Monday, October 16, 2017

Moved P-day But Here Are Some Pictures

We have a temple trip [mom note: to the Portland Temple] this Friday, and due to that they moved our p-day to then.  So basically I am going two weeks in a row without a real p-day.  I will write my weekly email on the trip back from the temple.

[Mom note:  Meanwhile here are some pictures Carlton sent us today.   Also his birthday will be Wednesday!!  So happy birthday Carlton!]


Carlton with the cars that he lives above.





With Elder Huang

Newport coast with Elder Huang

A boat picture for his littlest brother (who loves boats.)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Miracles Will Come Through

Hello Everyone,

This week was the final week of my eleventh transfer.  Elder Dillon is leaving and going on down to Coos Bay and I am staying another transfer here in Newport with Elder Huang.  He is an Elder from Taiwan and is a super friendly guy.  It should be a good time with him.  In the mean time I am currently waiting in an institute building for the transfer van sometime around 6 pm.

This week we had several good lessons and experiences.  To start, on Wednesday we got to go and talk to an older woman about the Book of Mormon.  We have done some service for her in the past so she let us right in.  We learned very quickly that she knows how to talk, a lot. We ended up getting trapped there for quite a long while, but in the end she said that she would read the Book of Mormon, so it was good in the end.

We also had a couple lessons with various recent converts this past week that went well, as well as made a larger push on working with members.  The most solid investigators come from members, so we have been working with various families in helping them to pick a friend to invite to a family home evening where we would present a portion of the Restoration for the lesson.  It will take some time, but as it happens I feel like miracles will come through.

Saturday we got our transfer call, and from that point on it was the normal packing and saying good byes.  Sunday night though a very spiritual experience happened.  We went to teach the nine year old named Guillian and his mother.  We ended up putting Guillian on date and recommitting the Mom to come back to church.  We talked about many challenges they were going through and we were able to show how a faith in Jesus Christ could help.  We then got to end it by giving a Priesthood blessing.

And that brings us to today.  This morning we woke up at 4 am to get ready to come to Corvallis for a 6:15 am transfer time.  Since then I have been emailing and playing card games with other Elders and previous companions waiting for the transfer van to come in.  Thank you for all you do and for all of the support,

Elder Baxter

One last time with Elder Dillon

The coast at Newport

Monday, October 2, 2017

Events that Stick Out

Hello everyone,

This past week was a pretty regular week as far as missionary work goes, but a couple of events stick out.  To start, last p-day the zone came on over to Newport for a zone p-day.  It felt great to be able to see other missionaries again, including Elders Hoskins and Smith, two of my former companions.  As that event wrapped up though, we had the chance to go on over to Corvallis for an exchange with the zone leaders.  What was special about this exchange was the kind of area they work in.  They are in a young single adult ward on a college campus at OSU.  It was fun being with Elder Hoskins and talking to college aged students on campus with the beaver mascot being all over the place.  It is definitely a very different kind of missionary work there.

Later in the week the mission office had us switch out the mattresses in Newport and Waldport.  It turns out some of these mattresses have been around since 1990, so the mission has been switching them out for the past couple months.  That more or less took up half of our Thursday, but allowed us to get to know the Danley's, a senior missionary office couple, better.

General Conference was great though.  We watched most of the sessions at our church building, and the Sunday morning session we did at a Members home with Nicole, the person who was baptized the first week I was here.  I really loved the emphasis on following the prophet and the necessity to study the Book of Mormon every day.  In fact, all of the talks were great and I can't wait to look them over again.  We truly have living prophets and apostles, and I know at as we follow them we will receive the revelation necessary to return back to our heavenly parents.

Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Sister Danley texted this picture home

Getting together with other Elders is always fun

Monday, September 25, 2017

Remain Faithful

Hello everyone,

I feel like I have been through a spiritual roller coaster the past week.  To start, on Tuesday we found out the AP's were coming to our area for an exchange.  I later learned that this is something they try to do for most of the new missionaries, but the pressure went up for planning quickly for a unplanned event.  The exchange went very well overall, and we had some great study sessions as well as being able to find a couple great new investigators throughout the day.  By the time they left we were feeling pretty great about everything.  We were even able to get a hold of a couple of younger boys that had dropped off the map for a while who want to be baptized!

As with all spiritual experiences though, opposition does come.  Following a district meeting that I feel went well about our missionary purpose, all of our return appointments for the new investigators fell through.  It didn't feel like anyone was home.  In fact, one of the more promising ones had a man answer the door who more or less told us to never come back and avoided telling us if the person we were looking for was home which broke our hearts, as well as hearing that another investigator wasn't interested from a third party source.  It definitely felt as if the devil was on us.  But God always prevails.

On Saturday, the sisters in our district had a baptism.  It was nice to see and President Orton as well as Elder Hoskins, now my zone leader, come as well.  Miracles also started to come.  We are put through tests sometimes to see if we will remain faithful despite whatever happens, and if we endure well that is when the blessings flow.  We finally got in contact with an entire family named the King's who have been taught for a while.  We got to reestablish connection and see how cool they were.  They will definitely be baptized some day, they already are dry Mormons basically.  On top of that, we also saw the Trivett family.  The son wants to be baptized and is praying for a date while the Mom is taking large steps in getting the testimony she once had back.  It was great being able to testify of how the Atonement of Jesus Christ can help us past anything.

The work continues to move forward, and as General Conference approaches I would encourage you all to take a question you have to it and be prepared to have the Spirit testify to you!  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Let the sun shine

Working together

Beauty everywhere 


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

Monday, July 31, 2017

Doing The Small Things

Hello everyone,

This week was another good week of missionary work out here in Bandon.  Overall, a lot has been the same kind of thing, as we go out and try to contact various people, as well as tract.  To start, on Wednesday evening, we were going out trying to have lessons and visit a few people, but over the course of the evening every door closed literally and figuratively until all we had left was a small street we thought we would try to tract.  As we drove down the street I felt prompted to start on a specific side, and it turned out that the very first door opened and was willing to talk.  We met a man who was sincerely looking for a religion that would fulfill his spiritual needs better than the one he was attending, and as we talked we gave him an interest and hope in ours, saying that he didn't believe it was a coincidence that we came when we did.  He still needs to get a go ahead with his wife before he lets us come over, but if all works this man will be taught very soon.  It was an amazing experience.

We also met with various less active members this week that Elder Pierce was able to connect with very well due to his military background.  We have met several Vietnam veterans, including a guy from the 101st Airborne Division for those history buffs out there.  Not all of them accepted, but there are now several families that want us to come by, have dinner, and teach them when they can make their schedules align.  It should be a good when the time comes.  We are trying hard to do this in order to help our branch president in his goal to get ten Melchizedek Priesthood holders reactivated in order to get closer to having this branch become a ward.  Our approach has been mainly focused on showing how doing the small things allows us to truly live the two great commandments, thus making God a larger role in their life.

It has been a good week and the coming week is looking promising as well.  Interviews with President Orton are coming, as well as an exchange with the Zone Leaders on Friday.  Miracles are happening and the work is moving forward.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

At the Beach

With the Bandon Lighthouse

Monday, July 24, 2017

Miracle

Hello everyone,

I would describe this past week with the word "miracle".  With all that has been happening at home which I am sure many of you have heard about, it has been amazing to see the Lord's tender mercies come in many various forms.  I am also now with Elder Pierce who is a great missionary and we have been having a great time so far.  Rather than go through the whole week I will describe just a couple of experiences.

On Thursday following dinner I felt impressed to go down a specific road to visit a potential investigator family.  On the way a man in a truck stopped and asked if we wanted a ride.  We didn't but we did get to talk.  The Spirit worked on him to tell us that he was actually an inactive member and explained his whole story about how he felt forced into the church.  This led to us being able to share a powerful testimony about how now he has the chance to choose for himself to join the church, and he can do that by reading the Book of Mormon.  In the end he said that he didn't know why he felt prompted to stop, but that we gave him the best reason he has yet been offered to read the Book of Mormon.  He then accepted a copy, had us sign and put our emails into it, and then promised in a sincere way that he will read it.  He is a tourist and we won't see him again in all probability, but it was an amazing experience.

Another experience like this happened again on Sunday.  It was very windy and our moral was fairly low, but we went out anyway not knowing quite sure of what we were going to do.  We ran into a couple near the church whose car had died on them. At first they acted weird towards us, but over time they softened up, talked about how they always loved the people they see in our church, found ways we connected to them personally, and said that they want a church that expects people to actually change and repent.  I think that we can answer that request. In the end they made us promise to drop by their home this upcoming week and we are super excited to go on over.

These kind of experiences are just a taste of what true missionary work is like.  Often times the Lord will put people in our way who are ready, we just need the faith to go out and work.  As long as we rely on the Lord and not our own wisdom, new paths open up and the work of the Lord progresses, not just for others but for ourselves as well. This is why it is important to always fulfill your callings,
especially home teaching.  In the end it all leads to the same source and that source is what grants to us Salvation.  Thank you for all of the support and love,

Elder Baxter

With Elder Pierce

Circles in the Sand

Monday, July 17, 2017

Simple Teaching Moments

Hello everyone,

This email will be a little shorter due to how transfers went today, but the past week has been good. The real highlights of the week came from simple teaching moments.  To start, on Wednesday we taught a young mom with her kids listening in from a different room.  When we first entered the house, our initial thoughts were that this wasn't going to go well, but over the course of teaching the Spirit really worked on her.  It was amazing to us to as the Spirit also showed us what Heavenly Father thought of them as well.  By the end they accepted a soft baptism invite and it was awesome to see.

We also taught several other people as well.  The focus ended up being the Restoration as well as baptism.  It is truly a blessing to see how the Gospel can influence everyone for good, regardless of who they are.  I will go into a little more detail next week.

Today was transfers and I am staying in Bandon.  My new companion is Elder Pierce and I had to go on into Roseburg to pick him up which is why I am out of time.  It should be a good week and thank you for all for the support!

Elder Baxter

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mission Adventures

Hello everyone,

It was a busy week the past week.  To start, Tuesday was chaotic across the city of Bandon for the Fourth of July.  Everyone who lives here left, and everyone else from Oregon came here, making for large crowds of tourists passing through the town.  The morning started with attempting to talk to people at a parade, but we came twenty minutes late and it lasted for only fifteen minutes, so we completely missed it.  While we were there though, we came across the bishop of one of Elder Bushman's old wards.  He invited us over for dinner and gave a couple referrals which was awesome. Continuing through the day we ended up walking through most of the city of Bandon meeting various members from around the state as well as from Utah.  We then had two lessons with recent converts, and then ended up having two BBQ dinners.  Life is very interesting food wise as a missionary I have to say!  That night we then watched the fireworks from our apartment.

On Wednesday we had an exchange with the zone leaders.  I was with Elder Terry who has been in my previous zones, and we had an interesting experience.  We decided to go tracting, and the very first door we knocked on we talked to a guy who went from "not interested" to "I guess I would have to read that book of yours," while talking to him.  He then asked us to help him with a project where we would help him put up a fence.  We said yes, but did not realize how big the project was.  We came to the spot and it turned out he was splitting apart full tree trunks for the posts, and was using hydraulic machinery to dig holes and move the trunks around.  We helped out the best we could and in the end he said that he had massive respect for us.  It was a cool, but unusual door we knocked on for sure.  After that we switched back to our normal companions again for a hour.  While the zone leaders were doing their thing, my companion was driving and ended up accidentally cutting someone off.  That resulted into a chase where the guy pursued us for a couple miles around empty city streets until we finally lost him.  Wednesday definitely had a few adventures.

Thursday we got to meet President Orton.  We ended up doing a question and answer kind of meeting just getting to know him, and then had mini interviews following that.  He is a very nice man who is pretty calm. I support him as my mission president and I look forward to seeing what happens.  The rest of the day was pretty normal.  On Friday though we got to go out and do an emergency service project for a widow in the branch.  She was moving next door and the branch desperately needed more help.  Over the course of the next few days up until this morning we went on over and helped bring over her stuff, and she had a lot of it.

Finally on Sunday I got to give a talk in church about John 11-15.  Nancy, our main investigator, came.  At the end of sacrament she said that she was going to make sure that she comes to every church meeting on Sunday from this point forth.  That was a pretty cool experience to see the Spirit work on her like that.  She mentioned hard things have been happening ever since she started to talk to us which means that this must be one powerful church to get the devil that angry.  Finally, he rest of the day we went out and found a couple new people to teach and finished the day strong until Elder Bushman accidentally broke his iPad screen at a dinner appointment.

Thanks for all the support everyone and know that the work is moving out here!  I know that as we open our mouths we will be able to say the things that will help others come to Christ and that is our biggest duty as members.

Elder Baxter

Tag Sandcastle 

Fun in the sand

Monday, July 3, 2017

Small and Simple Things

Hello everyone,

This week was another average week of missionary work.  The main highlights included a lot of service in various places, as well as a few great lessons and an exchange.  To start on the service side of things, the senior couple, the Woolley's, were gone for a funeral most of the week, so us missionaries got drafted into all of the projects they signed up for.  This included packaging frozen dinners at a local food place in the community center, digging large holes and transporting plants for an older lady moving next door, and serving people lunch.  The service took a while, but people definitely are seeing the missionaries helping the community which will ultimately cause them to trust us more.  The work should go back to normal next week, and we did still have plenty of time to knock doors this last week as well.

The exchange that happened took place in a nearby town called Coquille, with my district leader Elder Finlinson as well as his companion Elder Wikan.  It was a fun time and we contacted quite a few people and invited several less active members to come back to church. Coquille is a very hilly town that involved a lot of tiring walking. Towards the end of the exchange we then ran into some members who we knew from Medford that were coming through.  On the note of random people stopping by, since Bandon is such a huge tourist town we have come across many members from Utah stopping by, as well as a member of the mission presidency, President Cropper, coming to church while at a family reunion.  Bandon is the place Oregon comes to for vacations.

Finally we had a couple great lessons.  One was with a woman named Nancy where we talked about the Restoration.  The discussion turned to her talking about how she sees a light and difference between members of our church and others, and how she wants that for herself and her family.  She hasn't committed to baptism yet, but as time goes on and she learns more I believe she will definitely make it.  We also talked to several less active members, and taught about the importance of faith to others.  It has been great seeing the Gospel of Jesus Christ bless others, even if it is only in small ways at first.  Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Thank you for all of the support and have a great Fourth of July!

Elder Baxter

From last week's zone activity

Monday, June 26, 2017

Out of the Norm

Hello everyone,

This week was a pretty average week for me.  Throughout the week we did our usual service projects along with a lot of contacting and tracting.  Due to it being summer, there are a lot of tourists here and a lot of the people who normally live here are gone on summer break, making it tougher to find new people to teach.  We did find a couple new people though, and I know that as we continue to work the Lord will bless us as we keep moving forward in faith.

There were a couple things that happened though that were out of the norm.  To start, on Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening, my companion Elder Bushman went to his end of mission temple trip in Portland.  While he was gone I was with another Chinese missionary named Elder Huang.  He is from Taiwan, and while talking we found that we both came from similar families which was fun.  Chinese speaking missionaries usually work in the YSA wards in Eugene and Corvallis, but President placed him on the coast to have an English transfer or two.  It was a fun time.

After that, on Thursday we learned that one of our investigators had someone close to them pass away, so the Woolley's, our senior missionary companionship, bought us a rose to drop off for her.  It helped a lot, and now she is calling us her "favorite people".  On Friday night another interesting event happened.  We went over to another investigator's home to drop him for never letting us teach him, but this time he let us in.  One thing led to another and at the end he was on date for baptism!  The Lord works in mysterious ways.

One final story that happened occurred on Saturday.  As we were walking around town a car pulled up next to us.  Inside was President and Sister Russell on their final p day of the mission for them.  They took us to have ice cream and have small talk with them.  It was a fun, extremely random experience we had, but it was good.  On that day I was also able to Skype in and see three of the people I got to help teach in the past be baptized.  There were some technical difficulties in the wifi and all the calls were at the exact same time which created some confusion, but it was a good experience and amazing to see these people continue on their spiritual journey.

I hope that everyone is doing well and remember to always trust in the Lord and pray for strength to face your day to day trials, and as you do so you will be able to truly go out in the strength of the Lord.  Thank you for all of your support,

Elder Baxter

Tag picture

Sunset on the ocean

Temp companion

Back with his companion

Ocean breeze messing his hair up

Monday, June 19, 2017

One Year Mark

Hello everyone,

This past week has involved me learning the area quite a bit more. Work wise, many of our appointments have fallen through and it was tougher to get the people here to commit to a real time they will meet with us.  We keep pressing forward though, and part of the problem comes from various meetings changing the schedule we set up with the people here.  Some things we did manage to do though was help several people move in to new homes.  The branch here has quite a few older people, so they called in us Elders to move all of the heavy objects for them.  We also had a great lesson with another family we helped move in the past week.  I get the feeling that the upcoming summer is going to be a popular time for moving.

The first of the big meetings that occurred was on Thursday with Zone Conference.  It took place up in Eugene which meant we had to wake up early to get there, and more or less used up the whole day.  Half the mission was there, and I got to see many of my past companions.  This Zone Conference was different due to this being the final meeting with President Russell.  He taught us about setting good habits as well as the importance of having a strong testimony of Jesus Christ.  It was a great spirit filled meeting.  That night I then spent celebrating my one year mark by going to a burger place in Coos Bay on the way back with the district, and opening a package from home.

Sunday was also a major day for meetings.  On Sunday we had stake conference where a seventy came, as well as President Russell.  They both spoke, and after the meeting we did our final interviews with President Russell.  The interview was great and was my official goodbye to the Russell's.  in two weeks the Orton's will come in to replace them.  It has been a crazy but great past year and I know that my testimony has grown so much in the past year.  I don't know what will happen in the coming year, but one thing I can say is that regardless of what happens the work is in the Lord's hands and it will be an amazing time.  Thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Last time with President Russell

With past companions 

Hump Day/Fourth of July package

Foggy Beach Morning

A maze event called "Circle in the Sand"

Monday, June 12, 2017

Beautiful Bandon

Hello Everyone!

This past week was my first full week out on the coast in Bandon. Following P Day, we went out to the beach and got to see how beautiful the Oregon coast is.  Our apartment is only two or three miles away, so going there is a pretty common for trying to talk to tourists and other people on the beach. Other nice parts of this area include a branch that seems missionary minded, as well as getting to work with the senior missionary couple named the Woolley's.

Through out the week we have done quite a bit of service, ranging from packaging frozen dinners for people in need, serving dinner to older people, helping someone move in, and putting a huge amount of movies on shelves in alphabetical order in a library.  Most of these happened at a local community center not too far from the apartment.

Teaching wise, the past week has mostly consisted of coming in contact with people and setting up future appointments.  Many of the people we teach live far out of Bandon in the middle of a forest, so driving out to them has been interesting.  We taught one woman though this past week who was super nice and came to church this past week.  She has a lot going for her and I look forward to seeing how it all goes down in the future.

Overall, the week has gone very fast and Bandon is looking to be a fun place.  Next week I have my final Zone Conference with President Russell, as well as stake conference and final interview with President Russell.  Time is flying when we are engaged in the Lord's work and the Spirit is the true teacher.  Thanks for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Carlton with his new companion, Elder Bushman

The name tag shot

Beautiful!!!

A bit windy but so worthwhile

Ocean sun

 
Seals on the rocks

Another name tag picture

Cool rock formations