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 mormon.org 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.