Monday, May 21, 2018

Our Best Efforts

Hello Everyone,

This week we went through a lot of follow up from the 9 to 9 tracting experience of last week.  All throughout the week Elder Pace and I made an effort to head out and reach every follow up appointment that was set.  What made this experience different, however, is in what happened following the contacts.  We would knock on their doors and for the most part we would get non answers or people who weren’t really interested, but as we would leave the appointment we seemed to always run into someone else who was interested in the Gospel.  It is always amazing to see the Lord bless us for giving our best efforts, even when it appears initially that those efforts aren’t working.

Teaching wise, we have finished going through the lessons with the White family and the next step is a baptismal interview he has this upcoming Tuesday.  We went through the questions with him and he is more than prepared to be baptized in a few short weeks.  It has been an amazing time getting to make such good friends with this family and help them towards this covenant.  The other part member family we are working with has ran into a few troubles regarding further medical and other issues, but we are still working with them and trying to help them see how the Atonement can bless their lives.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty normal, outside of talking to a guy who seemed a bit crazy.  I have to say, certain Oregonians have, well, interesting ideas about life, haha.  When we met him he wanted us to completely explain the book of Acts to him and wanted us to be his followers.  That’s not happening.  He did take a Book of Mormon and said he would read the whole thing though.  That night we also delivered thank you notes to a few different members who have fed us and helped us out.  And that brings us to today.  Later today we will be hiking up Spencer’s Butte near Eugene as a zone and doing normal p day things.

Sharing our pure testimonies of Christ is truly one of our greatest duties in life, and I challenge whomever reads this to take some time to ponder their testimony and to share it with someone else.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

The tag picture

Zone Hike

Having Fun

What a View!!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Working 9 to 9

Hello Everyone!

My final transfer has arrived and it has begun with a bang.  To start, on Tuesday Elder Daugherty and I said our last goodbyes and went to the transfer spot.  From there I spent the day in a tripan with two other Elders waiting for their respective companions in an area that none of us belonged to.  It was a good time and we were able to help out an old lady whose knees gave out on her at a stop light we were crossing at, and have a lot of good spiritual discussions that day.  By the end of the day Elder Pace came into the area and we were able to meet with our ward mission leader and introduce him to our main investigators.

The next couple days consisted of teaching various investigators, fellowshipping important members for Elder Pace to know, and some contacting.  It was a very busy time and a nice change up for the area.  The next big event happened on Saturday though. 

Our mission participated in what we call a 9 to 9, where the entire mission went out and tracted from 9 am to 9 pm.  To begin, we had a mission fast on Friday and we got going on Saturday.  Every three hours or so we would switch companions as well as switch areas we were tracting.  In the end we found 15 new investigators in our area, 85 as a zone, and 521 as a mission.  We knocked on many doors, met some cool people, and it was a busy day. 

Sunday we had church but the big thing was Mother’s Day.  It was great to be able to call home and talk to my family!  Now I only have a couple of weeks, a baptism, and then the end will come.  But until then I will continue to work the best I can as well as share my testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored Gospel to all those I can share it to, because that is my greatest duty as a missionary.  Thank you for all that you do!

Elder Baxter

Goodbye to Elder Daugherty

Hello to Elder Pace

Families are Forever (even if they are miles away!)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Final Transfer of the Mission!

Hello Everyone,

This week was the final week of this transfer and I will now be moving on to the final transfer of the mission!  The beginning of the week was pretty normal all things considered.  The lessons with the two families mentioned are going well, though unfortunately one of the families had some more medical issues and we were unable to do a full lesson until this past Sunday.

The other family is progressing amazingly though!  This past week we got to discuss temples and family history work, as well as eternal marriage.  They are excited for the temple, and as a result the wife finally got work off for Sunday and they were both able to come and stay for all three hours of church.  Then later today we will be getting to do a family home evening with them, and they will be baptized on June 9th.  He has asked me to be the one to baptize him as well!  I can’t ask for much of a better way to close the mission.

Moving onto the transfer news, we found out on Saturday morning.  Elder Daugherty is leaving to the Veneta ward in the Eugene stake and I am getting Elder Pace.  I don’t know much about him, but I will be learning more tomorrow when I meet him.  The rest of the weekend was spent going to the various investigators and members we worked with so Elder Daugherty could have a chance to say goodbye.

And that brings me to now!  The zone is getting ready to do a zone bbq for p day and I am going to be moving to my final transfer.  I will continue to do my best and really try to work the area.  I know that the Gospel is true and as we do our best we will receive the help the Lord will bless us with.  Thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Zone BBQ

Monday, April 30, 2018

A Fight Worth Going Through

Hello Everyone,

This week I had the chance to attend zone conference, continue to teach with various ups and downs, and have a generally normal missionary week here in the Santa Clara 6th ward.  For zone conference, the Eugene, Santa Clara, Springfield, and Corvallis zones were all able to attend at a nearby church building.  It was a good meeting and fun to be able to talk to the various missionaries I have seen around the OEM.  It’s interesting though, the closer I come to the end the fewer and fewer faces I recognize at these meetings, but it was great to be able to rejoin with those I have served with.  We also learned that for my last zone conference, Elder Echo Hawk who spoke at the last general conference will be touring the mission.

On Monday we had a surprise visit from one of the previous Elders I have served around quite a bit, Elder Henley.  He stopped by for the night due to him having to bring in his car from Coquille to receive Tiwi repairs.  It was nice to be able to compare notes with him and see how he and rest of the mission is doing.  Definitely a tender mercy.

Teaching wise, we have continued to teach and minister to the two part member families I have mentioned in the past.  We were able to discuss things such as the Priesthood and the various auxiliaries, have one of them attend a baptism another ward was having, and be able to create a plan to help the other family to overcome smoking.  It has been a slow process, but is a fight worth going through.

This week is the last week of the transfer and by Friday or Saturday we will have transfer news.  Serving in Santa Clara has been a very rewarding experience, especially as I have gotten to train Elder Daugherty and show him the ropes of missionary work.  I know that this Gospel is true and that as we rely on Christ we can receive strength and help through our trials.  The character of Christ is to turn outward and to invite others to come and learn of Him, and I know that as we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints do likewise miracles will follow.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

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