Monday, October 25, 2010

Roller Coaster

Dear Family,
I hope you enjoy the pictures that I have sent home that I took on my last preparation day. President Johnson invited us over for dinner Monday and since he lives 40 minutes south of Elgin, we decided that we would stop at some castles along the way. So we stopped by Rothes castles which is the wall that you see and Drumin Castle which is in the last few pictures. It was very enjoyable especially now that the leaves are changing color. Today we plan on visiting some other things around Elgin and looking in to going to Loch Ness next week.
So you're probably wondering why the subject of this email is "roller coaster." So the week started out pretty good as we were able to meet with David Nain, Maggie, and Jonathan and Mandy. We had really good lessons with them and they were all excited to learn more. Then came Saturday when I called up Mandy and her husband answered and said not to ever call back. That was a big blow.  We had really good hopes for them. They had such great faith in God and Jesus Christ and were willing to read the Book of Mormon and find out for themselves if it was true. We were so glad that we had finally found a family to teach. And then bang came the shot that was unexpected. Combine that with losing contact with Maggie. So we were devastated Saturday night until we had a lesson with Chris Thomas. He was recently baptized last month and from what I have seen and heard appeared to have a lot of pressure from his family for joining. We have been encouraging him to bring his mother to lessons at the church, but he hadn't ever asked her. Until Saturday when amazingly she came to the church for a lesson with Chris. Oh we were so excited. Her name is Martha and she is originally from Mexico City so her English isn't that good, but she can understand us perfectly. She really enjoyed that we gave her a Book of Mormon in English so that she could continue to learn English better. Then during the lesson she asked if she could do what Chris had done or in other words be baptized when she found out that it would be true. Oh it was so good and she is conditionally scheduled for November 20. Then we came to Church on Sunday. Oh and how she enjoyed it. She came to Gospel Principles and participated and like that. She went into Relief Society and participated in that as well and the members we so kind and introduced themselves to her.
Then another miracle happened later that evening when we met with a man named Robert White who said that he felt lost and wanted something to belong to, something where the people have the same values that he does (like being kind to one another, not judging other, being chaste, and not drinking and partying). She we showed him that we embrace all of that and he really enjoyed the message of the Restoration and is willing to try it out for himself if it is true. He is also conditionally scheduled for November 27. We were very glad to meet with him. The only thing is that his wife has had bad experiences in the past with religion so that is one obstacle that needs to be overcome, but when she sees the fruits of the gospel, she'll embrace it as well. So I'm really excited for this next week and especially to go to stake conference this Sunday and meet up with Brother and Sister Thom. It will be good.
So things are going well and Elder Stewart and I are getting along. My coat is working out well even though it hasn't been too cold even though it was nippy on Tuesday-Thursday. My exchanges in Inverness were good. The Chapel is right on the River Ness and it is so beautiful there. Later we went to the Black Isle to visit a recent convert that lives out there. That was neat. In way of what they feed me here. It's like home for the most part; lasagna, spaghetti, pizza, but they also like to feed us meat pies with masked potatoes a lot. It's good and I eat the stuff they put on my plate. The enjoy the members and it seems like they like us. There are about 30-40 people that come on a Sunday and we're trying to help it grow. Not many people move or move in like in Las Vegas. I love you all and hope that everything is going well. I somewhat thought of what i want for Christmas. Ties would be nice as well as music from MoTab, Bishop Young's CD, and a band called 4ordained is really good as well. Thank you for all of your support.

Elder Buxton

Monday, October 18, 2010

Four Months Out

Dear Family,
Did you know that four months ago I entered the MTC? It's crazy how fast the time goes when you're serving a mission for the Lord. We are doing well here in Elgin. We had an interesting week full of tracting. We've lost contact with Dean Wells, and Tommy which is really unfortunate, but we were blessed as we went tracting and amazingly found 16 new investigators (a new investigator is someone who has been taught a principle and has accepted a return appointment). I really hope that they keep their first appointments and continue on in the Gospel. I am really hopeful for four of them. We were tracting in Lossiemouth which is north of Elgin and we tracted into a lady and her son, Mandy and Jonathan who seemed really accepting of the things that we were teaching them on their doorsteps. Mandy even said that she loved learning about prophecies. We placed a Book of Mormon with them and I really feel that they will embrace it. The other in that same area is named Maggie who said that she is really confused about religion and wants some direction so we testified that she can get that from the Book of Mormon. We see both of them on Wednesday and will let you know how that goes. The last in named David Nain. He is a member referral and I think is interested. I really hope that it turns out the way we hope for him. We gave him a Plan of Salvation Pamphlet and a Book of Mormon. For the most part, all of the other new investigators seem a little iffy at the moment, but you never know what will happen. We are looking forward to this week since we have a lot of first appointments with investigators. We just hope that we can get the members involved with the effort as well. They like to feed us a lot which is really good. I just need to remember not to eat so much or else I'll blow up like a balloon. Anyways, I feel that our trust with the members is growing every week. I really hope that we can keep this up. On Tuesday I have the amazing opportunity to go on exchanges in Inverness which is exciting. It will be interesting since I am going with Elder Manning from Holiday, Utah and has been in the field for a little over 2 weeks now. It'll be good.
So the business that I think that you're talking about across the street from our flat is the British Red Cross. Nothing really that interesting. Thanks for sending me Sister Bourne's information about her family. Hopefully I can go to Aberdeen or even ask the missionaries there is they know them. Also, please mention to David Sneed that I know a missionary in the Colorado Denver North Mission. It was my roommate, Kevin Hodgeson. He left on his mission in May so he's been out for about 5 months now.
I would like to thank you for writing me to consistently every week and I would like to encourage others to send me letters so they can get a really nice personalized letter from. I love hearing from people and I love spreading the gospel and seeing the light in people's eyes increase as we share our unique message to the world. I love you all and hope that you have a good week and carry pass along cards with you just in case you have the opportunity to share the gospel.

With much love,
Elder Buxton

Here are some of the pictures that Jeff emailed us last week:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Second Week in Elgin

Dear Family,
I am doing well here in Elgin. Things are going well. The weather isn't too bad yet. I wear my sweater sometimes, but have not worn my coat yet that i bought last week. It's a nice one I think and I got a good deal for it only paying £40 (about $60). I got it from Matalan, a store here. I also bought two ties for £5 as well so now I have some British ties to where. The weather is starting to get colder and its a good thing that we have a car here in Elgin. The reason that I am writing today is because we had a Zone development meeting and activity yesterday and we didn't get back until 5 so there was no time so we were allowed to email and shop today. We visited a castle not too far from Aberdeen which I can't remember the name of, but I sent you pictures of it. It was a lot of fun to hike around the grounds. We didn't go inside because it was £5 to get in which none of were willing to pay.
As far as my relationship to Elder Stewart, he's the senior companion and we switch of driving everyday. He's not new to the area, he's been here for 3 months now. I really enjoy driving now that I have the hang of manual even though I find it more enjoyable to drive an automatic. We've really enjoyed serving together and are hoping that we can keep things moving especially to help those investigators that we have progress towards baptism. For the most part, our three main investigators: Tommy, Dean, and George, seem like they will eventually be baptized. Right now it looks like none will be baptized until November. Hopefully everything will go well with them in this endeavor. And yes Michelle, I can understand what people are saying here even though I hear that Doric Scots which they speak east of here in more of the Aberdeen area is much harder to understand. Gratefully I can now understand most people. It's really not that hard if you're here for a couple of weeks. If you come, make sure you take me along so i can translate for you. I finally met President Johnson on Sunday and he's a nice man and really enjoys the missionaries. He's a convert and joined when he was 26. Before he moved to the Elgin Branch he lived in the Kircaldry Ward. It's neat how many connections our family somewhat has.
So Michelle, the reason that I always ask if you're married is because since you're not planning on serving a mission, the next best thing is marriage so I hear. Plus, what else are you supposed to do at BYU? Oh and by the way, Casey sent me a letter and told me that her papers were in. Way exciting.
I haven't been to Loch Ness yet, just Inverness. It's really beautiful city there.Oh and what's the surname of Sister Bourne's relatives? and do they lived in the Aberdeen Ward or the Bridge of Don Ward? I hope to one day meet her relatives. The only thing is that I really don't know if I'll ever be on exchanges in Aberdeen or not. As of now, probably not, but Stake Conference is at the end of this month and maybe I could see them then, if I knew their names and what they look like.
Well I hope that you enjoy the pictures that I have sent and have a good time guessing what they are (Hint: if it's green, it's most likely a plant). I hope you all of have a wonderful week and continue with your missionary efforts.
Elder Buxton

Monday, October 4, 2010

First Week in Elgin

Dear Family,
I hope everything is going well for you over after this conference weekend. It was a very interesting experience watching conference here in Scotland. We had to watch them out of order with Saturday morning from 5-7pm; Priesthood from 10-12 am; Saturday afternoon from 1-3pm; Sunday Morning from 5-7pm; and Sunday Afternoon from 9-11pm. We were unable to watch the final session because we were told that if we could get an investigator there then we could stay up and watch it, but we couldn't get anyone there. Bummer, but that's what the Ensign is for. Yesterday was a long day of watching conference. It was a lot to take in and hopefully i will remember a lot from my notes and then studying from the Ensign. I really enjoyed it and it was great for our investigators to see the living prophet here on the earth. We are so blessed to be led by a living prophet. We would be so confused in this world of turmoil. I know that President Monson is the Lord's mouth piece here on earth. What a blessing it is to hear from him.

So about my new area. It's Elgin like I said which is very close to the highlands and Loch Ness, which I hopefully can go to ones of these preparation days. My address is:

15A Victoria Crescent
Elgin IV30 1RF
United Kingdom

So you can use this address now for the next month or so until I tell you not to. My district leader is in Inverness so we will be going there for district meetings which is exciting. So fun fact, our flat is the farthest north of any missionaries in Scotland. Elder Stewart says there is a senior couple that lives farther north, but that doesn't matter since we will never be able to go there. So that's exciting. It is really beautiful here and hopefully this afternoon we'll be able to go and visit a castle not to far from here. Elgin is somewhat of a small town with a branch. There's about 20-30 people that come to church every week, but we're working on getting more out. We are working with a few people. We are blessed by the hard work of the elders that were here before me especially Elder Stewart who whitewashed (both new to the area) the area and now have some good investigators. I'll only tell you about the good ones. The first is Dean. He's 18 and at first just wanted to hear the facts, but now he has seen the gospel, pray, and reading from the Book of Mormon make his life better. He is scheduled to be baptized on Oct 22. The other is Tommy who is in his 40s. He believes the Book of Mormon to be true and seems like there is nothing in his way of being baptized on Oct 29. We constantly trying to increase our teaching pool and there are some other hopeful people. Hopefully these can turn into baptisms.

Elder Stewart is from the Logan, Utah area. He attended Utah State before he came on his mission, but didn't know Trey. His dad is actually an accountant as well and does work for veterinarians. I really enjoy serving with him. As far as driving goes, we switch off everyday driving. It's fun to drive a manual now that i know how to do it. yes Michelle I'm working on my accent. Saying words sometimes like the Scots without using slang. That would make things easier. Sometimes though I use a British accent just for fun, especially when saying my own name which is pronounced a little differently which I'll demonstrate on Christmas if you remind me. Today I plan on getting a winter coat hopefully and a hat and gloves. Hopefully i can find a stylish coat for a good deal. I hope everything is going well at home. Work on getting married Matt and Michelle. I hope Dad is acclimating well to his new calling. Tell him to read Preach My Gospel and to use Progress Record. When Elder Da Roche came to the Paisley Stake Conference he said that if we used the Progress Record effectively, we could double our sacrament meeting attendance in one year. That's a very bold promise from a general authority and I know that if the ward and missionaries work together, everything will work out for the better. I love you all and tell everyone I say hi.

Elder Buxton