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 amazon.co.uk 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