Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Anniversary!!

Dear Family,
I am doing very well. You had some questions regarding the pictures that I sent last week. Most were taken in an area called New Lodge, a Catholic area. Many of the murals depict cultural and political circumstances of Ireland during the last century. If you read up on the history of Northern Ireland and the troubles than you'll learn more. We hope to do another area of town called the Shankill today. Another day we plan on going to a place called the Falls with Brother Valliday since he grew up there. I did get my debit card. Is it activated? I also finally got a package from Sarah Combs which was filled with stuff like butterfingers and stickers and church pictures and what not. I really hope that you enjoyed your anniversary.
Eddie is doing extremely well and hasn't smoked in 11 days now. He is really determined to be baptized next Tuesday and he has asked that I baptized him. We have a nice serviced in the planning stages and we hope that many members will be there as well as his family and friends. He also just got a dog to help him keep busy. It's a boxer. We were there with him the first day that he had it and it was very calm and I even stroked it to sleep, but the next day it was off the walls. It must have felt a lot more comfortable. It is a really friendly dog and should keep him occupied. He is the only one that has shone any real progress at the moment. We met with Sid a couple of times, but he seems quite reluctant to come to church let alone be baptized. Maybe it's just not his time right now. However, we are finally meeting this lady this week named Carmina who the other elders found. She seems quite promising. We also started teaching this lady named Precious who is a former investigator. She is from Nigeria. She's really quiet and a bit hard to know what her desire is, but we hope to see her more and hopefully prepare her to be baptized.
So now funny story time. On Friday night we were tracting and as we were walking to our next appointment, we had noticed that there was a large group of teenagers gathering at the bottom of the street. We walked past them as we were getting to this appointment we had when these 3 girls walked up to us wanting a Bible. We gave 2 of them copies of the Book of Mormon because that's all that we had and then some pamphlets as well. They all said thank you and then Elder James got a hug from one of them and exclaimed, "I don't know what to do." It turned out fine. He was a bit shocked, but we went on our way.
This week we also have started meeting with all of the members and making a list with each one of the people in their lives that they could share the gospel with. We got this idea from a suggestion in Preach My Gospel, but also we heard from a member at church who quoted from Elder Clayton of the Seventy that "The Holy Ghost likes lists." So we committed each to pray over the list and pick someone that we could pray for as well. The power of pray is so amazing. I really know that as I have prayed with faith for Eddie, he has really come through and has changed dramatically.
I love you all.
Elder Buxton

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The New Year

Dear Family,
How are you doing? I am doing very well. The work has really picked up and we see ourselves getting busier. This week we have a lot planned so we look forward to seeing to all of our appointments. Eddie is still doing very well. He was struggling in the beginning of the week, but he has come around and his spirit are quite high. He experienced a miracle and also a humbling experience. We were over at his home on Wednesday and Sister Templeton eventually convinced him to give her all of his tobacco. A couple of days later he smelled gas in his flat and called someone to fix it. They did and he realized that if he had lit a cigarette that he may not have been here anymore. The Lord does work in mysterious ways and I am sure that this strengthened his and our faith that He lives and is providing for His children. He is now off the smokes for about 4 days and is doing very well. We hope that he can be baptized next week as we continue to meet with him and get him off the nicotine patches. He came to church and really enjoyed himself and is being fellowshipped quite well into the ward. We were also blessed that another man that we have been working with, Thomas, came to church as well. He was back from Tyrone and came to church. He said that he really enjoyed Priesthood when they spoke about the life of President Smith. They shared about his experience on his mission when a mob came to his cabin and began shouting into it, but he knew that he was on the Lord's errand and would be protected. In what should have been the scariest moment of his life, he had no fear, but was full of faith.
Last week I mentioned about a man named Sid. Well we met with him a couple of times and it turns out that he knows a member, Brother Hull, and some members we spoke to at church knew him as well. He really wants to turn his life around. We met with him yesterday and read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with him and it finally clicked why the Book of Mormon was so important and necessary that he should read it. We hope that as he reads the Book of Mormon and live the commandments that we will teach him, that he will receive power to quit his addictions. We also started teaching another man named Gareth who is interested in hearing our message and is really curious to find out how we know that these things are true. He says that he will be at church next week as well.
On Friday, Elder James and I went to Edinburgh for a new missionary meeting. We discussed many principles about missionary work that not only apply to new missionaries, but all. We spoke about how to begin teaching, revelation through church attendance, revelation through the book of mormon, and teaching commandments (like the law of chastity). It was really good and I loved being there and learning from the assistants and President Griffiths. Also while we were in the airport, I bought some nice ties for a good price (70% off) in a shop there.
This winter has been really mild as well. Christmas was 13 degrees Celsius. It is interesting that it was similar in America. I am glad though that is was so mild because snow and missionary work are no fun.
I'll email President today about the endorsement and I think we are having interviews next month so that I can speak to him about that as well as getting my temple recommend renewed. Thank you for all that you do for me.
Elder Buxton


New Year's

Dear Family,
I am doing well. I am really glad that the holidays are now over and that things will return to normal. I am really glad for the opportunity of a new year and I think many others are as well. Many people will be thinking of new year's resolutions and hopefully they have some spiritual nature. I hope that I can be an instrument in the Lord's hands to bring added, fulfilling light into people's lives. Hopefully now there will be a void in people's lives left after the many activities of the holidays and that they will be led to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We had the privilege this week to teach a man named Martin who was really looking, well, actually he was hungering and thirsting for faith in God. He also wanted to quit some addictions that he has. We were very glad to meet him and teach him. Unfortunately his family is currently not allowing him to meet with us. We will continue to pray for him and call him next week. Eddie had a rough week with quite a bit of temptation that he unfortunately fell into. He is doing well though. He started smoking again, but after meeting with him yesterday night we developed a plan to get him back on track so that he can be baptized this month. He came to church on Sunday and that really cheered his spirits a lot. he wanted to leaved after sacrament meeting, but we persuaded him to stay and I think that has really blessed him and lifted his spirits. He is in a humble state right now and says, "God is leaving me with no choice but to quit smoking."
So our New Year's Eve consisted of normal missionary work until 6 when we had to be home. We then ordered pizza from domino's-that was really the extent of our partying. We did though have candy (see picture). New Year's day we went to church-it was a bit bare as well. The funny thing was that I think it took people awhile to realize that we were the only missionaries there. Some didn't notice until priesthood. Then we had to do some service. We decided to pay a visit and give some company to this member who doesn't receive many visitors and we watch An Ensign to the Nations with him. Oh, but before that we were walking there when this man across the street called us over. He said, "Could you help me with his guy." We walked up a few steps to see this man sitting in his garden (yard). He was drunk as a skunk and could barely balance himself, let alone walk. So we helped into his home and spoke to him for a bit. Not much was accomplished trying to speak to him, but we left him with a pamphlet. We went by yesterday and got into his home and spoke to him. He really poured out his heart to us of the pain he has felt throughout his life. We will see him again tonight and hope that as we discuss the plan of happiness with him that he can find healing in his heart. Just like Jesus prophesied, "The aSpirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath banointed me to cpreach the dgospel to the epoor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to fpreach gdeliverance to the hcaptives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at iliberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18), I know that the atonement can healed the wounded soul. Yesterday he asked me why some of these things have happened to him and one reason that I gave was to prepare you receive the truth. I know that the Lord is preparing those to receive us and they are all around us. Later on New Year's we went to the Vallidays and they fed us so much that my stomach was hurting.
This week we were also blessed to teach a young man named Kevin and his friend Jared Doyle. They are really inquisitive about God and our church. They live in Holywood's area though and we turned them over to them. They are quite interested in attending YSA activites and Jared said that he wanted to serve a mission and even be baptized right then. I really hope that they can follow through with lessons and be baptized.
I hope that you all have a good new year.
Elder Buxton