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

Monday, August 8, 2011


Dear Family,
Alright? You might be wondering why I asked that. This is because here in Northern Ireland, most people don't ask how you are, this simply just ask is you're alright. So we had a pretty good week. Let me tell you why. The best that happened was that we met with this lady named Christina who we met on the street a couple of weeks ago. She was baptized about 20 years ago, but fell away because she got in with the wrong crowd. A lot of bad things have happened to her, which caused her to lose her faith in God. Nonetheless, she consented to meet with us and on Saturday we did. We went with a member and helped her understand why bad things happen to good people and why we receive trials from our Heavenly Father. At the end, we invited her to church and she said that she would try her best to come. So on Sunday we went by with Brother Templeton, our ward mission leader, and gave her a lift to church. When she came in, the members helped her feel very welcome and she said that she would come back the next week. What a miracle that we found a lost sheep and she is now on her way to becoming active in the Gospel. I really feel that her soul is yearning to believe once again, to be happy once again. Later that day, I got an impression to go by this man we haven't been in contact with recently. So we did and he let us and said that he was thinking about us and was wanting us to come around once again. His name is Thomas and he really likes to learn. He answers the questions in the pamphlets and he has put aside today to just read from the Book of Mormon and really understand the history of these people. He also wants to learn more about why were are baptized. He said that he has liked everything that we have taught him so far and wants to learn so much more. Jimmy also came to church and enjoyed himself. He is working on overcoming his addictions before he is baptized.
The past two weeks i h ave been thinking of how we can get the members more excited about missionary work and I remember how way back in the Durango Ward, we were committed to read all of Preach My Gospel before a certain date. So after consulting with my companion, the ward mission leader who talked with the Bishop, we are going to give every member family a copy of preach my gospel that they can study from and as they learn the doctrines and apply the principles within, they can become better member-missionaries. I know that Preach My Gospel is an inspired manual and there are things in it for everyone as they strive to achieve eternal life.
Now to answer your questions:
1. The members are great here and we normally greet everyone that comes in the door of the church. Many of them become good friends with the missionaries.
2. Understanding the language is coming along. I still have a hard time understanding people when they are conversing with other natives. The accent here is very different from that the in the Republic. It is most similar to Scottish because of the people here, their ancestors are from Scotland (Ulster Scots they call themselves). So they say things like Aye and wee. There are differences and it is not as thick. Funny things they say are like Ackaye and So I did at the end of sentences.
3. My duties as District Leader is to encourage those under my stewardship to do better, to be better missionaries. So I plan District Meetings that are held every Tuesday and I report goals and actuals to the zone leaders.
4. My mission has been the greatest learning experience of my life. It's really incredible how much I have grown in my knowledge of the Gospel.
5. Days differ, but we try to have as many appointments as possible with investigators, less-actives, recent converts, and members. We fill in our other time by going by people, tracting, or street contacting.
6. The past couple of weeks we have been fed 3 times which is an enormous improvement. (Brother Templeton really got on their case).
7. Well, I would really like you to see places like Loch Ness, Cliffs of Moher, and the Giants Causeway. Right now I don't have much plans other than the Livingstons in Galway say that we could stay at their house if we want.
8. Right now I am in Mosiah 17. I normally read about a chapter each day and mark certain things.
9. Normally you just take the weather as it comes. I normally carry around an umbrella just in case I need it. If we think it might rain, we wear a rain coat. We did a fair amount of each. We take bus when possible or we just walk.
1. I am getting along with my companion just fine. I think he likes me somewhat. My favorite companion so far is Elder Stewart.
2. Finnish is really, really, really hard. Learning it is comparable to Chinese. I thought I might learn simple phrases, but the problem would be that I wouldn't know what they would respond.
3. The postcards were nice that you sent and interesting to talk to companions about.
About my tooth, I have an appointment on Wednesday to get it put back on. I really was doing quite well and wasn't even biting on anything hard. I was eating some Fruit and Fiber Cereal and there was a banana chip in it that just barely touched my tooth and it came off.
In answer to Matt's question. There is plenty of American food here: McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Subway, Quiznos, etc. I love you all and hope from you soon.
Elder Buxton

Monday, August 1, 2011


Dear Family,
How are you all? We are doing well here in Belfast. Things are really starting to pick up as we move farther and farther away from the 12th holidays. Many things have died down, except for in Londonderry so I hear, but you don't have to worry about that because I am miles away. Anyways, we tried and blessed this week. The great things was that Rakesh came to church again and really enjoyed himself and has said that he wants to continue to come more and more. Hopefully we can prepare him for his baptism at the end of the month. On Tuesday we attended a funeral for a member who suffered from autism and epilepsy all of his and amazing lived to 42 years of age. His family hadn't come to church in a long time because they were taking care of him. So we went to the funeral and it was a nice service. Then amazingly on Sunday, his mother came to church and was well loved by the members. I also went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders on Friday to Bangor where we had a good time. There we taught a new investigator and invited her to a baptism of a child of record that was happening that evening and she came! She really loved it and was looking forward to coming to church that Sunday. I was also on exchanges in Cavehill South on Tuesday. So both of those days, Elder Ihalmo went by Jimmy and he is doing alright, but wants to take things slow so that he can prepare himself to be baptized. We also started teaching two teenage Africans from Zimbabwe named Tafara and Tawanda. They are willing to read the Book of Mormon so we shall how that goes. Thank you for sending me recipes so that I can now cook some good stuff. I took some with, but not my cooking book so that I could save space. I hope that the new BBQ worked out well and that you could cook up some good meat. And Michelle, I don't feel much sympathy for you because that's like every other day here that it's overcast, so man up and get out of bed. However i am proud that you talked to some boys and i hope that you can get your teaching license so you can whip those youngins into shape. I am glad that Dad is feeling better so that he can mobile again. Well I really can't think of much else that happened so have a good week and be good member missionaries.
Elder Buxton