Monday, April 23, 2018

Chance To Teach

Hello Everyone!

This week saw a couple more miracles among the people we had the chance to teach.  To start, Elder Daugherty and I had the chance to finish up the commandments lesson with one of our main investigators.  Following the lesson we asked him about how he feels about baptism since the last time we discussed him doing so.  As a result he told us that now he feels like it is something that he can and needs to do, so we were able to put him on a baptismal date for tentatively May 19th, with the expectation that the date will change once he figures out various scheduling details.  Teaching him has been so natural and Spirit led, and it was an amazing feeling to see him progress up to this point.    The only problem now comes from him moving out of our area before the date to a nearby ward, but either way he will be baptized!

Another update I would like to give comes from the part member family that we are teaching.  They have a very young daughter that has a ton of energy.  Because of this, during a lesson we had it was very difficult to keep everyone’s attention and the Spirit was not as strong as it could have been.  At the end though the less active member father who had a recent surgery limped into the room and asked for a blessing to alleviate the pain.  Elder Daugherty anointed and I blessed.  At this point the children immediately became reverent and the Spirit filled the room.  Following the blessing he told me that the pain started to leave immediately.  It was very much a testimony building experience.  His entire family was also able to come to church this Sunday, as well as the investigator from the first story.

Outside of these events, I also had an exchange and interviews with President Orton.  While the mission is getting closer and closer to the end the work is moving forward in power and authority.  I know that this Gospel is true, and thank you everyone who has helped and supported me to allow these experiences to happen.

Elder Baxter

On Exchange

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Miracle To Watch

Hello Everyone,

This week we had several different miracles occur with some of our investigators.  The first one I will mention happened on Tuesday with one of our main investigators.  We went in planning to teach the Word of Wisdom, and up to this point our investigator had been really good at keeping his commitments.  As we talked about this commandment he quickly connected to it and said he would live it.  The part that was great to hear however was a story he told us.  When he first began meeting with us back in January he was apparently smoking and we didn’t know.  Over the course of meeting with us though he gave up that habit within the first month and lost all desire to smoke.  Over that time period the word of wisdom was never brought up once and when we taught about it he had no real understanding of what it even was.  The Spirit is clearly working with him.  Then later during the week he came to church for the first time surprising us, and is now seriously considering baptism.  I am excited to see where he continues to progress!

One other story I will mention comes from a part member family we are teaching whom are on date for baptism in May (fingers crossed!).  The member in the family is the father and he had to go in for a surgery this week.  We were able to help rally the ward around them and help them out with all that we could.  This resulted with at least their kids coming to church which has been one of our largest hurdles with them.  We also learned that the mom got an answer that the Book of Mormon is true, and were able to see the family truly start to progress.  It has been small and simple things that have led to these points with both of these families I just discussed, but the end result is true conversion and that is the miracle to watch.

Thanks for all of the support!
Elder Baxter

Out doing the work of the Lord

Walking the Area


Monday, April 9, 2018

Lessons, Storms and Tracting

Hello Everyone,

This week was characterized by lessons, storms, and tracting.  On Tuesday we had a lesson with one of the part member families we have been teaching for a while.  We watched President Nelson’s Sunday morning talk on revelation and discussed it afterwards.  It was a great lesson that led to talking about how they want to be sealed and how he is close to deciding to be baptized.  It has been a long time coming, but it has been awesome watching the Spirit slowly work on their family.  Now we just need to get them to church!

In the end, we actually managed to get a lesson set up for every day of the week which is a huge improvement for this area.  We are doing our best to help people overcome challenges such as Sabbath day worship and the Word of Wisdom.  They are progressing line upon line, but seeing the small improvements over time has been a blessing.

The weather this week has been crazy.  Every other day has been a rain storm, and the other day is a nice sunny day.  On Saturday we even got a nice and strong 40-50 mph winds that made the rain fall sideways on us and knock over a few trees in the morning before we went on out.  It was a crazy time where we got absolutely drenched.  Reminds me of the Newport weather!

One final miracle I will mention happened on Sunday.  All week we had been trouble finding a new investigator.  As we went for one last tracting session we were both really hoping for a miracle.  The first few doors we knocked were not interested, but by the time we knocked our way around the street one last door opened right up to us and let us come in and share our message.  We were unable to get him to commit to a return appointment, but it was a tender mercy for sure.  The Lord does bless us, but it is always in his way and time.  Thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Wild and Wet Weather

Monday, April 2, 2018

Easter and General Conference

Hello Everyone,

I hope that you all had a great Easter and General Conference weekend, I know that I did!  The bulk of this week was spent with lessons cancelling, and us going out and continuing to nail down our area book.  One miracle that occurred though was one of the first people I found in the area, who has been gone for a month, has come back.  We knocked on his door, but no one was home.  As we were going to leave his apartment though, he pulled straight up and came home.  We hadn’t knocked his door in weeks, and the timing of it all truly was a miracle.  We were able to teach him again Friday night and see him commit to watching conference this weekend.  And what a conference it was!

We spent conference on one of our tablets connected to WiFi, except for the Priesthood session and Sunday morning session which we spent with the same member family.  Overall though, this was a great final conference for the mission.  I could probably go on for a while about the various things I have learned, but one thing that is for sure is that President Nelson really is a prophet and as we follow him we will be blessed.  Stay close to the Spirit, seek for unity, and keep the commandments.

Thank you for all of the support!
Elder Baxter

Baxter Street

Easter Package from Home

Easter/April Fool's Day Breakfast
Waffles with ice cream toppings

A yummy April Fool's joke.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Make Every Moment Count

Hello Everyone,

Nothing too crazy happened following the temple trip this past week.  We had several lessons with two of our families who are making great progress towards coming to church, as well as living the word of wisdom.  Outside of that, most of our week was spent going out and trying to make contact with those whom have had previous contact with the missionaries.  It has been a slow process trying to meet everyone and gage their interest level, but it will pay off soon.

One story that came from this past week was that I was able to see one of my past companions, Elder Hoskins, again.  He goes home this week and he is one area over from me, so we decided to do dinner.  It was a cold and rainy bike ride but it was nice to be able to say gooddbye and realize how close to the end I really am.  One thing I know I am going to try to do is really make every moment count and go out and really do my best these last two transfers.

I know that this Gospel is true.  Joseph Smith was the prophet who restore the church, and that Jesus really is the Christ.  Through him we can be strengthened past trials and receive forgiveness from our sins.  And best of all, because of Christ we can access these blessings today, we do not need to wait for a future day but choose to repent and come to him today.  When we do so and keep his commandments, including baptism and the sacrament, we truly can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which blesses us with all of the necessary blessings to come back as well as be sanctified from our sins.  I know this is true.

Thank you for all of the support!
Elder Baxter

Goodbye to Elder Hoskins

Going Out and Doing Our Best

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Roller Coaster Week

Hello Everyone!

This was a strange roller coaster kind of week.  To start, last Tuesday we had Zone Conference where all the missionaries were given Samsung Galaxy smartphones at the end.  They are replacing our old phones for now, but as new missionaries come in they will enter the field with smartphones rather than tablets until eventually all of the tablet users are gone and each individual missionary has a smartphone. 

Each night of the week we had a lesson, unfortunately Wednesday during a dinner appointment my illness hit again full force.  The way we got around that dilemma though was by having Elder Daugherty go out with one of the zone leaders to teach while the other stayed with me.  This ended up leading to an exchange with the zone leaders Thursday to Friday night.  I hear that the lessons went well though.

Saturday we had a great lesson with one of the families we are teaching and Sunday they came to church along with five other investigators!  We were excited, and it was was the most I think I have seen come to church that I can remember.  The best part is that a lot of them are very solid investigators.

Finally that leads to today.  This morning we had a temple trip up to the Portland temple.    It was nice being able to recharge this final week of the transfer and prepare for whatever may happen.  At any rate, thank you for all of the support and know that the Lord is blessing this area!

Elder Baxter

 New Smartphone

Portland Temple

House of the Lord

We Love to See the Temple

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sick Week

Hello Everyone,

The best way to describe this week is with the words "sick week".  There has been a cold that has been traveling around the different members of the Zone, and it finally hit us.  Following last p day we came back to the apartment and my companion was complaining that he felt weak and had a headache.  By the next morning he was out.  It basically led to me spending the day doing lots of studies and some cleaning around the apartment.  I have come to one conclusion though, being sick on a mission is absolutely no fun.

Wednesday he was feeling somewhat better, so we were able to go out and teach the family we put on date the previous week, as well as do as much work as we could without pushing it, but then Thursday happened.  The sickness came back in full force so we ended up taking a field trip to an urgent care, where they diagnosed him and then took it easy once again.  Friday following district meeting the cold started to hit me.  It didn't come quite as bad but it is still not fun.  Most of the symptoms were gone by Sunday however and we were able to go to church.  Now all I have is an annoying cough.

In all of this, a couple of good things did happen.  The first one being we got to go visit the Oregon Ducks stadium today as a zone.  That was a fun experience and it is definitely huge.  Then throughout the week one of the families we found kept texting us questions about the church and told us how their Book of Mormon reading was going.  That was a miracle and really proves to me their real intent.  This week we have Zone Conference, hopefully a complete recovery, and lots of lessons planned.

Thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

The Missionary Zone

A Oregon Duck Fan?!?