Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas on a Mission

This week was my first Christmas on the mission!  It began pretty normally with trying to meet and contact various people.  Early in the week we managed to have a great lesson with Poppy where we talked about several of her concerns and how to help her move past them.  We also got to talk to a lot of less active families, as well as bake chocolate rolo cookies that we delivered to the people we met with on Christmas Eve.  The work itself was a bit more slow this week, but that was because of several reasons including a zone conference and Christmas.

On Thursday we had to wake up early and drive about one hundred miles down to Roseburg for a zone conference.  The meeting talked about subjects like the Priesthood, temple marriage, and several other things.  We then got to come back around seven pm, and the day was already done, which threw a dent into our plans.  On Christmas Eve we delivered all of the cookies that we baked as well as had a nice dinner with a family whose son is also on a mission.  We then went to the church and participated in a zone testimony meeting through Skype.

Christmas itself was awesome.  We woke up, opened up our packages and got to read all of the various letters we had.  We then went to church where the branch presidency forgot their program so they improvised the meeting for awhile.  The branch had fun with it, and it was a good meeting in the end.  We then got to Skype our families, have dinner with the branch president, named President Allen, and that was the end of the day.  Then this morning we got to watch Finding Dory for an approved Christmas movie.  It was fun to see and a nice change of pace.

It has been a good week and hopefully we can help make 2016 end in a bang.  Next year is the year that I will spend completely on a mission.  Thank you for all of the support and merry Christmas and have a happy new year!

Elder Baxter

Christmas Eve present

Carlton with his companion 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Six Month Mark

This week was the start of a new transfer, my six month mark, as well as my first week as a district leader in the OEM.  It began with a long ride back to Oakridge with Elder Cluff who is from Arizona.  When we arrived we spent some time talking, unpacking, and getting ready for the upcoming week.  The following Tuesday we helped Poppy put up some emergency insulation into her home.  Condensation had been forming inside her mobile home as well as cold, so she called us in to help put in insulation to prevent it.  It was itchy and took awhile, but it payed off and she was very happy at the end.  Then the following Wednesday we did some contacting and tracting, as well as help an investigator make the final move over to the Philippians.  We moved a whole bunch of boxes through slush, mud, snow, and rain, but she was also very happy at the end and said she would try to come into contact with the missionaries in the Philippians.

Thursday we did our weekly planning and had a pretty normal day.  The big day was on Friday where I got to conduct my first district meeting as district leader.  The district said that it went very well in the end, and the meeting was about how to best help resolve the concerns of investigators as well as having charity for everyone we meet.  We then came back to Oakridge following a zone lunch, did some work, and that was the day.  Saturday was an interesting day.  It began with a new district leader training where we had to Skype into the mission home with several other Elders.  We got to see the first twenty minutes, but then the spotty connection gave up and I was booted from the meeting.  The AP's then told me to have my zone leaders train me, one of them is a former AP.  We then gave random service to members who kept calling us up, tracted, and contacted. We also had our branch Christmas party, which was a lot smaller and simpler than what is done at home.  We got a small dinner of subway sandwiches and other various things and watched a movie named the Nativity.  It was a nice break from the usual. The following Sunday was pretty normal and not too much out of the normal happened.

The time is going fast and I am already a quarter finished with the mission.  Thank you for everything that you all have done and have a merry Christmas!

Elder Baxter

Along the river

Feeling Boxed In

Oh Christmas Tree


Monday, December 12, 2016


This week was the final week of the transfer.  The first part of the week was fairly uneventful, with a lot of lessons that fell through.  The biggest thing that happened is we helped an investigator prepare to move out to the Philippines, with the rest of the move happening the next week.  We also gave a priesthood blessing to Poppy following some trouble she has had recently.

The other large thing is that it snowed pretty hard the past week in Oakridge.  In the valley we got about two inches that melted fairly quickly, but in the outlying parts of the area there was about two feet of snow.  It has been nice seeing it again.  The large event that happened this week has been transfers though.  I will be staying in Oakridge as a district leader with Elder Cluff, while Elder Briceno will be going to an area named Florence on the coast.

The next few days have been spent trying to visit everyone we could so Elder Briceno could say goodbye, as well as packing.  Many of the people we have been teaching have been getting sick lately which made it fairly difficult, but it went well.  Then today we drove down to Eugene and went to the transfer spot.  I am currently stranded at a church building while I wait for the transfer van to drop off my next companion.  This Thursday will mark me being on the mission for six months, with Christmas being soon after.  Time is going fast but it has been fun.

Thanks for reading,

Elder Baxter

River by our apartment

Carlton and the River


Monday, December 5, 2016

A Lot of Teaching

The past week had a lot of teaching as well as two exchanges.  To start off, on Tuesday we got to help Poppy work on her home again by putting up tarps to shield her home from the rain, and then we got to see an new investigator we found last week.  We found that her husband had died earlier in the day, but she was completely at peace with it.  Not only that, she told us that she had read from the Book of Mormon and wanted us to come back to teach her more.  The peace that she had, because of the plan of salvation, was awesome.

On Wednesday, we did more contacting, and then on Thursday we got to go on exchange.  I went with Elder Baker who is one of the zone leaders. We went tracting and managed to find a new investigator, some potentials, as well as accidentally running into several less actives that were not on our area book.  The day was very busy, but we got to teach a lot and share the Light the World video with a bunch of people.  The following day we then had district meeting which was followed up with a second exchange with one of the Spanish Elders who just recently entered the mission.  We once again got to teach a bunch of people and found an investigator who dropped off the radar for a long time.

Finally on Saturday we had a simple lesson about faith with a thirteen year old and his mom, and then ended the exchanges.  We then tried to find some more people and then celebrated the end of the week at a local pizza place.  Then on Sunday we had a good church meeting which was followed up with a very unsuccessful tracting session and then getting to give a priesthood blessing to an investigator who has been going through very rough times.

It has been a very busy week but we have been blessed for it.  I look forward to entering the final week of the transfer and to see what will happen next.  Thanks for reading,

Elder Baxter

A pretty spot to take a picture for Mom

Rainy Days

Christmas time is here

Monday, November 28, 2016


To start off, the beginning of the past week was fairly standard.  We did a lot of service for our investigator named Poppy, as well as trying to give her lessons.  We invited her to baptism, and she said she might when she has learned more, and we are very hopeful that she will say yes soon.  We also talked to another investigator named Chuck and helped him out from a really bad day. Plus we taught the final lesson to Dan, an investigator who is on date right now.  We managed to have a lot of lessons this past week which has been really nice and outside of the norm for Oakridge in the past, meaning the area has been improving lately.

The big event was on Thanksgiving though.  The day began with helping Poppy out and giving her a spiritual thought about being thankful to God.  We then had a dinner at two o'clock with a member's family named Jackson, which was very good.  We ate too much and got to talk to them for a while.  We then were told by them that another older lady wanted us to come by and have Thanksgiving dinner with her family as well.  We went on over and found out that the real reason they wanted us over was to reduce the leftovers they had, and neither of us were able to help out much on that problem.  We had a fun dinner with them, and then went home and did our weekly planning.

That following Friday we were told about the new Christmas initiative, Light the World, in district meeting, and then I got to go on exchange with a new missionary in Springfield named Elder Anderil. We rode the bus to a bunch of various places and got lost in the area because neither of us knew it that well.  We talked to a couple of Jehovah Witness missionaries and several of Elder Anderil's investigators over there.  We then switched back the following Saturday at noon.  Beyond that, there isn't too much more to say other than the holidays are coming up and our mission president is going to have us heavily use the Christmas initiative made by the church for tracting and contacting.

Thank you for all of the support and help.  I hope you all have a great holiday season,

Elder Baxter

On splits with Elder Anderil

Out and about

Now that is some cool woodworking

Monday, November 21, 2016

Seeing It All Come Together

Another P day has arrived which means we are now in the week of Thanksgiving.  Following the Specialized training and P day of last week, we did a lot of the same kind of things we were doing the week before.  We helped out an investigator named Poppy place insulation on her roof due to an emergency condensation problem she had from her heater.  We also helped another investigator dissemble a large table and other various things for a move coming up for her as well.  Poppy ultimately came to church on Sunday and said that sacrament meeting answered many of the problems she was having and had a great experience.

The rest of the week was a lot of contacting.  We tried visiting a whole bunch of less active families and got different degrees of success.  Every other day we would get into several homes and have great discussions with them, while on the other days every door would reject us and lessons would fall through.  We also caught a slight cold which made working fairly difficult, but we kept on going.  One big event that occurred though happened on Saturday.  Henry from my previous area got baptized and I was allowed to make one short Skype call to him and my previous companion who was still there.  In the call I saw our recent convert Taylie and her family, as well as Henry talking about how he felt different and happier.  It was a nice way to see all the work that I and other Elders did in Medford come together.  We then visited an investigator named Chuck who has been going through an incredibly tough time lately and help him out and share hope through the plan of salvation.  It was a solemn, but strong spiritual experience.

The work in Oakridge is starting to pick up and things are moving forward.  With Thanksgiving this week, it will be interesting to see how the week pans out.  Thanks for reading and all the support,

Elder Baxter

Inside the apartment

Outside the apartment

Rainy Day

Waiting on laundry

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Welcome To Oakridge

This was my first week officially outside of Medford, and it has been a large change from what I was doing before.  All day Monday was spent riding the transfer van up to Eugene where I met my new companion, Elder Briceno, and then we took another hour long ride to our area, Oakridge.  Oakridge is a small town of three thousand people, along with an even smaller town near that called Westfur.  It is located in the middle of the mountains in a forest next to a river.  The area is very beautiful and is what I imagined Oregon to be like when I entered the mission.  The branch has about twenty to thirty active members, with a huge amount of less active members.

My first real day in Oakridge was spent meeting several of our investigators and helping them out.  We first met a woman named Poppy who we did service for by preparing her home against all of the rain that started this weekend.  We then had lunch with another investigator named Mitzi who has traveled the world, and then met several other people.  On Wednesday and Thursday, we had a bunch of miscellaneous meetings and lessons with people, as well as trying to visit some of the less active members and see how we could help them come to church.  On Friday we had our district meeting where we got to travel a hour down to Springfield.  We also continued to meet with several people that night.

On Saturday we had personal interviews with President Russell that went well, and were then followed up with helping Poppy prepare a little bit further, and struggling to find people to visit in the dark.  On Sunday we had church where we got to participate in the primary program by giving short two minute talks as well as singing with the kids "I hope they call me on a mission".  Finally, yesterday we had a mission meeting called specialized training.  We met with another zone and I got to see several of the other Elders I came out with, and then had a large meeting about finding and other various subjects.  Following the meeting, we came back and tried contacting in heavy rain while it was dark.  Not many people wanted to meet with us, but we did have one miracle happen.  As we were contacting, we had a good feeling about one house where a young man named Cash let us straight in and teach him about the Book of Mormon.  He is an inactive member who has gone off the radar for years, but now he wants to learn more about the church again which is awesome.

Overall it has been a pretty busy week with a lot of introductions and trying to learn the new area, but I am excited for the potential that is here.

Until then, thanks for reading!
Elder Baxter

Carlton with Elder Briceno

At the Branch Meeting House

Monday, November 7, 2016

Goodbye to Medford

This past week was my final week in the Medford third ward.  To start this past week for Halloween we had to go to the apartment early where Elder Hoskins and I spent time playing card games among other things.  On Tuesday we got to serve at the Saint Vincet food kitchen and pig farm again. During all of this we got to witness one of the Spanish elders burn his suit in celebration of completing his mission.  I have seen him several times every week and it is a bit strange to see someone I know fairly well already leaving.  We then had a lesson with the Devenport Family and that was the day.

The following few days were pretty regular and there is not too much to say.  We did have another lesson with the Blankswade's which went well and we got to try to contact quite a few people.  This Saturday we did have a baptism where Taylie got baptized in Utah.  While we didn't get to see it, Taylie marks the first baptism I will have had while on the mission, with Henry being currently scheduled for baptism on the 19th of November.

Saturday was mainly dominated by the transfer news.  Elder Hoskins will stay here while I will go up to the Springfield stake by Eugene and go to the Oakridge branch with Elder Briceno.  I am sad to be leaving all the people I met here, but the future is also exciting as well.  The rest of Saturday and Sunday were then filled with saying good byes as well as packing.  On Sunday I also had the chance to bear one last testimony to the ward and teach the Gospel Principles class about the Spirit World. Whatever the future holds, I look forward to taking it head on and to continue to learn and grow in the Gospel and to help others do the same.

Thank you for reading,
Elder Baxter

Saying Goodbye...


So Long...

Take Care...


Until We Meet Again!

Halloween Fun

What happens when you have to be in early.

Happy Halloween

Don't move or the pumpkin gets it!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Fun

This week was really defined by preparing a couple of different investigators for their upcoming baptisms.  To start, Henry was interviewed a second time and was told that he can be baptized in three weeks which is following transfers.  There is a high chance that they will move me out and I won't get to see the baptism, but at least it is still going through.  We also got to do an interview for Taylie, and she is set to do her baptism in Saint George this coming weekend which is also awesome.  It has been fun to learn and grow with them and watch the Gospel come into their lives.

Along with teaching those two, we also taught several other people as well.  We got to teach a couple who had their records removed from the church who want to return.  During the lesson their mother who they were staying with told us she was listening and that she wants to join in on the discussions as well and that she has been searching for the truth.  It was definitely a miracle to see.  We also did a lot of contacting and trying to set up future lessons, as well as service at Saint Vinnies and the pig farm again where we had to herd a bunch of escaped pigs into their fenced off area due to a whole bunch of rain the day before that brought down one of the fences.

This week has also been fairly Halloween heavy as well as far as ward activities.  The first one happened on Thursday where the Elders quorum president tricked us into thinking we were coming for dinner but was instead a Halloween party where the entire quorum was present.  There were quite a few costumes and we got to stay for a little bit.  It was fun.  The next day was a ward trunk or treat where we got to say hi to a bunch of the members and have several non members that were at a nearby trunk or treat for another church think that we were dressing up as missionaries rather than actually being missionaries, which was funny.

Overall, that has been the week.  Due to transfers occurring next p day, there is a chance that I will not be able to write next week, but time will tell.  Until then, thank you for reading and for all of the support you all give!

Elder Baxter

Carlton and Elder Opper writing e-mails and goofing around.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Birthday on a Mission

This week has been an interesting week.  To start, my birthday was on Tuesday which meant that I got to open my birthday package from home and receive random calls from the mission presidency and mission office singing the happy birthday song. Most of the day was taken up by a lot of service at Saint Vincet's food kitchen, as well as working on a pig farm.  We also tracted after that and found a couple of potential investigators we will try to follow up on.  Finally, I also got a free dinner to Panda Express from the zone leaders.

On Wednesday Elder Borden and several other Elders came down for their temple trip and we got to catch up with them as well as have lunch with them.  It was a fun time.

The rest of the week was pretty regular, with us following up on appointments with people who didn't believe that we would come back.  We gave out a bunch of Book of Mormon's due to a mission wide challenge, and we met several more people through that.  We also got to start a steady string of lessons with Henry through the week that have gone very well, and give him the baptismal interview that he passed on Sunday.  Now the trick is just making sure everything continues to go smoothly.

There has been some tough things that happened.  We got dropped (over text) by Taylor, though we are hoping to try to get to talk to her one last time before she closes herself off.  We also had to drop several more people as well.  We also had to deal with some drama in setting up the baptisms for Taylie and Henry, though hopefully everything is good to go now.

Overall it was a pretty average week and there isn't anything to exciting to say, but as always, thanks for reading and for all of the support that you all give!

Elder Baxter

At the Medford Temple

Birthday Dinner

Stormtroopers and Sherlock

Carlton having fun

Even a 20 year old needs toys

The big 2-0!

Package from home!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Work Is Moving Forward

A couple weeks ago started with us baking chocolate cookies for our neighbors in our apartment complex.  We used it as a way to tract them and to just try to be good neighbors.  Overall it was fairly successful, where even if they didn't want to hear our message they still seemed to trust us and wouldn't mind asking us for help.  Beyond that the week got fairly messed up by major mission meetings that my companion had to go to due to him being a district leader.  I ended up being in a trio of other Elders whose companions also left for the meeting in Eugene.  We did a lot of service and tried to see some people, and had a fun time together.  Beyond that, I was also made the designated driver in a car share that we are in, which has been a good crash course for finding out how well I really know my area.

That week we also had a good ZTM that discussed how to improve our teaching, which was followed up with a lot of contacting of investigators who cancelled their lessons on us, which has been sort of frustrating.  The large event happened that Sunday though, when a former investigator named Henry called us and said he would be coming to church and wanted to meet with us to answer questions he had.  He did come to church and we committed him to pray about Joseph Smith in our first lesson, and he said he did so and felt the Spirit!  He wants to be baptized and we all felt like October 29th is the date to shoot for.  We meet with him often and he is very receptive and keeps and goes above all of the commitments we leave him.  He has a testimony of this church.

The past week has been a fairly regular week with a lot of contacting, tracting, and getting to lessons.  An obstacle we came across is a fellow missionary borrowing Elder Hoskins bike and breaking it by accident, which has forced us to walk everywhere when we do not have the car.  The other thing that has characterized the week has been a large increase in rain.  It has been raining constantly for three days straight,

Last Saturday was really good as well due to our temple trip.  We went to the nearby Medford temple and got to an endowment session which was good and uplifting.  It is probably the smallest temple I have been in, but it was still a very spiritual experience.  We then had our p day and then went to a special stake conference where Elder Christoffersen was speaking.  We got to bring Henry and sit right up front in a few reserved rows for investigators.  He discussed the importance of scripture study, and we got to shake his hand following the meeting.  Henry seemed to really like it and it was fun seeing just how happy he was to meet with all of us.  We then ran into him a second time in the hall by accident and got to shake his hand again.  Then on Sunday we got to see Elder Bennet of the Seventy speak.

Overall, the past couple weeks have been good and busy.  They have their ups and downs but the work is moving forward and it is fun to be apart of.

Thanks for reading,

Elder Baxter

Rain Is Falling All Around...

Medford Temple

How about a game?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Quick Note

So the email I am sending is going to be rather short.  We are going to the temple this coming Saturday as a zone, but because of that the mission president has decreed that our p day will be on Saturday as well so that the temple doesn't "interfere with proselyting time".  He only gave us permission to write one small email to explain this.  I will write this Saturday following the temple, but some highlights of the past week consisted of finding a lot more people, one of who might be baptized really really soon, and making chocolate rolo cookies as a tracting approach for our neighbors in our apartment complex.

Thanks for reading,
Elder Baxter

Man, I hate looking at pictures of myself.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Following the Spirit

This week has been the start of a new transfer and a new companionship with Elder Hoskins.  We are both fairly new missionaries trying to figure out how to best accomplish the work, and so far we have had a lot of fun together and work really well together.  The biggest difference between this week and the past two transfers has been a large increase in tracting, where we found five new investigators, but I will say more about that soon.

So the majority of this week has been characterized by introducing Elder Hoskins to the ward and showing him the area and the main families we work with.  During all of this we have done a lot more service, where we helped at the food kitchen in Saint Vincet DePaul's, fed pigs in a pig farm, and pulled weeds at a pear farm.  Following those service projects, as said, the main thing has been contacting and tracting.  Elder Hoskins loves to tract and he knows how to push to the very end, where the last door is the door that will answer and have an interest in us returning.  It has been good for me and it is nice to see how other missionaries do the work.

The big thing this past week has been General Conference.  We ended up watching General Conference at the Elders Quorum president's home (there name are the Foutz).  It was fun and I got a lot more out of conference this time than I have in the past.  One miracle that occurred during conference was in between the Saturday sessions, where we felt prompted to visit a less active family who lived really out of the way of where we were going.  We knocked on their door and nothing major happened, but as we knocked on the doors around the home we came across an older person who was very interested in asking us questions and wants us to come back.  It was an awesome experience that came from following the Spirit.

Following the Priesthood session we were able to attend an Elders Quorum activity where pizza was served, and then Sunday went fairly normally outside of watching the Conference sessions. Overall, it was a good week for seeing the area grow and I am excited to see what the coming transfer brings.

Thanks for reading,

Elder Baxter

 Introducing Elder Hoskins and Elder Baxter