfill your callings,
especially home teaching.  In the end it all leads to the same source and that source is what grants to us Salvation.  Thank you for all of the support and love,

Elder Baxter

With Elder Pierce

Circles in the Sand

Monday, July 17, 2017

Simple Teaching Moments

Hello everyone,

This email will be a little shorter due to how transfers went today, but the past week has been good. The real highlights of the week came from simple teaching moments.  To start, on Wednesday we taught a young mom with her kids listening in from a different room.  When we first entered the house, our initial thoughts were that this wasn't going to go well, but over the course of teaching the Spirit really worked on her.  It was amazing to us to as the Spirit also showed us what Heavenly Father thought of them as well.  By the end they accepted a soft baptism invite and it was awesome to see.

We also taught several other people as well.  The focus ended up being the Restoration as well as baptism.  It is truly a blessing to see how the Gospel can influence everyone for good, regardless of who they are.  I will go into a little more detail next week.

Today was transfers and I am staying in Bandon.  My new companion is Elder Pierce and I had to go on into Roseburg to pick him up which is why I am out of time.  It should be a good week and thank you for all for the support!

Elder Baxter

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mission Adventures

Hello everyone,

It was a busy week the past week.  To start, Tuesday was chaotic across the city of Bandon for the Fourth of July.  Everyone who lives here left, and everyone else from Oregon came here, making for large crowds of tourists passing through the town.  The morning started with attempting to talk to people at a parade, but we came twenty minutes late and it lasted for only fifteen minutes, so we completely missed it.  While we were there though, we came across the bishop of one of Elder Bushman's old wards.  He invited us over for dinner and gave a couple referrals which was awesome. Continuing through the day we ended up walking through most of the city of Bandon meeting various members from around the state as well as from Utah.  We then had two lessons with recent converts, and then ended up having two BBQ dinners.  Life is very interesting food wise as a missionary I have to say!  That night we then watched the fireworks from our apartment.

On Wednesday we had an exchange with the zone leaders.  I was with Elder Terry who has been in my previous zones, and we had an interesting experience.  We decided to go tracting, and the very first door we knocked on we talked to a guy who went from "not interested" to "I guess I would have to read that book of yours," while talking to him.  He then asked us to help him with a project where we would help him put up a fence.  We said yes, but did not realize how big the project was.  We came to the spot and it turned out he was splitting apart full tree trunks for the posts, and was using hydraulic machinery to dig holes and move the trunks around.  We helped out the best we could and in the end he said that he had massive respect for us.  It was a cool, but unusual door we knocked on for sure.  After that we switched back to our normal companions again for a hour.  While the zone leaders were doing their thing, my companion was driving and ended up accidentally cutting someone off.  That resulted into a chase where the guy pursued us for a couple miles around empty city streets until we finally lost him.  Wednesday definitely had a few adventures.

Thursday we got to meet President Orton.  We ended up doing a question and answer kind of meeting just getting to know him, and then had mini interviews following that.  He is a very nice man who is pretty calm. I support him as my mission president and I look forward to seeing what happens.  The rest of the day was pretty normal.  On Friday though we got to go out and do an emergency service project for a widow in the branch.  She was moving next door and the branch desperately needed more help.  Over the course of the next few days up until this morning we went on over and helped bring over her stuff, and she had a lot of it.

Finally on Sunday I got to give a talk in church about John 11-15.  Nancy, our main investigator, came.  At the end of sacrament she said that she was going to make sure that she comes to every church meeting on Sunday from this point forth.  That was a pretty cool experience to see the Spirit work on her like that.  She mentioned hard things have been happening ever since she started to talk to us which means that this must be one powerful church to get the devil that angry.  Finally, he rest of the day we went out and found a couple new people to teach and finished the day strong until Elder Bushman accidentally broke his iPad screen at a dinner appointment.

Thanks for all the support everyone and know that the work is moving out here!  I know that as we open our mouths we will be able to say the things that will help others come to Christ and that is our biggest duty as members.

Elder Baxter

Tag Sandcastle 

Fun in the sand

Monday, July 3, 2017

Small and Simple Things

Hello everyone,

This week was another average week of missionary work.  The main highlights included a lot of service in various places, as well as a few great lessons and an exchange.  To start on the service side of things, the senior couple, the Woolley's, were gone for a funeral most of the week, so us missionaries got drafted into all of the projects they signed up for.  This included packaging frozen dinners at a local food place in the community center, digging large holes and transporting plants for an older lady moving next door, and serving people lunch.  The service took a while, but people definitely are seeing the missionaries helping the community which will ultimately cause them to trust us more.  The work should go back to normal next week, and we did still have plenty of time to knock doors this last week as well.

The exchange that happened took place in a nearby town called Coquille, with my district leader Elder Finlinson as well as his companion Elder Wikan.  It was a fun time and we contacted quite a few people and invited several less active members to come back to church. Coquille is a very hilly town that involved a lot of tiring walking. Towards the end of the exchange we then ran into some members who we knew from Medford that were coming through.  On the note of random people stopping by, since Bandon is such a huge tourist town we have come across many members from Utah stopping by, as well as a member of the mission presidency, President Cropper, coming to church while at a family reunion.  Bandon is the place Oregon comes to for vacations.

Finally we had a couple great lessons.  One was with a woman named Nancy where we talked about the Restoration.  The discussion turned to her talking about how she sees a light and difference between members of our church and others, and how she wants that for herself and her family.  She hasn't committed to baptism yet, but as time goes on and she learns more I believe she will definitely make it.  We also talked to several less active members, and taught about the importance of faith to others.  It has been great seeing the Gospel of Jesus Christ bless others, even if it is only in small ways at first.  Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Thank you for all of the support and have a great Fourth of July!

Elder Baxter

From last week's zone activity