Monday, October 16, 2017

Moved P-day But Here Are Some Pictures

We have a temple trip [mom note: to the Portland Temple] this Friday, and due to that they moved our p-day to then.  So basically I am going two weeks in a row without a real p-day.  I will write my weekly email on the trip back from the temple.

[Mom note:  Meanwhile here are some pictures Carlton sent us today.   Also his birthday will be Wednesday!!  So happy birthday Carlton!]

Carlton with the cars that he lives above.

With Elder Huang

Newport coast with Elder Huang

A boat picture for his littlest brother (who loves boats.)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Miracles Will Come Through

Hello Everyone,

This week was the final week of my eleventh transfer.  Elder Dillon is leaving and going on down to Coos Bay and I am staying another transfer here in Newport with Elder Huang.  He is an Elder from Taiwan and is a super friendly guy.  It should be a good time with him.  In the mean time I am currently waiting in an institute building for the transfer van sometime around 6 pm.

This week we had several good lessons and experiences.  To start, on Wednesday we got to go and talk to an older woman about the Book of Mormon.  We have done some service for her in the past so she let us right in.  We learned very quickly that she knows how to talk, a lot. We ended up getting trapped there for quite a long while, but in the end she said that she would read the Book of Mormon, so it was good in the end.

We also had a couple lessons with various recent converts this past week that went well, as well as made a larger push on working with members.  The most solid investigators come from members, so we have been working with various families in helping them to pick a friend to invite to a family home evening where we would present a portion of the Restoration for the lesson.  It will take some time, but as it happens I feel like miracles will come through.

Saturday we got our transfer call, and from that point on it was the normal packing and saying good byes.  Sunday night though a very spiritual experience happened.  We went to teach the nine year old named Guillian and his mother.  We ended up putting Guillian on date and recommitting the Mom to come back to church.  We talked about many challenges they were going through and we were able to show how a faith in Jesus Christ could help.  We then got to end it by giving a Priesthood blessing.

And that brings us to today.  This morning we woke up at 4 am to get ready to come to Corvallis for a 6:15 am transfer time.  Since then I have been emailing and playing card games with other Elders and previous companions waiting for the transfer van to come in.  Thank you for all you do and for all of the support,

Elder Baxter

One last time with Elder Dillon

The coast at Newport

Monday, October 2, 2017

Events that Stick Out

Hello everyone,

This past week was a pretty regular week as far as missionary work goes, but a couple of events stick out.  To start, last p-day the zone came on over to Newport for a zone p-day.  It felt great to be able to see other missionaries again, including Elders Hoskins and Smith, two of my former companions.  As that event wrapped up though, we had the chance to go on over to Corvallis for an exchange with the zone leaders.  What was special about this exchange was the kind of area they work in.  They are in a young single adult ward on a college campus at OSU.  It was fun being with Elder Hoskins and talking to college aged students on campus with the beaver mascot being all over the place.  It is definitely a very different kind of missionary work there.

Later in the week the mission office had us switch out the mattresses in Newport and Waldport.  It turns out some of these mattresses have been around since 1990, so the mission has been switching them out for the past couple months.  That more or less took up half of our Thursday, but allowed us to get to know the Danley's, a senior missionary office couple, better.

General Conference was great though.  We watched most of the sessions at our church building, and the Sunday morning session we did at a Members home with Nicole, the person who was baptized the first week I was here.  I really loved the emphasis on following the prophet and the necessity to study the Book of Mormon every day.  In fact, all of the talks were great and I can't wait to look them over again.  We truly have living prophets and apostles, and I know at as we follow them we will receive the revelation necessary to return back to our heavenly parents.

Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Sister Danley texted this picture home

Getting together with other Elders is always fun

Monday, September 25, 2017

Remain Faithful

Hello everyone,

I feel like I have been through a spiritual roller coaster the past week.  To start, on Tuesday we found out the AP's were coming to our area for an exchange.  I later learned that this is something they try to do for most of the new missionaries, but the pressure went up for planning quickly for a unplanned event.  The exchange went very well overall, and we had some great study sessions as well as being able to find a couple great new investigators throughout the day.  By the time they left we were feeling pretty great about everything.  We were even able to get a hold of a couple of younger boys that had dropped off the map for a while who want to be baptized!

As with all spiritual experiences though, opposition does come.  Following a district meeting that I feel went well about our missionary purpose, all of our return appointments for the new investigators fell through.  It didn't feel like anyone was home.  In fact, one of the more promising ones had a man answer the door who more or less told us to never come back and avoided telling us if the person we were looking for was home which broke our hearts, as well as hearing that another investigator wasn't interested from a third party source.  It definitely felt as if the devil was on us.  But God always prevails.

On Saturday, the sisters in our district had a baptism.  It was nice to see and President Orton as well as Elder Hoskins, now my zone leader, come as well.  Miracles also started to come.  We are put through tests sometimes to see if we will remain faithful despite whatever happens, and if we endure well that is when the blessings flow.  We finally got in contact with an entire family named the King's who have been taught for a while.  We got to reestablish connection and see how cool they were.  They will definitely be baptized some day, they already are dry Mormons basically.  On top of that, we also saw the Trivett family.  The son wants to be baptized and is praying for a date while the Mom is taking large steps in getting the testimony she once had back.  It was great being able to testify of how the Atonement of Jesus Christ can help us past anything.

The work continues to move forward, and as General Conference approaches I would encourage you all to take a question you have to it and be prepared to have the Spirit testify to you!  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Let the sun shine

Working together

Beauty everywhere 

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Real Leader

Hello Everyone,

This past week was another normal week for missionary work, but there were a few highlights.  To start, we had zone conference on Thursday with Elders Whiting and Parrella of the Seventy.  The meeting was great and was focused on the importance of having the Spirit to be with us and the need to sacrifice our desires in favor of the Lord's will, in life and on the mission.  The Spirit was felt and it was a great meeting.

On Saturday a couple of things occurred.  First, we were helping a woman scrape off paint on her house for service, and at the end Elder Dillon fell off the ladder.  He didn't break anything, but it wasn't exactly a great way to end a service.  He is okay though.  We then got to go down Waldport where I got to conduct a baptism interview for a ten year old convert.  It was a simple but great experience, and it was neat to have the Spirit testify to me that he was ready for baptism.

Sunday was full of teaching.  During sacrament meeting I gave a talk about conversion, using experiences from the mission to teach.  People seemed to like it, and I am just glad that it went well. We then got to teach a part member family, where an interesting dynamic is going on between the couple. One is Catholic and the other is Mormon, and us missionaries are in the middle trying to keep things focused.  It was a good experience though.  We then got to teach the part member family we met last week again as well and gave them a very basic introduction  the Restoration.  They were very sincere and wanted to know more which was great.

That brings us to now.  The work is progressing and the Spirit is the real leader.  My job is to learn how to follow the spirit rather than get in its way, which in the end is the trick for everyone.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

I promise to have pictures for next week!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Willing Instrument

Hello Everyone,

I am starting to get use to the Newport experience.  A lot of the work here involves random spurts of service, finding, and working with members in various ways.  On Tuesday and Wednesday we mainly focused on service.  There was a young couple moving up to Lincoln City out of our area that we were referred to help.  When we got there we learned that none of their friends showed up, but that they had huge respect for us.  It was fun talking to them and helping them get use to missionaries.  We learned that they pretty much already believed the same things as us, now it is up to the Lincoln City Elders to teach them.  We then helped out a recent convert in the branch with some issues, and had a normal rest of the day.  On Wednesday we did more service trying to help a member paint her deck before the Oregonian rains come.  It was hectic, and only a part was finished, but it was great to get to help her out.

The rest of the week involved a lot of finding that didn't pay off. There were many people who said no or weren't there.  Towards the end of the week we started to become discouraged, but as we prayed to let us be an answer to someone's prayer things changed.  On Sunday we were blessed to serve others by giving three blessings and finding a small part member family that needed to hear the Gospel once again.  The Spirit was felt throughout the day and was a reminder to me that this is the Lord's work and not ours.  Our duty is to be a willing instrument God can use to save His children.

Overall that was the week in a nutshell.  This upcoming week we have a zone conference where two seventies are touring the mission and will speak.  Half the mission will be at one conference on the 14th, and the other half the following day.  That should be a good experience. Until then the church is true and thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Whale statue at Depoe Bay

Monday, September 4, 2017

Welcome to Newport

Hello Everyone,

This past week was my first week up in the Newport ward.  It has been a fun, crazy time trying to learn the area as well as help my companion, Elder Dillon, learn how to take over an area for the first time as a missionary.  To start, there is no planned service in Newport, though we are looking around to volunteer in one.  The work here involves a lot of Spirit led tracting as well as street contacting. We have run into quite a few tourists here for Labor Day as well as homeless people.

Work wise, it has been slow.  It feels like the whole town has left for Labor Day, but should return the upcoming week for school.  But the members we have met here are awesome and are extremely missionary minded.  It has been great getting to interact with them as well as learn the culture of the Newport ward.  Plus, we have the nicest apartment in the mission complete with a pool table, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and other nice things.  I am definitely spoiled up here, haha.

The big event though was a baptism of someone named Nicole up here. She was someone Elder Dillon and his previous trainer taught.  She seems very set in the Gospel and it was fun watching Elder Dillon's confidence boost through it.  Now my hope is that we can fill up the font again while I am here. 😁

This upcoming week should be a good one.  I will hopefully meet with a lot more of the people we teach and miracles will happen.  Until then, thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Elder Baxter and Elder Dillon

Newport beach

The nicest apartment in the mission

A place to study hard

The pool table