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