Elder Buxton at the Kyiv Temple while on a visa trip

Monday, April 16, 2012

Privet Friends and Family,
Well I guess this is the last one.... It's really hard to know what to write about…. I have come to love this time that I have spent here in this part of the Lords vineyard. The field is white already to harvest! We are seeing miracles. V~~ from out of town is doing sooooo well! He will for sure be baptized in a week or two and it has been such a humbling experience to teach such a prepared person. He came to conference on Sunday, so we watched it in Russian with him. He really enjoyed it. We had a fantastic lesson with him this week and we taught him The Plan of Salvation. When we got to earth life, we explained the things that we have to do in this life in order to return to live with our Father in Heaven which is have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. He loved it! He said "Well, I already have faith in Jesus Christ and am trying to repent every day. I already agreed that I would be baptized and I don’t really know all that much about the Holy Ghost right now, but I'm guessing that you will teach me about it later. So yes I accept to do that too. The hardest thing will be enduring to the end but I commit that I will do my best." He is so golden! Also another really wonderful experience happened this weekend when we were sitting in conference with V~~~ in walked L~ and Y~, S~ mom and dad! I was in shock. They both remembered me. Elder P~ and I are going over there to meet with them tonight! I was so excited that they came. I don't think that Y~ has ever been to church before but he came and loved it. I will give you the update on that when I get home. :) They are such nice people. Conference was wonderful. I really loved Priesthood Session and all the talks that were given there. Elder Bednar's talk really was powerful. I loved it. President Eyring's talk on the sealing power really opened my eyes up as well and I love President Monson's talk as well. I really loved it all. It was such a great conference that I really don't know what to say was my favorite. I liked the talk about the church and gospel and the differences there and how they need to be united. I also really liked Henry B Eyring's talk on trials and how they are really blessings in our lives. I know that is so true. This has been the best two years for my life by far. I could not have gained this knowledge and love for the Lord anywhere else. I love Russia. It really is heart wrenching to come home and exciting at the same time. I have gained a love for this country and these people, fellow members, fellow missionaries, and even just friends on the streets. I love all of them with all my heart. Elder P~ and I were talking the other day about how it is such a happy satisfying feeling to walk up to a stranger on the street and tell them about Joseph Smith and how he restored the true church of Christ and then give them a Book of Mormon. It is an irreplaceable feeling of happiness. The Spirit is the key to the work. If it wasn't for Him testifying of truth then no one would believe the story that we just told them. I really love this gospel and my Savior Jesus Christ. Through Him all things are possible. I love you all soo much and am really excited to see you. Thank you for the support and prayers and love that you have given me over these two years. Time sure does fly. God's plan is perfect. There is no place in God's plan for offence, unkind words or thoughts towards another person. Let's keep our focus on the eternal perspective. This is the true restored church of Jesus Christ. This is His work.
Stay Golden!
Love,
Elder Buxton
P.S. I had such a huge spiritual experience this morning and learned the biggest lesson of my whole mission. I will share it with you personally later. It’s just hard to explain over email. My heart really is torn in 1000 ways right now. I love you sooo much and am really excited to see you but it’s tough not knowing when I will see these people I love so deeply again. Good thing we have online access though. I also have some good goals and plans to help me transition and stay on this path I’ve come to know and love. I love you sooo much!!


Hurrah for Israel.~~

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012

PRRRIIIIVVVVEEETTT!
Hey hey hey! This week was a week of kind of ups and downs but of course more ups as always. :) Our one investigator (who follows all the commandments) told us that he has no desire to be baptized in our church. Even though he knows that it's true. He won't pray about it either. :( The interesting thing is that he still wants to meet with us. We are going to meet with him this week and explain to him that if he is not going to act at least by praying that we don't think we can meet with him. Also ~~ is struggling. We don't know what it is but something is eating at him right now. He didn't come to church again this weekend for the 3rd weekend in a row. We were only able to meet once with him this last week. However, we do have a meeting with him coming up. It should be good. We hope that he will open up. Unfortunately, they don't have the 12 step program here. They have the booklets but no one teaches it besides us. I have done it before on my mission so maybe we will give it a try with him as well. I agree that it can work miracles if the person doing it is committed. Now for the great news!!! The other V~ that I wrote about 3 months ago that we met with once. He lives outside of the city. He read the whole Book of Mormon and it changed his life. Well, he came back into town and he is GOLDEN! When we met with him the first question Elder P~ asked was "What do you remember about Joseph Smith?" He then went on to tell us the whole story which proved that he really did do some studying on his own. He said that after he read the Book of Mormon, that it has made him want to make his life better and now he is following the commandments that he understood from it. He accepted a baptism date for the 21st of April and was excited about it. He said that he is probably moving to Ekat forever. This last weekend he went back home to see his parents and to grab some more of his things. He is returning today so we will be able to meet with him this week. For Easter we went to Kurgan a little city in our mission. Well, little as in around 400,000 people or so. It was a great experience. I had planned on giving almost the same talk that I have planned to give at home. That morning President Rust reminded me that it was Easter so I had to change my whole topic around again haha. So of course I talked about the Savior and his atoning sacrifice. It truly is humbling to think about all that he did for us. This spring season is so wonderful and symbolic of his Resurrection. Everything is coming out of darkness, blooming and it is just a happy scene. I love spring. It is a time of rebirth. I enjoy it because I can look at my life and realize the things that I need to get back into line and do better at. It is always possible to become better through the Savior. Well I love you all so much. This has been the experience of my life. I love my mission!! You are right mom this isn't the end, it is only the beginning. So my appointments go ahead and keep them. As soon as things are taken care of at home, I'll be moving to the SLC because I'm pretty much a city boy now days anyway.;) I can't remember the last time I lived in a city with less than a million people in it. haha. This last week we had Zone Leader Council and some of our email rules got changed so now I am only allowed to write each parent one letter and we aren't even allowed to write our siblings but we can write one friend who is on a mission. So tell my sisters that I want to write them but the rules changed and that I love them sooo much and to thank them for their love and support. I love you all. Thank you soo much my dear family and friends. I owe the world to you.
Love,
Elder Buxton
p.s. Can't wait for conference.

Oh yeah by the way you need to check out a few songs on a CD called "The Work" before I come home. I love them soo much they make me cry when I listen to them. One, I think is called "Bless my Son" track 7. It's about a mom praying for her son and I think of you each time. And the next one is track 14 maybe called "The Hardest Thing I Ever Loved To Do " it talks about the hardest things that a missionary has to do from the beginning of his mission to the end and it gives me flashbacks of my whole mission. The last verse is what brings me tears of course because it's where I'm at right now. I love you soooo much. please do
everything you can to find those songs and tell me about them next week. :) love you sooo much.
Love,
Me

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

Life is Beautiful:)
Privet!!!
So this week was another fantastic week. Elder P~ and I had the wonderful opportunity of going to zone conference again. It was just as much or more uplifting than the last. My favorite part is always at the end when all the missionaries get up and bear their testimonies. There was an outpouring of the Spirit and I received some very personal revelation through some of the testimonies that I heard. It really was an answer to my prayers. It also helped me realize that the Lord answers prayers through others and how my testimony really can be an answer to someone else's prayer. I need to testify even more and allow the Spirit to do the teaching and testify of truth. We have such a solid set of missionaries here. I love them all. One other cool thing was that V~ is serving on a short term mission right now. He stayed at our place when they came into town. It was really great. I got to know him a little better and we laughed and talked about how he tried really hard to keep N~ from getting baptized and now he is not only baptized himself but preparing to serve a full time mission. We also had the opportunity to go to C~ this Sunday and attend church. It was great to be able to see all my good friends that I have come to know and love and be able to say goodbye to them one last time. I really love my mission so much and I am getting really emotional as is it winding down to an end. I really am so thankful to the Lord for the things that I have learned here and the man that I have been able to become. I always want to keep this fire going and continue serving my Lord with just as much diligence in study, word and deed after the mission.

It sounds as if conference was amazing! I cant wait to watch it. We get to watch it my last week here in the country due to the fact that we are celebrating Easter throughout the world as a church this next weekend. I really can't wait. Oh by the way, some really cool news, Sister W~'s (a sister in our mission) dad got called to the first quorum of the 70! Really cool huh? Listen for his name on the Saturday session. Oh how I love conference. Such a great experience. It was only my second week on my mission that I had my first conference and now on my last week of my mission I will have the opportunity to watch it for the 5th time.

D~ is still doing pretty good. Unfortunately he will not be baptized on the 14th. He is such a great boy though and I am so grateful for the chance to work with him. He is so sincere and really has a desire to follow all the commandments. The members here have been such a great support and have been catching the fire of missionary work. One such member who is fellowshiping the investigator D~ is a member named D~. He is a great guy. He is actually a Korean but Russian is his native language. He recently got back from a mission to Korea though so he is a solid guy. He has been an angel to us and has even been calling D~ and setting up meetings at his house for us. Its been so great! (little side note: Elder Parson and I ate dog at his house last week! Interesting...)

V~ is doing really well. He is studying really diligently and is progressing well. Members have also been such a huge support to him and they all love him. The members have really been stepping it up. We invited V~to be baptized again and he declined. I believe that he will come around pretty soon if he continues his diligent studies and searching.

I'm so happy for Wrandi and Tyson getting settled in sounds as if things are going great. The Lord really does do everything for a reason. His plan is perfect. Cohen and Avery sound so cute! I am definitely going to live with them.

That's a huge bummer about M~. I will for sure keep him in my prayers and go over and visit him and help him out with the Russian. I'll be needing some help as well to remember it. V~ wrote me not too long ago and said that he went on a split with him and that M~ was a really good teacher. Tell him he is in my prayers.

The work is the greatest thing on earth! I love it so much. I have learned so much and am continuing to learn. There is no experience that I would trade for this. I love it soo much!
I love you all!
From Russia with love,
Elder Buxton

Some really sad news. All my pictures from my whole mission just got deleted some how. :( :( :( and I didn't have a back up. I feel terrible.

Oh well, I guess life goes on. Please pray hopefully I can figure something out. I love you so much. Just remember life is beautiful. Bad things happen but we can choose our attitude. I'm just a little sad right now because my whole mission's pictures are gone. But we'll see what happens. Love you:)

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012

Heyyyy!!
So this week was phenomenal as ever! It started off great with a superb zone conference in Ufa. It was based around the Book of Mormon and it was sooo powerful. It was a sight to see and hear the spirit as all the missionaries that we love and work with bore solemn testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. We watched the movie "How rare a possession" and it is such a great film. I knew the Book of Mormon was true before my mission but I have come to know the converting power of it while on my mission. What a great book that testifies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. After the zone conference I set a goal to re-read the Book of Mormon one more time before I come home and mark all the references made to Jesus Christ. That is an average of about 20.5 pages a day and so far I am on track. I'm just a little into 2nd Nephi and its been a really eye opening experience. When you read it quick it opens up the whole story a lot quicker of course. I have realized really how often and quick Laman and Lemuel forgot the Lord. Also it's amazing to see how often I am marking. There are so many references to Jesus and its just been a fascinating study for me. So after zone conference we came back to Ekat and we had the Ekaterinburg district conference on Saturday and Sunday. It was such an uplifting conference. Saturday we had to translate pretty much the whole day. There was training that went on and an adult session as well. One of my favorite parts was the Sunday session. They had a few future missionaries go up and bear their testimonies before they take
off in the near months. One of them was N~ and she bore such a powerful testimony. It was such a tender mercy of the Lord for me to be able to see someone who I worked so closely with get up and bear her testimony that she is going to go out and do the same thing and share the gospel with the world. She is leaving a lot behind as most Russians do to serve a mission. Another missionary A~ got up and bore his testimony as well and it brought tears to my eyes. He talked about how his family aren't members and how his mom always asks him why he is going on a mission and he says that it's hard every time she asks but that he thinks to himself. "Mom, I'm going on a mission so that you will get baptized, so that my whole family will get baptized
and we can live together forever. I'm also going on a mission to help other families have that same opportunity that I will have because I know that this gospel is true and that it's my responsibility to share it with the world." It was so powerful! His conversion story and how he is able to go on a mission are incredible. He is going to serve in Manchester, England by the way. Also after district conference I was able to give the Melchizedek priesthood to one of my very good friends from C~. It was a great honor and I really enjoyed it. I also need you to send via email my line of authority so that I can pass it on to him. I seemed to have misplaced mine. :(
So D~ is doing really well and is still committed to the 14th. :) whoo hoo! He is going through a really hard time family wise right now though. We can really feel the power of the adversary trying to stop him from progressing. However we know who is stronger! :) I sure hope that I will be able to see him baptized before I go but if not I know that he will still get baptized. He's solid. V~ is doing so well. He is reading the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants everyday. He loves commandments! He is doing really well and is also progressing. He will come around soon I think.
I love you soooo much!
Love,
Elder Buxton
Hey, I have some extra time so I'm going to send a pic. Also I noticed that I missed a question when I re-read your letter. General Conference will be the weekend before I go home! So great! I love it. 5 conferences on the mish. I sure do love you a lot all of you.
first pic life is beautiful
Second me at sister R(a sweet grandma who is like 86 years old.) Great member
Sorry it wouldn't let me send it so I guess next week. :(
Love you soooo much

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

Privet!
So this week was another fantastic week of course. D~ and V~ are doing so well and progressing quite rapidly. They have both come to church for a month straight! They both love it. We are working with D~ on preparing him for baptism on the 14th of April. He is such a great kid. He accepts everything so well and is so humble. We taught him the Word of Wisdom. We bought him some tea that is okay to drink and some Postum type stuff. We are also trying to help him quit smoking. We made a little card with a scripture on each side that will remind him that he can do it. 1 Nephi 3:7 on one side and Ether 12:27 on the other. He loves it and is really trying to quit. We have a meeting with him tonight before we take off for Ufa tomorrow. This week is going to be really busy! Tuesday we are going to fly to Ufa for zone conference. (which answers your question, if we already had them. We had zone leader council last week. Maybe that's what you confused it with.) Then we are going to be there doing zone conference and stuff. Yes, I will get to see the J~'s and all my favorite people! :) Then Friday we fly back to Ekat and Saturday we have a lot of translating to do for district conference that will be taking place Saturday and Sunday. Next week is going to be just as busy with another zone conference that needs to be done. Whew! So busy and time is flying by. V~ is also doing really well. He is reading the Book of Mormon everyday, reading it, highlighting it and placing little book marks on things that he likes. Member work has been the key factor in the conversion of these two young men. I'll tell you that it has been phenomenal with the member side of things. He also loves the Liahonas and read a little about President Monson there. Now he wants to read his whole biography and also wants to read more about Joseph Smith and his biography as well. He already lives by the Word of Wisdom and really loves commandments. He is really interested in them and wants to know all about them and live them. He is a really great. He gets up at 6 a.m. and goes to bed at 9 p.m. He just believes everything and now needs to pray and get a spiritual witness. He is great and we are working with him. A~ did call us and really wants to meet. Unfortunately our schedules haven't lined up quite yet but it will happen in the near future. He works a lot and when he was free we were out of town or already busy. He is great though. I'm so excited about it. That's way cool that Hazel was blessed today! Give them all my love. Sounds like your week is going to be super busy. Good luck and make sure to pass my love on to all the fam. That story about Cohen is hilarious! I love that. You know that he is going to turn out to be a stud if he keeps following in those footsteps. ;) Make sure to pass on to V~ that I love him. He said that he went and taught with M~ and that he loved it. He is my brother. Really he and I became really tight on the mish. He will be my bro forever. He is also really appreciative to you all and wants me to pass on his love. Be sure to tell him that I love him and wish him good luck. Thank you soo much for all you do to support me. You do so much for me and I just wanted to thank you for that. I love you all so much!
Love,
Elder Buxton

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012

Heyyyy!!!
So this week was phenomenal! Some of the days seemed to be really long but as a whole the week went by really really quick! D~ is doing really well. He is reading the Book of Mormon everyday and we are sending him chapters through texts that he can read. He is loving it and this week he shared with us how he has seen the Book of Mormon change his life. He talked about how before he seemed to be quick to anger and would yell and get mad really quick but now that he reads the Book of Mormon he is more peaceful and slow to anger. When he prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true he got his answer in a dream that it was true. He is loving it and is sticking up to his buddies and family that the church is a good thing so he is pretty strong. Also M~ is doing well. He just works a lot so it's really hard to meet with him but we call him often and he is doing really well. We also have a new investigator named V~ who is coming to church regularly, and reading the Book of Mormon. We had a really special experience this week (well it was special to me). I just can't really explain it that well in email but here goes a whirl. Elder P~ and I were out exploring our area just trying to get to know it a little better and conversing with people a long the way before we had to get to our meeting with D~ at the church. It came time to head to our meeting and we were in an area that we didn't know very well but we jumped on a tram that said it would take us at least back to an area that we knew. We got on and it only went one stop before it broke down, but it was already an area that we knew a little better. So we found a bus that would take us to the church. We ended up getting there a little early. We were hungry so we stopped by the Subway to get some food. We ate and when we were about to leave I looked up and there was this man looking our way and he looked really familiar so I took a double glance. Then we recognized each other. It was a man named A~. Elder P~ and I met with him my first week in Ekat. He was a taxi driver that took us to the office when we took the new missionaries there to get their second passports. We created a really good relationship with him when we met. He suffers from some depression and stopped meeting with us. I got up from the table and went over to talk to him and to my surprise he gave me a hug and told me how glad he was to see us. We chatted for a bit and then the conversation moved to that I will be coming home pretty soon. He said well I want to meet with you again and I want my son to meet you as well. We then got his new number and we will be meeting with him and his son this week.:) He is a great guy. I know that the Lord lead us right to him even if it was just in Subway. So many events lead up to it that I just didn't have time to include in this email but it was really exciting and humbling to see.I have a good recording probably more understandable of it in my journal, so we are all good! It sounds like Stake Conference was great as usual. I always love hearing spiritual experiences and I agree "The Living Christ" is wonderful. So powerful.
So it's crazy that you received my flight plans!The middle of April really is just coming up so fast. That's pretty funny that they said I arrived here on Feb 7, 2010. I guess I did a couple of extensions and not just one haha. It is kind of a bitter sweet feeling. I really am excited to see you all but I have so many family and friends here as well. It will be very hard to leave. I love my mission. Also I would like to know what topic I will be speaking on in Sacrament. This week will be a busy one. We have Zone leader Council and then Elder P~ and I are headed up to Chely to do some splits. Zone conferences are coming up as well so we are excited for that. I love you all thanks for all your support. The best Fam and Friends in the world!
Love,
Elder Buxton

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012

Privet!!!
This week was probably the fastest week of my mission. It really just flew by and was full of fun times and many tender mercies of the Lord. First off D~, our new investigator that we found sign boarding is amazing! He is so chosen. We had a first meeting with him this week and he accepted the baptismal commitment after the meeting. He came to church yesterday and he loved it. During fast and testimony meeting, he was really enjoying the testimonies. Then he expressed the desire to me that he wanted to share his testimony but didn't know what to say. I quickly explained to him what a testimony was. I told him that if he wanted to he could go up and share the thoughts he has had as he has been meeting with Elder P~ and I. So he went up and his testimony was so pure. He went up and introduced himself as being new and that he has really been enjoying what he has been learning about our church recently. He then shared his thoughts about how he has been talking with his friends lately about religion and how some of his buddies say that they don't believe in God because they have prayed and asked him to bless them with a car and God didn't do it. He then went on to share that his friends don't understand God or how prayer works because he knows that God won't just make a car appear but he will bless us with opportunities to work and make money so that we can buy a car. He bore a sweet simple testimony of prayer and it was great. After the meeting he accepted a baptismal date for April 14th, one week before I go home! So exciting. Also we found M~ who is also a really choice investigator. He is from N~ and has been in Russia for a little under two years. He is really struggling here because people trick them into coming over here to study and say that they teach in English and treat them good but its just a big scam. He is really sincere though and was really happy to meet us. We talked with him about religion. He has such a deep belief in God and Jesus Christ. He shared with us that he knows a lot about the Bible and Christ and his teachings but that he would like to learn how to put those teachings into action in his own life. That of course is an answer that every missionary would love to hear and we told him that we could help him do just that. After we watched "The Restoration" with him he was amazed and said "You don't have to explain anything at all after watching that. Anybody who watches this will know what they need to do and where they need to go." We are honored to have the opportunity to work with such chosen new investigators.
The Lord is continuing to bless us. V~ is doing really well. He believes that everything is true and loves reading the material we gave him. We are just waiting for his laptop to get fixed so we can skype him. Also we have a new potential investigator also named V~ who came to church yesterday and also a few men that we met on the street last week. The work is flourishing! I love it. Transfers did happen and I am still with Elder P~. :) also somegreat news is Elder A~(who I trained) is coming to Ekat to be zone leader so we will see each other often. :) He's my boy, I'm so excited. Also his parents are going to call you and talk because they would like to come to my homecoming so I gave him your number to pass on to his mom so be expecting a call from his mom. I'm so stoked! The Lord truly is blessing me so much. My mission has been the best experience of my life by far. So many blessings. Friendships that have been made, spiritual and temporal growth, and just enjoying life and figuring out what life is about. I love it. Thank you all for your love and support. The Gospel is so true.
From Russia with love,
Elder Buxton
P.S Wish Josie and Josh a big congrats for me that's way cool. Also Kristi and Jessy marriage makes me happy!
Much love.
P.S.S Words to ponder and live by. "Wherever you go. There you are."