Monday, June 18, 2018

Learned So Much

Hello Everyone,

Well, this is it, the last full weekly email!  The mission is starting to come up on the end and it has been the best two years I could have ever done for myself.  But to back up, on Wednesday we had the departing missionaries temple trip.  Elder Ellinghaus and Elder Kellerstrass came in the night before from Medford to spend the night with us before the trip.  It was a great and long night catching up with them and seeing how my previous companions have been.  The temple trip was great as well and had a wonderful Spirit as the Lord confirmed several things for me.  I also had the chance to better get to know President Orton along the way.

On Thursday I had the chance to meet with the Cunningham’s and share a last testimony with them.  It was a great lesson and the Spirit was there strongly.  Friday and Saturday were pretty normal proselytizing days as well.  Sunday I said some goodbyes, did a final Tracting session, and got soaked by the Oregonian rain hitting out of no where.  Guess it had to happen at least one more time, haha!  Myles also received the Aaronic Priesthood, was sustained as a ward missionary, and has a temple recommend.  I can’t wait to see how he continues to progress!

Later today I have my final dinner appointment with my ward mission leader and then doing a family home evening with the White’s and their main fellow shippers, the Hoyt’s.  Tomorrow I will stick around the area until 4 when the transfer van comes up and takes us to the mission home for a dinner and final testimony meeting.  I will then spend the night at the AP’s place, and head home the final day.

I have learned so much over the course of the mission.  I have learned about how to work in wards, the importance of sacrifice and obedience, opening my mouth and having it be filled, and so much more.  But for now I would like to share my testimony on Jesus Christ and His Restored Gospel.  And that is that I know that Christ is my Savior and that he suffered for me in order to help me return home.  I know that as I make my daily actions into acts of faith in Him I will be given the power to repent and live His doctrine.  When I do this, I have felt His Spirit and know that despite how crazy life may be, He is there and will help us in any circumstance.  I love Him and I know that I must always invite others to come to know Him as well.  That is how we can bring peace to a crazy world.

Thank you for everyone who has helped me along this journey, both here in Oregon and at home.  See you all soon and thank you for the support!

Elder Baxter

Leavers Temple Trip

50 yard line

With President and Sister Orton

At the Mission Office

This tag picture

Monday, June 11, 2018


Hello Everyone,

This week was a pretty standard missionary week right up to the weekend, then the miracles happened.  To start, on Saturday the stake did a day of service where we got to come by and help pull blackberry weeds out from a park.  That was a bit of a painful experience with all of the thorns and just how deep the roots went, but also fun.  The best part of the day came that night with the baptism though.  Right after service we got washed up and went to the church and to prepare for the baptism.  I had the chance to perform the baptism and it was an amazing experience.  Myles is such a great person and I have been blessed to get to know him, teach him, and befriend him.  Following the baptism his wife did a special violin musical number of the "Spirit of God."  The Spirit was very palpable and it was a great experience.  Elder Daugherty and several other Elders that I have gotten to know were also there which made the experience even better.

On Sunday he received the Gift of the Holy Ghost and has already gotten his first calling as a ward missionary!  Guess he isn’t getting rid of us anytime soon, haha.  Another major miracle happened as well.  Last week I mentioned the hard times that came up with the Cunningham family.  Right before church started they surprised us by the whole family coming to church and wanting to forgive.  They only stayed for sacrament, but that is a huge step in their family demonstrating the spirit of repentance to us.  Then the day ended with us helping out with a move that Myles is going through as he transitions to a new place within the ward.  It was a great week and one I will always remember, especially as the mission gets close to finishing out.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Myles with the three Elders who taught him

Myles and Elder Carlton Baxter
Look at those smiles!!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Planting Seeds

Hello Everyone,

This week was a bit of a roller coaster of emotions as most missionary weeks are.  It began great last week with being able to play a super complicated Lord of the Rings board game with Myles, who will be baptized this week, for p day and then doing a family home evening following that.  It was a very fun but super nerdy time in the end.  Tuesday was fairly normal outside of being able to teach a new family that we found who is from India.  As we talked we found that they only have a surface level understanding of Christianity which forced us to only teach a couple principles to help them understand.  It was a humbling experience to realize that I had the chance to truly introduce these people for the first time to the idea of Christ.

Wednesday we had another lesson with the Cunningham family.  They were getting closer to their baptismal date and had still not quit smoking, so we did a “choose this day” kind of lesson.  At the end they seemed fairly fired up about everything and had more resolve to keep their commitments, then Thursday happened.  As we went over for a daily follow up on their commitments we found a lot of contention within the home.  Elder Pace tried to step in but they turned their anger on him.  The contention they have for each other led to them not attending church or quit smoking, forcing us to take them off date with a few other side effects.  Not a good time.

Friday I had Zone Conference with Elder and Sister Echo Hawk.  It was a great meeting where they talked about all kinds of subjects.  In the end I somehow got out of having to give the usual talk they have departing missionaries do, probably because a Seventy was present, as well as talk to several of my past companions again.  One thing Elder Echo Hawk talked about that I liked is how planting seeds work.  In the end we can never truly know how many souls we bring to Christ in a similar way to how we can never know how many apples will come from one apple seed.  It was a great final Zone Conference.

We also had several lessons with other less active families who we are trying to help, as well as continue to help Myles towards baptism.  Satan has begun attacking them and they are going through a hard time, but a couple really good experiences happened.  On Sunday we were able to get them help through the ward, but more interesting is after Elder Pace and I shared our testimonies in sacrament meeting Myles got up and shared his!  He has a very solid testimony, and shared that all of the trials he is going through has made him sure that this is Christ’s Church, as well as know that the Book of Mormon is true and that President Nelson is the Lord’s living prophet.  We are very proud with him and I can’t wait to baptize him this Saturday.

I want to end with sharing that I also know that this is Christ’s true church in preparation for His second coming.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know that Joseph Smith was his prophet to begin the Restoration and that President Nelson is His living prophet.  Let us go out and be valiant in our testimonies, and if we do so we will have eternal life.  Thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

P-day game time

There is beauty all around

Sunny days

Zone Conference

Monday, May 28, 2018

For Our Good

Hello Everyone,

To start, I am happy to say that our investigator, Brother White, passed his baptismal interview!  He will be baptized on June 9th for a fact now and I will have the privilege of performing the ordinance, the first time I will have the chance to do so.  Teaching him and his wife has been a great experience, they truly are golden investigators and people whom I will always remember. 

Beyond that, the other family we are teaching has been going through a rough time.  The father went in for an eye surgery, and all of the stress from recent events has created a lot of contention within the home.  On Wednesday we had a powerful lesson about the Gospel blessing families where Elder Pace and I were able to point out the Spirit very clearly.  Ultimately the surgery went well but the family still is having problems.  Lots of follow up is our plan to help them keep their many commitments.

On top of that, the weekend was very busy.  A couple random stories came out of it such as a lady pulling over to the side of the road referring to herself as an ex Mormon and giving us Taco Bell tacos, helping a lady who ended up being a hoarder move, as well as an exchange with the 4th ward Elders.  Sunday night was a miracle though.  Elder Pace and I went to the northern part of our area to contact a couple of investigators and less active members.  From it we were able to find a family who is from India who wants us to come back and teach them more about our church and the Christian faith, talked to a man at a bus stop who is in the process of reading the Book of Mormon without anyone asking him to do so, and setting up a lesson with a family the ward council has been trying to get at unsuccessful for several months.  Miracles do happen as we choose to go out and do our best to do the Lord’s will.

Life can be challenging and exhausting at times, but I know that all of the experiences we go through are ultimately for our good.  I now know the how and why of what Nephi says in 2 Nephi 31 verse 20 which says, “if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life”.  It is truly the small habits that we do each day that allow us to feast upon the word of Christ and allow us to truly receive the Holy Ghost from day to day.  If you ever feel in a stuck spiritually incorporate the day to day things missionaries do, those are the things that will help you progress and come to know Christ, which is eternal life. Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

At Hayward Field

Hanging Out

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