Monday, December 11, 2017

Using Up Miles

Hello everyone,

This week has involved a lot of traveling around the area.  To start, on Wednesday we had the adventure of getting called down to Waldport, by the assistants to the president, to help set up an apartment for a senior missionary couple moving in.  It was a fun, random move, but it forced us to move our schedule around and use a lot of miles on our car.  I get the feeling that will bite us later, but hey, that new apartment sure is nice!

Thursday we had district meeting, then that night we got to drive into Corvallis for interviews the following day.  When we got there, we found out that the Zone Leaders had some other Elders over that day for an exchange as well, making for an interesting night in the Zone Leaders place.  We then had interviews which were as good as usual, and then worked in Toledo for a while.  We finished out the day by helping our ward mission leader set up for the ward Christmas party.

Saturday was a normal day of missionary work.  It ended with the ward party.  In it Santa came and we got a photo next him!  He wouldn't take our Book of Mormon unfortunately, haha.  And then following the dinner our ward mission leader engaged in a large musical number, complete with a great funny dance for the twelve days of Christmas. It was pretty great, and Guillian and his mom managed to make it to the party.

Sunday was also good, with the highlight being meeting with many of our investigators that day, who also came to church.  The best lesson was with our on date, who is now locked in with the Relief Society president and is so awesome.  It is a miracle that is fun to be apart of.  Then today we had Elder Kellerstrass and his companions come on over to Newport for p day and spend some time on the beach.

The work is progressing and is continuing to build up.  Thank you for all the support and merry Christmas!

Elder Baxter

A picture from last week

This year's tree

Ward Christmas dinner set up




Monday, December 4, 2017

Go Out and Light the World

Hello Everyone,

This past week has been a blur.  To start, Elder Law and I went out to try to really make contact with everyone we hadn't really met with, and we did it.  We knocked on a lot of doors and figured out their stories, who has moved, who remains, and their interest level.  It has been a crazy but good time really, going and working hard out here in the Newport area.  Through it all we have had several miracles.

Some of those came in the form of learning about future people we will teach, from part member households, including a girl being taught by the Elders in Las Vegas and a man who is awesome at many different kinds of musical instruments.  Others came from referrals we received from other missionaries, but the biggest one came from a referral from Utah.

A couple of weeks ago we set up a lesson with her and it finally happened this week.  As we went over we found that she was more than prepared to learn, with a huge notebook ready.  She loved what she has heard and says it all sounds true.  In the past week we have taught her the Restoration and Plan of Salvation, seen that she has read through 1st Nephi, is praying, and attended all three hours of church!  On Sunday during our second lesson we put her on date for January 13th.  I may be transferred out by that date, but early signs show that she will make it.  It is a true blessing to meet those the Lord has prepared.

The work is progressing, and to all those at home, go out and light the world!  The best way to come to know Christ is by following His example and serving others.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Tag picture of the week

Package from home

Making Tamales for P-day
The sister on the left is also from A.F.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Remember the Blessings

Hello everyone,

This was the first week of the transfer, and I am now with Elder Law. Elder Law is from Virginia and has been out for three months.  He is a good missionary and I am excited to be working with him.

To start, Monday was spent waiting around all day for the transfer van to come back up to the top of the mission, and then driving on back to Newport.  The rest of the week involved a lot of rain, contacting, and teaching.  To start, the winter season has officially come!  As Elder Law and I went trying to meet up with our investigators we had a fairly heavy coastal rain come.  Most of Tuesday we spent being soaked by all of the rain, but it all payed off in the end due to a lesson we had in Depoe Bay.  We have met with this investigator several times in the past, but in this visit he finally opened up more to us and we were able to have a more clear understanding of what direction to take with him. I am excited to see where this goes.

For Thanksgiving we had it with several families in the ward who were all related to each other.  It was very chaotic with thirty to forty people running around, but a fun time.  Throughout the day we also got involved in a ward turkey bowl while it poured rain, and ended the day with a Zone testimony meeting.  It was a great day and an awesome chance to remember the blessings the Lord has given us.

Outside of that, we also finished up our lessons with Nicole, the recent convert who was baptized the first week I was here.  Talking to her, she has already done baptisms for the dead, and is set up for success.  It is always a miracle when those that are baptized remain active in the church and really strive to learn and grow further.

Unfortunately, we did have a problem with the child we were teaching. While his mom was in his hospital we were unable to get a hold of him, and in that time he decided that he doesn't want to be baptized.  It was a shock to us as well as the Mom who couldn't get him to change his mind.  But I will trust that in the Lord's time everything will work out and his heart will soften again.  On the more positive side, the Mom still wants us to come by and teach her at least.  Hopefully as the Spirit enters the home miracles will occur.

It's been a crazy week full of ups and downs, but I know that as we put our trust in the Lord he will direct our path.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

New Companion, Elder Law

Stormy Weather

Wind and Waves

Monday, November 20, 2017

Testimony

Hello everyone,

Well, it's that time again of transfers!  I am staying in Newport for round three and Elder Huang is going on down to Eugene to become a Chinese YSA Elder once again.  In exchange, I am getting Elder Law.  I don't know a whole lot about him until he drives in later tonight, but I will tell you more next week when I have gotten to get to know him.

This week was spent doing some more tracting and contacting of our investigators.  We managed to find a couple new people through it, as well as finding many new potentials.  A lot of the week really was spent in an effort to improve the work in future weeks.  The main highlights came from meeting with our investigators as well as district meeting.

In district meeting we really focused on sharing our testimonies.  It was a very Spirit filled meeting as the district members bore their testimonies.  Truthfully, one of the best things we can share with people is our testimonies.  People really don't care how much you know until they know how much you care, and that is done through the bearing of testimonies as well as service.

The end of the week was filled with packing as well as saying good byes to several investigators and members for Elder Huang.  In it we managed to meet with Guillian again.  It was interesting, because of the business of what has happened to them the past two weeks we were unable to meet with them.  In that time Guillian lost a lot of the enthusiasm he had for baptism.  But as the meeting happened the Spirit really worked on him until he opened back up to it again.  Now the trick will be helping him continue to feel that Spirit!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Goodbye to Elder Huang
The owners of the apartment let the missionaries who 
stay there write their name on the wall when they leave.

Pool Table Tag




Monday, November 13, 2017

Pioneering Effort

Hello Everyone!

This week was the first full week of official online proselyting here in the Oregon Eugene Mission.  What that basically meant was Elder Huang and I are spending a bit of time each day adding friends to our Facebook accounts from our investigator pool as well as ward members.   We have also gone over to various ward members and started to work them by selecting some people from their friends list and sending a Gospel message to them over Facebook messenger.  It has started slow, but as we continue to figure it out the goal is to be able to consistently contact our investigators over Facebook and even teach those who are too busy to meet with us in person.  It has been an adventure, but it is fun to be apart of the missionary generation that is pioneering this effort.  We will see what happens!

Outside of that, the big challenge this week is that all of our main investigators have been gone this week due to various appointments around Oregon.  This has resulted in a lot of Tracting, contacting, and anything else we could think of to find more people to teach.  It has been slow and a struggle, but I know I have also personally learned a lot from it, especially as we have gone over and tried to find referrals from members.  I have learned a lot more about what kind of member I want to be from the great examples of many of the people found here in the Newport ward.

One new investigator that we are excited about came from a couple weeks ago.  Elder Hoskins, my previous companion and current zone leader, came down for a split and we went out to a tiny town called Siletz.  While there we went to knock on a door.  No one answered, but as we were leaving a young man came up to us on his bike and asked us why we were dressed so nice.  We answered him and it led to a conversation about the Restoration.  He told us to contact him through Facebook messenger.  Then this past week Elder Hoskins told us that he made contact and we were able to teach him the full first lesson, as well as find out about many friends he has in the ward who he had no idea were members.  It was a true miracle and I look forward to teaching him in the future.

Thank you for all of the support and talk to you all next week!
Elder Baxter


Excerpt from a letter home:
"We visited a lighthouse that is close to our apartment and it was on a small peninsula.  It was blowing winds probably 70-100 mph, but it was very beautiful.  A lot of huge waves crashing onto the Oregonian rocky coast, as well as a nice lighthouse.  The lighthouse was locked though, so we couldn't go inside."

Holding onto the Word 

Love the waves

Check out those waves Elder!

Fun Lighthouse 

As far as the eye can see

Smile and "Wave"

Tag on the Sand

Tag on the Rock 
[Anyone else hearing a primary song]

Contemplate  

Windy Day

The big picture

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Facebook Excited

Hello everyone!

This week some major changes came to how missionary work will be done in the Oregon Eugene Mission.  We had a Zone Conference yesterday where we learned that Facebook will be fully approved, and Preach My Gospel chapter 8 has been completely redone and is basically a new chapter.  What is nice is that through Facebook we will be able to not only get a hold of people like before, but be able to teach full lessons to investigators that never seem to be home or we can't ever find a good time to meet with.  We also learned how to receive referrals through it, and I am excited for it.  We also learned how to more effectively make goals and plans towards the repentance of individuals.

Work wise, last week we got to celebrate Elder Huang's first Halloween.  During the day we helped our recent convert Nicole find names to take to the temple, as well as carve pumpkins following dinner.  It was a fun time to get to show Elder Huang a bit of American culture.  The rest of the week was standard contacting, tracting, and teaching.  We got to teach Guillian and his mom again. Guillian was very distracted and hyper through the lesson, but it was good and really helped the Mom know more of what Guillian needs to know for baptism.

Yesterday was great as well.  I got to see a bunch of my past mission companions in Zone Conference as well as start an exchange with the zone leaders.  Since then life has been chaotic but fun, experiencing campus missionary life last night and spending a p-day with the zone in Corvallis.  Good things are happening and I look forward to seeing the miracles that happen in the coming week.  Until then, thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Halloween Fun

Elder Huang's First Halloween pumpkin with Carlton's pumpkin

Cupcakes for Elder Huang's birthday.  
Cake mix, icing, cupcake liners and cupcake toppers from Carlton's birthday box!

Still loving the coast!

Monday, October 30, 2017

What a Mission Is All About

Hello Everyone,

This week was a fairly normal week all things considered, but there were some good experiences.  We were able to teach our investigator Guillian twice this past week.  We got to teach him the Plan of Salvation in the first lesson and go over prophets again in the second lesson.  Through out the lesson the Spirit kept on making things click, for example the mom told us that she already believed and knew about the pre-mortal world even though she had completely forgotten it a long time ago.  Then during the prophets lesson Guillian surprised us by basically teaching us the entire Plan of Salvation lesson showing he remembered a lot more than we thought he would.  These kind of experiences are what a mission is all about, the chance to share the Gospel to others.

On Friday the ward had a trunk or treat/dinner event that we got to attend.  That was Elder Huang's first real experience with Halloween and it was fun seeing him embrace a bit of American culture.  We also had several potential investigators attend which was awesome as well. Saturday the zone leaders came on down again and we went on out to contact people who lived in the middle of nowhere, then Sunday we had to give talks.  I was asked to give a short five minute talk while my companion gave a full talk.  In the end they went well, but the real surprise was seeing the Jefferies, my next door neighbor, show up and congratulate us.  That was really fun and really proved to me how small the world really is.

In the end that was the week.  In the coming week or two there are some very solid potential investigators we will get to teach, as well as good things coming our way.  Until then, thank you for all of the support and happy Halloween!!!

Elder Baxter

More Jellyfish from the Aquarium

A giant eel

With the zone leaders

A unexpected reunion with our neighbors, the Jefferies.