Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Week

Dear family,
How are you doing? I am doing fine. I have a slight cold right now and I really hope that it will go away quickly. As far as Christmas goes. I know that I have a package in Lisburn and that I will get it tomorrow. For skyping, I know Michelle might now like this, but I will call at 10:30 am your time. I hope that I will also remember my account. I should be good though and everything will be fine. It is getting really excited now as it is less than a week to Christmas. I am really excited for zone conference tomorrow and the opportunity to go to the Dublin again. This past week we have been blessed weather wise as it hasn't snowed and stuck really (knock on wood). I am very glad of that. It is funny that Drew's voice just stayed the same because that is the opposite of how people speak here. Many go up and down and many people's statements end with their voice going up which can be confusing, but I am used to it now and just last week a missionary from London said that I sound a bit English.
As far as missionary work goes, Eddie is doing well. He came to church and is really enjoying himself and preparing himself for baptism next week so long as he can quit smoking. We did a fast with him and he is so close to quitting. He came to the ward's Christmas dinner on Friday with two of his children and they enjoyed themselves. His children say that he is so much happier now than before. Rakesh came to church as well for the first time in a long time. He is going to cook us Chinese on Friday for Christmas celebration that we are going to have with him. Also at the Christmas dinner was a man named Richard that we have been teaching. We set it up so that he would sit with some people his age (between 20 and 30), and he enjoyed himself and was able to discuss with them about the Book of Mormon. It really goes to show that we things are carefully planned that great things happen. This week we also started teaching this man named Paul. He wonders if God is there or not and why those that do wickedly sometimes appear to be better off than those that do good. We were able to explain a bit about that and we will see him again this week and hope that we can get his whole family involved. Another great miracle happened this week. We received a referral from a member. He was over at his grandson's mother's home and her friend started asking him some questions. So he got some pamphlets from us and brought her to the Christmas dinner as well. Then on Sunday we were over at this member's home for dinner and they came by to get their grandson and take him home. While there we were able to answer some of her questions and she is quite interested to learn more. So we will see her this week with the member. Her name is Madi. On Friday we went and did some service for this place called Tools for Solidarity. They refurbish old tools and sewing machines and send them to 3rd world countries. I just cut up some wood for them so they can build some boxes to send the stuff. It was fun and we enjoyed ourselves. On Sunday evening we were able to go to the stake carol service. It was kinda like a concert and many wards had choirs that sang. There was some narration in between from the stake presidency and others. It was really good. We will be doing more singing later this week as we are going carolling with the ward at an elderly care home and Christmas eve we have a fireside that we are singing at as well.
I love you all and look forward to speaking with you on Christmas at 10:30 am.
Elder Buxton
P.S. the photo is of Elder James and I with the man that trained my trainer. His name is Patrick Brophy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12th

Dear Family,
How are you all? I am doing well. There hasn't been much snow since last Sunday. If it does snow, it snows in the hills surrounding Belfast. I really don't know what the forecast will be this week, but the funny thing is that how much people complain of the cold. It might be that we are in most of the day so we get used to it, but as far as I know, it hasn't really been much below freezing. I really glad though that the bad weather hasn't hit yet and I really hope it never does. Trudging through the snow isn't that fun.
As far as Christmas goes, this is what were are doing. We have Sacrament Meeting in the morning at 10 and then afterwards we are doing service until 4pm. Then we go to a member's homes for dinner and phoning home. We are going to the Templetons and Brother Templeton is the ward mission leader. So I think you should probably work this out for me, but after 4, what would be the best time to skype? (I think they can anyways, but I'll let you know more next week) Your package hasn't arrived in Lisburn yet, but not worry because there are still 13 days to Christmas and if mine got home so quickly, yours should be here soon and I'll probably get it in our Christmas Zone Conference on December 20. I sent my package early just to be positive that it would get there before Christmas and I hope that you enjoy what I sent. Yesterday we were allowed to watch the Christmas devotional and I really liked it especially the new videos that they have made. They are really well done. I liked what President Monson said about how the spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ. I can really feel it coming along. Our ward is doing quite a bit. This Friday is our Ward Christmas dinner. A week from Wednesday we are going carolling at a care home where a member stays. Next Sunday is a stake carol service which I think is just a concert where the wards come and sing at. Then on Christmas Eve, there is a fireside. I am really excited to be doing these things.
As far as missionary work goes. Things were kinda slow, but Eddie is doing really well. I believe I told you last week that we walked with him to church. This week he walked himself to church. He really enjoyed it and is fitting in nicely with the members. He loves to listen to the Book of Mormon and is understanding the story line for the most part. He is also making great progress keeping the word of wisdom and has nearly quit smoking. The funny thing is that a couple of months ago, he told his son that he was going to quit drinking and his son doubted greatly, but Eddie did. Then a couple of weeks ago after we taught him the word of wisdom, he told his son that he was going to quit smoking and his son doubted, but his girlfriend reminded him of how he quit drinking and his son said "oh," and felt embarrassed. He came to the Christmas devotional as well and loved hearing from the prophet. We are hoping that he will be baptized shortly after Christmas.
We also began teaching again a man named Thomas. I have mentioned him before. He goes back and forth between Belfast and county Tyrone and he was finally back again and staying for the weekend. He came to church on Sunday as well and really enjoyed himself. He felt the spirit strongly during Sacrament Meeting and participated well during Sunday School and Priesthood. We also ran into some good people and hope that their appointments hold. One man named Kevin nearly died some time ago and believes that God is letting him live for a special reason that he hasn't found out yet. We testified that this is what he has been looking for. We set up an appointment and he seems quite keen. The funny thing is that he lives on the street that Elder Graves and I were looking for when we found Eddie. It really does exist.
As far as the places I would like to visit when you come, I think that it might be better to discuss that on Christmas. Truthfully i would like to visit all my areas because there are nice things to see in each (Loch Ness, Cliffs of Moher, Culzean Castle to name a few).
I love you all and thank you for emailing me and keeping me posted on many things.
Elder Buxton

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Dear Family,
It has finally come. Last night at about 6 pm, the first snow of the year fell to the Irish ground. It didn't really stay, but then it snowed some more this morning and the roofs are topped with white. It didn't really stick to the ground except for in the hills really, but this only means that more will come soon. It was really unexpected, but last year it had already snowed by this time. Is there snow in Utah yet? Are week has been a bit tough, but we will continue to be resilient as this will be a tough time during the year. Thankfully the ward is providing some things for us to do like carolling and singing in choirs. We are also having a Ward Christmas dinner on the 16th which will be really good. We are hoping that the day afterwards that Eddie will be baptized.
Eddie is doing great and has really shown great effort in living the word of wisdom. He has no other concerns at the moment. He unfortunately couldn't come to church because a couple of months ago he promised to go to a christening. He was really bummed that he couldn't come as church has now turned into the highlight of his week. He really loves meeting with us and learning about the gospel. It has really changed his life and his family has said that he is so much more calm, patient, and especially happier. Other than him, we have really struggled to meet with anyone else. We were able to meet with this man named Sean and speak with him, but he wasn't there for his return appointment. We met with Rakesh on Sunday night and that was good and he gave us some Indian food to take home with us. Yesterday we also met with a man named Niel, but he seems to be quite content the way that he is. I just hope that the next time that we see him that we can help him feel the Spirit and that He will touch his heart in such a way that he will yearn for more. One great miracle was that on Wednesday we spoke to these two ladies that were baptized about 40 years ago when they were children. They were very nice to us and let us come to their home the next day. Then one who owned the home, Kathy, was really open to having us around more and I feel that she really needs the healing power of the atonement and gospel of Jesus Christ. We hope that as we continue to meet with them that they will come back to church.
I am really glad that the Durango Ward is finally getting a convert baptism. I think that the last time was when the missionaries found a less-active a baptized her kids. I went with the missionaries one of the days just before their baptism. Are they still coming to church or did they move or what?
I mailed your package last Monday and I know that it will arrive in time because there wasn't any snow then.
Just to clarify a statement sent to me by my sister, as of tomorrow, I will have 6 months left in my mission.
I will you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you will be able to share the Love of God during this Christmas season.
Elder Buxton


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Week

Dear Family,
We are doing quite well here in Belfast. The weather is getting cooler, but it hasn't snowed yet. This time last year, there was already snow on the ground. Hopefully it never does. For Thanksgiving we went with the zone leaders (actually they were on exchanges so there was 1 zone leader from south London and an American from Park City, Utah) to the Adams' home. It turns out that none of them are American. They started having Thanksgiving every year ever since one of their daughter married an American and even though they have moved to Utah, they still like to celebrate it. It was really nice and quite authentic (thanks to where you can buy some American things). There was everything you would want and everything was going well until dessert and I was sitting at the end of the table next to Sister Adams who was dishing out dessert and she accidentally knocked her glass and it spill all over the table and me. It wasn't that bad and it's not like I'm used to being wet. So that was my thanksgiving and afterwards we went to a Elders' Quorum activity at the church where we played volleyball.
So, we are still teaching Eddie and he is doing quite well. He came to church again and enjoyed himself. The funny thing was that we went to walk with him to church and he came down in a suit which we weren't expecting since he wore normal clothes the past two times. We are now working with him to quit smoking and when he does that, he can be baptized and right now we are looking to December 10. Another funny thing was that on Monday, he decided to buy Christmas presents instead of his electricity so we had a lesson in his home by candlelight. It went well though.
On Monday we started teaching this young man named Dean. He's interesting and after we first spoke to him that he would just be an annoying teenager, but after teaching him, he told us that he really wanted to change his life around. We are really glad for that opportunity and look forward to teaching someone that we can relate to somewhat since he is around our age. The funny thing was that when we went back to see him again, we pretty much got the help of the whole street to try and find him. So it just goes to show that once you know someone, you can get a world of connections.
So since there's no Thanksgiving, there isn't a black Friday either, but people are putting up their decorations and Christmas trees and doing their shopping. In fact, we might even have Christmas sorted out for already (we might be going to the Templetons-the ward mission leader). The in the city centre, around the city hall, they have put up this Christmas market that I want to check out. Maybe I might find something there. It seems that you had an adventure and I can only imagine what hundreds of ladies must act like there.
I will be looking around for what I will be sending home and hope that I can find some good stuff.
Oh I am supposed to tell that while in our Gospel Principles class that Brother Templeton was talking about the Family (Chapter 36 I think), that he told us to tell you that while you were sleeping, that we were in his class eating chocolate and that we were just fine and not to worry.
Elder Buxton

Moves Week

Dear Family,
How are you all doing? We are doing really well. So you may be wondering who my new companion is. He is Elder James from Lindon, Utah. He is pretty good and I look forward to serving with him and teaching him the ropes. I asked him if he knew the Doxeys, but he didn't. He went to UVU before he came out on his mission. This past week was pretty good. My trip to Edinburgh was a good one. I got to sleep in this time and awoke at 4:15 a.m. and was picked up by the zone leaders an hour later. The weird thing was that I was all alone in the airport. I was thinking to myself as I was walking there that this wasn't right, but I got to Edinburgh no problem. We hiked up Pratt's Hill like normal and it was another beautiful day. Then after our meeting we helped the assistants a bit in transporting the missionaries coming from Ireland to the mission home or train station. Afterwards we did a bit of street contacting and the strangest thing happened. This lady was approaching us and she reminded me so much of Michelle. It was so weird. The great thing was that we were able to get her information to give to the missionaries there. A similar thing happened a couple of week ago with Elder Graves as we were walking in a place called Glengormley and I saw this man in the distance who reminded so much of Matt. It spooked me a bit because he had a similar build and haircut, but it wasn't you Matt. He wasn't interested either. So on Thursday we took the ferry back. Everything was fine until we got into the Irish Sea and the waves got bigger which means the boat was going up and down and I was feeling sick. Thankfully I didn't throw up.
Eddie is still doing great. We had stake conference on Sunday and he really enjoyed it there. He was listening very intently on the talks that were being given. At stake conference we had the Preston Temple president over and he gave a good talk and about the need to plan when we are going to the temple. He shared how typically those that live farther away go to the temple more often than those that live nearby because they plan in advance when they can go. As part of stake conference we attended the Saturday night adult session which we normally don't do, but we were asked to sing as a missionary choir. At first we were told we were singing #13 An Angel from on High, but they changed it right before to #5 High on the mountain top. I think it sounded good. On Sunday night we remembered that Elder James needed to schedule someone to be baptized by the end of the night and so we did some finding and we were looking for the opportunity to do it. It reach 8:40 and we hadn't done it yet, so on the last door on the street a lady answered and we spoke with her, set up a return appointment, and then I nudged Elder James and he invited her to be baptized and she eventually accepted. I was praying very hard that the Lord would be able to provide a way for us to do it and He did. We were so thankful that we had that experience.
As far as Thanksgiving goes, I would like to give you a history lesson, especially Michelle. Thanksgiving is only celebrated in the U.S. and Canada. It has to do with the Pilgrims if you remember correctly that even though they came from England, it was done in America. Later President Lincoln made it a national holiday. So it is not generally celebrated here. However we were invited by the zone leaders to go to a members home in Newtownabbey Ward to have Thanksgiving dinner there. I believe that she is American and she asked to have 2 companionships come so we are going. I was excited to learn that so I can be proud to be an American. The funny thing is that both of our zone leaders are British. Go figure.
Jimmy is doing well. He came to stake conference as well and he said that it was easier for him to come this week than it was last week. So we look forward to progressing him to be baptized.
I will be Christmas shopping next week since we don't time this week because of a zone activity that we had. So if there are any final orders, please send them by next week. Also what kind of jewelry are you looking for?
That's funny about Elder Farnsworth. I thought our ward did very well in feeding the missionaries. We are taken care of just fine here in Cavehill Ward.
Well I hope that everything is going well for you and that Thanksgiving turns out great.
Elder Buxton

Moves Week

Dear Family,
How are you all doing? I bet you are dying to know where I am headed to. Well yesterday we got our moves call and I have been called to train again! So my companion Elder Graves is going to Paisley, Scotland near Glasgow to be a district leader there. It is interesting to be training again, but that's what the Lord is wanting me to do. So on Wednesday like last time, I will be waking up early in the morning to travel over Scotland by plane to pick up my next "son." So you can know send my Christmas package to Lisburn. I have been thinking of what else I would like and I was wondering if you could send me Bic Ultra Round Stic grip pens (I really like to write with these) and a black belt (in Karate! No, just kidding. A normal belt would do fine because mine is deteriorating with use). In other transfer news that you might appreciate, Elder Manwaring is being transferred to Inverness. This is a common occurrence for him to be in an area for only 6 weeks as it has happened 3 other times. Also, Elder Erickson who I served with in Elgin. He is in Ayr now is training as well.
In the news of this week, we experienced a bit of disappointment, but also some great blessings. On Tuesday I went to Dublin with the other district leaders and the zone leaders for a combined council. Normally once a month there is a district leader council in every zone and then a mission wide zone leader council, but once in awhile they have a combined one. It was quite neat as it was a video conference. The following is what President Griffiths says about it, "As of Monday night, the system wasn’t working so the technical people in Salt Lake worked on it and thought they had it properly configured before they went home. When we checked the system on Tuesday morning, it wasn’t working. We could get it to initialize and start up; but, it would take us off line in under five minutes and lose the connection to Dublin. At 9:30 when the meeting was to start, the connection was working so we all gathered in prayer to ask Heavenly Father to bless the system that it would work for the meeting. The connection went down during the prayer. There were a few elders who hadn’t yet arrived, so we decided to wait for them to start the meeting and hoped that when they arrived the connection would be working. Ten minutes later when they came and all were seated, the system reconnected and we started the meeting. The connection lasted through the opening and through Sister Griffiths’ presentation on hope. Within 5 seconds of her saying, “Amen”, the connection died again. Before we could start our next video, the system reconnected and stayed connected through the entire day. What we didn’t know, is that the technical person in Solihull had called Salt Lake City and had awakened a senior technician who was able to enter the system and identify the configuration problem quickly enough to allow the meeting to proceed with no further interruptions. The man in Solihull was Brother Craig White. The technician in Salt Lake City was Brother Carlos Alvarez. As far as I am concerned, they were the answer to our prayer that our meeting could proceed. We saw through this experience two of the topics of our Council Meeting: Hope and Faith. As we exercised those traits coupled with prayer, our meeting was able to go forward." So as you can see it was quite a miracle for it to happen. On the flip side, things actually weren't going well for me and the other district leaders as we woke up to find that we had ran out of hot water. So another and I ran to the gas station to buy more gas, but it was closed so we all took cold showers. Not fun. Then as we were driving to Dublin we got lost and were actually headed west, not south like we were supposed to. So eventually we turned around and headed down. Then we got lost in Dublin looking for the stake centre. Eventually we arrived. On the way home, we were traveling back on the motorway and it was bumper to bumper and the car in front of us stopped suddenly. We stopped in time to not hit them, but we were very close, but the car behind us rear-ended us. The damage to our car was minimal, but he had a bit more. We exchanged information and then went on our way. Nonetheless I was really strengthened by the meeting and have really been trying to implement into our area.
Like I said earlier we experienced a bit of disappointment. We were able to see Thomas McGovern on Wednesday and things had really changed with him and he was strongly hinting that he is looking forward to being baptized. The problem is that he goes back and forth to Strabane a lot to visit his parents. We are really hoping that he can stay more weekends to come to church here. Then on Thursday some great things happened as we were tracting this street in the middle of the afternoon and we were able to get in tracting to this man named Anthony. Over the years he has lost his faith in God because of his rough past, but he is interested in seeing if he is there and finding forgiveness for the things that he has done. Then later we were able to meet with this man named Sean and he was quite interested and we had a good lesson, but he didn't keep his return appointment on Saturday. Saturday was interesting. It started out as being really horrible and nobody was really there, but we were trying to find this street that wasn't on our map and we were asking people in the area and we asked this one man outside a bookie (a place where you can bet on sports) and he didn't know. So he went into the bookie and asked around and they said where it was. So to thank him, we gave him a pass along card and said that the website will help us find our purpose in life. He then said that that was what he was looking for in his life. So we got talking and set up an appointment and invited him to church. On Sunday morning we gave him a call and he was up and ready to go so he came to church and really, really enjoyed it. He said that he felt so calm and peaceful and at the end he didn't want to go. So we are extremely thankful for this experience. His name is Eddie and he is looking forward to being baptized on December 10. Also on Friday we were walking to Sean to make sure he would be good to for Saturday, but we accidentally turned up the wrong street without knowing. It was a great inconvenience, but while we were there, I decided to go by Jimmy and he was there. He was drinking and smoking and explained what had happened the last couple of months. It had really been going through a tough time, but at the end of it, he felt the need to come to church. So we arranged to go and walk with him there. Then on Sunday, he came and you could see in his eyes that that is where he needed to be.
In other news, last Monday we went and saw where the Titanic was built. The dry dock is still there amazingly after 100 years. They're building a new museum to commemorate the 100th year anniversary and it will be finished April next week. That was neat. Also another picture that i sent was we took a picture at 11:11 on November 11. Also on there is on some of the coins are pieces of a puzzle that makes a shield and I finally finished it. Lastly is a picture of a recent convert, Thomas Ryan and I after church.
Lastly, thanks for sending how the gospel has blessed you and I was wondering what Michelle and Matt want for Christmas and also what size t-shirts that they wear. Thanks for all that you do for me.
Elder Buxton

Friday, November 11, 2011


Dear family,
How are you all doing? We are doing fine here. Things are a little slow at the moment, but we feel confident that they will pick up. As moves approach next week, I would like everyone to send their letters to the mission home until I receive my moves call. In response to inquiries regarding my termination of service, let me explain something. Transfer cycles last six weeks except once a year for some reason, there is a five week moves normally in April or May. This next year, that moves will happen from March 21 - April 25, 2011. With this being the case, my mission would end on June 6. This is what I know and I what I have told you previously.
This past week, it has been a bit nippy. Sunday morning was quite cold as there was a bit of frost on the grass and the windshields of cars. The transition in the weather here was similar to what it was in Las Vegas. The past couple of days though it has been sunny, but since Day light savings time ended, the sun is now at a very steep angle in the sky. It has also been strange to adjust to the amount of darkness with it getting dark at around 5 or 5:30 now.
Like I said earlier, that things have gotten really slow now. We dropped Lily because she isn't willing to come to church even though she believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but the Relief Society is going to periodically visit her because she is widowed and needs some company. Rakesh is doing fine and is improving living the word of wisdom. Soon he wants to teach us how to make rice correctly and eventually to make a good curry. He is also working on getting his family to come to church, especially his wife. On Saturday we popped by this man named George who I have probably mentioned before. He was there and let us in. He was trying to let us know that he has been having mixed feelings and wanted to stay Catholic, but we promised him that through prayer that he can be forgiven of the things that he has done. We also invited him to church and he set an alarm to wake him up, but when we went by to pick him up, his phone was off and he didn't answer the door. We started teaching this couple named Norman and Sharon, but after our short first visit, they haven't kept an appointment. We were to see them on Saturday afternoon, but when we went by, he said that it wasn't a good time so we arranged to see him later. Then as we called about half an hour beforehand, he told us that he was on a bus to Newcastle which is near the border. Another good thing that happened though was that we did some gardening for a sister in the ward and then as we were leaving, her neighbor called us over and asked if we wanted a job to clean off the moss from his roof (don't worry it's only a single story home), so got his number and we will see him on Wednesday. We were glad that we were blessed with this opportunity and hope that it leads to bigger and better things.
So I have wondering what you would like for Christmas? I think that I should get this sorted before the likely snow comes.
Also, last Sunday, my left eye turned really red and since then I have been wearing my glasses. I took some pictures of it on Saturday, but it's not as bad as it was. It's getting better, so don't worry.
Also something interesting to note is that the MTV EMA awards were hosted here in Belfast and they built this very large stage in front of the city hall and we could hear the music all the way in our area. It must have been very loud.
Also I have wanted to ask you how the gospel has blessed our family. The reason I ask is so that i can testify to people how it has helped mine.
I love you all and hope the very best.
Elder Buxton
P.S. Also, thank you for the sports updates.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Dear family,
How are you all doing? We are doing well here. Today is Halloween and we are still allowed to work today, but we can't go tracting or street contacting and we need to be in by 8 if not in an appointment. So there will be trick or treaters out and about tonight. I don't think it will be a lot of people because I didn't see many in Elgin last year. I heard that in Omagh (a town in Northern Ireland; they have a branch there), they had a trunk or treat as well. Here in the Cavehill Ward they had a youth dance and on Sunday we got all the leftovers. Yum! The past two nights there have been a lot of fireworks, especially the ones that go in the air. I suppose that it is legal to have those, but I think you need a license. There have been a lot of posters up in busses and at bus stops by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service saying to be careful or you might end up in jail or lose a finger or hand. I just hope that somebody will give us some candy. Actually we got some from Sister Griffiths on Friday. Today I should get my package. What happened was that the missionaries in Lisburn didn't think they would see me since the district arrive at different times to interviews, but they thought wrong, but thankfully the zone leaders gave it to the missionaries in Cavehill South and I am going to get it from them today. So thank you for sending that. It is a real blessing because my shoes are really seen their days. I'll take some pictures and show you next week. It's a good thing that i am getting these now because I think that sometime this month, snow will come and my current shoes don't do too well with rain. And I promise that will share with my companion what you have sent me.
As far as bomb scares go, they don't happen as often as they used to many years ago during the troubles, but sometimes, people have a hard time letting go.
As far as our week goes, we had some good experiences and some let downs as well. We found it difficult to meet with many of our investigators such as Eddie and Francis. We are bummed about that, but we are wondering about their interest level. On Wednesday we had some great opportunities as we tried some people in an area called New Mossley. Personally I felt that this would be the last time for these individuals, but we went by one lady named Elizabeth and she was there and we caught her right before she was to go into hospital to get an operation. When we first talked to her, she told us of the many struggles that she has had to endure especially this current on that she needed the operation for. This time we were able to set up an appointment for this week and then Elder Graves spoke to her about his source of strength has come from reading the Book of Mormon, so she accepted one and was really touched and tears were beginning to run down her cheeks. We just hope now that that has been a source of strength for her. Also in that area we set up an appointment with a lady named Joann for Sunday, but she unfortunately couldn't keep it. Also on Wednesday we celebrated a holiday with Rakesh called Duwali which is like Indian Christmas and people give gifts to one another. It's origins are in Indian mythology, but i can't really remember what they are. All I know is that it means the festival of lights. He also invited us the the Hindu temple for a Duwali feast on Sunday, we decided that it wasn't the best for us to go.
We had another good experience on Saturday. We were supposed to meet with this man named Carl at 2, but we called him and rescheduled for 5, but he wasn't there. So in the same apartment complex lived a man named George who I might have mentioned before. He was in and let us up to see him. We spoke to him about Alma the Younger's experience because he felt that with his experiences that he was going down stairs after he dies, but we showed him how that doesn't have to be the case. We then invited him to repent and be baptized and he accepted. We just hope now that he can make it.
So this transfer will end November 20, but the actual moves day is November 16 and the next one won't be until after Christmas. If you trying to plan when I will finish my mission, it will be June 6 or if you are wondering about Christmas, send the package after I let you know when the moves call comes.
I didn't do anything to celebrate Nevada Day.
I am sorry to hear about Grandpa and pray that he gets better soon. I know that he isn't the kind to wait around. He likes to get up and do things.
I hope that you all have a good week. Happy Nevada Day. Happy Halloween.
Elder Buxton

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good and Busy

Dear family,
How are you. We are staying busy here. The work is going forward, but we are meeting some roadblocks along the way in getting people to progress and come to church. One great thing is that we phoned this lady named Lily who I might have mention earlier and she said that she wanted to come to church with us. This was a shock to us because we wondered why. The other times that we taught her, she didn't want to come so that she wouldn't let her church and friends down. Nonetheless we were thankful that she came. We are working very slowly with her and trying to help her understand more. Time will tell if she will continue to come, but we are hopeful that she will continue to come. Now for the great miracle. On Saturday we spoke to this man named Peter who we were pretty sure was drunk, but we set up an appointment to see him. However we couldn't find his address. So while we were in the area, we decided to go by this other man that we hadn't seen in awhile. He wasn't there either. As we did this, it starting raining buckets of water so street contacting was out of the question so we decided to tract this street, which isn't the most productive thing to do at 2 in afternoon. As we were doing that, we weren't getting much, but we came to the last door and it was a block of flats so I rang the buzzers and in the last one, I spoke to a man about life's purpose and he said that he already knew his purpose in life. I then explained that truth had been restored lately that helps us know what it really is and then I asked if we could come up to teach him. He agreed and we had a great time talking about the Restoration. His name is Eddie and he is originally from Nigeria, but has been living in the UK for over 20 years. He really liked what we told him and agreed to be baptized when he knew that it was true. We are really looking forward to teaching him and getting him to come to church soon.
On Saturday, the elders in Cavehill South had a baptism of a lady named Edna who is from Portugal. She is a really nice lady. The amazing thing is that she had about 20 of her friends come as well . It was a lovely service and we have heard that a lot of her friends want to starting learning as well. So we really hope that we can get that moving along. Another great miracle happened earlier that week as we invited Rakesh to come along. At first he was unsure because he was thinking of going with his friend out of town, but wouldn't go if there was bad weather. As we discussed more about the restoration with him and about the importance of baptism, he said that he was going to call up his friend and say that he wasn't going to come and then go to the baptism and church. He came to the baptism and really enjoyed it and is now making plans to be baptized himself and now it seems that it is something that he wants to do.
The weather here has been quite dismal lately and has rained a lot, but we don't mind much as we just press on. I haven't gotten the package yet, but I think that I will get it on Friday when I have an interview with President Griffiths. It is amazing that of all the missions, mine was picked. Now you might know a bit more about the Scotland/Ireland Mission.
As far as Halloween goes, it really as it was last year. It's not as big here is at is in the states. The odd house has some decorations and not as many children go trick or treating. Hopefully we can get some appointments for that day so we aren't left tracting. And i haven't found candy corn here at all.
I am really glad that Brennan has gotten his mission call to serve the Lord. Send my regards.
I hope all is well.
Elder Buxton
P.S. I thought I would mention a story to end. Last Monday, Elder Graves and I decided to go to Pizza Hut so that I could get this coupon redeemed. It was one of those things where everyone wins something and it might be something like free pizza for a year. So as we were leaving our flat, we saw a silhouette in the window next to the door. Then we noticed that it was the police and he told us that there was a bomb scare and that we needed to evacuate. That was fine with us, but we then had to walk a bit more up the road to catch the bus we needed to get the Pizza Hut. We finally got there and my prized was just 20% off our bill. That was alright. Just another day in Belfast.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mission News Report

Dear Family,
How are you all? We are dead on as they say here. We had some good experiences this week and also some let downs. Our biggest struggle is getting people to come to church. For the past two weeks we have had many people wanting to come on Saturday and then on Sunday they just don't show up. This past Saturday we had 4 people that said that they would come to church and one said maybe. This week we met with Thomas McGovern 3 times and on Saturday he said that he was interested in coming to a service (in fact he was saying that all week). So we thought great, this will be good for him. However that morning we called him and he said that he didn't want to come, but to have patience with him. Miraculously we then phoned this other man named Jamal who is from Somalia and he said he would come and he did, but I could tell that he was very bored during sacrament meeting. We set up an appointment with him that evening, but he didn't keep it. We honestly know how good it makes us feel to go to church and feel refreshed afterwards. So that is our real focus this week. The more investigators that we can get to church, the more people that will be baptized. Alright, that's my frustration out.
So enough of my venting and I'll move on to more glorious things. This is pretty amazing that on Sunday evening we went with a member to see Rakesh (who fed us again. yum) and we brought his laptop and watched President Monson's talk during priesthood with him and his wife in Hindi. It simply is amazing that there is technology to do this. That even though neither of us could speak any Hindi, that he is able to hear the words of a prophet in his own language. Also we were able to meet his wife for the first time and it seems that she is interested as well. She sat in and watched and listened to the whole thing (I was dozing a bit). Now we hope that together they can progress towards baptism and then the temple.
On Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Fakkel in his area. While I was doing that, Elder Manwaring and Elder Graves were tracting at one point and met a man named Hashala from India, except his English was really good and he had a Northern Irish accent. Anyways, he let them straight in and was really interested in learning the truth. He was so confused about what was said in the Bible and what was done in many churches. We really hope that he can understand true doctrine and be able to be baptized. Speaking of baptism though on Saturday I was able to perform my first baptismal interview with a lady named Edna that Elder Fakkel and Elder Manwaring are teaching. She is really prepared and ready to make this commitment and is scheduled to be baptized this Saturday.
On Friday Elder Graves and I went to Dublin for a new missionary meeting where we did role plays all day. It was really good, spiritual, and revelatory. It has really helped me evaluate where I am at and where I need to improve. However to get there was a bit of an adventure. We had to catch a train at 6:50 a.m. so we planned to catch a bus outside our flat at 6:08. We we were all ready to go, but we forgot something in our flat. So we ran there to get it and as a result missed that bus. So we waited for the next bus to come at 6:20 or something. We got it, but this then required us to run through City Centre to the train station. We made it there on time thankfully, but it must have been a sight to see two guys running in city centre in suites.
As far as Christmas is concerned, I really want some socks. Some are developing large holes in the heels and others have gone from dark blue to a purplish color.There was something else, but I can't think of what it was. It probably was just butterfingers.
So what I know about departing missionaries is that everyone arrives in the mission home by Tuesday morning where they get interviewed and can hang around Edinburgh. That night they have what's called "the last supper, " where Sister Griffiths makes them a good dinner which would be the last really on their missions. Then that night they have a question and answer session with the Griffiths where they can ask them any question. Then on Wednesday is when we are released from the mission. Those going straight home take a plane early in morning usually and the others wait for their parents. I am not sure if you can join us on Tuesday night or not. That's what I know so far.
Thank you for sending me my package and I hope that I can get it soon as my shoes are just barely hanging in there. I am glad to see that BYU and Centennial won and I hope that both have good post-season play.
As far as people saying that "Mormons aren't Christians," look on the newsroom website as well as about it. Fortunately we don't get that very much. We try to use the church's full name as much as possible. The truth is that we differ in our beliefs of Jesus Christ with many other Christians and it does have to do with our view of the Godhead and our belief on continuing revelation. I also think it has to do with our conception of how we are saved (faith, works, or both). The truth is that we should kindly and confidently say that we are Christians and let them think what they want as long as we have done all we can to show that we are Christians. Many times we'll receive persecution, but I hope we can be like the Apostles in Act 5. "41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
I love you all,
Elder Buxton


Dear family,
How are you doing? We are doing really well as we had a really good week especially some great miracles on Saturday. We are really grateful for the blessings that Heavenly Father has given us. First though i must comment on the different reactions to last weeks weather in Las Vegas. Even though Michelle and my mom both experienced the same weather, Michelle hated it, and Mom quite enjoyed the cool weather. I must say that the weather that who've just experienced is normal here. How do I press on you might say? Just plan to expect it and move on. There's nothing that we can do to change the weather or the environment that we live in. We can only control our attitude. However I do miss expecting hot sunny days rather than cold and wet days.
So at the beginning of the week we realized that we needed some fresh meat. It didn't really seem that any of our investigators were going anywhere so needed to go and find start teaching some new people. So we went out and started having some success. We talked to people that sounded interested, but weren't keeping their appointments. On Thursday we went by this lady named Lily, but she is hard to teach and wasn't really understanding what we were saying and would go off on unrelated tangents. So that's not what we were really looking for, so we continued onward doing as much finding as possible. Then comes Saturday which if you looked at the plan the day before, it didn't seem that promising as we were only able to confirm 1 appointment. So I personally thought that it would be a usual day where some things happen, but most things don't and we are left to knock doors for a while. The one appointment that was confirmed was Lily which was alright and she still didn't seem like she went anywhere. We see her tomorrow so we shall see what happens. Then we had an appointment with a man named Trevor. So we go by and the man there was named Trevor, but wasn't the man that we talked to. I think that he just wanted to play a joke on his friend, so he sent us to him. Anyways also there was a lady that Elder Fakkel and I met many weeks ago as we were tracting her street, but she had friends over and were drinking and what not, so I let it go. However here she seemed to be interested and said that we made sense and her and her 10 year old son who was listening quite intently what us to come by another time at their home. So that was brilliant and good. Then we headed up to Glengormley to see this man named Lonzo who was to meet us at his aunt's house. We spoke to him Friday night what he was sitting in his van. So we went there and he wasn't there as he had to go somewhere, but amazingly we met a young man who Elder Ihalmo and I met about 12 weeks ago named Elijah. He was still interested and we invited him to church and his friend agreed to come as well. So then we went and got some a nice kebab which you should try when you come (I believe that they aren't FDA approved in the USA because they are made from a chunk of meat that is just left out). Anyways that was good because we wanted a proper one on nan bread rather than the usual pita bread. Oh, I forgot to mention that on the way back to Belfast, we met a guy named Scott who we started talking to at the stop and then on the bus. We gave a brief lesson about the Book of Mormon and at first he wasn't too interested, but then he later accepted a copy of the book and gave us his number for us to call him this week to set up a time. Anyways after dinner we did some tracting that really didn't get anywhere, but we were excited for this lesson we were to have with this man named Francis. We met him at a bus stop and he told us that recently he had started believing in God because he was looking up about UFOs. I know that is a bit out of the ordinary, but I'll take it. So we got there a bit early, but he was there and let us in. Two of his brothers were with him as well and we taught them the Restoration and they accepted it and the need to be baptized as part of following it as well. Their names are Thomas and Daniel. So we were really amazed at the day we had and really hope that with this "fresh meat" that we can get a lot of results from it.
Then on Sunday afternoon we went up to Glengormley again and we got off the bus and run into a lady that Elder Graves and I met one of his first days here. Her name is Elizabeth and we walked and talked with her back to her house. We gave her a book of Mormon and she accepted it because we promised her that it would help her deal with the challenges and anxiety that she would soon face and then we were able to set up a return appointment. We are honestly so very grateful for all of this that happened.
In response to Michelle's question concerning dating before going on a mission. I would say do it because sure it would be important to study the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, but dating helps you speak to people. Missionary work is almost impossible when we don't talk. So it will be very key to date, but I would say not to get attached to anyone. So say to them "Preaching" requires speaking and dating helps you speak and share things that are important to you.
So about things that I would like to do when you come. I would suggest that we go from Edinburgh up to Elgin and Inverness through the highlands and Loch Ness. Then I would like to go down to Ayr and come over to Ireland to Belfast and then finish by going to Galway and possibly a tour around Ireland (tour is optional).
I am also very happy that my shoes are in and really look forward to getting them. Thank you for sending those over to me. I love you all and really hope that we all become representatives of Christ at all times.
Elder Buxton
P.S. Michelle just be patient and live and enjoy the now. I know that as you pray for your students and seek revelation that you can help you and them learn and to grow.

Moves Week

Dear Family,
So I bet you are dying to know where I have been transferred to. The answer is . . . that I am staying in Belfast another 6 weeks with Elder Graves. So you can still mail at the same address. In other transfer news, Elder Manwaring who I served with in Galway is coming serve in Cavehill South with Elder Fakkel so we will be in the same unit again. Elder Barney who used to be in Cavehill South is moving to Omagh in Northern Ireland. That's about all that I know and all you need to really know. I don't really want to confuse you even further. Besides, you don't really know these people and won't really care where they are going. However, my trainer, Elder Baumann, is going home this week. So wished him a good life yesterday. I think he is planning on taking a holiday to America to visit past companions, hopefully when I am home.
Well enough about that as time goes on and I have been blessed to stay in Belfast. About our last week. I must say this it was one of the most busy weeks that i have had. Everyday we pretty much had appointments which was really nice. It made me somewhat stressful, but at least it was because we were busy and not stressed that nothing was happening. On Tuesday for instance, we had 6 appointments and really didn't have much time to go finding. Speaking of Tuesday we met with a man who runs an addiction recovery hostel not too far from our flat. Elder Graves and Elder Turner (our zone leader) met him on the street the previous Friday and he let us come and see him at the hostel. He showed us around and invited to come to a meeting they were having that Tuesday. Unfortunately he had to cancel because they were doing some tests, but we are welcome to come the next week. We are really pleased of this that we have gained the trust of someone and hopefully this will lead some of these humble people to want to learn more of the restored gospel. We were also able to see Rakesh this week and he was doing fine, but really needs a push to live the word of wisdom and we are running out of time because early next month he is planning on going to India for 6-8 weeks. He was supposed to come to conference, but was ill that morning. We popped by him yesterday for a brief moment, and again his health had dropped. He is seeing his doctor today and we really hope that he will start feeling better and that this won't lead to something more complicated. We were also able to meet with Thomas McGovern who's concerns seemed to have washed away. He has really been researching about Joseph Smith and the Church and has been pleased with what he has found. We gave him a copy of Our Heritage and after reading from some of that and watching conference at this parent's home in county Tyrone, he has a strong desire to read and know that the Book of Mormon is true. We had great hopes for him as we continue to meet with him and really hope that this Sunday that he will make it to Church and feel the Spirit that is there. On Saturday we had a great experience and a faith builder. We went up to Glengormley to try and visit some people. We tried by one and they weren't there. So as we were walking to the next, we talked to a man waiting for his bus and set up a return appointment to see him. He was really wondering about the big questions in life and who is true or if there was a truth at all. Then as we were walking to see the next person, we talked to this other man on the street who was interested in meeting with us as well so we set up an appointment with him as well. I must say that rarely does this happen, but I think that God can inspire us as to where we need to be a certain times and uses the knowledge that we have to do that. We planned to see certain people up there, but none of them where in. However, God knew where these individuals where going to be and drew upon our knowledge to lead us to them.
As far as conference goes, my favorite talk was by President Uchtdorf in the Saturday Morning session about the great paradox that compared to God we are nothing, but yet we are everything to him.
I am sad to hear about Grandpa and hope that he gets better soon. I am also glad that people are continuing to heed the prophet's call for more missionaries. I am glad to see that BYU won in a close won and hope that they win many more. I love you and hope that all is well.
Elder Buxton
P.S. Thanks for the update on the shoes. I really hope that it doesn't snow soon, but it is a good thing that I have this other pair. Also our weather is cooling down as well I might need to start wearing a sweater soon. I also hear that we will have another bad winter. Don't worry as I  have already gotten through one. I have heard that it was the worst in 100 years in Glasgow. Hopefully this won't be the worse than that.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

News from the Field

Dear Family,
How are you all doing? We are doing well here in Belfast. We had some disappointments and miracles this past week. Today though we went and saw the Giant's Causeway which is a natural wonder here in Northern Ireland. That is what most of the pictures are of. The same member that took us to see the Andrew Jackson Heritage Centre went and took us to this. He was very kind in doing that for us. It was really neat and the drive was what you would picture of Ireland. It was very scenic.
So, the news from the front is that we were out of contact with Rakesh the whole week until Sunday afternoon when we went by and he was there and let us in. He wasn't feeling very well the whole week and we could tell that his health had declined a bit. So we gave him a blessing and told him that according to his faith that he would be healed. That really is the key to everything is our faith which is why it is the first principle of the gospel. It isn't something that can be bought or understood intellectually. It is something that needs to be experienced and can grow as we put in the necessary effort and grows even more as we sacrifice. We also started teaching this man named Arran who has really been humbled by some experiences he has had. He has recently given up doing drugs and is working on quitting smoking. He also felt bad for us that we must be rejected a lot. So he had sympathy on us and let us come in to his house. So we are looking forward to working with him. We also found a less-active who was baptized in Manchester about 12 years ago that we started teaching. He came to an elder's quorum service project at the church where we cleaned up the church grounds which helped him receive some fellowship. So we were really blessed in that sense.
The weather here hasn't been too bad except for yesterday when is absolutely started dumping out of no where. Thankfully we were able to get buses and trains to where we needed to go and didn't have to spend too much time in it. So yesterday we took a train to see these people that lived up in Greenisland above Belfast. They have been taught by missionaries before and invited us up for dinner. So we went and we had a good time there and helped the husband learn what he must do to be baptized which was really centered on getting a testimony of the Book of Mormon through prayer. On the way there though we sat across from this lady and started talking to her and gave her a pamphlet and an invitation to general conference with the times, places, and website, but before we could get her details, her friend told her that the rest of her friends were up in a different part of the train, so they upped and left. Then this other younger lady, turned around and asked us what we had just given that last lady and if she could have one as well. So we moved to sit across from them and started talking and we were able to give her a pamphlet, Book of Mormon, and an flyer for general conference. We were also able to get her address and we have passed that on to the zone leaders for them to teach her. I really wished that happened a lot that people would approach us about the gospel.
My foot hasn't really bothered me this week. I am working on resting it so that I can run with out any bother. My shoes are alright for now, but the missionary mall shoes need to be replaced before winter because if it snows again, they won't be any good. It is good to see that our teams are doing well. Hopefully BYU can get a good offense going. I wish all the best to you all. Just a reminder that next week is moves week so if you could all send letters to the mission home:
51 Spylaw Road
Edinburgh EH10 5BP
That way I will be able to receive all letters sent to me.
I love you all and hope all is good.
Elder Buxton

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ups and Downs

Dear family,

So my foot is a lot better and I'll send you a picture that I recently took of it so you can see the bruise that resulted. I am perfectly fine now. It still hurts to the touch, but I can continue on just normally with my missionary efforts. I just take some Ibuprofen everyday which keeps the pain down and helps with the healing. So it really isn't much of a bother there. Before I forget, did you save the videos I sent you to the computer? I want to know so I can delete them from the jump drive. This week Elder Graves and I had some good experiences, but some downers as well.

I'll start with yesterday. So on Saturday we had a church tour with one of our investigators, Thomas who Elder Ihalmo and i taught, but then lost contact. I called him on Wednesday and that night we saw him. In the past, he was really hesitant to come to church so I thought a tour of it would help along with a member coming with us. So had it and he said it was really powerful and was planning on coming the next day. However he called us and said that he wouldn't be coming for social concerns really. Then Rakesh who wasn't feeling well, couldn't come either. Santosh was busy and another man named Camara from Portugal didn't answer his phone in the morning so he didn't come either. So we were left with nobody coming with us to church. Then after gospel principles, a man we talked to on the street about a week and a half ago showed up at church and stayed for priesthood. His name is Arthur (Art for short). He also knows a member there which he was shocked to see there. So we were really glad that he came. That morning I was actually thinking about what if someone just randomly showed up and bam it happened. So we are looking forward to teaching him later this week.

So about how Rakesh is doing. What happened was that he got sick Saturday night and was vomiting and also something was wrong with his heart, so he went into hospital for 3 days and then his brother looked after him for a couple of days. Then, Thursday night at 10 p.m. he called us and asked what we were doing the next day and invited us over. It was so good to see him again and as usual he fed us some really good Indian food. However his health still isn't good so we shall see how it goes. With that in mind and a few other things, we decided to push his baptism back a couple of weeks.

On Friday we had a zone conference about praying with "all energy of heart." Which means that we need to put in a lot of effort into praying just like if we were to run with all energy of heart. Also we discussed how we should make prayer like "skype sessions" where we fully intend to get answers immediately. That has really helped me pray a lot better along with now I want to start a prayer journal and record thoughts and impressions I get. We also discussed the atonement and how Jesus is the Savior (from death) and Redeemer (from sin). We also discussed what it means to redeem. It means to reconcile that because of the Fall, we need somehow to lift us higher and that is through the atonement of Christ.

About the shoes, that sounds good, but I know that the old ones from the missionary mall won't last much longer, so I would suggest that you send me the new pair as soon as you get them. Hopefully the ones that I have bought will get me through the winter. Thank you for all that you do.+

Lastly, my thoughts on Bishop Young. Well I really liked him as a Bishop and always looked forward to hear him speak. His oratory was beautiful, but always easily understood. What I also liked was how he could delegated and how much trust he had in the ward leaders that he had called. This way he could focus on what mattered most and so that he could still be active in his family. He was a good Bishop and lastly helped me greatly prepare for my mission. He really encouraged us to study from Preach My Gospel that propelled me in my understanding of the lessons. His love for the members of the Durango Ward was stellar.


Elder Buxton

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Simply Blessed

Dear family,

You might be wondering why I am emailing on Wednesday. Please don't think that there is any type of emergency. Simply on Monday we had our zone development meeting and activity and we would then normally email on Monday or possibly Tuesday, however during the activity of playing chair football (a game of football where every man in for himself and you try and kick each other's chairs with the ball) I sprained my ankle jumping up for the ball and then landing sideways on my foot. So we went home and I iced my foot that evening and then all of Tuesday, but now it is all better. I went to the hospital today to have it checked out and everything is fine and I can continue on my missionary labors as long as my foot says it is alright. Oh and don't worry because of national health care, it was all free to see the doctor. Now I have to wear this sock type thing to support it and take lots of Ibuprofen. So the picture of me with my foot in water is the Monday I sprained it.

So on to more important things like the great things that happened. Rakesh is doing well except he has come down with the flu he says, so we pray that he will get better soon so that we can still teach him. He is really starting to grasp the gospel as we read scriptures with him and explain things in simple terms. So now for some real success and miracles. On Sunday we talked to this man named Gavin who said that we could come by. Later, he sent us a text saying that he was sorry that he didn't invite us in for a cup of tea, but that we were welcome to go by. So on Wednesday we did and he let us in. First he offered a cup of tea which we denied so he got us some juice. We then taught him a Restoration lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon all the while he was cooking us some chicken and chips (french fries for those that don't know), which was really nice of him. We also learned that he was a Celtic fan (football club in Glasgow) and Elder Graves asked him where we could get a Celtic jersey for cheap and he then asked if we wanted one and that he would give each of us one of his. So he went and brought down his collection of jerseys and we each picked one that we liked. What a nice man he was. We then went on to have a dinner appointment with some members, the Finlays, and then onto Rakesh who fed us some Indian food. So if you haven't counted already, we had 3 dinners that night and were quite full, but so overjoyed at what happened.

Also on Saturday we had the priviledge of having Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the presidencey of the seventy, Bishop H. David Burton of the presiding bishopric, Elder Gerald Causse of the area presidecy and of the first quroum of the seventy, and Elder Stephen Kerr of the seventy at a mission conference. They were all in Edinburgh, but we had it broadcast over to us in Northern Ireland and Ireland. So it was a great meeting that and interesting thing was that of all the questions that they asked, they could answer them so simply. A lot of them were answered by saying if the Book of Mormon is true then x, y, and z.

I can't really remember what else has happend this week, but we are now looking forward to working as long as my foot will hold up. Thank you for all that you do. I did buy a pair of shoes here, but if the missionary mall is going to be sending you some new shoes, I can go and return those next week. I wear a 9 1/2 or 10  Sorry I don't have much time to write today, but if you could remind me next week, I'll send some thoughts about Bishop Young.


Elder Buxton

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Full Week of Training

Dear Family,
We are doing well. Last week had some ups and downs as Elder Graves learned lessons not taught in the MTC. Last Thursday we had a good day lined up with four appointments in the afternoon. None of them happened and none of our backup plans worked either. Elder Graves had great hope in all of these people that we were going to see, but as time went on, he was getting frustrated with the disappointment. He did deal with is well, but that's one lesson that takes experience to deal with and many times, there are miracles around the corner. Nonetheless, we had a good week and we really worked hard. Rakesh is doing really well. He came to church on Sunday and really liked the testimony meeting. Latter that day we met with him and he fed us some Indian food which was really lovely and we asked him how he liked church. He said that typically through the week that a lot of tension builds up in his mind and then as he goes to church, that tension is relieved and he is calmed and better for the week ahead. He also says that at home he is usually antsy and can't sit in one place for very long, but at church he has no problem with the three hour block. It truly is amazing the blessings that come as we attend church faithfully. I can really see a difference in my attitude when I attend church and especially when I do humbly and meekly.
We still haven't been in contact with Jimmy at all. Thomas is alright, but we are unsure if we should continue to teach him since he isn't keeping any commitments. We started teaching a man named John on Saturday. He is a very smart man who teaches psychology and sociology at the university here. It was a good meeting that we had with him and he has a strong faith in Jesus Christ. We just hope that he'll accept the need for a restoration and want to take the step towards being baptized. Another interesting thing happened. So on Monday we talked to this man and woman on the street and they said that we could come by to their house. The man's name was Norman. So we go to the address he gave us and the man that answered wasn't him. However his name was Norman so we talked and we set up an appointment to go by him on Friday. Then we decided to go around the corner and do some tracting and lo and behold, we met another man named Norman. Unfortunately none kept their appointments and two of the Normans we know weren't really interested. We had another good experience on Saturday when we went by a man that said that we could come by and he wasn't there. So we continued tracting and we found a man that we was taught by missionaries previously, but lost contact when he moved away. He recently moved back into the area and was glad that we came by. He said that he was still interested so we are excited to go by.
Just some little notes about the pictures that I am sending. The first two are with the Vallidays who were baptized less than a year ago and we were over before Elder Ihalmo left to Glasgow. The next is a picture of me and a new missionary on top of Pratt's hill that I sat next to on the bus to Pratt's Hill. His name is Elder Croft and he know Kamrin Nielson, one of my roommates in college. He also visited him once at BYU and said that I looked familiar. Small world really. Next are some pictures in a place called Victoria Square that has this observation deck that you can see many places in Belfast from. Next is Elder Graves's first kebab (really good Turkish food made from doner meat and served in/on nan or pitta bread). Normally a missionary's first kebab is called his "kebabtism." Lastly, I mention before that on one pair of my shoes, the sole is deteriorating and I think won't last until winter. I am going to look around Belfast today and look at what I see.
Lastly thank you for sending me a package again and I hope that you enjoy the videos. Michelle, it seems that you're going to have a ball being a teacher and many times you'll have to hold yourself back like the time we went to Subway and saw the man with pink nails and a high voice. Oh and I did mean to tell you that I met Elder Leavitt's parents and he knew the T's and also Brother Hill. Small world again. I hope all goes well and that you enjoy your labor day today.
Elder Buxton

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Dear family,
So today is a bank holiday so the library is closed so I am sending this from the applestore from an iPad. Sometimes it's difficult to type so this might not be that long. Anyways my companion is Elder Graves from Missouri. He is really good and reminds of the days when I came out. It is a real humbling experience training him. He is 19 and went to college studying philosophy so he is a real thinker. I guess you could say that we have two ends of the spectrum in our companionship-he uses the right side of his brain and I mainly use the left. So we foil each other quite well.
So a little about what has happened. At 3:45 on Wednesday I got up to get ready to be picked up by the zone leaders, pick up another missionary training and catch a flight by 7. So we got to Edinburgh, got some training,then the new missionaries arrived and we went and climbed Pratt's hill. I think that they should be sending me a picture of us on top of it. Then we went back and had some more training and then found out our new companions. By this time it was time for dinner and then we planned for the next day and went to bed. One Thursday we took the bus and ferry and got into belfast at 5. Then we missed our bus and had to wait for another one which made us really late for a dinner appointment we had with the Boyds. We then saw Jimmy who was doing well. However we are unsure at then moment how he is doing since he went to Ballycastle for the weekend. Rakesh is doing fine as well and still feeds us. Some god things that have happened are that we talked to this guy on the street and he said that he wasn't interested, but that we should go by his brother. We did and he was quite nice and we set up an appointment to see him on Wednesday. We gave him a book of Mormon and he accepted it. It was the last book of Mormon that we had so we decided to back to our flat to get some more. As we were doing, this elderly man across the street called us over and we helped him carry his bag back to his care home which wasn't that far, but he would stop every couple of steps which made it last longer. It was good because along the way we taught a brief restoration to him and then some more back at his care home. His name is Thomas and became to church on Sunday and enjoyed himself. So a simple thought produced a great miracle. Oh and whenever did make it back our flat to get more books.
I am glad that me flash drive made it and hope that you enjoy the videos. If you could send that back I could send you some more. Also if you could send me the follow CDs: one more stone(bishop young's cd), joseph a Nashville tribute, be though an example of the believers, and any other motab or church CDs.
My guess for Bryce is Denmark Icelandic speaking. I hope that you. I hope that you all stay safe and continue magnifying your callings.

Elder Buxton

Monday, August 22, 2011


Dear Family,
Well six weeks are over and moves are coming on Wednesday. You probably won't believe this, but I will training a new missionary! I don't know who yet. What they do is that I fly there on Wednesday early in the morning and then we get some training to be trainers. Then the greenies arrive and we go and hike Pratt's Hill. Afterwards we come back and do some more instruction before we come to the time that we learn who are companions will be. During this time, President Griffiths calls the trainer up to explain a little bit about the area. Then he announces who he will be training. That person comes up, they embrace and go sit down. Then on Thursday I believe we take the ferry over to Ireland. That's always fun. You get to go through much of Scotland and then travel on a boat. This will give me a lot of time to get to know my new companion. So I won't know until Wednesday who is my "son" as we call him. Elder Ihalmo is being transferred to Galsgow somewhere. He's looking forward to that.
Anyways as far as things go. Jimmy has expressed that he wants to be baptized as soon as possible. So after talking with President Griffiths, he can be baptized in the middle of next month. Please keep him in your prayers as we want him to really make a concerted effort to live the word of wisdom and be baptized. He came to church on Sunday and quite enjoyed it. He told us that the night before that an old drinking friend of his invited him over to watch the football (soccer) match, but he prayed for strength and turned his friend down since he knew that there would be drinks there. So I feel that he is getting stronger and stronger to resist temptation that will really help him as he prepares himself to be baptized. Rakesh, the Indian man, is doing fine. He is striving to live the word of wisdom as well. He continues to make food for us-which i love eating every time I go over there. He is also feeling a lot better. We also starting teaching this guy named Paul, but when we went over there the second time, he wouldn't come to the door. However, we are excited to see some people this week. Today we are seeing a couple, Meg and Willy how were quite receptive to what we taught them on the street.
The only funny story that I have is that we were in a member's home and told them we did some gardening (yard work) for another member not too far away and the member asked what we did for them and Elder Ihalmo said, "We lawned their mow."
Other things that we did is that on Saturday we went over to a newly married couple's home. The husband is from Japan and the wife is from Bulgaria. They met each other at BYU-Hawaii. So he was here studying Conflict Resolution for his masters. Anyways, tomorrow they are moving to Japan and they need help in their garden. So we went over there with the other missionaries and learned that their entire back lawn needed to be ripped out. So we spent the next 2 hours using shovels to dig below the roots and pull it out. Also there, a bee nearly stung me, but I swatted it away. The only thing is really did was pierce my skin.
As far as less-actives are concerned, we are helping a few. One couple is nearly active now. Another, the wife is coming regularly, but the husband has lost his testimony and wishes that he could believe, but isn't really making any effort. Lastly, this isn't a less-active, but we see an excommunicated member who is working on being rebaptized and I think that he'll really make it back. He's the one who's girlfriend was baptized in July.
  Well I love you all.
Elder Buxton

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Dear Family,
How are you today? We are doing well. Our greatest joy this week was the progress of Rakesh. I finally was able to get him to make us some Indian food-which I like a lot now. So he fed us Tuesday and then again on Thursday. Both times we brought Brother Valliday, a recent convert. He really like him there. I must say that the food was stupendous. Do you like Indian food at all? Also I called him on Saturday to make sure he was still alright to come to church and he invited us over again to have some more food. Since we had nothing planned, we went over there. He truly is a lovely man and wants to learn more about Jesus Christ. He is slowly, but surely progressing towards baptism. We were also able to meet with Thomas. He is really prepared and is doing all the can to understand our beliefs. He reads whatever we give him and he answers the questions in the back of the pamphlet (which most people don't even bother). However it seems that he has some fears coming to church, but we plan on bringing a member with us tonight so that hopefully by getting him to meet with some of them, he'll be more likely to come to church. Jimmy and Christina we weren't been able to see last week. However, we had a good experience last Tuesday. We were supposed to see this member family, but they had to rearrange for another evening, so we decided to tract their street. As we started, none of the doors were opening until we talked to this guy from Portugal. He couldn't really understand us, so he got his girlfriend to come out and talk to us. So we talked to her and she invited us in. We shared a bit and gave her a Book of Mormon and she seemed excited to read it. So I know that when things fall through that there is an opportunity for a miracle. Another great experience happened later in the week. We had this appointment with a guy, but he wasn't there, so we decided to go by this other guy, Paul, who we talked to earlier, but wasn't there for his return appointment either. I didn't really want to, but Elder Ihalmo did, so we did and there he was and he let us in briefly and gave him a Book of Mormon. So remember also that the Holy Ghost can inspire us through simple thoughts that we have.
I got my tooth fixed today so now I look normal and not like some hillbilly. Hopefully now I can keep it on until I come home. It seems that the dentist tried to really put it on sturdily so that it will last for the next 10 months.
I have also been hearing about the riots in the UK mainly around London. It really is becoming a dangerous situation from what I hear. Much of it has stemmed from parents not having any control over their children. As of now, none of the riots have spread to Northern Ireland. I have also heard that the riots there have been much worse than the ones here over the 12th. Simply no one died here, but I think you can see otherwise.
Lastly to answer you question about how I have grown on my mission. Well I believe that I am still the same height than when I left. Maybe I should have measured myself before I got on the plane. My suits still fit as well as my shirts, socks, and shoes (however, one pair is already beginning to fall apart. It's nothing I can really control as it is the bottom near the heel). This probably isn't the answer you're looking for, so I'll continue. One way that I have grown in my understanding of the gospel. When I came out, I thought the 3 missionary lessons were 3 different, unrelated things that we teach. However I come to find out the opposite. I like this line in Preach My Gospel, "Through a modern
prophet, God has restored knowledge about the plan of salvation, which is centered on Christ’s Atonement and fulfilled by living the first principles and ordinances of the gospel." The lesson all interconnect with one another and build upon each other foundation upon which on doctrines are built.
Well that's all for now. Oh and when you do come over next year, you must try an Ulster Fry. It clogs your arteries, but it is really good.
Elder Buxton