Elder Buxton at the Kyiv Temple while on a visa trip

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 :)