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




Monday, August 28, 2017

Goodbye to Bandon

Hello everyone,

This past week was my last week in Bandon.  At this moment I am traveling in the transfer van on my way up to the Corvallis stake in the Newport ward as a follow up trainer to Elder Dillon, and as a district leader.  Newport is the most northern tip of the mission and will require an all day trip, going from transfer point to transfer point, but it has been good.  Elder Pierce will stay in Bandon training a new missionary coming in.  There are around thirty new missionaries coming in, along with another thirty that will still be in training from the last transfer.  Basically, most of the mission will be training which is pretty cool, and in the Coos Bay zone alone there is only one companionship not training.

This past week has been a very normal week as far as work goes.  For the most part, nothing out of the normal happened until the weekend hit and we got the transfer call on Friday night.  At that point the weekend rushed past as I packed and visited various investigators saying goodbye.  Among those visits I had the chance to say goodbye to David and Nancy.  The lessons were great and we got to share powerful testimonies and really set up the area for success for the new missionary.  On Sunday night we got to do a lesson with Nancy where we testified of the Atonement and showed her the baptismal font and sacrament tables and helped show her how important they are.  She pointed out the Spirit in the room and it was an amazing lesson, probably one of the best ones I have ever had.  She will definitely be baptized.

And that brings us to now.  I only got to talk a little of what happened this week due to how transfers are working, but know that the Spirit is the true teacher and it was an honor to serve in Bandon and I am excited about the possibilities in Newport.  I have made many friends and this is a place I hope to visit again.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Goodbye to Elder Pierce

Goodbye to The Wooley's

Goodbye to Nancy

Goodbye to David

Monday, August 21, 2017

Spirit Filled Week

Hello everyone,

This week was a very Spirit filled week.  Monday and Tuesday were pretty normal days here in Bandon with P day as well as a service filled Tuesday.  On Wednesday we had Zone Conference and it was a very good one.  President Orton is a spiritual powerhouse and we talked about many subjects ranging from companionship unity to receiving revelation.  I think we all walked away feeling good about the meeting and being very spiritually filled.  We also learned that a seventy will be visiting the mission next month, and as that comes closer I will let you all know about that!

Teaching wise, we had a couple good experiences this week.  On Thursday we felt prompted to visit one of our other investigators who never seems to be home.  As we came by though, we found his daughter, who let us straight in.  She thought that we were Jehovah Witnesses at first, but after all of that confusion was gone, we got to explain who we were and got into a great discussion where another member of her family got involved.  We got to teach a great Restoration lesson and really just help them understand our religion more.  We hope to go back again this upcoming week.

We also got to teach David, the cranberry bog farmer, again.  Since we last left he read over what we gave him twice and was very excited about what he was reading.  He apparently told his family about us very favorably, and got engaged into a lesson that flew by but ended up being two hours.  He is really growing in the Gospel and is just a super sincere person.  We talked a lot about how faith and the Holy Ghost are linked which really helped him understand faith better.  It was one of the best lessons in a long while.

Finally today I got to see the eclipse.  The Woolley's invited us over and let us watch it with them, as well as another senior missionary couple name the Sivula's.  It was fun to watch, as the sky darkened and the temperature dropped for a few minutes.  I also got to run into my old companion Bushman from last transfer.  He came through on a mission tour with his family and it was nice getting to catch up with him.

Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Enjoying the ocean

Circles in the Sand

Loving the ocean view

A cool sand castle someone built

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