Monday, February 27, 2012

Leap Year Week

Dear Family,
I am doing well here in Aberdeen. Things are picking up and we are looking forward to this week because we have some good appointments. As far as things go. Endurance is looking forward to being baptized on March 11 instead. We felt that he needed to have more time to prepare. He is doing well. He believes in the Book of Mormon and so far is living all of the commandments. Sometimes though he is really stressed out between school and work. I could never live the schedule that he does. I hope that he can manage it and that he will continue to come to church even when he is baptized. Das came to church as well. We went over to his home after church and he is so nice. He made us some food and feels that he is getting more intelligent. His member friend that he lives with says that he will be baptized in the coming months. We also had another man named Vikas that came. He is from India as well and is the friend of Brother Anupum (Das's friend). We were having some good success with this man named Sumukh. His desire was growing and he was reading and praying. However on Sunday morning when we were going to pick him up for church, he told us that he spoke with his parents and they aren't too keen on him going to church. That was a bummer, but I hope that he gets in contact with us soon. We still teach Frances. She is getting better and says that she believes in the Church about 90%. So what our joint teach, Brother Ware, suggested is that she lives like a member for one week and sees how she feels. We are hoping that by living the commandments and principles of the gospel that she can gain a testimony of them.
On Thursday I went to zone conference in Dundee. It was pretty good as they discussed member lessons and studying effectively. It was good and I learned a lot. On Tuesday we drove all the way to Inverness to go on exchanges with the missionaries there. I then drove all the way back to Aberdeen. We stayed to together until Thursday at zone conference. The reason we did it with them is because we have been asked to go on exchanges with new missionaries and there is a bright green one there.
On Friday we helped a less-active move. She was at work, but we helped out her nonmember husband move not too far away. We built some good trust there. Now we hope that we can start teaching her and her husband a bit more. Also we popped by a former investigator family and they told us that they thought that there was a ghost in their home. So after some discussion, we said a prayer . We hope that this will spark their belief that there is a God as they aren't sure just now.
On Saturday we had a wonderful experience. We were in this area and some time before going back to the flat for dinner. So saw this group of houses and thought they felt good to tract. So we were tracting these flats. Things were going alright. We gave out a copy of the Book of Mormon, but when were were in the last group of flats, we knocked on this door. An Indian lady answered and let us straight in. We taught her and her family including her husband who came in just a few minutes after us. They accepted the Restoration and a few copies of the Book of Mormon. They said that they were struggling and were having some problems within their family. Many times we testified of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how we can be forgiven of our sins. It was great and we hope that they can come to church this next week. It would be so great to have a new family at the church. The parents are named Rama and Christina, and their children are Isaiah, Kikita, and Nitu. They are a lovely family and have a strong faith in Christ. I think that they next time that we see them that we will speak about how the gospel can strengthen our families.
I haven't heard anything from President Griffiths about an endorsement. Check and see. I don't really know what I have to do with that.
Brother Thompson isn't that hard to understand. He gave a talk at sacrament meeting yesterday on marriage and how the concept and acceptance has changed since he has been alive. He told us of how some fisherman heard of one of their crew who wasn't being to faithful and they threatened him to either cut it out or they will throw him over the boat. Needless to say, he did. Brother Mundie, I am not sure if he still is the undertaker anymore. I think that he delivers parcels now with his son Don.
I hopefully I can get my package when I go to the mission home on Tuesday for exchanges with the assistants.
Also, remind me next week to send some email addresses that I have for some of the people here that I got from people in Belfast.
Thanks for all that you do.
Elder Buxton

P.S. So I have to tell you something really funny. If you read the big email, you'll learn that we were tracting some flats. During that time, we knocked on this guy's door. His name was Annita. And I don't mean to be prejudice in this, but he was really gay. He was wearing makeup and had this cloth wrapped around his head and his gestures were so femmy. He reminded me of that guy at Subway with the pink nail polish. I thought that you might enjoy that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Week as Zone Leader

Dear Family,
how are you all doing? For your information, I sent a card last week for Dad for his birthday. I sent it last Wednesday so it should get there soon. I am doing well here. Things are starting to pick up. If you remember last week, we challenged the zone to give out 360 copies of the Book of Mormon in 4 weeks. Well we started off strong and gave out 120. Elder Freckleton and I gave out 31 between us. We were really blessed to have those opportunities. As a result of this we were able to teach a couple on Sunday night named Victor and Beth. Victor is from Nigeria and Beth is from Scotland. Victor is really excited to learn about the Book of Mormon and see what he can take away from it. When he was in Nigeria, he went to a lot of churches and some of his friends called him a "christian tourist." He has wondered why there are so many churches in the world. He said that if he believed in the Book of Mormon, that he would be baptized. We also started teaching a man named Emmanuel. He is from Nigeria as well. He loved learning about the Restoration and he will hopefully soon come to church and worship with us. Endurance is doing well. He is a bit stressed out over his studies and work. I hope that he can be baptized this Sunday, but we shall see. We taught Das again. He is very prepared and has already seen blessings since he started coming to church. I hope that he can gain a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true.
On Saturday I was exchanges in the Bridge of Don area with Elder Ellett, a former companion. There we were able to teach two new people that were a direct link to finding with the Book of Mormon. The first is named Abagail. She is from the Cayman Islands in the Carribean. She is really prepared. When she met the missionaries the day before, she was thinking about spiritual matters and funny enough, the missionaries were led to here and are now teaching her. The other was a man named Clark. When i first met him, I thought he would be in his mid to late 20s, but it turns out that he is turning 20 next month. He feels that this is what he needs to turn his life around and felt that we were sent by God to him. He feels that it was not a coincidence that he came out of the gas station at the time he did when the missionaries were walking past there. I feel that he will be very good and sincere about repenting and getting his life turned around.
(Reader discretion is advised for the following story) While we were at Clarks. His father and mother were there as well. They had order pizza and it arrived while we were there. They let us have some which we were very happy about. However as soon as he opened the pizzas on the coffee table, his father who was sitting right in front of the pizzas, just took a swig of his whiskey. He then for some reason, spit it all out over one of the pizzas. We were a bit bummed at this, but ate from the far corner of the other pizza. To be honest, it was a funny experience. Missions: got to love them.
Another neat experience was while i was on exchanges with a missionary, Elder Riddett, we were walking back to our flat for the night and he felt prompted that we should turn back around. We had some time and turned around. This was this guy coming towards us and he started talking to him about being with his family forever. At the time, I thought why in the world he would be speaking to him about that since he was a man in his 20s, but it turns out that he was thinking about that at that time. We were able to give him a copy of the Book of Mormon and he is excited to read about that and find out more about the Plan of Salvation.
Last thing that happened to us this week was that we did service for this member who has just moved to Wales. We had to take some stuff off the walls and put the rubbish out on the street corner. The most challenging thing we had to do was to take a piano out the house. The only thing was that she lived on a hill and there were quite a few stairs up to her home. Thankfully we had the other missionaries in the ward and we were able to amazing lift and push the piano out of the house, down the grassy hill (which was just dry enough to allow us to do that), and onto the curb where we then loaded into a van and took it to the church until some members would get it after they came back from holiday. To say the least, we were helped by angels to get it down the hill.
So I am in the Aberdeen Ward. There is another ward in Aberdeen called the Bridge of Don Ward. Our building is on North Anderson Drive and Lang Stracht if that helps Sister Bourne pinpoint where we meet. It is the stake centre. I spoke to Margaret and Tommy Thompson. They remember the Thoms and asked me to say that they were asking for her. The other people I know are the Mundies, Wares, Goldies, Sims, Livingstons, Brother Rae. Oh, I don't know if I'll ever get to meet Mike King because he lives in the Bridge of Don Ward, but I think I know where he lives. Ask Sister Bourne if she wants me to say hello to any people. So the zone covers from Aberdeen to Invergordon. There are 6 units in the Aberdeen stake (Aberdeen, Bridge of Don, Buchan, Elgin, Inverness, and Invergordon). We have to go on exchanges with several of the missionaries within this moves. We will be going on one tomorrow in with the missionaries from Inverness. The wards in Aberdeen are normal for over here. They are no where near the size they are over in the states.
Have you signed me up for classes yet or are there still some problems?
For my birthday package, i would really like some rolls from either costco or homemade. Butterfingers would be nice as well. There was something else, but I can't think of it right now. It must not have been very important.
I hope that all is well at home and look forward to hearing from you.
Elder Buxton
P.S. It snowed Saturday night, but it melt away throughout the day. Hopefully that will be the last of the season.

Valentine's Day

Dear Family,
How are you doing? We are doing well. I am working on getting familiar with the area. I like it so far and we are working hard. Aberdeen is a nice city. Most of the building are made of granite and the architecture is really nice. In fact some of the houses look like castles. I wanted to take a picture of one yesterday, but my camera died. So the reason that we are emailing today is because yesterday we had a zone development meeting and activity plus we heard that it was a bank holiday and that the library would be closed. So we didn't email yesterday as you can see. Yesterday we spoke about the Book of Mormon and asked everyone to read a talk given by President Benson on "Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon." So we as a zone set a goal that in the next month that we would give out 360 copies. Yesterday, Elder Freckleton gave out 4 and we hope to give out 7 today. We are really excited about this and hope that it will fulfill President Benson's and also the Lord's vision to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon (see Moses 7:62).
So the way that I got to Aberdeen was quite simple as Elder Duran and I drove to the ferry, and then drove off the ferry to Edinburgh. There I waited for others going to Aberdeen and we went on our way to there. It went by quickly and I arrived safely.
We had some good experiences this week. The first appointment that I went to, was a recent convert called Brother Anupum from India. He is a good member and he has a friend staying with him from India named Das. He is interested in learning about the gospel and came to church on Sunday with Brother Anupum. Brother Anupum says that he is in the same state that he was when he first started investigating. So we are very excited to teach him. We also met another Indian man on the street named Sumukh. He is studying at the university here. We gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and he read it. When we asked him about it, he felt poor and we learned that he meant poor in spirit. He really wants to know if God is there. We continue to teach this investigator named Endurance. He is from Nigeria. He went to our church there and wants to be baptized. He is very busy so it is hard to meet with him, but we hope that he can be baptized at the end of this month. We also taught another man named Kingsly from Nigeria. He believed the Restoration for the most part. Unfortunately he will be off shore for 3 weeks on an oil rig.
Here we do have a car, but at the moment it is in the shop getting fixed, but we hope that it can be fixed soon.
My address is:
52D Charlotte Street
Aberdeen AB25 1LT
The only people that I have told that I know Sister Bourne is a member named Adam Ware. Hopefully soon I can speak to the Patriarch who is in the ward along with a few other people that you have mentioned. Brother Ware is the ward mission leader and has been the Las Vegas before and might have gone to church in our building before.
Patrick Noonan is someone that I would like to visit when you come. He is a good man.
I really hope that Matt Doxey changes his mind because it would be so fun to room with him again, but if I am to be there without him, that's okay.
Happy Valentine's Day or Happy Singles Awareness Day if you are me
Elder Buxton


Away off Again

Dear Family,
This morning we got a call from the office and learned things contrary to what we thought might happen. It turns out that we won't be moving to a new flat. There will be another team in the Cavehill Ward and they will live in the new flat. I took some pictures, but it is a bummer that I won't be living there. They are also putting missionaries in the Newtownabbey Ward as well. So now the district went from 1 team to 3. As for me though, I have been transferred to Aberdeen to be a zone leader there with Elder Frekleton. He is from my MTC group. In fact, we were roommates. He is from Texas and he is also the first missionary that is over a year when I started serving with them. I look forward to serving back in Scotland. My prediction is that is where I'll end my mission. I am really looking forward to it. As far as i know, the Aberdeen Ward is very nice and the Stake Presidency is really pushing missionary work. I'll be moving on Wednesday. The funny thing is that this will be the first time that I will take the ferry across the Scotland. I have taken it from Scotland 3 times. Now am i right in saying this that William Shepard Baxter organized the Aberdeen Branch? Well I am looking forward to it and hopefully can meet Sister Bourne's family and friends who still live there.
As far as our week went, it was quite good. What we have really been focusing on is having the members and even some less-actives develop a list of people they want to share the gospel with and then pray over the list. We are nearly done with those that we wanted to do it with. I feel that this is a much better way of working with the members because now we can plan lessons around helping them invite these people to be taught or come to church or an activity or read a pamphlet or the Book of Mormon. Our investigators are doing well. Flanaga came to church and really enjoyed it. He said the people were a lot more friendly and that he wants to bring his daughter along next week. He also read the Restoration pamphlet and there isn't anything in there that he doesn't agree with. Sid we have developed a plan to get him off the drink. On Saturday we went on splits and Elder James taught him the restoration and he has learned a lot and is beginning to understand, but the really kicker will be if he can get off the drink. While he did that, Thomas was in town, so I taught him about the Book of Mormon. He will be in Belfast more permanently in March which will really be the opportunity to focus on these things. Eddie is doing well and is looking forward to serving within the church.
On Tuesday I went to Dublin for a leadership meeting. Elder James stayed in Belfast. They spoke a lot about increasing our faith, the Address Unknown File program (the church is researching lost sheep and then we go by to see if it actually them). On Friday we were in a area called the Falls. We were supposed to see a family from South Africa called the Ngoqos, but they thought it was on Saturday. Thankfully we had to time to go over there at that time. Later we had an egg thrown at us, but it went over our heads. Needless to say, it's a dodgy place. However the next day we went over there and did some tracting and found some people that were interested. Then we went to see the Ngoqos. They fed us some umngqusho which is white corn and beans. It's like their "rice" or staple food. It was good and now I can speak to Matt Doxey about it. I am sure that he is fed it all the time. Yesterday I got the chills and a fever. So I am a bit under the weather, but I am fine for now and should be okay to travel over to Scotland.
Hopefully i can send you info about my passport on Wednesday. I might also speak to President Griffiths on Wednesday when i am at the mission home about BYU. I really hope that you can find a house for me. Lastly i would love to work for Brother Newson when I get home. Also, I should make a modified list of people that I know are on Facebook. This much I do know is that Patrick Noonan and Siobhan McLaughlin should be there as well as some members. I will do what i can.
Thank you for all that you do and speak to you soon.
Elder Buxton
P.S. Elder James's new companion is Elder Musgrove. I have never met him. That is all.

New Child On Record

Dear Family,

How are you doing? I am pleased to announce that Eddie was baptized Tuesday night and is now a new child of our Heavenly Father on the Church's records. It was a wonderful service. He was so happy to be there. Seven family members of his came as well including two daughters and one of their partners. During the service, Elder James spoke as well as Brother Valliday. We had our investigator Sid there as well. He enjoyed it, but the funny thing was that he popped out to have a smoke. Then as we were walking to the Relief Society room where the baptismal font, Elder James ran out to get him. They then ran to the room and as they were about to get in, they heard a splash. So Elder James never saw his first baptism and neither did Sid. He still felt the Spirit though. Nonetheless, Eddie is doing very well and he was confirmed on Sunday. You can really see him glowing now and I just know that the living gospel and receiving the Holy Ghost can really make us radiate to those around us. His children have seen such a change in him as well and we hope that he can a great example to them and want to learn more as well.

On Monday night we had a cottage evening at the Haddocks that went really well and there were many members, less-actives, and also Eddie. He is really comfortable and has made some great friends with members of the ward. On Tuesday we started teaching this man named Flanaga. He walked into church a couple of weeks ago and wanted to meet with us. So we did this week. He is good and wants to learn more about the church. He has some interesting views, but we hope that as we can continue to meet with him that he'll find the joy in living the gospel. We continue to see Sid. He is alright, but was really touched as we finished teaching the Plan of Salvation. It really hit home to him as we promised that he can be with his son again. We also started teaching a member referral of a soon to be missionary's girlfriend. Her name is Nicole. She is really shy and we hope that as we continue to meet with her that she'll open up and understand what we teach. She is facing a bit of family opposition so keep her in your prayers.

On Thursday, we had interviews with President Griffiths. At first, he forgot to pencil us in for a time, but eventually did. The problem was that it was late Wednesday night. Fortunately we were able to re-arranged our schedule and we were also blessed to have the senior couple over YSA, the Blickenstaffs, do a flat inspection (in one minute--fastest one that I have ever had), take us to the stake centre, and then to a dinner appointment in Glengormley. They are so nice to do that for us. That was a real answer to prayer.

I had a faith building tender mercy happen on Wednesday. We had to walk down the Ballysillan Road to the Antrim Road to catch a bus and we were running a bit late to catch the bus that we needed. I was praying that it would be late. As we got onto the Antrim Road, we saw that bus coming up the road and stop at the street light. We then ran to the next bus stop and were able to get on the bus that we needed. It turned out that the bus was about 7-10 minutes late, but we were just in time so that we could get up the road to our appointment.

On Sunday night, we were able to see the 100th year anniversary of Seminary. I thought it was really good and many of the things that I have learned there have directly or indirectly helped me on my mission.

The winter here is fine. It hasn't rained that much and we have been quite busy and inside during the bulk of bad weather. Lastly, we learned today that we are moving flats, but moves are soon so we shall see what happens there. Please send all mail to the mission home until further notice. The flat that we are getting is to be a lot nicer than the one that we have. Originally it was for Cavehill South, but I don't think that there will be 4 missionaries in Cavehill next moves. Thank you for all that you do.


Elder Buxton

P.S. many of the pictures that I have sent are of a place called the Shankill which is a very protestant area much affected by the troubles.

Baptism Week

Dear Family,
I am doing well. We are still really excited to see Eddie baptized on Tuesday night. It should be really good and I am so excited to see this son of God become a Son of Christ. At church yesterday he seemed so comfortable. Enough so that we left him alone and he was fine having some "yarn" with the other members. He is so excited to be baptized and has really shown immense effort as he has quit smoking and stayed off as well. Many times he has been tempted, but overcomes it. He is such an example to me in how the gospel can changed people's lives when they feel the Spirit, and have baptism and the celestial kingdom as their goals. On Thursday, he passed his interview. We were really worried when we came in because we could see smoke and noticed a couple of mugs of coffee, but it turned out that those came from some friends that saw him earlier. The zone leader, Elder Thomas, who interviewed him even smelt his breath, and he was clean. It was a great relief and I am glad that this his finally his time. Sid also came to church amazingly. It was a great feat for him to go. On Saturday we were teaching him about the importance of church attendance from Moroni 6:4-6, 9. At first he was reluctant to go, but after reading these scriptures, he was determined that he needed to go. He even pulled out his "glad rags," his suit as he called them, to wear to church. Then that night he was feeling very ill and had a legitimate excuse not to go, but he said to himself that he needed to go. So he did and he enjoyed himself and was quite fellowshipped by the ward, especially those from his neighborhood who knew him as he was growing up. This week were also able to teach a lady named Carmina. He is Cuban/Irish, and her husband is from Fiji (he is in the military and away in the middle east right now). She is really good and already lives many gospel principles. She is planning on coming to the baptism as well. On Friday we went to do some service again at Tools for Soliditary. This time we were taught how to make the wood boxes that they pack the tools in the ship to the places they want. It was quite easy especially since we used a nail gun. I liked doing it and it was relieving and soothing at the same time. On Tuesday we had a zone conference in Dublin. It was really good as they spoke about family history and how we need to teach our recent converts and less actives about it because it can really solidify them in the gospel after their baptism. It gives them another goal to work towards-the temple-and if they take their own names, it becomes more personal. They also spoke about improving our teaching skills so that we can teach by the Spirit more powerfully. President Griffiths echoed over and over again how we need to simplify, clarify, testify, and verify.
I would be more than happy to be Matt Doxey's roommate next year. I also help him in his class selections as well. For my birthday I would like some more butterfingers as well as a few homemade or costco rolls.
My companion is doing very well. He knows the area quite well now. I am really starting to let him take more control in planning and teaching-especially in starting out in every lesson. I have gotten on with all of my companions. Never have I lost my temper and I can say that I am friends with most of them. I love you all and hope that I have great news to to tell you next week.
Elder Buxton