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


A bit windy but so worthwhile

Ocean sun

Seals on the rocks

Another name tag picture

Cool rock formations

Monday, June 5, 2017

Off to Serve in Bandon

Hello everyone!  This week marked off my last week of being in the Winston ward in the Roseburg stake.  I am currently off to serve in Bandon, which is a small costal town in the Coos Bay stake, and my companion is Elder Bushman.  Due to Bandon being on the coast, I am excited to get to see the ocean for the second time in my life, as well as enjoy cooler temperatures than what I was experiencing in Winston.  Elder Bushman is also the first zone leader I had when I entered the mission, and is a missionary I seem to keep running into each time I transfer.  This will be his final transfer before going home, and it should be fun seeing how the upcoming weeks unfold!

To start off with this past week though, on Tuesday we had a great lesson with Philip, where we taught the word of wisdom.  He readily accepted it and got rid of his coffee pot after we left.  He is doing awesome and should make it to his baptism this upcoming transfer.  When he does, I will have the privilege of getting to Skype in.  The rest of the day was spent contacting, teaching a lesson to an investigator who is moving out, and watching "Seventeen Miracles" for a special event in our Book of Mormon class.  In the middle of it all, our Chevy Cruz's battery died due to a Tiwi malfunction, and we had to jump start our car with the help of a member.

On Wednesday, the biggest event was the ward inviting us missionaries to help teach in a mutual mission night, where the youth went from one room to another hearing mission stories and learning what it meant to be a missionary.  In our station we decided to get the youth teaching, so we taught them our missionary purpose and had them role playing giving us a Book of Mormon from Tracting or street contacting.  It was fun to watch them honestly struggle, but have a good time doing it, and in the end, our room was the only one we heard the youth talking about when we finished up.  Score one for the missionaries!

The rest of the week was spent doing average missionary work, including a lot of walking.  Friday morning was when we got our transfer calls, which was followed up with me giving my final district meeting for a little while.  The rest of the week was spent saying good byes, dealing with car troubles (the battery died a second time Sunday morning and we had to get the tires switched), and more teaching and walking.  It has been an honor to serve in Winston, and while here I have learned so much about conversion, how wards and stakes operate, charity for all those we have been blessed to teach, and a deeper testimony.  The people here are amazing, and I hope to be able to continue to grow as a missionary in Bandon.  Until then, thank you for all of the support!

Elder Baxter

Loving the river.  Now onto the ocean!

Saying Goodbye