Elder Buxton at the Kyiv Temple while on a visa trip

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 1:47 PM, Hey Fam, It was soo great to chat with you guys! Like you all said it brings a tear to my eye as well but also like you said, it is tears of JOY!! I'm grateful that I have such a wonderful supportive family. You guys are awesome! Seriously if you only knew how much you help me :) I'm thankful for the knowledge that families can be together forever. This morning after our call I read one of my favorite talks. "Our Perfect Example" by President Eyering. It helped me when he gave it and it helps me now. He talks a lot about love and how its the reason for a lot of the things we do. Like in my letter a few weeks ago Charity and Love really are so important in the lives of the saints. My favorite line is the heading "The message of the Restored Gospel is that we CAN and must EXPECT to become better." The Savior is our perfect example the more we learn of him the more we desire to become like him that’s our goal in life, to become like Christ. It talks about how the family was created so we can know the love of God. That the times of greatest sorrow and the times of greatest joy come from the family. If families are built upon the gospel the happier they will be. If there is a wayward child there is always hope and love can change them. Just like the prodigal son. I'm thankful that I have such a family that is built upon the right principles. I also like what it says on his mothers or grandmothers gravestone. "Please, no empty chairs." That's because like it says in the article that it is all our individual choices that will lead us to live together if we make the right ones. Love is the reason, if we love God then we follow his commandments. The Savior is truly our perfect example. When I think of him I try to comprehend how much love he has for us. And of course I can't comprehend but I'm guessing its like my love towards my family times infinity or something. :) I love you guys so much. read that article! I love Christmas I love the hymns I love the spirit about it and just everything. It was so great to talk to you all even if i do struggle a little bit speaking English at times. haha thank you :) This week was an amazing week. We had a plan to baptize N~ on Saturday it didn't happen but it was still an amazing week. We met with her almost everyday and it helped her a lot. Our last meeting we started a fast with her the day before and said we would close our fast together the next day. We read from last years Ensign "Joseph Smith- Prophet of the Restoration." In that article it addresses her doubts one by one. About the Godhead, Three kingdoms, and the Apostasy. Elder K~ and I have prayed and pondered a lot on what we needed to teach her and we know that what we taught was just what the Lord wanted and N~ needed. We knelt down and closed our fast together and N~ offered the prayer. We all felt that she is ready but she was a little scared to do it the next day. So we set a new date for this Friday the 31st. We are planning to met with her everyday before that to get her ready. We have been blessed to know what to teach and how to help her. Also i really love that little Christus that you sent me but I think that i will give it to N~ when she gets baptized because she loves that statue in Salt Lake i just thought it would be nice. I am glad to hear that the family is all doing so well. Sounds like Christmas was a blast. Tell everyone that I love them and miss them again haha. Tell The Coleman Christmas party hello from me. love you lots! Love Car LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12/19/2010

There is sunshine in my soul today! More Glorious and Bright, that glows in any earthly sky! For Jesus, He is my light! The Sabbath was amazing as always.



This week was a fantastic week. We did well on our goals from last week and set some good new ones. We are teaching really well together now in my opinion and it is showing in our meetings. This week we had some great lessons with N~. Wednesday we read Alma 32 with her and discussed it that she knows that the seed is good and that she has already seen it grow in her. Yesterday after church was our best meeting with her though. We read with her Mosiah 15 and discussed it together and explained it more in debt and explained the Godhead to her very simply. It was a great meeting and she said that she understands it now. She also talked about how it seemed that church yesterday was especially for her. We are very excited about it. We set up meetings yesterday for everyday this week to get her ready for this Saturday. Its really exciting to see her growth.



We didn't have a Christmas program on Sunday that will be on Christmas Day. And it will be amazing. We aren't going to E~ for Christmas this year we will be staying in C~. But that's just great because its going to be an awesome Christmas! And yes we will be singing at the program. Of course, it will be in Russian Elder K~ and I are the only missionaries in our branch. I would have to say that my favorite Christmas song is frosty the snowman! haha remember when I got my wisdom teeth out and you asked me to sing a Christmas song? that was like a year ago! crazy huh? But seriously my favorite would probably be "I heard the bells on Christmas Day." I love it in Russian I sing it all the time. Sounds like the ward Christmas party was amazing as always. Its kind of sad because Christmas really isn't a big deal here. Its sad! But the church is kind of into it. N~ and O~ made really great ornaments with pictures of Christ on them and glitter and ribbons and bows and verses of Christ from the scriptures for everyone. It was really great to see that they remember the real reason for Christmas. We have been sharing "The Living Christ" a lot this week as our spiritual thoughts and it is so powerful! Read it. My testimony gets strengthened every time we share it. I wish that it was a bigger holiday here, but I'm glad that there is a few that know what its all about. I love hearing stories about the ward. Thank you. And thank you for the thoughts from Glenn Pace. He is one of my favorites. Remember the talk in the MTC that I love, he gave it.



Things with N~ are going great as I wrote. Thank you so much for all your support! Yes I know that it will be a White Christmas for her. I hope and pray. So everything will be awesome. Our branch is doing alright. Its -25 or so here and only 28 people came to church yesterday. We are trying to strengthen them and help them realize the importance of coming even when its ridiculously cold.



Thank you for everything really. When I call maybe I'll speak a little Russian in the beginning to scare you! don't hang up if you don't understand :) haha Love you guys with all my heart. I have the best gift in the world. I love this time of year to remember our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ and remember his birth and all that he has done for us. He is the Rock of our Salvation. May God be with you. Peace on earth good will toward men. Merry Christmas. :)

Love, Elder Buxton

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 1:47 AM


Heyyyy!


This week was great our investigator didn't get baptized but its okay, we set a new date for December 25th. She thinks that the Book of Mormon and the Church have different doctrines (namely the nature of the Godhead). She says she doesn't know if she has received an answer from God or if it's just her thinking. We talked about how you know and read from Moroni 7 and that helped. She has a desire to be baptized just a few doubts that we are working on with her.What a great day to be baptized the 25th!!!!!!!!

I love the pictures of you guys at the temple. So pretty. Love to see my family and my cute nieces and nephews :) cutest in the world!

Elder K~ and I set goals and talked about teaching more in unity and I have already seen a big improvement. None of us are perfect of course but we can sure try and there is always room for improvement. And its true the more obedient we are the more blessings we receive. We have been talking about the Love of Christ and God a lot lately in our meetings. We talk about why love is the first commandment. When Jesus was asked "Master what is the great commandment in the law" He didn't hesitate to say "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, might, mind, and strength. And the second is like unto it. Love they neighbor as thyself." Why is that the first commandment? Because what we love determines everything. What we love is what we think about. What we think about is what we do. And what we do is who we are. And who we are is who we become. When we understand how much Jesus and Heavenly Father love us then our love grows. Even though we aren't perfect our Heavenly Fathers love for us is perfect! And his love for everyone is the same. He doesn't judge us by how we look, He doesn't see a sinner or a saint. His love for everyone is the same. Which is why He sent his Son Jesus Christ to atone for us so that when we do make those stupid, silly mistakes we can repent and partake of his blessings and feel of his love greater in our lives. That's why Love is the first commandment it leads to everything else. When we love, we will be obedient to every other commandment even if they do seem a little silly to us. It doesn't mean we will be perfect but it means we will be better. Like in the letter that the stake presidency sent to me "His ways are not our ways." When we understand that we become better.

I'm so glad that I got my package too :) It was wonderful thank you sooo much. And you are so smart next year I will put the wreath in the microwave but its okay because taco seasoning was all over it haha. Yeah everything tasted and smelled like taco seasoning but its okay I love taco's they don't have them here in Russia so I was very grateful :) :) All the CD's work and I love it. We are going to use them tonight on a lesson in fact. Probably the only missionaries in Russia who can use this last conference on meetings haha. We still haven't gotten the conference liahona. so thank you sooo much for the Ensign. Just about two weeks and Ill be calling you :) whooo hooo
The weather has been warm -5 through -10 which is actually so nice. Never thought I would say that. I didn't buy boots yet but I will, don't worry. It snows from time to time there's lots of snow on the ground because it doesn't melt but not too bad. It is dark a lot earlier about 5 or so. Mom, I am SO healthy you don't even know! Elder K is doing great. He's also healthy. We are getting along great too. We do eat mostly at home. Monday nights we eat at family home evening. Then sometimes people feed us randomly which happens a lot. Tell Paul and Ina thank you so much. Merry Christmas to them too! I think that a lot of mail doesn't get to me if they send it to the pouch address. Idk what the problem is. Pouch is weird and a few people have sent me dear elders and said that they sent a real letter too but I have maybe received one real letter while I've been here.

I love hearing about Cohen! He is sooo cute. Sounds like a hooligan at times but hey that's the purpose of life. taking after his Uncle and I would bet his Dad too ;) Thanks so much for your support and help. I am so in debt to you guys! Tell the ward hi and Merry Christmas. Tell Ed thanks for the letter and Stake Presidency as well. Its a great letter. I'm excited for Christmas its going to be amazing! Thank you again. I love you all
Love
Carson

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 1:16 AM
Subject: Re: 12/5/2010


HEY Family,


This week was really good week. Things are going great. My visa trip was a little crazy. Fin Air went on strike and they changed our flight to a later one so we couldn't make all the rest of our flights, but its okay we still got out of the country in time and got to stay the night at the temple hostel which is super legit. I always love going to the temple and getting the strength that I need there. And we got to do two sessions and some initiatory. I'm blessed because not every missionary gets to attend the temple on their mission but I get to go every 3 months So it was a really good visa trip. Helsinki was awesome it is such a nice city. Clean, nice, safe everything. Its awesome. On my mission I have been to Ukrain, Russia and Finland its crazy.Our flight from Helsinki to Moscow was late too. So I had 20 mins to catch my next flight by the time we landed, luckily I know a little more Russian this time and I weaseled my way through and barely caught the flight. It was pretty tight. So I was gone for about 3 days out of my area.

The investigators are doing great. She did open up to Elder K~. Yesterday she fasted in order to receive an answer that the church is true. We had a really great lesson with her after church and plan to contact and support her as much as possible this week. I know the Lord isn't holding anything back She just needs to pick faith over doubts. She is scheduled to be baptized this Saturday so I hope everything goes well! :) She gave us another referral this week, M~ and she is also O~'s friend. So I hope that goes well. A~'s phone has been off :( we haven't talked to him in weeks now. But we will keep trying. Elder K~ and I have a goal to say at least one prayer of thankfulness each day. In every prayer we are praying for our goals and miracles. Yesterday I had a really great experience when I decided to say a prayer of thankfulness. I was feeling a little down and overwhelmed but when we got home I knelt down to pray and decided to just thank God for everything. I received just a great comfort and know that it's because I decided to be thankful and not to groan. It was a great experience. Also as a zone we are going to talk to every family on the street. Focus on finding new investigators, and use the former investigators as a great tool. We as a mission decided to show our faith and get 41 baptisms and we as a zone need to get 9 to do our part. There were already 5 last weekend so we are off to a great start.
The Armenian food for Thanksgiving was pretty good actually. The sisters have an investigator and it's her parents restaurant. It was really good. Actually with Elder Z~we started cooking about half and half the last little bit before his transfer. But Elder K~ also loves to cook as well so I have actually cooked less. It does take a lot to fill him though. We get along pretty well. He is an extremely hard worker and I admire that. I do have a gift though that I can be happy no matter what situation I am in. I thank the Lord for that gift. I did receive the Christmas package and it was AWESOME!!!!!! thank you soooo much. that is my favorite picture of Jesus and that Christus is way awesome. The best Christmas gifts ever! All the stuffers were awesome. The taco seasoning opened and got all over everything though and then it must have gotten wet so the letters and journal are a little taco seasoning colored and smelling. I loved the wreath even though it was impossible to eat haha it was super hard but I remember how it tasted at home and that was enough for me :) thanks a lot. You are the Best! they don't really have traditions here for Christmas, I think. I will let you know when it comes around. The church is going to do a program though and we have to sing haha. New years here is the big holiday. And okay I'll get boots! The suit is good. thank you so much. I will send a picture today not of the new suit, its one elder Z~ found and its too small for him so he gave it to me. Its kind of beat up on the inside but the outside is what counts haha. Its an okay suit. The one I bought though is great!

Things are pretty cold here. It's snows a lot then it rains and they dont' plow the roads so it just turns to ice. I have been slipping quite a bit because I like to walk fast. Maybe this winter I'll have to slow down a little so I don't slip. In the summer as a missionary you learn to walk fast, really quick. But i think i may have to slow down a little. I slipped 3 times just on the way to the bus stop this morning. haha. its pretty much always in the negatives here now. Thanks for sharing the christmas message with me. We didnt have that here. Guy, your right the D&C is amazing. I started reading the Old Testament and it's quite interesting. Finished the New Testament about a month ago and loved that as well. The Book of Mormon is the best though.

My testimony has grown a lot and will continue to grow for the rest of my life. I promise that. My blessing says that. I read my blessing often and I get strength every time I read. I cant say that I remember saying that in young men about the word of wisdom when I was a teacher . Bishop Guymon was the best teacher though. I do remember that, so I'm sure he prompted good answers. Tell Carma to tell Wyatt hi. or tell Wyatt if you see him. I'm sad that Bishop Murray moved but I'm sure St George is a little warmer. How is his health? let him know that I love him. Let the whole ward know that I love them. This a time of Joy and Happiness. I got a dear elder from Ariell finally :) and Alex :) I will write them letters. I should have some time today to write a few which is a rare chance here. Our P days are busy busy busy. Thanks for all that you guys do for me. I love you sooo much. Come what may and love it! say a prayer of thankfulness everyday!
Love your son,
Carson

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 1:25 AM
Subject: Re: 11/28/2010 Thanksgiving week


Hey fam,
The training this week was really good. We set some goals to plan more effectively and talk about the lessons we had that day rather than just count the numbers like usual. Also we have a lot of work to do with our area book that's also one of our companionship goals is to fix it up and update it. Elder K is a really hard working missionary I'm really excited to serve with him. We have a goal to study the Christlike Attributes everyday and try to develop and become more familiar with them. This week we met with a non active member that Elder Z and I couldn't meet with even though we tried and tried. He has a really strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. He also wants his girlfriend to met with us. So we are seeing progress there. Elder Z and I had a good lesson with N before he left about Joseph Smith. Then we met with her again and read 2 Nephi chapter 2 and talked about the Plan of Salvation. We just need to teach simply and powerfully these next two weeks to get her ready for the 11th.
I really do miss Elder Z a lot but its okay I'll see him at Christmas. Its different with this new comp but everything will be okay. I know the Lord puts us with who we need to be with when we need to be. For Thanksgiving here we went to an Armenian restaurant it was pretty good. Sounds like it was a blast there! Hope you gave everyone my love and told them all that I am thankful for each and everyone of them!! I am the most blessed person on this earth. I'm pretty sure of it. What great family and friends I have and what a great opportunity to serve the Lord. You guys are great. I'm really thankful for family and the support and strength you give me. I'm always glad to get your letters. I do have a goal to "come what may and love it." When we aren't happy its pretty much always our choice we can ask the Lord why me? or we can ask what can I learn from this? That's been my motto for the mish and I have found it to be effective. So I know that everything will be alright. Ill be going to the temple this week on Wed in Helsinki I'm excited. It's just what I need right now. I miss the temple a lot. Such a great strength you get there that you cant get anywhere else.

For Christmas we will go to President Allcotts house which will be great! Some apartments have Tree's some don't. We do are own little celebrations though. It's cool to listen to Christmas music all the time at the Zone Leaders. Josh Grobans CD is way good. I can't wait for the forgotten carols though. My language is improving really fast its pretty much all I speak now but I still feel like I struggle. My companion is pretty tall probably 6 feet ++ and huge.He has been a member since age 11, his family are members too. His parents are active but his sister isn't. He knows the scriptures really well and the language haha. He has been in the country 3 months less than me. N's brother is doing good he is still reading the Book of Mormon we haven't met with him yet. Also N brought another friend M to English club so there is another potential:) We haven't been able to get a hold of A this week :( but its okay we are going to keep trying. As for sacrament meeting I have only bore my testimony when they ask us to. We want the members to do all that they can. So where there is enough members they should talk and missionaries just be in the crowd.
I love you lots.
Love Carson

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sent: Monday, November 22, 2010 1:04 AM
Subject: Re: Good Day:):)11/21/2010
Hey Family,

This was a great week. We got 21 lessons and we spent a day in Ekat. We only had 5 lessons this week as of Thursday but we set a goal and buckled down to average 5 a day until Sunday. It was really good. A went out of town this week so we couldn't meet with him but he is still reading the Book of Mormon and progressing. Our goals this week are to go out strong with Elder Z and start strong with Elder K. I loved working with Elder Z, he is a great missionary and I would say we both grew a lot these last two transfers. I am a little bit nervous for the new Elder but I know that we have a great zone that will help me and most importantly the Lord to help me.
I would definitely call this the miracle week of my mission. It was an amazing week! On Tuesday we went to Ekat with Elder Z for the last time :( Then Wednesday we meet with N and had a good meeting. Then also went to a Ballet Gizelle that night for our culture activity. So it truly was a miracle that we got 21 meetings this week. Then on Saturday we met with N again and read the doctrine of Christ in 2 Nephi 31. Then we extended the baptism date and she accepted a baptism date! December 11th!!!!!!!!! We are so excited. She really has a desire to be baptized but also said she has a lot of doubts. We had her kneel down and pray with us and ask Heavenly Father what he thinks she needs to do. We read Alma 34:26-27 where it talks about faith isn't a perfect knowledge and if you have a desire to believe, let that work in you. She is doing great. She also is sharing the gospel with her brother and he wants to meet with us pretty soon. We gave her a Book of Mormon to give to him and wrote our testimonies in it. So we are really excited about all of that. The Lord is working miracles among us. She has a really big desire to be baptized but she's scared that she doesn't know for sure that the church is true. We are going to help her focus on what she feels rather than her doubts she has in her mind. She's an amazing girl and a good example that we all can learn from I think. She reads the scriptures at least 2 times a day and more if possible. She has explained a lot to her brother and now they are having a race to see who can read the Book of Mormon faster. The Lord is working miracles here in Chely! Elder Z will be going to Ekat I will miss him a lot we had a great time together. My new Companion I am kind of nervous about to be honest. He is from the same town as Elder Z. And doesn't speak English at all. so my Russian will improve a lot faster than it already is. The language is coming along alright. It will get better though. I hope all is okay. I know with the help of the Lord all is possible. We had 50 people on Sacrament Meeting yesterday so the branch is doing good! I love Chely! really I do. The bus trips are finally done!! They were so tiring. But I did learn something that we could still reach the standard of excellence even when we are more tired than we ever have been on our missions. I love my mission it is awesome! thank everyone for their letters.
well I love you lots.
Carson

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sent: Monday, November 15, 2010 1:13 AM
Subject: Privet:):) 11/14/2010


Dear Family,
The work is going really good. A~ is really excited about the gospel he loved the Plan of Salvation and already believes it. He is reading the Book of Mormon and says if he doesn't understand it he re-reads it until he does. He is a great investigator. He gave Elder Z and I a really good compliment after the lesson. He asked how long we had been together and we said 3 months then he told us that it seems like we have been together for a long time because we are really unified. It was good to hear that. We have been trying to be more unified and that's one of our goals so it was really nice to receive a compliment that proves we have improved a little bit. We still have a lot to improve on but its nice to know we are improving and people are noticing that. Our other investigator is still progressing really well. She came to church again for the second time in a row. She told us about her answer that she received from God about the Book of Mormon. She says she is scared to receive an answer and that its really hard for her right now because she has grown up in the Orthodox Church and this will be a really big change for her. She said she knows the church is a special church and agrees with a lot of the teachings of it.
We are doing F.H.E at a members house tonight and she will be there. It will be awesome we are going to talk to her about baptism this week. She's a great investigator and will be baptized. A can't be baptized this week because he didn't come to church but we have two lessons with him this week and we will get him baptized in the coming month.
Its awesome to hear about the missionaries at home they are so right! help them out! The members here are good they actually do give us a lot of referrals. So its nice most of our investigators are from referrals. Its nice because they already have a friend in the church when they come to the meetings. There are kids here just in our branch,there are very few two little boys and 3 little girls. Very cute but that's just not enough ya know. haha. The other branch here has a lot of kids like 8 or so just the church is really small here and families are small. It will get better though. We have the only two young men in the city in our branch. They are good boys. Just small branch. the City is HUGE! there are kids everywhere in the city just none at church.

Yes mom, I am still losing weight but its okay. I am staying healthy I promise. Thanks for the spiritual thoughts and encouragement I love you guys lots
Love Elder Buxton