Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas and the Atonement

Merry Christmas everyone!

I don't have a whole lot of time to write this week, but I will share what I can.  This past week was the slow build up for Christmas.  We got to share the Christmas story to several part member families, and combine it with the importance of the Atonement.  It was awesome to see these people make connections and grow a greater appreciation and faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement.  We also were able to teach Shannon.  She has now finished the first four lessons and is extremely willing to live all of the commandments.  She shared to us her strengthening conversion and showed how she feels the Spirit.  Each time I go over to teach her I feel like that my own faith grows from just seeing her faithfulness.  It is such a blessing from my Heavenly Father to have the chance to teach her.

Outside of the teaching front, we also had exchanges with the zone leaders here in Newport.  One of them has a super nice camera and took amazing pictures that will be used on Facebook and this blog, and outside of that it was a good time.  At the end of that day I had the chance to conduct a baptismal interview for a couple that the Sisters are teaching in Waldport.  It was an amazing experience and those people are more than ready and excited for their baptism.  It is such a privilege to be able to be included in that part of the teaching process.

On Christmas Eve we delivered chocolate Rolo cookies, that Elder Law and I made the night before, and delivered them to various investigators and members.  They continue to be a hit!  We had Christmas Eve dinner with the family of the little girl we are teaching, and then had a Zone testimony meeting.  Finally today I had the chance to Skype my family (got to love technology), and watch the Lego Batman movie with some members for Christmas from a list of approved movies from our mission president.

Thank you for everything that has been done to support me on the mission.  It has made a world of difference and I can't thank you all enough.  This Christmas season, lets go and serve others just as Christ would have us do, and thank you for all of the support!

Merry Christmas!
Elder Baxter

On exchanges

Christmas Eve

Skyping with family

Mom's best Christmas gift

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

True Christmas Message

Hello Everyone,

This past week was a good week for service and teaching.  Service wise, we have had several members move in the ward, and each time us missionaries have been called in to help out the poor High Priests out.  Fortunately, we have had great weather for the past two weeks which has allowed life to feel nicer and allow these moves to go smoothly.  We also had Zone Conference this week with the Corvallis, Eugene, Santa Clara, and Springfield zones.  I was able to see many of my previous companions and other missionaries I knew which was nice.

Outside of that, teaching has been great.  Shannon has advanced in the Gospel very well.  We discussed the Word of Wisdom and found out that she was already living the complete commandment, along with many other things she is doing that shows she is ready for the Gospel.  It has been awesome.  We also got to teach a young girl referred to us from Sister missionaries in Las Vegas.  She is from a family returning to church, and we were able to put her on date as well as see the family attend church which has been awesome.

The work is good, and getting to spread the true Christmas message has been a great blessing.  Talk to you all soon and have a merry Christmas!

Elder Baxter

Zone Conference

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


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]


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.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Two Weeks Worth

Hello Everyone,

Sorry about missing last week, our p-day got changed due to a temple trip and the whole schedule was crazy, but it has all settled down now.  Now comes the trick of remembering the main highlights!

To start off, we went on the hunt for service opportunities.  The Elders before me decided to end all service for various reasons, but we managed to find an opportunity at a Habitat for Humanity store house.  It has been nice to be able to attend and basically do organization and clean up jobs.  They were also very appreciative of missionaries coming back, so it has been good both ways.  Beyond that, a lot of time was spent that first week introducing Elder Huang to Newport and helping him learn the main investigators and members.  It has gone well and since then we have been going out trying to use all our resources to find those who will receive us.  It has been long, but rewarding when we do find.

We were also able to teach Guillian a bit more.  We have been helping him get ready for baptism and got him to church last Sunday.  He really loved Primary and the ward is really supportive.  In fact, their home teacher is actually the Bishop which works out amazingly for us!  The toughest hurdle has been the Dad.  The Mom really wants him to join, but his lack of interest has been hard on the family.  I do feel though that as we continue to come over and as they pray and read their scriptures his heart will be softened.

We have also come in contact with other various people and see miracles happen in the District I am over.  It has been a good time to be a district leader over the coast areas, and awesome to see the Lord bless the other missionaries.

Now that brings us to this week!  Going into it, we found out last minute that our p-day was changed to Friday due to a temple trip.  We also found out that district meeting was changed to Thursday for that week and that President Orton was coming in for interviews that Wednesday.  Well, that basically threw our plans out the window, but we did what we could!  Interviews were good with President, and I also turned 21 that day as well.  The day was pretty normal, but it was a nice day to be able to reflect a little on what has happened so far.

Friday we got to go to the Portland temple.  It is a very beautiful temple and I am glad to have gone.  I got to see three of my past companions, and the Spirit that was felt was amazing.  I also got to see a bit of the Salem and Portland missions on the drive there and back, which was fun.  Then on Saturday the zone leaders came on down for a special split where we worked the area.  I worked near the coast in Depo Bay and got to see some awesome waves hit the cliffs in a storm, as well as meet some great people.  Then finally today I got to visit the Newport aquarium which was quite fun.

Thanks for bearing with me that long.  Sometimes it can be tough to remember the specifics of what happens during the week, but know that the work is progressing and I am excited about for Guillian.  Thank you for all of your support!

Elder Baxter

Birthday package

Stormy weather

Stormy seas

On the way to the temple

At the temple

Portland Temple

At the temple

Past companions

Portland Temple

Portland Temple


Another boat picture for Hyrum

At the Newport Aquarium

Loving the jellyfish

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.)