Elder Buxton at the Kyiv Temple while on a visa trip

Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31,2011

Happy New Year!!!
First I want to thank all of you who wished me a happy birthday. I can feel your love and support and I hope you know and feel of my love and support as well. This week was another great week for me. We went to Ufa to have a zone conference there. It was so spiritual again. Each time right after the movie "17 miracles" we have had a testimony meeting and each time the spirit was so strong as the missionaries bore their testimonies. I will never forget the feelings that I had. Each time there was no other place on earth that I would have rather been, than sitting here in Russia over the holidays feeling the perfect love of God. I was also able to spend some good time with my boy Elder Aiken it was a real treat to see him. So funny thing you should mention the lack of toilet paper last year haha. It just so happens that this year I am living with Elder Khurdakormov again (because we live with the office elders) and I walked out of the bathroom the other day which has a plentiful supply of toilet paper and said "Looks like we'll have plenty of toilet paper this year Elder Khurdakormov." haha Elder Parson and Elison started laughing really hard and asked about the story. It was great. So that has been one of our topics floating around the apartment and Elder Elison said he was even going to write home about it. It's just funny that you would mention it mom haha.

So for my Birthday we will be semi-locked up. It's hard to believe that I am 21. I really sometimes feel like a 19 year old boy still. I know that I have changed but it's just wild. It seems that time is going by so fast it almost seems like it's standing still. I hope that makes sense. :) We will be inside for the first half of the day and then we need to go grocery shopping. Then we will hit up McDonald's together to celebrate. This week will be another busy one. We are heading up to Perm (the only city in the mission that I haven't been to yet) for a few days to do a district conference or something of that sort. Our schedule starts today that we need to be inside by 4 o'clock. Then we do get to go to church tomorrow for one hour at 12 by taxi then come back home and spend the rest of the new year in the apartment. Elder Parson and I were talking about new year resolutions this morning and I think that I am going to come up with some great ones. So as you know most of this year will not be on my mission but I want to continue scripture study habits and prayer each day. I will also read Jesus the Christ and I also want to set a high GPA goal. Yes, I'm a little more responsible than I was when I was 19, I guess. And of course be diligent in seeking for a beautiful daughter of zion. ;) haha That's just some of my goals for home. I have many more for both on the mish and for home. I really love being here. It's great learning from other missionaries and from President and Sister Rust. Like you said Gods plan is perfect! I know that I can choose happiness in the hardest of situations. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and doeth nothing save it be for the benifit of his children. I love it here. This week is Elder Zhdanov's last one. It's crazy to think. He passes on his love to you all. I will be able to send him off at the airport though. I'll pass on your love as well. I did get Wrandi's package but not yours yet. Thank you so much Wrandi your the best! Great gifts. I hope you all have a Happy New Year!!! Take care and God bless you everyone. :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26, 2011

Wow, what a great Christmas this one was. The week started off great and Elder Parson and I decided that we needed to do a Dan Jones. (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's when we stand up in the front of the bus and talk & share testimony to the whole bus) It was quite the experience. We didn't see any immediate investigator results from it, but who knows? It might happen. But what it did do is cast out the fear factor. After talking to a whole bus about the plan of salvation, it's a lot easier to chat with one person on the street. Also this week was the most powerful zone conference I have ever had! It was all about the true meaning of Christmas and how we can continue to keep Christ in our lives. Sister Rust shared 10 things that we can do to keep Christ in Christmas and that is what prompted the bus singing I told you about. The Office Elders and us decided that it would be a good idea to sing to the bus and try to warm some hearts rather than just preach to the bus so we tried it out. Christmas-eve morning we practiced singing together. Then we went to the Christmas program at the church and on the way we started singing. It was a great experience and the people really enjoyed it. So many people were smiling and just happy. A lot of them expressed gratitude and we were able to hand them all invitations as they left the bus. It was a great experience and we are planning on doing it again today. Also at zone class our gift for Christmas was that we got to watch 17 Miracles. Wow, that is such an amazing movie and it brought the spirit so strongly. It brought me to tears to see the struggles that the Saints went through to get to Utah. It really brought the spirit in for testimonies and a spirit of love and peace was felt by all who were in attendance. It was a feeling that I will never forget. I made sure to write all my feelings down in my journal and realized that I need to do more of that as well.

It was so great to call you yesterday! haha I realized I told you the wrong time when I heard Jamie or Wrandi in the back round say "I thought he said he was calling tomorrow." in a panicked voice. Because it really was tomorrow for me I was just about to go to bed when I called and told you what time. So in my head it all made sense that I would call tomorrow. So I went to bed got up and called you guys. It was a great phone call and I was so happy to see you all there. Cohen and Avery were probably my favorite though I'm not going to lie. I loved it when Cohen would get that mischievous look on his face and then pull the camera down. haha Avery is just a little angel. She is such a happy girl I was glad to see her a little more this time because last time she was really small and I didn't see much of her. Those two have already grown so much. I wonder if Cohen even thinks I'm a real person or even realizes that I will be home someday. I also wanted to thank you so much for the gifts that you sent. Jamie's present was really maybe the best gift I have ever received. It brought tears to my eyes to read the testimonies of my loved ones. I felt of your love in each and every letter. Thank you so much to all those who wrote. I love you soooo much.

The trip to Chelyabinsk was great! We were really busy. We really just showed up to church that morning, went to sacrament meeting and then translated interviews for President the other two hours of church and then left. It was great to see all the people that I know and love there. Nastia is going on a mission and her papers are being sent in this week! That is just so humbling and great to see her go on a mission. This Saturday will be her year mark and she already has her mission papers in! Wow, its so great. She will be a great missionary. I also got to meet her brother Vitally finally. He is a great kid and that will be great to see him go on a mission as well.

So this week I will write on Saturday here around 2:20 p.m our time. So I will let you do your own math this time because we saw what happens when I try haha. So just let everyone know to write me before that time. It's because we are having in days that weekend. Russia also pretty much shuts down for 2 weeks for the new years and no places will be open to do Internet. I love you all so much. I hope you had a Merry Christmas.
Tell Ina and Paul thank you soo much. There are so many angels in the world that love me. Pass my love on to them. Thank you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wow, this week has been so great! I love this time of year so much! You can't help but think about the family and the roll that they play in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I just want to thank all my family and friends for being sooo supportive and loving. I love you all and hope you have a very Merry Christmas!! And congrats to Wrandi and Tyson on the wedding!
So I have really enjoyed my time in Ekat so far. Responsibilities are different as an assistant but I have really enjoyed it a lot so far. President Rust is a great man and a great example and so is Sister Rust! They are both so loving and caring. We do spend quite a bit of time with President helping him train and help the missionaries. Usually we get to do some teaching when new missionaries come into the country, when we have zone conferences, and other situations like that. We also do a lot of translating. However our most important goal is still to find, teach and baptize. I love my new comp Elder P~. He is a great guy and I'm looking forward to serving with him. This week we had a really great experience. After taking the new missionaries to the office we had to order a taxi. The driver was such a great man. His name is A~ and he said that he has been struggling lately in life, feels down on himself and gets depressed from time to time. I was able to share with him the happiness of our message and how it really helps to know the plan of salvation. I told him that one reason why I am so happy is because I know where I came from, why I'm here and where I'm going after this life. He got really interested and we talked about life the rest of the way to President's house and then set up a meeting for Saturday night. We met with him in a cafe and it was an amazing meeting. He is such a sincere man. We were able to relate to him really well and explain how the gospel will help him. It was one of the most spiritual meetings on my mission and by far the best in a cafe that I have ever had. We knew that he needed to feel God's love and I know that we all felt it really strongly on that meeting. One question that he kept asking really stuck out to me a lot. Even though I have been asked this question many times. He kept asking why we are here, then when we would explain he would say yeah that make sense but how does that help you? We told him that it brings us happiness and joy and tried to explain it as best as we could. After the meeting I pondered that question really deeply and it just so happens that I have been studying the plan of salvation and how it is evidence of God's love for us. So to try to help myself understand a little more I asked myself the question similar to A~'s: Why does God want us to return to him, and what does he get from that? I mean because when we think about it He really doesn't receive anything. He is already all knowing, and all powerful and has all characteristics that we are striving to get. However one of those characteristics is an all perfect love for us. That's why he created the plan for us because we are literally his children. Just like earthly parents make sacrifices for their own children and lose a lot of material things in doing so, they get joy in seeing their children make correct choices and in seeing their children succeed and find joy and happiness. God sent his First Born Son here to earth to atone for each and everyone of us. They did that all because of love. I realized that this is why I do missionary work is because of love for God and for my fellow man. It's such a rewarding feeling to see someone change their life. I love my mission its been so great. It was great to see the change in A~'s countenance after our meeting and we are excited to meet with him on Wednesday. That story sounds a lot better in my head and in my study journal but I hope that it helped you too. So we are going to be pretty busy this week and I don't know when we are going to call but I'll call you and let you know when, if that's okay. I'm so excited. I love you lots. Take care.
Elder Buxton

Monday, December 12, 2011


Ahh, I'm so glad that you got the package. I know for a fact that I sent Wrandi a secret email about the package but she's just too twitterpated to even pay any attention to me ;) I told her about the package because I wanted you to be surprised.:) I didn't have time to write a note in there. I'm sorry, I just had to get it sent off.
So this week Elder A~ and I went to leadership training in Ekat on Tuesday. Then he went on his visa trip on Wednesday while I was at zone leader council. I was able to stay the night with Elder Z. We then got news that Elder A had problems on his visa trip and had to stay in Helsinki for a few more days. So that made me stuck in Ekat with Elder Smith :) (who I served with) and Elder Young. I did get both of my packages and they were perfect! Thank you so much. The cds are awesome. I love Alex Boye! So Elder A arrived back to Ekat Saturday morning. We got on the 16 hour train ride that night back to Ufa and arrived Sunday morning to make it back to church. So my last week in Ufa, we spent in Ekat. So yeah I did get transferred and I'm going to miss the people here so much. Plus this area is really catching on fire again with E~ and Z~ and also a miracle! S~ who I wrote about last year that Elder Ray and I contacted on the street. He came to church a couple times. He came back to church a few weeks ago and also yesterday and the missionaries are working with him now. He is a golden investigator. He is a very successful man and so humble and teachable. Yesterday he stayed for all three hours and really enjoyed it. It's just a testimony to me that no effort is wasted. We contacted him over a year ago. I didn't know if anything would come from it but now he is a progressing investigator and giving the missionaries lots of referrals. I really love Ufa so much! It's my second home for sure. Some good news though, I will be able to visit from time to time when President comes to town. I will be serving with Elder Parson as an assistant to the president. We are able to travel around with President Rust and help him teach and train. So I will be able to see the people that I love from time to time. Not that often but it is a little easier to say goodbye that way. I'm really excited for the opportunity to serve with Elder P~ and to serve around President. I'm going to miss Elder A~ though. We really got along well and worked hard together. I learned so much from him just on the outlook on life. He is a great example and will be training a new missionary in his 3rd transfer in the country. Wild right?

So the Sabbath was wonderful! E~'s family came again and it was great to see the ward fellowship them. We also had a really great meeting with A~ who is one of my favorite people in Russia yesterday. He is trying to quit smoking and has such a great desire to do so. He is working on it a little at a time. He is reading the Book of Mormon everyday and praying as well. He is down to 18 cigs a day from 66 cigs a day! Can you believe that?! He is such a champion! We read Alma's story in Mosiah 24 where the Lord doesn't take their burdens away but blesses them with strength that they may carry their burdens with ease. He is such a humble guy and I want him to be able to quit so bad. Tonight we will be having a family home evening with a lot of the members and Z~. Other investigators should be coming so that will be a good opportunity to get members and investigators mingling. Things are going really great. The Jensen's wanted me to pass on their love to you as well. I'm really going to miss them too. They are a great couple and great examples. You could say that they are like another set of parents. I love them so much.

So unfortunately I wont be able to call for Wrandi's wedding but I will be able to call for Christmas. On Christmas day here we will be able to Skype. So give me a lot of times that would work for you because there are a lot of missionaries in Ekat. We'll all have to work around each others schedules and stuff. So give me a wide range of when I am able to call you. I'm so excited it will be great to see you guys. I love you all so much!
PS The kids look so cute. They are in my prayers. Hagen is hardly recognizable! So big now. Give them my love!

Note to Jamie & Nate
I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know how much I love you guys. You are the best examples to me and I want you to know that. I want my family to be like yours, happy and Gospel Centered. You are the perfect examples of that. Thank you so much. I wish you happiness in the Christmas season. A time to reflect about our Savior and all He has done and given to us. I am so thankful for my family. I love you guys so much. I love you and look up to you. Have such a Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5, 2011

You asked about Christmas celebrations, unfortunately in Russia, Christmas is not that big of a deal. Their big holiday is New Year's. That's when the whole country celebrates. They pretty much take work off for two weeks. However, the members do celebrate and are putting on a Christmas program that they are so excited for. They have been practicing for a while already. It will be awesome. :) This week we didn't get to go caroling because it was the elections here in Russia. We weren't allowed to be on the street unless we had a meeting that we were going to. This week was a good one though. It was full of business stuff that we had to do but educational non the less. We went around on Thursday with Doctor and Sister Hatch (the med couple in Moscow) and checked out medical facilities here in Ufa. Elder Decker and I went and helped translate for them. It was quite interesting and informational. Sometimes we have to do things that don't really seem like "missionary work" but really once you think about it, that's what missionary work is, helping people out and doing things that need to be taken care of. This mission has been the best thing for my life and for me. Its been tough but I have learned a lot about myself and have had my eyes open to the world and how beautiful God's creations are. I try to view everyone as a Child of God because that's what we are. In the world there is a lot of bad that goes on. I see how satan tries to make people feel trapped and terrible about themselves but I know that there is one way to return to heaven and that is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If we allow him to heal us, all pain, all doubt, all heartache, all struggles, and all misfortunes can be made right through Christ. I know this:) We did have a week full of miracles as well. President and the Assistants came down to Ufa and did some amazing training on Sunday. It was very enlightening. Also the S~'s came to church again. E~'s family and that was a miracle. Z~ is also doing very well but got sick this weekend.

This week will be pretty crazy because we will be in Ekat from Tuesday to Friday. It's very possible that this is my last week in Ufa since I have been here for so long. But it's also possible that I stay. It will be hard to go if I do. I have some great relationships here with investigators and members. I will let you know if I get my packages when I go to Ekat. I can't think of anything that I need really. I love you so much. I feel of your love everyday and I love each package you send no matter whats in it. It's perfect. :) I love you all so much. Sorry this letter was short. I just didn't have much time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011

In front of a memorial to the soldiers killed in the Russian/Af​ghanistan War fought in the 80's. The statue is of a weeping mother and it is very sad. The names of all of the soldiers from Ufa who died in the war are on stone tablets around the plaza.

Thanksgiving Feast at Elder & Sister Jensens's:)

So this week was an exciting one and Thanksgiving was amazing. I owe the Jensen's so much they do so much for us missionaries here. They are such great examples of dedication and genuine love. We had a great dinner and all went around the table and shared things we were thankful for. It was great to sit and reflect on families and the gospel and how many blessing the mission and everything has brought into my life. I know without a doubt that this is where true happiness can be found and true peace.
I do agree its crazy how fast time has flown. It really does seem like yesterday that I walked into the MTC thinking that I was a man and knew it all. haha Well it didn't take long to figure that out. Luckily the MTC put me to work right away. I think I was too shocked to even know what was going on so I didn't cry. (Which builds my testimony in the Preach my Gospel statement that "the key to missionary work is work. Work, work, work." Really as soon as you just work your not homesick and you realize your purpose on a mission and in life, which is to invite others to come unto Christ.) I will say that your story did bring tears to my eyes today. I have grown into a baby on the mission haha. Thank you so much for the kind words and the memories. I agree that the mission has been amazing and will continue to be amazing. The longer I serve the more I realize that God's plan is perfect and that everything happens for a reason. We just need to trust in the Lord and in his word. I have found so much strength in the scriptures this past week. It has strengthened my testimony that the scriptures really do bring peace to the soul.
My favorite part of this week was a huge miracle. A member has been having a hard time lately as well. We were able to go over to her house last week and give her a lesson. She told us that she she has been having a lot of doubts and didn't really want to come to church. But wouldn't tell us what her doubts were, it was visible in her countenance and her face. Her eyes were dark and not the normal warm welcoming face she usually has. In the lesson a sister said the spirit is prompting me to tell you something and I'm going to be really forward with you. ( I was a little nervous to translate ;) ) She then talked about the importance of a temple marriage and how it's better to be alone than to get married to someone who would bring you down and not be able to take her to the temple. After the meeting the sister asked us if we thought she was too harsh and was quite worried about it. We assured her that if the Spirit told her to say it then it was the right thing to say. That she had nothing to worry about. Later that night the member called us and thanked us so much for the meeting and said that everything was good now and she had no doubts. We went back last Monday for FHE and she shared with us the story of when Sister ~ talked about temple marriage is when her compass turned immediately back on course. She had been in the temple for the first time not to long ago. And when Sister ~ said those words she thought to herself how could you forget the plan of your Heavenly Father. How could you think of marriage and not think to expect it to be in the temple? She shared with us that she had made the decision to go inactive and it wasn't even scary to her. She then said the words of Sister ~ put her right back on the path and she understood that she had no doubts any more. When she shared that, we all had tears in our eyes and gained such strong testimony of the importance of following the promptings of the spirit. It was amazing. I don't know if I did the story justice writing it down but I will remember it for life.
I love missionary work. Z~ is doing well and accepted a baptism date for the 24th of Dec. If she knows it's true by then. E~ is doing really well. We did move his date to later in the month.
I still haven't gotten my package yet but we'll see what happens. I did get Alex's email and started writing him back last week but ran out of time. Tell him I love him:) Maybe I'll get it off today but idk I don't have much time. I love you so much. Thanks for everything.
Much love

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21 ,2011

PRIVET!!!! Happy Thanksgiving! :)
So this week I went to Latvia. Weird right?! But Elder C and I were there for just a short time. He is a new missionary in my zone and he is great. It's not allowed to leave the country twice on one visa so Elder Aiken couldn't come with me. Fortunately it also didn't change my coming home date. President said that I should be able to get 60 days on my last visa. Things in Ufa are amazing! I really love this place sooo much. Right now we are kind of having some rough times because it's been a few months since we've had a baptism. But other miracles are happening and there are a few golden investigators that are so close. We do have a baptismal date with ~~~ for the 2nd of Dec. But we are thinking that we are going to have to push that back a week or two because it has been hard to get meetings again this week. But he will be baptised for sure. :) Also the Elders have a really great investigator ~~~ is his name (African) He is also going to be baptised soon. We have a lot of potential going on here but just like all areas they have their ups and their downs. Satan can't stop this work from progressing, that's for sure. We did see a lot of success from the singing last week. We had a lot of church commitments but the weather was really bad. It was like a blizzard before church. So none of them came but they will and it gave the whole zone a lot of potential investigators. We actually did it again yesterday. It was just as successful. We also had members with us and an investigator who is one of the most Christ like people I have ever met. We had some really good meetings with ~~~ this week.
She came to church and really enjoyed it. She is sooo close but yet so far away. She knows the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet but doesn't quite understand yet that after you know, that everything else falls into place. She's great though and we love her, but it is frustrating sometimes haha. ~~~ and ~~~ are also doing well. They have read quite a bit of trash on the net but we know the Spirit will work with them. They will come around as well. We also have been teaching the power of the Book of Mormon and reading it daily. We read "None were with Him" by Elder Holland and testified of Christ. Reading the Book of Mormon everyday gives strength:) Also, yes, I did know about Vitally's baptism but not the details thank you sooo much that's so awesome!!
Sound like all is going well with the fam and with the Wedding plans. :) I pray for you all everyday. Cohen and Avery sound so cute I love them so much. Give everyone my love.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

This week was a great week. We went to Ekat and had a great zone leaders conference and then we flew into Finland. Unfortunately, my new visa doesn't start until the 19th in my second passport and it was supposed to start on the 9th so that was a problem! Fortunately, my old visa doesn't end until the 20th in my 1st passport and I am able to re-enter the country 1 time on that visa so I was able to return to Russia and not have to wait in Finland for 10 days... that would have been wild. So that means that this weekend I will have to leave again. I could either be going to Kiev or Helsinki I don't know yet. So that was a big uh-oh that cost quite a bit of mullah. But it was great to attend the temple. Elder Aiken is not in my visa group but he did come with me because I was the only Elder and I needed a companion. :) So no not everything went smooth haha.
E~ is doing great we were able to have a few good meetings with him this week and get him prepared for baptism. His whole family are members but are less active returning to activity. They are the ones I was talking about that read the Book of Mormon everyday. He has one sister and then there is just his mom and dad. They are such great people. I~ and R~ are doing really well. We weren't able to meet with them because we were gone and then they were. But we talked on the phone and they are excited to meet again and have been reading the Book of Mormon. :) We also saw some good progress with Z~. Elder Aiken and I had some revelatory experiences while pondering how we can help her. We knew that we needed to read in 3 Nephi 19, where Jesus prays and the words couldn't be written or uttered or explained by mouth but that they were felt in the heart. We talked about how the church is impossible to understand logically but what is most important is what we feel in our hearts. We were both able to share personal experiences of feeling it in our hearts and how really that is the only way that we know the church is true is through the Holy Ghost. I can't explain it very well but it was such a good experience. She agreed and almost accepted a baptism date, so hopefully soon. :) Yesterday we had such an awesome day!!! We as a zone are stressing to find new investigators and we went outside last night and stood by one of the main bus stops and sang together as a zone (kind of caroling I guess you could say) and it was a huge success. We talked with a lot of people and were able to hand out a lot of invitations. We got quite a few numbers and they are all pretty solid contacts. It was definitely the most successful two hours of contacting that I've ever seen. It was really cold outside and we were singing in the snow but it was such a great experience to try to raise our voices to Ufa. The spirit kept us warm and hopefully warmed the hearts of the listeners. :)
That's really cool to hear the story of going to higher ground that is awesome. haha Cohen is hilarious. Wrandi said that Avery is one of the cutest things in the world. I can't wait to meet her. She sounds like such a happy little baby. Jamie is blessed with great kids. I have such a great family. Oh yeah also I hope that this mistake with my visa doesn't affect my coming home date! I don't want to come home any earlier. :( So pray that everything will be alright. For some reason mine and elder Z's package hasn't arrive yet. :( They should have already been there. Maybe they aren't coming. :( I hope so though. Really it's the thought that counts and contacts is the only thing I need. I can just use glasses if needed so life is still great!!! :) I agree the Jensen's are awesome and its funny that you should mention that you see them pop up on skype, (even if you are being weird and exercising with Candace through skype? what the? ha ha) because sister Jensen always mentions you and says that when you are on she wants to call you so bad. So maybe one day she'll give you a call. haha. They are so great. I love you all so much Thanks for your support and love. You are the best family and friends in the world.
From Russia with love,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

11.7.11 pics

Waiting for the Harvest Party to start.Singing with the other missionaries

November 7, 2011

Privet Snova!
Wow, this week was a great week. First off E~ is going to be baptised the 2nd of December and we are so excited. He is great and their family is such a great family. Elder A Smith and I worked with them quite a bit but it was hard to get in with them because of the dad's work schedule. Finally, 4 months later or more, we got in again and they have such a great countenance and are the nicest people in the world. They read the Book of Mormon everyday and pray together too. You can see a real happiness and closeness in their family. Also they came to the first area conference in Russia!!! It was kind of a bummer, through out the whole area there was a problem and they started the conference in Salt Lake 1 hour early. So we had to watch the second half in the morning at 11. Then the next session was at 2 and a lot of people weren't able to stay for the whole thing. But it was such a great experience and I felt it was especially for this area. The speakers were Elder Clayton, Sister Thompson, Elder Oaks and President Uchtdorf. They talked so much about marriage and families and what we need to do to have a happy,strong, Christ centered home. They talked a lot about scripture study and I thought about all the times that we read as a family even when it wasn't convenient or if I didn't want to. I have thought about that numerous times on my mission and know that that is a major reason of why I am here and have the testimony that I have is thanks to family scripture study. There is strength in a home that reads the scriptures together. I have noticed it so many times on my mission. In a home that reads the scriptures there may still be problems and a few disagreements but in that home will be a peace that wouldn't be there otherwise. I didn't realize this fact until I came on my mission. But you really can feel a special spirit in a Christ centered home. Also yesterday we had an amazing meeting with two new investigators. R~ is a young man that the sisters talked to in KFC after the swan lake ballet. They had a meeting with him and found out that he is in our area. We had a pass over meeting yesterday. He brought his buddy I~ and he was super prepared. He is Buddhist and has been on a life long spiritual search. It was interesting to find out how similar Buddhism is to our church for one thing, but he is so amazing. He asked such great questions and you can tell that he was so sincere. For example he asked who is God? What is happiness? What is the purpose of life? What is prayer? Where are we going? Where did we come from? Just amazing great questions. There are to many to write down here. Before we even invited him to be baptised, he himself said "Before I decide if I'm going to become a Mormon I would like to study this Book out and meet with you and find out for myself if its true." Golden right?! It was such great experience and really strengthened my own testimony. I realize how lucky I am to know the answers to those wonderful questions that he asked. He also shared good insights with us that his purpose in life is to serve others and help other people and go about doing good. He is Buddhist but believes in Christ and loves Christ's example. He said that we need to be like Christ. It was such an amazing meeting and we are excited to be able to continue meeting with him. "Angels are preparing the hearts of the children of men." A~ the African is doing well. We didn't get in to meet yet because he was really busy but we will. Z~ is doing really well and reading in the Book of Mormon often. She is still struggling with the anti stuff but the Book of Mormon is softening her heart. She is great. That was really cool to hear about V~! Thanks so much. It reminds me so much of our experience with N~ how we tried and tried to work with her and how satan just kept working so hard on her as he is doing with V~ right now. If you remember, a few baptism dates fell through with her last minute too. It was an emotional roller coaster for sure. But now look at N~! She is going on a mission soon and is such a strong member. I think satan knows how wonderful that family is. He doesn't want them in the church. I know that her Dad is a great man just by meeting N~. She had been taught moral principles and lived just like we do. She read the Bible a few times a day and was a great example of how every Christian should act. I know that the Lord has big plans for that family and through N~ and V~ they will come into the gospel. Such great people. Thanks so much for sharing that with me. I love the gospel and love how happy it makes me. I promise never to lose the light! I have found true happiness and love here in the gospel. No matter what happens, I know that life will be okay if I continue to live by the gospel. I really enjoyed those quotes that you sent thanks so much.

Elder Aiken and I will be heading to Ekat tomorrow and then to Finland on Wednesday. It is super cold here minus 20. We are going to buy some good winter things. We will get our packages in Ekat if they are there and then I will let you know. Today I tried to take money from the credit card but it would only let me take it from the debit? is there a problem? Thanks so much. I love you all.
Elder Buxton

HAHAHAHAHHAHA Jessie looks like a real girl!! Oh my gosh that's hilarious. Tell Candy Cane thanks so much for her letter. I really do appreciate her so much. Life really is so great and she is blessed with two cute little kids. I love them all so much. Everything will be okay. We have the gospel and that's what makes us happy. Truly Happy :)

Monday, October 31, 2011


This week was a great week as always. One of our investigators is doing alright still progressing but the anti literature that she had been reading, she just cant get out of her head. She is great and we love her a lot but its frustrating because the stuff she brings up isn't even true. So it's kind of frustrating but she'll come around she knows the Book of Mormon is true. Thanks for reminding me about that story in the Liahona. I'll def check that out again. She's great and she'll come around. Yesterday we had 3 investigators at church and that was great! One is A~ an African that is such stud. I knew a little bit about him from last year. He had moved back to Nigeria but just moved back to Ufa again and got his life back in order. He said he wanted to come to church. He gave us his new number and address and we will meet with him this week. It will be a great opportunity to teach in English for us all. Also this great man named A~ who comes to English club I cant remember if I told you about him last week but his sisters sister in law touched a power cable and 75 percent of her body is burned. She had 5 kids so he was really worried about her and called up the Jensen's. He asked if he could come over and talk to us. He told us the story and told us that when it happened the first thought that came to his head was us and the power of our prayers. Well all the missionaries fasted for her this week and the Jensen's invited him to fast with us and come to church and he did. He is such a great man so Christlike. He helped us shovel the snow when he came to church and is always looking to serve. Also a young couple that I wrote about awhile back (that had seen Elder A~ Smith and I on the bus and saw the light in our lives. They had the desire to come to the church when they saw the bus stop that we got off on.) Well, anyways the husband came to church yesterday for priesthood and told us that he had been really busy but he wants to meet and come to church. He is having a lot of problems at work that I wont go into detail about. They are really promising. She is also going to have a child in 3 weeks or so. So we have a lot of good things going on here and a lot of potential stuff as well. :) The Lord is blessing us so much.

Big congrats to Jamo!! Bolivia, that's awesome. Give him all my love and support. So what is he going to speak? Also I became an uncle again that's the best news in the world. Life can't get much better. I would like pictures of my little hazel nut though ;) Tell Sierra and Ryan congrats. Give all their cute little girls my love as well. Also I got news that Elder Aiken and I will be together in Ufa again :) I have served 9 months of my mission in this city and love it so much and the wonderful saints that are here as well. Definitely is my second home and I love it so much. Such a pretty city full of great people. That's kind of a bummer about V~, but I'm glad that he is getting close to baptism. That will be such a support to that family and will help N~ out so much as well. Angels are preparing the hearts of the children of men. :) The mission is the best. I love it.

That's a little bummer about Gpa and Gma. I was so excited but I know that everything happens for a reason. That's our motto with Elder Aiken and I because we have seen soo many things happen that for sure just didn't happen for no reason. We know that God's plan is perfect and that he knows what's best for us always. Wherever you serve Grams and Gramps will be the place that the Lord needs you. I have such a strong testimony of that. The Lord knows what he is doing. That's what I am learning and striving to learn more on my mission. To have 100 percent trust in the Lord and be still and know that his plan is perfect. Of course that would have been fun to see them here though. :) Thanks for the desire to serve. We need more Sr couples.
Thanks so much. I love each and everyone of you people back home. Stay close to the Lord. :)
Elder Buxton

Monday, October 24, 2011

This week was a great week full of miracles as always. Elder Aiken and I have seen lots of miracles lately from speaking with everyone. There was a young couple that either us or someone else had talked to on the street awhile back, because they called us and asked about English club and then came. After English club they stayed for the spiritual thought and liked it and wanted to come to church on Sunday! Unfortunately they didn't come but they are very promising because they called us and told us that they weren't going to be able to make it that Sunday but wanted to come the next. We are hoping and praying for them. We have a ton of potential new investigators that are way promising right now and are seeing many miracles. Also a less active that we have been able to build a great relationship with returned to church yesterday and is planning on coming again. He is great. It was great to see the support of the branch and they even gave him some responsibility to help prepare the sacrament next week and he was excited about that. We had some of the best meetings with Z~ this week. She is really progressing and I think that her baptism is getting closer and closer with each meeting. Last night we read 2 Nephi 28 and talked about the great apostasy and the churches of men. She understood really well. Elder Aiken never ceases to amaze me. He is a new missionary and his Russian is amazing but that's not what amazes me. He asks great questions and he really got her thinking last night it was great to see. She shared with us her experience of how she hated the Book of Mormon at first and how she tried to leave it at the church but in that same day the sisters brought her a new one. And other situations with trying to reject it but, it just keeps coming back. She talked about how it has added a lot of pieces to puzzle and that she knows that it is true. She talked about how now she has a strong desire to read it and loves to read it. We testified of that desire coming from God and asked her what she thinks the Lord is trying to say to her. Her answer was perfect when she said that he wants her to know that it's true. It was great! I am so thankful to the Lord for blessing us with the Holy Ghost on the lesson. The Jensen's also always help us and have played a big role in her conversion. I know the baptism will be coming around soon. :) Wow that is the best news that I have ever heard about V~ (N~ brother)!!!!!!!!!! When I was there Elder Zhdanov and I wrote our testimonies in the Book of Mormon for N~ to give to him because he was still scared of his father and didn't want to meet with us. Anyways I heard that his Dad found it and ripped it up and threw it away. :( But that is great to hear that N~ is being an example to her family. I know that their dad's heart will soften and that through their great examples that he will to one day hopefully join the church. :) That was great news thank you so much for sharing that with me. I told Elder Zhdanov about that and I'm sure he will be so excited as well. :) Wow so many miracles going on in the mission right now. :) :) :)

Sounds as if you had a great week this last one. I really did appreciate what you and Jamie shared with me. Its always great to hear spiritual experiences and share them with one another. That's how we become closer. Interesting that one topic was the same. Here we had a lesson on missionary work and it was such a great lesson. A~ gave it. He is a recently returned missionary and he talked about how sometimes we as members think that we have told everyone about the church. He talked about how maybe they know everything about the church but that they don't know the church if they don't accept it. He also talked about how the church is just a place. He said we don't convert people to the church but that we convert them to Christ. Because Christ is the reason that we are all here and the reason that we have the church. It was such a great lesson I really enjoyed it. I feel like I didn't do a great job telling you about it but I really enjoyed it.

haha that's funny that sister Jensen sent you pics. She is amazing. I'll tell you what, Sr couples are such a great aspect to the work. I hope and pray that Gma and G pa's health will be good enough to come serve in the office. The office doesn't really require that great of health their apartment is really close and they are at the office a lot. So I hope it works out. That would be cool. :) I didn't get my package yet but no worries. Maybe a frisbee would be cool in a package for sport activities. That's popular and really hard to find here but whatever you want to send will be great! Thanks, I love you all lots. Thanks for your support, love and council. I love you all
Elder Buxton

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pics :)

Elder Buxton with his companion Elder A At the ballet with the wonderful senior couple. They love them very much!
p day footballPday footballThey surprised the Jensen's while they were out and put together a bookcase for them. While there, they hi-jacked the Jensen's camera and took a picture. Surprise:) Preparing lunch for zone conference.It was very chilly, only 35 degrees.Elder Smith, Buxton, and Zhdanov

Monday, October 17, 2011

Privet Privet Privet!!!!
So this week was super busy but really great as well. We started off by heading up to Ekat on a train ride on Monday. We had zone leader council Tuesday and then training for trainers and trainees on Wednesday. Then we hopped back on the train and arrived in Ufa, Thursday haha. So we just had a little time in our area but it was miraculous of course. When we arrived Thursday, S~ called us and had a man that she wanted us to meet with. Referrals are always the best. It went really well and it was great to hear her testimony on the meeting. His name is K~. He said that he is just a little skeptical toward religion but it was great to hear S~ tell her story about how she didn't want to go to the church at all but she decided that she would support her brother and go watch his baptism and then not support his choice at all after that and never go to the church again. She then talked about how when she went there she felt a special spirit and the missionaries asked to meet with her and she was still a little skeptical and decided that she would let them come over once and then tell them that she wasn't interested at all and stop meeting with them. Well, the rest is history. She was baptized 3 weeks later (I was actually here in Ufa last year when it happened) and now she has been to the temple! It was such a great experience to see her excitement as she testified to him and he took a Book of Mormon and is going to read it. Z~ is doing really well and we are working really hard with her. It's a little frustrating because she knows that the Book of Mormon is true and will even say that but is just having a hard time realizing that if the Book of Mormon is true that means the WHOLE THING is true! ahh its frustrating but with time she will come along. She is a great woman and she will be elect when she makes the decision. The co worker didn't come to church but is still really promising he is super nice and we call him from time to time. We have been having success finding lately and the Lord is blessing us so much. I think that it's because Elder Aiken and I are such great friends and because of that we are able to teach in unity and be happy all the time. That really is the key. If you and your comp are best friends then the work just takes off. It's been great. Also we went to the Swan Princess ballet this week so life couldn't be better haha. It was really good actually! I quite enjoyed it.
I am so happy that Cohen and Avery have good parents and I love them so much. Such cute kids. I can't wait to chill with them and what not. No letters have arrived as of late :( and have also not received the package yet. I will be thinking on what the Christmas package should consist of and send some requests. :) I love you lots! I will ask elder Zhdanov what he ment because Russia def has sugar haha. Thats silly. We are allowed to email other missionaries now though so thats really cool! :) Ill find out and let you know. Much love
Elder Buxton

ps Hahahaha So here is what elder zhdanov said about sugar haha

Sugar.... I thought it was a joke, she asked me about sugar and I thought it is funny that she thinks that we don`t have a sugar here)) Sorry!
You know that I love you!!

LOL oh my gosh he is hillarious. I love you lots.

P.s Jessi's letter to me was great! and also ilovemymommylife!!!!!! hahahaha oh my gosh I love Candy Cane. I love her stories. Guess what we need an office couple here and if grandma and grandpa are interested they could come serve here and be here in January. :) That would be really cool. President Rust took their info and is going to call them. Let me know if they are interested that would be really cool. And they can be expecting a call from president.

Dear Mom in Utah:)

Hi, how are you doing? Are you returned home already or you`re still helping with kids?
I had an amazing week. I know that it wasn`t a long time away when I wrote last time. But we really had a miracle.
Last week we met with D~, if you remember he is our miracle a few weeks ago, but he had a concern about going to our branch, and we didn`t know what we can do for him that he would find a desire to go with us. And last week we met with him, and we helped him to feel our love, and we helped him to feel that he can change lives of other people, by his service. And that why God wants him to live in the boundaries of our branch. Because He has something great for him. And he said that he will try. So he came on Sunday and stayed for all three hours. It was an amazing experience for him, I saw how members helped him to feel welcome at our branch. And I`m pretty sure that he felt good there, `cause I saw his excitement about everything.
And next step for him it is baptism, and we are going to help him with that on next week. He has a very strong desire to be baptized.
So we will have a baptism next Saturday. It is Great!!
It`s just increased my testimony. I know that if we don`t understand something, if we just will give a chance, and will try it. We will see all results and all good fruit the Gospel will bring in our lives. It is so simple, if we want to know what is salt taste like, we have to try it. It is the sane principle with the Gospel.

And by the way, about the sugar. I thought you are joking so I decide to take a part in this joke, It is not true we have a sugar here in Russia. Actually we have plenty of sugar here:)
So don`t worry about that:)

Thanks for everything you do for me, you do really a lot. And I appreciate all you do.
Say thanks to Jamie from me, and that it is good that Cohen likes that book, I thought that this book is funny. I got their e mail and it was a really nice surprise. Tell her that I didn`t read that story, but probably I will read it after I go home. Because I don`t want to be ashamed:) It is my culture, and I don`t know it.

Thank you!!
I love you all,
You`re really nice people,
Say Hi to every one.
Elder Zhdanov.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wow, this was a great week I really did feel bad when I forgot to tell Jamie happy b-day and I even told Elder Aiken to remind me but he is just as forgetful as I am so that didn't help at all. haha. I do appreciate the Jensen's and their help. Her step dad died yesterday and she was feeling really down and broke down in between conference sessions. So Elder Aiken and I took dinner over to them and ate together. They were extremely grateful. It was nice to be able to help them out because of the times that they have helped me out. I really did love conference soo much! We watched it at the church in a class room. Some African investigators of the other elders watched a few sessions with us. They do split it into two days, just the same way it is at home. It was full of the spirit. I really enjoyed Elder Hales talk. It was good to hear him again. It was just like straight testimony and so powerful. I also really enjoyed Uchtdorf's talk as always. Wow they are all so good. Sister Dalton's was amazing! Wow I got a lot of revelation during that talk and it is so correct. The family is so important and it all starts with how the father leads the family. A fathers example is so important. Honestly, I cant wait to love my wife and my future children so much and have them all be my best friends. I have gained such a love for family here on the mission. I really enjoyed that talk. Priesthood session was the bomb diggity. Elder Hollands talk was so powerful and straight forward. He is so right. Also Elder Bennett was just here in Ufa at our zone conference, so that was really cool to see him there because I just hugged him a few weeks ago. :) haha
So the work here in Ufa is going so well. This week was a busy and pretty crazy one but it was full of tender mercies from the Lord as well. Elder Aiken and I are still trying to talk with everyone and the Lord is blessing us because of our efforts. Z~ is doing really well and we have had some of the most spiritual lessons with her this last week. We were a little disappointed that she didn't come to conference yesterday because she promised to come. However, when we called to check up and follow up with her we found out that she was just sick. She had started reading Helaman in the morning and liked it so much that she read the whole book! It was great news. She is progressing quickly. She is a great sister and is preparing for baptism. Also, yesterday a member brought her co-worker to conference and he wanted a blessing on his health. When we explained to him what it was and about the priesthood power he was really interested and we asked him if he believed that it would work. He then answered that he wouldn't have come if he didn't believe it. He is a very believing man and loves to travel. He just got back from a trip to Jerusalem a few weeks ago and loves Jesus Christ. He has a family of six kids so that would be an amazing family to teach! He is going to come to the baptism on Saturday and he enjoyed conference. The Lord really is blessing us. We are really excited to work with him. :) Also there will be a baptism here in Ufa on Saturday. I did the baptism interview with her yesterday and it was so great. Such a humble lady. The work is moving forward here. Angels are preparing the hearts of the children of men!
It does break my heart to hear about people making bad choices because I know how much happiness the gospel can and will bring if we just accept it and live by it. I promise I am still focused I won't let anything bring me down right now I know that's satan's plan and it's not going to work. As said in conference we know the outcome of the battle that satan will lose and that God and Jesus and the saints will triumph over the adversary. I know that this church is true and that by living the gospel is the only true way to happiness. I love you all!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Whats up?

This week was another great one of course. Elder Aiken and I have been going wild and trying to talk to literally everybody. We unfortunately didn't find any new investigators this week but we did see other blessings from our efforts. For example two of our new investigators came to church yesterday a mother and her daughter R~ and K~ and that was a great miracle. Also yesterday we got two referrals in one day. That was great referrals always make a missionaries day :) So if you want to make a missionary happy, give a referral, and I promise you that you will be happy too. :) Our investigator is doing well. We had one of the most spiritual lessons with her this past week. It was an awesome meeting and we found out that she had stopped reading and praying a few days earlier because of some hard times going on in her life and not being able to think of anything but those problems. It was a kind of hostile environment as we sat and listened. Then we asked if we could pray and then we read Mosiah 3 and talked about the atonement of Christ and how thankful we are to have that knowledge that gives us hope in this world. We testified of the Book of Mormon and how it testifies of Christ and how the Book of Mormon and the Bible support each other. The spirit of the meeting took a 180 turn after the prayer and reading in the Book of Mormon. Then we talked about how when we read the scriptures and pray that we can take a rest from the world and think about spiritual things and promised her blessings of the scriptures. It was great and she took the challenge to continue to read and pray through the hard times. We have another meeting with her tonight with the Jensen's so hopefully that goes well. :) We have been blessed in the work. We also have a lot of potential things going on right now. I know that our area is about to bust open.
I am glad that general conference was great as usual. I really can't wait to watch it! It will be this weekend so we are all really excited about it. I'm also way excited about that temple fund because that will mean soo much to the saints here in Russia. They sacrifice so much and its so humbling and I am glad that they will be able to have a better opportunity to attend the temple. :) I have gained such a great testimony of the temple while out here on my mission and a lot of that is thanks to the Russian saints who are such a great example in wanting to go to the temple so much.
Haha I did notice that Big Al rocked the jersey. That's my boy! I'll have to get him a letter soon. I hope I'll have time to email him today. haha so the question was pretty random we were looking at a famous statue of a man on a horse in Ufa. (its on the honey jar i sent you) and they asked if we thought it was a good idea to make a statue of a teacher. We said yeah that sounds great haha. It was pretty random I don't think it was professional at all. Elder A went to Brighton high. He played ball but broke his knee when we was a Jr and couldn't play again after that. I think that I have everything that I need. Just contacts is all I can think of they are out now. I'm on my last pair. Everything is going well. Jamo wrote me this week and it made my day. Tell him I'm proud of him and happy that he is workin on the papers. I'll try to hit him up with a letter too. Much love to all the friends and Fam!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Haha Elder Aiken and I got randomly asked a question in the park. It was weird. But Hilarious. He is really tall by the way.
New companions:)
Fixing lunch for Elder and Sister Jensen:)picture from Sister Jensen.
Right now I am on a spiritual high! Everything in life is just great. Elder A~ is a stud I wanted you all to meet him as well over Skype but we only had 10 mins and I wanted to be obedient. I really enjoyed the phone call and was so happy that Dad looked so happy. That was really important to me. Another tender mercy from the Lord. Cheri does seem very nice and I think that the girls will love her. I enjoyed her. And that really is sweet that she likes the Yanks now we can double team up on Dad. I really am so happy for him and they seemed happy together. Just keep them in your prayers. I have 100 percent trust in in the Lord that everything will work out in the end. I want to thank Jamie and Nate for the journal that they gave me. (speaking of which I need to write more in it.) I have read and re-read their testimonies and quotes in there. They really help out. The Lords plan is perfect and we need to learn to be content with the way he works even if we don't understand why things are happening the way they are. Just be patient. :) I need to listen to my own advice btw so it was good for me to write that. :)

Z~ is doing really well. Satan is working really hard on her but the spirit is bearing witness a little at a time. It's amazing to see the spirit work and work miracles. She has some pretty big concerns and doubts (just a little caught up in the mysteries) but the Spirit works and we have no doubt that the time will soon come for her to make the decision. We have had some really strong spiritual lessons with her lately and Elder A~ busted out the perfect baptismal commitment in perfect Russian. In the end she said she would be baptised when she finds out for herself that these things are true. A~ has been able to help us on meetings and bear powerful testimony as well. He is amazing and she will come around. She has received the witness but its a big change and maybe hard to take at first. She reminds me a lot of N~ and how it took awhile but the conversion was so powerful that she will never forget it. I have only seen N~ once since I served in C~ and that was when I served in E~ so that was awhile ago. However, I am sure as well that she will be a great Mini Missionary and then a great Missionary! Wow, fruits of the gospel. I love it. Someone who I was able to work with will now go on a mission and help others do the same! So cool.

I love the J~'s. They are great and have always been there for me. I respect them so much and they will be life long friends for sure. We already have a dinner appointment when they get back. ;) Also a wood floor project for Dad and I. haha. They are great and really take care of us just like parents would. I love them. I'm gonna miss them if I ever leave Ufa. But I think hopefully I'll be here awhile longer. :) I love Ufa. Make sure to give Elder Z my love. That's hilarious that Sister M said that about our handwriting haha. We are too much alike. Keep me updated on what the missionaries tell you I enjoy it. I love you lots. Make sure to pass my love on to all!
From Russia with love,

Monday, September 19, 2011


So life is so great right now! Elder A~ is a straight up stud! His Russian is amazing. Already he speaks as if he's already been out for 6 months or better. He is from SLC, he's also 6' 4" and he's great!! I love him. We get along super well so it's great. The Lord blessed me with a great trainee. His plan is perfect. We had great training from President Rust last week at his home. Then we took the 16 hour train ride back to Ufa. It was great. I actually really enjoy the train. It's really pretty scenery along the way. We had some immediate success when we arrived back to Ufa on Saturday. We met with one of our contacts and read the last chapter in the Book of Mormon together and talked about how God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We were able to teach to exactly what she needed to hear and there was an outpouring of the spirit. After the meeting we were talking with each other and both had the thought that we needed to share with her "Safety for the Soul" by Jeffrey R Holland, where he talks about the Book of Mormon. We had A~ help us on the meeting and we all bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. Then in the end she also said that she knows that it's true now! It was amazing. Next meeting we are going to give her a baptism date. It's been great to see the spirit work on her a little at a time. The Jensen's are so amazing. Yesterday, Sister Jensen shared with her how she has seen her change and her testimony grow a little at a time. They bore powerful testimony and our contact said that she believes the church is true and can tell it by the great people that are in this church and the sincerity of us all. Her and A~ are becoming great friends ;)They are both amazing people. This week we have great plans coming up to meet with her often. Also to continue to go wild and talk with everybody we can along the way in order to find those the Lord has prepared for us. The Lord is preparing the hearts of the children of men. Tonight we are going to have an FHE testimony/favorite scripture share meeting. Elder A and I are going to challenge the great members to share their testimony with their friends and family and share their joy that it has brought them. Also, we are praying for in the behalf of "those who know not God." We have been seeing so many miracles. This really is the Lords work.
Being a Zone Leader and a Trainer at the same time is actually quite enjoyable. I have a great zone and a great companion who support me and help me out as well. The Lord really is just blessing me I couldn't ask for a better situation. I will say I was a little nervous but I also knew that the Lord would qualify me for it, if that's what I needed to do. He just blessed me with a stud companion and a great zone. The J's are always around as well for support so that's great. I love everything that's going on my life right now.
I am sleeping fine. The beds aren't the greatest but we are going to get new mattress's soon for the both of us. The apartment is fine for a missionary apartment. The Jensen's say to tell you hi and that they love you. They are so great.
I haven't gotten any mail lately so maybe the ship is about to come in. :) haha Wow the kids look so big in all those pics. They all look like they've grown up a little bit. Crazy how big they are. Give them all my love. Thanks!
From Russia with Love!
Elder Buxton
Tell Tyson thanks for the email and that I'm glad that he is busy with classes and life. I am also happy to hear that life stays busy after the mish haha. I think that I'd go crazy if I wasn't running around all the time. The mission is great and I love it. I would like to hit the slow down button as well because it is flying by to fast. I think it's because it's the best time of my life. I don't want it to end.

Tell Candy Cane that her letter was very touching and that I love her so much. Thanks candy cane. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

WOW, this week was amazing to say the least! President Bennett came and did a mission tour. First, we were able to meet him at Zone Leader Council and it was amazing! He is a servant of the Lord no doubt! He is the 2nd councilor in the Area Presidency. Then he came to Ufa and that was the most amazing zone conference of my life. It was a straight up call to repentance. He told us how amazing we are doing but as well how we can become better. He talked about Russia being the new Brazil and how it's the Lord's will to have millions of baptisms here. We need to have more faith and open our mouths on the streets and work with the members. It seems so simple and I kind of feel dumb for writing that. That's what he said to us but we really could be doing so much better. He talked about casting out all fear. Wow, it was just great. I wish I had more time to go into detail about it but I'm short on time. Wow, it was great. We need to get this idea out of our heads that baptisms are near impossible because we are just putting the cap on ourselves. The Lord can do anything! It was kind of funny but he said the Lord could have tulips do the same work that we are doing right now. That we had so much more that we need to do. It was very humbling but great at the same time. I realized that I can do so much better than I am. Really it's all about just giving our all. The only thing that I need to implement is cast out the fear of being rejected and go wild and talk with everyone that the Lord puts in my path. I mean I did okay earlier, I opened my mouth but I can talk to everyone and not just a few. We did it immediately and it makes the work a lot more fun and the fear goes away when we do it more often. Our mission is doing great! They really are proud of us and I love it. It was great. President Rust is so great and loving I feel of his love so much. They both testified of the love of the prophet for us and the love of the Lord for us. Like I said, I don't have much more time. I wish I could have told you everything but time won't allow. Transfers happened and Elder Smith will be leaving me :( I will be training as a Zone Leader and will be a lone zone leader :0 Kind of intense so wish me luck. I am going on the train to Ekat to get my new comp Elder A~ from SLC. I'm so excited. But wish me luck and pray for me.

That shirt for elder Z~ would be great. Oh he's so great. I love him. Even if he does out do me and send stuff home! haha. I do need more contacts, that would be good! Thank you for the permish to get souvies, I've been hesitant. I love you. You are great. I love the Work its so good. Like you said I am learning stuff here that I couldn't have learned anywhere else. Elder Smith and I were talking and we think that it would take 20 years to learn what we are learning in 2 years had we not served the Lord. What's even better is the people we are teaching are learning the truth and it changes their lives so they can receive salvation. It's everything to them and if they don't know that, I do. So I will wear our my life teaching them the gospel, giving the chance to those who are searching for the truth but know not where to find it. I love it. Oh yeah and N~ is serving for a transfer in our mission on a mini mission!!! Wow, she's amazing its great to see the change the gospel made in her life.
Much love,

Saturday, September 3, 2011



This week was just filled with tender mercies from the Lord. I'm glad that the Horrocks received my letter. I love them all so much. The Lord did give me a lot of comfort right away though. My companion Elder Smith was a big support and is a straight up stud. Also right after E-mail we went over to the J's to take them to the store and they gave me a lot of comfort that was much needed. The Lord's plan is perfect I know that he puts us with who we need to be when we need to be with them. I am thankful for the people surrounding me here in Ufa. Family Home Evening was just amazing! The members had such a light to them and loved the temple they shared great spiritual experiences and how they loved that everyone there in the temple was the same. It's so unlike the world everyone there had the same beliefs same values, and all had the right goal in life. Which is eternal life with our eternal families with our Eternal Father in Heaven. They talked about how it felt as though they knew everybody there like brothers and sisters even though they had just met them. Wow it was a powerful FHE and made me really appreciate the temple and the opportunity to be able to attend it on my mission. These members were on a two day train to Moscow then on an over nighter to Kyiv and enjoyed the blessings of the temple for 10 days! They talked about feelings after leaving of being super sad and then they understood why. It was because their spirit felt like it was home and didn't want to leave. It's amazing to see the sacrifice of these members to travel so far and give up a lot to make it to the temple and serve their God. They are great examples to me of how much we really need to love the temple and value it and use it as much as possible. The saints in Russia are great! And yes, I was able to attend a wonderful session in Helsinki and it was great I love being in the temple.
So for the last visa trip story. We got permission from President Rust to go to red square because we had a 7 hour lay over in Moscow. So we went and it was great and we got back later but not late in order to make our flight. So we show up to the airport and they have our flight listed on the check-in counters but nobody there to take our passports. So we go to the kiosk self serve and my ticket is not there. However Elder Fraser and Olsen's are which was weird. So we fiddled around with that for awhile and tried all we could but then we look up and the register counter doesn't show our flight at all anymore. So we went up to the counter that said all international flights for Aeroflot and the lady just said go to the other desks for Finair,(even though they work together) we said no one was there. Then we went to the service desk and they said go talk to Aeroflot and then we did that. And they said go talk to Finair, so we went back and they just said your people are always late we aren't going to help you. So yeah.... we missed our flight. Which means we can't make our returning flights later that night. Also the temple hotel was full and the hotel around the temple. So we stayed in the center of Helsinki which is really beautiful btw. Then we went to the temple the next day and did a session, ate lunch, then got on our planes back. While all this is happening Elder Smith was the only Elder in Ekat. He had a mini missionary for a day. All the youth and the Jensen's are going to Ekat for youth conference and there is nobody for Elder Smith to stay with. So he was lucky enough to get on the bus to Ekat with the youth going for youth conference. Then I flew into Ekat and then we took the 16 hour train ride back to Ufa. haha crazy right?!
So Monday is going to be zone leader council which means we are going to Ekat again!! I really do love the scenic train ride and President Bennett is going to be there! He is the second councilor in our area presidency. Then he is doing a mission tour and coming to Ufa on Saturday and we will be having zone conference with him there. So we are both getting so blessed this week with opportunities to be around general authorities. Wow, its going to be great! I'm excited.
So our investigators are doing sooo good. One accepted a commitment to come to church for a month straight and read the Book of Mormon everyday for a month straight in order to receive her answer!!! I know the Lord will bless her if she comes through. It was a thought of a commitment that came to Elder Smith and I in our weekly planning and I think it was just what she needed. Planning is so important and if you do it right which means by the spirit then you really do see the results. Also, we found a great young kid! He is 22 years old just got back from the army and built rocketship engines so he is really smart and such a stud. He is reading the Book of Mormon and meets with us often. We even just ran into him on the street a few hours ago. And he ran up and recognized us, even though we were in normal clothes because we had just gotten back from doing service which was great as well. He should also come to church tomorrow. :) The Lord is just blessing us so much. A~ truly is elect and he is doing so great. It's people like him that we are searching for, the elect. Future leaders of the church!

I did get a few things for winter. A great member in Ekat is making an overcoat for me so I'm excited to get that soon. It got really cold for a while here but now it is back to the 80's for now. Then soon it will get really cold again. I haven't bought a cool hat yet but I want to. I'm just scared to spend money. I would like to buy you all stuff too for souvenirs because who knows if I'll be able to come back someday. I would like stuff to remember the mish by. So is it okay since time is winding down that I get a few souvies. Those hats are actually kinda expensive because they are actually nice haha. So let me know your thoughts on that. Since time is winding down
:( :) idk what to think!

Glad to hear that all the friends are doing great! Tell Dave he's a stud and that I love him. I would love it if you got those addresses for me :) I will get the letters written soon. One is already written even. I send my love to Elder Z as well I'm glad that he can write you. haha Also I think he really would like an Andrea Kerilenko shirt like the one I had when I came on my mission. He really likes it but I gave it to a dear friend in Chelyabinsk. Oh yeah and elder Z's name is V~ in case you didn't know which is a short term for V~. Well, I love you lots. The Lord is looking out for me don't worry. It will be a great week. Can't wait to tell you all about it.
Much Love,

Monday, August 29, 2011

First of all my heart goes out to the Horrock's family. They really are like my second family. Mar, Al and Wes are just like my siblings and Trent has always been there for me and has helped me just like a dad. I know that this is a very hard time for your family and honestly I feel your pain. My love and prayers go out to you. It is really hard for me to write this email right now but I know that everything is okay. Just as Alex said Cole is really in a better place. This time on earth is so precious to each and every one of us, however, death is part of Gods plan. I know that it is hard especially as I sit here writing this email through my tears and can't even imagine how you feel. However, I know with all my heart that God's plan is also a perfect plan and that he always knows what He is doing. I know that Cole is happy right now and that he really is with Grandpa Howard and they are having a way better time than we can even imagine. I think of the scripture in Alma that says "All spirits go back to that same God who gave them life." I know that that is true and that he is in a better place. The gospel is being preached to those in the spirit world and I know how happy the gospel of Jesus Christ makes a person. I have seen it change many lives here in Russia while on this mission and I know that the same exact work is going on there in the spirit world where Cole is. I know that right now is a rough time and it may be hard to find that joy and peace. However remember that the Savior knows exactly what you are all feeling because he suffered everything for us. Alma 7:11-13 He knows how we feel when nobody else can understand at all. I know that thanks to the Savior and his Atoning sacrifice and perfect plan that you will all see Cole again in a resurrected perfect body. I know that this is true. We can all live together forever in the presence of our Lord. I like the verse, I think that it is 2nd Nephi 33:12 if I'm wrong its somewhere around there and it reads somethings along these lines. This is my prayer that many if not all will be saved in the Lords kingdom in the last day. We all have the opportunity to return to live with the Lord again. I promise that you will see Cole again and rejoice together. I love you all so much. Thank you so much Trent for always being there for me I still know that you are there for me and I want you to know that I am here for you and your kids anytime. Thank you Al and Wes for being my brothers and Mar for being my little sister in hard times in all of our lives. I love and miss you all so much I wish that I could be there to give you a big hug for hours at a time. I know that you are all in good hands and that you still have each other though. Thank you once again I really do love you all so much and feel for you in this time of need. Remember hope in this world is only a prayer away. The Savior lives and loves us all so much more than we can imagine. I love you keep your heads up.
Your Brother,

Hey mom,
Yeah I did have a visa trip. We got stuck in Finland after missing our first flight in Moscow because of a pretty crazy story that took 3 days that I don't have time to tell right now. However, yeah we were stuck there and did end up spending a little money for food and what not. The temple was amazing and I love the things that I learn there every time. Our branch just got back from a temple trip and lots of people went to the temple for the first time and we are having a testimony FHE tonight at the Jensen's. I can't wait to hear their experiences. They all have a light in them. I also am going to the market today so I might end up spending a little more money. I hope that's okay. Also, I'm a little down about what happened to Cole. I wish I could talk to them because I feel their pain. I hope my letter helps. I didn't know what to say at all but I felt that I wrote the thoughts that came to my head from the Spirit which gives me comfort. I am okay, I'm just feeling their pain so don't worry about me one bit.

The work is going great here I love it. Share the stuff below and tell people that I didn't have much time this week.

Well this week was an interesting one because of the crazy visa trip. However it was still a great week here in Ufa. A~ is doing so amazing and growing in the gospel he finished the Book of Mormon yesterday and is loving it and applying the teachings in his life. He is a great example of prayer he really prays from his heart and soul and each time he prays I learn something. Our investigator didn't make it to sacrament yesterday because she is in a really tough situation right now and it was raining but she came to relief society and we were able to meet with her after church and she is being really open and trusting of us right now. It's great to see her progress and her trust grow. She realized that satan is working on her really hard and that God has a big plan for her. E's dad is super busy at work right now because they are just finishing up a big job at work so we haven't been able to get in with them but he is doing well. We call him often and he is reading and praying everyday. He had a date for the 27th but we weren't able to meet with him as often as needed so we will be resetting that date again soon. He is a great kid. A~ is doing great as well just finishing up a lot of work as well and we were busy when he wasn't this week so we didn't get to meet. He is still quiting smoking a little bit at a time. Yesterday, Elder Smith and I had a good experience with working with the area book and we have a potential new investigator meeting with a young 20 year old man tomorrow which we are excited for.~ That's just part of the letter and update for you.

Mom, thanks for giving all my buddies my love! Congrats to Nate. I'm proud of him. Also, see if you could get K's address for Alaska. I would like to write her too. I miss you all! much love!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Privet Vcem!

Wow this week was great a lot of miracles all the time. We didn't get in with our investigators as much as we would have liked but this week will be better with that. Yesterday, we had a very great experience with a contact. She is having a really hard time in life right now and we came to that knowledge because we listened to the spirit yesterday in our lesson. We were sensitive and asked how she was doing because we weren't able to get a hold of her last week. That's when she opened up to us about her hard times in life. We feel it might be the humbling experience she needs. The J's were there and we just sat and listened for a good while. She expressed that she feels as if Satan is attacking her from all sides. We then opened up to the Joseph Smith story and shared that with her. Satan does try to get us when there is a huge moment of growth or a big decision to be made and it seemed to hit her very hard. We then offered her a priesthood blessing. Elder J gave a beautiful blessing and the spirit was so strong. We can see so much progress with her. A few months ago she denied priesthood blessings but now we have the trust and the good relationship because we genuinely love her and listened to her. I know that we will see many miracles with her in this upcoming time here. We didn't get in with E~ this week because his Dad has the craziest work schedule but we are going to get in there tonight and set a new baptism date with him. He is great and we call him often and he is still reading the Book of Mormon everyday and praying everyday. A~ also had a crazy work schedule this week or else it didn't work out for us when it worked out for him. He is doing well and is continuing quiting smoking. A~ passed the sacrament yesterday and that was a miracle to see! He is doing so well. Yesterday we went and listened to hymns with his friend. He is trying to share the gospel with him. I love this opportunity to be in Ufa and work with such great people.

I~ is moving out of our area and that's sad but its okay because we'll still see each other at church. We are going to help him move this week to a different area. It's sounds as if the family reunion was a blast that's hilarious that Cohen is a country boy. That video sounds really interesting of the family. Make sure you keep a copy of it. I would love to see g-pa and g-ma's reception haha. What you said is so true, the gospel is the only way to true happiness and true love. Love is the key and only through the gospel can we have true love. The love that lasts for eternity! I am so thankful for the opportunity to live with my family for eternity and with my future wife and children. The Savior's love for us is perfect and that's how we should love. I really love Elder Holland's talk of true love and how he cuts down right to the basics of how we need to love. I have grown alot on my mission and one think that I am learning now is how to love more. I love the mish. It is sweet.

The J's are doing great and I love working with them. They also send there love and we often talk about you. They loved their visit with you and will be life long friends, that's for sure. Elder Z seems to be doing well. Make sure you pass on my love to my Ukrainian bro. His sister and nephew are in my prayers. Elder Smith (my old elder Smith) wrote me too and I was so happy. He is a stud and our two transfers together were great. Make sure you pass on my emails to him. Give him my love. Thank him for his example and tell him to keep the focus on the basics. I did get both of A's letters and they were great! Also K's letter was super as well. They both made my day because I don't hear from home a lot. So it was great to hear from some of my best friends who I love. Well I love you all so much. Keep it real.
From Russia with love,

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Sermon to the Bus:)

Wow, so Zone Leader Council was amazing!!! It always is such a boost spiritually and mentally. The R and J are amazing. I'm a little embarrassed about the aprons, haha but oh well we were glad to help and the scones turned out good believe it or not. haha. So this week was full of miracles! The couple I spoke of last week went out of town but we will meet with them this week. We called them and they are reading the Book of Mormon together and loving it. Also we had a meeting with our new convert about the priesthood Friday night and asked him if he would prepare to get the priesthood and serve in the church. He said of course I will serve in the church but I'm not ready for the priesthood. I'll need to finish the Book of Mormon, read the Doctrine and Covenants and Gospel Principles before I'm ready for that. We bore powerful testimony along with the J's that if he was ready and that if you are worthy for baptism that you are worthy for the priesthood. He still said no but agreed to pray about it and ask the Lord. We all prayed as well that he would get the confirmation from the Lord that he is ready. The next day we met with him and asked if he got his answer. I'm not going to lie, he surprised us with the answer "Yes, when I prayed only one phrase kept coming to me. I got the answer from the Lord that I said answer A but I need to say answer B. So even though I still feel inadequate for the priesthood, it's what the Lord wants and I will accept the Priesthood of God." I was in shock, which I shouldn't have been because I know that the Lord answers prayers but it's just not everyday that the people you work with are so humble and sincere that they receive and recognize the answer in less than 24 hours. Oh my goodness, he is amazing! He got the priesthood yesterday and also got a calling to be a second councilor in the Sunday school presidency. Which is just what President Hinckley said. "they need a friend, a calling and nourishment by the good word." All those things are happening with him. It's great to see the miracles going on here. I saved one of the biggest if not the biggest miracle of my mission for last.The Sermon to the Bus is what Elder S and I are calling this event. Thursday morning Elder S and I arrived back in Ufa from Zone Leader Council. Elder S was in the shower and Brother R called us and asked if we could open the church because he wasn't going to be there for a few more hours. I said yes and figured that we were just opening it for the members to come and do the cleaning because we live right next door. We often get called for that. So we show up to the church and there are people we don't know standing outside and also a bus full of people. I was confused and called Brother R and asked him what was going on. He said "oh sorry I thought you were in the know. There is a group from another city and they are here on a religious tour and want to know more about our church. Do you think that you could take them inside and give them a little presentation?" I said said yes, but then after I hung up the phone I felt very overwhelmed and also was a little sick from the cold I got on the train the night before. Also, I wished that we had known what was going to happen because it was such little notice and we would have liked to have a well planned out plan. So as we unlocked the door, I said a prayer in my heart and asked the Lord what we should talk about. I felt a very strong impression as my answer that we needed to talk about the thing that makes our religion so special. So Elder Smith and I went into the library and grabbed Restoration pamphlets and Books of Mormon as the busload of over 40 people filed into the sacrament hall. We walked in and they were all sitting there waiting to listen. First we felt impressed to talk to them about church services and talked to them about our meetings, about sacrament meeting why we do it and what we do, Sunday school, and then priesthood and relief society. After that we talked about how Christ is the center of our religion and talked about his life, service, miracles and power. We talked about how people rejected Christ and His apostles and that is why we have so many different churches on the earth today. Which was a really powerful part of the meeting because we were able to relate to them because they were people on a church tour looking at different religions. We then passed out the Restoration pamphlet and had an outpouring of the spirit as we talked and bore powerful testimony of a 14 year old Joseph Smith who also was searching for the truth among many churches. We talked about how he studied the Bible and read in James 1:5 and decided that he needed to ask our loving Heavenly Father which church was true. The audience seemed to be captivated as they listened attentively to the First Vision and what happened in that Sacred Grove when Joseph saw God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. We talked about how through Joseph Smith, the same church of Christ was restored upon the earth in its fullness and that we have the power of God and a living prophet today. We then talked about how the Lord loves us all so much that he gave us evidence of this great event and opened up to the title page of the Book of Mormon. We testified of Christ appearing to the Americas after his Resurrection and encouraged them to take a copy and read and ponder the message in their hearts then to pray and ask God if it was true. We then had a very good question and answer session where the majority of the people had the pamphlet open to the page with the picture of the First Vision and the scripture along with it. After the questions and answers they all rushed up to the front to grab a Book of Mormon some taking two or more to share with friends and family. It was a great experience and tender mercy from the Lord. I have never felt so directed and guided by the Spirit as we had this amazing first lesson with over 40 people. We were guided in what to say and it all flowed so well. The Lord gave me strength. During the lesson my headache and cold, strange feeling, were lifted for the time of the meeting but returned after the multitude left. It was a miracle! God is a God of miracles. I know that this church is true and that Joseph Smith really did see God the Father and the Son even Jesus Christ. This is the true and living church on the earth today. I love my Savior and my God. I love the mission its great!So this week was amazing!!

Elder S is from Oregon small town called Baker City. He is a stud and we get along really well. You always ask about what I do as a zone leader. Well here it is kinda short I guess. We have alot of contact with the missionaries of our city and try to lift and inspire and help us all work effectively. Which isn't that hard when you have an amazing zone like us. We love all our missionaries and the work is going great. We have the best missionaries in this zone. We do splits with the Elders and also we have a zone class every week that we teach to the missionaries. We also help the J's in training the branch leadership and translate for them a lot. I translated a talk in church for Elder J yesterday and at branch presidency meeting yesterday as well. Just pretty much anything to do with leadership, we do. I have learned so much in this position. It's not that we are higher than anyone else because I believe that all the missionaries in my zone are better than me and I love learning from them. I have learned more about love and service in my time as a leader than I have the rest of my mission combined. It's amazing and I love it. Well I love you all Hope everything goes well. Pass my love to everyone!
The shirts fit great 15 1/2 is perfect! I got letters from Ariell and Katie :) Also I got a letter from a Sister K is all that it said. It said "thanks for you and your family and sharing your blog" but then most of the rest was just question marks because she typed in Russian and dearelder doesn't recognize the writing. But would you please tell sister K thanks for me, but that dear elders won't recognize Russian.:(