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?!?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Teaching Is Great!

Hello Everyone,

This week was a really good week out here in Eugene.  The first couple days were pretty normal missionary days, but on Thursday really good things started to occur.  As it turned out, that night we managed to get the day set up where we had three lessons back to back.  They were all good and I believe will help out our investigators.  The first and last ones mainly focused on the Book of Mormon, and the different ways answers may come.  Several of our investigators seem to be struggling with that point, so being able to back up and talk about that was great.  The second lesson was with a part member family that we have been working to set up a lesson with for awhile.  They have met with missionaries in the past, and explained to us their desire to be baptized and sealed as a family.  As a result we were able to put three people on date for baptism, now the trick will be helping them keep their commitments.

On Friday we had an exchange, then Saturday another miracle came.  A young family reached out to a few Sister missionaries down in California on a vacation, and as it turned out they live in our area. We got to go over and teach them the Restoration.  The questions they asked were all perfect, and they showed a lot of sincerity and real intent.  It was the kind of lesson that really helps build my faith that the Lord is preparing people to accept our message.  So I guess I can say that teaching has been pretty great here in Santa Clara 6th ward!

Sunday we had stake conference where a seventy came and spoke.  It was a good meeting and he had great things to say about the two great commandments.  Outside of that, nothing too crazy happened outside of interviews with President Orton.

This work really is in the Lord's hands, and I have learned that as long as we step outside with the intent to do our best, blessings do come.  Doors open that may have been closed before and the work will hasten.  Thank you for all of your support!

Elder Baxter

Signs of Spring

Happiness is teaching!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Officially Looks Like Winter

Hello Everyone,

This week was pretty similar to the previous week, but several miracles did happen from it.  First, it snowed!  It didn't last long whatsoever, but it was nice to see snow to go along with the cold that had hit the Eugene area, making it officially look like winter.  I heard stories of how it hit the coast as well and the city of Newport panicked and shut everything down for the day.  I have come to the conclusion that Oregonians don't know what to do around snow, haha.

Moving on to the important side of things, we had several lessons with a couple of our main investigators.  With one of them we managed to bring a priest.  It was a neat lesson where the priest was able to bear a powerful testimony about fasting and really enjoyed his experience.  I think we might have just convinced him to go on a mission in a year or two.

On Tuesday we had a great lesson with the part member family at the church.  In the end they committed to try to find ways to come to church.  Previous to this they have had work on Sunday's, and while it might take some time to pan out, they took a few large steps in their faith.

One last story came from Sunday.  We were out tracting but got a bunch of nasty denials.  Ultimately it didn't feel like the right thing for us to do, so we started to head in another direction to regroup.  As we went we heard someone cry out and were able to help an older woman who had fallen on the ground and was unable to move.  She left fairly quickly, but it felt like that we were definitely directed to help her out at that time and it was cool to be an answer to someone's prayer.

The work is progressing and thanks for the support!
Elder Baxter

Winter Weather

Snow Tag

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