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