Monday, August 29, 2016

Days are long. Weeks are short.

We got to put someone on a baptismal date this week!  Her name is Tailey and she is a 13 year old girl from a less active family we are teaching that wants to return back to church.  They moved into the ward not that long ago and even asked us when a good baptismal date would be before we could even extend the commitment which was awesome to see.  This happened this past Tuesday, and since then we learned that her father is worthy enough to baptize her which is awesome.

This week has mainly been characterized by success with talking to less active families and helping motivate them to want to come back to church.  Often times, just us appearing at the door is enough to get them to do most of the talking and teaching about the Gospel.  Some have even gone out of their way to recontact ward members without us asking them to.  This has lead, and seems to lead, to us finding more friends and family that live with them that want to learn about the Gospel.

During the actual week, a couple things have occurred.  First, our ward mission leader moved out and should be now living in Utah.  We helped him move and said our goodbyes, which really characterized our Tuesday.  He was awesome, but now his assistant is the new ward mission leader in our area.  He is hitting the ground running, and we are all hopeful for the near future of the area.

Beyond that, we did interviews with the mission president Wednesday which more or less lasted all day.  Then on Friday and Saturday I got to go on an exchange with our zone leader, Elder Bushman.  We did a lot of tracting, though not a whole lot of success came.  We then switched back to our original companions and found the less active families that have already been mentioned.

The days are long and crazy, and the weeks and months are short, but life is going well and our teaching pool is increasing.  The coming week should be fairly similar to this past week, but as always I will keep everyone posted.

Thanks for reading,

Elder Baxter

P.S.  I didn't really take pictures this week, but that is because there was nothing to really take pictures of.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Chance To Teach

Hey everyone!

This week was an interesting week as far as the bipolar nature of it.  The week began with helping our investigator Steffano nearly every day until Wednesday as we tried to juggle in proselyting time in as well.  We helped him set up his apartment to prepare him to start an online job that should help him past his financial problems and hopefully be baptized within the coming year.  During that, we continued to help out with several service projects and got to see transfers come and go.

On Wednesday, the new missionaries entered the mission and they seem very prepared and ready to hit the ground running.  We were also able to go out for the day with a prospective elder and show him what contacting is like and give him a glimpse of what the first day in his first mission area will be like through him meeting the new missionaries, which was a cool experience.  He also got to meet Steffano and started to build ward connections with him so we don't have to help him quite as much as we have had to these past few weeks.

Following that, on Friday we tracted into a guy who was interested in the Gospel and had a hour and a half lesson where all of his questions naturally led through all of the lessons briefly.  He said we were the first church he has every talked to that could answer his questions and wanted to meet again.  He lives in another area, so we referred him to those Elders, so hopefully they will get in contact with him!  Later that day we had a dinner appointment/lesson with an investigator who showed us his cheap virtual reality headset and made us watch some videos of people doing stunts over skyscrapers and skydiving while wearing it.  That was fun to see.

On Saturday we got to go out with the prospective elder again and met with someone who ultimately ended up being a bible basher.  The lesson did not go well, but hopefully we will not have to see that person again.  We then went to a part member home where the members expressed interest in wanting to return to church and the rest having a strong potential for baptism.  We will get to meet with them again tonight and teach them for their family home evening.  Then another part member family that just moved in from Utah also wants to meet with us, and their thirteen year old daughter has expressed interest in being baptized.

Overall, our teaching pool is increasing and more people want to hear the Gospel which is always amazing!  We are grateful to the Lord for the chance to get to help teach these people, and we trust that everything will work out for the best.

Thank you for reading,

Elder Baxter

In the zone

Showing off his mission shirt.
He says his eyes are closed because it was a bright day. 

Bowling on P-day

Monday, August 15, 2016

Record Pear Picking

As of writing this blog letter, I am officially finished with two months of my mission, which is a crazy thought.  The past transfer flew by, and now I am in my second one, with the same companion and area.  Beyond that, this past week has been fairly similar to previous weeks.

Throughout the week, we did a final pear farm picking where we broke the record, again, and filled up 17 crates.  We also helped out in feeding the homeless again, working at another farm (where the pictures of me are taken,) and helped Steffano prepare for an intensive surgery.  I got to give my second priesthood blessing which was very powerful experience. The spirit was strongly felt, and I think Steffano felt better about what was going to happen.  He came out of the surgery okay.

Beyond that, we had a dinner lesson with a less active member and a non member named the Blankswades who live in a very nice house on top of a mountain.  They are very nice people and they should hopefully be receptive to the Spirit.  We also got to teach an Asian lady who strongly believes in Christ and has many similar beliefs as us.

Beyond that, this week ended with saying good bye to other elders and sisters who are leaving for different areas.  My entire zone is switching around, outside of my companionship, so there were quite a few goodbyes to be made.  Many of our areas are close together so we got to know each other fairly well.  But I am excited for my second transfer and having the chance to make friends with new people.

Thank you for reading,

Elder Baxter

Service at the farm

Sweet Service

View at the Blankswades' home

What a view!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Service and Training

This was another service filled week.  To start, the zone went out bowling and for ice cream last P-day, which was fun.  Following that, we had dinner with a former investigator who didn't seem too receptive to the church but loves missionaries.  The next day was characterized by a lot of mini service projects for the people in the ward.  We ended up moving wood, pulling weeds, and some other yard work.  After service we then came across a person who yelled at us to give him a Book of Mormon and wanted to know where the church building is.  We haven't seen him since, but I am hopeful that he is ready to hear the gospel.

The following day was a new missionary training meeting that was put on by the AP's and the mission president.  I got to see my MTC companion and swap stories.  The meeting itself was a good motivator for continuing to try our best in training.  The next day we did some more service at the church owned pear farm and picked about 15 large crates full of pears as a group on platforms.  Then on Friday we helped a new investigator named Stefano who just moved in from another area.  He is an ex-marine and has a lot of crazy stories, and wants to be baptized when he feels he is a little more ready.

On Saturday we tried to do some more contacting and had a lesson with an old woman named Darline who has a long history with missionaries.  We then went to a Chinese buffet with Stefano and took him to the baptism of a lady named Janet, who we have helped with service in the past.  Beyond that, Sunday didn't have anything to note worthy happen, then for today on P-day we had breakfast as a zone on a farm owned by a member and then went go karting as a district.  The work is moving in the area and we are starting to find more people to teach which is good for the area.

Thank you for reading,

Elder Baxter


Carlton, Elder  Gittins, and Elder Gerard on their way back from the new missionary training. 

Monday, August 1, 2016


This past week can be characterized by lots of service and heat.  Every day of the week has consisted of some form of service project, including breaking stuff down for Habbitat for Humanity, serving food to the homeless, picking pears at the nearby church orchard, two moves, painting a garage, and removing tiles that turned out to be poisonous.  Also the weather has been over 100 degrees which has made things tough.

The other major highlight was a specialized training where I got to see my MTC companion again and got my iPad.

I would write more, but I am actually out of time to write emails, but overall things are going well and I look forward to seeing what the next week brings!

Thanks for reading,

Elder Baxter

(Give me another week to figure out how to send pictures on an iPad)