Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Beautiful Week

Dear Family,
How is everyone doing? I am doing great here in Scotland. The weather here has been phenomenal. It was barely rained the last couple of weeks and from the reports I get from people, it will stay that way for the rest of the week. Unfortunately I also hear that there will be a short autumn this year and a bitter cold winter. I'll just take it as is comes though. In regards to a suit and coat. My suits are fine and I'll hold off on that a little while. I might get some white shirts soon though fit with my black suit since those sleeves aren't as long as some of my white shirts. I found an old coat in the Prestwick flat that i think I'll use. I'll let you know how it goes.

Siobhan's baptism went well. It was a small service, but a spiritual one. So funny story time, we went early to fill up the font and were waiting forever for the hot water to turn on, but it didn't so we just turned on the water and went into the kitchen to start boiling some water. Needless to say the water was cold, but with my experience in the Polar Bear Club, I was able to handle it. Gratefully I only had to perform the baptism once. Siobhan is doing great and is handling becoming a new member. She was confirmed on Sunday. It is so wonderful when someone covenants with God. It's so great when there truly is someone willing to hear the Gospel. That's probably the biggest news. I apologized that I don't have a picture to send you, I forgot to bring my camera to the library today, but eventually you'll see it.

On Thursday afternoon we learned that we needed to be in Edinburgh the next day for a conference for all of the missionaries that came out with me. We learned a lot on how to improve our areas. Another great experience we had was with Patrick. On Wednesday we gave him a Restoration Pamphlet to give out to a friend. We followed up on it on Friday and he said he hadn't had the time yet to give it to who he was intending. We then asked him to bring to a lesson next week and he agreed. On Saturdays we normally have lunch with him and read from Jesus The Christ, but instead he brought his friend around that he grew up with. We talked about how the Gospel has changed Patrick around and he was looking for a fresh start as well. So we taught him the restoration and he is really willing to come to church and activities and read from the Book of Mormon. It's so great when members contribute to the work. We continue to work with Robert. We went golfing with him yesterday. I learned how to really hit the ball, so I'm better now, but still not very good. Right now we're really trying to help him develop faith in Jesus Christ. That would help him greatly.

It's good to hear that everyone is doing well. I hope Michelle enjoys going back to school to earn her degrees (B.S. and M.R.S.). I pray that the Lord will continue to bless you in your last year or undergrad. Matt seems to be doing alright. I received a pouch full of letters from the Relief Society in his ward. They were really kind to send me those notes of encouragement. We are teaching a bit. This week will be better now that we have a better sense of the area. By the way, Sister Gilardi vaguely remember Brother Blanchard. Maybe if i showed her a picture, she'll remember more. I would appreciate a letter from him and even will visit people if he asks me to.

Yesterday on preparation day we went to Irvine and played some football and ultimate. The missionaries are very surprised at how well I play frisbee. Someone even told Elder Baumann that I was a "Frisbee God." I don't know about that. I just do my best. It's so great to play a game that I actually know how to play. Here people usually just play soccer all the time. yesterday for family home evening, we played rounders which is some form of European style baseball. It was so funny to watch them discuss the rules. Americans and Europeans are so different. It's fascinating and funny sometimes. Well I hope that everything is going well and I know that the Lord will bless us all if we allow him to. Continue to pray and feast upon the words of Christ. I love you all.

Elder Buxton

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Exciting Stuff

Dear Family,
I've had a pretty good week especially yesterday. Yesterday we went to Edinburgh for the annual Royal Military Tattoo. Now this isn't really how it sounds. People just don't go there and get tattoos and stuff. In fact, that's not it at all. It's a show put on in front of the Edinburgh Castle on the Royal Mile with bagpipes and military bands from across the world playing in a wonderful spectacular. There were bands from Scotland, England, New Zealand, Jordan, The Citadel (military college in South Carolina), Poland, and other places. I'm sending home pictures and maybe some videos if it all works out. It was amazing. Plus I found our families tartan. It's the MacMillian Tartan. I bought a small book that explain why and a scarf with the pattern. Soon I'm going to be looking for a tie with it on it.

So about the tie I was wearing. It's the old mission tie that Elder Baumann gave me to wear and yes it does say Act well thy part. The pattern is the McKay tartan and his motto was act well thy part. To answer Michelle's other questions: i have not yet had pork chops yet; cookies and cream would be nice. I must say that American ice cream is far better than English/Scottish ice cream-it's not very flavorful and sweet-yes i've been to the beach. we went running there one morning a couple of week ago, but we're of course not allowed to swim in it which is a slight bummer. Also I have heard about the history of the Ayr ward how it was once a branch. You should ask him if the branch president was Brother Bloy, Brother McLennan, or someone else. Then I can ask them if they still remember you.

So other things that have happened. Siobhan will be baptized on Saturday and has asked that I baptized her since I'm one of the only ones that she knows. She is really prepared to be baptized and will love how much she will learn. We continue to teach Robert. He's doing well and reads everything we give him multiple times and really enjoys the Book of Mormon for its simplicity. We believe that he's knows its true, but doesn't really want to admit it. We will see him tomorrow and see how things are going. We really challenged him to notice how he feels reading the Book of Mormon.

Also, Brother McGhie was married on Thursday. That's the picture that's one of the pictures I'm sending you. So funny story time. We were tracing in Coylton in this neighborhood and there were these people on their driveway enjoying the Sunday afternoon drinking and enjoying company and I went over to them and starting talking to them about eternal families and I could see a few people trying to hold in their laughter. So even though they won't be taught, at least I brightened up their day. So i hope everyone is doing well. And please don't write to my address in Prestwick, but the one in Ayr. If you do I'll never get it and you just wasted a stamp. So do well everyone. I'm doing fine and enjoying being a missionary.

Elder Buxton

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sad, Sad, Day

Dear Family,
We got our moves call on Sunday and Elder Baumann and I are staying here in Ayr, the only thing is that they moved out the other Elders so we're the only missionaries left in Ayr and cover the entire ward now. The reason the subject is "Sad, sad day" is because we also have to move to the other Elders' flat in Ayr which as you remember from my first email is not very good. That's why we're sad because we have to move from our nice flat in Prestwick (we like to call it "The Great and Spacious Flat") to this not very good one. We'll be very busy now seeing as how we cover the whole ward now. My new address is now:
32 Mossgiel Road
Ayr KA7 3DL

So you can use this address until late september when the next transfer is. I'm also going to email home all of my pictures or as many as I can. So the week in review. Patrick was confirmed on Sunday by Bishop Gilardi and then after church recieved the Aaronic Priesthood. He's doing great. We also had Robert, a new investigator that we found come to church as well. He's progressing nicely and read everything we give him and enjoys church. He really only need to get his answer that the Book of Mormon is true and he'll be golden for baptism. We're also teaching these youths ages 16-19. One named Terry that I told you earlier really wants to be baptized. It'll be exciting when he does. On Wednesday we had my first zone conference with President Kapeska (I don't know how to spell his name), the area president of Europe. He first had us write down a few question that we wanted answered and gave us 10 minutes for that. Then amazingly my questions were answered during the meeting. So he challenged us to do this with our investigators and church. Have them write a question down and bring it to church. If we have the faith it will be answered during the services. It may not even be directly addressed, but the spirit works so that it will be. It was a great meeting we had in Glasgow. So that's really whats been happening. oh yeah, we will have another baptism soon of Siobhan (Sha-vaughn is how you pronounce it). She will be baptized on August 28th. She's really great and accepts everything we teach her. So was in the other elder's area, but is now ours! yeah for baptisms! So Elder Shenton went home today and Elder Madsen is going to Aberdeen to train which leaves Elder Baumann and I here alone. That's another reason why we're sad.

I got both packages and am really happy to have them. The postcards were nice and the trousers fit well. I like my new scriptures. I just used my camera cord to send you some pictures that i hope you'll enjoy and show  people what scotland looks like. I think I'll take more pictures of Ayr though to send home. I also appreciated the package all about Corey. It really made me feel like I was there. In way of care packages people could send me. I guess i'd enjoy american ice cream, but that would be hard to ship here. American candy bars would be nice like snickers and butterfingers. I really can't think of anything right now, but anything anyone sends would be really appreciated and I would celebrate all day. It would really brighten my day a lot. Really though I like to hear from people. Thanks for all that you do

I love you all,
Elder Buxton

Patrick who Jeff helped Teach, 1st Baptism!!

Preston England Temple

MTC Group

Typical Jeff pose, he still hasn't changed a bit!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Month in the Field

Dear Family,
I would just like to say that miracles are happening here in Scotland. On Sunday we met a guy named Robert tracting. It was one of those classic missionary stories where you only have time to knock on one more door, so we choose one and found Robert. He's in his 60's and is interested in the life after death, but more importantly he desires a faith of this all. We set up an appointment for tuesday. You'll hear more about this a little later. So this week Elder Baumann and Elder Bland from Stranraer went to a training meeting in Edinburgh for 3 days so Elder Shenton went with Elder Cloward (serves in Stranraer with Elder Bland; know Ryan Egbert) and I went with Elder Madsen to Ayr (just the city, not the outskirts like where I normally am). So on Tuesday we had district meeting and everyone came to Ayr. Now this part might get a little confusing, but Elder Bland went with Elder Madsen to do some stuff. Elder Shenton went with Elder Baumann to see one of our investigators named Kyle and I went with Elder Cloward to do some street contacting. So we weren't having much success until we went over to this lady and her son. I talked about eternal families with them, but the lady wasn't really listening. Although her son was really interested. His name is Terry and really desired to live with his mom after this life. So we gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and set up an appointment for Saturday since Elder Baumann and I would be out of the area until then. Then I scheduled him for baptism. It was so great. Afterwards I exchanged back with Elder Baumann and Elder Shenton and Elder Cloward went to Stranraer. We visited a member and I exchanged with Elder Madsen and started working in his area which I did until Friday night. It was fun being there and we continued to work with a lady named Siobhan (pronounced Shaw-vaughn, its Celtic). She seems to accept everything we say, however though she doesn't have a baptismal date yet. So Elder Baumann and Elder Bland met with Robert and talked to him and he was really interested especially about developing faith. A few years ago he came to the conclusion that life can't be about earthly wealth and there must be something more. So they talked with him about this and they gave him Alma 32 to read, invited him to church, and accepted to be baptized on the 21st of August. Amazing. Then he came to church and really enjoyed and now really desires a witness if it's true. We also gave him a gospel principles book and to have him read and look up the references. He liked that and is planning on reading it.

On Thursday though, the day started out kinda rubbish. until about 3, we walked around trying to contact some people without much success until we decided to try this lady named Sheena. She was really interested in having us over and we asked if we could come by in 30 minutes or so. She said yes and we went and got a member named Brother McGhie. So went over there and she has really been prepared to receive the gospel. She had been reading some books to try and help her through some tough times she was going through and we suggested that she read the Book of Mormon and she accepted one. Then we taught her to pray and she was so excited to learn how. Elder Madsen said that he had never seen someone so excited to pray. I believe that she'll do well in the church.

On Saturday after I had exchanged back with Elder Baumann, Patrick had his wedding, finally. It went well and was done in the church. Patrick was then baptized yesterday and will be confirmed this next Sunday. The reason that we pushed forward his baptism is so that the elder that originally started teaching him, who came back her with his family, could baptize him. So that's why and everything went well with that. I have a picture of him and others from my mission that I'll probably send next week after I get my camera cord. Back to Saturday though. after the wedding we went to Cumnock to visit a less active, George who was planning on coming back to church. He wasn't in so we went to an investigator that we had found a few weeks earlier named Jamie. He was in and we talked about the Plan of Salvation. He already had a pamphlet and had some question on it so we went through it and said that it was starting to make sense. Then we scheduled him for baptism on the 29th of August. then we had to rush to our appointment with Terry. We went to his flat, but he wasn't there. However his aunt gave us his number to his friend that he sometimes stays with. So we called her and went over that had a great lesson with Terry and three of his friends about the plan of salvation. it went well and they all accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 28th of August. Amazing. Miracles are really happening. i know that it is through my faith and the prayers that many have said for me. I thank you for them and I hope you all do well. I got the package today, but i haven't opened. Just remember to rely on the spirit for comfort


Monday, August 2, 2010

The Week in Review

Dear Family,

I appreciate all the support you do for me. I'm glad that everything went smoothly for Corey's funeral. I have appreciated all the support that the ward members (here and there), companions, other Elders, and the mission president have given me. I'm looking forward to learning more and I would just like everyone to know that everything is going well here and I'm making it through. I really liked how the inside of Corey's casket was blue. I'm sure that he really enjoys that. I know that this has been tough for us all, but look to the Lord and the plan of salvation (or happiness for that is what it really is). I know that is the plan for us and as long as we are true to the gospel and the covenants we have made, we can live him again in our Heavenly Father's presence.

So how are we related to Casey Ross? That's an interesting coincidence. By the way, my package hasn't come yet because it was sent to the mission home and they can't forward on packages just because it would be too expensive. However, Elder Baumann is going to Edinburgh this week for a 3 day training meeting and will pick up my package and bring it home to me. So for future reference, please send packages to my flat address which is:

16 Shawfarm Gardens
Prestwick KA9 2GZ
United Kingdom

That way I don't have to wait for the next missionary meeting to get packages and such.You can use this address to mail me too so that letters come faster. Just don't send any August 10 until August 18th when i'll give you my new address if i'm transferred even though I probably won't be. I would suggest though that you make this known to friends and such because if i'm transferred and a letter comes, there's a good chance that i will never get it. anyways, i still enjoy all the letters i receive.Funny story though. I sent Elder Sam Peteresen a letter not to long back and since he serves in Gautemala you have to send it pouch and I didn't know that you have you send it on a piece of paper that you folded in thirds and tapped the ends in order for them to send it, so i was returned to me and I'll have to write him again.

On Tuesday I went to Stranraer, about an hour and a half south of Ayr to go on exchanges with Elder Bland (he's from England and has been out for almost 6 months). It was so beautiful and was what I really imagined Scotland to look like. If you come that would be a place to visit. We had a good time there and for dinner we had a kebab pizza and a deep fried Mars bar. Both of which were really good. On wednesday i had indian food for the firist time which was quite good. The Sharkys took us out to eat there. They're the ward mission leaders and also want to cook our pork chop recipe which i can hopefully give them at the end of this week. On Friday I went on exchanges with Elder Madsen from Lehi, Utah. We had a good day and taught a lady that look really good right now and will hopefully we baptized. That reminds me. This week, Elder Baumann will be in Edinburgh from Wednesday to Friday for training. While he's there I will be on a 3 day exchange with Elder Madsen in his area. It's going to be fun although his flat isn't the best. Elder Shenton who normally is his companion will go on exchanges with Elder Cloward in Stranraer while his companion Elder Bland goes to Edinburgh as well. Also another funny thing, Elder Cloward is from Sandy, UT and is a good friend of Ryan Egbert and went to his farewell and open house afterwards. Weird that I was at something with someone i would eventually meet on my mission.

On Sunday President Giffiths came to interview Patrick for baptism since he had been to prison before even though everything has been sorted out now. Anyways he passed and President said that he had never seen an investigator's Book of Mormon look like his meaning that he had never seen it so used. Patrick is well prepared and will be married on Saturday and then baptized on Sunday (plans changed so that the original Elder who taught him can baptized him since he came back to Scotland with his family to do it). No matter though, he's being baptized. I wish you all well and hope that you continue to support the missionaries. I would suggest that you ask them if you can go with them to lessons. It's always great to teach a lesson with a member there. Also be looking for missionary opportunities. Be prayerful in all that you do and read your scriptures.

Best Wishes and much love,

Elder Buxton